God passing over people

In this forum I want to pin down whether Augustine and Aquinas believed that God could save everyone, but chooses not to (the reason why He would do this not being relevant to this discussion.

I haven’t studied Latin for over a decade. These two quotes from Augustine I found in an article on predestination in the old Catholic Encyclopedia:

“Cujus autem miseretur, sic eum vocat, (quomodo scit ei congruere, ut vocantem non respuat” (Ad Simplicianum, I, Q. ii, n. 13). St. Augustine (I. c.) also says: “Illi enim electi, qui congruenter vocati; illi autem, qui non congruebant neque contemperabantur vocationi, non electi, quia non secuti, quamvis vocati”.

Anyway know what that says?

Now with regard to Aquinas, some interpret him as using the word “predestination” in regard to either a decree on God about the elect, or about His use of grace. With this dual meaning, I think he can be reconciled with modern Molinism.

I am particularly curious about the “physical promotion” of certain Thomist. Since the soul is simple and spiritual, which called it a physical motion?

Augustine … many are called but few are chosen. Well, *quia non secuti quamvis vocati *is “because they had not followed even through chosen”:

    1. Sed si vocatio ista ita est effectrix bonae voluntatis, ut omnis eam vocatus sequatur, quomodo verum erit: Multi vocati, pauci electi 116? Quod si verum est et non consequenter vocationi vocatus obtemperat atque ut non obtemperet in eius est positum voluntate, recte etiam dici potest: Igitur non miserentis Dei sed volentis atque currentis est hominis, quia misericordia vocantis non sufficit, nisi vocati oboedientia consequatur. An forte illi, qui hoc modo vocati non consentiunt, possent alio modo vocati accommodare fidei voluntatem, ut et illud verum sit: Multi vocati, pauci electi, ut quamvis multi uno modo vocati sint, tamen quia non omnes uno modo affecti sunt, illi soli sequantur vocationem qui ei capiendae reperiuntur idonei, et illud non minus verum sit: Igitur non volentis neque currentis sed miserentis est Dei, qui hoc modo vocavit, quomodo aptum erat eis qui secuti sunt vocationem? Ad alios autem vocatio quidem pervenit, sed quia talis fuit, qua moveri non possent nec eam capere apti essent, vocati quidem dici potuerunt sed non electi; et non iam similiter verum est: Igitur non miserentis Dei sed volentis atque currentis est hominis, quoniam non potest effectus misericordiae Dei esse in hominis potestate, ut frustra ille misereatur, si homo nolit; quia si vellet etiam ipsorum misereri, posset ita vocare, quomodo illis aptum esset, ut et moverentur et intellegerent et sequerentur. Verum est ergo: Multi vocati, pauci electi. Illi enim electi qui congruenter vocati, illi autem qui non congruebant neque contemperabantur vocationi non electi, quia non secuti quamvis vocati. Item verum est: Non volentis neque currentis sed miserentis est Dei, quia etiamsi multos vocet, eorum tamen miseretur quos ita vocat, quomodo eis vocari aptum est ut sequantur. Falsum est autem si quis dicit: Igitur non miserentis Dei sed volentis atque currentis est hominis, quia nullius Deus frustra miseretur. Cuius autem miseretur, sic eum vocat, quomodo scit ei congruere, ut vocantem non respuat.

St. Thomas Aquinas taught that predestination, a part of providence, pertains to those who are destined to eternal glory. Reprobation pertains to those who **will not **attain eternal glory. St. Thomas Aquinas taught that God does not will every good to all rational creatures, although He wills certain goods to all.

See Summa Theologica I, Question 23 (Predestination) especially A4:

Reply to Objection 1. If the communication of the divine goodness in general be considered, God communicates His goodness without election; inasmuch as there is nothing which does not in some way share in His goodness, as we said above (Question 6, Article 4). But if we consider the communication of this or that particular good, He does not allot it without election; since He gives certain goods to some men, which He does not give to others. Thus in the conferring of grace and glory election is implied.
newadvent.org/summa/1023.htm

I’ll speak about Augustine since I am knowledgeable about him. Augustine did in fact believe that God deliberately chose not to save everyone, but only a few. In his work On the Predestination of Saints he wrote the following (Chapter 8; paragraph 14):

“Why does he [God] not teach all, so that they might come to Christ? Perhaps because all those he teaches in mercy [he taught]; but those who he does not teach in justice he does not teach [at all]? Because 'he has mercy on whom he wills, and whomever he wills he hardens. (Romans 9:18)… Thus rightly we say, God leads all to come to Christ, not because they all come [on their own accord], but because no one in any other matter [is able] to come. But why does he not teach all? The Apostle made it abundantly clear: because ‘wanting to show his anger, and his power, he endured with much patience the vessels of wrath who are made for perdition, and so that he might make [some] signs of his divine glory with the vessels of mercy, who he prepared in glory’ (Romans 9:18-23). Hence it is that ‘the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18).’ Here God teaches all to come to Christ; for here ‘he wishes all to be saved, and to come to knowledge in truth’ (1 Timothy 2:4). For if God wished to teach those whom the word of the cross is foolishness so that they might come to Christ, undoubtedly they too would have come. For he does not deceive nor is deceived when he says, ‘All who have heard from the Father and have learned, come to me’ (John 6:45). Therefore, perish the thought that anyone does not come who has heard from the Father and has learned.”

Cur ergo non omnes docet, ut veniant ad Christum; nisi quia omnes quos docet, misericordia docet; quos autem non docet, judicio non docet? Quoniam cujus vult miseretur, et quem vult obdurat: sed miseretur, bona tribuens; obdurat, digna retribuens. Aut si et ista, ut quidam distinguere maluerunt, verba sunt ejus cui Apostolus ait, Dicis itaque mihi: ut ipse dixisse accipiatur, Ergo cujus vult miseretur, et quem vult obdurat; et quae sequuntur, id est, Quid adhuc conqueritur? nam voluntati ejus quis resistit? numquid responsum est ab Apostolo, O homo, falsum est quod dixisti? Non: sed responsum est, O homo, tu quis es qui respondeas Deo? Numquid dicit figmentum ei qui se finxit, Quare sic me fecisti? Annon habet potestatem figulus luti ex eadem massa, et sequentia, quae optime nostis. Et tamen secundum quemdam modum, omnes Pater docet venire ad suum Filium. Non enim frustra scriptum est in Prophetis, Et erunt omnes docibiles Dei. Quod testimonium cum praemisisset, tunc subdidit, Omnis qui audivit a Patre et didicit, venit ad me. Sicut ergo integre loquimur, cum de aliquo litterarum magistro, qui in civitate solus est, dicimus, Omnes iste hic litteras docet; non quia omnes discunt, sed quia nemo nisi ab illo discit, quicumque ibi litteras discit: ita recte dicimus, Omnes Deus docet venire ad Christum, non quia omnes veniunt, sed quia nemo aliter venit. Cur autem non omnes doceat, aperuit Apostolus, quantum aperiendum judicavit: quia volens ostendere iram, et demonstrare potentiam suam, attulit in multa patientia vasa irae quae perfecta sunt in perditionem, et ut notas faciat divitias gloriae suae in vasa misericordiae, quae praeparavit in gloriam (Rom. IX, 18-23). Hinc est quod verbum crucis pereuntibus stultitia est; his autem qui salvi fiunt, virtus Dei est (I Cor. I, 18). Hos omnes docet venire au Christum Deus; hos enim omnes vult salvos fieri, et in agnitionem veritatis venire (I Tim. II, 4). Nam si et illos quibus stultitia est verbum crucis, ut ad Christum venirent, docere voluisset, procul dubio venirent et ipsi. Non enim fallit aut fallitur qui ait, Omnis qui audivit a Patre et didicit, venit ad me. Absit ergo ut quisquam non veniat, qui a Patre audivit et didicit.

I highlighted the portions that I translated.

Gerald Bonner, a Patristics scholar, has some really good work on Augustine’s theories of grace, free will, and salvation. I can give you the bibliographic information if you want.

This one is easy :).

Here, “physical” is not synonymous with “material,” but rather with “natural” or (as in this case) “pertaining to the nature” (In Greek, the term physis means “nature.”)

In this case, the “nature” in question is a concrete human nature, or human being. According to Bañez’ theory, the nature (physis)—which is the essence or substance considered as the origin of operation—is moved by God by a previous (i.e., not based on future merits) grace, to do whatever God wants it do (repent, be baptized, or what have you).

P.S. I think you meant physical pre-motion, not pro-motion.

Here is the translation:

Cuius autem miseretur, sic eum vocat, (quomodo scit ei congruere, ut vocantem non respuat.

However, to someone who shows mercy, even so [God] calls him, in the way that He considers appropriate for him [for that person], lest he * reject the One * who calls.*

Illi enim electi, qui congruenter vocati; illi autem, qui non congruebant neque contemperabantur vocationi, non electi, quia non secuti, quamvis vocati".

Those who have been called in an appropriate way, in fact, have been chosen; however, those who have not corresponded or obeyed the call, even though they are called, have not been chosen, because they have not followed the call.

Both are from De diversis quaestionibus ad Simplicianum, q. ii, no. 13.*

The term physical promotion is from Domingo Bañez, conceptually from St. Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologica I, II.Q109.1 response):And hence no matter how perfect a corporeal or spiritual nature is supposed to be, it cannot proceed to its act unless it be moved by God; but this motion is according to the plan of His providence, and not by necessity of nature, as the motion of the heavenly body.
newadvent.org/summa/2109.htm

The pre is in nature not in time and the physical is real vs moral. It is motion because it is transition from potential to act.

I want to further point out and clarify Augustine’s statement in Ad Simplicianum. The second line is particularly important. Augustine holds the following position: God chooses the elect due to no choices of their own. They are only chosen due to his divine mercy. The damned or unchosen are rightly damned due to the merits of their own sin.

So under this rubric of logic for Augustine, ignoring the call is a sin and thus they merit damnation. However, those who did choose to follow the call only did so because God had already elected them and given them the grace to do so.

I just wanted to clarify that, since those lines were without much context.

I don’t understand how we can regard such people of having superior understanding of God when their theological and philosophical understanding of things is overwhelmed by the theological and philosophical understanding of our times. I also question their sainthood and blessedness once they can believe such things about “God” and still choosing to follow him.

The logic actually makes sense to me, the problem I have is that endless punishment is the default outcome of all human life ,with salvation as the “special exception for a few.” If the default outcome of all human life were simply death or permanent cessation of existence, then I think I am OK with God arbitrarily choosing some for eternal life and “passing over” others. I would be fine if God chooses to “pass over” me and let me die. I consider it a gift that I lived at all. Whatever life I have been given is enough for me, and I am very grateful. But, what doesn’t seem fair is to call me into existence just so I can be tormented endlessly! :eek: If I knew that would be the outcome, I would never have consented to be born. Of course, this is impossible, but nonetheless if this is how existence really is, then I wish I had never been born. Is that so unfounded? I sometimes wonder if others think similarly.

I don’t believe Aquinas’s statement as quoted so far on this thread is necessarily the same as what Augustine says when he writes “For if God wished to teach those whom the word of the cross is foolishness so that they might come to Christ, undoubtedly they too would have come”. Aquinas says “if we consider the communication of this or that particular good, He does not allot it without election; since He gives certain goods to some men, which He does not give to others”; however, I understand it to mean that God does not wish to give glory to people who die in mortal sin

I understand Matthew 11 ("For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes) to mean that God WOULD perform miracles for them on a latter date.

Does anyone have Aquinas’s commentary on Matthew 11?

**1 Cor 1:18 **For the word of the cross, to them indeed that perish, is foolishness; but to them that are saved, that is, to us, it is the power of God.
St. A.: “those whom the word of the cross is foolishness” are not the elect.
**St. T.: ** “He does not allot it without election”

Read Catena Aurea here:
catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea-Matthew11.php

lmelahn has a different take on this than you Vico. When Aquinas says that God “does not allot it without election”, is he speaking of election to grace or election to glory directly?

I have struggled over the past couple years with the idea of someone having the power to choose between two things, but there being infallible certainty from the nature of the two things as to which he will choose. That is the essence of Augustine’s (and maybe Aquinas’s) view of free will. It has caused me some confusion introspectively, but when I see it most clearly it is plain to me that this idea does away with free will properly understood, and only modern Molinism keeps that doctrine safe.

So was Augustine a Calvinist? The Catholic Church, as far as I’ve researched, only condemned an extreme caricature of Calvinism, such that people reacted to grace as a marble or chair would. I would like to know where She has said that free will is the freedom and power to choose unencumbered between one thing or another

Both grace and glory.

In Q23, A3 St. Thomas Aquinas states that “Therefore, as predestination includes the will to confer grace and glory; so also reprobation includes the will to permit a person to fall into sin, and to impose the punishment of damnation on account of that sin.” Communication of goodness (Q23, A4) is of two kinds:

[LIST]
*]“goodness in general” is without election.
*]“this or that particular good” is with election.
[/LIST]
Question 23. Predestination – Article 4. Whether the predestined are chosen by God?

“Eligantur.”]

Objection 1. It seems that the predestined are not chosen by God. For Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv, 1) that as the corporeal sun sends his rays upon all without selection, so does God His goodness. But the goodness of God is communicated to some in an especial manner through a participation of grace and glory. Therefore God without any selection communicates His grace and glory; and this belongs to predestination.

**Reply to Objection 1. **If the communication of the divine goodness in general be considered, God communicates His goodness without election; inasmuch as there is nothing which does not in some way share in His goodness, as we said above (Question 6, Article 4). But if we consider the communication of this or that particular good, He does not allot it without election; since He gives certain goods to some men, which He does not give to others. Thus in the conferring of grace and glory election is implied.
newadvent.org/summa/1023.htm

There is also dhspriory.org/thomas/SSMatthew.htm#11. Scroll down to lectio 2.

I am still not seeing a “smoking gun” quote here. When Thomas Aquinas writes that “therefore, as predestination includes the will to confer grace and glory; so also reprobation includes the will to permit a person to fall into sin, and to impose the punishment of damnation on account of that sin” it could be understood as meaning that God gave the same grace to the elect and non-elect, but that their choices caused God to confer glory on some and not others. Otherwise, what is the use of God’s vision of the future which Aquinas speaks of? It would be superfluous

The relevant parts are the following from Aquinas on Matthew 11: “Again, some said that only those foreknown will be saved, because, if he preached to them, they would be converted. —He (Jesus) excludes this when he says that it will go ill with Tyre and Sidon, but worse for those others to whom the kingdom of heaven was announced. Hence Augustine says: ‘The Lord does not reward what they would have done, but what they have done.’”

So Aquinas believed that God will not give everyone every grace possible until the end?

“Augustine gives a further explanation, namely, that the Lord foreknew that if they had believed, they would not have persevered at the time of the passion; therefore, he did not send to them.”

This is very strange. This is Molina’s position. Does this mean Augustine and Aquinas were contrary to Banez? It seems to be. Foreknowledge in the sense of a vision is different from saying that God knows what a person will choose in the sense that a parent knows that their child with choose the cake over the mud pie to eat

lmelahn and I have conversed before about rigid views of efficacious grace. When Augustine says “if God wished to teach those whom the word of the cross is foolishness so that they might come to Christ, undoubtedly they too would have come”, he may have meant this merely in a hopeful sense. I remember Aquinas quoting him in saying that some people would not have been saved had others not fallen and been a warning. I am not sure either of them meant this in the strict sense that it is metaphysically impossible for every human to be saved.

I’d like to know what Aquinas meant when he says in the Summa First Part Question 22 Article Two that “from the fact that He does not restrain the wicked from the evil of sin, He is said to abandon”. Why wouldn’t God restrain the wicked?

He clearly states that the particular good and glory go together with election:

Reply to Objection 1. If the communication of the divine goodness in general be considered, God communicates His goodness without election; inasmuch as there is nothing which does not in some way share in His goodness, as we said above (Question 6, Article 4). But if we consider the communication of this or that particular good, He does not allot it without election; since He gives certain goods to some men, which He does not give to others. Thus in the conferring of grace and glory election is implied.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.