SAMT

Summary Against Modern Thought: On Predestination

Previous post.

You were meant to be here, the last Chapter in Book Three. Part II! Onto Book Four, the last book, next week. As Wiki says “Books I–III cover truths that naturally are accessible to the human intellect while Book IV covers revealed truths for which natural reason is inadequate.”

ON PREDESTINATION, REPROBATION, AND DIVINE ELECTION

1 So, since we have shown that some men are directed by divine working to their ultimate end as aided by grace, while others who are deprived of the same help of grace fall short of their ultimate end, and since all things that are done by God are foreseen and ordered from eternity by His wisdom, as we showed above, the aforementioned differentiation of men must be ordered by God from eternity.

According, then, as He has preordained some men from eternity, so that they are directed to their ultimate end, He is said to have predestined them. Hence, the Apostle says, in Ephesians (1:5): “Who predestinated us unto the adoption of children… according to the purpose of His will.”

On the other hand, those to whom He has decided from eternity not to give His grace He is said to have reprobated or to have hated, in accord with what we find in Malachi (1:2-3): “I have loved Jacob, but have hated Esau.” By reason of this distinction, according to which He has reprobated some and predestined others, we take note of divine election, which is mentioned in Ephesians (1:4): “He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world.”

2 Thus, it appears that predestination, election, and reprobation constitute a certain section of divine providence, according as men are ordered to their ultimate end by divine providence. Hence, it is possible to show that predestination and election impose no necessity, by the same reasoning whereby we showed above that divine providence does not take away contingency from things.

3 Moreover, that predestination and election do not find their cause in any human merits can be made clear, not only from the fact that God’s grace which is the effect of predestination is not preceded by merits but rather precedes all human merits, as we showed, but it can also be shown from this, that the divine will and providence is the first cause of things that are done, but that there can be no cause of the divine will and providence, although, among the effects of providence, and likewise of predestination, one may be the cause of another.

“For who,” as the Apostle says (Rom. 11:35-36), “has first given to Him, and who shall make recompense to Him? For of Him, and in Him, and by Him, are all things. To Him be honor and glory for ever. Amen.”

Notes We’re certainly not done with this difficult topic. God being all-seeing and all-knowing, which are kinds of infinities, and our free will, which is another kind of infinity (there being many different kinds), can make you mad thinking about. Indeed, pondering the Infinite has driven many mad. How can we will when God is the First cause? And so on.

Categories: SAMT

22 replies »

  1. I am of the speculative opinion that predestination does not or may not exist and that everyone has a shot at heaven depending on how he/she reacts to God’s promptings. And I wonder if God really knows the future and that He only interacts with us to bring about a future He desires.

    I would appreciate any comments.

  2. Predestination is not of merit from good works, but it may be due to God’s foreknowledge of our willingness to be humble towards Him (see 1Peter 5:5-7).
    This is not merit per se, but it is more than absolutely nothing.

  3. I don’t know the answer. However, if I were God I would not want to know the future. I would want to watch the entire drama unfold only using my power to help folks to do good by interacting with their consciences and occasionally dropping a few “bombs” to get the show back on the track to the destination I planned.

  4. Dear Michael. God is all knowing – his intelligence is not limited.

    One would be an Arian if the thought Jesus was ignorant of the end of time – that is what Mr. Theodore Beale, AKA Vox Day, is. He is an Arian who thinks Jesus is not God because of the way He responded to questioning by his interlocutors.

    https://archive.org/details/DenzingerTheSourcesOfCatholicDogma

    The amount of free information about Catholic Truth is astonishing. As was said to St Augustine, pick up and read.

    It is sad to post a link that is an understandable explication of a difficult doctrine by a famous Thomistic Theologian – The greatest Thomist alive in the century he was alive – and then have it ignored while men just give an opinion off the top of their heads.

    C’est la vie.

    ABS is outta here.

    Adios

  5. ABS- Thanks for responding.

    Agree God’s intelligence is unlimited. My speculation would admit this but consider that He might choose not to use all of His intelligence, but only as much as He needed. I don’t like the idea of predestination as it suggests that our eternal destination is predetermined. Also, if God knew how each of us would act throughout our lives and how we would end up it seems that he would be bored by this game of life. At the present moment I consider the concept of predestination a mystery that would be best not speculated upon.

  6. Perhap look at predestinaion this way.

    God knows from forever forwards and from all eternity who, by full use of the gift of free will, is going to receive His Son and His Son’s salvation, and He knows who will, by full use of the gift of free will, refuse His Son and His Son’s salvation.

    And how is that predestination? God has always known who will and who will not achieve salvation through His Son Jesus Christ.

    Therefore, when He creates each person, He knows what our choices will be, and those are the choices that we, through His gift of free will, do make.

    What I do not understand is why some are born into strong Christian famillies, and some are born into non-Christan families. Why He allows some to be horribly treated in childhood. That is the greater puzzlement to me. But it must all be the awful consequences of Original Sin and personal sin. I do believe that God intervenes as He wills, and that He does answer prayer … though “…shall be given unto you…” can take some or much time, and sometimes is not answered until Heaven.

    So it all remains, that we are to choose with the gift of free will to believe that God is, that He has revealed Himself as Triune, that only through the merits of His only Begotten Son Jesus Christ does salvation to live forever with God exist.

    We are to come to Know God, to Love Him, and to serve Him … so that we have full confidence in God our Father, in Jesus, in the Holy Spirit.

    And, We are to obey His commandmens and to come humbly in repentance for our traressions and sins.

    God bless, C-Marie

  7. ABS: Mark 13:32“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
    I don’t know how you can avoid that.

  8. With humility, my acceptance of an unmoved mover (primum movens) Creator of Predestination is only as fixed as my convictions about Big Bang Theory. Perhaps Big Bang is really Big Bang(s) and Predestination only describes ripples of fate which no exercise of temporal (mortal) self-assertion can but accommodate with grace. Perhaps, as in the Old Testament, when the Creator is aroused, some souls do act upon Predestined inner-urgings for grand Arc building. Time and Randomness are each unfathomable in their essence. If I could choose, I would read a blog like this.

  9. Far more wonderful to know that we are purposely and wonderfully made in the fullness of being loved by Love Himself, rather than to believe the Big Bang Theory or the macro evolution theory.
    God bless, C-Marie

  10. @ Mr. Dowd and others.

    I believe the understanding is that unlike us, God is located in the eternal present. That is, outside time which is part of creation. So God can respond to our freely chosen decisions in what is always the present to Him. The current catechism describes this better than I can, but it is basically Molinism which is one of two allowable beliefs on predestination in the Catholic Church (neither has been declared infallible dogma).

    I believe the Predestination of Augustine and Aquinas imagines that God sends sufficient grace to everyone but only efficacious grace to the elect. Augustine/Aquinas doctrine is like Calvinism except (critically) it excludes positively-willed (by God) reprobation to Hell.

    Molinism is closer to (in Protestant terms) Arminianism and is more palatable to the modern mind (I’m guessing).

    Don’t take my word for it – by all means research this.

  11. cameron232–
    Thanks for your comments. Predestination is not something that we should worry or think about IMO. I regard the very idea as repugnant and can lead to unnecessary worry and concern. The future is out of our control for the most part. Our primary concern should be to follow the will of God every day as best we can.

  12. The problem with predestination is that while God may know where you’re going, you don’t. You might be among the Chosen, so no matter how you live your life, you win! Might as well party hardy and be a dissolute wastrel. Or you might be among the Damned, in which case you might as well party hardy, etc. As my late friend (cirrhosis) Pete Danger used to say, “Go big, die young, leave a beautiful corpse.” Carpe diem, Rosebud.

    Or, because you don’t know and can’t change things anyway, you might want to live the best life you can, enjoy the wonders of His Creation, and seek Truth, Justice, Beauty, Joy, and Love for their own sake. You only live once, so why not live it in the best manner possible, like a saint, or as close to that as you can, regardless of your final reward.

    Pretend that God’s grace rains on you like a cloudburst, immerse yourself in that delusion, and fake it with all you’ve got. The play’s the thing, not the curtain call.

  13. It really helps to drop the doctrines and labels. It also helps to read the scriptures through historical context for better understanding. we tend to read it through Western enlightenment filters. people who interpret predestination as God being in full control of your future are basically turning God into an assessory to evil. I don’t think they mean to but it’s pretty much the logical conclusion. You will often hear these types say that God is in control or, there but for the grace of God go I. I find these meaningless platitudes chilling. can we stop and think for a minute about the creation of the human brain which can be used for good or evil? Our choices are what defines us. We make the choice. Romans 1 is interesting if you read it through that filter. So is Genesis. I also read Romans 13 through the historical filter which means I am not living in second century Rome. The radical concept of self-government had not yet been born although it was laid out in the beginning.

    I wrote Calvin off as a tyrant. Augustine as merging many of his pagan concepts, such as dualism, into Christianity, and the Reformation as more political than spiritual. I could go on and on including Constantine who did us no favors but hey send to the creation of a religious oligarchy.

    History is a better guide for studying people.

    There will always be a serpent in the garden. they don’t show up with a pitchfork, horns with a cup of poison. They are often quite intelligent, sincere and believable. Beware. You have access to the exact same Holy Spirit as anyone with a religious title.

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