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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 - 11-30-2011

(11-30-2011, 09:12 PM)Aragon Wrote: You're saying that God predestines some people to receive the gift of Faith, and that our acceptance of this gift is itself prompted by an efficacious grace from God.

Not just the gift of faith, which is given to many, but also the gift of final perseverance, which is given to a select few, the truly elect.

"For many are called, but few are chosen." (Matthew 22:14)

Quote:Is it God that makes the grace efficacious (that is we couldn't deny the gift even if we tried), or is the grace efficacious because we choose to cooperate with it? Does that mean that all people are offered the gift of Faith but only a few are given the grace necessary to accept it, or God only offers the gift to a few people in the first place? As to why He chooses to give it to some and not to others that's a mystery.

The grace is efficacious in and of itself. Theoretically speaking, efficacious grace can be resisted but in practice it never will. By analogy we can say that a sane man can resist his will and his instincts and calmly stand over a grid with fire burning from underneath and be roasted to death right there but he'll never actually do it. He'll run away as fast as he can. In the same manner, efficacious grace turns sin in our sight into that unpleasant fire we desperately want to run away from. Sin is no longer attractive to our fallen nature, as it usually is, but rather loathsome.

That efficacious grace ensures that the chosen soul foreordained unto eternal life is indeed saved. "My sheep hear my voice: and I know them, and they follow me. And I give them life everlasting; and they shall not perish for ever, and no man shall pluck them out of my hand." (John 10-27:28)


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Doce Me - 11-30-2011

(11-30-2011, 09:31 PM)Vetus Ordo Wrote:
(11-30-2011, 09:12 PM)Aragon Wrote: You're saying that God predestines some people to receive the gift of Faith, and that our acceptance of this gift is itself prompted by an efficacious grace from God.

...efficacious grace turns sin in our sight into that unpleasant fire we desperately want to run away from. Sin is no longer attractive to our fallen nature, as it usually is, but rather loathsome.

With efficacious grace we will avoid sin, but does that mean that we never have any temptations? Or commit venial sin?  We are saved (and have final perseverance) if we die in the state of sanctifying grace.  Efficacious grace applies to those choices (to sin or not to sin) that we make along the way; it ensures that we infallibly do not sin; but it doesn't mean that we can't sin at a later time.  If we are among the elect God will ensure that by His power and efficacious grace  we die in the state of Sanctifying Grace at the end.

SOME of the elect (in addition to Mary) may be given the gift of freedom from temptations during the latter part of their life.  But I think not all the elect are so blessed.


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Raskolnikov - 11-30-2011

Fr Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, Predestination, regarding Jansenius and his heresy:

Quote:"The five propositions taken from his Augustinus and condemned by Rome, show that this doctrine differs from that of St Augustine and St Thomas, though it has been at times confused with their teaching. Whereas St Augustine and St Thomas always steadfastly maintained that God never commands what is impossible, but makes it really possible for all to keep His commandments, the following Jansenist propositions deny this; they say:

1) For the justified, willing and trying to do what they can, according to the present powers they possess, some of God's commandments are imposble to keep.

2) In the state of fallen nature no one ever resists interior grace. [this is condemned - therefore men can indeed resist interior grace]

3) For meriting and demeriting in the state of fallen nature, freedom from internal compulsion is not required; it is sufficient to be free from external constraint.

4) It is a Semipalagian heresy to say that Christ died or shed His blood for all men without exception.

Moreover, to understand exactly in what sense this last proposition is condemned, it is absolutely necessary to give in addition the text of this condemnation, which reads as follows:

"It is declared and condemned as false, temerarious, scandalous, contumelious, and, understood in this sense that Christ died only for the salvation of the predestined, it is impious, blasphemous, contumelious, contrary to the divine compassion, and heretical."

Jansenism was thus led to adopt a teaching on grace and predestination that excludes God's universal will to save. In order to preserve intact one of the aspects of the mystery with which we are concerned, the other was completely rejected. Instead of a mystery of revealed truth, we have thus a cried and absurd doctrine, for in this case sin is inevitable, which is no longer then a sin, and which cannot be punished, at least with eternal purnishment, without manifest cruelty. God commanding what is impossible ceases to be God, and in vain would we seek to discover in Him not only mercy, but even justice."



Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Raskolnikov - 11-30-2011

Fr Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, Predestination, The Universal Will To Save

Quote:First of all, the universal will to save is conceived not only as a sign of God's will, like some oral or written precept, but it is also viewed as a will of good pleasure that really exists in God. If, in truth, God's love is the cause of the goodness in things, then it is by reason of His will of good pleasure and His love that He gives to all men not only a human nature by which they can know and love Him in a natural way, but that He also makes it possible for them to observe the precepts of the natural law, and in this very way salvation is possible. God can never command what is impossible, for that indeed would be an injustice. Sin would then become inevitable, which, in such a case, would no longer be sin, and could not be justly punished either in this life or the next. God, by reason of His love, therefore, makes it possible for all to observe his precepts, avoid sin, and thus be saved. St Thomas also says that even in those things that are due to one, God gives more than strict justice demands; for mercy or entirely gratuitous and superabundant kindness is at the root of all divine works of justice, which presuppose that intellectual creatures from purely gratuitous love were created and destined for the supernatural life of eternity.

This was the point St John Damascene insisted upon; but scarcely considered it from the moral point of view, its relation to the divine goodness and the malive of men. God, he said, by an act of his antecedent will, of His goodness wills to save all men; but as some sin and remain in sin, by an act of His consequent will He punishes them eternally because He is just.



Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Melkite - 12-01-2011

(11-30-2011, 09:12 PM)Aragon Wrote: Melkite and Cgraye,

You're saying that God offers the grace necessary to everyone but some choose to reject it? Does this mean that those who accept it received an extra grace that those who rejected it didn't? What about those who just have no thought of religion to begin with, and so they can't make a conscious decision to reject God's grace. The idea of religiosity just never occurs to them in the first place.

Start with the base of free will.  God gave us free will because he wants us to love him, and love him truly, not just as robots that are programmed to love him.  In order for us to truly love him, it has to be our choice that is at least in part free from divine intervention.  Contrary to the Augustinian view, God allowing this freedom and withholding his own action does not compromise his sovereignty.  He may give one person more grace that influences them more in the direction of choosing God than others, but ultimately there is at least one point where God withdraws his hand and allows the choice to be freely, completely, man's.  As cgraye mentioned, an eternity in terrible torment would be completely unjust if the person a) was conceived into a state of damnation they had no control over, b) cannot possibly escape their fate without the assistance of God and c) God refuses to grant them the only assistance that can help them escape their fate, as the Thomists, Jansenists and Calvinists believe.  From this perspective, Thomist predestination is irreconcilable with orthodox Christianity.

As for people who have no religion, I'm not sure I believe there is no one who doesn't have at least some sense of religiosity.  Even in a completely atheistic environment, secular humanism would develop which is in a sense a type of religion.  All people have the choice to accept or reject God's grace within whichever degree of religiosity they are cognizant of.


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - K3vinhood - 12-01-2011

(12-01-2011, 01:39 AM)Melkite Wrote: As cgraye mentioned, an eternity in terrible torment would be completely unjust if the person a) was conceived into a state of damnation they had no control over, b) cannot possibly escape their fate without the assistance of God and c) God refuses to grant them the only assistance that can help them escape their fate, as the Thomists, Jansenists and Calvinists believe.  From this perspective, Thomist predestination is irreconcilable with orthodox Christianity.
Basically denying the doctrine of Original Sin is also incompatible with orthodox Christianity.
Quote:As for people who have no religion, I'm not sure I believe there is no one who doesn't have at least some sense of religiosity.  Even in a completely atheistic environment, secular humanism would develop which is in a sense a type of religion.  All people have the choice to accept or reject God's grace within whichever degree of religiosity they are cognizant of.
Christ himself clearly says without faith in him and Baptism it is not possible for one to be saved...
Quote:Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me.
-John 14:6

Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
-John 3:5

Buddhism, Hinduism, Secular Humanism, etc. do not provide Baptism, nor do their followers have faith in Christ. I don't see how they could be saved because of there "religiosity".


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Melkite - 12-01-2011

(12-01-2011, 01:58 AM)K3vinhood Wrote:
(12-01-2011, 01:39 AM)Melkite Wrote: As cgraye mentioned, an eternity in terrible torment would be completely unjust if the person a) was conceived into a state of damnation they had no control over, b) cannot possibly escape their fate without the assistance of God and c) God refuses to grant them the only assistance that can help them escape their fate, as the Thomists, Jansenists and Calvinists believe.  From this perspective, Thomist predestination is irreconcilable with orthodox Christianity.
Basically denying the doctrine of Original Sin is also incompatible with orthodox Christianity.

I said A, B and C, not A, B or C.  A, B and C, taken together the way I intended, is not a denial of Original Sin.


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Parmandur - 12-01-2011

(12-01-2011, 01:39 AM)Melkite Wrote:
(11-30-2011, 09:12 PM)Aragon Wrote: Melkite and Cgraye,

You're saying that God offers the grace necessary to everyone but some choose to reject it? Does this mean that those who accept it received an extra grace that those who rejected it didn't? What about those who just have no thought of religion to begin with, and so they can't make a conscious decision to reject God's grace. The idea of religiosity just never occurs to them in the first place.

Start with the base of free will.  God gave us free will because he wants us to love him, and love him truly, not just as robots that are programmed to love him.  In order for us to truly love him, it has to be our choice that is at least in part free from divine intervention.  Contrary to the Augustinian view, God allowing this freedom and withholding his own action does not compromise his sovereignty.  He may give one person more grace that influences them more in the direction of choosing God than others, but ultimately there is at least one point where God withdraws his hand and allows the choice to be freely, completely, man's.  As cgraye mentioned, an eternity in terrible torment would be completely unjust if the person a) was conceived into a state of damnation they had no control over, b) cannot possibly escape their fate without the assistance of God and c) God refuses to grant them the only assistance that can help them escape their fate, as the Thomists, Jansenists and Calvinists believe.  From this perspective, Thomist predestination is irreconcilable with orthodox Christianity.

As for people who have no religion, I'm not sure I believe there is no one who doesn't have at least some sense of religiosity.  Even in a completely atheistic environment, secular humanism would develop which is in a sense a type of religion.  All people have the choice to accept or reject God's grace within whichever degree of religiosity they are cognizant of.

As Raskolnikov points out above, Thomas & Augustine and the Church are not Jansenists nor Calvinists.  Both Calvinists and Jansenists like to make is seem so, but that does not make it so.


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Aragon - 12-01-2011

This might seem like a stupid question but what is the meaning of "grace builds on nature"? Does it mean that grace is only effective for people who are receptive to it? Google was no help.


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - cgraye - 12-01-2011

(11-30-2011, 07:05 PM)Vetus Ordo Wrote: The Limbo of the Fathers proves no such thing.

All the elect of the Old Testament died in the hope of the Redeemer to come (necessity of right faith) but were assumed into Heaven only after Christ had descended there to preach and baptise them. Needless to say, faith in Christ is necessary to salvation so it's useless to speculate about people who are hypothetically saved in spite of their religions and in ignorance of their saviour. In fact, it's absolutely preposterous to advance the notion that there are people being saved without ever believing in Christ, the sole gateway to be reconciled to the Father and to appease His wrath.

But they did not know the person of Christ during their lives.  Having a hope of some kind of redeemer isn't the same thing.  If it were, then we could say that anyone who believes in some notion of God believes in God.

And for that matter, the Limbo of the Infants (if it exists) would contradict this as well.  Because those children who died without Baptism never knew anything about God.  OK, so they don't get to go to heaven because of their original sin, but they also don't burn in hell forever.  But no such place is theorized to exist for those who have passed the age of reason.  This seems to pose a problem for the "All those unlucky enough not to be born into a position where they know about Christ are just screwed" theory.  If that were how it worked, then logically we would conclude that those children are in hell.  But if the Limbo of the Infants does exist, it proves that there is at least one case where God does not punish those for not knowing something they could not have known.

Quote:This is the first time I come across such contorted hypothesis to explain the existence and demise of these faithless people. And yet it still fails to explain how these Indians and blacks, who never had the faith preached to them to begin with, could be "justly" damned according to your view.

It seems a far more elegant solution to me than the "roll the dice" theory.  And why would it not explain how those who never had the faith could be damned?  There are other ways to sin besides the First Commandment.  Everyone has a conscience, everyone has some sense of right and wrong, even if it is not perfectly formed.  Those people do wrong and know it, just as we do.

Quote:God's will is inscrutable.

The view that God elects souls depending upon their foreseen cooperation with His grace turns election into a misnomer and these people into the cause of their own election, putting God's "choice" utterly dependant on them to begin with. Salvation is not of the Lord, then, it's of the people.

It is still of God.  It is still the merits of Christ that redeem us.  But in order for any kind of punishment to be just, the guilty party must be guilty of his own choice.  If we are not responsible for our own damnation, then an eternity of pain is unjust.  But God is perfectly just, so we must be responsible for our own damnation.  Responsible, that is, for making the choice that results in it.  But since it is a choice between two things, we must then conclude that we are also responsible for making the choice that results in salvation.  That doesn't make us the source of salvation, nor does it make us deserving of the gift of heaven, for that is a gift freely given by God, but it does establish the justice of eternal damnation.