Charles Buck's Theological Dictionary

40 Predestination


Is the decree of God, whereby he hath for his own glory fore-ordained whatever comes to pass. The verb predestinate is of Latin original (praedestino,) and signifies in that tongue to deliberate before-hand with one’s self how one shall act, and, in consequence of such deliberation, to constitute, fore-ordain, and predetermine, where, when, how, and by whom any thing shall be done, and to what end it shall be done. So the Greek word whish exactly answers to the English word predestinate, and is rendered by it, signifies to resolve before-hand with one’s self what shall be done, and before the thing resolved on is actually effected; to appoint it to some certain use, and direct it to some determinate end. This doctrine has been the occasion of considerable disputes and controversies among divines. On the one side it has be observed, that it is impossible to reconcile it with our ideas of the justice and goodness of God, that it makes God to be the author of sin, destroys moral distinction, and renders all our efforts useless. Predestinarians deny these consequences, and endeavour to prove this doctrine from the consideration of the perfections of the divine nature, and from Scripture testimony. If his knowledge, say they, be infinite and unchangeable, he must have known every thing from eternity. If we allow the attribute of prescience, the idea of a decree must certainly be believed also, for how can an action that is really to come to pass be foreseen, if it be not determined? God knew every thing from the beginning; but this he could not have known if he had not so determined it. If, also, God be infinitely wise, it cannot be conceived that he would leave things at random, and have no plan. He is a God of order, and this order he observes as strictly in the moral as in the natural world, however conceived otherwise of God, is to degrade him, and is an insult to his perfections. If he, then, be wise and unchangeable, no new idea or purpose can arise in his mind; no alteration of his plan can take place, upon condition of his creatures acting in this or that way. To say that this doctrine makes him the author of sin, is not justifiable. We all allow omnipotence to be an attribute of Deity, and that by this attribute he could have prevented sin from entering into the world, had he chosen it; yet we see he did not. Now he is no more the author of sin in one case than the other. May we not ask, Why does he suffer those inequalities of Providence? Why permit whole nations to lie in idolatry or ages? Why leave men to the most cruel barbarities? Why punish the sins of the fathers in the children? In a word, Why permit the world at large to be subject to pains, crosses, losses, evils of every kind, and that for so many thousands of years? And, yet, will any dare call the Deity unjust? The fact is, our finite minds know but little of the nature of divine justice, or any other of his attributes. But, supposing there are difficulties in this subject (and what subject is without it?) the Scripture abounds with passages which at once prove the doctrine, Matt. 25:34. Rom. 8:29, 30. Eph. 1:3, 6, 11. 2 Tim. 1:9. 2 Thess. 2:13. 1 Pet. 1:1, 2. John 6:37. John 17:2 to 24. Rev. 13:8. Rev. 17:8. Dan. 4:35. 1 Thess. 5:19. Matt. 11:26. Exod. 4:21. Prov. 16:4. Acts 13:48. the moral uses of this doctrine are these. 1. It hides pride from man.–2. Excludes the idea of chance.–3. Exalts the grace of God.–4. Renders salvation certain.–5. Affords believers great consolation.

Charles Buck (1771-1815) was an English Independent minister, best known for the publication of his “Theological Dictionary”. According to the “Dictionary of National Biography”, a Particular Baptist minister named John C. Ryland (1723-1792) assisted Buck by writing many of the articles for the aforementioned publication. One may conclude, based not only Buck’s admiration for his friend Ryland, but also on the entries in his Theological Dictionary, that he stood head and shoulders with the High-Calvinists of his day.

Charles Buck on the Biblical Covenants (Complete)
Charles Buck's Theological Dictionary