We can hold that an intrinsic and infallible efficacious grace is given to the elect, through absolutely no foreseen merits, purely by God’s decree, which by no means annihilates human freedom, but rather actualizes it and makes freedom possible. But we have to bear in mind that “intrinsic and infallible efficacious grace” does not fail to bring the elect to glory. We also have to bear in mind that objections to this sort of doctrine were brought against St. Augustine by the Semipelagians.
I’m most interested in what the Catholic Church offically teaches. And no matter how we cut it, once the will is necessarily oriented by God towards a particular choice, then it really isn’t free at all. And that equates to double predestination, since the reprobate will be left out. Sufficient grace, yes, intrinsic and infallible efficacious grace, no IMO, if that means irresistible grace. And in the end it matters little anyway, since neither the elect nor the reprobate can know with absolute certainty which side of the fence they’ll end up on. For ourselves, in real time, we’ll struggle with sin, with choices between good and evil, life and death.
409 This dramatic situation of "the whole world [which] is in the power of the evil one"makes man’s life a battle:
The whole of man’s history has been the story of dour combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield man has to struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God’s grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity.
That struggle, with its less-than-certain-outcome, is what we know; the rest is speculation. Otherwise the entire drama of the fall, with it’s ensuing exile into a world of good alongside evil, with all the pain and suffering humankind has endured over the centuries, makes little sense. But this is a *perfect *world for learning of our creaturely limitations and need for God, especially with the help of revelation and grace. Adam freely fell; God wants us to freely rise, to the best we’re able with the gifts of time, opportunity, experience, knowledge, revelation and grace that we’re given. Salvation is a process, that is worked out. The Parable of the Talents and Luke 12:48 apply here. So Augustine would go on to say, “He who made you without your consent will not save you without your consent.”
I would be careful with this.
I think you’ve overstated some of your positions.
The interaction between God’s grace and man’s free will is a mystery.
That is, this interaction is ABOVE reason (not contrary to reason, but ABOVE it).
You can probe it deeper but if you try to say too much about it, you will fall into error.
Sometimes such things are better formulated as to what “doesn’t” occur.
I think your quoting of documents is laudable (but you have conflated God’s prevenient grace with justifying grace in some of your interpretations).
Keep up the overall good work though:thumbsup:. You have a lot of good insights here.
I am happy to leave it a mystery. My goal is only to discourage the “synergistic” understanding that so many Catholics adopt - an understanding that denies the mystery, elevates man, and destroys humility.
Does God work alone to affect man’s salvation? Or does God prefer that man work with Him? The Catholic teaching is certainly the latter, with knowledge that without God’s work we can do no good on our own, and that it’s God desire that it should be this way, not a metaphysical necessity placed on Him.
Yes, of course, as a good Catholic I rebuke both double predestination and universalism (and a monergist must choose one or the other), so of course I agree, as a good Catholic, with this particular language. But IMO it must be tempered.
It’s been tempered.
**God bless Fhansen and every readers of the CAF.
You said Fhansen:**
“And no matter how we cut it, once the will is necessarily oriented by God towards a particular choice then it really isn’t free at all.”
“And that equates to double predestination, since the reprobate will be left out.”
Your above statements are the crux of the matter.
I still believe your first statement need a bit of correction, but this correction doesn’t change the spirit of your second statement.
In my opinion, your first statement need a bit of correction as follows, and** your second statement is correct as it is:**
Even our wills after Initial Justification necessarily need to be oriented by God towards a particular choice our wills are still free.
“And that equates to double predestination, since the reprobate will be left out.”
This second statement is the crux of the matter, and no matter how we cut it, God’s works on the elect equates to double predestination.
After Initial Justification, man’s will is free because God immediately touches and DIRECTLY MOVES THE HEART OF MAN by orienting towards a particular choice, so man freely accepts and freely choose God’s orientation, God’s will and man’s will become one and the same will.
We have to be careful with the above statement because:
The above statement** is only correct concerning intrinsic and infallible efficacious graces,** like God’s grace of Initial justification or God’s special grace The Gift of Final Perseverance. – If a recipient would manage to reject them, God would lose His omniscience, DE FIDE Dogma.
**THE WAY GOD MAEKES SURE NO ONE REJECTS INTRINSIC AND INFALLIBLE EFFICACIOUS GRACES
First: **At Initial Justification, God PERFORMS a heart transplant, etc. (Ez.36:25-27), and then after:
Second: At the point when an intrinsic and infallible efficacious grace given, God immediately touches and DIRECTLY MOVES THE HEART OF MAN by orienting towards to freely accept and freely choose these intrinsic and infallible efficacious graces, every man always responds freely and positively. **– This is an infallible works of God in man’s HEART and WILL and man always positively responds and freely cooperates.
But not every grace God gives us is intrinsic and infallible efficacious grace.
For example: God’s actual grace given to us to do good works/supernatural works, etc.** is not intrinsic and infallible efficacious grace.**
We can freely choose to reject actual grace and not to cooperate with it.
Maybe sometimes we all reject this grace and we fail to cooperate with it.
If we would never fail to cooperate with it we would be perfect.
God only influence us to cooperate with actual grace, but God does not make us to cooperate with actual grace, like in the case of an intrinsic and infallible efficacious grace.
**In both case we are freely choose, the difference is: **
In the case of actual grace, God only influence us to cooperate and **we can freely reject it, or we can freely choose to cooperate. **
This kinds of graces involved with our spiritual progress and our supernatural works, etc., **our cooperation or lack of our cooperation effects only our rewards, our position and glory in heaven. **
If sometimes we fail to cooperate with actual grace, this does not effects our entrance to heaven (if it would, probably no one could end up in heaven) but it is effects our rewards, position and glory in heaven, so we pay a price (with other words; miss out our rewards in heaven) when we freely choose not to cooperate.
In the case of an intrinsic and infallible efficacious grace, God makes us to cooperate by immediately touches and DIRECTLY and INFALLIBLE MOVES OUR HEARTS and WILL and we are ALWAYS FREELY choose to cooperate, **this is a different kind of works of God then in the case of an actual grace. **
This intrinsic and infallible efficacious graces (Given only to the elect. - ???) involved with the elect entrance to heaven, if even one elect in all Christian history would reject this graces and end up in hell, God would lose His omniscience, DE FIDE Dogma.
**Your second statement Fahnsen is really applicable here: **
“And that equates to double predestination, **since the reprobate will be left out.” **
OUR WILLS MUST BE ORIENTED BY GOD TOWARDS MANY OUR PARTICULAR CHOICES
The spiritual position and the ability of and un-regenerated/carnal man to gain Initial Justification/Salvation.
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
But the natural man does not receives the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Meaning; man could do NOTHING, to enter the state of justification. – Man first need God’s heart transplant.
Strictly speaking only a person in the STATE OF GRACE can merit, as defined by the Church (Denzinger 1576, 1582).
Until an un-regenerated/carnal man is in the state of grace and in Christ, can do NOTHING and cannot make any supernatural decision. – Man still has a heart of stone and spiritually dead in sins.
John 6:44-45 (NIV)
44. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them.
John 15:5; “… for without Me you can do nothing.”
25. When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
- Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
John 15:16; “You did not chose Me, but I chose you …”
An un-regenerated/carnal man unable to choose God, unable to give consent to his Initial Justification/Salvation and unable to cooperate with the grace of God to get it.
**COUNCIL OF TRENT **
. . . None of those things which precede justification - whether faith or works - merit the grace itself of justification.
As we see above the ability of an un-regenerated/carnal man to have initial justification is 0 %.
For an un-regenerated/carnal man to have Initial Justification/Salvation 100 % depends on God’s Love, Justice and saving actions.
God simply Initially Justifies an un-regenerated/carnal man without his consent or cooperation, because he is unable to give his consent or to cooperate at his Initial Justification/Salvation.
So, God does not orient an un-regenerated/carnal man’s will towards the choice of his Initial Justification, because he is not even up to, to be able to oriented his will and choices.
When God calls and draws an un-regenerated/carnal man into His service/salvation His calling is backed up with an ABSOLUTE DECREE and in consequence of this DECREE, God gives them all the graces necessary for its accomplishment. – Furthermore this ABSOLUTE DECREE includes the INFALLIBLE entrance to heaven.
As you see above Fhansen.
Until an un-regenerated man is regenerated through initial justification and he is in the state of grace and in Christ, he can do NOTHING and he accept NOTHING from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him.
This means; God is responsible for the Initial Justification of the whole human race and this responsibility DEMANDS Universal Initial Justification and + with the addition of God’s special grace The Gift of Final Perseverance, which without every Initially Justified, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, would end up in hell.** – Infallible teaching.**
THE WAY GOD ORIENTS THE WILL OF THE INITIALLY JUSTIFIED (heart transplant done) TOWARDS PARTICULAR CHOICES (Please keep in mind, by this time Heaven is IRREVOCABLY in the bags of every Initially Justified/elect.) –* DE FIDE* Dogma.
Aquinas said, “God changes the will without forcing it.
But he can change the will from the fact that He himself operates in the will as He does in nature,” De Veritatis 22:9.
ST. AUGUSTINE ON GRACE AND PREDESTINATION
De gratia Christi 25, 26:
“For not only has God given us our ability and helps it, but He even works [brings about] willing and acting in us; not that we do not will or that we do not act, but that without His help we neither will anything good nor do it.”
De gratia et libero arbitrio 16, 32:
“It is certain that we will when we will; but He brings it about that we will good. . . . It is certain that we act when we act, but He brings it about that we act, PROVIDING MOST EFFECTIVE POWERS TO THE WILL.”
Phil.2:13; “For it is God who works in you BOTH TO WILL and TO ACT for His good pleasure.”
Similarly, the Council of Orange Canon 25 states, “In every good work, it is not we who begin … but He (God) first inspires us.” (#329.2)
In other words, when God commands, He capacitates the hearer to respond.
Yet the ability to respond is also His gift.
You said Fhansen:
No matter who we cut it, once the will is necessarily oriented by God towards a particular choice then it really isn’t free at all.
And that equates to double predestination, **since the reprobate will be left out. **
As you see Fhansen:
**God is not only orient **the will of the Initially Justified towards particular choices, but “it is God who works in them BOTH TO WILL and TO ACT for His good pleasure.”
You are absolutely correct Fansen, this equates to double predestination, since the reprobates left out.
IS GOD UNJUST?
God is not unjust, in fact God is just, His will is that everyone saved, and He saves everyone, there are no reprobates. – This is the Love, Care and the Justice of God.
Many Church Fathers knew the above truth, they believed and they taught Universal Salvation.
And today many Priests know the above truth and they teach Universal Salvation.
Universal salvation has become very popular in the modern Roman Catholic Church.
Excerpt from: Jesus Christ Salvation of All by Luis F. Ladaria SJ.
Archbishop Ladaria has been secretary, the second in command, of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 2008 until 02/07/2017 and from this date on Pope Francis appointed Ladaria SJ. to the position of the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Archbishop Ladaria SJ. teaching Universal Salvation since many years.
**Quote: **Jesus includes everyone and excludes no one, and all of us have received his fullness (cfr. John 1:16).
The universality of salvation and unity of Christ’s mediation mutually affirm each other [p. 144].
Yet by dying, he gave us life, that is the life of his resurrection.
Even those who do not know him are called to this divine vocation, that is, to the perfect son-ship in and through Christ.
Christians and non-Christians reach this goal by virtue of the gift of the Spirit that associates us with the unique paschal ministry of Christ even if it is through diverse paths known only to God. [p. 148-149]. End quote.
God bless Fhansen and every readers of the CAF.
Why do you say this? You seem to be desiring to pull the Catholic Church toward Protestantism. Not going to happen, as each and every doctrine that is uniquely Protestant is very clearly traceable to the personal opinions of a single disobedient man.
Protestantism does not equate with Evangelicalism… Nor does it equate with Augustinian/Pauline theology.
Protestantism equates with a rejection of the Papacy. And I am in no wise arguing for that.
I am simply encouraging myself and others to interpret the teachings of the Church through an evangelical, Pauline, Augustinian framework.
Not even Paul or Augustine would agree with your theology. They’d say you were misrepresenting them.
Well, LR, I see you still don’t quite understand the gospel after all this time. The Catholic point is that no matter how much we need God to orient the will, to establish “cooperation between God’s grace and man’s freedom”, man is always free to say “no” because,** “When God touches man’s heart through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, man himself is not inactive while receiving that inspiration, since he could reject it…” **(Both quotes from CCC 1993)
God bless Fahansen and every readers of the CAF.
CCC 1993 Justification establishes cooperation between God’s grace and man’s freedom. On man’s part it is expressed by the assent of faith to the Word of God, which invites him to conversion, and in the cooperation of charity with the prompting of the Holy Spirit who precedes and preserves his assent:
When God touches man’s heart through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, man himself is not inactive while receiving that inspiration, since he could reject it; and yet, without God’s grace, he cannot by his own free will move himself toward justice in God’s sight.
CCC 2022; “The divine initiative in the work of grace PRECEDES, PREPARES, and ELICITS the free response of man. …”
When we speaking about God’s graces to avoid confusion, we should always make it clear:
We are speaking about ** intrinsic and infallible efficacious graces,** like God’s grace of Initial justification or God’s special grace The Gift of Final Perseverance.
Or we speaking about graces which are not intrinsic and infallible efficacious graces, like God’s actual grace given to us to do good works like charity, etc.
We can freely choose to reject actual grace and not to cooperate with it or we can freely choose to cooperate with it.
Now let’s analyze CCC 1993;
Quote: “Invites him to conversion.” End quote.
For the conversion of the elect God gives intrinsic and infallible efficacious graces, if an elect would reject it, God would lose His omniscience.
**The Catholic Church affirms predestination as a *DE FIDE *Dogma (the highest level of binding theological certainty).
THE CATHOLIC DOGMA. – The predestination of the elect.**
Consequently, the whole future membership of heaven, down to its minutest details, has
been IRREVOCABLY FIXED FROM ALL ETERNITY. Nor could it be otherwise. For if it
were possible that a predestined individual should after all be CAST INTO HELL or that
one not predestined should in the end REACH HEAVEN, then God would have been
MISTAKEN in his foreknowledge of future events; He would NO LONGER be omniscient.
God’s unerring foreknowledge and foreordaining is designated in the Bible by the beautiful
figure of the “Book of Life” (liber vitæ, to biblion tes zoes). This book of life is a list which
contains the names of ALL THE ELECT and admits NEITHER ADDITIONS NO ERASURES.
**THE THEORY OF PREDESTINATION prævisa merita
THIS THEORY, CHAMPIONED BY all Thomists and a few Molinists (as Bellarmine, Francisco Suárez, Francis de Lugo):**
Asserts that God, by an absolute decree and without regard to any future supernatural merits, predestined from all eternity certain men to the glory of heaven, and then, in consequence of this decree, decided to give them all the graces necessary for its accomplishment. End quote.
At the point when an intrinsic and infallible efficacious grace given, God immediately touches and DIRECTLY MOVES THE HEART OF MAN by orienting towards to freely accept and freely choose these intrinsic and infallible efficacious graces, every man always responds freely and positively. – This is an infallible works of God in man’s HEART and WILL and man always positively responds and freely cooperates.
If even one elect in all Christian history would reject this graces and end up in hell, God would lose His omniscience, DE FIDE Dogma.
**What should we say than about intrinsic and infallible efficacious graces?
Well we could say:**
If an elect could destroy God’s omniscience, than he could reject his conversion and he could reject God’s intrinsic and infallible efficacious graces.
Quote: “invites him to cooperation of charity.” End quote.
For the elect for cooperation of charity God gives actual grace.
As God’s elect, we can freely choose to reject actual grace and not to cooperate with it or we can freely choose to cooperate with it.
**Of course it is very important that we should always cooperate with actual grace as well. **– I certainly do my best out of sheer love and for the Glory of God and out of sheer love for others.
God bless Fhansen and every readers of the CAF.