Thoughts on free will and election

I posted this on another forum but thought Id get input here - cut and pasted!

the RC Church believes in both election and free will though people explain it differently

Thomists - God puts efficacious grace into the hearts of certain people…efficacious is not the same as irresistible, people can still refuse the grace, with their free will, or is it irresistible? Some things Ive read imply that nobody can resist efficacious grace, which sounds Calvinist…those who do not have efficacious grace cannot choose God and cannot be saved. We don’t know why God chooses some for this type of grace, and we don’t know how many God chooses. (It could be the vast majority of mankind, or a smaller number) One of the criticisms of Thomism is the smaller role free will seems to play.

Molinist - God sees who will accept or reject his graces, freely. Because of this foreknowledge He then puts efficacious grace into those who he fore knows will accept Him. Or as some define this - He sees who would completely and totally reject Him - and those He leaves alone. Everyone else gets the grace they can then choose to respond to. Mans free will has more place in this system, though one critique would be that free will precedes grace. Another way I have seen this explained - sufficient grace “becomes” efficacious by mas free choice.

In both the Thomist and Molinist school of thought there is the possibility that God has granted efficacious grace to those who are not “visibly” in the RC Church. So, for example, one raised in the Muslim faith, who follows his conscience, and responds to God as much he can “might” still be saved, as Jesus works in his heart, and offers him graces.

Election - Clark Pinnock (protestant) has a different view of election - he believes when God talks about the “elect” He is referring to those such as the Israelis, Abraham, people who were given a special role in salvation history, but this in no way means that salvation is “only” offered to these people. So, the Jews were the elect people, and possibly those who explicitly understand and know Christ now, but its because we have a special role in working with Jesus for the salvation of all nations - and others of other faiths might be saved, through Jesus, and through our special role. (Is this ok to believe as a roman catholic?) Pinnock thinks there was a mistake made when theologians started talking about the word “elect” as if it meant “those saved”.

Karl Barth - as far as I can understand - believed that the “elect” refers to Jesus himself - he was the elect, taking on all sin into himself, and dying in it, for us - for every human being - I’m still trying to understand Barth, lol!

Peter Kreeft - I love this - he discusses free will and predestination in relation to a “story” (he compares to Shakespeare). In every great story, there is destination and a sense of purpose and control - but all great characters seem to have free will as well.You know a poorly written story when the characters are “wooden”. (Authors talk about characters starting to “take control”, Ive seen other authors refer to this). Kreeft says this all links together through “love”.

Any thoughts welcome! :slight_smile:

Through foreknowledge if God sees who will accept his graces then why would he need to do anything?

Ok so understanding free will with how it relates to election is a very deep thing of God. meaning it is very easy to develop some form of ‘‘cognitive dissonance’’ in regards to the aforementioned terms and more importantly conclusions drawn from that. So my understanding of free will and election is that we are all elect. Yet some elect can make choices to blind themself to (grammatically incorrect but conceptually so), or attempt to flee from God. Now in this flight away from God, into sin, grace begins it’s work. Christ, through the Holy Spirit, begins placing more and more of what you need to get back onto the path of life and Salvation. This is the Good Shepard at work herding and working with the sheep to the end destination; namely union and oneness with the Father. This is why Paul says ‘‘and shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound? God forbid’’. Because we are running from Life and Joy and Peace in God. Yet the beauty of the God is that we can Never, until the End, become entirely one. This is the Last Day. When the living and the dead are raised to judgment. Yet for those in Christ we are hidden in Him as he was and is and always will be Our Shepard. And He is the ransom the accuser (Satan and whomever else) must go through in order to hold against us our transgression/s.

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