Catholic definition of predestination & salvation


#1
  1. The other thread about Abraham’s salvation got me confused. Don’t Catholics believe that “by faith we are saved?”

  2. Do Catholics believe in predestination, and if so, what is their definition of it?


#2

Nope! By GRACE we are saved THROUGH faith…we are not saved by faith alone.

As for #2, there is some form of predestination Catholics ‘officially’ subscribe to, but I’m not sure what that is at the moment…the more knowledgeable people here can answer this one.


#3

As it was explained to me, it is that God has ordained, since before the beginning of Time, that those who die in His favor are destined to be with Him in Eternity.

This is not the same as Calvinistic predestination, which holds that there are people whom God has decreed, since before their birth, that will attain Paradise without regard to their actions in life. A similar belief, called double predestination, holds also that there are those who will go to Hell regardless of their actions - even recantation, penance and reception into the Church.

I’d give a pretty to know where Calvin is now…


#4

Not quite. Predestination is the act by which God directs certain people toward the goal of eternal life. How this relates to human free will, and how it relates to those who are not finally saved–these are very difficult questions for which Catholics have come up with a broad variety of answers.

This is not the same as Calvinistic predestination, which holds that there are people whom God has decreed, since before their birth, that will attain Paradise without regard to their actions in life. A similar belief, called double predestination, holds also that there are those who will go to Hell regardless of their actions - even recantation, penance and reception into the Church.

No, this is not correct. The view which Catholics call *praedestinatio ante praevisa merita *(predestination before foreseen merits; Calvinists of course don’t like the word “merit”), and which I shall abbreviate as PAPM, holds that God’s predestination (for eternal life) takes place without regard for people’s actions. The execution of the decree, however, *does *depend on human actions. In other words, the entire process is predestined, not just the final result. Only the elect (those predestined for life) will repent, believe, persevere, etc. This is true in Calvinism as in the “Augustinian” or “Thomist” forms of Catholicism (which hold to PAPM).

Reprobation–God’s choice to allow certain people to reject him and be damned–is a more difficult issue, but again the final damnation of the reprobate certainly depends on their actions, even in Calvinism. Catholics are not allowed to believe in double predestination in the sense that God actively directs people toward damnation without regard for their foreseen actions. However, many Catholic theologies skirt close to this, arguing that God chooses from all eternity to allow certain people to fall into sin and not to give them the graces necessary for repentance and/or perseverance.

Other Catholics–no doubt the majority now, though this was not always the case–hold to PPPM–*praedestinatio post praevisa merita. *This teaches that God bases His predestining act on His foreknowledge of human choices.

One very popular Catholic theory is called Molinism–that God deals with humans based on His “middle knowledge.” That is to say, God knows what humans will do in particular circumstances. This complicates the PAPM/PPPM difference, because we can’t simply say that God foreknows that certain people will accept or reject Him–they might accept Him in certain circumstances and reject Him in others. Also, in Catholicism dying in a state of grace is key, so someone might accept grace and then abandon it. Again, God’s middle knowledge plays an important role here. Let’s say two people are in a car wreck–both of them are in a state of mortal sin. God preserves the life of one (who later repents and is finally saved) but allows the other to die and go to hell (even though God knows that this person would also repent if given another chance). This of course amounts to a different form of predestination.

However, today many people interpret Molinism to mean that God gives *everyone *the maximum opportunity possible and only allows those people to be damned whom He foreknows would eventually reject Him no matter the circumstances. I think this is what most people identify as *the *Catholic view of predestination, though in fact it’s only one popular view.

I’d give a pretty to know where Calvin is now…

Unless this is motivated by concern for Calvin’s soul and a desire to believe that he was finally saved, it is a very wicked wish.

Edwin


#5

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