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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? - DrBombay - 12-11-2011

(12-11-2011, 10:57 PM)randomtradguy Wrote:
(12-11-2011, 09:50 PM)DrBombay Wrote:
(12-11-2011, 04:04 PM)randomtradguy Wrote: First of all, S. Thomas disregarded because I don't like him, not because I would disagree with him but because he makes things complicated as shit, man has free will, and I'm pretty sure that the way to reconcile the two is to claim that man actually has free will. It appears that people here are denying free will, only to say yeah but that's not at face value whats happening blah blah blah.
Short version of my claim against this understanding is that Trent canon 4 anathematizes those who say free will is passive to God's.
I submit that some here are Jansenists.
Happy Sunday.

Quoted for truth.  And the fact that you called people here Jansenists.  And the fact that you don't like Thomas and his over complicated shit.
someone agreed with me? Holy shit. Thanks sir/ma'am (didn't look at your gender symbol)

You're welcome.  I'm a sir.  At least, last time I checked I was. 


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - INPEFESS - 12-11-2011

(12-11-2011, 04:04 PM)randomtradguy Wrote: First of all, S. Thomas disregarded because I don't like him

You're admitting your biased right from the start. But if you really want to understand this you would put aside your bias. 

Quote:, not because I would disagree with him but because he makes things complicated as shit

He makes thing complicated or Scripture does? Remember, St. Thomas used only the writings of Scripture to examine this question. Do you think God is just some 'dude' like your or me that we can dissect with microscopes and make empirical observations? We're dealing with things we can't fully understand. There are inevitably going to complications when you consider all the variables. Most of the people who don't understand simply don't take into account all the variables. It's either all free will or all God's will; there is no reconciliation between the two. Both of those perspectives leads to heresies--namely, Pelagianism and Jansenism, respectively.

Your forgetting that while throwing out Thomas you're throwing out Augustine, too. Augustine also acknowledged that there was some complex harmony between God's will and free will, with the former being the primary (instrumental) cause of good and the latter being the secondary (cooperative) cause of good. Thomas based his teachings on Augustine and expounded upon them. Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange shows how Thomas defended St. Augustine's teachings. Remember, also, that the Church has also declared that She has adopted the teachings of St. Augustine concerning grace Her own.

Quote:, man has free will, and I'm pretty sure that the way to reconcile the two is to claim that man actually has free will. It appears that people here are denying free will, only to say yeah but that's not at face value whats happening blah blah blah.
Short version of my claim against this understanding is that Trent canon 4 anathematizes those who say free will is passive to God's.
I submit that some here are Jansenists.
Happy Sunday.

Your complaint here is like those who deny the Trinity: "You say He's One but then you say He's three. Ridiculous." It's impossible to understand, yes, but the point isn't to understand it. The point is to see how both truths complement each other without contradicting each other. We're dealing with a theological mystery here related to God. We simply take the truths we know and try to understand how there is no logical contradiction between them. It may be difficult for us to understand how God is both one and both three at the same time, but don't make the charge that a theologian who tries to explain how there is no logic contradiction here is making things "complicated as shit." St. Paul gives us some principles related to the issue of free will and grace that likewise seem to contradict. Many scholars and theologians have addressed only one dimension at a time, which leads to the aforementioned errors. St. Augustine, St. Thomas, and both of their schools, however, attempted to address all the dimensions of this question at the same time without fear of discovering a reconciliation that might not appease our understanding. What they taught, while considering all the truths given to us from Scripture at the same time, is absolutely otherworldly if you are not content to oversimplify it. No mere man could have invented this. It speaks of a divine origin.

I understand that not fully understanding the reconciliation that these schools advanced can lead to confusion and frustration. But if you're going to charge others with heresy, you first have to be able to understand what they actually believe so that you can do so without damaging your own soul. The study of scholastic theology isn't for everybody, so if you don't like its approach then I recommend not studying it. It's really not worth the frustration in that case.


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Parmandur - 12-11-2011

(12-11-2011, 04:04 PM)randomtradguy Wrote: First of all, S. Thomas disregarded because I don't like him, not because I would disagree with him but because he makes things complicated as shit, man has free will, and I'm pretty sure that the way to reconcile the two is to claim that man actually has free will. It appears that people here are denying free will, only to say yeah but that's not at face value whats happening blah blah blah.
Short version of my claim against this understanding is that Trent canon 4 anathematizes those who say free will is passive to God's.
I submit that some here are Jansenists.
Happy Sunday.

St. Thomas affirmed free will, strongly.


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

(12-10-2011, 08:02 PM)INPEFESS Wrote: I apologize. I was just trying to explain a complex theological teaching that you don't seem to get any other way. I thought an exhaustive step-by-step explanation might suffice to fill in the gaps. But you have tried to reduce the entire explanation to a sentence or two, which completely destroys all of the important theological nuances that makes this understandable.

The entire teaching can be summed-up in the conclusions that follow from the answers to two questions.

[1] Is there any injustice in God taking your life at a point in time when you are (freely) in the state of mortal sin?

Yes or no.

[2] Is there any injustice in God knowing before creating you:
(a) at what point you would be in that state of mortal sin, and
(b) at what point He would take your life?

Yes or no.

If you answered in the negative to both of those questions--that is, that there is no justice in God (a) taking your life at a point in time when you are (freely) in the state of mortal sin, (b) knowing at what point you would be in that state of mortal sin, and © knowing at what point He would take your life--then the entire teaching follows as a conclusion from this. Not to oversimplify it, but the salvation of the elect is primarily the reciprocal of this (with the acknowledgment that God shows His infinite mercy to some of those who don't deserve it, for even they had freely chosen to reject Him at some point in their life).

Please don't respond immediately. Think about this without simply trying to poke holes in it. Meditate upon these three ideas and consider that God has selects some for reprobation, but that all of those who are selected for it have likewise freely chosen it themselves knowing before commission of the sin that death in that state would cause their eternal damnation.

Think of it not only from God's point of view, but from ours. As it concerns reprobation, God selects; we effect. That is, God selects some for reprobation, but our free will puts His selection into effect. This is only possible based on our lack of knowledge of what God has selected. Since we do not know, we must do everything we can to stay in the state of sanctifying grace. This way, we can be absolutely certain that we will not be among the reprobate, for if we never choose to reject Him, then we cannot be among the reprobate. And if we fall into the state of mortal sin, it is absolutely necessary that we get to confession as soon as possible and beg for perfect contrition in the meantime. "[God] will not refuse one who is so blithe to go to Him" (Last words of St. Thomas More). 

I'm not sure the lack of injustice in your suppositions necessitates predestination.  Looking at it from what I think God's view would be, if I can see a person's entire life in one moment, then seeing them make their own choices for or against me wouldn't mean I had chosen to elect them based on that but in a sense that would seem like predestination to them.  But, I think someone mentioned earlier that that is a heresy, that a person is predestined because of God seeing their future actions in advance.

It kind of doesn't matter any more.  I talked to a few people at my church today (the further I went in the week the more I felt like I wasn't supposed to and/or didn't want to go to an Orthodox church), one of whom is a former Calvinist.  They said more or less what you are saying, it is both/and in a mysterious way we just can never understand.  But we really do have free will.  And they choose not to think about it beyond that.  They also pointed out that the idea that having free will on our part play into our salvation as an offense against the sovereignty of God is not Catholic but actually Islamic.  So whether we go to heaven or hell is truly our choice and it is our choice freely made by us, and in some way it is also God's doing that we can't understand.  So, I'm ok with the rest, I'm staying Catholic, it's enough for me to know that the way Vetus and Walty are presenting it is not Catholic teaching.  Whether they are just not explaining it well or are actually wrong I'll leave up to them.  This topic is too emotional for me.  I'm checking out of it.  So I'll leave it at this.  I am staying Catholic, and I accept that somehow God plays a part in choosing our salvation in a way that does not in any way take our freedom of choice away, and it is in a way I can never understand.  And I neither can nor want to understand, ever.


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

Saying Thomas used Augustinian thorough doesn't help. I never got the impression that Augustine's opinion was the church's.
FWIW, though I'm not orthodox, the orthodox have the same opinion as me on this matter, and they barely consider S. Augustine a Father!
I'm only frustrated because I feel I have a correct (*a* correct) and orthodox (old sense of the word) understanding of this, and that it's not pelagian, yet it's being called pelagian. It's not a mystery to me, like y'all are saying. which is why I'm bowing out with Melkite, since I'll probably be accused of 'holierthanthouism' since I said that.


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

And finally, Thomas could prove that the Trinity made sense, and I agree with him on the ontological arguments for God's existence. But I don't hold him to that high esteem as others. His same logic made him deny the Immaculate Conception. So if were gonna pick and choose from Thomas, I feel I can too. He can prove the Trinity but yet convolutes this very discussion years after his life.
Thanks for the discussion Pax vobiscum


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

(12-12-2011, 01:21 AM)randomtradguy Wrote: And finally, Thomas could prove that the Trinity made sense

Yes, he did. Understanding it is quite a mystery, but he proved that there was no metaphysical contradiction involved in the doctrine.

Quote:His same logic made him deny the Immaculate Conception.

That is not nearly as clear as you make it sound. He didn't think it was probable; he never said it would be impossible.

Quote: So if were gonna pick and choose from Thomas, I feel I can too.

Not everything is about picking and choosing. Some things the Church has decided definitively; some things She has not. She has stated that Augustine's teachings on grace are Her own. I wouldn't dismiss them so lightly as mere "opinion." If you go there, then you might as well dismiss Scripture as mere opinion, too.
Quote:Thanks for the discussion Pax vobiscum

Pax tecum.


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

Saying that Augustine's opinion is the Church's is vague since it's commonly accepted that he wrote a lot and changed his mind on things towards the end of his life. Which council proclaimed that and which part of his writings were the ones that it accepted as truth? Im sure it's easily found online but I'm not near a computer


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

(12-12-2011, 02:28 AM)randomtradguy Wrote: Saying that Augustine's opinion is the Church's is vague since it's commonly accepted that he wrote a lot and changed his mind on things towards the end of his life. Which council proclaimed that and which part of his writings were the ones that it accepted as truth? Im sure it's easily found online but I'm not near a computer

Sure, here is what I had in mind:
Pope Pius XI, Ad Salutem Wrote:2. The praise of Augustine has never ceased to be proclaimed in the Church of God, even by the Roman Pontiffs. While the holy Bishop was yet alive, Innocent I greeted him as a beloved friend[1] and extolled the letter which he had received from the Saint and from four Bishops, his friends: "A letter instinct with faith and staunch with all the vigor of the Catholic religion."[2] Shortly after the death of Augustine, Celestine I defends him against his opponents in the following noble words: "We have ever deemed Augustine a man to be remembered for his sanctity, because of his life and services in our communion, nor has rumor at any time darkened his name with the suspicion of evil. So great was his knowledge, as we recall, that he was always reckoned by my predecessors also among our foremost teachers. All alike, therefore, thought highly of him as a man held in affection and honor by all."[3]

3. Gelasius I hailed Jerome and Augustine as "luminaries among ecclesiastical teachers."[4] Hormisdas wrote in answer to Bishop Possessor's request for direction these weighty words: "What the Roman, that is, the Catholic Church follows and maintains touching free will and the grace of God, can be learned from the different works of blessed Augustine, those especially which he addressed to Hilary and Prosper, though the formal chapters are contained in the ecclesiastical records."[5] A like testimony was uttered by John II, when in refutation of heretics he appealed to the works of Augustine: "Whose teaching," he said, "according to the enactments of my predecessors, the Roman Church follows and maintains."[6]

4. Can anyone be unaware how thoroughly familiar with the doctrine of Augustine were the Roman Pontiffs, during the ages that followed close upon his death, as Leo the Great, for example, and Gregory the Great? Thus Saint Gregory, thinking as highly of Augustine as he thought humbly of himself, wrote to Innocentius, prefect of Africa: "If you wish to feast on choice food, read the works of blessed Augustine, your fellowcountryman. His writings are as fine wheat. Seek not for our bran."[7] It is well known that Adrian I was in the habit of quoting passages from Augustine, whom he styled "an eminent doctor."[8] Again, Clement VIII, to throw light on the obscure features of abstruse debates, and Pius VI, in his Apostolic Constitution "Auctorem fidei," to unmask the evasions of the condemned Synod of Pistoia, availed themselves of the support of Augustine's authority.

5. It is a further tribute to the glory of the Bishop of Hippo, that more than once the Fathers in lawful Councils assembled, made use of his very words in defining Catholic truth. In illustration it is enough to cite the Second Council of Orange and the Council of Trent. Yet again, to cast a backward glance at the years of Our own youth, We wish at this point to recall and delightedly to ponder the words in which Our predecessor of immortal memory Leo XIII, after mentioning writers earlier than Augustine, lauded the help afforded by him to Christian philosophy: "But it is Augustine who seems to have borne off the palm from all. Of towering genius and thoroughly versed in sacred and profane knowledge, he waged relentless war on all the errors of his age with matchless faith and equal learning. What part of philosophy did he have untouched? Nay rather into what part did he not make thorough search as when he unfolded to the Faithful the deepest mysteries of the Faith or defended them against the mad attacks of foes; or again when, brushing away the false theories of Academics and Manicheans, he laid a sure and solid foundation for human knowledge, or studied in detail the nature and source and causes of the evils which harass mankind?"[9]

6. Now before penetrating deeper into the study We have set Ourselves, We would note, for the benefit of all, that the lavish praises bestowed on our Saint by the writers of antiquity are to be understood in a proper sense, and not—as some, who do not share the Catholic sense, have thought—as though the weight of Augustine's word were to be set ahead of the very authority of the teaching Church.
 
So note that the pope says St. Augustine's teachings don't replace the teaching authority of the Church; rather, he says that that very teaching authority confirms St. Augstine's teachings on grace and free will.

Here can be found St. Augstine's teachings on the relationship between free will and grace.

Remember, also, the words of St. Paul to the Romans (please take note of what St. Paul is saying as well as the commentary in italics):
Romans 9 Wrote:[11] For when the children were not yet born, nor had done any good or evil (that the purpose of God, according to election, might stand,) [12] Not of works, but of him that calleth, it was said to her: The elder shall serve the younger. [13] As it is written: Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated. [14] What shall we say then? Is there injustice with God? God forbid. [15] For he saith to Moses: I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy; and I will shew mercy to whom I will shew mercy.

[11] Not yet born: By this example of these twins, and the preference of the younger to the elder, the drift of the apostle is, to shew that God, in his election, mercy and grace, is not tied to any particular nation, as the Jews imagined; nor to any prerogative of birth, or any forgoing merits. For as, antecedently to his grace, he sees no merits in any, but finds all involved in sin, in the common mass of condemnation; and all children of wrath: there is no one whom he might not justly leave in that mass; so that whomsoever he delivers from it, he delivers in his mercy: and whomsoever he leaves in it, he leaves in his justice. As when, of two equally criminal, the king is pleased out of pure mercy to pardon one, whilst he suffers justice to take place in the execution of the other.

[16] So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. [17] For the scripture saith to Pharao: To this purpose have I raised thee, that I may shew my power in thee, and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth. [18] Therefore he hath mercy on whom he will; and whom he will, he hardeneth. [19] Thou wilt say therefore to me: Why doth he then find fault? for who resisteth his will? [20] O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it: Why hast thou made me thus?

[16] Not of him that willeth: That is, by any power or strength of his own, abstracting from the grace of God.

[17] To this purpose: Not that God made him on purpose that he should sin, and so be damned; but foreseeing his obstinacy in sin, and the abuse of his own free will, he raised him up to be a mighty king, to make a more remarkable example of him: and that his power might be better known, and his justice in punishing him, published throughout the earth.

[18] He hardeneth: Not by being the cause or author of his sin, but by withholding his grace, and so leaving him in his sin, in punishment of his past demerits.

[21] Or hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump, to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? [22] What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath, fitted for destruction, [23] That he might shew the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he hath prepared unto glory? [24] Even us, whom also he hath called, nor only of the Jews, but also of the Gentiles. [25] As in Osee he saith: I will call that which was not my people, my people; and her that was not beloved, beloved; and her that had not obtained mercy, one that hath obtained mercy.

I invite you to take Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange's words to heart and ponder them with humility. We all must submit our intellects before the mystery of God and His ways.
Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., Christian Perfection and Contemplation According to St. Thomas Aquinas and St. John of the Cross Wrote:St. Thomas, following St. Augustine and opposing Pelagian or semi-Pelagian naturalism, grasped the depth and the height of our Lord's words: "Without Me you can do nothing," [1] and of St. Paul's words: "For it is God Who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to His good will." [2] "For who distinguisheth thee? Or what hast thou that thou hast not received?" [3] In the work of salvation we cannot distinguish any part that is exclusively ours; all comes from God, even our free co-operation, which efficacious grace gently and mightily stirs up in us and confirms.

This grace, which is always followed by its effect, is refused to us, as we said, only if we resist the Divine, auxilium praeveniens, sufficient grace, in which the efficacious help is already offered us, as fruit is in the flower. If we destroy the flower, we shall never see the fruit, which the influence of the sun and of the nourishment of the earth would have produced. Now man is sufficient to himself to fall; drawn from nothingness, he is by nature defectible. He is sufficiently assisted by God so that he falls only through his own fault, which thus deprives him of a new help. This is the great mystery of grace. We have elsewhere explained what St. Thomas and his best disciples teach about this mystery. [4]

With him and St. Augustine we must submit our intelligence before this Divine obscurity, and as Bossuet says, "confess these two graces (sufficient and efficacious), one of which leaves the will without excuse before God, and the other does not permit the will to glory in itself." [5] Is this not in conformity with what our conscience tells us? According to this doctrine, all that is good in us, naturally or supernaturally, has its origin in the Author of all good. Sin alone cannot come from Him, and the Lord allows it to happen only because He is sufficiently powerful and good to draw from it a greater good, the manifestation of His mercy or justice.



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

From what I understand, Augustine says we have a will, but not a free will. In ch. 31 he switches from the phrase free will to good will, the good will being God's will. And then implies God can convert anyone. Not in the good way, as in noone is out of God's mercy, but rather, God overrides free will to save man because man is always bad. So before we receive grace we receive a free will. After, we receive God's will, and we become robots of God.
Indeed, Calvinists should love Augustine.