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!