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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? - Vetus Ordo - 12-20-2011

(12-20-2011, 12:14 PM)Melkite Wrote:
(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?

It is possible to interpret "for many" as "for all" and vice-versa that's why the new formula of consecration is not invalid per se.

And Christ died "for all" in a potential sense. His sacrifice is sufficient to wipe out all sins of all men.


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

(12-20-2011, 12:16 PM)Melkite Wrote:
(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.

I believe that "as one lives, one dies." That's the rule, but as in any rule there are exceptions.

It is possible to have faith and then lapse and die in sin but it's also true that we can recognise in someone's life, and in ours, the work of the Holy Spirit and the signs of election. Otherwise St. Peter wouldn't have told us to "labour the more, that by good works you may make sure your calling and election." (2 Peter 1:10)

The path of holiness that the Church calls us all to undergo is nothing more than making our call and election sure. We shouldn't presume salvation but we must also be able to know in our hearts whether we're walking the strait path or not. It's not all an unfathomable mystery or a game of chance. And deep down we all know if we're doing things right or not. In the end it's true that only God knows which are His but we are given a measure to understand and diagnose our own state during the journey of life.


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

(12-20-2011, 11:33 AM)Melkite Wrote: 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.

I apologize in advance of your response for that, that was too harsh if taken to be directed at you personally.  My point was, if God gives the grace to someone to love him and to put his hope in him for salvation, when God has already decided to reprobate him and there is nothing for the man to hope in, the act of allowing one the grace to have a false hope would make God a sadistic monster.


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

(12-20-2011, 03:05 PM)Melkite Wrote:
(12-20-2011, 11:33 AM)Melkite Wrote: 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.

I apologize in advance of your response for that, that was too harsh if taken to be directed at you personally.  My point was, if God gives the grace to someone to love him and to put his hope in him for salvation, when God has already decided to reprobate him and there is nothing for the man to hope in, the act of allowing one the grace to have a false hope would make God a sadistic monster.

God doesn't reprobate a man by causing him to freely sin mortally and be damned.  He reprobates him (eternally permits and punishes) because he does freely sin mortally.  If I'm true friends with another man for a lifetime, but at the end a little unseen wellspring of hate rises up and I murder him, should I not be tried for murder?  A final mortal sin in our life is completely free and is far worse than murder. God doesn't withdraw mercy and hope - as long as we are alive! - we refuse it.


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

(12-20-2011, 04:59 PM)Doce Me Wrote: God doesn't reprobate a man by causing him to freely sin mortally and be damned.  He reprobates him (eternally permits and punishes) because he does freely sin mortally.  If I'm true friends with another man for a lifetime, but at the end a little unseen wellspring of hate rises up and I murder him, should I not be tried for murder?  A final mortal sin in our life is completely free and is far worse than murder. God doesn't withdraw mercy and hope - as long as we are alive! - we refuse it.

Then why is it necessary to believe God has chosen our eternal destiny for us before the beginning of time?  If our final resting place has already been decided for us, then it is futile to try and resist it, and it is a lie to say we had any choice during time in the matter.


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

(12-20-2011, 05:49 PM)Melkite Wrote:
(12-20-2011, 04:59 PM)Doce Me Wrote: God doesn't reprobate a man by causing him to freely sin mortally and be damned.  He reprobates him (eternally permits and punishes) because he does freely sin mortally.  If I'm true friends with another man for a lifetime, but at the end a little unseen wellspring of hate rises up and I murder him, should I not be tried for murder?  A final mortal sin in our life is completely free and is far worse than murder. God doesn't withdraw mercy and hope - as long as we are alive! - we refuse it.

Then why is it necessary to believe God has chosen our eternal destiny for us before the beginning of time?  If our final resting place has already been decided for us, then it is futile to try and resist it, and it is a lie to say we had any choice during time in the matter.

First, because this is what the Church and Scripture teach, as others have said.

But I think the main philosophic/theological reason is that although God DOES NOT cause sin, God DOES cause all goodness.  For HIM all His causing (and permitting)  is from eternity ("in His eternal now"), even though for US it is carried out over time. God is outside of time.  Our destinies,  only as considered by Him in His "eternal now", are fixed - doing good and being permitted to do evil - there is, as it were, a pattern of light and dark, His eternal plan.  What is hardest to see (as I've said before) is that God can cause our goodness but we are causing it too, perfectly freely, over the course of our lives.  We have free will, and our lives are not futile. (God is the "primary cause" but we are the "secondary cause"). God transcends our will and our understanding.

Seems impossible to understand.  But what I understand even less is the idea that there is something good in the world that God does not cause, something that is not subject to His power.  The mystery of free-will and God's absolute sovereignty is at the heart of predestination.  You have to believe both, even though it puts you into the heart of a mystery 

God's ways are not our ways, His eternity is not our time.  He is the cause of causes.  He is the cause of being and goodness  and freedom in the way that we can never be.


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

(12-20-2011, 12:06 PM)Vetus Ordo Wrote:
(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.

Thank you, Vetus.

As for the second point, whatever the meaning of that passage in Scripture, I thought it was de fide that God desired the salvation of all?

The first could work. But I still don't really see how the antecedent wish would become a subsequent choice to the contrary of that wish. It almost seems to denote a change in God?

The truth of the whole matter is, for many of the same reasons Melkite has been arguing, Molinism just seems right to me and the Thomist approach doesn't. I'm only a beginner in this dispute though, and realise the Thomist position is thought stronger by many (though not all). Still, I think I'll have to remain a Molinist until I have time to study it more and be convinced otherwise.

I found this, the first part of which might be of interest (especially to Melkite, perhaps):

http://www.ewtn.com/library/spirit/salespir.txt

It seems St Francis de Sales struggled with this, and came down a Molinist (though remained a Thomist in all other things). I don't feel, based on this, that Melkite and I are in bad company at least.


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

(12-20-2011, 11:33 AM)Melkite Wrote:
(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?

Have a good day, Melkite. Pax tecum.


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

(12-20-2011, 06:38 PM)Martinus Wrote:
(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.

Thank you, Vetus.

As for the second point, whatever the meaning of that passage in Scripture, I thought it was de fide that God desired the salvation of all?
Certainly it is.  I think "God's antecedent wish" refers to His reason for creating at all (to show His love), for giving man intellect and will, for becoming man, for dying for us, and for founding a Church.  None of these were done "only for some". "Before our sin" and "after our sin" has real meaning for God as it does for us -  we can see this because Christ is God and also Man, and desired all to be saved, but only permitted that some should turn away.  I think interpreting "God wills all men to be saved" in this way better shows the horror of sin in opposition to God's all-loving will.

One could object to the words "Thy will be done" as a triviality - of course God's will is done.  One could also object to "God wills all to be saved" as false - of course some are not saved.  But in both case God sometimes permits His (antecedent) will not to be done. 

(12-20-2011, 06:38 PM)Martinus Wrote: The first could work. But I still don't really see how the antecedent wish would become a subsequent choice to the contrary of that wish. It almost seems to denote a change in God?

The difference between "permission" and  "choice" is important.  There is no change in God if He antecedently chooses good but consequently permits evil.  The thing chosen (antecedently) CAN be not done if  God exerts His Divine power of permission.  The choice in this case is absolutely desired but not absolutely carried out.
Note that "antecedent" and "consequent" are in time for us, but all at once for God.  "Permission" isn't a after the fact concession to reality.


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

(12-20-2011, 07:09 PM)INPEFESS Wrote: Have a good day, Melkite. Pax tecum.

Et cum spiritum tuum.