Unconditional Election in Islam and Calvinism
Updated: Jan 28, 2020
In Calvinism, the doctrine of predestination is separated into three parts, the first being unconditional election. This is the 'U' in TULIP.
Unconditional Election: God the Father chose before He created the world who He wanted to obtain eternal life, without taking into account anything about them. He did not take into account any foreseen faith, works, or merit.
The Calvinist and Islamic View of Unconditional Election
We see in both Calvinism and Islam that they believe God chooses who goes to Heaven and who goes to Hell without their own choices being part of that. This concept is communicated in many different ways, but it always uses the same terms to describe it. We see terms like "God's eternal decree," "God's will,"and others.
(Calvinism) The Westminster Confession of Faith Ch.3 Sec.5: "Those of mankind that are predestined into life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to the eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret council and good pleasure of his will hath chosen, in Christ, unto everlasting glory, out of his mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith, or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving him thereunto, and all to the praise of his glorious grace."
(Calvinism) Canons of Dort Head 1 Article 6: "That some receive the gift of faith from God and others do not receive it proceeds from God's eternal decree ... According to which decree, He graciously softens the hearts of the elect, however obstinate, and inclines them to believe, while He leaves the non-elect in His just judgment to their own wickedness and obduracy."
In Islam, it is much more direct without using the flowery language of the Calvinists. They are both saying the same thing, but it hits harder when reading from Muslim sources.
(Islam) Quran 17:13-14 Abdel Haleem Translation: "We have bound each human being's destiny to his neck. On the Day of Resurrection, We shall bring out a record for each of them, which they will find spread wide open, 'Read your record. Today your own soul is enough to calculate your account.'"
(Islam) Quran 4:48 Abdel Haleem Translation: "God does not forgive the joining of partners with Him: anything less than that He forgives to whoever He will, but anyone who joins partners with God has concocted a tremendous sin.
(Islam) Sahih Muslim 6728 The Book of Al-Qadr: "I heard the Messenger of Allah with these two ears of mine, saying: "The Nutfah (sperm drop) stays in the womb for forty nights, then the angel comes down to it." - Zuhair (one of the narrators) said: "I think he said: 'The one who shapes it.'" - "He says: 'O Lord, male or female?' And Allah makes it male or female. Then he says: 'O Lord, physically sound or unsound?' And Allah makes him physically sound or unsound. Then he says: 'O Lord, what is his provision?' What is his lifespan? 'Then Allah makes him doomed or blessed.""
(Islam) Sahih Muslim 6724 The Book of Al-Qadr: "One of you may do the deeds of the people of Paradise until there is nothing between him and it but a cubit, then the Decree overtakes him and he does the deeds of the people of the Fire and enters it. And one of you may do the deeds of the people of the Fire until there is nothing between him and it but a cubit, then the Decree overtakes him and he does the deeds of the people of Paradise, and enters it."
Refuting Calvinism and Islam's View of Unconditional Election
When we look at what the Bible says, we will find that God does not choose who goes to Heaven and who goes to Hell. He wants everyone to get saved by believing on Jesus Christ alone for salvation. In Christianity, salvation is conditional. One must make the choice to believe on Christ.
(True Christianity) 1 Timothy 2:3-4 King James Version: “3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
(True Christianity) 2 Peter 3:9 King James Version: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
(True Christianity) John 3:16 King James Version: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Romans 12:3 makes the point to say that God has given everyone faith. The reason why people don't get saved is because they choose to put their faith in something other than Christ and in Him alone.
(True Christianity) Romans 12:3 King James Version: “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
Acts 16 is one of the best salvation chapters in the Bible because it is so simple and it shows that a person's free will is used in their conversion. The Philippian jailer asked "What must I do to be saved?" He knew that he had to make a choice on what to believe in. He knew that there were conditions for salvation and he wanted to meet them.
(True Christiantiy) Acts 16:27-33 King James Version: “And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.”
Just from these verses, it is easy to see that the doctrine of unconditional election is unbiblical. All verses that are used to supposedly prove this doctrine are interpreted wrongly and can be proven so by looking and their contexts and also comparing them with the context of the whole Bible itself. This will be shown in future posts.
This post is part of the series The Hard Truth About Calvinism and Islam under The Five Points of Calvinism in Islam
Calvinism and Islam Compared: Total Depravity
Calvinism and Islam Compared: Limited Atonement
Calvinism and Islam Compared: Irresistible Grace