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Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Printable Version

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Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Parmandur - 12-09-2011

(12-09-2011, 02:05 AM)Walty Wrote: One cannot accept sufficient grace without having first been elected by God, making that person incapable of choosing anything but efficacious grace.

Um, yes, but everyone receives sufficient grace.  From the Catholic Encyclopedia http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06689x.htm:

"The Catholic idea of sufficient grace is obtained by the distinction of a twofold element in every actual grace, its intrinsic energy (potestas agendi, vis) and its extrinsic efficiency (efficientia). Under the former aspect there exists between sufficient and efficacious grace, both considered in actu primo, no real, but only a logical, distinction; for sufficient grace also confers full power for action, but is condemned to unfruitfulness owing to the free resistance of the will. If, on the contrary, extrinsic efficiency be considered, it is evident that the will either co-operates freely or not . If it refuses its co-operation, even the strongest grace remains a merely sufficient one (gratia mere sufficiens) although by nature it would have been completely sufficient (gratia vere sufficiens) and with good will could have been efficacious. This ecclesiastical conception of the nature of sufficient grace, to which the Catholic systems of grace must invariably conform themselves, is nothing else but a reproduction of the teaching of the Bible. To cite only one text (Proverbs 1:24), the calling and the stretching-out of the hand of God certainly signifies the complete sufficiency of grace, just as the obstinate refusal of the sinner "to regard", is tantamount to the free rejection of the proffered hand. Augustine is in complete agreement with the constant tradition on this point, and Jansenists have vainly claimed him as one of their own. We have an example of his teaching in the following text: "Gratia Dei est quae hominum adjuvat voluntates; qua ut non adjuventur, in ipsis itidem causa est, non in Deo" ("It is the grace of God that helps the wills of men; and when they are not helped by it, the reason is in themselves, not in God." — Of Sin and Merit II.17). On the Greek Fathers see Isaac Habert, Theologia Graecor. Patrum, II, 6 sq. (Paris, 1646)."


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Parmandur - 12-09-2011

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles, Book III, Chapter 159 Wrote:we ought to consider that, although one may neither merit in advance nor call forth divine grace by a movement of his free choice, he is able to prevent himself from receiving this grace: Indeed, it is said in Job(21:34): “Who have said to God: Depart from us, we desire not the knowledge of Your ways”; and in Job (24:13): “They have been rebellious to the light.” And since this ability to impede or not to impede the reception of divine grace is within the scope of free choice, not undeservedly is responsibility for the fault imputed to him who offers an impediment to the reception of grace. In fact, as far as He is concerned, God is ready to give grace to all; “indeed He wills all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth,” as is said in 1 Timothy (2:4).But those alone are deprived of grace who offer an obstacle within themselves to grace; just as, while the sun is shining on the world, the man who keeps his eyes closed is held responsible for his fault, if as a result some evil follows, even though he could not see unless he were provided in advance with light from the sun.

http://dhspriory.org/thomas/ContraGentiles3b.htm#159


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - James02 - 12-09-2011

Quote: and which papal statement defined it as infallible teaching?
There is some confusion over Orange because there were two councils.  The first is not infallible.  Walty is quoting the second infallible Council, confirmed by Bonaface II.


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Melkite - 12-09-2011

(12-09-2011, 02:05 AM)Walty Wrote: One cannot accept sufficient grace without having first been elected by God, making that person incapable of choosing anything but efficacious grace.

So, ultimately, you do deny free will then?

Also, you gave canons from the council of orange, but where is it commanded that I have to accept them?  Where has the Pope or an ecumenical council declared them to be mandatory for the faith?


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Melkite - 12-09-2011

(12-09-2011, 06:21 AM)James02 Wrote:
Quote: and which papal statement defined it as infallible teaching?
There is some confusion over Orange because there were two councils.  The first is not infallible.  Walty is quoting the second infallible Council, confirmed by Bonaface II.

Could you show where he cofirmed it as binding Catholic doctrine?


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - James02 - 12-09-2011

New Advent


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - James02 - 12-09-2011

Quote: So, ultimately, you do deny free will then?

Certainly not.  The demons have free will, do you deny this?  We are a FALLEN RACE.  Denial of this fact has led to the overemphasis on the Dignity of Man, and Vat. II.  Fr. Feeney saw it coming.

When you sin, you choose to sin.  When you do good, you are cooperating with the Grace of God, and that is only possible because the Lord gave you the Grace  to cooperate.  Without this Grace, you will choose evil.  Let us pity the demon next, they evidently weren't given enough Grace.

We most certainly have free will, and we are a FALLEN RACE.


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - James02 - 12-09-2011

One more point Melkite.  How you explain the sins of the elect?  Even the elect freely choose to sin, and reject God's grace, going so far as mortal sin, killing even Sanctifying Grace.

It only make sense when you accept that we are a FALLEN RACE.  Then the system of Grace will make sense.  A FALLEN RACE can not bear the sight of the Beatific Vision, which is why the demons willingly flee to hell.  So how can a FALLEN RACE bear the Beatific Vision?  Follow that line of questioning and you arrive at Orange.


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Melkite - 12-09-2011

Walty (and anyone else that wants to chime in),

From what you quoted from the Council of Orange, I can see two possible interpretations from it.  One, that God initiates the desire in a person to come to faith and to be saved, but ultimately the choice remains with him.  So, God gives everyone sufficient grace, and with that, the person is free to choose salvation or to reject it.  God inspires and encourages us to make the right choice, but at each step of the way, we are free to choose or reject it.

Or two, everything that leads one to salvation is solely chosen by God, so that if God either chooses to save you or doesn't, there's nothing you can do about it either way.  God gives everyone sufficient grace, and some he chooses to elect, so every step of the way, you make the right choice if you are elect and you make the wrong choice if you aren't, because either God has given you the efficacious grace to choose rightly, which is practically irresistible, although theoretically, abstractly, resistable, or God doesn't give you efficacious grace and you are incapable of choosing right.

You seem to be of the opinion that the latter is the correct interpretation.  Do you recognize and validity in the former interpretation, and if not, why?

Given the latter interpretation, here is my understanding of your position.  Please let me know if I'm understanding it correctly or if I'm mistaken at any point.

Because of our fallen nature, everyone starts off condemned to hell.  God gives everyone sufficient grace to choose him, so anyone who doesn't, is solely responsible for not choosing to follow God.  However, God is sovereign, so nothing can be chosen unless he wills it.  Solely by his choice, without consideration to what one might do with the graces he may or may not give them, he chooses to elect some to salvation.  To those he elects, he gives efficacious grace, which causes his sovereign will to not be frustrated, in that those he elects will not resist his grace and so will be saved.  Those he does not elect, do not receive efficacious grace, so the sufficient grace they do receive bears no fruit, because God hasn't elected them to salvation.  Because God's will is sovereign, those God elects will not refuse him, and those he does not elect will not choose him.  Those who are elect merely won't resist him, ever, even though they theoretically could, and those who aren't elect are incapable of choosing him, ever.

Do I understand your position accurately?  If I do, then personally, I think it is, frankly, a cop out to say that God elects some to salvation, and others not, and that anyone who is not elect is incapable of choosing God and salvation, and yet are solely responsible for their damnation.  If one can only be saved if God elects you to it, and there is no other option for one who is not elect but hell, then by not electing you to salvation, God effectively elects you to damnation.  Thomism in fact does teach double predestination, despite its sophistry to the contrary.

James, I'm a little confused by the new advent site you posted.  Is it expressing that it is Catholic doctrine that even being loved by God is only available to those whom he elects?

Walty, if my understanding of your position is correct, do you then believe that Molinism is incompatible with the Catholic faith?  Since the canons of the 2nd council of Orange are infallible, is it your understanding that the Thomist view on this issue is settled Catholic doctrine, and that no other variation can rightly be considered Catholic?  Is there any available wiggle room on this, or is it so thoroughly settled that no other variation is compatible with the Catholic faith?  Does rejecting the Thomist view necessarily separate one from the Catholic Church on this issue?


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Walty - 12-09-2011

Melkite, the idea that man's reception or rejection of God's grace lies with the man, that it is he who makes the final decision and not God, is the heresy of Semipelagianism.  It has been condemned by the Church on numerous occasions.

I believe that Molinism and Thomism can both be validly held by Catholics as neither have been declared as dogma, but, in looking at dogma and Scripture, Thomism seems to obviously be the right choice, in my opinion.  I wouldn't say that one has cut themselves off from the Church for disagreeing, however.