Predestination - What is the Church's Position?


#1

Can somebody give me some material on the church’s teaching of predestination?


#2

Such a simple topic. Try Ludwig Ott, a little copy/paste from my site, this is what is De Fide (dogma)

– There is a supernatural intervention of God in the faculties of the soul, which precedes the free act of the will. (De fide)
– There is a supernatural influence of God in the faculties of the soul which coincides in time with man’s free act of will. (De fide)
– For every salutary act internal supernatural grace of God (gratia elevans) is absolutely necessary. (De fide)
– Internal supernatural grace is absolutely necessary for the beginning of faith and of salvation. (De fide)
– Without the special help of God the justified cannot persevere to the end in justification. (De fide)
– Grace cannot be merited by natural works either de condigno or de congruo. (De fide)
– God, by His Eternal Resolve of Will, has predetermined certain men to eternal blessedness. (De fide)
– God, by His Eternal Resolve of Will, predestines certain men, on account of their foreseen sins, to eternal rejection. (De fide)
– The human will remains free under the influence of efficacious grace, which is not irresistible. (De fide)
– There is a grace which is truly sufficient and yet remains inefficacious (gratia vere et mere sufficiens). (De fide)

The New Catholic Encyclopedia article on Predestination adds the following from Denzinger:

– God predestines no one to evil. (Denz 1567)
– He wills, on the contrary, the salvation of all men. (Denz 623)
– Christ did not die solely for the predestined or the faithful. (Denz 2005, 2304, 2430)
– There is a grace that is truly sufficient and that is a true gift of God. (Denz 2306)
– The grace of conversion is offered to sinners. (Denz 1542)
– They only are deprived of it who, failing in their duty, refuse it; this is something which God permits but of which He is by no means the cause. (Denz 1556, 1567, 2866)

Jimmy Akin has a good article on Calvinism vs. Catholicism which shows they aren’t too far apart. Also included as a chapter in his book The Salvation Controversy.

Phil P


#3

[quote=PhilVaz]Such a simple topic. Try Ludwig Ott, a little copy/paste from my site, this is what is De Fide (dogma)

[/quote]

You wrote a good article :slight_smile: I studied the Catholic Church’s position on predestination years ago before converting. I was a Calvinist. I favored the Thomistic view but heard some good arguments from the Molinists and Augustinian side, I recall. If I remember there are just three views right? Anyway,since the Church has no dogmatic stance favoring any of the positions I concluded what I heard said many times over; God is sovereign and man is free.

Jimmy Akin has a good article on Calvinism vs. Catholicism which shows they aren’t too far apart. Also included as a chapter in his book The Salvation Controversy.

Yes read the book and loved it! I remember agreeing and highlighting page 80-81 in the footnotes num. 25 “One should note that Thomists do believe in free will, although not the sort Molinists believe in. They claim God’s grace establishes what will be freely chosen, but in a way that does not disturb the will’s freedom. Aquinas says, “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 Veritate 22:9)”

I particularly appreciated chapter 7 with Akin’s refutation of the Calvinist view of monergisim and affirming the Catholic Church’s view of sunergism showing vast Scriptural support of co-working, working with cooperating from the Greek verb sunergei which is found in 2 Cor. 6:1, Rom 8:28, 1 Cor 3:9, Acts 7:51.

I have a friend who is a reformed Protestant pastor, a great guy with a masters in theology from Westminster seminary. He and I would talk often and eventually traded books. I gave him Akins book and he gave me John Murray’s book “The imputation of Adams sin.” Anyway, we eventually agreed to disagree but are still friends.
Ironically, he often dialogues with Evangelicals about the Scriptural truths of pedeobaptism and sacraments since he believes that there are two.


#4

[quote=Bishopite]You wrote a good article :slight_smile: I studied the Catholic Church’s position on predestination years ago before converting. I was a Calvinist. I favored the Thomistic view but heard some good arguments from the Molinists and Augustinian side, I recall. If I remember there are just three views right? Anyway,since the Church has no dogmatic stance favoring any of the positions I concluded what I heard said many times over; God is sovereign and man is free.

Yes read the book and loved it! I remember agreeing with and highlighting page 80-81 in the footnotes num. 25 “One should note that Thomists do believe in free will, although not the sort Molinists believe in. They claim God’s grace establishes what will be freely chosen, but in a way that does not disturb the will’s freedom. Aquinas says, “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 Veritate 22:9)”

I particularly appreciated chapter 7 with Akin’s refutation of the Calvinist view of monergisim and affirming the Catholic Church’s view of sunergism showing vast Scriptural support of co-working, working with cooperating from the Greek verb sunergei which is found in 2 Cor. 6:1, Rom 8:28, 1 Cor 3:9, Acts 7:51.

I have a friend who is a reformed Protestant pastor, a great guy with a masters in theology from Westminster seminary. He and I would talk often and eventually traded books. I gave him Akins book and he gave me John Murray’s book “The imputation of Adams sin.” Anyway, we eventually agreed to disagree but are still friends.
Ironically, he often dialogues with Evangelicals about the Scriptural truths of pedeobaptism and sacraments since he believes that there are two.
[/quote]


#5

I agree with Fr. William G. Most that neither the Thomists nor the Molinists are correct in their understanding of predestination/reprobation.

I believe that Fr. Most has the best explanation yet:
**PREDESTINATION **

by Fr. William G. Most

“[God] predestines without merits, but reprobates only after considering demerits.”


#6

[quote=Pjs2ejs]Can somebody give me some material on the church’s teaching of predestination?
[/quote]

The Pope *knew *you were gonna ask that question!


#7

[quote=Matt16_18]I agree with Fr. William G. Most that neither the Thomists nor the Molinists are correct in their understanding of predestination/reprobation.

I believe that Fr. Most has the best explanation yet:

**PREDESTINATION **

by Fr. William G. Most

“[God] predestines without merits, but reprobates only after considering demerits.”

[/quote]

I would agree with you that neither side has a grasp on predestination/reprobation. Fr. William Most also has it on tape and I remember listening to it years ago, but I’m not sure where to purchase them.


#8

I agree with Fr. William G. Most that neither the Thomists nor the Molinists are correct in their understanding of predestination/reprobation.

I believe that Fr. Most has the best explanation yet

I agree. I personally believe in Father Most’s explanation, with a few minor modifications involving the exact nature of sufficient grace. Hist explanation of an unconditional election but a conditional reprobation, and relating it to inheritence in a family is very good. The parents wish the inheritence, and they will get it UNLESS they do something bad…

It is bad to phrase it as “they will get the inheritence IF they are good”…because that implies that they are actively earning the inheritence, or as if the inheritence is conditional on a positive act on their part…which is not true…it is a free gift of the father.

Only the loss of the inheritence is negatively conditional, on demerit, because they will lose the inheritence if they do something bad…but at the same time “not doing something bad” in no way is the reason they get the inheritence…they get it simply because they are the father’s children.

That if/unless distinction solves many problemes.

The one point I disagree with Father Most on is the ability of the soul to non-resist grace. He says this ammounts to a spiritual nothing, and is possible. But I believe we cannot even non-resist grace without grace. I do believe in the “inculpable inadvertance” which he discusses in his article “was St. Thomas a Thomist on actual grace.”

He says: “Philosophical view of the New Answers: The First Cause sends me a motion which actualizes the potency of my mind to see something as good, actualizes the potency of my will not as far as a decision, but only to the point of a favorable attitude. When these two things are in place, with no contribution from me, if I do nothing against the grace (this is a metaphysical zero from me) then the movement continues, and actualizes the potency of my will to accept. At the same instant it gives me the power to cooperate.”

I do not believe it is a metaphysical zero.

And that is what I believe the “sufficient grace” given to everyone is: the intervention of God which allows our wills to non-resist actual graces, and opens them to become efficacious grace.

I believe our Will is like a river with 2 branches good and evil. And left to its own devices, when it reaches the juncture…even if we do no positive act, good or evil…the river tends to go towards the evil even if we non-resist good. It is impossible to choose good by a positive act, the current is too strong towards evil, nevermind simple non-resistence.

What sufficient grace, given to everybody without exception, does…is it makes our “default” will towards good. This makes it possible for us to non-resist grace, and now the non-resistence doesn’t go to evil by default, but towards good. However, leaving us free, we may still choose evil by a positive act of swimming towards the evil, God does not make the good current too strong until we non-resist and allow ourselves to go past the fork in the river.

Basically, I believe even our simple non-resistence is evil until God gives us (and he gives it to everybody at all times remember) sufficient grace to non-resist in favor of good.

And that explains how sufficient grace is necessary to cooperate with actual grace, but is not infallible like efficacious grace…which is sufficient grace cooperated with.


#9

resistance n.

  1. The act or an instance of resisting or the capacity to resist.

  2. A force that tends to oppose or retard motion.

  3. often Resistance An underground organization engaged in a struggle for national liberation in a country under military or totalitarian occupation.

  4. Psychology. A process in which the ego opposes the conscious recall of anxiety-producing experiences.

  5. Biology.a. The capacity of an organism to defend itself against a disease.
    b. The capacity of an organism or a tissue to withstand the effects of a harmful environmental agent.6. Electricity. The opposition of a body or substance to current passing through it, resulting in a change of electrical energy into heat or another form of energy.

[quote=battedy]The one point I disagree with Father Most on is the ability of the soul to non-resist grace.
[/quote]

Could you define what you mean by “non-resist”? The word resistance can mean both an act of the will or something that is part of the nature of an object.

For example, we speak or resistance as an act of the will when we talk about restiance movements where people resist evil either by acts of sabotage, or they resist evil by nonviolent means such as refusing to cooperate with evil.

We also speak about resistance as something that is part of the nature of an object, as in an electrical resistor that resists the flow of electricity.


#10

[quote=batteddy] And that is what I believe the “sufficient grace” given to everyone is: the intervention of God which allows our wills to non-resist actual graces, and opens them to become efficacious grace.
[/quote]

I am sure I understand what you are saying.

The Fall has wounded man’s nature, and made him subject to concupiscence. We could make an analogy between the resistance of an electrical resistor and our concupiscence. The electrical resistor resists the flow of energy in a circuit, and that resistance is part of the nature of a resistor. Our concupiscence is something that is part of our wounded nature – it is that part of our fallen nature that causes us to prefer evil and resist the good.

Suppose we had an electrical circuit where the resistor was made of a superconducting material. Above a certain temperature, the superconductor acts like an ordinary resistor. But if the temperature of the superconductor is lowered to a critical point, the resistance of the superconductor goes to zero, and it no longer impedes the flow of energy within the circuit. Only under the correct conditions will a superconductor have no resistance to electrical energy.

We can make an analogy with a superconductor. Even after we receive the grace of baptism we have our concupiscence to struggle with. For the Christian to reach perfection, he must make choices of the will to actively resist his inclination to commit sin. This is the active purification of the soul, the Purgative Way, and this active purification cannot be done apart from grace. But the active purification of the soul will not alone suffice to bring a soul to perfection. God must also give graces to bring about the passive purification of the soul. The analogy that I would like to make with a superconductor is this: the superconductor will only “non-resist” the flow of energy when its temperature is brought down to a critical point. The perfect soul also will also never “non-resist” evil until it is brought to a certain state of grace by both the active and passive purifications.

I believe our Will is like a river with 2 branches good and evil. And left to its own devices, when it reaches the juncture…even if we do no positive act, good or evil…the river tends to go towards the evil even if we non-resist good. It is impossible to choose good by a positive act, the current is too strong towards evil, nevermind simple non-resistence.

You seem to be speaking about concupiscence here. In the fallen world, because of our concupiscence, we are inclined towards evil, and not inclined towards the good. This is true even after we receive the grace of baptism.

Adam, however, was living in a state of grace before the Fall where he did not struggle with concupiscence, since his human nature was not yet been wounded by sin (i.e. he possessed the unmerited preternatural gift of the lack of concupiscence before the Fall). Thus it is at least possible for a human being to be in a state of grace where he can ‘non-resist” evil, even if he has not yet beheld the beatific vision. But God would have to bring him to that state of grace, and that is not the state of grace that the baptized souls are typically living in.

What sufficient grace, given to everybody without exception, does…is it makes our “default” will towards good.

Why do you say that? A baptized person can be in a state of grace and still have to struggle with his concupiscence.**Catechism of the Catholic Church

2520** Baptism confers on its recipient the grace of purification from all sins. But the baptized must continue to struggle against concupiscence of the flesh and disordered desires. With God’s grace he will prevail …


#11

And that is what I believe the “sufficient grace” given to everyone is: the intervention of God which allows our wills to non-resist actual graces, and opens them to become efficacious grace.

I guess I could agree with that. Everyone recieves sufficient grace but not everyone accepts efficacious grace; which is the grace we must have in order to be saved.

I believe our Will is like a river with 2 branches good and evil. And left to its own devices, when it reaches the juncture…even if we do no positive act, good or evil…the river tends to go towards the evil even if we non-resist good. It is impossible to choose good by a positive act, the current is too strong towards evil, nevermind simple non-resistence.

What sufficient grace, given to everybody without exception, does…is it makes our “default” will towards good. This makes it possible for us to non-resist grace, and now the non-resistence doesn’t go to evil by default, but towards good. However, leaving us free, we may still choose evil by a positive act of swimming towards the evil, God does not make the good current too strong until we non-resist and allow ourselves to go past the fork in the river.

Hmm…I’m not sure I’d look at it that way. Being that everyone recieves sufficient grace (the grace that gives us the ablility to choose efficacious grace) I wouldn’t say that our default is toward good since concupiscience makes it toward evil. I’d say sufficient grace allows us the choice to freely choose good over evil so that we can receive efficacious grace, yet because of our concupiscience we tend to choose the evil so our default is toward evil until we receive efficacious grace, then we have a greater grace that enables us to resist evil.

Basically, I believe even our simple non-resistence is evil until God gives us (and he gives it to everybody at all times remember) sufficient grace to non-resist in favor of good.

Would you say that God gives everyone sufficient grace from our birth? I think you’d say yes, right? since you said “everybody at all times” receives sufficient grace.

And that explains how sufficient grace is necessary to cooperate with actual grace, but is not infallible like efficacious grace…which is sufficient grace cooperated with.

Right I agree. When though are you saying, that we recieve actual grace? I’m not saying you are wrong and I’m right at all, I’m just trying to understand a life time line in my mind.

Would you agree with this:

Everyone at birth receives sufficient grace by God.
Sufficient grace enables us to freely choose God over evil.
Baptism gives us efficacious grace, which is saving grace, that enables us in life to more easily choose His goodness over evil.

I’m tired right now perhaps I’m not making sense. I probably shouldn’t even have posted this at this hour.


#12

batteddy

Ooops …

I meant to write, “I am NOT sure I understand what you are saying.” :o


#13

What I am saying, summed up, is this:

We cannot even passively cooperate with grace, without first being freely given a grace (sufficient grace).

At that point we can, as always, either choose evil, or choose to do nothing (we can never choose to do positive good of our own powers…even before the Fall, because all Good must ultimately be ascribed to God…even in our glorified forms, we would still need grace)

Then if we choose evil, we sin. But if we do nothing the sufficient grace becomes efficacious grace because we have not resisted it and so it empowers us to cooperate with it, and this efficacious actual grace effects in our will a supernaturally good and meritous act (something impossible without grace)

Relevant Dogmas:
[list=1]
]There is a supernatural intervention of God in the faculties of the soul, which* precedes** the free act of the will. (De fide.) {this is what I believe to be sufficient grace}
*]There is a supernatural influence of God in the faculties of the soul which coincides in time with man’s free act of will. (De fide.) {this is what I believe to be efficacious grace}
*]For every salutary act internal supernatural grace of God (gratia elevans) is absolutely necessary. (De fide.)
*]The Human Will remains free under the influence of efficacious grace, which is not irresistable. (De fide.)
*]There is a grace which is truly sufficent and yet remains inefficacious (gratia vere et mere sufficiens.) (De fide.)
[/list]


#14

Everyone at birth receives sufficient grace by God.
Sufficient grace enables us to freely choose God over evil.
Baptism gives us efficacious grace, which is saving grace, that enables us in life to more easily choose His goodness over evil.

Not exactly…sufficient and actual efficacious graces are not recieved only once…they are an actual intervention of God in the faculties of the soul at a given point in logic and time…they are not habits. Perhaps you are thinking of Sanctifying Grace? Which inheres and subsists in the soul?

Not only at birth, but before every act of the will, God gives everyone sufficient graces.

Sufficient graces are what allow us to even cooperate passively with grace.

And when we non-resist grace (something only made possible by sufficient grace), then the sufficient grace empowers us to cooperate with grace and it becomes an actual efficacious grace, and effects in our will a supernaturally good and meritous act. Efficacious grace is sufficient grace applied.

Baptism gives us sanctifying grace, which is God’s supernatural life in us, and the beginning of justification and salvation. With it, man can, by cooperating with actual graces, increase his sanctifying grace, earn merit, gain more glory, and truly earn supernatural claim (retrospectively) to heaven. Its only with grace, and not his own natural powers, that this is possible remember.

Relevent Dogmas:
[list=1]
*]Sanctifying Grace is a created supernatural gift really distinct from God. (Sent. fidei proxima.)
*]Sanctifying Grace is a supernatural state of being which is infused by God, and which permanently inheres in the soul. (Sent. certa.)
*]Sanctifying grace is not a substance, but a real accident, which inheres in the soul-substance. (Sent. certa.)
*]Sanctifying grace is really distinct from charity. (Sent. communior.)
*]Supernatural grace is a participation in the divine nature. (Sent. certa.)
*]Sanctifying grace sanctifies the soul. (De fide.)
*]Sanctifying grace bestows supernatural beauty on the soul. (Sent. communis.)
*]Sanctifying grace makes the just man a friend of God. (De fide.)
*]Sanctifying grace makes the just man a child of God and gives him a claim to the inheritance of Heaven. (De fide.)
*]Sanctifying grace can be increased by good works. (De fide.) {which themselves, remember, are only effected in the will by cooperation with actual efficacious graces, but remember even that cooperation itself is enabled only by prior sufficient grace}
*]The grace by which we are justified may be lost, and is lost by every grievous [mortal, serious] sin. (De fide.)
*]The loss of sanctifying grace always involves the loss of Charity.
*]By his good works the justified man really acquires a claim to supernatural reward from God. (De fide.)
*]A just man merits for himself through each good work an increase of sanctifying grace, eternal life (if he dies in a state of grace) and an increase of heavenly glory. (De fide.)
[/list]


#15

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