In the last thread “The Elect” came up frequently.
Since it will almost certainly come up here, I have included some more information on the subject in case someone may not know about “the elect”.
"The Elect" and "the Reprobate"
At the end of time God gathers all his angels and people.
The people are judged and all becomes known to all. There are no secrets.
There at the end of time there will be only two possible outcomes concerning final judgment. Heaven (the Beatific Vision) or Hell (a self-chosen exclusion from the Beatific Vision).
By definition, “the Elect” will all be in Heaven, and “the Reprobate” will all be in Hell.
*]Heaven – The Elect
*]Hell – The Reprobate
ROMAN CATECHISM - On the other hand, nothing will have greater effect in subduing the passions and withdrawing souls from sin, than frequently to remind the sinner of the miseries and torments with which the reprobate will be visited, who on the last day will come forth unto the resurrection of judgment.
Since God is outside of time, omniscient, etc., God already knows all of this. In that sense, The people who are numbered among the elect and the reprobate is fixed.
We humans do NOT know such things as if we are of the elect or reprobate so we are directed to make our calling and election sure (“sure” to ourselves. Not “sure” to God since God already knows) by continually striving for holiness. Supplementing our faith with “virtue”.
2nd PETER 1:3-10, 2:20-21 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature. 5 For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election, for if you do this you will never fall; 11 so there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. . . . 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.
(Notice you can “Escape the defilements of the world” by knowing “our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” and still be “overpowered”. And if this is the case you are worse off than if you NEVER knew Jesus as “Lord and Savior” – To whom much is given, much is required–Luke 12:48)
If this being “overpowered” occurs, this is by our own free will.
And notice it would be better to NOT know “the way” then to “know” “the way” and abandon or “turn back” from Him.
How free will works into the formula of God’s Divine election/predestination is a very “secret mystery” and if attempted to come up with a natural formula that totally explains this . . . will fall into error.
The Secret Mystery of Divine Predestination
COUNCIL OF TRENT
That a rash presumptuousness in the matter of Predestination is to be avoided.
No one, moreover, so long as he is in this mortal life, ought so far to presume as regards the secret mystery of divine predestination, as to determine for certain that he is assuredly in the number of the predestinate; as if it were true, that he that is justified, either cannot sin any more, or, if he do sin, that he ought to promise himself an assured repentance; for except by special revelation, it cannot be known whom God hath chosen unto Himself.
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS . . . . because providence, of which predestination is a part, does not do away with secondary causes but so provides effects, that the order of secondary causes falls also under providence.
So, as natural effects are provided by God in such a way that natural causes are directed to bring about those natural effects, without which those effects would not happen; so the salvation of a person is predestined by God in such a way, that whatever helps that person towards salvation falls under the order of predestination; whether it be one’s own prayers or those of another; or other good works, and such like, without which one would not attain to salvation.
Whence, the predestined must strive after good works and prayer; because through these means predestination is most certainly fulfilled.
For this reason it is said: “Labor more that by good works you may make sure your calling and election” (2 Peter 1:10).
We don’t know if we are among “the elect” with a metaphysical certainty. Why?
St. Thomas says . . . . “it is not fitting that it should be revealed to everyone; because, if so, those who were not predestined would despair; and security would beget negligence in the predestined.”