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Full Version: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others?
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I know that Faith, Hope, and Charity are all gifts from God that are given to us with baptism and through the other sacraments (provided we are properly disposed), but why do some people receive these gifts and others don't? Nothing we do can earn any of the theological virtues, right? They're completely gratuitous gifts from God. I sometimes wonder why I, raised without any religion, have now been given this gift when I know many other people who were raised in the Church, baptised, prayed, sent to catechism, and yet don't have this gift. There are even people who have had the benefit of being raised in solid traditional families who end up lapsing once they move out of the family home. If anything, looking at it from a purely naturalistic view, they should be the religious ones and not me. So my question is why do some people receive the gift of Faith and others don't? Does God offer the gift of Faith to all people and some choose to reject it? Or does he only offer it to a few? If the latter then it seems God was being a lot more generous one hundred years ago.

I would be interested in hearing any thoughts you guys have on this question.
Everyone is offered the grace of God, but not everyone will accept it. 

We're not Calvinists and don't believe that God only offers his grace to a select few. 
(11-30-2011, 12:50 AM)Someone1776 Wrote: [ -> ]Everyone is offered the grace of God, but not everyone will accept it. 

We're not Calvinists and don't believe that God only offers his grace to a select few. 

But doesn't the act of the will that causes man to accept the gift of Faith itself require an actual grace from God? Why do so many people today choose to reject it compared to the past?
(11-30-2011, 12:52 AM)Aragon Wrote: [ -> ]
(11-30-2011, 12:50 AM)Someone1776 Wrote: [ -> ]Everyone is offered the grace of God, but not everyone will accept it. 

We're not Calvinists and don't believe that God only offers his grace to a select few. 

But doesn't the act of the will that causes man to accept the gift of Faith itself require an actual grace from God? Why do so many people today choose to reject it compared to the past?

God knows before hand what choice we will make, but we can't deny free will.  How this is compatible is a mystery of the faith. 

And we don't know, other than the saints, who was saved in the past. 
(11-30-2011, 12:56 AM)Someone1776 Wrote: [ -> ]
(11-30-2011, 12:52 AM)Aragon Wrote: [ -> ]But doesn't the act of the will that causes man to accept the gift of Faith itself require an actual grace from God? Why do so many people today choose to reject it compared to the past?

God knows before hand what choice we will make, but we can't deny free will.  How this is compatible is a mystery of the faith. 

And we don't know, other than the saints, who was saved in the past. 

Many of the early saints said that the majority were rejecting God and weren't going to be saved either.

ex:
[quote]
What do you think? How many of the inhabitants of this city may perhaps be saved? What I am about to tell you is very terrible, yet I will not conceal it from you. Out of this thickly populated city with its thousands of inhabitants not one hundred people will be saved. I even doubt whether there will be as many as that!
-St. John Chrysostom

Out of one hundred thousand sinners who continue in sin until death, scarcely one will be saved.
-St. Jerome
(11-30-2011, 12:50 AM)Someone1776 Wrote: [ -> ]Everyone is offered the grace of God, but not everyone will accept it. 

We're not Calvinists and don't believe that God only offers his grace to a select few. 

Well, actually...


In short, Thomas tells us that it's a mystery which finds reason only in the divine will.  No man comes to God without God moving him via grace.  Election comes from God alone, ultimately for His own reasons, unknowable to us.  The Second Council of Orange addresses this in further detail.
(11-30-2011, 06:10 AM)Walty Wrote: [ -> ]
(11-30-2011, 12:50 AM)Someone1776 Wrote: [ -> ]Everyone is offered the grace of God, but not everyone will accept it. 

We're not Calvinists and don't believe that God only offers his grace to a select few. 

Well, actually...


In short, Thomas tells us that it's a mystery which finds reason only in the divine will.  No man comes to God without God moving him via grace.  Election comes from God alone, ultimately for His own reasons, unknowable to us.  The Second Council of Orange addresses this in further detail.

Do you know the reference for where Thomas talks about this?
It's the Prima Pars, Question 23, roughly Articles 1-8.

You can find them here: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1023.htm

Also, for an introductory commentary on Thomas' view on predestination, I highly recommend this short passage from Garrigou-Lagrange's book Reality: A Synthesis of Thomistic Thought:
http://www.thesumma.info/reality/reality12.php




I think it's obvious enough that God prompts, compels or moves some individuals towards conversion, at least in some slight way. Whether others experience this kind of compulsion but chose to reject it, I don't know - I can't see the interior life of any other person. In any case however I do think that some individuals are 'called' to be saints in this life. God has always picked out individuals to do his work, on a seemingly arbitrary basis. We may as well ask, 'Why Abraham?' 'Why Moses?' 'Why Mary?' 'Why James, John, and the others of the Twelve Disciples?"

But really, I can't think of any satisfying explanation for this question, and I've never seen a satisfying answer from any theologian. I think it just has to be left as a mystery of faith which is not for human's to understand.

This is one of the few areas in which I find St Thomas Aquinas' theological explanation to be really, really unsatisfying. I can't help but think 'how ridiculous' when I read the following:

Book I, 23; a3.

"God loves all men and all creatures, inasmuch as He wishes them all some good; but He does not wish every good to them all. So far, therefore, as He does not wish this particular good--namely, eternal life--He is said to hate or reprobated them."

Seriously, what? That's basically saying, "God loves all men, but he doesn't want all of them to be saved, so he actually hates some men."
(11-30-2011, 07:31 AM)Raskolnikov Wrote: [ -> ]Seriously, what? That's basically saying, "God loves all men, but he doesn't want all of them to be saved, so he actually hates some men."


Considerations of reprobation are a theological question and not for everyone. Delving into theology without a purpose is curiosity.

Summa Theologica Wrote:Lust and gluttony are about pleasures arising from the use of objects of touch, whereas curiosity is about pleasures arising from the knowledge acquired through all the senses. According to Augustine (Confess. x, 35) "it is called concupiscence of the eyes" because "the sight is the sense chiefly used for obtaining knowledge, so that all sensible things are said to be seen," and as he says further on: "By this it may more evidently be discerned wherein pleasure and wherein curiosity is the object of the senses; for pleasure seeketh objects beautiful, melodious, fragrant, savory, soft; but curiosity, for trial's sake, seeketh even the contraries of these, not for the sake of suffering annoyance, but out of the lust of experiment and knowledge."


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