Skip to comments.ST. AUGUSTINE ON GRACE AND PREDESTINATION
Posted on 02/21/2007 6:02:00 AM PST by stfassisi
ST. AUGUSTINE ON GRACE AND PREDESTINATION Fr. William Most
St. Augustine is called, rightly, the Doctor of Grace, for his great work against the Pelagians who practically denied the need of grace for salvation. Augustine showed very well our total dependence on God. The Eastern Fathers had not denied this, did not bring it out so well. I. (1) On human interaction with grace:
Every good work, even good will, is the work of God:
De gratia Christi 25, 26: "For not only has God given us our ability and helps it, but He even works [brings about] willing and acting in us; not that we do not will or that we do not act, but that without His help we neither will anything good nor do it""Non solum enim Beus posse nostrum donavit atque adiuvat, sed etiam 'velle et operari operatur in nobis' non quia nos non volumus, aut nos non agimus, sed quia sine ipsius adiutorio nec volumus aliquid boni nec agimus."
De gratia et libero arbitrio 16, 32: "It is certain that we will when we will; but He brings it about that we will good. . . . It is certain that we act when we act, but He brings it about that we act, providing most effective powers to the will.""Certum est nos velle cum volumus; sed ille facit ut velimus bonum. . . . Certum est nos facere cum facimus, sed ille facit ut faciamus, praebendo vires efficacissimas voluntati."
Ibid. 6. 15: "If then your merits are God's gifts, God does not crown your merits as your merits, but as His gifts." "Si ergo Dei dona sunt merita tua, non Deus coronat merita tua tamquam merita tua, sed tamquam dona sua."
Ep. 154, 5. 16: "What then is the merit of man before grace by which merit he should receive grace? Since only grace makes every good merit of ours, and when God crowns our merits, He crowns nothing else but His own gifts." "Quod est ergo meritum hominis ante gratiam, quo merito percipiat gratiam, cum omne bonum meritum nostrum non in nobis faciat nisi gratia et cum Deus coronat merita nostra, nihil aliud coronet quam munera sua?"
(2) On the other hand, on the interaction of grace with our freedom, he lacks something. His theory is the delectatio victrix: if God shows me more pleasure in something good than in evil, I will choose good. Thus a poor donkey might starve to death, if placed an equal distance between two bails of hay.
But to be serious: His delight is in the category of final cause. He does not speak of efficient cause, which is surely needed, and which 2 Cor 3:5 and Phil 2: 13 really call for.
II. On predestination:
Predestination is an arrangement of Providence to see someone gets either full membership in the Church, or gets to heaven. All early writers, East and West, tended to telescope the two. Scripture speaks always and only of predestination to full membership in Church. Only two passages, Rom 8:9ff and Ephesians chapter 1. In Romans, all of chapters 8, 9, 10, 11 mention predestination and they are on membership in Church. Ephesians 1 is too. There are of course things that are implications relative to predestination to heaven.
Basic question: does God decide to predestine to heaven with or without looking at a man's merits or demerits? All in the past have taken for granted that if He decides to predestine to heaven without looking, He does same for negative reprobation (letting one go). Or He decides both with looking.
Both views give impossible consequences. Augustine wants to make both decisions, favorable and unfavorable be given without looking. Easterners reject negative reprobation without looking at demerits.
The Eastern Fathers, absolutely all of them, and Westerners before Augustine, and even after him, saw that there is no reprobation, not even negative, except in consideration of demerits. Augustine did not see that, and the unfortunate massa damnata theory, which said the whole human race by original sin became a massa damnata et damnabilis: God could throw the whole damned race into hell for original sin alone, without waiting for any personal sin.
God wanted to display mercy and justice. To display mercy, He chose a small percent to rescue; the rest He deserted and so they would go to hell.
He thought God picked those to rescue blindly, without any consideration of how they lived. He picked them not that He had any love for them, but merely to make a point. Augustine did not see it, but that was a denial of God's love. For to love is to will good to another for the other's sake. If I will good to another not for that other's sake, but for some outside purpose of mine, I am not loving that person, but using him.
So in that theory, God does not really love anyone, He merely uses the few for His own purposes, not for their sake. Hence, as we shall son see, he explicitly denied several times that "God wills all to be saved: (1 Tim 2:4) . He even said, as we shall soon see below, that it means nothing to God that most persons are damned, without a chance.
Of course Augustine did not see this fact, or he would surely have stayed away from his theory. Actually, as we shall see later on, in about six places he implies the opposite of that theory, when his sense of God's goodness took over his thinking.
Further, he reached this theory from a collection of reasons, chiefly, the fact that he misunderstood the passage in Romans 8:29 through chapter 11. He thought it all referred to predestination to heaven or hell. (Hence, within that framework, he thought that the words of Romans 9:13,"I have loved Jacob and hated Esau" meant that God really hated Esau. And without even looking at Esau's life wanted to damn him) . Actually, St. Paul does not speak of any such thing, but only of predestination to full membership in the Church. (We will; explain below why we use that word full) . By allegorywithout any support in the text or context, he thought that in the image of the potter in Romans 9:19-24 the gob of clay on the potter's table meant the whole human race, made into a massa damnata et damnabilis by original sin.
St. Prosper of Aquitaine is often called the great defender of Augustine. But he clearly contradicted Augustine on the massa damnata , three times. For example, in his Responsiones ad capitula obiectionum Gallorum 3: ". . . for this reason they were not predestined because they were foreseen as going to be such as a result of voluntary transgression . . . For they were not deserted by God so that they deserted God; but they deserted and were deserted. . . ."
How did St. Augustine happen to reach such a position?
I. Predisposing factors:
A. Tendency to allegorical interpretations: He first learned a solution to Manichean objections against Old Testament from St. Ambrose: (Conf. 6, 4, 6) : "Joyfully I used to hear Ambrose saying in his sermons to the people, as though he were most diligently teaching a rule: 'The letter kills, but the spirit gives life,' when he opened up in a spiritual sense . . . those things which, taken literally, seemed to each perversity." Actually the words are from 2 Cor 3:6. It meant that the old regime of the law kills spiritually, the new regime of the spirit gives life. (St. Paul meant this only in a focused or artificial perspective: cf. W. Most, The Thought of St. Paul on this passage) . Both St. Ambrose and St. Augustine were completely wrong in their understanding of this line of St. Paul.
B. His view on the salvific will: He was predisposed to deny it is universal, i.e. , God does not really want all to be saved:
(a) In natural order, he blurred the line between ordinary and miraculous things (On John's Gospel 6. 1) : "Because . . . His miracles, by which He rules the whole world . . . had become commonplace by constant experience . . . He reserved to Himself certain things which He would perform at opportune times, beyond the usual course and order of nature, so that they for whom the daily things had become commonplace might be amazed in seeing not greater but unusual things."
(b) In supernatural order: There was a similar failure to see clearly the line (Sermon 141, 1, 1) : ". . . who would dare to say that God lacked a way of calling, in which even Esau would apply his mind to faith, and join his will [to that] in which Jacob was justified?" I. 5. , Esau was reprobated, God could have used means which would have saved Esau, He did not. Therefore He did not will Esau's salvation! God wanted to damn him, and did so without even looking at the future faults of Esau! Augustine failed to understand Romans 9:13, which was quoting Malachi. The semitic pattern meant: He loves one more, the other less. Further, love here means a decision to give full membership in the Church. So the mistake made by Augustine was dreadful!
(c) His actual comments on God's salvific will:
(1) Enchiridion 103: "When we hear and read in sacred Scripture that He wills all men to be saved . . . we must . . . so understand [it] . . . as if it were said that no man is saved except whom He wants [to be saved]. . . . Or certainly it was so said . . . not that there is no man whom He is unwilling to have saved, He who was unwilling to perform the wonders of miracles among those whom He says would have done penance it He had done them: but in such a way that we understand 'all men' to mean the whole human race, distributed into various categories: kings, private citizens, nobles, ordinary men, lofty, lowly, learned, unlearned. . . ."
(2) De correptione et gratia 14. 44: "And that which is written that which is written that 'he wills all men to be saved and yet not all are saved, can be understood in many ways, of which we have mentioned some in other works, but I shall give one here. It is said in such a way . . . that all the predestined are meant: for the whole human race is in them."
(3) De correptione et gratia 15, 47: "That 'God wills all men to be saved' can be understood also in this way: that He causes us to wish [that all men be saved]. . . ."
(4) Epistle 217, 6, 19: ". . . and so that which is said, 'God wills all men to be saved' although He is unwilling that so many be saved, is said for this reason: that all who are saved, are not saved except by His will."
It is tragically obvious that Augustine completely denied the clear sense of Scripture here. Further, since to love is to will good to another for the other's sake, then when God says He wills all to be saved, it means He loves all. Augustine was denying the love of God, without realizing it of course.
II. First or explicit theory of Augustine on Predestination: Massa damnata:
As we said above, from an allegorical interpretation of Romans 9, chiefly verses 19-24, Augustine said the whole race is as a mass of potters's clay from original sinall could be sent to hell for that fact of original sin alone (infants dying without baptism are damned) . First, there was and is no support for such an allegorical interpretation. More importantly, he was sadly wrong. Original sin alone does not deserve hell. St. Thomas Aquinas knew that in teaching (De malo 5. 3. ad 4) that unbaptized infants suffer no pain at all, even have natural happiness. More important: Pius IX in Quanto conficiamur moerore (DS 2866) : "God . . . in His supreme goodness and clemency, by no means allows anyone to be punished with eternal punishments who does not have the guilt of voluntary fault." So original sin alone does not bring hell.
(a) Explicit texts:
(1) Ad Simplicianum 1, 2, 16: "Therefore all men are . . . one condemned mass [massa damnata] of sin, that owes a debt of punishment to the divine and supreme justice. Whether it [the debt] be exacted, or whether it be condoned, there is no injustice."
(2) Enchiridion 27: ". . . the whole condemned mass of the human race lay in evils, or even rolled about in them, and was precipitated from evils into evils. . . ."
(3) City of God 21, 12: "Hence there is a condemned mass of the whole human race . . . so that no one would be freed from this just and due punishment except by mercy and undue grace; and so the human race is divided [into two parts] so that in some it may be shown what merciful grace can do, in others, what just vengeance can do. . . . In it [punishment] there are many more than in [mercy] so that in this way there may be shown what is due to all."
(4) Epistle 190. 3. 12: He said that reprobates are so much more numerous than the saved that "by an incomparable number they are more numerous than those whom He deigned to predestine as sons of the promise to the glory of His kingdom; so that by the very number of those rejected, it might he shown that the number, howsoever large, of the justly damned is of no importance with a just God. . . ." Which implies that God does not will all to be saved: hence Augustine's explicit denial, several times, of the words of 1 Tim 2:4. Hence too, as we said above, God does not really love anyone: He merely uses a few to show mercy.
(b) Exclusion of foreseen merits:
(1) On the predestination of the saints 17: "Let us, then, understand the call by which the elect are made [elect]: [they are] not [persons] who are chosen because they have believed, but [they are persons] who are chosen so that they may believe. For even the Lord Himself made this [call] sufficiently clear when He said: 'You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you. '
Comment: In context, Christ was telling the Apostles He had chosen them, not that they had chosen Him. So the text had nothing at all to do with predestination to heaven or hell. The error, so common, lies in ignoring the context of the text. ] . . . This is the unshakable truth of predestination and grace. For what else does that mean, that the Apostle says, 'As He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world. '
Comment: In context, St. Paul was speaking of predestination to full membership in the Church, not of predestination to heaven]. For surely if it was said [that they were chosen] because God foresaw that they would believe, [and] not because He Himself was going to make them believersthe Son speaks against that sort of foreknowledge, saying: 'You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you. '[ See comment above on this text] . So they were chosen before the foundation of the world by that predestination by which God foreknew His own future acts: they are chosen out of the world by that vocation by which God fulfilled that which he had predestined, 'For those whom He predestined, them also He called. . . . '
Comment: In context, all of chapters 8, 9, 10, and 11 of Romans speak only of predestination to full membership in the Church, not of predestination to heaven]. Therefore God chose the faithful, not because they already were [faithful] but that they might be [faithful]. So by choosing, He makes them rich in faith, just as [he makes them] heirs of the kingdom."
Comment: Sadly, Augustine takes every bit of Scripture used above out of context, so that the texts prove nothing of what he has in mind].
(2) Enchiridion 99: "For grace alone distinguishes the redeemed from the lost, whom a common cause from [their] beginning had joined into one mass of perdition. . . ."
Comment: If grace, God's blind decision, alone is decisive, we arrive at the massa damnata described above. There must be, and is, another factor deciding who is saved or lost. We will explain that below.
(3) Epistle 194, 8, 35: "it is, moreover, marvelous into what precipices they hurl themselves, in their fear of the nets of truth, when they are pressed by these difficulties. 'It was for this reason' they say, 'that He hated of those not yet born [Esau] and loved the other [Jacob] because He foresaw their future works. ' Who would not be surprised that this most keen thought could be lacking to the Apostle? . . . . This, then, was the place for him to say what these think: 'For God foresaw their future works', when He said that 'the elder would serve the lesser. ' But the Apostle did not say this, but instead, lest anyone dare to boast of the merits of his works, he wanted what he did say to be able to teach the grace and glory of God."
Comment: Augustine is right in saying it is not prevision of merits that is decisivebut he did not see that prevision of demerits could be the decisive factor. How to reconcile these two points we will show below.
III. Second, or implicit theory: A good theologian knows mysteries occur in theology. So, if, from different points in revelation, he seems to find opposing answers, and if rechecking does not reveal an error on his part, he will feel obliged to hold both ends of the chain without knowing how they can fit together (as when we know there are three divine Persons, only one God) . So Augustine could hold, even though only implicitly, a second theory which contradicted the first. The elements of it are these:
(a) From above, we retain: (1) Predestination does not depend on merits. (2) We are totally dependent on God.
(b) We reject the massa damnata, and substitute instead: God does not reprobate except after and because of foreseen grave demerits. All the Eastern Fathers, and all Western Fathers before and after Augustine held this truth. This position is compatible with the position that predestination comes independently of foreseen merits, even though Augustine did not see how.
We need to see that in God's decision there are three logical stages or momenta: First, God wills sincerely and vehemently that all be saved; Second, He foresees some will gravely resist grace: on account of this resistance and because of it, He reprobates; Third, He decrees to save the others, not because of merits (which are not yet foreseen logicallyonly resistance is looked atmerits come after absence of resistance) but because He has always wanted that (salvific will) and these do not block His will.
Augustine's implication on reprobation is found in: e. g. , De diversis quaest. 83, 68, 5: De correptione et gratia 13, 42; De peccatorum meritis et remissione 2, 17, 26; De actis cum Felice Manichaeo 2, 8, which we shall now examine:
The Problem of a Second Theory of Predestination in St. Augustine
A theologian who follows precise theological method will first study under the guidance of official teachings, all passages in revelation that have any bearing on his problem directly or indirectly. He will try to work out the answer, so far as possible, from each separate starting point. A good comparison would be this: he is like a man standing on the rim of a circle. From each of two or more points on the rim he tries to draw a line that will hit the center, the right answer. If he has done his work well, all lines will focus in the center.
Suppose he finds that two (or more) lines do not meet in the center? He should first recheck his work. But then, if they still do not meet, he must not force anything, but should just admit there are mysteries in theology, and so should hold both truths, both lines.
Augustine seems to have done that, without realizing it, in his study of grace. he did arrive, clearly, at the erroneous massa damnata theory from his misinterpretation of Romans 9. But some passages in his works seem to imply that he felt, without being fully aware of it, a second line. Here are the passages. 1. On 88 different questions 68, 5: "For not all who were called wanted to come to that dinner, which as the Lord says in the Gospel, was prepared, nor would those who came have been able to come if they had not been called. And so neither should they who came attribute [it] to themselves; for they came being called nor should those who were unwilling to come attribute [it] to anyone but themselves, for, in order that they might come, they were called in free will."
Comment: Compare his Enchiridion 99: ". . . grace alone distinguishes the redeemed from the lest, whom a common cause from [their] beginning had joined into one mass of perdition. . . .") . [Written 388-98 A. D. In saying those who did not come must attribute it only to themselves, he is taking position opposite to massa damnata, where the first reason for their not coming is not their own will but God's desertion of them
2. On correction and grace 13, 42: "Those, then, who do not belong to that most certain and most happy number [of the predestined] are judged most justly according to their merits. For they either lie under the sin which they contracted originally by generation.
. . . Or they receive the grace of God, but are temporary, and do not persevere: they desert and are deserted. For they were let go in their free will, not receiving the gift of perseverance, by a just and hidden judgment of God." [written 426].
Comment: In the second part of this text, he speaks of those who have been forgiven original sinso, original sin cannot be the reason for reprobation in them. Augustine gives the reason: "They were let go in their free will by a just judgment of God. They desert and are deserted." But in massa damnata the reason would be that God first deserted them, and then they deserted Him. Nor can some remaining debility left from original explain what he says: that debility is in all the baptized. So the reason here why they do not persevere is their own free will, not God's desertion within massa damnata.
3. On the merits and remission of sins 2, 17, 26: "Men are not willing to do what is right either because the fact that it is right is hidden from the, or because it does not please them. It is from the grace of God, which helps the wills of man, that that which was hidden becomes known, and that which did not please become sweet. The reason why they are not helped [by grace] is in themselves, not in God, whether they are predestined to damnation because of the wickedness of their pride, or whether they are to be judged and emended, contrary to the wickedness of their pride if they are sons of mercy." [written 411].
Comment: "The reason why they are not helped [by grace] is in themselves, not in God." Now if the fundamental reason were desertion by God, as in massa damnata, Augustine would have said the opposite. But he did say "the reason why they are not helped is in themselves, not in God."
4. The debate with Felix the Manichean 2, 8: "Felix said: You call Manichaeus cruel for saying these things. What do we say about Christ who said: Go into eternal fire? Augustine said: He said this to sinners. Felix said: These sinners, why were they not purified? Augustine said: Because they did not will [it]. Felix said: Because they did not will it did you say that? Augustine said: Yes, I said it: Because they did not will it." [written 398].
Comment: : He says the cause why they were not purified is "because they did not will it." If he really meant that the first thing was a desertion by God, as in massa damnata, then Felix would have won the debate, for men would be damned without any opportunity. And God would be like the God of the Manichees, who deserted to prepare the way for a victory that never came.
5. Tracts on the Gospel of St. John 53, 6: " 'They were not able to believe', since Isaiah the prophet predicted it; and the prophet predicted it, because God had foreseen that this would happen. But if I am asked why they were not able, I reply quickly: Because they did not want to: For God foresaw their evil will, and He from whom the future things cannot be hidden announced it in advance through the prophet. But, you say, the prophet speaks of another cause, not of their will. What cause does the prophet speak of? Because 'God gave them a spirit of compunction, eyes so that they did not see, and ears, so that they did not hear, and He blinded their eyes and hardened their heart'. I reply that their will merited even this." [written 413-18].
Comment: He says the cause is their evil will. And then seeing someone may say that that bad will came from divine desertion he adds: "I reply that their evil will merited even this." Could he mean they merit it by original sin? Then why such a process of words and objection and solutionit would be a deception of his readers.So again, Augustine is saying that the first cause why some are reprobated is found in the wills of men, not in God.
6. On instructing the ignorant 52: "The merciful God, wanting to deliver men, if they are not enemies to Him and do not resist the mercy of their Creator, sent His onlybegotten Son." [written 399].
Comment: Again, Augustine teaches that the distinction between those who are freed and those who are not freed depends on the resistance or lack of it on the part of men.
Objection: Could it be that Augustine changed his mind over a period of time? No, for the texts just cited come from all across the range of his literary activity. Probable dates are as follows:
De diversis quaestbetween 388 and 398 De actis cum Felice398 De peccatorum meritis411 Tract in Ioannem413-418 De correptione et gratia426.
III. A newer theory using some of the above data from Augustine: The second series of texts show he admits a power of man on negative side, which is decisive (even though in #1 above he excludes power on positive side) .
Therefore even though he excludes any positive power for good from the ability of man, and excludes any foreknowledge of merits on the part of God as a reason for predestination, yet he admits a negative power in man of rejecting or not rejecting.
What is the result: Predestination must be without merits. But reprobation, even negative, is the result of demerits.
St Augustine then seems to have wanted, even though only implicitly, to have this combination. He did not, of course, know how it was possible to hold both things, namely, reprobation depending on demerits, and predestination not depending on merits.
Yet we can supply the missing solution. There are three logical steps in God's decisions:
(1) He wills all men to be saved. Augustine did deny this, but Scripture teaches it, so we must and do hold it. Further since to will salvation is to will good to another, and since love consists in willing good to another for the other's sake, therefore to deny this first step wold be to deny God's love. Which would be blasphemy. This will on God's part is extremely strong, measured by how far He went to make our eternal happiness possible: the terrible death of His Son, and His binding Himself in the covenant by the infinite price of redemption to offer forgiveness and grace infinitely, that is, without limit, except that limit set by man's rejection of it.
(2) He looksnot ahead, for there is no time with Himto see who resists His grace both gravely and persistently, so persistently that he throws away the only thing that could save him. Then sadly God decrees to let him go, negative reprobation. This is the unanimous view of all Eastern Fathers, and Westerners except St. Augustine.
(3) All who were not discarded in step two are positively predestined. But not because of merits. This is St. Augustine's large contribution. Merits have not yet been considered at all. Rather, God predestines them to heaven because that is what He wanted to do in step 1, and thy are not blocking it.
Fate of Unbaptized Infants
Sermon 294. 3:After quoting Mt. 25 on the last judgment: "In the one place He names the kingdom; in the other place, damnation with the devil. There is no middle place left where you could put the infants. There will be judgment for the living and the dead: some at the right, others at the left: I do not know anything else."
Enchiridion 93: "The mildest of all will be the punishment of those who have contracted nothing but original sin"
Epistle 166. 6. 16: "But when we come to the punishment of infants, believe me I am in a very tight spot, nor do I find at all what I could answer."
a) Agreeing with Augustine:
St. Fulgentius, 27. 68
St. Gregory the Great, 9. 21. 32This however was written as a private person, not as Pope.
b) Disagreeing with him:
St. Gregory of Nazianzen, 40. 23:" I think that. . . these are neither glorified, nor are punished by the Just Judge, who on the one hand were not sealed [baptized] but on the other hand are not evil, but rather suffered a loss than inflicted one."
St Gregory of Nyssa, Thinks that those who die without baptism are those who would have been lost by sin had they lived a full life.
St. Thomas Aquinas, q. 5. a. 3. ad 4 :"The infants are separated from God perpetually, in regard to the loss of glory, which they do not know, but not in regard to participation in natural goods, which they do know. . . . That which they have through nature, they possess without pain."
1) The Council of Florence in 1439, in DS 1306 taught: "The souls of those who depart in actual mortal sin or in original sin only, go at once into the realm of the dead, to be punished with different penalties."
Comment: About the two underlined words: "realm of the dead" is Latin infernus which does not always mean the hell of the damned. In the Creed we read that Christ descended into hell. The word punished has the root of Latin poena which need not mean the infliction of positive pain, but merely the loss of something. So it would mean that infants who really die in original sin, are given the loss of the vision of God. This bypasses the question of whether or not God, in some way, might provide grace to them even without a sacrament. He can surely do this if He so wills. St. Thomas, in III. 68. 2. c. says the obvious, that God's hands are not tied by the Sacraments.
2) The Council of Pistoia: It tried to teach that the idea of a limbo for unbaptized infants was a Pelagian fable. Pius VI in 1794, in DS 2626 condemned that teaching.
3) Pius IX in Quanto conficiamur moerore of August 10, 1863 (DS 2866) said: "God. . . in His supreme goodness and clemency, by no means allows anyone to be punished with eternal punishments who does not have the guilt of voluntary fault."
Comment: Infants do not have voluntary fault. Therefore, no hell for the infants. Leonard Feeney (reprinted in Thomas M. Sennott, They Fought the Good Fight pp. 305-06) quoted this text of Pius IX and said: "To say that God would never permit anyone to be punished eternally unless he has incurred the guilt of voluntary sin is nothing short of Pelagianism. . . . If God cannot punish eternally a human being who has not incurred the guilt of voluntary sin, how then, for example, can He punish eternally babies who die unbaptized?"In other words, Feeney calls Pius IX a heretic!
4) Catechism of the Catholic Church: In # 1261, after carefully explaining that those who without fault do not find the Church, can still be saved, quoted the words of Christ (Mk 10:14) "Let the little children come to me, and do not prevent them," added: "[this] permits us to have hope that there is a way to salvation for infants who die without Baptism."
Objection: A local Council of Carthage in 418 taught, in Canon 3 (DS 224) : "Of anyone says that. . . in the kingdom of heaven there will be some middle place, or a place elsewhere, where the infants live as blessed who have departed from this life without Baptism. . . let him be anathema."
Comment: This was only a local council. Some of its canons were approved by Pope Zosimus, and so gained universal teaching authority. But the note on this section, just ahead of DS 222 (DB 101) that this text of DS 224 was not approved, but instead the text of DS 225, also called Canon 3, which makes no mention of infants. It merely teaches that grace of justification counts not only for the remission of sins already committed, but also for help that they may not be committed [again].
Ping to read later
Sorry,I forgot to provide the link to the EWTN article
Here it is.....
"For to him who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away."
Devotion to the rosary is often called a "sign" of "predestination". Why? Because it is a grace given from God to desire this interaction with heaven on top of our required weekly devotion. If you're living as a faithful Catholic, God will heap grace upon grace upon our efforts to get to heaven - to those who have, more will be given. To those who walk away, who dispossess themselves of God's salvific grace, their path is clear. If they cut themselves out of the sacramental life, they have rejected the manna, and so, lose everything eternal - even what hea has will be taken away.
Scripture speaks always and only of predestination to full membership in Church.
I cant deny that a few western fathers may have erroneously held to the synergistic belief, but they were in the minority. The Pope (I forgot his name at the moment and dont have time to look it up) allowed both the eastern view and the western view to coexist as a favor to Cassian.
But God revealed Himself to Jacob and not to Esau. If Esau didnt come to God it wasnt because of Esau trying very hard or that he lived a worst life than Jacob. It was because God chose to reveal Himself to Jacob and not to Esau, just like God chose to reveal Himself to Paul and not to the rest of the people on the Damascus road.
WE WERE ELECTED AND PREDESTINATED, NOT BECAUSE WE WERE GOING TO BE HOLY, BUT IN ORDER THAT WE MIGHT BE SO. - Augustine
The great Pelagius error was the he was unable to understand this duel nature of God. In Pelagius mind God commands and we must obey. This is what the heart of the gospel has become, a heresy that was started and condemned in the very early church.
Admittedly, what is hard to understand is the reprobates and why God does not save everyone. The only thing I can say is that He doesn't.
It does seem very distractive and divisive and it would be a lot easier (believe me) not to say anything when we are such a small minority. It's hard to convince 95% of today's Christians that they have the wrong view of God. I really am a very pleasent sort of person-really-and it's against my nature to sound so nasty. But if I'm going to be true to the western church fathers, the creeds, the history, and the Reformers, then I must speak correctly on how I see the scriptures and let the chips fall where they will.
May God be merciful where I'm wrong. May He shed light where I am correct.
I see no change in the meaning of grace. I didn't arrived at my understanding by reading Calvin and Luther but reading Augustine. They simply confirmed that I wasn't crazy in what I was reading. The very fact that the Catholics now reject most of Augustine's Treatise on Predestination is indicative that Augustine had a different interpretation.
Please don't take my non-response as agreement. :O)
I was predestined to have the flu. I'm sick in bed but I'm slowly recovering much to the consternation of our Catholic friends.
I'm on the mend but been in bed the last several days. I was the only one in the house that got the flu shot and the only one to get it. DRAT!!
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