Double Predestination and the Quest for Certainty of Christian Salvation from an African Perspective: Towards Cumulative Case Argument and Transcendentalism
Inasmuch as many people claim that they are saved, this claim is tinged with some amount of doubt whenever one reflects on their own ways of life; worse still, when the doctrine of predestination is preached. This doctrine claims that from the foundations of the earth God through his sovereignty predestined some human beings to salvation and another lot to eternal damnation and therefore, it did not matter how much the condemned lot worked to attain salvation; no human works could obtain for salvation because it is tainted with human sin. This teaching is complicated further by John Calvin’s teachings that reprobates exuded characteristics similar to that of the elects. Based on this position, human beings could not by way of assessing their works come to the assurance of their salvation. How does one then tell whether they are elect or of the reprobate lot? Traditionally, the Jewish and Africans ascertained their salvation through their works but doubt is cast on this approach by Calvin’s doctrine of double predestination. In an attempt to address the anxiety caused by this doctrine of double predestination, Calvin and John Wesley have proposed ways of assuaging the anxiety. However, the proposed methods have not offered satisfactory solution; people are still anxious. Using theological hermeneutics of suspicion, this article re-interprets the doctrine of double predestination. It then explores the Christian and the African theological perspectives of salvation and their certainty of it. It introduces a cumulative case that brings together objective and subjective approaches and by applying a transcendental method in reflecting on God-human encounter, proposes a possible assurance of salvation via transcendentalism.
Keywords: Assurance, Salvation, Certainty, Cumulative Case, Objective~Subjective, Ontological, Functional, Predestination, Election, Reprobation, Faith.