Can we extricate ourselves from Molinism?
#21
(07-20-2011, 10:51 AM)Melkite Wrote:
(07-20-2011, 08:39 AM)Christus Imperat Wrote: Not only is it not necessarily Thomist/Augustinian, but I would say it is flatly erroneous.  In what sense would they "never turn to Him."  We hold that God may efficaciously will the salvation of anyone: St. Paul, St. Ignatius, St. Augustine himself.  The first quote makes it sounds as though God's choice is determined by the creature, which is exactly what Augustinianism/Thomism seeks to avoid. 

Fr. Lagrange summarizes the A-T doctrine as God who determines and is not determined.

What if God determines by not determining?  Could Almighty God possibly be secure enough in himself that he doesn't need to elect us to either damnation or salvation to prevent offending his sovereignty?  Could he not have decided, "hey, I'm going to create these people, and I want them to freely choose me, so I'm going to let them choose, even if ultimately I know they won't choose me"?  I don't see how that confounds God's will, if it is his will for us to choose him freely.  After all, we can't really confound God's will by rejecting him.  Did we have any power to raise ourselves from the dust?  St. Augustine took it in the wrong direction, seeing God's will can't be confounded therefore he must predestine to heaven and hell.  He should have gone in the other direction, saying God's will can't be confounded, yet people choose to reject him, therefore his passive will must be that all mankind would be saved, but his active will is to let it be each person's choice so that the love is true.  That's Molinism, from what I understand of it.  That's orthodox Christianity.  The end :)

The topic of predestination is not just mere intellectual speculation. It's based on the contents of revelation, namely Scripture which is the infallible word of God. St. Augustine wasn't making things up as he went along. Read St. Paul's letter to the Romans, 9:11-23:

"For when the children were not yet born, nor had done any good or evil (that the purpose of God, according to election, might stand,) not of works, but of him that calleth, it was said to her: The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written: Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated. What shall we say then? Is there injustice with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses: I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy; and I will shew mercy to whom I will shew mercy. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the scripture saith to Pharao: To this purpose have I raised thee, that I may shew my power in thee, and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore he hath mercy on whom he will; and whom he will, he hardeneth. Thou wilt say therefore to me: Why doth he then find fault? for who resisteth his will? O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it: Why hast thou made me thus? Or hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump, to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath, fitted for destruction, that he might shew the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he hath prepared unto glory?"
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#22
(07-20-2011, 11:01 AM)Silouan Wrote:
(07-20-2011, 10:51 AM)Melkite Wrote:
(07-20-2011, 08:39 AM)Christus Imperat Wrote: Not only is it not necessarily Thomist/Augustinian, but I would say it is flatly erroneous.  In what sense would they "never turn to Him."  We hold that God may efficaciously will the salvation of anyone: St. Paul, St. Ignatius, St. Augustine himself.  The first quote makes it sounds as though God's choice is determined by the creature, which is exactly what Augustinianism/Thomism seeks to avoid. 

Fr. Lagrange summarizes the A-T doctrine as God who determines and is not determined.

What if God determines by not determining?  Could Almighty God possibly be secure enough in himself that he doesn't need to elect us to either damnation or salvation to prevent offending his sovereignty?  Could he not have decided, "hey, I'm going to create these people, and I want them to freely choose me, so I'm going to let them choose, even if ultimately I know they won't choose me"?  I don't see how that confounds God's will, if it is his will for us to choose him freely.  After all, we can't really confound God's will by rejecting him.  Did we have any power to raise ourselves from the dust?  St. Augustine took it in the wrong direction, seeing God's will can't be confounded therefore he must predestine to heaven and hell.  He should have gone in the other direction, saying God's will can't be confounded, yet people choose to reject him, therefore his passive will must be that all mankind would be saved, but his active will is to let it be each person's choice so that the love is true.  That's Molinism, from what I understand of it.  That's orthodox Christianity.  The end :)


Then how does St Augustine differ from Calvin? Why is one heresy and the other not?

Calvin held that God's positively wills the evil committed by the reprobate.  SS. Augustine and Thomas teach that evil comes from the will of man (or angels) and everyone is given sufficient grace for salvation, but only the elect receive efficacious grace.  In other words, in His omnipotence, God may efficaciously will the salvation of anyone, no matter how hardened in sin and disbelief, and that person will infallibly be saved.  The flipside is that, for whatever reasons unknown to us, God allows the reprobate to remain in their sin.
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#23
By the way, I think the A/T doctrine of salvation is well summarized by Our Lord as follows:

"You have not chosen me: but I have chosen you; and have appointed you, that you should go, and should bring forth fruit; and your fruit should remain: that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."  --St. John 15:16
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#24
(07-20-2011, 12:17 AM)Melkite Wrote:
(07-19-2011, 08:09 PM)Gregory I Wrote: What would it take for the Catholic Church to return to its Augustinian roots and abandon the Molinism that has seemed to seep in like an oil spill?

I am not a fan of Molinism because it fails to taker seriously not only At. Augustine, but also Saint Thomas; both of whom were basically the theological foundations of the western Church, both of whom taught God's unconditional election of man to salvation, and conditional election to damnation.

Molinism seems soft and kinda wimpy.

What would it take?

That's dumb, I could just as easily say "what would it take for the Catholic Church to return to its Apostolic roots and abandon Augustinianism and Thomism?"  The Catholic Church doesn't have Augustinian roots because he only had one perspective that was adopted only in the West.  Neither he nor St. Thomas Aquinas speak for the Catholic Church as a whole.

And why would you base all your theology off of only one Father anyway?



It has been fascinating to observe that on this forum St Augustine and especially St Thomas are quoted so much more often that any other saints.
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#25
(07-20-2011, 11:37 AM)Silouan Wrote:
(07-20-2011, 12:17 AM)Melkite Wrote:
(07-19-2011, 08:09 PM)Gregory I Wrote: What would it take for the Catholic Church to return to its Augustinian roots and abandon the Molinism that has seemed to seep in like an oil spill?

I am not a fan of Molinism because it fails to taker seriously not only At. Augustine, but also Saint Thomas; both of whom were basically the theological foundations of the western Church, both of whom taught God's unconditional election of man to salvation, and conditional election to damnation.

Molinism seems soft and kinda wimpy.

What would it take?

That's dumb, I could just as easily say "what would it take for the Catholic Church to return to its Apostolic roots and abandon Augustinianism and Thomism?"  The Catholic Church doesn't have Augustinian roots because he only had one perspective that was adopted only in the West.  Neither he nor St. Thomas Aquinas speak for the Catholic Church as a whole.

And why would you base all your theology off of only one Father anyway?



It has been fascinating to observe that on this forum St Augustine and especially St Thomas are quoted so much more often that any other saints.


Put your money where your mouth is.  Bring some quotations from other fathers to the table.  It is edifying to see their doctrine.

I love reading St. John Chrysostom, but I do not know off-hand how he treated this matter, I'll take a look at his homilies on Romans later.
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#26
(07-20-2011, 11:32 AM)Christus Imperat Wrote: Calvin held that God's positively wills the evil committed by the reprobate.  SS. Augustine and Thomas teach that evil comes from the will of man (or angels) and everyone is given sufficient grace for salvation, but only the elect receive efficacious grace.  In other words, in His omnipotence, God may efficaciously will the salvation of anyone, no matter how hardened in sin and disbelief, and that person will infallibly be saved.  The flipside is that, for whatever reasons unknown to us, God allows the reprobate to remain in their sin.


Frankly I've never heard this terminology before. Can you point me to other patristic sources that teach these concepts?
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#27
Here is St. John Chrysostom's Homily on the passage from Romans: http://newadvent.org/fathers/210216.htm

Few points of clarification.

I would not approach the subject in the manner of the OP.  What we call Molinism is not heresy, the correct distinctions being made.  Furthermore, the Roman Church does not decisively or dogmatically settle the dispute between Molinists and Thomists.

As a Thomist, I am arguing for what I consider to be the more likely theological opinion.
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#28
(07-20-2011, 11:32 AM)Christus Imperat Wrote:
(07-20-2011, 11:01 AM)Silouan Wrote:
(07-20-2011, 10:51 AM)Melkite Wrote:
(07-20-2011, 08:39 AM)Christus Imperat Wrote: Not only is it not necessarily Thomist/Augustinian, but I would say it is flatly erroneous.  In what sense would they "never turn to Him."  We hold that God may efficaciously will the salvation of anyone: St. Paul, St. Ignatius, St. Augustine himself.  The first quote makes it sounds as though God's choice is determined by the creature, which is exactly what Augustinianism/Thomism seeks to avoid. 

Fr. Lagrange summarizes the A-T doctrine as God who determines and is not determined.

What if God determines by not determining?  Could Almighty God possibly be secure enough in himself that he doesn't need to elect us to either damnation or salvation to prevent offending his sovereignty?  Could he not have decided, "hey, I'm going to create these people, and I want them to freely choose me, so I'm going to let them choose, even if ultimately I know they won't choose me"?  I don't see how that confounds God's will, if it is his will for us to choose him freely.  After all, we can't really confound God's will by rejecting him.  Did we have any power to raise ourselves from the dust?  St. Augustine took it in the wrong direction, seeing God's will can't be confounded therefore he must predestine to heaven and hell.  He should have gone in the other direction, saying God's will can't be confounded, yet people choose to reject him, therefore his passive will must be that all mankind would be saved, but his active will is to let it be each person's choice so that the love is true.  That's Molinism, from what I understand of it.  That's orthodox Christianity.  The end :)


Then how does St Augustine differ from Calvin? Why is one heresy and the other not?

Calvin held that God's positively wills the evil committed by the reprobate.  SS. Augustine and Thomas teach that evil comes from the will of man (or angels) and everyone is given sufficient grace for salvation, but only the elect receive efficacious grace.  In other words, in His omnipotence, God may efficaciously will the salvation of anyone, no matter how hardened in sin and disbelief, and that person will infallibly be saved.  The flipside is that, for whatever reasons unknown to us, God allows the reprobate to remain in their sin.

Re sufficient and effacacious grace... is sufficient grace enough to be saved?  I mean, can a person who didn't receive efficacious grace receive Heaven?
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#29
(07-20-2011, 11:27 AM)Christus Imperat Wrote:
(07-20-2011, 10:51 AM)Melkite Wrote: What if God determines by not determining?  Could Almighty God possibly be secure enough in himself that he doesn't need to elect us to either damnation or salvation to prevent offending his sovereignty?  Could he not have decided, "hey, I'm going to create these people, and I want them to freely choose me, so I'm going to let them choose, even if ultimately I know they won't choose me"?  I don't see how that confounds God's will, if it is his will for us to choose him freely.  After all, we can't really confound God's will by rejecting him.  Did we have any power to raise ourselves from the dust?  St. Augustine took it in the wrong direction, seeing God's will can't be confounded therefore he must predestine to heaven and hell.  He should have gone in the other direction, saying God's will can't be confounded, yet people choose to reject him, therefore his passive will must be that all mankind would be saved, but his active will is to let it be each person's choice so that the love is true.  That's Molinism, from what I understand of it.  That's orthodox Christianity.  The end :)

1. God isn't the God of the deists, in the sense that He doesn't just sit back and do nothing and let us figure it out.  That isn't theism.

2. The efficient cause of salvation is God's grace.  The will of God is involved in giving anyone grace, which raises the obvious question as to how He chooses to give grace, e.g. why some receive more than others.

3.  The position you are taking seems to make grace a reward for a good will.  In other words, we have a good will and good intentions, thus we earn grace.  But then grace is no more grace.  What happens to St. Paul's teachings in this scheme? 

It also seems to me that such doctrines are problematic in the spiritual life.  Instead of standing in awe before God's free choice, humbly receiving the free gift of God, one would think that the logical conclusion of the doctrine that you are espousing is to think, "I have received grace and the gift of faith because I am better than my unbelieving neighbor."  In other words, one merits salvation by having a better will than your neighbor who doesn't merit salvation.

I only mean it in a sense where God is not just sitting back and watching.  I think God does just sit back and watch to some extent; he would have to.  The logical conclusion of him not sitting back and watching is that we are marionettes and he is the puppeteer, and when he gets bored with some of us he casts us into the fire.  I don't think grace would merely be a reward for good will.  Rather, God gives everyone sufficient grace to make a free choice for him or against him.  It would be unjust for us to be condemned to hell for eternity if we were not completely free to reject him.

Also, I think it would be the opposite of your speculation.  If God elects some to infallible salvation because God wanted to, then it would be those people compelled to think they are better than their unelect neighbors, since God wanted to choose them and didn't want the others.  If everyone has a completely compulsion free ability to choose, then the one who chooses God can not boast over the one who has rejected him, because they both equally and freely used their own will to make their decision.
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#30
(07-20-2011, 12:01 PM)Christus Imperat Wrote: Here is St. John Chrysostom's Homily on the passage from Romans: http://newadvent.org/fathers/210216.htm

Few points of clarification.

I would not approach the subject in the manner of the OP.  What we call Molinism is not heresy, the correct distinctions being made.  Furthermore, the Roman Church does not decisively or dogmatically settle the dispute between Molinists and Thomists.

As a Thomist, I am arguing for what I consider to be the more likely theological opinion.


Here is a quote from the homily that caught my eye.


"What was the cause then why one was loved and the other hated? Why was it that one served, the other was served? It was because one was wicked, and the other good. And yet the children being not yet born, one was honored and the other condemned. For when they were not as yet born, God said, the elder shall serve the younger. With what intent then did God say this? Because He does not wait, as man does, to see from the issue of their acts the good and him who is not so, but even before these He knows which is the wicked and which not such. And this took place in the Israelites' case also, in a still more wonderful way. Why, he says, do I speak of Esau and of Jacob, of whom one was wicked and the other good? For in the Israelites' case, the sin belonged to all, since they all worshipped the calf. Yet notwithstanding some had mercy shown them, and others had not."


St John seems to be teaching that God predestines because He knows what our free choice will be. I don't know enough about Molinism or St Thomas to know how that teaching compares.
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