By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death (WCF 3.3).
Does Calvinism teach “double predestination”? The answer depends in part on whether we’re posing a semantic question or a conceptual question. And even the semantics are variable.
i) “Predestination” and “foreordination” can be used synonymously. On that definition, Calvinism teaches double predestination.
ii) However, the Westminster Confession uses one term for election and a different term for reprobation. According to Warfield, the reason for this linguistic distinction is that, in 17C usage, “predestination” was a synonym for “election.” Therefore, the Westminster Divines chose a different term for the clause describing reprobation. Yet Warfield says the two terms can also be used interchangeably.
Cf. The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, 2:4-5; 4:125.
iii) At the same time, it doesn’t seem as though “predestination” was a technical term for “election,” because the Confession goes on to specify the objects of “predestination” (“until everlasting life”), as it also specifies the objects of “foreordination” (“to everlasting death”).
So “predestination” and “foreordination” aren’t technical terms for “election” and “reprobation” respectively, otherwise it would be unnecessary to clarify their scope by the additional referents. It’s the meaning of the sentence, not the meaning of one verb or another, that distinguishes them.
In principle, the Confession could just as well say “some men and angels are chosen beforehand to enjoy everlasting life while others are chosen beforehand to endure everlasting death–or something along those lines.
Or we could say “some are predetermined to everlasting life while others are predetermined to everlasting death.
In other words, we could use the same verb for both. What distinguishes the two propositions is not the bare choice of the verb, but the stated referents.
Of course, we do have technical terms for both concepts: “election” and “reprobation.”
iv) It’s also important to avoid the word=concept fallacy. There’s a difference between a semantic distinction and a conceptual distinction. The meaning or dictionary of “predestination,” “foreordination,” “election,” and “reprobation” won’t suffice to explain what they have in common or what differentiates one from another.
For instance, Reformed theologians frequently say election and reprobation are “asymmetrical” in some respects. They are said to have different grounds or different modes of execution. Those are not nuances you can pack into a single word. Rather, that requires a detailed explanation. That can also involve us in different theories of causation and/or determinism.