Predestination is a theological doctrine espoused by many Protestant denominations. Predestination holds that God wills all events, and that God has already determined whether individual human beings will achieve salvation or damnation. This doctrine is often seen as contradicting the idea that human beings have free will. Predestination is a form of determinism and is most often associated with the theology of John Calvin.
Lutherans maintain that the elect have been predestined for salvation, and Christians can assure themselves of being among the elect. Calvinism, on the other hand, takes a stricter theological viewpoint. John Calvin developed the idea of double predestination, that the future of every individual has already been determined by God, whether salvation or damnation, and there is nothing that the individual can do to alter his or her eternal fate. Double predestination was first espoused in Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, his seminal theological work.
Many theologians reject double predestination outright. Unitarians, for example, believe that free will and predestination are incompatible beliefs. The Roman Catholic Church espouses a theology of predestination that includes the doctrine of free will. There is also theological debate whether God’s omniscience, his ability to foresee the future, is predestination or simply predetermination.