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

+- FishEaters Traditional Catholic Forums (https://www.fisheaters.com/forums)
+-- Forum: Archives (https://www.fisheaters.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?fid=6)
+--- Forum: Theology and Philosophy (https://www.fisheaters.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?fid=13)
+--- Thread: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? (/showthread.php?tid=51141)

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35


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

(12-20-2011, 06:33 PM)Doce Me Wrote: 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.

Oh, ok, I think I get it now.  From God's perspective, in eternity, our destiny is set because he sees it outside of time.  From our perspective, inside time, we set our own destiny by the choices we make.  So it is proper to speak of redestination when trying to explain it from the only way we can understand God's perspective, but from our perspective it is completely acceptable to reject predestination when speaking in terms of our perspective, and choosing solely our free choice.  I can accept that easily :)  and this would show why Calvinistic predestination is an error, because it's attempting to apply predestination to our perspective where it doesn't belong.


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Doce Me - 12-21-2011

(12-20-2011, 09:26 PM)Melkite Wrote:
(12-20-2011, 06:33 PM)Doce Me Wrote: 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.

Oh, ok, I think I get it now.  From God's perspective, in eternity, our destiny is set because he sees it outside of time.  From our perspective, inside time, we set our own destiny by the choices we make.  So it is proper to speak of redestination when trying to explain it from the only way we can understand God's perspective, but from our perspective it is completely acceptable to reject predestination when speaking in terms of our perspective, and choosing solely our free choice.  I can accept that easily :)  and this would show why Calvinistic predestination is an error, because it's attempting to apply predestination to our perspective where it doesn't belong.

Be careful not to forget that God causes our goodness in our time, even if He is not Himself in our time.  (There is no glass wall behind which He watches us) He doesn't just see us moving freely, He causes it - although He moves our will only as a Creator can move His own creature, without breaking the power within it, without making it less free. He makes our will a secondary cause, but He remains the primary cause all along. .

This all pervasive working of God's goodness is real but not "easy" to understand or (at least at first) to accept. But it is surely something that needs to be accepted even in "our perspective"!  That doesn't mean it always need to be explicit in our minds.  Of course not, we must do good day to day just as we would if we had never heard of these things. We can't fathom the workings of God's mind.

Accepting predestination and in particular God's causing even our good willing helps me better understand many passages from the Church, scripture, and saints.  We truly can do nothing good without God - this is not a pious exaggeration  Here are some passages from scripture (or from the Council of Orange).
"Scripture" Wrote:What have you, that you have not received? [I Cor. 4:7]
By the grace of God I am that, which I am. [I Cor. 15:10]
Without me you can do nothing [John 15:5]
Our sufficiency is from God [II Cor. 3:5]
No one has anything, except as it has been given him from above. [John 3:27]

"From the Council of Orange" Wrote:[III. Predestination] According to the Catholic faith we believe this also, that after grace has been received through baptism, all the baptized with the help and cooperation of Christ can and ought to fulfill what pertains to the salvation of the soul, if they will labor faithfully. [b]We not only do not believe that some have been truly predestined to evil [to sin - my comment] by divine power, but also with every execration we pronounce anathema upon those, if there are [any such], who wish to believe so great an evil[/b]. This, too, we profess and believe unto salvation, that in every good work we do not begin, and afterwards are helped by the mercy of God, but He Himself, with no preceding good services [on our part], previously inspires us with faith and love of Him, so that we may both faithfully seek the sacraments of baptism, and after baptism with His help be able to perform those [acts] which are pleasing to Him. So very clearly we should believe that the faith-so admirable-both of that famous thief, whom the Lord restored to his native land of paradise [Luke 23:43], and of Cornelius the centurion, to whom the angel of the Lord was sent [ Acts 10:3], and of Zacheus, who deserved to receive the Lord Himself [Luke 19:6], was not from nature, but a gift of God's bounty.



Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Melkite - 12-21-2011

(12-21-2011, 12:51 AM)Doce Me Wrote: Be careful not to forget that God causes our goodness in our time, even if He is not Himself in our time.  (There is no glass wall behind which He watches us) He doesn't just see us moving freely, He causes it - although He moves our will only as a Creator can move His own creature, without breaking the power within it, without making it less free. He makes our will a secondary cause, but He remains the primary cause all along. .

Then we are but puppets.

(12-21-2011, 12:51 AM)Doce Me Wrote:
"Scripture" Wrote:What have you, that you have not received? [I Cor. 4:7]
By the grace of God I am that, which I am. [I Cor. 15:10]
Without me you can do nothing [John 15:5]
Our sufficiency is from God [II Cor. 3:5]
No one has anything, except as it has been given him from above. [John 3:27]

1 Corinthians 4 is talking about the things that we have come from God, that there all of our possessions and the skills and traits we have have ultimately been given to us by God. 
1 Corinthians 15 is talking about why St. Paul was brought to be an apostle and the he is unworthy of it, but by God's grace he is where he is.
In John 15, Jesus is explaining that all good things come through him, and that we cannot do anything good without him, just like a branch cannot receive sap if it is not connected to the vine.
2 Corinthians 3 merely talks about how God sustains us.
In John 3, John the Baptist is explaining to his disciples why he should not be upset that Jesus seems to be poaching his converts.

None of the verses you have quoted have anything inherently to do with predestination in the context in which they were written.  They have to be ripped out of context in order to use them as proof texts for predestination.


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Martinus - 12-21-2011

(12-20-2011, 09:15 PM)Doce Me Wrote:
(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.

Okay, that makes sense to me. And certainly there's no contradiction between wishing good and permitting evil.

If, however, God wishes the salvation of all but doesn't accomplish it in some (even though he could have), I think there must be a reason for that beyond just his good pleasure (otherwise I fail to see how his good pleasure wouldn't correspond to his wish that all be saved). That's why the Molinist idea of foreseen merits and demerits makes sense to me. I know there are problems with that, too. But there are always problems and a level of mystery in this, it seems.


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Vetus Ordo - 12-21-2011

(12-21-2011, 09:30 AM)Melkite Wrote: None of the verses you have quoted have anything inherently to do with predestination in the context in which they were written.  They have to be ripped out of context in order to use them as proof texts for predestination.

That's not really true.

Still, you haven't tackled the clear scriptural passages that lay down the doctrine of predestination.


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Melkite - 12-21-2011

(12-21-2011, 01:40 PM)Vetus Ordo Wrote:
(12-21-2011, 09:30 AM)Melkite Wrote: None of the verses you have quoted have anything inherently to do with predestination in the context in which they were written.  They have to be ripped out of context in order to use them as proof texts for predestination.

That's not really true.

Still, you haven't tackled the clear scriptural passages that lay down the doctrine of predestination.

If you give me a list of the verses you have quoted previously, I'll do the same thing.  I have no problem saying I can't see any other interpretation if I can't.

And, sure it's true.  None of those verses that Doce Me quoted have anything to do with predestination in the context of the whole passage.


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Vetus Ordo - 12-21-2011

How many times have I brought up Romans 9, Melkite? Are you kidding me? This has been done ad nauseam.

And what about Romans 8, a chapter earlier?

Romans 8:29-30 Wrote:"For whom he foreknew, he also predestinated to be made conformable to the image of his Son; that he might be the firstborn amongst many brethren. And whom he predestinated, them he also called. And whom he called, them he also justified. And whom he justified, them he also glorified."

Can it get any clearer than this?

Philippians 2:13 Wrote:"For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will."

God is the primary cause, both of the interior acts of the will (“to will”) and of the exterior acts of our other powers (“to accomplish”). Apart from Him we "can do nothing." (John 15:5)

Predestination is a de fide doctrine, as I have shown you before. Try also Matthew 25:34, John 1:12-13, John 10:27-29, Acts 13:48 and Ephesians 1:4-15.


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Doce Me - 12-21-2011

(12-21-2011, 12:08 PM)Martinus Wrote:
(12-20-2011, 09:15 PM)Doce Me Wrote:
(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.

Okay, that makes sense to me. And certainly there's no contradiction between wishing good and permitting evil.

If, however, God wishes the salvation of all but doesn't accomplish it in some (even though he could have), I think there must be a reason for that beyond just his good pleasure (otherwise I fail to see how his good pleasure wouldn't correspond to his wish that all be saved). That's why the Molinist idea of foreseen merits and demerits makes sense to me. I know there are problems with that, too. But there are always problems and a level of mystery in this, it seems.

If God doesn't accomplish salvation in some the positive reason is their own foreseen sin, not His good pleasure.  The mystery is why He (according to His good pleasure) permits some to die in their sin, and brings others to conversion.  There is nothing unjust there; the thought that  "it just isn't fair" doesn't really make sense.  There is still a mystery, but can't we leave that to God, who works all things to good?

You're right, you can't get rid of the mystery, even if you are the greatest theologian.  The temptation is to deny one half of the mystery in order to more clearly support the other - e.g. free will and the absolute sovereignty of God.  I am no theologian (obviously) but from what little I know I think Thomism is most satisfactory in accepting both sides of the mystery. The Molinist idea (as far as I understand) makes God's power arrange things to conform to man's will (as foreseen) - man takes the lead instead of God.



Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - JoniCath - 12-21-2011

(12-06-2011, 09:39 PM)randomtradguy Wrote: I've read a strange ten pages today. Apparently, to the Catholic Church, God doesn't love everybody. Why pray for my non Catholic friends? Why ask for grace at all? God will give it to whomever the f**k he wants, it our opinion doesn't matter. I agree with Melkite, I'll leave the Church if any answer ends in "God doesn't love that person, that's why."

I always thought of it like this: God doesn't let things happen because He wants good to come out of bad, He lets bad things happen because if He stops it He would be taking away our free will or our own sovereignty. So, I feel that God gives all sufficient grace, to be saved, but the efficacious grace (is that the one called 'actual grace' vs saving grace in Sunday school?) He gives to whomever, different talents, etc. So S. Benedict could have been born a kick ass Catholic. but some guy in the last pew in the back of the Church who has no religious talents will still go to heaven, because He tried hardest.

I know the following will sound like I'm denying the sovereignty of God but hear me out. I think that salvation is a co-op between God and man. God gives you grace, but it is resistible, so that in the end, you can choose to live in grace or not--so really, according to this, it can sound like God isn't sovereign. But really, all it means is that God loves you and isn't going to make you do anything.

Ask, and you shall receive. Jesus said that. I feel that all who ask for grace will get it, and if not, this religion sucks.



[size=10pt]I've been a Catholic all of my life &, as I too have read these pages & think that they sound very Calvinist, I'll share with you the Catholic teachings on predestination:


The Catholic Church, following St. Augustine (e.g., Grace and Free Will, 1,1; Sermon 169, 11,13), [size=10pt]accepts predestination of the elect to heaven, but also affirms the freedom of the human will, thus staking out a position distinct from Calvinism. Predestination to hell, in Catholicism, always involves man's free will, and foreseen sins, so that man is ultimately responsible for his own damnation, not God (double predestination is rejected).
The Catholic Church affirms predestination as a de fide dogma (the highest level of binding theological certainty), while at the same time affirming free will and the possibility of falling away from the faith. But, there is no official teaching on how exactly this comes into play. There are numerous theological schools of thought on the matter, the two major ones being the Thomists and the Molinists. I tend to subscribe to the former. The latter is closer to the Arminian position.

Any theological position on election, however, must conform with the Church's soteriological teachings. Molinism, Thomism, and Arminianism all conform, Calvinism does not. To conform, your theology must accept the following:

1) Free will; that is, God allows people to choose him, and allows them to reject them. People always have the option. Thus election, if you believe it, must be an act of persuasion and not compulsion.

2) Co-operation; it is necessary for salvation for a man to cooperate with God's grace. Man must continuously allow God's grace to work in him. If at any point a man prevents this, he falls from grace.

3) Jesus died for all men, and his sacrifice has the potential of saving all, but his act did not automatically save anyone, only those who choose to accept him.
4) Man is born in a state of sin, and must be called by God in order to accept Him and thus receive the merits of Christ's sacrifice.

5) God predestines no one to Hell.

There are, of course, many other teachings on salvation, but these are the main ones. Thomism, unlike Calvinism, accepts all of them.

The bottom line: No one gets a free ride to heaven because God "picked him to be holy" before he was born.................God predestines NO ONE to Hell. He gives us all the grace to achieve eternal salvation. It's what we do with that Grace that matters.

One other thing to remember.....I was a senior in high school during the time that Vatican II was occurring. I asked Reverend Mother about Rahner's teaching on the "Universal Christian". I do remember her advise about theologians.:

Always recall that........at the time of Luther's "reformation", the Theologians in Rome were busy trying to figure out how many angels could dance on the head of a pin
[/size][/size]

This topic is complicated, as is the doctrine on EENS.  If it were a new Catholic, I wouldn't read threads on either.


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Vetus Ordo - 12-21-2011

(12-21-2011, 05:40 PM)JoniCath Wrote: 5) God predestines no one to Hell.

Wrong.

If the elect are predestined unto blessedness, it naturally follows that the reprobate are predestined unto damnation. As Ott freely admits in his Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, "God, by an eternal resolve of His will, predestines certain men, on account of their foreseen sins, to eternal rejection." This is classified as a de fide doctrine.

(12-17-2011, 03:10 PM)Vetus Ordo Wrote: "God, by His eternal resolve of will, has predetermined certain men to eternal blessedness." (De fide)

Cf. Rom. 8:29 et seq., Mt. 25:34, John 10:27 et seq., Acts 13:48, Eph. 1:4 et seq., St. Augustine against the semi-pelagians teaches: "The belief in this predetermination, which is now being zealously defended against new errors, has always been held by the Church." (De dono persev. 23, 65) and also the doctrinal definitions of the Council of Trent that presuppose it (D 805, 825, 827, 316 et seq., 320 et seq.)

"God, by an eternal resolve of His will, predestines certain men, on account of their foreseen sins, to eternal rejection." (De fide)

Cf. Mat. 25:41, Rom 9:22, the synod of Valence (855): fatemur praedestinationem impiorum ad mortem (D 32).

Like the resolve of predestination, the divine resolve of reprobation is immutable but, without special revelation, its incidence is unknown to men.