Religion in the Thirteen Colonies

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What was the doctrine of predestination?

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Predestination is the idea that all events, no matter how big or small, have been willed to happen by God. This includes whether people, or rather their souls, go to heaven or hell after their deaths. According to predestination, whether somebody goes to heaven or hell is determined, or predetermined, before they are born.

Some people who believe in predestination, however, do not believe that God predetermines or is responsible for the sinful acts that mankind commits. God simply predetermines which of us will go to heaven and which to hell because He already knows which of us will be sinful and which of us pious. But He does not, so the argument goes, predetermine the sinful or pious acts themselves. Instead, God simply permits these acts, knowing beforehand that they will happen. In this way, there is room for the idea of free will within the doctrine of predestination.

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