Predestination, for us stupider folks
(04-12-2011, 04:57 PM)Doce Me Wrote:
(04-12-2011, 05:32 AM)Walty Wrote: I haven't read all of this thread, but I have still been unable to find someone who can properly reconcile these passages with the Catholic doctrine of free will.  This is how the same topic seemed to sputter out in the other subforum.  If you feel that I've missed a reconciliation in this thread then please point me toward the post.  Thanks.


St.Thomas Wrote:Why God chose these for glory and reprobated others finds answer only in the divine will.

Garrigou-Lagrange Wrote:Of two dying men, each equally and evilly disposed, why does God move one to repentance and permit the other to die impenitent?  There is no answer but the divine pleasure.

I feel safest believing St. Thomas until the Church tells me otherwise.

It seems to me there is too much insistence by some in this thread (Walty I'm not picking on you  ;)) that THEY MUST BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND.  Well,  I don't understand the fact that Christ is both God and Man, or that the Trinity can be One God in Three Persons, but I believe these things.  Predestination (God's power over even our wills) is something like this.  It not entirely outside our reason.  We know we have free will. But the connection between free will and the OTHER fact - God's absolute power over ALL things and His being the cause and architect of ALL good (including our good will) for ETERNITY -  is a mystery. You have to believe both sides;  even if you are far from understanding the mystery of their connection.

I, like you, am a Thomist and always acquiesce to the Angelic Doctor.  This is the one area in which I may disagree with him.

I understand what you are saying about this being a mystery, but it is not unknowable.  These basic questions of how man's free will interacts with grace can be answered, I think.  The countless theologians who have worked on this topic over the centuries would know much better than any of us, I think, and they thought it a worthwhile topic of meditation and study.  So that's the trend that I think that we ought to continue.
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(04-12-2011, 05:32 AM)Walty Wrote: I haven't read all of this thread, but I have still been unable to find someone who can properly reconcile these passages with the Catholic doctrine of free will.  This is how the same topic seemed to sputter out in the other subforum.  If you feel that I've missed a reconciliation in this thread then please point me toward the post.  Thanks.


St.Thomas Wrote:Why God chose these for glory and reprobated others finds answer only in the divine will.

Garrigou-Lagrange Wrote:Of two dying men, each equally and evilly disposed, why does God move one to repentance and permit the other to die impenitent?  There is no answer but the divine pleasure.

In Catholic thought (insofar as Thomism represents Catholic thought  :) ) freedom of the will is defined as being the fact that the will is not determined by created causes. As the passages are referring to the uncreated causation of God, there is simply no contradiction.

Of course, this moves the inquiring mind to the problem of how uncreated (primary) causes "move" (or interact with) created causes.  ;)

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I go by the Augustinian View personally:

God wills all men to be saved. When he died on the cross, his death produced an abundance of grace capable of saving all mankind.

But he does not will the equitable distribution of this grace. God positively wills to save the elect alone. But he "desires" (a passionate term for a passionless God) that all men be saved. He freely chooses the elect without consideration of any of their future merits from before the foundation of the world. He also chooses to deliberately not save the rest.

There are two reasons for this, as Romans 9 tells us. TO manifest both his Justice, and his Mercy:

1. His Justice in demonstrating that mankind is destined to hell by default. It's our default operating mode, like Microsoft windows, we are destined for damnation, and NOTHING will take us off the path of destruction and we deserve both on account of original sin, through which we communicate in the guilt and fault of Adam's Sin and are born spiritually dead and depraved (nut not totally depraved). There is no compulsory need in God to save anyone. He can do what he pleases, and because he is indivisible from his actions and his attributes, his actions will BE hisattributes: If he wills to not save me, it will be a good just, kind and loving act SOMEHOW, because HE is the standard whereby all other standards originate.

2. His Mercy is manifest in saving some and choosing them from before the foundation of the world in being partakers of his divine nature. This act of salvation is totally free and gratuitous, and in light of his justice, is the extreme in mercy.

Now, it is necessary for him to deliberately save some, but not others, in order to manifest both these attributes to men, whereby he be glorified: For if all men were damned, he would be just, but he would not show forth his mercy unto men, and so we would not know it: If he saved everyone, we would know only his mercy, and would not know his justice and thereby abuse him even further through an even greater presumption than we do already. Therefore, in order to show forth his mercy and justice for our benefit so that we can have a balanced and right relationship with him, it is necessary that he save some, but not others.

Also, there is a sense in which he DOES predestine some to hell, but this is on account of their forseen sinfulness, therefore it is really their sinfullness that is damning them, and he is simply choosing on THAT BASIS ahead of time. We still damn ourselves by our hatred of God and our inability to free ourselves from sin and stop sinning.
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(04-20-2011, 01:55 AM)Gregory I Wrote: I go by the Augustinian View personally:

God wills all men to be saved. When he died on the cross, his death produced an abundance of grace capable of saving all mankind.

But he does not will the equitable distribution of this grace. God positively wills to save the elect alone. But he "desires" (a passionate term for a passionless God) that all men be saved. He freely chooses the elect without consideration of any of their future merits from before the foundation of the world. He also chooses to deliberately not save the rest.

There are two reasons for this, as Romans 9 tells us. TO manifest both his Justice, and his Mercy:

1. His Justice in demonstrating that mankind is destined to hell by default. It's our default operating mode, like Microsoft windows, we are destined for damnation, and NOTHING will take us off the path of destruction and we deserve both on account of original sin, through which we communicate in the guilt and fault of Adam's Sin and are born spiritually dead and depraved (nut not totally depraved). There is no compulsory need in God to save anyone. He can do what he pleases, and because he is indivisible from his actions and his attributes, his actions will BE hisattributes: If he wills to not save me, it will be a good just, kind and loving act SOMEHOW, because HE is the standard whereby all other standards originate.

2. His Mercy is manifest in saving some and choosing them from before the foundation of the world in being partakers of his divine nature. This act of salvation is totally free and gratuitous, and in light of his justice, is the extreme in mercy.

Now, it is necessary for him to deliberately save some, but not others, in order to manifest both these attributes to men, whereby he be glorified: For if all men were damned, he would be just, but he would not show forth his mercy unto men, and so we would not know it: If he saved everyone, we would know only his mercy, and would not know his justice and thereby abuse him even further through an even greater presumption than we do already. Therefore, in order to show forth his mercy and justice for our benefit so that we can have a balanced and right relationship with him, it is necessary that he save some, but not others.

Also, there is a sense in which he DOES predestine some to hell, but this is on account of their forseen sinfulness, therefore it is really their sinfullness that is damning them, and he is simply choosing on THAT BASIS ahead of time. We still damn ourselves by our hatred of God and our inability to free ourselves from sin and stop sinning.

This.

Nicely put.
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(04-20-2011, 01:55 AM)Gregory I Wrote: I go by the Augustinian View personally:

God wills all men to be saved. When he died on the cross, his death produced an abundance of grace capable of saving all mankind.

But he does not will the equitable distribution of this grace. God positively wills to save the elect alone. But he "desires" (a passionate term for a passionless God) that all men be saved. He freely chooses the elect without consideration of any of their future merits from before the foundation of the world. He also chooses to deliberately not save the rest.

According to St. Alphonsus (and he cites a lot of Fathers, Doctors, theologians including St. Augustine) on this point, he truly wills antecedently all men to be saved and therefore offers all men the means and aids necessary for salvation (in other words it doesn't mean merely that the merits of Christ are sufficient for all). He only consequently wills those to be damned who reject these means. He even argues that St. Augustine is misunderstood by some to deny that God wills all to be saved (he provides commentary on St. Augustine from various reputable sources). See here for St. Alphonsus treatment of this issue:

http://www.catholictreasury.info/books/p...tents2.php

To me, this seems to jive better with how this has been defined by the Church. For example, the following errors were definively condemned by Clement XI in the Constitution Unigenitus (which is quoted in the work above):

12. When God wills to save a soul, the will of God is undoubtedly effectual.

30. All whom God wills to save through Christ are infallibly saved.

(Granted I may be confusing what you were saying the way St. Alphonsus says others were confusing St. Augustine's words)
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(04-20-2011, 02:33 PM)SaintSebastian Wrote:
(04-20-2011, 01:55 AM)Gregory I Wrote: I go by the Augustinian View personally:

God wills all men to be saved. When he died on the cross, his death produced an abundance of grace capable of saving all mankind.

But he does not will the equitable distribution of this grace. God positively wills to save the elect alone. But he "desires" (a passionate term for a passionless God) that all men be saved. He freely chooses the elect without consideration of any of their future merits from before the foundation of the world. He also chooses to deliberately not save the rest.

According to St. Alphonsus (and he cites a lot of Fathers, Doctors, theologians including St. Augustine) on this point, he truly wills antecedently all men to be saved and therefore offers all men the means and aids necessary for salvation (in other words it doesn't mean merely that the merits of Christ are sufficient for all). He only consequently wills those to be damned who reject these means. He even argues that St. Augustine is misunderstood by some to deny that God wills all to be saved (he provides commentary on St. Augustine from various reputable sources). See here for St. Alphonsus treatment of this issue:

http://www.catholictreasury.info/books/p...tents2.php

To me, this seems to jive better with how this has been defined by the Church. For example, the following errors were definively condemned by Clement XI in the Constitution Unigenitus (which is quoted in the work above):

12. When God wills to save a soul, the will of God is undoubtedly effectual.

30. All whom God wills to save through Christ are infallibly saved.

(Granted I may be confusing what you were saying the way St. Alphonsus says others were confusing St. Augustine's words)

THe only issue I would have is that Unigenitus was issued at the Jansenists, who claimed to not hold the condemned views anyway, and that this document is not infallible. PLus, there was a lot of Jesuit political motivation for issuing it. THat aside

12. THis is actually stated as

"12. When God wishes to save a soul, at whatever time and at what ever place, the undoubted effect follows the Will of God."

THis seems to imply there is no intrinsically efficacious grace, but there is. And the Augustinian view that GOd can Physically predetermine the will, as long as it does not amount to saying the will does not have the capacity to resist, was taught by Many rigorist Augustinians, whose views were vindicated by many inquisitions. Se Controversies about grace in the Catholic Encyclopedia.

30. That is both true, and false, depending on what you mean by "saved." All who are called by God to Justification are infallibly Justified. But of Those Justified, not all are given the grace of Perseverance, which is an absolute necessity to salvation. IF that is what is being said, then I agree- Not all who God wills to save will end up in heaven, if we are talking about the distinction between being made just, and glorified. But to say the will of God cannot attain to what is willed, I reject.

"He even argues that St. Augustine is misunderstood by some to deny that God wills all to be saved ."

THat is True. Several Latin Fathers decidedly did NOT believe in God's universal salvific will.

For example:  St. Augustine: "‘Hence we must inquire in what sense is said of God what the apostle has mostly truly said: ‘who will have all men to be saved.’ For, as a matter of fact, not all, nor even a majority, are saved: so that it would seem that what God wills is not done, man’s will interfering with, and hindering the will of God. When we ask the reason why all men are not saved, the ordinary answer is: ‘because men themselves are not willing.’ This indeed cannot be said of infants, for it is not in their power either to will or not to will. But if we could attribute to their will the childish movements they make at baptism, when they make all the resistance they can, we should say that even they are not willing to be saved. Our Lord says plainly, however, in the Gospel, when upbraiding the impious city: ‘how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!’ as if the will of God had been overcome by the will of men, and when the weakest stood in the way with their want of will, the will of the strongest could not be carried out. And where is that omnipotence which hath done all that it pleased on earth and in heaven, if God willed to gather together the children of Jerusalem, and did not accomplish it? or rather, Jerusalem was not willing that her children should be gathered together? But even though she was unwilling, he gathered together as many of her children as he wished: for he does not will some things and do them, and will others and do them not; but ‘he hath done all that he pleased in heaven and in earth.’’ (Enchiridion 97)

St. Augustine Could not believe God could will something and not do it. Now, he does not save all men in fact, therefore he cannot will all to be saved. That is his reasoning here.

St. Prosper of Aquitane: "‘What, then, about the trite objection from the Scripture text, ‘God will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth?’ Only they who fail to see its meaning think it goes against us. All those who, from the past ages till today, died without having known God, are they of the number of ‘all men’? And if it is said, wrongly, that in the case of adults the evil works they did of their own free will were the obstacle to their salvation, as though grace saved the good and not the wicked, what difference in merit could there be between infants that are saved and others that are not? What is it that led the first into the kingdom of God, and what is it that kept the second out of it? Indeed, if you consider their merit, you cannot say that some of them merited to be saved; all of them deserved to be condemned, because all sinned in Adam’s sin. The unimpeachable justice of God would come down on all of them, did not his merciful grace take a certain number unto himself. As to inquiring into the reason and manner of this discrimination hidden in God’s secret counsel, this is above the ken of human knowledge, and our faith suffers no harm from not knowing it, provided we confess that no one is lost without his fault, and no one saved for his own merit, that the all-powerful goodness of God saves and instructs in the knowledge of the truth all those whom ‘he will have to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth’. Save for his call, his teaching, his salvation, no man comes or learns or is saved. Though the preachers of the gospel are directed to preach to all men without distinction and to sow the seed of the word everywhere, yet ‘neither he that planteth is anything, nor he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase.’’ (Letter to Rufinus 13)

‘He who says that the Lord withholds from some men the message of the gospel, lest hearing it they be saved, can escape the odium of the objection by invoking the authority of the saviour himself. He did not want to work miracles among people who, he said, would have believed had they seen them. He forbade his apostles to preach to some nations, and he still allows other nations to live untouched by his grace.’ (Answers to the Gauls, qualification to article 10)

‘What, then, about the trite objection from the Scripture text, ‘God will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth?’ Only they who fail to see its meaning think it goes against us. All those who, from the past ages till today, died without having known God, are they of the number of ‘all men’?’ (Letter to Rufinus 13)

St. Fulgentius of Ruspe: "‘Truly, by these ‘all persons’ whom God ‘wills to be saved’ are signified not the entire human race completely, but the entirety of all who are to be saved. And, likewise, they are called ‘all’ because divine goodness saves all those from humanity, that is, from every nation, condition, and age, from every language and from every province.’ (Epistle 17:61)

‘And so that we might know more fully who those ‘all’ are, let us listen to the words of the same blessed Peter who, speaking by the Holy Spirit, concluded that Joel’s prediction was fulfilled in the exhortation, where he says: ‘Repent and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, and for your children, and for as many as the Lord our God will call.’ (Acts 2:38-9). And so he says ‘all,’ but also ‘as many as the Lord will call.’ Also, blessed Paul refers to them as ‘those called according to his purpose’ (Romans 8:28).’ (Epistle 17:63)

I THink that is enough. I am not saying I agree 100%, I am simply saying the notion that God can Will what he does not do is foreign to the Latin Fathers, in Particular the Augustinian Fathers in the 5th and 6th centuries.

I do not have a better answer than they. :) God bless you. :)





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(04-20-2011, 01:55 AM)Gregory I Wrote: I go by the Augustinian View personally:

God wills all men to be saved. When he died on the cross, his death produced an abundance of grace capable of saving all mankind.

But he does not will the equitable distribution of this grace. God positively wills to save the elect alone. But he "desires" (a passionate term for a passionless God) that all men be saved. He freely chooses the elect without consideration of any of their future merits from before the foundation of the world. He also chooses to deliberately not save the rest.

There are two reasons for this, as Romans 9 tells us. TO manifest both his Justice, and his Mercy:

1. His Justice in demonstrating that mankind is destined to hell by default. It's our default operating mode, like Microsoft windows, we are destined for damnation, and NOTHING will take us off the path of destruction and we deserve both on account of original sin, through which we communicate in the guilt and fault of Adam's Sin and are born spiritually dead and depraved (nut not totally depraved). There is no compulsory need in God to save anyone. He can do what he pleases, and because he is indivisible from his actions and his attributes, his actions will BE hisattributes: If he wills to not save me, it will be a good just, kind and loving act SOMEHOW, because HE is the standard whereby all other standards originate.

2. His Mercy is manifest in saving some and choosing them from before the foundation of the world in being partakers of his divine nature. This act of salvation is totally free and gratuitous, and in light of his justice, is the extreme in mercy.

Now, it is necessary for him to deliberately save some, but not others, in order to manifest both these attributes to men, whereby he be glorified: For if all men were damned, he would be just, but he would not show forth his mercy unto men, and so we would not know it: If he saved everyone, we would know only his mercy, and would not know his justice and thereby abuse him even further through an even greater presumption than we do already. Therefore, in order to show forth his mercy and justice for our benefit so that we can have a balanced and right relationship with him, it is necessary that he save some, but not others.

Also, there is a sense in which he DOES predestine some to hell, but this is on account of their forseen sinfulness, therefore it is really their sinfullness that is damning them, and he is simply choosing on THAT BASIS ahead of time. We still damn ourselves by our hatred of God and our inability to free ourselves from sin and stop sinning.

Thanks for writing that, sir. You helped a lot.
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Gregory, do you know if that idea is foreign to the Greek fathers as well?
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(04-22-2011, 09:13 AM)Melkite Wrote: Gregory, do you know if that idea is foreign to the Greek fathers as well?

No, the Idea of God's universal salvific will comes through ALOT in the greek fathers, especially St. Gregory of Nyssa, who privately believed in a modified form of Origen's apokatastasis. St. Gregory believed all would be saved in the end somehow.

St. Maximus the Confessor also held similar view to St. Gregory, though he was quieter about them. He definitely alludes to the possibility in his writings. St. Gregory the THeologian at least considers it a possibility without fully spelling it out.

The question really boils down to:

" Can God will an effect, without at the same time causing it?"

Can GOd will all to be saved when, from the legitimate Augustinian view which can be held in the church, he simply does not save all?

Or:

"IN what sense does God will all to be saved when in fact not all are saved?"

I Think Augustine's view is consistent, but if it is de fide to believe in GOd's universal salvific will, then that's what I believe. I am faithful to all our dogmas. :)
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(04-23-2011, 01:44 AM)Gregory I Wrote: I Think Augustine's view is consistent, but if it is de fide to believe in GOd's universal salvific will, then that's what I believe. I am faithful to all our dogmas. :)

The Augustinian view on grace and free will is the teaching of the Church.
Quote:Pope St. Hormisdas: “What the Roman, that is the Catholic, Church follows and preserves concerning free will and the grace of God can be abundantly recognised in the various books of the blessed Augustine, and especially in those to Hilary and Prosper, but the prominent chapters are contained in the ecclesiastical archives and if these are lacking there, we establish them.” (Sicut Rationi, AD. 520)

Pope John II: “According to the enactments of my predecessors, the Roman Church follows and maintains the teaching of Augustine.” (Epistle)

Pope Pius XI: “It is a further tribute to the glory of the Bishop of Hippo, that more than once the Fathers in lawful Councils assembled, made use of his very words in defining Catholic truth. In illustration it is enough to cite the Second Council of Orange”. (Ad Salutem)

As for de fide teachings concerning this matter, this is what I found in Ott's Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma (pg. 239-245):
Quote:"Despite men's sins God truly and earnestly desires the salvation of all men." (Sent. fidei proxima)

"God gives all the just sufficient grace (gratia proxime vel remote sufficiens) for the observation of the Divine Commandments." (De fide)

"God gives all the faithful who are sinners sufficient grace (gratia saltem remote sufficiens) for conversion." (Sent. communis)

"God gives all innocent unbelievers (infideles negativi) sufficient grace to achieve eternal salvation." (Sent. certa)

"God, by His Eternal Resolve of Will, has predetermined certain men to eternal blessedness." (De fide)

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