Original Research

Predestination and ‘pre-activation’: A theological reflection on this famous, yet often disputed doctrine. Does not this doctrine make people careless and profane?

Jan H. van Wyk
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 54, No 1 | a2552 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v54i1.2552 | © 2020 Jan H. van Wyk | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 October 2019 | Published: 26 May 2020

About the author(s)

Jan H. van Wyk, Department of Humanities, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


In the first part of this article, the classic as well as modern interpretations of the doctrine on predestination (Augustine, Calvin, Dort/Barth, Smit, Van der Walt) is investigated, while in the second part, I try to answer the question whether this (sometimes sharply criticised) doctrine does not make men careless and profane. Or does this doctrine rather stimulate and activate individual, ecclesiastical and social activities in the societal, political and economic spheres of life? The Heidelberg Catechism asks the question whether the doctrine of justification (grace alone) ‘does not make men careless and profane?’, but answers ‘by no means’. Does the same apply to the doctrine of predestination? Should we not complement the doctrine of predestination with the concept of ‘pre-activation’?


predestination; election; ‘pre-activation’; good works; Christology.


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