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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? - jordanawef - 12-03-2011

It is our choice.


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Doce Me - 12-04-2011

As St. Thomas teaches (  http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2114.htm#article3), it is possible for a man in the state of grace to merit heaven "condignly" (appropriately),  as a reward.

"Well done, good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord" Matt 25:21

A man in the state of grace participates in Divine life, and all his merits come from the merits of Christ.

In the ultimate sense, no man can possibly deserve heaven.  But  there is a sense in which he can, when Christ lives in him.

So I get a little uncomfortable saying "no man can deserve heaven", as if that were true in every sense. God gave us the gift of being able to merit  heaven in our own small way, by His grace in us, by the merits of Christ's Sacrifice.


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - James02 - 12-04-2011

Well put.  I've heard it called "gracious merit".


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Aragon - 12-04-2011

(12-03-2011, 12:19 PM)Old Salt Wrote: I asked my Spiritual Confessor [an FSSP priest} and he contacted an FSSP Benedictine  priest friend, about Aquinas statement that God "hates some"
The questioner's words are in lower case and the Benedictine teachers are in upper case.
Here is his reply:


"I think it's obvious enough that God prompts, compels COMPELS IS A BAD WORD, BECAUSE IT COULD IMPLY GOD MOVING SOMEONE AGAINST HIS WILL or moves "MOVES" IS THE CLASSICAL THOMISTIC WORD IN THIS AREA OF THEOLOGY some individuals towards conversion, at least in some slight way. Whether others experience this kind of compulsion but chose to reject it, I don't know - I can't see the interior life of any other person. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUFFICIENT GRACE, WHICH IS GOD INSPIRING SOMEONE ONLY IN HIS MIND BUT NOT MOVING HIS WILL, VERSUS EFFICACIOUS GRACE WHICH ALSO MOVES THE WILL TO ACTUALLY WILL THE GOOD DEED.  MUCH MORE WOULD HAVE TO BE SAID  ON THIS, BUT IN ANY CASE THE MAN WHO RECEIVES SUFFICIENT GRACE IS FREE TO WILL OR NOT WILL, SO IF HE SINS IT IS CULPABLE. In any case however I do think that some individuals are 'called' to be saints in this life. God has always picked out individuals to do his work, on a seemingly arbitrary basis. We may as well ask, 'Why Abraham?' 'Why Moses?' 'Why Mary?' 'Why James, John, and the others of the Twelve Disciples?"

But really, I can't think of any satisfying explanation for this question, and I've never seen a satisfying answer from any theologian. I think it just has to be left as a mystery of faith which is not for human's to understand.

Here is big question that I hope you can help me with,

This is one of the few areas in which I find St Thomas Aquinas' theological explanation to be really, really unsatisfying. I can't help but think 'how ridiculous' when I read the following:

Book I, 23; a3.

"God loves all men and all creatures, inasmuch as He wishes them all some good; but He does not wish every good to them all. So far, therefore, as He does not wish this particular good--namely, eternal life--He is said to hate or reprobated them."

Seriously, what? That's basically saying, "God loves all men, but he doesn't want all of them to be saved, so he actually hates some men."  NO, GOD DOES NOT HATE ANYONE, AND THAT IS NOT WHAT ST. THOMAS MEANS.  NOTICE THE PHRASE "IS SAID TO".  AND ABOVE ALL NOTICE THE INSPIRED WORD OF GOD: "JACOB I HAVE LOVED, ESAU I HAVE HATED."  ST. THOMAS IS INTERPRETING A STRONG POETIC EXPRESSION FROM GOD HIMSELF.  WHAT DOES THE EXPRESSION MEAN? IT MEANS THAT GOD DOES NOT WILL ETERNAL LIFE TO ALL MEN.  AND THAT IS BECAUSE SOME HAVE BEEN PERMITTED TO CULPABLY SIN, SO THEIR PUNISHMENT, WHICH HE DOES WILL, IS JUST.  GOD WILLS ALL MEN TO BE SAVED 'ANTECEDENTLY', BUT NOT CONSEQUENTLY.  SEE QUESTION 19 ARTICLE 6 FOR THIS DISTINCTION."

This is helpful. Thank you.


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Walty - 12-04-2011

Who stated that Thomas says that God "hates some"?!?  That's certainly not Thomas' view.  Thomas' view is based in his principle of predilection which states simply that some are loved more than others.


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Aragon - 12-04-2011

(12-04-2011, 05:29 AM)Walty Wrote: Who stated that Thomas says that God "hates some"?!?  That's certainly not Thomas' view.  Thomas' view is based in his principle of predilection which states simply that some are loved more than others.

Is there any reason for God loving someone more than another person or is it completely arbitrary? So God gives efficacious grace sufficient to move the will to those He loves most, and sufficient grace to everyone else? (Going off what Old Salt wrote..)


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Melkite - 12-04-2011

(12-03-2011, 09:58 PM)James02 Wrote:
Quote: Then the real question is, if it is God's nature to be merciful, why is he only merciful to a select few and not all?

That is a mystery that can not be determined.  Even the Molinists start by saying God chooses to elect whom He chooses for His own secret purpose.

Keep in mind a few things.  First, God is Love, so it is necessary for the elect to be created so they can contemplate the beatific vision for all eternity.  God is not proud in a sinful sense.  Instead, out of Love it must come about that the elect are predestined, though God does not need them, it is out of Love.

If we weep for the reprobate, who sin 1000 times daily, think of the "poor" demons who fell over one sin of disobedience.  Even the elect disobey God, but have the blood of Christ and confession to atone for it.  Who are you to judge God, o man?  Shall we weep for the demons?  I'll pour hot coals on their head if it were the Will of God.

As for Pharoah, suppose he finished up a day of burning to death a few hundred women and children as an offering to his demon gods.  Would you complain if God struck him dead with lightning?  And yet you complain that God hardened his heart?  He was in the business of worshipping demons and oppressing God's people.

The reprobate sin by free choice.  God is all Just.  They will pay the price for their sin.

Did pharaoh have a choice to sacrifice women and children?  Then no, I wouldn't complain.  If no, he only had a choice between that or something equally offensive, and it wasn't possible for him to not do one of the two, and God was determined to punish him for something he could do nothing to avoid, then yes, i'd complain.


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - cgraye - 12-05-2011

(12-03-2011, 12:12 PM)Vetus Ordo Wrote: I'm not really following.

If the Limbo of the Infants really exists, it's only further proof that without faith one cannot be saved since this Limbo cannot be but a part of Hell. There's no fourth place (or state) besides Heaven, Hell and Purgatory. The Pelagians advanced that opinion which was justly condemned as heretical.

But they were "saved" - at least in the sense of being saved from eternal pain.  The point is that it would illustrate a case where there was a class of people who could not have explicitly known anything of God, and yet were spared eternal torment.

Quote:You're proposing that God purposefully creates souls outside the reach of missionary activity because He foresaw that those souls would waste the grace of faith in case it were given to them in a hypothetical life that really didn't exist to begin with. This explanation is as contorted as it gets.

It's no less contorted than your alternative - that people are created who have literally no chance to escape eternal everlasting pain.  At least this solution speaks to the justice of God.  Not that I really believe it works this way, but you asked for an alternative solution, so I offer it in that spirit.

Quote:And how would it still be "just" according to your system? You could say that those Indians are justly damned because they committed other sins besides the sin of infidelity but, then again, I would answer that God didn't give them the chance to believe, to have that faith without which no man can escape God's wrath. If everyone has a fair shot at Heaven as you propose, then those Indians and blacks should have had it too.

If God's knowledge is perfect, then he knows what every person would do in every circumstance.  Punishing them on that basis (essentially, judging their wills) is indistinguishable from punishing them for actual acts.

Quote:The truth, however, is far simpler. Some are elected unto glory and given the grace to believe until the end, others have divine grace withheld from them and are left to perish in their sins.

That cannot be reconciled with God's alleged perfect justice or love, though.  If you saw a man dangling off the ledge of a cliff, and you could easily pull him up, but you choose to withhold that help and he fell to his death, would you not be guilty of a crime?  That would be a monstrous deed, and all the more so in God's case, because he placed the man on the ledge to begin with!  Now, you will argue that God cannot be held to the same standards as man, and that is true.  God is different.  It would be better to let the man fall if, for example, you knew he would murder a hundred people and help no one if he lived.  We of course cannot know such a thing.  But God, in his perfect knowledge, does.  But again, this must be dependent on a choice the man would make.  Not on an arbitrary choice by God.  Because that would not be just or loving.  I could buy it if there were no eternal punishment, but that is not the case.  This line of reasoning leads simply to the conclusion that God creates some people explicitly for the purpose of being tormented forever, and there is nothing they can do about it.  That simply contradicts what we teach about the nature of God.

This is really why I have to raise a few eyebrows at theology sometimes, because we come to conclusions like this that not only seem to contradict other things (which are then explained away by saying it's a mystery) and contradict the common sense of our every day experiences, but are made in the presence of huge gaps in our knowledge.  This particular discussion really centers on the question: what is a will?  How does it work?  How does it determine things?  And no one really has the answer to that.  We don't even understand how things are determined in the material world, much less in something with a spiritual component.  In a way, it's a pointless debate, because we don't have the knowledge we need to answer the question.  And even if it is as you say, it still doesn't make a difference, because we still have to act as if the choice about whether or not we go to heaven is in our hands (thus, we choose to confess and avoid sin) and that everyone has a chance (thus, we evangelize everyone).

Quote:Let's see: either God truly elects some blessed souls to eternal glory or He doesn't. And if He does, and Scripture tells us that He does, then He elects them out of His own mercy and grace, not because of their foreseen merits. If it's because of their foreseen merits, then it's not really election anymore, it's not grace, it's not mercy, salvation is not of the Lord but of men, caused by them who, through their forseen good works, merited being "elected."

Why do you find election only genuine if it is arbitrary?

Quote:The justice of eternal damnation was already established a priori since we're all born unto sin. The repobrate sin wilfully and freely, they're not robots.

If they don't have what they need not to sin and have no means to obtain it, they are not free, and might as well be robots.


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Walty - 12-05-2011

(12-04-2011, 08:59 AM)Aragon Wrote:
(12-04-2011, 05:29 AM)Walty Wrote: Who stated that Thomas says that God "hates some"?!?  That's certainly not Thomas' view.  Thomas' view is based in his principle of predilection which states simply that some are loved more than others.

Is there any reason for God loving someone more than another person or is it completely arbitrary? So God gives efficacious grace sufficient to move the will to those He loves most, and sufficient grace to everyone else? (Going off what Old Salt wrote..)

Well, this is where the mystery comes in.  Why God gives to some and withholds to others, as Garrigou-Lagrange and Thomas put it, finds answer only in the divine will.


Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - Old Salt - 12-05-2011

(12-04-2011, 05:29 AM)Walty Wrote: Who stated that Thomas says that God "hates some"?!?  That's certainly not Thomas' view.  Thomas' view is based in his principle of predilection which states simply that some are loved more than others.
From the Summa Theologica on "Does God Reprobate Man":

  "Reply to Objection 1: God loves all men and all creatures, inasmuch as He wishes them all some good; but He does not wish every good to them all. So far, therefore, as He does not wish this particular good---namely, eternal life---He is said to hate or reprobated them."

Notice Aquinas says "He is SAID to hate or reprobated them"

Not He does hate them.

See my post above from the FSSP priest.