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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? - INPEFESS - 12-19-2011

(12-18-2011, 08:47 AM)Melkite Wrote:
(12-18-2011, 06:04 AM)INPEFESS Wrote:
(12-17-2011, 05:24 PM)Melkite Wrote: One's status as predestined or reprobate remains unrevealed to man; it is only known by God, correct?

Correct. Perhaps cases can be found where certain persons might have been practically assured of their salvation (i.e. St. Paul, who was taken up to "Third Heaven"), but this is unusual, and even then, I don't think anyone can be absolutely certain.

...

Please let me know if you understand why St. Thomas (and the Thomistic school in general) rejected Molina's approach. It is very important to understand as a starting point why Molina's approach doesn't work because it helps to understand why Thomas' approach does. For one (and you should like this part), Thomas' approach leaves much more mystery intact than Molina's because Molina's approach makes the entire process mechanical: You decide with your own will whether you are going to accept or reject grace (regardless of what God wants) and then God, using His omniscience, mechanically adjusts all the circumstances in your life in advance to see to it that you end up going where He wills you to go (either Heaven or Hell).

Which aspect of the Thomistic approach (not how you interpret it at the moment) do you find most difficult to understand?--the predestination of the elect (by seeing to it that they are saved), the reconciliation of sufficient and efficacious grace as they play out God's will, or the predestination of the reprobrate as an act of His permissive will?

All three of those must be understood so as to fully understand this teaching. You must also understand free will: what it is, what its limitations are, what it was designed to accomplish, and, most importantly, why it is a necessary faculty in order for anyone to either receive a reward or receive a punishment.

If everything you described in this post is why Aquinas rejected Molina's approach, then yes I understand the rejection.  I think all three points of the Thomist approach are nearly equally difficult for me to understand, but the worst is predestination of the reprobate.  I don't understand how someone can be predestined to reprobation but it be said that they still have free will in all their actions.  I understand that the person has free will and is guilty in themselves to choose to sin each time they commit an actual sin, and it is just for them to go to hell for that.  But, what if each time they choose, they choose not to sin?  So, hypothetically, a man could exist who is guilty of no personal sin, but yet still be predestined to reprobation.  He would be condemned to hell before he was even born for doing nothing wrong, and God predestined him with prior knowledge of how he would live his life, so he's going to hell for nothing and there is nothing he can do otherwise.  Even if that never actually happens, the fact that hypothetically could happen shows the system to be unjust. 

Well, yes, if that were the case, it most certainly would be unjust. In fact, what you just described is the heresy of Calvinism, which proposes an unconditional reprobation like you just described.

But Catholic predestination assures us that what you described would never happen. God would never predestine a man to Hell who would never sin, and there are two reasons for this. The first reason is that such a man could only attribute a spotless existence to the direct intervention of God, Who would have seen to it that he remained free of sin by giving him special graces to coax his free will. It wouldn't make any sense for God to use His grace to directly intervene to preserve someone free from sin and then damn them anyway. Not only would it not be just, but it also wouldn't make any sense. The second reason is that those who are predestined to Hell are not arbitrarily or unconditionally damned, like Calvin taught. The reprobate are predestined by God's foreknowledge of their own future (mortal) sins. The only way that such a soul could be damned is if God, foreseeing the man's rejection of grace and commission of a mortal sin, would choose to take the man's life while he was in that state. If that were the case, then God, Who had planned the moment of the man's death from all eternity (knowing at what time the man would be freely in the state of mortal sin), could be said to have predestined the man to reprobation, because it is God's choice to either allow him to live in that state or allow him to die in that state; but the man's actual damnation would have been effected by himself when he knowingly, willingly, and (probably) even rejected God's friendship. This is why I said earlier that it is God Who selects (or predestines), but it is we who put His selection into effect by our own free rejection of Him when we commit a mortal sin. We can't be numbered among the reprobate if we aren't in the state of mortal sin when we die.

Quote:The next most difficult is the predestination of the elect, and it's mostly difficult for me in relation to the predestination of the reprobate.  It still seems unjust to decide for someone that they are elect, because in some way at least it removes the choice from them, so they don't really choose to follow God, they have been robotically moved to choose.  Although, given the human inclination to self-gratification, understandably, anyone who finds themself in the state of election isn't going to complain too loudly about the injustice of their lot.

This is an understandable criticism. But this passage from St. Paul should be kept it mind; it is the principle foundation of the Thomistic understanding of this teaching:
Romans 9 Wrote:[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?

Here, we see that God expresses His goodness in two ways: justice and mercy. God chooses to express His justice via the predestition of the reprobate (explained above) and His mercy via the predestination of the elect. So when we're talking about the elect, we're not really talking about justice vs. injustice; for, indeed, it would not be just for any of us to receive Heaven as a reward at all. We all deserve Hell, for which of us has not chosen mortal sin at some point in our lives? It wasn't justice that stayed the hand of God from killing us then; it was His mercy. And thank God for it! Thus, when God elects a man to salvation it is not so much an expression of justice so much as it is an expression of mercy. How it is merciful for God to save the elect without contradicting justice is more an issue with the reconciliability of justice and mercy than it is with the doctrine of predestination.

Hence, the confusion here really isn't in how the predestination of the elect is just; rather, the confusion is how infinite mercy and infinite justice can exist side by side without contradicting each other. The perfect example of this, of course, is the Sacrifice of Calvary. It is a mystery, indeed, but not a contradiction.

But, like I also said in my last post, I think a proper understanding of free will helps greatly. You said that it still seems unjust to decide for someone that they are elect, but how could God be said to be omnipotent if it were completely up to man? If it were completely up to man, then it would be man who is the ultimate cause of his salvation; God would be but a proximate cause. God would merely offer man choices and man would pick and choose as though he were . . . God. So just remember: in the same way that the predestination of the reprobate is effected via their own cooperation through sin, the predestination of the elect is effected via their own cooperation through grace.

Quote:And then finally, the sufficient-efficacious synergy.  Why bother even giving someone sufficient grace if you're not going to give them efficacious grace?

Well, why bother giving anyone any gift for that matter if there's a good reason to think they are going to waste it, abuse it, or not use it at all? The point is that God's decision to provide efficacious grace is based in part on the soul's responsiveness to sufficient grace. See my last post to Doce Me in which I tried to explain this responsiveness.

Quote:  If it is like the farmer and the rain analogy I used before, then it makes sense, but I assume the thomist would reject that because it makes God's choice dependant on the will of man, even if not initially.  So if my analogy doesn't work, then it seems God is only giving them sufficient grace to make himself not guilty for a person going to hell, because they actually chose in all their actions, yet they never could have gone to heaven anyway because they didn't receive efficacious grace.  Just as a muscle or a tendon can be the same component part but have a different name depending upon which part of the body it is traversing, I'm not sure there is any real difference between sufficient and efficacious grace, but at any rate it seems a waste to give someone any grace at all if you know beforehand that you have chosen this person will not receive the goal that all of this grace is ordered toward.

Well, considering that we are talking about the reprobate here, it is a matter of justice. God must, as a matter of justice, give everyone the sufficient means of salvation and the genuine opportunity to save their souls. Hence, He offers this grace to everyone (including those He knows will reject it) for the sake of justice. No-one who goes to Hell can say, "Your predestination left me without a choice," because God would reply, "I provided you with the genuine opportunity to save your soul by giving you all of the graces you needed to accomplish this, but your free will rejected them." The reprobate might respond, "But you had predestined me to Hell from the beginning!" But then God would respond, "I chose only the time of your death. It was you who freely chose to be in the state of mortal sin when that time came."

Quote:Now, if it is correct that only God knows one's election status, then that means nothing we can see or know here on earth can be conclusive proof of God's election or reprobation.  So even if someone loves God with all their heart and all their soul and all their mind, this can't prove election because then it would be infallibly known, and that's not possible, other than the rare hypothetical circumstance you mentioned.  So someone could truly love God with all their heart, soul and mind, but still actually be reprobate, correct?

No, that is not correct. We can never know if someone loves God with all their heart, mind, and soul. Only that person and God would know that. We can only base our opinions on what we can see, which isn't always accurate. There are many who seem very holy who are actually ravenous wolves, and vice versa.

Quote:  And no one could effect that true love for God on their own, it is only by the grace of God that they are capable of loving him, correct?

Correct.


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Melkite - 12-19-2011

(12-19-2011, 01:33 AM)INPEFESS Wrote: Well, yes, if that were the case, it most certainly would be unjust. In fact, what you just described is the heresy of Calvinism, which proposes an unconditional reprobation like you just described.

But Catholic predestination assures us that what you described would never happen. God would never predestine a man to Hell who would never sin, and there are two reasons for this. The first reason is that such a man could only attribute a spotless existence to the direct intervention of God, Who would have seen to it that he remained free of sin by giving him special graces to coax his free will. It wouldn't make any sense for God to use His grace to directly intervene to preserve someone free from sin and then damn them anyway. Not only would it not be just, but it also wouldn't make any sense. The second reason is that those who are predestined to Hell are not arbitrarily or unconditionally damned, like Calvin taught. The reprobate are predestined by God's foreknowledge of their own future (mortal) sins. The only way that such a soul could be damned is if God, foreseeing the man's rejection of grace and commission of a mortal sin, would choose to take the man's life while he was in that state. If that were the case, then God, Who had planned the moment of the man's death from all eternity (knowing at what time the man would be freely in the state of mortal sin), could be said to have predestined the man to reprobation, because it is God's choice to either allow him to live in that state or allow him to die in that state; but the man's actual damnation would have been effected by himself when he knowingly, willingly, and (probably) even rejected God's friendship. This is why I said earlier that it is God Who selects (or predestines), but it is we who put His selection into effect by our own free rejection of Him when we commit a mortal sin. We can't be numbered among the reprobate if we aren't in the state of mortal sin when we die.

If that is not the Catholic view of predestination, then how can a Catholic believe in predestination at all?  If the man does not choose not to sin on his own but because of God's grace, because he could not not sin on his own, then his action of not sinning is not his but God's.  So there is no free will on the man's part there.  But if he chooses to sin, and is solely guilty of choosing to sin, then his reprobation is freely chosen on his part, and the sovereignty of God is removed in that God is not choosing the man's own destination for him.  Either God chooses to send someone to hell, and God is responsible, or man chooses to send him self to hell, is responsible, and God's will is potentially overridden by that of the man.  The only way one can believe in divinely predestined reprobation is the Calvinist view, then, which, if you admit is a heresy, is a problem for you.

Quote:Here, we see that God expresses His goodness in two ways: justice and mercy. God chooses to express His justice via the predestition of the reprobate (explained above) and His mercy via the predestination of the elect. So when we're talking about the elect, we're not really talking about justice vs. injustice; for, indeed, it would not be just for any of us to receive Heaven as a reward at all. We all deserve Hell, for which of us has not chosen mortal sin at some point in our lives? It wasn't justice that stayed the hand of God from killing us then; it was His mercy. And thank God for it! Thus, when God elects a man to salvation it is not so much an expression of justice so much as it is an expression of mercy. How it is merciful for God to save the elect without contradicting justice is more an issue with the reconciliability of justice and mercy than it is with the doctrine of predestination.

Hence, the confusion here really isn't in how the predestination of the elect is just; rather, the confusion is how infinite mercy and infinite justice can exist side by side without contradicting each other. The perfect example of this, of course, is the Sacrifice of Calvary. It is a mystery, indeed, but not a contradiction.

So that's where your contradiction lies then.  God shows his goodness to some in his mercy, and to others in his justice.  But to those he is showing mercy, he is not showing his justice, or else they too would be condemned to hell.  If God is showing his goodness to some in his mercy, and it is not bad for him to not show them his justice, why does he need to show his justice at all?  He would be just as good to show all his mercy.  It is a false construct to say that a good, just God must show his justice to some in order to be truly good, because if his goodness does not necessitate him showing his justice but rather his mercy to some, he can be just as good by showing his mercy and no justice to all.  I keep thinking about reading somewhere that the blood spilt in Christ's circumcision alone was sufficient to save all mankind.  Why then did he not merely submit to circumcision, but the whole passion and crucifixion, if he knew beforehand he had no intention of saving, by electing, the vast majority of people?  The crucifixion is completely unneccessary if predestination the way you understand it is true.  Because the crucifixion goes above and beyond what is neccessary, but it shows Christ's desire to be merciful to all, not merely to some.

Quote:But, like I also said in my last post, I think a proper understanding of free will helps greatly. You said that it still seems unjust to decide for someone that they are elect, but how could God be said to be omnipotent if it were completely up to man? If it were completely up to man, then it would be man who is the ultimate cause of his salvation; God would be but a proximate cause. God would merely offer man choices and man would pick and choose as though he were . . . God. So just remember: in the same way that the predestination of the reprobate is effected via their own cooperation through sin, the predestination of the elect is effected via their own cooperation through grace.

But no one ever said it was completely up to man.  God lets down the rope, we choose to grab hold.  We can't grab hold of the rope if God doesn't let it down.  But God doesn't have to force us to grab it to preserve his omnipotence.  This is why I suggested believing he does have to is a sign of an immature faith.

Quote:No, that is not correct. We can never know if someone loves God with all their heart, mind, and soul. Only that person and God would know that. We can only base our opinions on what we can see, which isn't always accurate. There are many who seem very holy who are actually ravenous wolves, and vice versa.

I was thinking more from personal perspective.  So, if someone truly loves God, they must be elect then?  Is it possible for someone to truly believe they love God, but not actually love him and so not be elect?


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - INPEFESS - 12-19-2011

(12-19-2011, 11:00 AM)Melkite Wrote:
(12-19-2011, 01:33 AM)INPEFESS Wrote: Well, yes, if that were the case, it most certainly would be unjust. In fact, what you just described is the heresy of Calvinism, which proposes an unconditional reprobation like you just described.

But Catholic predestination assures us that what you described would never happen. God would never predestine a man to Hell who would never sin, and there are two reasons for this. The first reason is that such a man could only attribute a spotless existence to the direct intervention of God, Who would have seen to it that he remained free of sin by giving him special graces to coax his free will. It wouldn't make any sense for God to use His grace to directly intervene to preserve someone free from sin and then damn them anyway. Not only would it not be just, but it also wouldn't make any sense. The second reason is that those who are predestined to Hell are not arbitrarily or unconditionally damned, like Calvin taught. The reprobate are predestined by God's foreknowledge of their own future (mortal) sins. The only way that such a soul could be damned is if God, foreseeing the man's rejection of grace and commission of a mortal sin, would choose to take the man's life while he was in that state. If that were the case, then God, Who had planned the moment of the man's death from all eternity (knowing at what time the man would be freely in the state of mortal sin), could be said to have predestined the man to reprobation, because it is God's choice to either allow him to live in that state or allow him to die in that state; but the man's actual damnation would have been effected by himself when he knowingly, willingly, and (probably) even rejected God's friendship. This is why I said earlier that it is God Who selects (or predestines), but it is we who put His selection into effect by our own free rejection of Him when we commit a mortal sin. We can't be numbered among the reprobate if we aren't in the state of mortal sin when we die.

If that is not the Catholic view of predestination, then how can a Catholic believe in predestination at all?  If the man does not choose not to sin on his own but because of God's grace, because he could not not sin on his own, then his action of not sinning is not his but God's.  So there is no free will on the man's part there.  But if he chooses to sin, and is solely guilty of choosing to sin, then his reprobation is freely chosen on his part, and the sovereignty of God is removed in that God is not choosing the man's own destination for him.  Either God chooses to send someone to hell, and God is responsible, or man chooses to send him self to hell, is responsible, and God's will is potentially overridden by that of the man.  The only way one can believe in divinely predestined reprobation is the Calvinist view, then, which, if you admit is a heresy, is a problem for you.

Quote:Here, we see that God expresses His goodness in two ways: justice and mercy. God chooses to express His justice via the predestition of the reprobate (explained above) and His mercy via the predestination of the elect. So when we're talking about the elect, we're not really talking about justice vs. injustice; for, indeed, it would not be just for any of us to receive Heaven as a reward at all. We all deserve Hell, for which of us has not chosen mortal sin at some point in our lives? It wasn't justice that stayed the hand of God from killing us then; it was His mercy. And thank God for it! Thus, when God elects a man to salvation it is not so much an expression of justice so much as it is an expression of mercy. How it is merciful for God to save the elect without contradicting justice is more an issue with the reconciliability of justice and mercy than it is with the doctrine of predestination.

Hence, the confusion here really isn't in how the predestination of the elect is just; rather, the confusion is how infinite mercy and infinite justice can exist side by side without contradicting each other. The perfect example of this, of course, is the Sacrifice of Calvary. It is a mystery, indeed, but not a contradiction.

So that's where your contradiction lies then.  God shows his goodness to some in his mercy, and to others in his justice.  But to those he is showing mercy, he is not showing his justice, or else they too would be condemned to hell.  If God is showing his goodness to some in his mercy, and it is not bad for him to not show them his justice, why does he need to show his justice at all?  He would be just as good to show all his mercy.  It is a false construct to say that a good, just God must show his justice to some in order to be truly good, because if his goodness does not necessitate him showing his justice but rather his mercy to some, he can be just as good by showing his mercy and no justice to all.  I keep thinking about reading somewhere that the blood spilt in Christ's circumcision alone was sufficient to save all mankind.  Why then did he not merely submit to circumcision, but the whole passion and crucifixion, if he knew beforehand he had no intention of saving, by electing, the vast majority of people?  The crucifixion is completely unneccessary if predestination the way you understand it is true.  Because the crucifixion goes above and beyond what is neccessary, but it shows Christ's desire to be merciful to all, not merely to some.

Quote:But, like I also said in my last post, I think a proper understanding of free will helps greatly. You said that it still seems unjust to decide for someone that they are elect, but how could God be said to be omnipotent if it were completely up to man? If it were completely up to man, then it would be man who is the ultimate cause of his salvation; God would be but a proximate cause. God would merely offer man choices and man would pick and choose as though he were . . . God. So just remember: in the same way that the predestination of the reprobate is effected via their own cooperation through sin, the predestination of the elect is effected via their own cooperation through grace.

But no one ever said it was completely up to man.  God lets down the rope, we choose to grab hold.  We can't grab hold of the rope if God doesn't let it down.  But God doesn't have to force us to grab it to preserve his omnipotence.  This is why I suggested believing he does have to is a sign of an immature faith.

Quote:No, that is not correct. We can never know if someone loves God with all their heart, mind, and soul. Only that person and God would know that. We can only base our opinions on what we can see, which isn't always accurate. There are many who seem very holy who are actually ravenous wolves, and vice versa.

I was thinking more from personal perspective.  So, if someone truly loves God, they must be elect then?  Is it possible for someone to truly believe they love God, but not actually love him and so not be elect?

Thank you for your reply. I will respond tonight if I get a chance.


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Martinus - 12-19-2011

I feel a bit like I'm butting in to the middle of someone else's discussion here, so please respond to Melkite first and only to me if you have time after.

I have trouble with this, too. Not with many of the things that have been brought out in this discussion (for example I don't find it unjust for God to save whom he pleases). I know none of us deserve salvation. I completely 'get' that.

My problem is this: I don't understand how the following three points can be reconciled:

1. God desires the salvation of all men

2. God could save all men by granting them efficient (rather than just sufficient) grace

3. God chooses not to save all men by granting them efficient grace

Now I know He doesn't have to save us all. He could save none of us and still be perfectly just. But, based purely on His desire and not any merit of ours, why doesn't He?


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - INPEFESS - 12-19-2011

(12-19-2011, 11:00 AM)Melkite Wrote:
(12-19-2011, 01:33 AM)INPEFESS Wrote: Well, yes, if that were the case, it most certainly would be unjust. In fact, what you just described is the heresy of Calvinism, which proposes an unconditional reprobation like you just described.

But Catholic predestination assures us that what you described would never happen. God would never predestine a man to Hell who would never sin, and there are two reasons for this. The first reason is that such a man could only attribute a spotless existence to the direct intervention of God, Who would have seen to it that he remained free of sin by giving him special graces to coax his free will. It wouldn't make any sense for God to use His grace to directly intervene to preserve someone free from sin and then damn them anyway. Not only would it not be just, but it also wouldn't make any sense. The second reason is that those who are predestined to Hell are not arbitrarily or unconditionally damned, like Calvin taught. The reprobate are predestined by God's foreknowledge of their own future (mortal) sins. The only way that such a soul could be damned is if God, foreseeing the man's rejection of grace and commission of a mortal sin, would choose to take the man's life while he was in that state. If that were the case, then God, Who had planned the moment of the man's death from all eternity (knowing at what time the man would be freely in the state of mortal sin), could be said to have predestined the man to reprobation, because it is God's choice to either allow him to live in that state or allow him to die in that state; but the man's actual damnation would have been effected by himself when he knowingly, willingly, and (probably) even rejected God's friendship. This is why I said earlier that it is God Who selects (or predestines), but it is we who put His selection into effect by our own free rejection of Him when we commit a mortal sin. We can't be numbered among the reprobate if we aren't in the state of mortal sin when we die.

If that is not the Catholic view of predestination, then how can a Catholic believe in predestination at all?

???

That is Catholic predestination, as I said.
INP Wrote:But Catholic predestination assures us that what you described would never happen. [...]

Quote:  If the man does not choose not to sin on his own but because of God's grace, because he could not not sin on his own, then his action of not sinning is not his but God's.

Right.

Quote:  So there is no free will on the man's part there.

Wrong. That is the false dichotomy that results from failing to understand the relationship between sufficient and efficacious grace. There is free will, but the accomplishing of the act is due to God, not to man. Nevertheless, man's free will actively chooses to cooperate via a correspondence with God's grace.
Philippians 2 Wrote:For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will.

Please see my last post to Doce Me where I attempted to explain (via my understanding of Augustine and Thomas as put forth in the explanations provided by Fr. Reginald) this duel function of God's grace and how it works.

Quote:  But if he chooses to sin, and is solely guilty of choosing to sin, then his reprobation is freely chosen on his part, and the sovereignty of God is removed in that God is not choosing the man's own destination for him.

No. That is a false conclusion. I am giving you the correct principles but you are reaching the wrong conclusions with them. I explained this earlier. The man's destination is chosen for him by God, but the man's arrival at that destiny is the result of his own choice.

Quote:  Either God chooses to send someone to hell, and God is responsible, or man chooses to send him self to hell, is responsible, and God's will is potentially overridden by that of the man.

Again, not so. There are two factors involved: God's choice and man's choice. God selects; man effects God's selection with his own free will.

You have to consider both factors at the same time. The juxtaposition of both of those realities is impossible for our minds to fully grasp, but therein lies the mystery of the doctrine as presented in the writings of Scripture itself. If you consider only one factor at once, you will arrive at an erroneous conclusion.

Quote:
Quote:Here, we see that God expresses His goodness in two ways: justice and mercy. God chooses to express His justice via the predestition of the reprobate (explained above) and His mercy via the predestination of the elect. So when we're talking about the elect, we're not really talking about justice vs. injustice; for, indeed, it would not be just for any of us to receive Heaven as a reward at all. We all deserve Hell, for which of us has not chosen mortal sin at some point in our lives? It wasn't justice that stayed the hand of God from killing us then; it was His mercy. And thank God for it! Thus, when God elects a man to salvation it is not so much an expression of justice so much as it is an expression of mercy. How it is merciful for God to save the elect without contradicting justice is more an issue with the reconciliability of justice and mercy than it is with the doctrine of predestination.

Hence, the confusion here really isn't in how the predestination of the elect is just; rather, the confusion is how infinite mercy and infinite justice can exist side by side without contradicting each other. The perfect example of this, of course, is the Sacrifice of Calvary. It is a mystery, indeed, but not a contradiction.

So that's where your contradiction lies then.  God shows his goodness to some in his mercy, and to others in his justice.  But to those he is showing mercy, he is not showing his justice, or else they too would be condemned to hell.  If God is showing his goodness to some in his mercy, and it is not bad for him to not show them his justice

That last part is a false premise, so it reaches a false conclusion. I never said that it is not good for God to not to show someone His justice (express His goodness via justice). I said that His goodness is revealed in two ways. It is another false conclusion to say that because He chooses to do x he couldn't have done y. While He chooses to reveal His goodness to some in the form of mercy, that doesn't mean that it contradicts His infinite justice. Why? Because of man's free cooperation with God's mercy. That is why we have free will in the first place, so that man's "meriting" of a reward does not violate justice. Even the sight of the Beatific Vision by the angels required that they cooperate with God in order to receive it. So the fine distinction that must be acknowledged is that while God chooses to show His goodness in the form of mercy to some, that does not mean that it is a violation of justice. Justice is still satisfied because a person must still freely cooperate with God's grace. (It would be contrary to justice were God to literally force a person in spite of their lack of free cooperation [via the influences of grace].)

Quote:...why does he need to show his justice at all?  He would be just as good to show all his mercy.  It is a false construct to say that a good, just God must show his justice to some in order to be truly good, because if his goodness does not necessitate him showing his justice but rather his mercy to some, he can be just as good by showing his mercy and no justice to all.

No, because goodness is composed of two elements: justice and mercy. This means that in goodness requires that both justice and mercy be satisfied. If only one is expressed, then the other is a non-existence, which represents a privation of good. Both need to be present in order for good to be expressed. Since God has chosen to express His goodness through us, it requires that He show both His infinite justice and His infinite mercy. Without either of these, God would only be showing partial goodness, which is (dare I say) impossible (it is a logical contradiction) for an infinitely good God.

Quote:  I keep thinking about reading somewhere that the blood spilt in Christ's circumcision alone was sufficient to save all mankind.  Why then did he not merely submit to circumcision, but the whole passion and crucifixion, if he knew beforehand he had no intention of saving, by electing, the vast majority of people?  The crucifixion is completely unneccessary if predestination the way you understand it is true.  Because the crucifixion goes above and beyond what is neccessary, but it shows Christ's desire to be merciful to all, not merely to some.

Because it would not be just. Please see above. God's spilling of His blood is both an expression of justice and mercy, as Scripture says. On the Cross, justice and mercy kissed. Christ's blood both satisfied Divine Justice and expressed God's infinite mercy at the same time. But there would be no justice if all were saved. This was even true of the angels before us: not all were saved. This was an expression of Divine Justice.

Quote:
Quote:But, like I also said in my last post, I think a proper understanding of free will helps greatly. You said that it still seems unjust to decide for someone that they are elect, but how could God be said to be omnipotent if it were completely up to man? If it were completely up to man, then it would be man who is the ultimate cause of his salvation; God would be but a proximate cause. God would merely offer man choices and man would pick and choose as though he were . . . God. So just remember: in the same way that the predestination of the reprobate is effected via their own cooperation through sin, the predestination of the elect is effected via their own cooperation through grace.

But no one ever said it was completely up to man.  God lets down the rope, we choose to grab hold.

No, you're going to be the very beginning all over again. That makes man the cause of His salvation, because it was man--not God--who chose to grab the rope. This is the problem that the Molinistic theology creates: man saves himself via his own choice and God is helpless to do anything but arrange everything around man's omnipotent will. Unfortunately, the rope analogy is far too simplistic to represent the truths that Scripture puts forward concerning predestination. Not only does it eliminate the mystery of salvation, but also, there are simply too many variables at work here for it to capture them all. Like I said ealier, we have no perfect analogies for this because there are no perfect analogies for any mystery.

Quote:
Quote:No, that is not correct. We can never know if someone loves God with all their heart, mind, and soul. Only that person and God would know that. We can only base our opinions on what we can see, which isn't always accurate. There are many who seem very holy who are actually ravenous wolves, and vice versa.

I was thinking more from personal perspective.  So, if someone truly loves God, they must be elect then?

Absolutely not. Just because a person loves God does not mean that person is assured of their own salvation. Remember, if your loving God is caused by God in the first place, then the only One to Whom your love of God can be attributed is Him. Love of God is a free gift. (NOTE: Don't use this as a new premise; use this as an expression of all the explanations I have provided thus far. In other words, don't start here to devise a new argument against Catholic predestination. Understand that last sentence as an expression of the principles it is assumed you understand thus far, given the forward progress of this present discussion). So, God could permit such a person to reject Him at any moment. Hence, a person cannot know if he is elect until after He is dead and meets God face to face. Perfect love for God is a free gift from God, so if God withdraws His supernatural aid, a person could easily succumb to temptation and reject God even at the last moment. God could easily permit this for a variety of reasons. For example, remember the martyr who, after having been laid out on ice to freeze to death, jumped back up and plunged himself into the hot water tub. He died instantly. It is never too late to reject God; nor is it ever too late to accept Him.

Quote:  Is it possible for someone to truly believe they love God, but not actually love him and so not be elect?

Loving God is but a moment in time. Election depends on the state in which death finds you. That is why it is absolutely essential that we spend our entire lives living in the state of grace like saints and fleeing even venial sin, the commission of which brings us closer and closer to the commission of mortal sins. That way we can be sure that whenever death finds us, we will not be lost.

But it must also be kept in mind at the same time that just because you're living in the state of grace isn't a sign that you're going to be elect. You could fall from grace at any moment and then die. And the moment of your death has already been established by God from all eternity. So, from our perspective, we are always potentially reprobate and potentially elect at the same time.


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Melkite - 12-20-2011

(12-19-2011, 11:54 PM)INPEFESS Wrote: Wrong. That is the false dichotomy that results from failing to understand the relationship between sufficient and efficacious grace. There is free will, but the accomplishing of the act is due to God, not to man. Nevertheless, man's free will actively chooses to cooperate via a correspondence with God's grace.

I think the false dichotomy is the difference between sufficient and efficacious grace itself. 

Quote:No. That is a false conclusion. I am giving you the correct principles but you are reaching the wrong conclusions with them. I explained this earlier. The man's destination is chosen for him by God, but the man's arrival at that destiny is the result of his own choice.

Impossible.  That is completely contrary to reason.  Man's destination cannot be chosen by God unless God also chose the arrival to that destination.  If I choose someone else is destined to live in Florida, they won't arrive at that destination unless I choose to pick up and move them there.

Quote: Again, not so. There are two factors involved: God's choice and man's choice. God selects; man effects God's selection with his own free will. 
You have to consider both factors at the same time. The juxtaposition of both of those realities is impossible for our minds to fully grasp, but therein lies the mystery of the doctrine as presented in the writings of Scripture itself. If you consider only one factor at once, you will arrive at an erroneous conclusion.

I know you're trying, but at this point it sounds as if you're not really countering my argument, but merely disagreeing with it.  It is plainly irrational to consider both factors at the same time.

Quote:(It would be contrary to justice were God to literally force a person in spite of their lack of free cooperation [via the influences of grace].)

Stop and think about how irrational that is.  Despite a person's lack of free cooperation, via the influences of grace, God does not force their hand.  Then how are they not freely cooperating if they're not being forced?

Quote:No, because goodness is composed of two elements: justice and mercy. This means that in goodness requires that both justice and mercy be satisfied. If only one is expressed, then the other is a non-existence, which represents a privation of good. Both need to be present in order for good to be expressed. Since God has chosen to express His goodness through us, it requires that He show both His infinite justice and His infinite mercy. Without either of these, God would only be showing partial goodness, which is (dare I say) impossible (it is a logical contradiction) for an infinitely good God.

Who on earth came up with that?  First, who determined that only justice and mercy, and those particular two, are required for goodness, and both must be present?  And second, the base argument for predestination is that God doesn't owe mercy to anyone.  So he doesn't owe anyone mercy, yet he can't be good unless he shows mercy to at least one?  The inconsistencies in this doctrine are just falling out of the woodwork now.

Quote:Because it would not be just. Please see above. God's spilling of His blood is both an expression of justice and mercy, as Scripture says. On the Cross, justice and mercy kissed. Christ's blood both satisfied Divine Justice and expressed God's infinite mercy at the same time. But there would be no justice if all were saved. This was even true of the angels before us: not all were saved. This was an expression of Divine Justice.

Absolutely rediculous, unneccesary and, I suspect, constructed to support the foundational flaw in the doctrine.  There would be no justice if all were saved?  If it is unjust to show mercy to all, then it is unjust to show mercy to one.  That God must show justice, but only to some so that justice is preserved, and arbitrarily chooses to whom he will show justice and to whom he will spare justice by showing him mercy is irrational and, in that irrationality, frankly, Islamic. 

Quote:Absolutely not. Just because a person loves God does not mean that person is assured of their own salvation. Remember, if your loving God is caused by God in the first place, then the only One to Whom your love of God can be attributed is Him. Love of God is a free gift. (NOTE: Don't use this as a new premise; use this as an expression of all the explanations I have provided thus far. In other words, don't start here to devise a new argument against Catholic predestination. Understand that last sentence as an expression of the principles it is assumed you understand thus far, given the forward progress of this present discussion). So, God could permit such a person to reject Him at any moment. Hence, a person cannot know if he is elect until after He is dead and meets God face to face. Perfect love for God is a free gift from God, so if God withdraws His supernatural aid, a person could easily succumb to temptation and reject God even at the last moment. God could easily permit this for a variety of reasons. For example, remember the martyr who, after having been laid out on ice to freeze to death, jumped back up and plunged himself into the hot water tub. He died instantly. It is never too late to reject God; nor is it ever too late to accept Him.

Ok, so basically what I was getting at with this line of questions was if one can't know their election status, but God can give someone who is unelect the grace to truly love him, and may only remove that grace a second or two before death, this means someone could spend their life truly loving God and praying to be spared hell, spending their whole life hoping in God out of love for Him to be saved, but because he is unelect, he will never receive it and his hope and love was in vain.  In other words, you don't worship a god, you worship a sadistic monster.

Quote:Loving God is but a moment in time. Election depends on the state in which death finds you. That is why it is absolutely essential that we spend our entire lives living in the state of grace like saints and fleeing even venial sin, the commission of which brings us closer and closer to the commission of mortal sins. That way we can be sure that whenever death finds us, we will not be lost.

But it must also be kept in mind at the same time that just because you're living in the state of grace isn't a sign that you're going to be elect. You could fall from grace at any moment and then die. And the moment of your death has already been established by God from all eternity. So, from our perspective, we are always potentially reprobate and potentially elect at the same time.

So, God, who is outside of time, elects someone or not based on how they die, but ignores perhaps a lifetime of devoted love that they couldn't even do on their own, but only because God gave them the grace?  Tell me again why God would allow someone to love and serve him for a life time if he knew in the end he had chosen to reprobate that person?


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Vetus Ordo - 12-20-2011

A reprobate doesn't spend an entire lifetime of devotion to God. You're setting up a false scenario.

If nothing else, an entire lifetime of faithfulness to God is a sure sign of election.


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Vetus Ordo - 12-20-2011

(12-19-2011, 09:36 PM)Martinus Wrote: My problem is this: I don't understand how the following three points can be reconciled:

1. God desires the salvation of all men

2. God could save all men by granting them efficient (rather than just sufficient) grace

3. God chooses not to save all men by granting them efficient grace

Now I know He doesn't have to save us all. He could save none of us and still be perfectly just. But, based purely on His desire and not any merit of ours, why doesn't He?

Antecedently God wishes all men to be saved but subsequently He chooses to reprobate some for their foreseen sins. This is one way to understand it.

Another way is simply to interpret that passage from Timothy as God wishing "all men" to be saved as in "all manners of men" (white, black, yellow, red, tall, short, rich, poor, etc.) to be saved, as St. Augustine interpreted it, not literally all men that exist and ever existed.


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Melkite - 12-20-2011

(12-20-2011, 12:06 PM)Vetus Ordo Wrote: Antecedently God wishes all men to be saved but subsequently He chooses to reprobate some for their foreseen sins. This is one way to understand it.

Another way is simply to interpret that passage from Timothy as God wishing "all men" to be saved as in "all manners of men" (white, black, yellow, red, tall, short, rich, poor, etc.) to be saved, as St. Augustine interpreted it, not literally all men that exist and ever existed.

I don't mean to go off on a tangent, perhaps I should start a new thread for this, but if it is ok to interpret all men as all manners of men, why is it not okay to interpret  for many as for all?


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Melkite - 12-20-2011

(12-20-2011, 12:01 PM)Vetus Ordo Wrote: A reprobate doesn't spend an entire lifetime of devotion to God. You're setting up a false scenario.

If nothing else, an entire lifetime of faithfulness to God is a sure sign of election.

Well, I hope it is a false scenario, but if I'm understanding INPEFESS correctly, it is possible for someone to be devoted to God all their life, but God predestines or reprobates based on their state at the end of life, so it is possible to be devoted to God for most of your life but still be reprobate.