Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others?
(12-20-2011, 09:26 PM)Melkite Wrote:
(12-20-2011, 06:33 PM)Doce Me Wrote: First, because this is what the Church and Scripture teach, as others have said.

But I think the main philosophic/theological reason is that although God DOES NOT cause sin, God DOES cause all goodness.  For HIM all His causing (and permitting)  is from eternity ("in His eternal now"), even though for US it is carried out over time. God is outside of time.  Our destinies,  only as considered by Him in His "eternal now", are fixed - doing good and being permitted to do evil - there is, as it were, a pattern of light and dark, His eternal plan.  What is hardest to see (as I've said before) is that God can cause our goodness but we are causing it too, perfectly freely, over the course of our lives.  We have free will, and our lives are not futile. (God is the "primary cause" but we are the "secondary cause"). God transcends our will and our understanding.

Seems impossible to understand.  But what I understand even less is the idea that there is something good in the world that God does not cause, something that is not subject to His power.  The mystery of free-will and God's absolute sovereignty is at the heart of predestination.  You have to believe both, even though it puts you into the heart of a mystery 

God's ways are not our ways, His eternity is not our time.  He is the cause of causes.  He is the cause of being and goodness  and freedom in the way that we can never be.

Oh, ok, I think I get it now.  From God's perspective, in eternity, our destiny is set because he sees it outside of time.  From our perspective, inside time, we set our own destiny by the choices we make.  So it is proper to speak of redestination when trying to explain it from the only way we can understand God's perspective, but from our perspective it is completely acceptable to reject predestination when speaking in terms of our perspective, and choosing solely our free choice.  I can accept that easily :)  and this would show why Calvinistic predestination is an error, because it's attempting to apply predestination to our perspective where it doesn't belong.

Be careful not to forget that God causes our goodness in our time, even if He is not Himself in our time.  (There is no glass wall behind which He watches us) He doesn't just see us moving freely, He causes it - although He moves our will only as a Creator can move His own creature, without breaking the power within it, without making it less free. He makes our will a secondary cause, but He remains the primary cause all along. .

This all pervasive working of God's goodness is real but not "easy" to understand or (at least at first) to accept. But it is surely something that needs to be accepted even in "our perspective"!  That doesn't mean it always need to be explicit in our minds.  Of course not, we must do good day to day just as we would if we had never heard of these things. We can't fathom the workings of God's mind.

Accepting predestination and in particular God's causing even our good willing helps me better understand many passages from the Church, scripture, and saints.  We truly can do nothing good without God - this is not a pious exaggeration  Here are some passages from scripture (or from the Council of Orange).
"Scripture" Wrote:What have you, that you have not received? [I Cor. 4:7]
By the grace of God I am that, which I am. [I Cor. 15:10]
Without me you can do nothing [John 15:5]
Our sufficiency is from God [II Cor. 3:5]
No one has anything, except as it has been given him from above. [John 3:27]

"From the Council of Orange" Wrote:[III. Predestination] According to the Catholic faith we believe this also, that after grace has been received through baptism, all the baptized with the help and cooperation of Christ can and ought to fulfill what pertains to the salvation of the soul, if they will labor faithfully. [b]We not only do not believe that some have been truly predestined to evil [to sin - my comment] by divine power, but also with every execration we pronounce anathema upon those, if there are [any such], who wish to believe so great an evil[/b]. This, too, we profess and believe unto salvation, that in every good work we do not begin, and afterwards are helped by the mercy of God, but He Himself, with no preceding good services [on our part], previously inspires us with faith and love of Him, so that we may both faithfully seek the sacraments of baptism, and after baptism with His help be able to perform those [acts] which are pleasing to Him. So very clearly we should believe that the faith-so admirable-both of that famous thief, whom the Lord restored to his native land of paradise [Luke 23:43], and of Cornelius the centurion, to whom the angel of the Lord was sent [ Acts 10:3], and of Zacheus, who deserved to receive the Lord Himself [Luke 19:6], was not from nature, but a gift of God's bounty.

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Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others? - by Doce Me - 12-21-2011, 12:51 AM

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