Men, too, are part of the creation, and are therefore subject to the same purpose and the same universal cosmological principles as the rest of the universe. Men exist to manifest the goodness of God. And so it is that men must variously exist as a part of the universe, with inequalities of grade of being, that the goodness of God might be variously and adequately manifested in and through them. Likewise, it is necessary that some men fail in their good, that the perfection of the varied universe may be achieved. These are the reasons for the predestination and reprobation of men.
God both predestines and reprobates men for the purpose of the completion of the universe, which is the manifestation of His goodness. That goodness is variously manifested in men as the presence of the good of His mercy and the good of His avenging justice. His goodness would not be manifested as far as it could be, if there were only the good of His mercy present in the fate of men; His goodness is manifested better in the variety afforded by the presence also of the good of His avenging justice. Thus it is required for the perfection of the universe, that it might manifest His goodness in the full variety which it contains, that some men obtain their end in salvation. And it is likewise required that others fail to attain to their end, and are rather damned; for otherwise the good of His avenging justice could not be realised, if some men did not die in their sins. This is the cosmological purpose of the salvation of the elect and of the damnation of the reprobate...
So, God predestines some men to an high grade of being, as saints in Heaven; and these achieve their end, which is eternal happiness in the vision of God. And others He reprobates unto a low grade of being, as the damned; these fail to obtain their end. In the variety of the universe, His goodness is manifest.
So, God allows certain men to fail to obtain salvation. Some He predestines to salvation, others He reprobates unto damnation. And this He does for the purpose for which the universe exists:
“The reason for the predestination of some, and reprobation of others, must be sought for in the goodness of God. Thus He is said to have made all things through His goodness, so that the divine goodness might be represented in things. Now it is necessary that God's goodness, which in itself is one and undivided, should be manifested in many ways in His creation; because creatures in themselves cannot attain to the simplicity of God. Thus it is that for the completion of the universe there are required different grades of being; some of which hold a high and some a low place in the universe. That this multiformity of grades may be preserved in things, God allows some evils, lest many good things should never happen, as was said above. Let us then consider the whole of the human race, as we consider the whole universe. God wills to manifest His goodness in men; in respect to those whom He predestines, by means of His mercy, as sparing them; and in respect of others, whom he reprobates, by means of His justice, in punishing them. This is the reason why God elects some and rejects others. To this the Apostle refers, saying (Rm. 9:22,23): “What if God, willing to show His wrath (that is, the vengeance of His justice), and to make His power known, endured with much patience (allowed) vessels of wrath, fitted for destruction; that He might show the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He hath prepared unto glory”; and (2 Tim. 2:20): “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver; but also of wood and of earth; and some, indeed, unto honor, but some unto dishonor.”” (1, 23, 5)
So, it is necessary for the completion of the universe, that it might more perfectly manifest the goodness of God, for which purpose it exists, that there be a variety of men, of different grades, some of whom fail to obtain their good, which is salvation. Therefore, it is necessary that God divide mankind into the elect, who obtain their good, in whom shall be realised the goodness of His mercy; and into the reprobate, who fail to obtain their good, in whom the goodness of His avenging justice is realised. Thus is realised the variety of the higher and the lower grades of man, the honourable and the dishonourable; and His goodness is manifested variously and more perfectly than it otherwise would be.
Hence, both salvation and damnation are logically prior in the order of intention to election and to predestination and reprobation. God first intends the purpose of the universe, namely that it might manifest His goodness as far as is possible. Therefore He intends that there should be salvation and damnation, so that His goodness might be variously and thereby more perfectly manifested. Therefore He elects some, whom He predestines to salvation, and the good of His mercy is manifested in these, as St. Thomas says, in that He “spares” them the fate of the reprobate. And others He reprobates, in whom is manifested the good of His avenging justice. God first decides the end and then decides the adequate means to that end, namely predestination and reprobation, the ultimate end being the same for either, namely the manifestation of the divine goodness.
God wishes to realise His wrath as well as His mercy, and there is no injustice in this of God as He deprives no creature of what it is due. The Apostle explains:
“As it is written: Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated. What shall we say then? Is there injustice with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses: I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy; and I will shew mercy to whom I will shew mercy. […] O man, who art thou that repliest against God? […] What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath, fitted for destruction?” (Romans 9:13-15, 20, 22)
So, we have seen the purpose of the universe, the universal principles that this entails, and how these apply to men. We shall now consider the place of invincible ignorance within this cosmological and teleological context.
As we have seen, it is necessary for the completion of the universe that some men fail in their end and are damned. Now, invincible ignorance is precisely an instance of men failing to obtain their good, which failure must be for the completion of the universe to be effected. If no men failed to obtain their end, which is salvation, or died in their sins, then the goodness of God’s avenging justice would not be manifested in their damnation; and then the universe as a whole would not manifest His goodness as far as it could in the required variety. So it must be that some men are damned - and invincible ignorance is an adequate means to this end. For, all men are conceived with original sin, which suffices for their damnation, as suffice the mortal sins which many men commit. That these people are damned, it is not required that they resist the Faith with a positive sin of infidelity; rather it is adequate that they never hear of the Faith, in which consists their invincible ignorance, without which Faith their sins, which suffice for damnation, cannot be taken away. Wherefore, those who die invincibly ignorant are damned.
- Posts: 211
Join date: 2010-12-18
Location: southern Oregon
- Posts: 211
Join date: 2010-12-18
Location: southern Oregon