God's pre‐arranged intentions for the destiny of human beings. Because of the history of this concept in Christian theology (e.g. by Augustine and Calvin), it is associated with the idea of an inscrutable God who from eternity had decided that some are to be ‘saved’ and others ‘condemned’. However, the scriptures do not so much affirm predestination as a rational deduction within a philosophy of theism as give expression to a glorious sense of God's graciousness. God has a plan to deliver human beings from the power of sin—this is predestined: people may freely accept or reject this offer (Phil. 2: 12). Paul exclaims in wonder that he has been chosen by God and that the Church has been chosen, but he nowhere says that those who have rejected faith are thereby damned.

Special interest attaches to Paul's understanding of God's purposes for Israel (Rom. 9–11). If by his covenant God seemed to predestine Israel to a perpetual role in his purposes, does this mean that he is fickle and has, now that Christians are the true children of Abraham (Gal. 3: 7), broken his promise? Paul declares that God is faithful; he has a purpose for Israel, even for Israel's unbelief. Israel has been the vehicle for the Gospel and in the end the conversion of Gentiles will persuade Jews also to believe, out of sheer envy (Rom. 11: 11).