[quote=Matt16_18]Fr. Most never once used the terms “elect” or “election” in his article “Predestination”.
That’s not relevant. Election is God’s choice to predestine (i.e., direct as to a goal) certain people for eternal life. Fr. Most may not use the term, but he’s talking about the thing.
If you accept Fr. Most’s definition of the terms “predestination” and “reprobation”, the conclusion that he draws is indeed a breakthrough in the debates between the Thomists and the Molinists : i.e. “[God] predestines without merits, but reprobates only after considering demerits.”
I think it’s the correct position. But it’s not a breakthrough, because it leaves all the standard philosophical questions unsolved. It’s rather a statement of the paradox with which we are left as orthodox Christians.
God is just. God gives us the great gift of free-will, and God gives to every man the grace sufficient for his salvation. Damnation is the choice of men who resist grace, and God allows men to choose damnation. I don’t see a problem with this.
But the way you’re putting it is anthropomorphic. You’re imagining God as some kind of spectator standing off to the side watching events unfold. But God is in control from the start. When God created Judas (since Judas is the stock example), God knew Judas would betray Christ. God could have created someone else instead. God didn’t have to create anyone.
If we have free will?
Don’t take me out of context. I wasn’t denying free will. I was stating an inference.
Please expand! This seems to me to be an irrational statement. I would like to see you make sense of it.
OK–I’ll try to keep this as brief as possible. I’m still working through it, and probably always will be.
Let’s start with Adam and Eve. Actually just Eve to keep things simple. Eve has free will to eat the fruit or not to eat it. That means, as I understand it, that her choice to eat the fruit is not determined by her genetics, or her circumstances, or anything else outside the act of choice itself. It follows therefore that someone identical to Eve in all those respects (I’ll call them “external factors” from now on) could possibly have made a different choice. (I’m saying “someone identical to Eve” rather than “Eve” to avoid getting into the question of what constitutes personal identity, which I think is one of the knottiest problems in philosophy.) In other words, if Eve is free to eat or not to eath the fruit, then there is a possible world were “Eve” (i.e., someone who shares all Eve’s “external factors” and would be indistinguishable from Eve to any observer except God) did not eat the fruit.
This is the key point I’m trying to make. If no one with Eve’s genes, circumstances, psychology, etc., could possibly have chosen not to eat the fruit, then Eve was not in fact free (with libertarian freedom, which is what we both mean by free will in this context). It therefore follows that God could have created a world containing this other “Eve” who did not eat the fruit, rather than the Eve of our world, who did eat the fruit. God’s choice to create an Eve who fell was thus not inevitable. To say that it was is ironically to deny free will. If God could not have created an identical “Eve” who did not fall, then Eve was determined to fall by virtue of who she was.
If you don’t follow the logic at some point, please let me know!
I may well be wrong–my position seems to be rather idiosyncratic. But I can’t see where my logic breaks down.