Monday, April 27, 2009

Double Predestination and Determinism

The concept of Predestination has developed steadily over the last 1700 years. Beginning in the early 4th century, the idea of Predestination began with the church fathers. For many years, the debate continued to evolve until a certain ideal was reached by teh Catholic church. Because of certain heretical movements across Europe in the late 15th and early 16th century, the idea of predestination evolved into something new. Previously, predestination had been understood as being the foreknowledge of God of the state of the human souls and the knowledge of how the soul will lead their life such that they will either go to heaven of suffer damnation. However, in the 16th Century, with the Protestant heresies spreading across Europe there came a new understanding of predestination. John Calvin in his institutes of Religion, talks about the power, the omnipotence of God over all things, as they are his creation. furthermore, he sees that because God is all powerful and all knowing, that God essentially creates man with an end in mind for him. In other words, God creates man already destined for Heaven or Hell. For Calvin and the other Protestants of his time, this essentially meant there was a double predestination. Instead of saying simply that God decides to save some people who have lived virtuous lives in His name, Calvin instead postulates that God also goes and damns everyone else to Hell, regardless of the life they have led. In modern analytical philosophy today, there is a philosophy called Behaviorism. Best epitomized by Gilbert Ryle, this philosophy attempts to resolve the questions presented by Dualists such as Descartes and Augustine. Ryle, in his Concept of Mind deconstructs the basic issues surrounding the problems of Descartes and proceeds to present his own ideas about the mind and will as a sort of continuation of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas. However, through some careless process, Ryle runs into some precarious issues and the logical conclusion of his philosophy on the Will is essentially a Determinist explanation which perfectly fits with the idea of the Double Predestination.

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