Predestenation?


#21

[quote=Gottle of Geer]##Despite appearances, predestination is completely contrary to determinism. Predestination gives freedom - it does not limit it. As for free will, it depends what we’re talking about; for free will is designed to make service of God easier. What free will is not, is liberty to do as we wish - it is liberty to choose to do that which we are meant to do - IOW, to love God. FW is not morally neutral, as though it were a power of total self-determination. ##
[/quote]

Thanks! This is a very good explanation. The two types of freedoms you speak of are freedom of indifference vs. freedom for excellence. I like the analogy of two guys who purchase a car that says “no diesel fuel”. One guy says, “I’m free, I don’t have to listen to what this sign says”, and puts diesel fuel in the car. His car dies at the stop light. The other guy says, “The creator of this car knew how it runs best, so I will put unleaded fuel in it”. He drove freely. That is true freedom. Freedom for self-determination is a lower form of freedom, and can actually end up leading into no freedom at all (i.e.We become slaves to sin in doing what we “want to do”). Whereas, when we operate within the confines of God’s plan, we are free to do anything. It’s really an awesome thought.


#22

The Catholic understanding of Predestination… (though not a complete understanding) sounds a bit like this:

  1. God desires all men to be saved
  2. God gives all men the “opportunity” to be saved
  3. God gives all men the free will to choose to take advantage of those “opportunities.”
  4. All men are not given equal “opportunity.”

(All men do not react to those opportunities appropriately either…)

It has been a long time since I have studied this topic, so please tweak if anything looks confusing. Do not confuse the word predestination as used by other religions as the Catholic idea of Predestination…same word VERY different meaning.


#23

[quote=frogman80]The Catholic understanding of Predestination… (though not a complete understanding) sounds a bit like this:

  1. God desires all men to be saved
  2. God gives all men the “opportunity” to be saved
  3. God gives all men the free will to choose to take advantage of those “opportunities.”
  4. All men are not given equal “opportunity.”

(All men do not react to those opportunities appropriately either…)

It has been a long time since I have studied this topic, so please tweak if anything looks confusing. Do not confuse the word predestination as used by other religions as the Catholic idea of Predestination…same word VERY different meaning.
[/quote]

Looks good to me!


#24

For a detailed explanation go to:

newadvent.org/cathen/12378a.htm

Also, check out a book from Catholic Answers by Jimmy Akin called “The Salvation Controversy.”

Basically, you–I think–have confused predestination with foreknowledge. The two are related, but in Calvin’s view they are definitely NOT he same thing.

In Calvin’s view Predestination is primarily about salvation. That is, it has to do with who will and who will not respond positively to the Gospel. Calvin taught–I am generalizing here–that God determined before the foundation of the world who would be elect (saved) have who would be reprobate (damned). Those in the former category were given the grace to know and recognized the truth of the Gospel and respond positively, and those in the latter category did not receive this grace. As to why some get the grace and others don’t is unknown even to Calvinists and just simply a matter of God’s “inscrutable will.” The underlying idea is that original sin so pervades our very being (Calvinist concept of “total depravity”) that we are not “free” to choose to respond to the Gospel and follow Christ without God’s doing this for us. Calvin also held that “once saved, always saved,” though this precise phraseology is not his. God’s grace is “irresistable” in the Calvinist scheme. We do not, and cannot, choose to go back once God gives us the grace to have faith.

The Catholic position is similar in some respects, but very dissimilar in others. The Catechism teaches that we cannot have faith unless God acts first to move us to believe and accept God’s grace and Gospel. Thus, the Holy Spirit acts to move us and give us the interior helps needed for us to “freely” accept the Gospel. Even official Catholic teaching does not hold that of our own free will can we come to true faith. The power of sin over us is too great for us to overcome it alone. God’s grace moves us to the point where our “free will” can truly act to make a “choice” to believe. However, the Catholic position differs from the Calvinist in that in some way God’s grace comes to all and all have a “choice” even if we can’t see how this is so. Second, no one is predestined to hell–NEVER!! Third, Catholics reject the doctrine of once saved always saved. We can “fall away.” We can, as Paul said, make “shipwreck of our faith.” So, in the end, for Catholics, we–through God’s grace–cooperate with God in our salvation. We need the support of the Church and especially the sacraments to stand firm in our faith.

This position respects our “free will” and God’s sovereign grace.


#25

I agree. Calvinism implicitly teaches that that God is the author of all evil - a rapist was predestined by God to commit rape, a murderer was predestined by God to commit murder (no sin occurs unless God predestined the sin to happen – i.e. God is the ultimate cause of all evil). God certainly is not the cause or source of evil since God is all holy and all good. It is this outrageous blasphemy against the all Holy God against that makes Calvinism irreconcilable with Catholicism (and a sane man’s sense of justice).

There are certainly more schools of thought about predestination within Catholicism than these three. A faithful Catholic is free to reject some aspects of each of these schools of theological opinion.

What we must believe in is that man does have free will.

:thumbsup:

We must also believe that God predestine the elect to Heaven.

We should define the terms predestination and reprobation. I accept the definitions of Fr. Most:Predestination means an arrangement of Divine Providence to see to it that someone gets either, 1) heaven or 2) full membership in the Church. We specify full membership because thee is also a lesser degree, a substantial membership which can suffice for final salvation.

Reprobation is the unfavorable decision [by God], to let someone go to final ruin. Fr. Most poses this question about predestination and reprobation:It is asked: Does God make both kinds of decisions, predestination and reprobation, before or after considering merits and demerits? Since there is no time in God, this really means with or without taking into account merits and demerits. It has been assumed by all that if God decides to predestine without considering merits, He must decide reprobation without considering demerits. And if He decides to predestine with considering merits and demerits, He must decide reprobation in the same way. This view comes from the belief that a person is either predestined or reprobated: both are two sides of the same coin. This view has been considered as obvious, as inescapable. Nonetheless, it is not inescapable. As we shall see there is a way to separate the two sides, i.e., to say that **He predestines without merits, but reprobates only after considering demerits.**I believe that Fr. Most has the most coherent explanation of predestination yet. IMO, he avoids the errors of both the Thomists and the Molinists.

**PREDESTINATION **
by Fr. William G. Most


#26

Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange is truly a great theologian. But I would not recommend his book “Predestination”.

… Fr. Most … had been studying the treatises of the great theological schools, and was reflecting on their presentations of the mystery of grace and predestination. One day in 1952, he was reading a commentary on St. Thomas Aquinas by the great Dominican Reginald Garrigou—Lagrange. The style was fluid and convincing, the thought logical and penetrating, but its implication was distressing. Pere Garrigou—Lagrange’s explanation of divine providence, in its attempt to be philosophically consistent, seemed to say that God reprobates and elects “blindly”—that is, He saves or damns without any concern for the individual soul. How then can it be said that God, who cannot change or be moved by anything, really cares about each and every man, and if He does, how is it that any are eternally lost? Does not God “will that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tm. 2:4)?

Sitting in his study on that day, Fr. Most wondered about the answer to the questions that he had just raised. But this answer, as mysterious as the love of God itself, eluded him. He found himself confronted with “darkness”; he believed in the mystery of God’s love, and for the present that would have to be enough. It was October 11, the Feast of the Motherhood of Mary.

Lord I believe, help my unbelief” (Mk. 9:24). For the next two years Fr. Most carried on his ministry with an attitude of trust in God based on faith. Finally out of the darkness of faith which he had experienced that day an answer began to take shape in his mind: **God is our Father. He wants all His children to turn out well and be saved. He determines to reject (reprobate) only those who gravely and persistently reject His graces. All others, He determines to save (predestines) not because of their merits— which come from His goodness—nor even because of their lack of resistance to His grace, but because in the first place He wanted all to turn out well so as to save them. Therefore He saves all those who do not prevent Him by their resistance. If we are good it is totally because of His gift, but if we are evil it is totally because of our resistance to that gift; evil men do not allow their Father to make them into His children, to empower them with “the freedom of the sons of God” (Rm. 8:21). **

This understanding leads back to faith, and to the realization that man is truly nothing without God, yet because of God’s goodness he is raised to the status of sonship and given an inheritance in the Kingdom. “Not a hair on your head shall be harmed” (Acts 27:34). This very simple presentation of Divine providence became the theme of a major work of theology. Fr. Most composed an eighty—one page summary of his theory in Latin, and distributed it to noted theologians all over the world, requesting their comments and criticisms. Taking all of the responses—both positive and negative—into account, Fr. Most composed a lengthy and detailed treatise, which was published in Latin in 1963. The work was critically acclaimed by many; several theologians saw in it a key breakthrough in one of the most difficult and most disputed areas of theology.

**Fr. William G. Most **


#27

[quote=mshealy]For a detailed explanation go to:

newadvent.org/cathen/12378a.htm

Also, check out a book from Catholic Answers by Jimmy Akin called “The Salvation Controversy.”

Basically, you–I think–have confused predestination with foreknowledge. The two are related, but in Calvin’s view they are definitely NOT he same thing.

In Calvin’s view Predestination is primarily about salvation. That is, it has to do with who will and who will not respond positively to the Gospel. Calvin taught–I am generalizing here–that God determined before the foundation of the world who would be elect (saved) have who would be reprobate (damned). Those in the former category were given the grace to know and recognized the truth of the Gospel and respond positively, and those in the latter category did not receive this grace. As to why some get the grace and others don’t is unknown even to Calvinists and just simply a matter of God’s “inscrutable will.” The underlying idea is that original sin so pervades our very being (Calvinist concept of “total depravity”) that we are not “free” to choose to respond to the Gospel and follow Christ without God’s doing this for us. Calvin also held that “once saved, always saved,” though this precise phraseology is not his. God’s grace is “irresistable” in the Calvinist scheme. We do not, and cannot, choose to go back once God gives us the grace to have faith.

The Catholic position is similar in some respects, but very dissimilar in others. The Catechism teaches that we cannot have faith unless God acts first to move us to believe and accept God’s grace and Gospel. Thus, the Holy Spirit acts to move us and give us the interior helps needed for us to “freely” accept the Gospel. Even official Catholic teaching does not hold that of our own free will can we come to true faith. The power of sin over us is too great for us to overcome it alone. God’s grace moves us to the point where our “free will” can truly act to make a “choice” to believe. However, the Catholic position differs from the Calvinist in that in some way God’s grace comes to all and all have a “choice” even if we can’t see how this is so. Second, no one is predestined to hell–NEVER!! Third, Catholics reject the doctrine of once saved always saved. We can “fall away.” We can, as Paul said, make “shipwreck of our faith.” So, in the end, for Catholics, we–through God’s grace–cooperate with God in our salvation. We need the support of the Church and especially the sacraments to stand firm in our faith.

This position respects our “free will” and God’s sovereign grace.
[/quote]

I don’t disagree with any of this. I think if you review my prior posts, you will see that I have repeatedly stated these things.


#28

[quote=Matt16_18]There are certainly more schools of thought about predestination within Catholicism than these three. A faithful Catholic is free to reject some aspects of each of these schools of theological opinion.
[/quote]

Any insight would be appreciated. What would these positions be? To my knowledge, anything to the otherside of Thomism would be Calvinism, and anything to the other side of Molinism would be Pelagianism. I, personally, do not think any system can rectify predestination to free will as the Thomists do. I think anything less does damage to God’s sovereignty.

[left]I agree with these definitions entirely.[/left]

[left]You stated, [/left]

[/left]

Again, I do not see the pitfalls you speak of in Thomism. I would love to hear your take. I am always open to changing my opinion upon coming across new information.


#29

I basically agree with Fr. Most, but I don’t see that his position is some kind of great breakthrough. Philosophically it’s not very impressive. It doesn’t make sense, logically, to say that God elects us on the basis of His desire to save all, but does not in fact elect all. If he only elects those whom He foreknows will not resist him, then as far as I can see our lack of resistance is the basis for His election–which Fr. Most denies.

And then we get into the question of why God created those whom He knew would resist grace. Why not only create those whom He knew would not resist? For that matter, if we really have free will, then God should be able to actualize that possible world in which all those persons existing in our world made the choice to accept God’s grace. I recognize that some respected philosophers (like Alvin Plantinga) disagree with me on this. But I can’t see it any other way. Far from God’s predestination being incompatible with free will, it’s the only guarantor of our free will. (I know this is cryptic–I’m happy to expand on it but don’t want to hijack the thread.)

So logically it seems to me that if God creates those whom He knows will reject His grace, He is in a sense reprobating them. Some form of Thomism seems inevitable to me. So while I like Fr. Most’s formula, I don’t think it solves the underlying philosophical issues.

Edwin


#30

[quote=Matt16_18]Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange is truly a great theologian. But I would not recommend his book “Predestination”.

… Fr. Most … had been studying the treatises of the great theological schools, and was reflecting on their presentations of the mystery of grace and predestination. One day in 1952, he was reading a commentary on St. Thomas Aquinas by the great Dominican Reginald Garrigou—Lagrange. The style was fluid and convincing, the thought logical and penetrating, but its implication was distressing. Pere Garrigou—Lagrange’s explanation of divine providence, in its attempt to be philosophically consistent, seemed to say that God reprobates and elects “blindly”—that is, He saves or damns without any concern for the individual soul. How then can it be said that God, who cannot change or be moved by anything, really cares about each and every man, and if He does, how is it that any are eternally lost? Does not God “will that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tm. 2:4)?

Sitting in his study on that day, Fr. Most wondered about the answer to the questions that he had just raised. But this answer, as mysterious as the love of God itself, eluded him. He found himself confronted with “darkness”; he believed in the mystery of God’s love, and for the present that would have to be enough. It was October 11, the Feast of the Motherhood of Mary.

Lord I believe, help my unbelief” (Mk. 9:24). For the next two years Fr. Most carried on his ministry with an attitude of trust in God based on faith. Finally out of the darkness of faith which he had experienced that day an answer began to take shape in his mind: God is our Father. He wants all His children to turn out well and be saved. He determines to reject (reprobate) only those who gravely and persistently reject His graces. All others, He determines to save (predestines) not because of their merits— which come from His goodness—nor even because of their lack of resistance to His grace, but because in the first place He wanted all to turn out well so as to save them. Therefore He saves all those who do not prevent Him by their resistance. If we are good it is totally because of His gift, but if we are evil it is totally because of our resistance to that gift; evil men do not allow their Father to make them into His children, to empower them with "the freedom of the sons of God" (Rm. 8:21).

This understanding leads back to faith, and to the realization that man is truly nothing without God, yet because of God’s goodness he is raised to the status of sonship and given an inheritance in the Kingdom. “Not a hair on your head shall be harmed” (Acts 27:34). This very simple presentation of Divine providence became the theme of a major work of theology. Fr. Most composed an eighty—one page summary of his theory in Latin, and distributed it to noted theologians all over the world, requesting their comments and criticisms. Taking all of the responses—both positive and negative—into account, Fr. Most composed a lengthy and detailed treatise, which was published in Latin in 1963. The work was critically acclaimed by many; several theologians saw in it a key breakthrough in one of the most difficult and most disputed areas of theology.

**Fr. William G. Most **

[/quote]

Have you read LaGrange’s book, or did you just read Most’s take on it? I completely disagree with the conclusion that Most drew from LaGrange’s book. God wills in two different senses. One is in a general sense and the other is with his consequent will. God does love all His children, and the Scripture says He desires the salvation of the whole world. However, the type of predestination you speak of seems to have a couple of holes itself. First, it still does not answer the question as to why some choose to reject God’s grace and other’s don’t. Did God not create all men? He stated, “**If we are good it is totally because of His gift”. **So, does God give to some more than to others? I know what I think and what Thomists think, but what does Fr. Most think. It would seem that this is the conclusion we would have to draw to be consistent. Second, it fails to address the issue of how we ultimately turn in faith. For even our ability “to will and to act according to God’s purpose” (Phil 2:13) comes from God.


#31

[quote=Contarini]I basically agree with Fr. Most, but I don’t see that his position is some kind of great breakthrough. Philosophically it’s not very impressive. It doesn’t make sense, logically, to say that God elects us on the basis of His desire to save all, but does not in fact elect all. If he only elects those whom He foreknows will not resist him, then as far as I can see our lack of resistance is the basis for His election–which Fr. Most denies.

And then we get into the question of why God created those whom He knew would resist grace. Why not only create those whom He knew would not resist? For that matter, if we really have free will, then God should be able to actualize that possible world in which all those persons existing in our world made the choice to accept God’s grace. I recognize that some respected philosophers (like Alvin Plantinga) disagree with me on this. But I can’t see it any other way. Far from God’s predestination being incompatible with free will, it’s the only guarantor of our free will. (I know this is cryptic–I’m happy to expand on it but don’t want to hijack the thread.)

So logically it seems to me that if God creates those whom He knows will reject His grace, He is in a sense reprobating them. Some form of Thomism seems inevitable to me. So while I like Fr. Most’s formula, I don’t think it solves the underlying philosophical issues.

Edwin
[/quote]

Amen Brother! I thought the very same thing. Thanks for sharing.


#32

Dr. Ludwig Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma lists five “schools” of theological thought concerning “Theological Speculation on the Relation between Grace and Freedom” (p. 248-249): 1. Thomistic Teaching
2. Augustinianism
3. Molinism
4. Congurism
5. Sycretism

I, personally, do not think any system can rectify predestination to free will as the Thomists do. I think anything less does damage to God’s sovereignty.

I think Fr. Most does a good job of showing that “Thomism” in regards to predestination is really not reconcilable with the actual teaching of Thomas Aquinas. So-called Thomism in regards to predestination is the product of Domingo Banez and Cardinal Cajetan:Thomists: they say that God predestines and reprobates without considering merits or demerits. Objection: Here is Joe Doaks, whom God has decided to reprobate without even seeing how Joe lives. Can He do this, and also say (1 Tim 2:4) that He wills all to be saved - which would include Joe Doaks? Obviously not. This impossibility was admitted by the real founder of the “Thomist” system, Domingo Banez who was followed by Cardinal Cajetan. But later generations of Dominicans insisted this view is not incompatible with 1 Tim 2:4. What they failed to see is this: To love is to will good to another for the other’s sake. So to will salvation to all is to love. So in this “Thomist” view, God would not love Joe Doaks. And because He would decide to reprobate many without any consideration of their demerits, He would really not love anyone at all. Did St. Thomas himself hold this view? By no means.

PREDESTINATION
by Fr. William G. Most

Again, I do not see the pitfalls you speak of in Thomism. I would love to hear your take. I am always open to changing my opinion upon coming across new information.

See the hyperlink “PREDESTINATION”. Note on Predilection: R. Garrigou-Lagrange (De Deo uno, Turin, Paris, 1938, p. 525):" "Hence the comparison of these different systems on predestination is reduced to this; what is the force of the principle of predilection: no one would be better than another, if he were not loved more by God. … In the order of grace, this principle of predilection is revealed in these words of St. Paul in 1 Cor 4.7: "Who has distinguished you? What have you that you have not received?’ [omits fact that resistance to grace is from us, not from God, and so arrives at the view that there is nothing to distinguish one person from another, so God decides blindly that these go to heaven, those to hell].

PREDESTINATION
by Fr. William G. Most


#33

Fr. Most never once used the terms “elect” or “election” in his article “Predestination”.

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.”

Given Fr. Most’s definitions of predestination and reprobation, do you disagree with the conclusion that he has drawn?

And then we get into the question of why God created those whom He knew would resist grace. Why not only create those whom He knew would not resist?

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.

For that matter, if we really have free will …

If we have free will? Do you believe that God is the source and cause of evil? I believe that any man that denies we have free will also denies the Gospel.

Far from God’s predestination being incompatible with free will, it’s the only guarantor of our free will. (I know this is cryptic–I’m happy to expand on it but don’t want to hijack the thread.)

Please expand! This seems to me to be an irrational statement. I would like to see you make sense of it. :slight_smile:


#34

[quote=Matt16_18]Dr. Ludwig Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma lists five “schools” of theological thought concerning “Theological Speculation on the Relation between Grace and Freedom” (p. 248-249):1. Thomistic Teaching

  1. Augustinianism
  2. Molinism
  3. Congurism
  4. Sycretism
    I think Fr. Most does a good job of showing that “Thomism” in regards to predestination is really not reconcilable with the actual teaching of Thomas Aquinas. So-called Thomism in regards to predestination is the product of Domingo Banez and Cardinal Cajetan:Thomists: they say that God predestines and reprobates without considering merits or demerits. Objection: Here is Joe Doaks, whom God has decided to reprobate without even seeing how Joe lives. Can He do this, and also say (1 Tim 2:4) that He wills all to be saved - which would include Joe Doaks? Obviously not. This impossibility was admitted by the real founder of the “Thomist” system, Domingo Banez who was followed by Cardinal Cajetan. But later generations of Dominicans insisted this view is not incompatible with 1 Tim 2:4. What they failed to see is this: To love is to will good to another for the other’s sake. So to will salvation to all is to love. So in this “Thomist” view, God would not love Joe Doaks. And because He would decide to reprobate many without any consideration of their demerits, He would really not love anyone at all. Did St. Thomas himself hold this view? By no means.

PREDESTINATION
by Fr. William G. Most
See the hyperlink “PREDESTINATION”.Note on Predilection: R. Garrigou-Lagrange (De Deo uno, Turin, Paris, 1938, p. 525):" "Hence the comparison of these different systems on predestination is reduced to this; what is the force of the principle of predilection: no one would be better than another, if he were not loved more by God. … In the order of grace, this principle of predilection is revealed in these words of St. Paul in 1 Cor 4.7: "Who has distinguished you? What have you that you have not received?’ [omits fact that resistance to grace is from us, not from God, and so arrives at the view that there is nothing to distinguish one person from another, so God decides blindly that these go to heaven, those to hell].

PREDESTINATION
by Fr. William G. Most

[/quote]

This is simply not a complete understanding of the Thomist view. God gives to all sufficient grace to be saved. However, to some He gives more. These are the elect. This is completely loving and just. It is also in the mold of the parable of the guy who enlists workers throughout the day. “Who are you to question my generosity? Did I not give to you what I said I would?” The point is that those whom have sufficient grace have been given God’s love. His explanation does not seem to grasp the full Thomist argument.


#35

[quote=Matt16_18]Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange is truly a great theologian. But I would not recommend his book “Predestination”.
[/quote]

I have Garrigou-Lagrange, and I have tried to read it and understand it. I think i’m a pretty intelligent guy, and I have to admit that that book is extrmely hard to understand.

I never finished it. I think it presupposes a certain amount of prerequisite knowledge that I don’t have. And since this issue is one that I have a hard enough time getting my mind around except for the most basic understanding of predestination, i wouldn’t recommend it to the novice either (of which i am one of).


#36

[quote=Dan-Man916]I have Garrigou-Lagrange, and I have tried to read it and understand it. I think i’m a pretty intelligent guy, and I have to admit that that book is extrmely hard to understand.

I never finished it. I think it presupposes a certain amount of prerequisite knowledge that I don’t have. And since this issue is one that I have a hard enough time getting my mind around except for the most basic understanding of predestination, i wouldn’t recommend it to the novice either (of which i am one of).
[/quote]

Good point. I have a young friend named Chris that is attempting to publish a book in this area. I think his book will help when it comes out. I will let you know more as the process moves along. BTW, keep an eye out for this kid. He will be special.


#37

[quote=Redbandito]This is simply not a complete understanding of the Thomist view. God gives to all sufficient grace to be saved. However, to some He gives more. These are the elect.
[/quote]

If no one who only receives sufficient grace is saved (and this is the Thomist view), then it’s not sufficient. This is playing with words. As is Fr. Most’s contention that only those who don’t resist grace are elected, but they aren’t elected on the basis of not resisting grace. (Fr. Most’s word game has more substance to it, though. I admit that it’s impossible to discuss this issue reasonably without doing some word games. Nuance is vitally important.)

Edwin


#38

[quote=Contarini]If no one who only receives sufficient grace is saved (and this is the Thomist view), then it’s not sufficient. This is playing with words. As is Fr. Most’s contention that only those who don’t resist grace are elected, but they aren’t elected on the basis of not resisting grace. (Fr. Most’s word game has more substance to it, though. I admit that it’s impossible to discuss this issue reasonably without doing some word games. Nuance is vitally important.)

Edwin
[/quote]

It is efficient grace that saves those who persevere to the end according to Thomas. This makes perfect sense as far as it goes. The rest is a mystery. Christ’s death is sufficient for all but it is efficient only for the elect unto final Salvation. How could it not be if you think about it. The beauty of this is it make God alone responsible for the Salvation of the elect. It preserves sovereignty without going to far down the road to Calvinism.

At any rate Catholics are not required to embrace the Thomist view - though they should :wink: since Predestination is meaningless if it is based upon foreknowledge.

Mel


#39

[quote=Redbandito]Good point. I have a young friend named Chris that is attempting to publish a book in this area. I think his book will help when it comes out. I will let you know more as the process moves along. BTW, keep an eye out for this kid. He will be special.
[/quote]

Redbandito,

Sounds good. Feel free to Private Message me when this happens as I would be interested in it.


#40

[quote=Matt16_18]Fr. Most never once used the terms “elect” or “election” in his article “Predestination”.
[/quote]

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. :slight_smile:

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.

Edwin


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.