The Logic of Single Predestination

Single Predestination, of course, runs counter to Double Predestination – and the prevailing notion over these doctrines is that it’s ‘either Double or Nothing’. Any believer faithful to Scriptures would necessarily have to believe in the doctrines of Election and Predestination, and when presented with only a Double or Nothing dilemma, one would always be inclined to pick Double, despite the inhibitions there.

And this is where Single Predestination captures the truth perfectly – while still upholding the Scriptural doctrines of unconditional election and predestination, it rejects the human-inferred doctrine of eternal reprobation of man. I would imagine everyone to unite on this truth gladly since this reconciles both sides – the one who wants to uphold the eternal decree of election of those being saved, and the one who wants to reject the eternal decree of reprobation of those perishing. In its true scope, this doctrine has the potential to end the last 500 years’ divide between calvinism and arminianism.

Unfortunately, that has not been the case. It has now been widely accepted (though erroneously) that though Single Predestination might serve pacifist uses, it lacks the logic of Double Predestination and hence ought to be rejected. I’ll use just one resource as reference to typify this argument – R.C. Sproul has shared a very focused article titled “Double” Predestination on the Ligonier Ministries site.

Note, in critiquing this particular argument of RC Sproul, I am in no way diminishing the intent and value of all his works, including this. I have immense respect for all such teachers and this very article is meant to be more a call to unite in truth than to divide in error. Secondly, I hold no issues against the very concept of Double Predestination itself – since it too upholds God’s Sovereignty and is clearly seen in God’s dealing with the elect and non-elect angels. The issue here is specific to being faithful to Scriptures. If Scriptures had revealed that God had dealt likewise with man, I would rejoice in that truth – but if Scriptures reveal an array of God’s Glory in both the Double predestination of the angels and the Single predestination of mankind, why not rejoice in this truth?

Concerning that very article of RC Sproul, he builds a seemingly airtight argument of “resistless logic” against Single predestination. In that, this is the one premise that would need to be further debated.

If… all salvation is based upon the eternal election of God and not all men are elect from eternity, does that not mean that from eternity there are non-elect who most certainly will not be saved?

The system of logic employed here contains 2 premises and 1 conclusion following them – But the logic system is not complete. It doesn’t factor in various other dependent premises. And more importantly, the first part is not in itself a premise, but rather a conclusion. The Single Predestiner would adhere to the following system –

  1. Some are the elect from eternity, predestined to be redeemed and conformed to the Image of Christ. The rest are non-elect and without any specific destiny decreed.
  2. It follows, Not all men are elect from eternity.
  3. Salvation is offered to both elect and non-elect in the Gospel of Christ through Faith.
  4. Both elect and non-elect reject the Offer of Salvation and are deserving of condemnation.
  5. God has mercy upon the elect and regenerates them and births them of the Holy Spirit unto salvation through faith, in accordance with their predestination – while the rest have self-determined to die in their own sins.
  6. It follows, that from eternity the elect are saved while none of the non-elect self-determine to be saved across the timescale.
  7. Therefore, All salvation is based upon the eternal election of God.
  8. It also follows that instead of from eternity, it is from their rejection of the Gospel that the non-elect most certainly are not saved.

Thus, “single” predestination can be consistently maintained only within the framework of universalism or some sort of qualified Arminianism. If particular election is to be maintained and if the notion that all salvation is ultimately based upon that particular election is to be maintained, then we must speak of double predestination.

As seen from the above system, Single Predestination rejects universalism and does not believe any man is in reality qualified to contribute in any part to attaining salvation. The single predestiner also believes in particular election and that only the elect are saved. If at all any of the arminian beliefs are accommodated here, it’s that of the non-elect perishing because of their unbelief (John 3:19-20, Heb 3:19) – which the single predestiner believes is inevitable for all the non-elect on account of the total depravity/inability of the flesh.

Therefore, it is still logical to reject the doctrine of eternal reprobation without compromising on any of the other reformed truths. Further possible objections will be handled in future posts.



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