What Does the Bible Say About Destiny?

The only thread of continuity throughout the Bible that addresses the concept of destiny is that death is a certainty for every human being. Beyond that, two very different schools of thought on destiny, called Calvinism and Arminianism, have developed within the church.

Calvinism uses examples of verses about destiny to support the idea that God pre-determined the destiny of everyone and everything before he created it, and mankind has no control over its own destiny. What happens during life, as well as afterward, has already been decided and is unalterable.

Arminianism, on the other hand, uses other Biblical passages to support the belief that God granted man free will so that he can choose his ultimate destiny. Choosing to follow God leads to a fate of eternal enlightenment in heaven. Choosing not to follow God leads to a fate of eternal damnation in hell. Some Christians believe heaven and hell to be actual physical places, while others believe them simply to be states of being. In the Old Testament books, most passages speak about salvation through God. Some New Testament verses, however, replace the idea of salvation through God with salvation through Jesus Christ, whom Christians believe to be the promised Messiah.