Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others?
#31
(11-30-2011, 02:06 PM)Walty Wrote: There is an important distinction between God willing something and God permitting something.  He permits some to fall, but He does not will them to sin.

Also, I don't believe the Orthodox have any different opinion on this.

Permitting some to fall is fine, I don't have a problem with that.  That's free will after all.  But is permitting some to fall the same as God electing some and not others?  If God chooses not to elect someone, can they manage to get themselves elected if they try hard enough?  If not, then those who God chooses not to elect, he chooses to condemn to hell.

It's true that the Orthodox don't have an official postition condeming the concept of predestination, but every Orthodox person I've talked to says they neither believe it nor know of any Orthodox theologian that does.  The majority opinion in Orthodoxy is that God neither predestines to hell nor heaven.
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#32
(11-30-2011, 02:11 PM)Melkite Wrote:
(11-30-2011, 02:06 PM)Walty Wrote: There is an important distinction between God willing something and God permitting something.  He permits some to fall, but He does not will them to sin.

Also, I don't believe the Orthodox have any different opinion on this.

Permitting some to fall is fine, I don't have a problem with that.  That's free will after all.  But is permitting some to fall the same as God electing some and not others?  If God chooses not to elect someone, can they manage to get themselves elected if they try hard enough?  If not, then those who God chooses not to elect, he chooses to condemn to hell.

He doesn't choose to condemn to hell, He merely refrains from giving certain individuals the gift of heaven, a gift which they do not deserve in the first place.  Those two things may sound like the same thing, but they are not.
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#33
(11-30-2011, 02:20 PM)Walty Wrote: He doesn't choose to condemn to hell, He merely refrains from giving certain individuals the gift of heaven, a gift which they do not deserve in the first place.  Those two things may sound like the same thing, but they are not.

I can see the difference abstractly, but look at it practically.  If because of the fall, all people deserve hell, and no one can escape that fate on their own, then God is confronted with a fact: unless I choose to help these people, they are going to hell - there is nothing they can do to escape it.  By choosing to not help them, he is choosing to condemn the hell.  Just as we can sin by omission, God can choose by omission (if Thomism bears out).  If we choose not to act, that itself is an action.  Likewise, if God chooses not to act, that is his choice not to save someone, and so can't be considered, practically, to be passively allowing them to go to hell.  It's like if I tell you if you do A, then I do B, you knew before hand, so you can't get upset if I do B when you do A knowing I will do B if you do A.  If God knows that someone can't escape hell without his help, and after that knowledge chooses not to help them, he is effectively choosing for them to go to hell.  He is the only one with the power to choose one option or the other.
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#34
(11-30-2011, 02:38 PM)Melkite Wrote:
(11-30-2011, 02:20 PM)Walty Wrote: He doesn't choose to condemn to hell, He merely refrains from giving certain individuals the gift of heaven, a gift which they do not deserve in the first place.  Those two things may sound like the same thing, but they are not.

I can see the difference abstractly, but look at it practically.  If because of the fall, all people deserve hell, and no one can escape that fate on their own, then God is confronted with a fact: unless I choose to help these people, they are going to hell - there is nothing they can do to escape it.  By choosing to not help them, he is choosing to condemn the hell.  Just as we can sin by omission, God can choose by omission (if Thomism bears out).  If we choose not to act, that itself is an action.  Likewise, if God chooses not to act, that is his choice not to save someone, and so can't be considered, practically, to be passively allowing them to go to hell.  It's like if I tell you if you do A, then I do B, you knew before hand, so you can't get upset if I do B when you do A knowing I will do B if you do A.  If God knows that someone can't escape hell without his help, and after that knowledge chooses not to help them, he is effectively choosing for them to go to hell.  He is the only one with the power to choose one option or the other.

But you're equating two similar things.  They are not the same.  And, again, you are only upset with this because you view each man as deserving to gain heaven, at least in potentiality.  This is not God's will, and it is not the greatest good for mankind as a whole.

You have to accept that, in order for us to be who God wants us to be as creatures, hell and the permission, even the omission of God's grace to save some, is necessary.  God, being so far above and beyond our understanding, cannot and does not offend justice.  This decision is not only just, but it is in our best interest in the end.

It's too easy for us to sit here and either condemn Christianity or condemn its God just because it sounds this way or that.  At the end of the day, this is a mystery.
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#35
I'm in agreement with Melkite.

(11-30-2011, 02:20 PM)Walty Wrote: He doesn't choose to condemn to hell, He merely refrains from giving certain individuals the gift of heaven, a gift which they do not deserve in the first place.  Those two things may sound like the same thing, but they are not.

If you want to claim that heaven is a gift from God that is freely given and none truly deserve, that's fine, that makes sense.  But when the only alternative is eternal everlasting torment, that becomes a bit more problematic, because if the only way for you to avoid this eternal everlasting torment is by something God chooses to give or not give you (which is not based on anything you do), I do not see how this can possibly be reconciled with the notion of a just or loving God.
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#36
(11-30-2011, 02:44 PM)Walty Wrote: But you're equating two similar things.  They are not the same.  And, again, you are only upset with this because you view each man as deserving to gain heaven, at least in potentiality.  This is not God's will, and it is not the greatest good for mankind as a whole.

You have to accept that, in order for us to be who God wants us to be as creatures, hell and the permission, even the omission of God's grace to save some, is necessary.  God, being so far above and beyond our understanding, cannot and does not offend justice.  This decision is not only just, but it is in our best interest in the end.

It's too easy for us to sit here and either condemn Christianity or condemn its God just because it sounds this way or that.  At the end of the day, this is a mystery.

Of course all men deserve to gain heaven, at least in potentiality.  Are you suggesting heaven was not God's intent for man when he created us?  If it wasn't, then what was God's will for us if man had never fallen?  How can hell for the majority of mankind be a greater good for mankind as a whole than heaven for the majority if not the totality of mankind?  Or at least some state of perfect happiness where there is no suffering?  I mean, you're still thinking from a scholastic standpoint, it's a reasonable question from that perspective.  But practically, what kind of God creates people for suffering?  In reality, you're proposing a God that is a sadistic monster.
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#37
(11-30-2011, 02:58 PM)Melkite Wrote: How can hell for the majority of mankind be a greater good for mankind as a whole than heaven for the majority if not the totality of mankind?  Or at least some state of perfect happiness where there is no suffering?  I mean, you're still thinking from a scholastic standpoint, it's a reasonable question from that perspective.  But practically, what kind of God creates people for suffering?  In reality, you're proposing a God that is a sadistic monster.

Well, then I guess the Scriptures propose a sadistic monster as well.  Forget predestination for a moment.  I think we can both admit that God is powerful enough to send all men to heaven if He so chooses.  And yet, as you have pointed out, most men end up in hell. 

Even if you reject the Thomistic argument for predestination, you must admit that God COULD save everyone, or at least the majority and He doesn't.  Why do you not believe Him to be a sadistic monster then?
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#38
(11-30-2011, 02:03 PM)Melkite Wrote: Vetus, I'm not merely being emotional with this.  I try not to think too deeply about predestination because this is probably the one issue that I can't reconcile with everything I believe to be true about God.  Despite some past truly emotional threats in the past, this is the one issue that could potentially cause me to leave the Church over.  The only thing that keeps me in the Catholic Church in regards to predestination is that I have my blinders up so to speak to prevent myself from actually finding out that predestination is Catholic doctrine that can't be denied.  I don't want to find out that I can't choose to either believe it or not, because then intellectually I would have to become Orthodox.

Predestination is Catholic doctrine, you can't deny it or pretend it doesn't exist. The same with election.

If there are Orthodox who reject predestination and election, then they're liars and disobedient to Scripture and revelation.

Quote:For every quote that supports predestination there is another one that contradicts it.

This is simply not true.
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#39
(11-30-2011, 03:01 PM)Walty Wrote: Even if you reject the Thomistic argument for predestination, you must admit that God COULD save everyone, or at least the majority and He doesn't.  Why do you not believe Him to be a sadistic monster then?

The difference is entirely in the reason they are damned.  Are they damned because of a choice they made, when they were actually capable of making another choice, or are they damned because God did not give them the thing that they needed to avoid it, when he did give it to others?
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#40
(11-30-2011, 03:15 PM)cgraye Wrote:
(11-30-2011, 03:01 PM)Walty Wrote: Even if you reject the Thomistic argument for predestination, you must admit that God COULD save everyone, or at least the majority and He doesn't.  Why do you not believe Him to be a sadistic monster then?

The difference is entirely in the reason they are damned.  Are they damned because of a choice they made, when they were actually capable of making another choice, or are they damned because God did not give them the thing that they needed to avoid it, when he did give it to others?

God has mercy on whom He was mercy and He hardenth whom He hardeneth. This is clear.

God hardened the Pharaoh's heart, did he not? And how so? By withholding His grace from him, by letting him to his sinful devices. The same happens with the reprobate. They are damned in their own sins, they hate God and righteousness, there's nothing they can argue against their sorry fate.
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