The evolution of ideas about free will and predestination from antiquity to the reformation

  • Maria Potsyurko Lviv State University of Physical Culture named after. I. Bobersky
Keywords: predestination, free will, Providence, divine grace, justice, responsibility, salvation


The article is devoted to consideration of the question of the relationship between human freedom and predestination that had gained prominence in medieval Christian philosophy because it is closely connected with the problem of the existence of Divine Providence, Grace, and their relationship with the free will of man, his purpose of salvation. The analysis shows that the determination of this question of course has deep ancient roots in the problem of predestination, immutable cosmic laws, the freedom of man. However, the fundamental difference is the antique streamlined approach with an emphasis on human freedom and responsibility in contrast with the medieval emphasis on faith, obedience to God and try to combine them with the reasonable requirements of the freedom of the will. Medieval Christianity is facing a tragic Augustine’s dilemma: either the recognition of free will and unconditional responsibility (as indicated by the reason) or complete submission to the divine will and grace – without any reasonable theodicy (as indicated by faith). Of particular interest is the specificity of the analysis of this problem in the period of the reformation, when it was suggested that ideas in advance of a certain person's fate and total submission to divine Grace. For example, Calvin believes that it is necessary to opt out of the term “free will” as unclear in meaning and absolutely in-compatible with faith and grace. Thus, the reformation proclaimed the abdication of freedom in favour of the divine Grace from which logically follows fatalism.


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How to Cite
Potsyurko, M. (2018) “The evolution of ideas about free will and predestination from antiquity to the reformation”, Worldview – Philosophy – Religion, 13, pp. 193-199. doi: