Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others?
(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.

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Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - by cgraye - 12-05-2011, 12:41 PM

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