Predestination, for us stupider folks
(04-26-2011, 09:28 PM)Christus Imperat Wrote:
(04-26-2011, 06:36 PM)Gregory I Wrote: we always retain the capacity to resist the grace of God: But if he gives intrinsically efficacious grace, we never in all actuality will. God's grace can physically move man's will so that a man will freely choose what God wills. And this opinion is allowed to the Catholic.

The Thomist does not consider this to be a violation of free will, but instead an actualization of it. 

Yes, well said. Our free will, by its very design, always retains the capacity to resist sufficient grace. This resistance is sinful. However, our free will, by its very design, is always unable to (1) will any good unless first actualized by sufficient grace, which is efficacious in its own order, and (2) do any good unless moved by efficacious grace.
(04-12-2011, 12:42 AM)Melkite Wrote:
(04-12-2011, 12:19 AM)Christus Imperat Wrote: Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange puts it roughly this way: If we are saved, it is because God has efficaciously willed it and given us the grace which actualizes this salvation.  If we are damned, it is our own fault.  The damned received sufficient grace but did not cooperate with it. 

That's where it doesn't make sense.  If we are saved, it is only because God gave us extra grace, but if God doesn't give us extra grace, then we can't be saved, but it is our own fault that we aren't saved?  That makes no sense. 

I realize this thread is an old resurrected thread, but I think a response to this might be helpful to some.

This seems to be a common objection against Thomistic/Augustinian predestination. I tried in vain to explain it in my own words; alas, I am not a theologian. However, while reading Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange's treatment of the subject to find a succinct way to present it, I came across his own explanation. I think this is a good starting point for addressing this complicated objection.
Reality; Chapter 49: A Treatise On Grace; Article Four: Grace, Sufficient And Efficacious Wrote:3. Resistance to sufficient grace is an evil, arising from us, from our defectibility and our actual deficience, whereas our non-resistance is, on the contrary, a good, arising from ourselves as second causes, but from God as first cause.

Billuart sums up the matter: "Efficacious grace is required for consent to sufficient grace. But for resistance to sufficient grace the man's own defective will is sufficient cause. And since that resistance precedes the privation of efficacious grace, it is true to say that man is deprived of efficacious grace because he resists sufficient grace, whereas it is not true to say that he sins because he is deprived of efficacious grace." [1151].

Put yet another way, God's consequent will permits man to use his free will to reject sufficient grace, which is the means by which efficacious grace (and the actual doing of a good action) is received. This rejection is sinful and God permits it for the purpose of showing His terrible justice.

But in explaining the culpability of man's free rejection of sufficient grace, we encounter this difficulty (not a problem, but a difficulty): "Efficacious grace is required for consent to sufficient grace."

Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange again provides an explanation:
Reality; Chapter 49: A Treatise On Grace; Article Four: Grace, Sufficient And Efficacious Wrote:2. Sufficient grace, sufficient as regards a perfect act like contrition, may be efficacious as regards, say, attrition. Sufficient grace is not sterile, it produces a good thought, a good movement of will, some disposition to consent. It is called sufficient, says Alvarez, [1148] as counter-distinguished from "simply efficacious." But each sufficient grace is in a sense efficacious, i. e.: in its own order.

But each meritorious act, however small, requires a grace simply efficacious. It is good here and now realized, hence presupposes an eternal decree of God's consequent will. Nothing comes to pass hic et nunc, unless God has efficaciously willed it (if it is good) or permitted it (if it is evil). [1149] We cannot, says Bossuet, [1150] refuse to God the power of actualizing our free and salutary choice, without which no merit can exist

God can and often does will to transcend this sinful rejection of sufficient grace without interfering with man's power to do so by efficaciously willing man's free cooperation with sufficient grace. He does this by infusing the soul with a grace that, in its own order, is preliminarily efficacious in bringing about the free cooperation to the sufficient grace necessary to actualize the free will. So the grace that is efficacious in actualizing the free will is sufficient as it pertains to the actual doing of a good action. And the grace that is efficacious in performing an inferiorly good action (i.e. attrition) is sufficient for the doing of superiorly good action (i.e. contrition). Etc.

At any point in this ladder of grace, man's free will always retains the power to resist each sufficient grace in its own order. If he cooperates it is only because God has willed to transcend man's rebellious nature and save him in spite of himself by gently and sweetly urging him via efficacious grace to cooperate with sufficient grace. But if he at any point resists it is only because God first permitted his resistance by not positively willing his cooperation, as achieved by the transcending power of efficacious grace. In this way, God's will is the efficacious cause of election and man's free will is sufficient cause for his own reprobation, which God permits (by failing to transcend man's active resistance) for the sake of manifesting His infinite justice.

(Whew! What a complex topic!)
I like the AUgustinian notion of the Victorious delight of grace and the two loves, cupidity and charity that fight within a man. Some people think this is Jansenistic, but The italian Augustinians and Cardinal Henry Norris championed the rigorour Augustinian view and defended it from charges of Jansenism.
(02-05-2012, 01:39 PM)Gregory I Wrote: I like the AUgustinian notion of the Victorious delight of grace and the two loves, cupidity and charity that fight within a man. Some people think this is Jansenistic, but The italian Augustinians and Cardinal Henry Norris championed the rigorour Augustinian view and defended it from charges of Jansenism.

Would you be able (or willing) to explain this in more detail (i.e. how "victorious delectation" relates to these two affections)?

See, Thomists and Augustinians approach Predestination from two different angles. St. Thomas Approaches predestination from the angle of Causality: God is the Author of All that is, including man's free will. Because he knows what he will do from all eternity, God, knowing the future actions of man, nevertheless chooses to create him anyway. Thus, the will of GOd to create man free is to elect man to his ultimate end. God is the first cause of all secondary causes, including man's free will. Thus the freedom of the will is predestined!

Augustine starts from a different angle: He starts from Grace. God, from all eternity has willed to show forth his justice and his mercy. He shows his justice in allowing many to be damned, and his mercy in granting grace to some so that they may be saved. For, if all were saved, we would know only his mercy. If all were damned, we would know his justice but NOT his mercy. Therefore, he saves some, but not others. And he saves whoever he wants, without taking into consideration their future merits or works. The rest who are damned are damned through their own sinfulness.

Therefore, when God CHOOSES to give grace to some, and not to others, this is divine election. This is God's eternal choice to give grace to some. This is predestination, and actually, it is the view the Roman church espouses, because the Popes have repeatedly said that the writings of Augustine on Grace are to be considered as her own.

Now, in terms of the two loves, Augustine takes the position that in man there are two loves at war, Cupidity (Concupiscence) and Charity. Cupidity is lust and attachment to earthly things. Charity is the divine love of God. Whichever we take more delight in at any moment is that which wins. However, God gives to some the victorious delight of his grace. This is what causes them to think of him as beautiful. This grace is not irresistible (man can resist it), yet it is infallible in its effect. It wins. Maybe not initially, but in the end. However, it is not external coercion, it Just how when you see a beautiful girl, you fall in love. It's not really your choice, but not something you really control. Divine beauty is not something people say no to. At least not ultimately.

Now, when it gets back to who God chooses to give this grace to...full circle to Predestination.

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