Is Everything Pre-determined?

Do you mean in a fatalistic sense, in which your actions are not actually chosen by you, but rather unfold like a movie playing out on a screen? That idea goes against Catholic teaching with respect to free will. The Church believes that God created human beings with the power to choose: to love or not, to do what is right or not, to follow God or not. And while our choices are constrained by our biology and our circumstances, the fundamental ability to make choices is part of what makes us human. Because we truly have free will, the events of our lives and of history unfold as we choose to make them happen, individually and as a community.

In another sense, however, Catholics believe that the world is in God’s hands and that God is “reconcil[ing] to himself all things” through Christ (Colossians 1:20). So in this sense we can say that the greater scheme of things has been determined. God, in God’s time and in God’s way, will ultimately bring about God’s plan for creation and redemption.

Neela Kale

Neela Kale is a writer and catechetical minister based in the Archdiocese of Portland. She served with the Incarnate Word Missionaries in Mexico and earned a Master of Divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology. Some of her best theological reflection happens on two wheels as she rides her bike around the hills of western Oregon.