A God Who won't save?

We believe in a God Who desires ALL men to be saved. But here’s a strange question: is there something He wants more than that? Aquinas says yes, and apparently is supported by Scripture “Many are called, few are chosen

Romans 9:19-16
“Not only that, but Rebekah’s children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. Yet, *before *the twins were born or had done anything good or bad- in order that God’s *purpose of election *might stand: not by works but by Him who calls- she was told ‘The older will serve the younger.’ Just as it is written: ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.’ It does not therefore depend of man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” Read the rest of the passage till verse 24, especially the part about the pots. Based on this Aquinas teaches that God could save everyone, but desires the good of reprobation. Nothing is denied the elect, who get a greater joy from being specially chosen than if everyone was saved. And this is not all. Aquinas says in heaven we rejoice over the pains of the damned, even though we were saved with efficacious grace, something they were not given. What are we to think of our God?

Do you have a reference for exactly where that’s found in Aquinas’ writings?

Even if he did say that, it wasn’t an exercise of infallibility.

I’ve never heard anything of this. And it makes no sense, because the Church regards him as a highly esteemed scholar.

Where did you get this from? Also, what Bible is the passage from?


It really depends on who you ask, a Thomist or Molinist. You have presented a Thomist view of predestination quite well, imho, so I will not discuss that. I will then discuss the Molinist view.

A very rough view of Molinism is that God is omniscient and respects the free will of intelligent beings. According to this view, God desires the salvation of all men, and thus He gives what is needed for salvation of all men, no exceptions. However, He also knows which people will reject His graces and gifts beforehand, and yet He still gives it to them. “For God makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthews 5:45).

Now let us tackle the first verse you mentioned: “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14 and other places). This excerpt from an essay explains well how a Molinist would explain it:

I have always wondered about Jesus’ use of the passive voice in describing our prospects for salvation: “Many are called, but few are chosen” (e.g., Matt. 22:14). The parables show a great deal of choosing, of exactly the day-planning and life-determining kind that we now deem central to human existence.

When the king proclaims a feast for the wedding of his son (Matt. 22; Luke 14:16-24), a lot of people choose not to attend because they have already chosen better ways to be the busy deities over their own time; they have already chosen their nap in the lair of the dragon. One man chooses to tend his field, because he has already chosen that good harvests of grain will direct his life. Another man is busy with his merchandise. Another has recently married. Finally, the angry king sends his servants out to find those whose very poverty and debility have sundered them from the illusions of important business: the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.

Jesus does not sum up such parables by saying what we might expect, “Many are called, but few are they who choose to attend.” That is certainly because salvation lies in God’s choice and is a gift of his grace alone: “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

But it is also, I think, because some people have chosen **never to be chosen. **

The Lovely Dragon of Choice

And you will see you can use this logic on Romans chapter 9 also.

So that is the Molinist view. Both it and the Thomist views on predestination are valid, you can choose one over the other and it will not affect your salvation.

I thought this was well known. I don’t have my Aquinas books with me here, but its in on the section of predestination-reprobation. Those verses are in every Bible. These are well-known in the Molinist-Thomist debate. But as I have shown from the Bible, Molinism is incorrect. We are like pots, and God is the potter. He gives everyone sufficient grace to be saved, but wicked humans won’t accept that. God has to push the will with efficacious grace in order to save us. Did you read Romans 9:17-24. God damns people in order to “show his wrath and make his power known”, to “make known the riches of hs glory” to the elect. Aquinas says that its the whole creation together which is important most, not individual salvations. There must be reprobates for justice to be revealed in the cosmos.


And how does what you post contradict Molinism? Read first what I posted above before you post again please.

I don’t understand the explanation. I would appreciate help with this. That’s why I’m here. Not trying to make people upset.

Salvation lies in God’s hands because of efficacious grace, which won’t be refused by everyone. The question is why he won’t give everyone this grace

“Many are called, but few are chosen” was in relation to the parable about the king inviting people to the wedding feast. Jesus told this parable to the Pharisees.

At the end of the parable, the man without a wedding garment was thrown into the outer darkness. The wedding garment is our righteous deeds. The Pharisees were hypocrites - they preached about being righteous but did not live it out - they had no wedding garment.

God calls everyone to righteousness. God calls everyone to wear the “wedding garment” of holiness, a life of virtue. He chooses only those who unite themselves with him, cooperate with grace, sacrifice their own desires, and persevere to the end.


God calls everyone to happiness, but Thomists believe He doesn’t desire to give the allimportant efficacious grace to everyone. It seems to be support by Romans when it says people are chosen BEFORE they have done anything God or bad, so that God’s purpose of election may stand as pure mercy


Alright, let’s go to the story alluded in Romans chapter 9 then, the story of Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:19-34): biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+25%3A19-27&version=RSVCE

Let us enumerate how God “hated” Esau “from the beginning”:

*]Esau had all the skills of a man of action, who could provide for his family and clan. Jacob however was a couch potato (Genesis 25:27)
*]Esau was loved by the head of the clan, Isaac; Jacob was loved by his mother, Rebecca (verse 28)
*]Being elder by a few minutes, Esau by birthright was to inherit all of Isaac’s possessions (verse 31)
*]Isaac’s sojourn into Gerar made even Esau’s inheritance even greater (Genesis 26:1-33)
*]Isaac later married a couple of Hittite wives, and they persecuted Rebecca and Jacob only (verses 34-35)

God hates really well, huh?

But all sarcasm aside, why did Romans chapter 9 and Malachi chapter 1 say “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated”? Think about it: how would you feel if you give all your love for somebody but you know in the end he will reject it?

All of this supports the Molinist view, imho.

One last hurdle: St. Paul says “God hardens the heart of whomever he wills” (Romans 9:18), alluding to how God hardened the heart of the Pharaoh when confronted by Moses. Doesn’t this remove free will? Not at all, actually. The beginning of the Book of Exodus just shows how merciless and uncaring the Pharaoh was of the plight of the Israelites.

Therefore, yes, God says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion” (Romans 9:15), but He will NOT screw up somebody’s heart and mind from full devotion to Him to full hate because of a whim, because God is just (cf. Romans 9:14).

Thomism doesn’t deny that sin causes damnation and good deeds salvation. Yes, hated means loved less. But when it says it depends of God, before we’ve done anything wrong, that could only mean, to me it seems, that Thomism is right about irresistable efficacious grace. It’s Romans 9:11,16 that supports this. I hope you refute me, I want to be a Molinist. I don’t see how Thomists believe God is Love, thanks


Then be one. Both Molinism and Thomism, when it comes to predestination, are perfectly valid in Catholicism.

I however do not have much of a grasp of Thomist predestination, though; from superficial readings of both theories a long time ago I went firmly into the Molinist side and never did study Thomist predestination after that.

Rom 9:17 For the scripture says to Pharaoh, “I have raised you up for the very purpose of showing my power in you, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy upon whomever he wills, and he hardens the heart of whomever he wills. 19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?”a] 20 But who are you, a man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, Why have you made me thus?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for beauty and another for menial use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the vessels of wrath made for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for the vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?"

We know God knows the choices we will make before we make them. That doesn’t mean He forces us to make any of our choices. We know He desires all to be saved, AND He is not stingey with His grace, AND He knows in advance who will accept grace and who won’t, AND, He made us with free will. If we didn’t have free will for what we do the following would be nonsense Deuteronomy 30:19 .

If we have no free will,
*]we can’t be held responsible for what we do. It’s the old argument, if God knows in advance before a person is even born whether they’re going to hell or heaven at the end of their life, why create a person in the first place that He knows will go to hell? Or at least why won’t God override their human will which He gives each person, and save that person from hell anyway regardless of what that person does?
*]If God doesn’t do that it looks like He creates a person specifically to go to hell. That’s the theory of double predestination (God specifically creates people to go to hell ) . That’s a heresy taught by Calvin along with many of his other heresies. Determined to Deny Your Freedom , Scriptural Apologetics ,
[/LIST]another side of this argument, If all are saved,
*]there is no purpose for hell or scaring people with the possibility of hell.
*]There is no reason for putting all those warnings and consequences for actions in the scriptures, since none of it will be applied negatively to individuals.
*]There would be no need for a judge at the end of life, because there is no “judgement”. Everyone is saved and going to heaven. Our actions mean nothing in the end, and have no consequences for our salvation…
[/LIST]God did everything necessary for us to be saved. He gave us the Catholic Church and the sacraments. All we have to do is do things His way.

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