“We call predestination the eternal decree of God by which He has determined in Himself what He would have every individual of mankind to become, for they are not all created with a similar destiny; but eternal life is foreordained for some and eternal damnation for others. C” That’s his definition. What is the cause for this election? Only God’s will, and nothing else. “If, therefore, we can assign no reason why He grants mercy to His people but because such is His pleasure, neither shall we find any other cause but His will for the reprobation of others.” I. e., the irrational will of God is the cause of predestination.
Now here we come into an absolute mystery, as he calls it. We cannot call God to any account. We must accept it and we must drop our criteria of the good and the true. If someone says that is unjust, he answers: We cannot go beyond the Divine will to a nature which determines God because God’s will cannot be dependent on anything else. even in Him. Here you have the full weight of the Scotistic- Occamistic thinking: the will of God is the only cause for what God does; nothing else.
Calvin himself feels the horrible character of this doctrine. “I inquire again how it came to pass that the fall of Adam, independent of any remedy, should involve so many nations with their infant children in eternal death, but because such was the will of God – it is an awful decree, I confess.” Nevertheless, when he was attacked, and especially in his last years, in face of his death, then he answered in a little different way: Everything is dependent on Divine predestination. “Their perdition depends on the Divine predestination, in such a manner that the cause and matter of it are found in themselves”; the immediate cause is man’s free will. i. e., Calvin thinks, as did Luther, in two levels. The Divine cause is not real cause, but decree, something which is mystery and for which the category of causality is only symbolically and not properly applied. Besides this he knew, as did every Reformer and predestinarian, that it is man’s finite freedom through which God acts when He makes His decree of predestination.