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God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

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God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:35 pm

I beg your consideration for beginning a new thread where we can direct our attention to the question of whether God's permission of sin is a negative or a conditioned decree, which I believe is THE central issue (and misunderstanding) of this debate on the universal salvific will of God, and all that this entails (the essentials of this debate).

It may seem tedious to have to go back and copy and paste existing arguments from the "Effraenatam" thread, but I hope this is only a minor inconvenience.

Unless otherwise noted, all citations in the following presentation will be taken from “God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree? A Defense Of The Doctrine Of Francisco Marin-Sola, O.P., Based On The Principles Of Thomas Aquinas”, A Dissertation by Michael D Torre.

An extensive preview of this work detailing the doctrine of Fr. Marin-Sola can be found here (http://openisbn.org/preview/9783727816598/), and, while many pages (sometimes whole blocks of pages) are missing (this is a preview, and, unfortunately, it is not available in eBook form), there is more than enough to understand his position and to understand the epic doctrinal battle that took place (and continues today) between Fr. Marin-Sola and the great Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, two monumental figures within the Dominican Order of St. Thomas Aquinas, both of whom laid claim to possessing the true understanding of Thomas’s doctrine on “God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?”

In fact, the back and forth (at least two extensive exchanges) between these Dominican heavyweights became so contentious (as the battle for truth usually is) that the General of the Dominican Order put a stop to this debate (which was quite unfortunate), though that does not mean we do not have recourse to their respective doctrines (though, Fr. Marin's work on this topic is not as well known in the English speaking world.)

For just a bit of background, Fr. Clifford Fenton wrote in his AER (April, 1953) that Fr. Francisco Marin-Sola's book, "L'evolutión homogéne du dogme catholique, which appeared in 1923, will undoubtedly rank as one of the outstanding theological monographs of the twentieth century" and that "his outstanding contribution to the discussion [of Ecclesiastical Faith] is to be found in the field of the history of sacred theology."

Back to the subject work at hand, the Abstract provides a taste and summation of the doctrine of Fr. Marin, and the unfortunate error of Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange (for ease of reading, I am taking the liberty of inserting additional paragraph breaks):

… I am more than ever persuaded that the position of Marin-Sola that it [‘this thesis’] defends is substantially true, the basic position of Aquinas, and the teaching of the Catholic Church. By this, I mean the twin positions that there is no explanation for failure under grace than the creature’s free will (and, in no way, save to make this possible, the permissive will of God), and that this failure impedes God’s grace and motion from attaining a particular end to which it is ordered.

The point, be it noted, is not what does in fact happen, since whatever good in fact happens occurs by God’s absolute will, and whatever moral evil happens occurs by the creature’s defective will. The point, rather, is what could have happened, but does not. Marin-Sola’s thesis is that more good could in fact have occurred than does (due to man’s sin), and that the evil that occurs (at least as regards a fall from grace) could in fact not have occurred (has the free creature co-operated with the gracious motion given it, rather than fail and introduce moral evil into God’s creation).

The distinction between a divided and a de facto capacity is not to the point when it comes to a free creature’s moral failure, although it can be regarding its moral goodness. For, in the first case, the creature acts an independent, first cause; whereas, in the second it always acts as a dependent and subordinate cause. God may choose to protect a free creature from failure (in which case the free act could fail only in the divided sense); but, if not, then the creature still has the capacity to fail or not to fail (at least as regards a fall from grace), and that in the full, de facto, sense. I am convinced today (more so, were that possible!) that this position is true and essential.

Indeed, I am convinced now even more that this position is not only that of Aquinas, but that it is a very traditional one within the Thomastic school. In truth, the idea that God’s grace is impedible is its more common interpretation of Thomas. It is Cajetan who introduces the idea that all of God’s providence infallibly attains each of its particular ends, and Prierio and Ferrariensis immdeiatly objected to his innovation. However, Banez, and his followers at the time of eh de auxiliis controversy (Alvarez and Lemos, chiefly) followed Cajetan, and then argues that all divine motion was infallibly efficacious. This is a mistake, and an exaggeration. Later Thomists (e.g. beginning with Nicolai), arguing against Jansenists, returned their school to its earlier (pre-Cajetanian) position.

The Jansenists themselves objected to this, and argued their own that their own position was in full agreement with the position of Banez. It is my conviction today, even more so than before, that it is indeed absolutely impossible to avoid Jansenism without correcting the earlier error. Far, then, from holding that Garrigou-Lagrange’s position is the more “traditional” one within Thomism, it now seems to me that, at least in principle, it is no such thing, and is, in fact, quite indefensible to any Catholic thinker who wishes to take seriously Church’s condemnation of Jansenism. In any case, I believe the main virtue of this thesis lies not only in my own arguments, but in its making available the mind and work of Francisco Marin-Sola. He remains the best defender of his own position. He was a true genius: the “mind of his school,” and the greatest Thomist of the 20th century. I hope this work will help others recognize this.
It should also be noted that Jean-Herve Nicolas, O.P., supported the position of Garrigou-Lagrange; however, in 1992, “[H]e subsequently retracted that support … seeing that it led to the difficulty noted in this thesis [endnote 2 provides the French source document].” Additionally, Torre indicated that he is preparing a work of Marin-Sola’s articles in English which will detail “the remarkable (yet unremarked) degree of support Marin-Sola’s views had received in the Catholic theological community during the fifty years following its publication”, to include the support of Franciso Muniz, O.P., and Jacques Maritain.

Continuing in his Abstract, Torre provides greater detail to the accidental, but substantial error of Garrigou-Lagrange:

Garrigou-Lagrange’s position defines God’s permission as a non-preservation in the moral good. Given this permission, a creature is infallibly defective. God, knowing his defect, moves him to his sinful act. God is not responsible for sin, because He need not preserve a creature in the moral good. Marin-Sola’s position defines God’s permission as a will to leave a creature to its condition. If the creature is defectible, this entails moving him towards the honest good such that he can fail or not fail to obtain is end. If the creature is defective, this entails leaving him to his condition, from which he infallibly remains defective. The defect itself, however, proceeds from the creature, even though it need not, and grounds his responsibility for sin.

Garrigou-Lagrange’s position is indefensible, for God’s non-preservation is a per accidens cause of a consequent defect. On this theory, God becomes the first cause of sin as sin. Its mistake lies in assuming that defect in being must be explained in relation to an extrinsic, rather than an intrinsic, cause. Its mistaken interpretation of Aquinas derives from conflating two senses of permission, without realizing that they involve different suppositions.

Marin-Sola’s position insists on the radical absurdity of sin. It cannot be reduced to God being, intellect, or will. By sinning, the creature places impediments to the course of grace, to particular ends of God’s general providence, and to the fruition of His antecedent will. Only if the creature abandons God is he abandoned. God eternally sees the creature’s independent defect in its own action and uses it to good effect. This is Aquinas’s doctrine and implicitly that of the Catholic Church.

That's enough for now, I can already hear the groans from certain quarters (to be expected) as "traditionally" held beliefs pertaining to a "negative reprobation" are placed into proper context, and the error exposed and rejected, with the true doctrine rising from the ashes.

As time permits, I hope to get into the details by responding to some of Mark’s arguments, particularly as he presents them by way of the esteemed Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange. In its essential points, as I also hope to demonstrate, Marin's doctrines is in harmony with that of Augustine, Aquinas, Bellarmine and Liguori.

Let me say from the outset that the doctrine of Marin-Sola is NOT the doctrine of Molina, for Marin absolutely rejects the idea that “man is sufficient as a co-ordinate cause with, but not by, God’s grace”. And just as firmly he refuses to accept the doctrine “admitting a ‘negative’ reprobation that precedes any vision of sin committed”.

Let me also say that I am not prepared to offer a definitive "solution" to the mystery of the fate of unbaptized infants, but I hope to demonstrate that it makes little sense to argue for or against their salvation in the context of "sufficient" and "efficacious" grace, neither of which can strictly apply to infants sine both involve the movement of the will, and not mere "potency" (with respect to the former). The question remains, is God's will for the salvation of unbaptized infants strictly conditional, or unconditional? If He wills their salvation, does He provide the means?

Mark, I cannot answer the question on infants, but the solution to your greater dilemma is before us ... though I fully expect that you will examine the objections of GL, which are detailed (and answered) in the linked tome. I hope you will at least consider that GL might have accidentally conflated "two senses of permission, without realizing that they involve different suppositions", and came to an erroneous conclusion he only thought was faithful to the doctrine of St. Thomas.

Either way, I am prepared to defend the doctrine of Marin-Sola, and I expect you will be prepared to defend Fr. GL.

Mark, what can I say, I am partial to the Spanish Dominicans, to include Gregory of Valencia (cited by Fr. Scheeben) and his sublime doctrine on justification/predestination.

Let us proceed in good-will, in humility and most of all in prayer.











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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:09 pm

I wrote, citing Michael Torre:

Garrigou-Lagrange’s position is indefensible, for God’s non-preservation is a per accidens cause of a consequent defect. On this theory, God becomes the first cause of sin as sin. Its mistake lies in assuming that defect in being must be explained in relation to an extrinsic, rather than an intrinsic, cause. Its mistaken interpretation of Aquinas derives from conflating two senses of permission, without realizing that they involve different suppositions.
Let’s go into greater detail in explaining this error.

Selects extracts from the section, God’s Will and Sin (pp. 157 – 160):

"God’s providence is an order of means that directs a creature to an end. As such it is formally attributed to God’s intellect, for it is the nature of intellect to order things. Nonetheless, such a providence both supposes and entails God’s will. It supposes it, because one orders things towards an end only if one first wills the end.

"Consequently, God’s provision of means for an end supposes that he wants that end to be realized. It entails His will because it is by one’s will that uses the means intellectually commanded so that the end is attained. It is on the basis of God’s will, therefore, that the means that are part of God’s providence are applied or extended. Thus, the eternal order of God’s providence supposes His will of the end of each order and the created execution of God’s providence supposes His will to apply the means of each order.

"Marin’s doctrine argues for two different physical premotions, one fallible and one infallible, one conditionally efficacious or simply sufficient and one unconditionally efficacious or simply efficacious. From this, he logically deduces that there are two orders of God’s providence, a general one whose particular ends are impedible and a special one whose particular ends are unimpedible. It is not surprising then, to find him likewise deducing a similar truth about God’s will. That is, he holds that God possesses an antecedent will of an end that is conditional and resistible, and a consequent will of an end that is absolute, unconditional and irresistible:

Although in God will is one, and He wants everything in one sole and most simple act, nevertheless, to our human manner of knowing and on the part only of the objects willed, the antecedent will of God and the decrees and motions corresponding to this antecedent will are prius natura to the consequent will and to its decrees and corresponding motions.

This antecedent will, with its corresponding decrees and motions, is antecedent or conditioned, or inefficacious, or impedible, or fallible, as regards the attainment of a particular end, but consequent or absolute or simpliciter efficacious or unimpedible or infallible as regards the application of the sufficient means for the attainment of this end (S 42).

"[…] The difference between an antecedent and a consequent will pertains to the willing of an end. The former is a will that an end can be accomplished on condition of something else. The latter is an absolute will of the end. This volitional difference is founded on an intellectual one, since the will follows the intellect. And the intellectual difference, in its turn, is founded a difference of the object known.

"The object can be considered as an individual with these conditions. In the first case, the object so considered may be seen as or judged worthy of attaining its end. In this case, one wills that its end be attained on condition that no further conditions qualify it as unworthy of that end. In the second case, considering the object with these dis-qualifying conditions, the object is seen as or judged unworthy of attaining its end. In this case, even though one wishes that its end might be attained, absolutely one does not will to bring it to its end. In the first case, one possesses at least a simple will that the end be attained, which virtually includes the absolute intention that means be given that it be attained. In the second case, one possesses a velleity or inefficacious wish that the end be attained, which wish excludes any will that means be given.

"Thus, the antecedent will is based on the consideration of an object without certain of its circumstances. Because of this, it is sometimes called an absolute will, since it considers an object’s nature, prescinding from some of the conditions under which it is found. This understanding of the antecedent will, however, admits of two very different interpretations:

When Saint Thomas says that the antecedent will regards its object in an ABSOLUTE way, or without circumstances, these phrases of “absolute” or “without circumstances” can have two senses: (a) WITHOUT ANY CIRCUMSTANCES; (b) NOT WITH ALL circumstances. The sense of Saint Thomas is the second, not the first (3 6 511 186).
"That this is Thomas’s meaning can be seen clearly enough from this passage of the Sentences (1 SN 46, ad 2):

The antecedent will can be called conditioned; this is not, however, an imperfection on the part of the divine will but on the part of the thing willed, which is not taken with all (“omnibus”) the circumstances that are required for a right order to salvation.
This distinction is crucial, for if God’s antecedent will was based on a consideration of a nature without any of its circumstances, then it would be absolutely inefficacious, inactive and useless:

An object considered without any circumstances would be a being of reason, and a will that regarded its object in these conditions would be a useless will and without any effect. It would be at most rather like the pure complacency God has in respect to the pure possibles, without causing anything of them (3 6 511 186).

"Were it the case that God’s antecedent will were of this sort, then one would need to conclude that God’s universal salvific will was completely ineffective and useless in itself. That being the case, one would also need to conclude that the reason some were reprobated lay fundamentally and primarily in the fact that God did not want to save them. Marin will have none of this, and argues that this is to distort Thomas’s own understanding of the antecedent will.

"If God’s antecedent will considers a man without some circumstances of his life, but not without all, it remains to determine from what circumstances it abstracts. In Marin’s view, it abstracts from only one such circumstance, final impenitence. For each and every man, until the moment of his death, it can truly be said that God possesses an active will to save him:


The true antecedent will to save men regards man in the concrete, such as he exists in reality. It regards each and every one of the men that presently exist, and as they exist with all their individual circumstances. With hand on his chest and referring to himself, each one of us can and ought to sing that article of the creed which says: “Propter nos hominess et propter nostrum salutem descendit de caelis.” It regards, then, man such as man is, with his original sin. And more: it regards man, each and every adult, with all the actual sins each man has committed anterior to the moment of death. “Deus non vult mortem peccatoris, sed ut convertatur et vivat. Non veni vocare justos, sed peccatores ad poenitentiam.” However great a sinner a man may be, and while there remains to a moment of life, he can say with all sincerity: God really and truly desires that I be saved (2 31 557 474).

"The essential difference between the antecedent and the consequent will, therefore, lies in this, that the antecedent will to save man regards that man without taking into consideration whether or not he dies impenitent. God’s consequent will, however, considers man with all the circumstances of his life, including the final one. It is only on supposition of a person’s final refusal of God that one can say that He absolutely wills not to save Him, and that His salvific will is inefficacious.

"To say that a person wills something without considering certain circumstances is equivalent to saying that he wills the object conditionally. This is why it is called a conditional will to save that person:

It signifies the same thing to will something WITHOUT certain of its CIRCUMSTANCES as to regard it WITH a certain condition, just as it signifies the same thing to will an object WITH all its CIRCUMSTANCES as to regard it without any condition. Thus, for example, to want a fruit WITHOUT the circumstance that it might be bitter, is the same as to want the fruit WITH the condition that it not be bitter, just as to will it with all circumstances or whatever circumstance is he same as to will it unconditionally or in an absolute manner (3 8 515 195).

"The relation of this point to God’s antecedent will is obvious. If God chooses a true will to save a person, abstracting from his final state of impenitence, this is equivalent to saying that he wills to save a person on condition that he is not finally impenitent. It is called “absolute”, then, because it is based on a consideration of an object without all of its conditions. It is called “conditioned” because it wills the object under a condition. To use both terms interchangeably would create confusion. Marin prefers the terms “conditioned” and “conditional” to refer to the antecedent will, generally reserving the term “absolute” to refer to God’s consequent will, which wills something absolutely, or without condition. Unless otherwise specified, his preference is followed throughout this analysis."

END of extract.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:31 pm

Extract from the section, “Two Doctors of the Church” (taken from “God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree? A Defense Of The Doctrine Of Francisco Marin-Sola, O.P., Based On The Principles Of Thomas Aquinas”, A Dissertation by Michael D Torre):

“[…] Is not, in short, man’s entire fate in God’s hand, according to Augustine? Does not the notion of a sufficient grace that places man’s fate for Hell back in his hands essentially betray the entire thrust of Augustine’s message? If so, how can a position such as Marin-Sola’s be sustained as the Catholic one?

"Questions such as these require that one at least suggest the degree of unanimity or lack thereof between Marin-Sola’s position and that of Augustine. The difficulty of this task derives principally from the fact that Augustine’s doctrine is open to and has received such a variety of interpretations. Furthermore, history has shown that, from a Catholic point of view at least, Augustine’s thought is open to serious misinterpretation. Or, to speak in a less partisan fashion, if Augustine’s thought were really that of several of his interpreters, then it is opposed to Catholic faith, at least on certain points. The best example of such an interpretation opposed to the Catholic faith is that attempted by Cornelius Jansen.

"Indeed, because of the dissension caused by his doctrine, and its consequent condemnation, partisans of the strict Augustinian view seem to have diminished in modern Catholicism. Nonetheless, the position is by no means without its able defenders. One of the best in recent years was the distinguished Augustinian Athanase Sage, A.A. I propose to compare his own interpretation of Augustine’s doctrine with Marin-Sola’s interpretation of Thomas. I have chosen the work of Sage as a point of comparison not only on the principle that it is best to present a Doctor’s thought as interpreted by a distinguished member of his own order, but also because Sage is essentially an historian who seeks to understand Augustine’s thought in its proper context and does not try to make it fit scholastic categories not his.

"Sage exposed the thought on Augustine in a series of articles published in the Revne des Etudes Augustiniennes in the 1960’s. He begins his exposition by enunciating what, in effect, are his two guiding principles of Augustine thought regarding man’s status before God – that man on his own is capable only of failure, and that God is in no way responsible for his fault:

One of he major theses of Augustinianism, so happily arrived at, is that being, truth, and goodness have God for first cause; that evil, which is the privation of being, of truth, and of he good, proceeds only from a cause capable of failure. God can in no manner be held responsible for sin… God can want, speaking formally, after the most established principles of Saint Augustine, only the city of good. (25)
"Thus man, for Augustine as for Thomas and for Marin-Sola, essentially a being who can fail, and sin derives from the failure of the will, not from a decree of God’s. Sage is particularly insistent about the second point. He unequivocally rejects the view that Augustine is a supralapsarian or a double predestinarian:

But it is not evident, one objects, that for Augustine God refuses His grace to those who are not the elect, before all consideration of their personal comportment? Very clear texts are opposed to this affirmation. God takes upon Himself the initiative of good, not of evil. He created the angel in His grace; He created Adam I sanctity and integrity, and in Adam, in the morning of his creation, it is all humanity that is loved and God forbids Himself from abandoning His friends. He abandons only those who abandon Him. (26)

"According to Sage, therefore, Augustine teaches that man does possess an initiative before God. His determination of evil is not grounded in a decree of God, but in his own decisions to abandon God.

"Sage goes further. He insists that it is not simply the Adamic graces that man could refuse, but Christic graces as well. He begins to make this point when he argues that Augustine teaches a vocation more extensive than election:

Would he [Sage’s ‘adversary’] say that Augustine does not believe in this universal call which Christ addresses to his brothers in humanity from the Cross? … ‘Quod semel dedit et pro omnibus dedit’ he affirms [Sermon 344, 4]. But by the fault of man there are more called than elected. (27)

"He then explicitly affirms that those who refuse the Christic graces they have already received are not determined to do so by God’s will, but are only seen to do so by Him:

For him, all grace can be refused, even the grace of Christ. For God alone knows His elect; we do not know them. (28)

"And, again:

God knows from all eternity and in a changeless fashion, the number of the damned, but in His foreknowledge and in no way in His decree of predestination. (29)
“Sage argues, therefore, that this proposition is universally true for Augustine: every fall from grace is not determined by God’s will, but only by the will of the spiritual creature. This applies to those who are ultimately damned as well as those who are ultimately saved.

“If this is the case, then one must admit that those who have been called are on the way towards Heaven, but that they place an obstacle to reaching their end. In his second article, Sage goes on to develop this point:

Everything is given to us, from the instant of our justification, but in germ; and we are never assured that this germ will lead to a perfect development of its virtualities. We must ask for this without ceasing and always with more insistence. And if we would be assured that God is taken with us such as no longer to leave us and that we are the number of His predestined, it is necessary for us still, after he examples of Christ, always to pray. (30)

END of extract.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:21 pm

Mike,

Very interesting. I had briefly encountered this work before. I think you can read most, or at least a substantial amount of it, here: http://books.google.com/books?id=IG77CCWjT20C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

This will be an interesting thread, and against the norm: I suspect we will go several days or more without posts in reply - at least from me. But we need to be deliberate and prayerful with this topic, and it's deep.

Good stuff.

Mark
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:40 pm

I think the same document is accessed by both Mike's link and mine.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:04 am

Mike,

Let me also say that I am not prepared to offer a definitive "solution" to the mystery of the fate of unbaptized infants, but I hope to demonstrate that it makes little sense to argue for or against their salvation in the context of "sufficient" and "efficacious" grace, neither of which can strictly apply to infants sine both involve the movement of the will, and not mere "potency" (with respect to the former). The question remains, is God's will for the salvation of unbaptized infants strictly conditional, or unconditional? If He wills their salvation, does He provide the means?

Mark, I cannot answer the question on infants, but the solution to your greater dilemma is before us ... though I fully expect that you will examine the objections of GL, which are detailed (and answered) in the linked tome. I hope you will at least consider that GL might have accidentally conflated "two senses of permission, without realizing that they involve different suppositions", and came to an erroneous conclusion he only thought was faithful to the doctrine of St. Thomas.

And it is the dilemma of unbaptized infants that provides a point of focus that will enable us - in my view - to subject the question to a scrutiny that I suspect will be withering to both sides, Father GL's and Marin-Sola's.

The fact remains: an unbaptized infant posits no impediment to God's grace. We have, on the one hand, an impediment placed by other human beings, either negligently or willfully. On the other hand, we have a circumstance beyond man's control, so the absence of any human impediment seems to confront us squarely. A child born in pre-Christian lands is born where the remedy of baptism does not even exist, and not at the "fault" of man. I put "fault" in quotes because, if God decreed that birth where and when He did - if God is the sole cause of that historical and geographical circumstance - the question of "fault" disappears, since all actions of God are beyond fault. And I do not see how man can be faulted for the circumstances of that birth - can he be faulted for not advancing fast enough, technologically speaking, to have covered the globe so that the revelation God made to men in the Middle East would be able to reach that child?

As to the impediment place by other men as to that infant, of course we have the fundamental problem - if we are to judge things on the basis of our human sense of justice - that, if the infant is not saved, he would not be as a result of the actions of other agents, and not his own.

Which gets me to one aspect of my problem with I have expressed before: how could a theology that embraces the principle that God desires the salvation of each particular man (in his particular circumstance) fail to assert the salvation of some of those men (the infants) who do not personally place an impediment to the fulfillment of that universal salvific will?

I do not think Martin-Sola will provide an answer, or the principles from which to reach an answer, but we shall see. As a Father GL admirer and supporter, I will say that I also have not seen Father GL as providing a satisfactory solution, either. But then again, he might have dealt with this issue is some depth somewhere that I am not aware of.

Mark
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:34 am

tornpage wrote:Mike,

Let me also say that I am not prepared to offer a definitive "solution" to the mystery of the fate of unbaptized infants, but I hope to demonstrate that it makes little sense to argue for or against their salvation in the context of "sufficient" and "efficacious" grace, neither of which can strictly apply to infants sine both involve the movement of the will, and not mere "potency" (with respect to the former). The question remains, is God's will for the salvation of unbaptized infants strictly conditional, or unconditional? If He wills their salvation, does He provide the means?

Mark, I cannot answer the question on infants, but the solution to your greater dilemma is before us ... though I fully expect that you will examine the objections of GL, which are detailed (and answered) in the linked tome. I hope you will at least consider that GL might have accidentally conflated "two senses of permission, without realizing that they involve different suppositions", and came to an erroneous conclusion he only thought was faithful to the doctrine of St. Thomas.
And it is the dilemma of unbaptized infants that provides a point of focus that will enable us - in my view - to subject the question to a scrutiny that I suspect will be withering to both sides, Father GL's and Marin-Sola's.
I disagree. The mystery concerning unbaptized infants involves similar principles relative to God's will, but the entire debate between Father GL and Marin-Sola presupposes an active will that can move or not move to sin, and neither of these greats addressed the dilemma concerning infants in any significant depth beyond affirming the more common theological opinion, though, as we shall, Aquinas and Fr. Marin provide the key to understanding.

tornpage wrote:The fact remains: an unbaptized infant posits no impediment to God's grace. We have, on the one hand, an impediment placed by other human beings, either negligently or willfully. On the other hand, we have a circumstance beyond man's control, so the absence of any human impediment seems to confront us squarely.

A child born in pre-Christian lands is born where the remedy of baptism does not even exist, and not at the "fault" of man. I put "fault" in quotes because, if God decreed that birth where and when He did - if God is the sole cause of that historical and geographical circumstance - the question of "fault" disappears, since all actions of God are beyond fault. And I do not see how man can be faulted for the circumstances of that birth - can he be faulted for not advancing fast enough, technologically speaking, to have covered the globe so that the revelation God made to men in the Middle East would be able to reach that child?

As to the impediment place by other men as to that infant, of course we have the fundamental problem - if we are to judge things on the basis of our human sense of justice - that, if the infant is not saved, he would not be as a result of the actions of other agents, and not his own.

Which gets me to one aspect of my problem with I have expressed before: how could a theology that embraces the principle that God desires the salvation of each particular man (in his particular circumstance) fail to assert the salvation of some of those men (the infants) who do not personally place an impediment to the fulfillment of that universal salvific will?

I do not think Martin-Sola will provide an answer, or the principles from which to reach an answer, but we shall see. As a Father GL admirer and supporter, I will say that I also have not seen Father GL as providing a satisfactory solution, either. But then again, he might have dealt with this issue is some depth somewhere that I am not aware of.Mark
Mark, this is the problem, and you are proving my point. An unbaptized infant does in fact posit an impediment to God's grace, and that impediment is original sin. The impediment is not his fault, it is "beyond man's control", but it is still an impediment.

For God, the ONLY question to the removal of this specific impediment is whether such an a pardon is opposed, as St. Thomas teaches, to "the greater good of the universe", which in this case means the greater good of the predestined.

As Fr. Marin teaches (by way of example where "Peter" committed a crime punishable by death), if the "Prince of this nation [Our Lord] so loves Peter [these little ones] that he has a true and most sincere will to pardon him and to free him from death, but a will conditioned by one sole condition: by the condition that the pardon is not opposed to the greater good of the republic [to to the greater good of predestination]."

He goes on to say, using the same example:

In this case, a current and common case throughout all time, we clearly have two things: (a) the true and unique cause of not pardoning Peter (negative reprobation) is not the crime, but the greater good of the republic, because even after and thinking about the crime, the Prince possessed a true and sincere will to pardon him; (b) on the other hand, the true cause of hanging him (positive reprobation) is the crime committed.

Thus is verified two assertions of the doctrine of Saint Thomas. First, that the motive of positive reprobation is sin. Second, that the motive of the negative reprobation is the greater good of the universe, but also of a universe that supposes sin, because without sin it would never be the case that the salvation of a person could be opposed to the good of the universe. (Taken from pages 150 – 152, Part I, Section IV, “Providence, Predestinatioin, and Reprobation)
There it is, Mark, in a nutshell. With respect to infants and original sin, the pure will of God is the answer, and it is a will we cannot know - for we do not know if the greater good of the predestination of the saints is opposed to His will to save these little one's, who He loves and wills to save.

We can only speculate, and find reasons for hope.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:35 pm

In order to provide some greater context to my previous post, this extract is taken from pages 150 – 152, Part I, Section IV, “Providence, Predestinatioin, and Reprobation”:

“… a person resists sufficient grace because (in some sense) God permits him to, i.e. because one is negatively reprobated. This is Garrigou’s view, which Marin rejects.

“According to Marin, then, God’s reprobation supposes at least the vision of a defect place by man to His grace, if not a series of such impediments placed throughout a long life. Nonetheless, and even granting that it supposes the vision of sin (i.e., is post praevisa de-merita), it still remains true that God’s reprobation is eminently free and is motivated by the greater good of the universe. Marin makes this abundantly clear in an insightful footnote:

Some novices of Thomism, in reading the phrase of Saint Thomas in which he clearly says that the unique motive of negative reprobation is the greater good of the universe, thus suppose that negative reprobation cannot suppose the knowledge of actual sins, as though “being uniquely for the greater good of he universe” and “supposing the foreknowledge of actual sins” were incompatible things, when, on the contrary, they are things that can be united. Let us take a common example, in order to be clear.

Let us suppose that Peter had committed a crime punishable, according to the laws of his nation, with the pain of death. Let us further suppose that the Prince of this nation so loves Peter that he has a true and most sincere will to pardon him and to free him from death, but a will conditioned by one sole condition: by the condition that the pardon is not opposed to the greater good of the republic. Let us suppose, finally, that the Prince, after having well studied the case, sees that the pardon of Peter would be against the greater good of the republic, and in consequence decrees two things: (a) not to pardon him, but (b) to allow that the law be fulfilled and that he be hanged.

In this case, a current and common case throughout all time, we clearly have two things: (a) the true and unique cause of not pardoning Peter (negative reprobation) is not the crime, but the greater good of the republic, because even after and thinking about the crime, the Prince possessed a true and sincere will to pardon him; (b) on the other hand, the true cause of hanging him (positive reprobation) is the crime committed.

Thus is verified two assertions of the doctrine of Saint Thomas. First, that the motive of positive reprobation is sin. Second, that the motive of the negative reprobation is the greater good of the universe, but also of a universe that supposes sin, because without sin it would never be the case that the salvation of a person could be opposed to the good of the universe.

And more. The good of a human republic is not subordinate to the free will of a Prince, and, when a pardon is opposed to the greater good of the republic, a Prince is not able to grant it. Because of this, from the fact that a human prince denies a pardon on the grounds that this is required by the greater good of the republic, it cannot be said that he denies it by his pure will. On the other hand, the greater or lesser good of the universe (which is nothing save the greater good of the predestined) depends upon the pure will of God, God being free in not pardoning Peter, if this pardon is opposed to the greater good or other creatures, and also in pardoning him, thereby making the creatures have less good in place of a greater good. Because of this, one can say that negative reprobation not only has no other motive that the pure will of God. But it always supposes sin (N 370, note #1).
“As with the earlier analysis concerning the objective determination of God’s motion, so here man’s impediment is a condition of God’s negative reprobation and is supposed by it, but this reprobation remains free and is founded upon God’s will to give us as He sees fit. Still, precisely because His negative reprobation supposes sin, one can see that it is not unjust or unholy and that it need not be opposed to His love for man as revealed in Christ.

“While the first implication of his doctrine concerns the absolute permission that is identical to God’s negative reprobation, the second implication concerns God’s conditioned or antecedent permission, which is an aspect of his general supernatural providence. In effect, Marin’s doctrine makes it possible for one to see how God has permitted man to be responsible for his own destiny, for Heaven or Hell. At the same time, he stands by this affirmation without making man the independent cause of his glory (as Molina’s doctrine tends to do). Although Marin does not himself relate his views on providence to God’s antecedent permission, his doctrine on this matter is clear from his own remarks, particularly those made at the end of his last published article.

“The easiest way to appreciate his position is to recall that God is free to govern His creatures according to certain laws, to provide for them according to a certain established order. This equally applies to his gift of grace. The first “law” concerns His general supernatural providence:

Of this order we recognize two laws (a) that God gives to all men, at least to all adults, some sufficient grace, grace greater or less, proximately or remotely sufficient, as it pleases God, but really and truly efficient to keep the commandments and be saved; (b) that once the first sufficient grace, called vocation is given, God always and infallibly gives the efficacious grace for justification if man, by his own fault, does not paralyze the course of sufficient grace, placing an impediment to its course; that is, if he does with it what he can and prays for what he is not able to do (N 377).

“Such laws, clearly, signaled by most of the Thomistic commentators, are not based on any merit on man’s part or in any way tied to what he is capable of doing by nature much less what he can do by his fallen nature. Rather, for fallen man, they are based solely upon what Christ has done for him:

The laws of the motions of general supernatural providence are founded, for the angels and for man in a state of integral nature, upon the elevation to the supernatural order. The laws of the motions of general supernatural providence, for fallen nature, are founded on the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom, all men have been redeemed, that is restored to the rights of the elevation to the supernatural order lost through original sin … the premotions of grace proper to the general supernatural providence are in a certain manner owed to redeemed nature, or better, owed to the adorable blood of our Divine Saviour (N378).

“Thus, any action or any merit accomplished through the gift of sufficient grace is first and foremost to be attributed not to fallen man, but the perfect God-man who came to save all His brothers and sisters.

“Such laws apply to vocations and justification. The question is then naturally raised whether or not there is a law that applies to their glorification. The gift of glory and the gift of final perseverance infallibly connected to it are not a part of God’s general providence, by which salvation is once again made possible for fallen man, but are a part of His special providence, by which salvation is made actual and eternal. If these gifts cannot be merited by any of the graces that flow from God’s general providence, it still remains to ask whether or not they can be and are given according to a certain order. Marin argues in the affirmative:

The supreme and supernaturally free gift of final perseverance has, by the most free and merciful will of God, something of an order, and order that can be reduced to a sole law, and that is called the law of impetration. This law consists in this that, although the final perseverance is not causable, nor meritable by man (because it depends uniquely and exclusively upon the pure will of God, who gives it to whom He wants and as He wants, giving it sometimes to the greatest sinners and denying it to others who sin much less, for which Saint Augustine sasy with reason: “quare hune trahat et illum non trahat, noli velle judicare, si non vise rare”), it is nonetheless humbly impetrable or is obtainable from God by the sole way of prayer; but in a way of prayer founded not on the merits of the nature that prays, as perfect as one supposes this nature, nor either in the merits of the grace possessed by the one who prays, as great as one may suppose this grace and these merits, but based exclusively upon the blood and merits of our lord Jesus Christ, that is, in the pure mercy of God through the merits of His Divine Son. There is not, for fallen man, another means of arriving at final perseverance that this of prayer; but it is a means infallible insofar as it pertains to God’s part, and a means God really and truly placed at he disposal of all men, so that it can be said that any man, as great a sinner as he may have been before, still has it really and truly in his hands throughout the remainder of his life (N 382-3).
“Final perseverance, then, is not given out of justice, but out of mercy… [‘pages 153 to 155 are not shown in this preview’” – we will continue on page 156]

“Marin goes on to discuss three cases that manifest our ignorance in these matters: 1. the conversion of one infidel and not another; 2. the justification of one faithful sinner and not another; 3. the final perseverance of a just man and not another:

All that we know for certain in each off these three cases is tow things:

(a) that if someone converts to the faith or is justified from sin or is saved dying in the grace of God, all of this comes from the pure mercy of God and never comes from the nature of the merits of man;

(b) that if anyone remains all his life in infidelity, or remains all his life in mortal sin, and therefore dies without the grace of God and is condemned, this comes from man freely placing, to some sufficient grace, which God denies to no one, some impediment that it was in his hand, by virtue of the grace which he possessed, not to have placed. That is, it always comes from the man not having with sufficient grace something that he, and above all not praying with the grace that he actually had for something that he could have prayed. In this manner is verified that God saves those whom He wills and how He wills, in which the mystery of predestination consists, but He does not cease to save one who, with the grace that God has given him, prays for what he can pray.

This speculative mystery of predestination does not disappear with this, but what disappears with it is desperation, because God, notwithstanding this mystery, has placed in the hands of men a practical way of salvation. This way is the way of impetration, and infallible way on the part of God, while man does not fail on his part, that is, while man does not place, to the grace which he at each moment has, some impediment that he could in sensu composito not place (2 55 860-1 0037-eight).
“This is Marin’s fullest explanation of the way in which the mysteries of predestination and reprobation come together. By it, he believes he has defended both the gratuity of predestination and the justice of reprobation.

“The final point made by Marin is particularly worthy of note. Were the practical mystery of predestination as obscure as the speculative one, one would be led to desperation; that is, one would have no confidence that one was on the way to glory or that one had a hope of obtaining salvation. In fact, however, one does possess a practical means of possessing some confidence in one’s ultimate destiny, namely the way of prayer, or reliance upon God’s mercy. And this way in a sense confirms itself, for the experience of prayer is often the solace of God’s presence and His loving aid. Thus, even though one does not know that one is predestined, one does know that if one does not refuse God’s mercy, then the graces that flow from that mercy will bring one to glory. This is all that is needed to lead a life of Christian hope. It is the particular character of Marin’s doctrine to bring the speculative mystery of predestination back to the practical life of Christian hope and prayer.

“To return to the point from which this last analysis began, it would be impossible to make the above point if God’s general providence were entirely subordinate to his special providence. For one’s hope is based on God’s will to give grace, if one humbly asks for it. Such a condition further supposes that God makes it really possible for one to ask for grace and will always make it possible provided that one does not first turn from him. This affirmation is entirely mitigated if there is not a grace of prayer given through God’s general providence. Otherwise, one must qualify the statement that God gives grace to whomsoever asks for it with the further condition that he does so if he does not permit that person not to ask for it. Put differently, one is forced to say that God does not permit one to sin. This being supposed, it is extremely difficult to see how one can have any confidence in salvation. One knows that God gives glory if one asks, but this is no comfort because he May not make it possible for one in fact to ask for it, permitting one instead to refuse His grace. This is the consequence of reducing God’s permission to an absolute one, of not distinguishing an antecedent permission. By doing so, one takes the responsibility for man’s destiny out of his hands and places it in God’s. It is God, not man, who thus discriminates man not only for Heaven, but also for Hell. In this case, the “mystery of iniquity” derives first from God’s permissive will and not from man’s refusal of grace.

“Finally, and to conclude this section, it should be noted that the above questions put to Marin’s position derive from a disbelief that one can sustain an analysis of God’s reprobation and predestination based on an asymmetry between the lines of good and evil. If Marin holds that men are the first cause of sin in the way he does, then it is supposed that somehow his position must reduce making man equally the one who determines his salvation, the one who adds something to the graces given so that he is assured of glory (after the manner of Molina). As we shall see in the second part, most of the objections against this position come down to an effort to reduce his position to Molina’s. Certainly, one can see the difficulty of sustaining his position here, in this discussion of providence and predestination, or vice-versa, is faced with the task of making subtle and difficult distinctions. Before objecting to such subtlety, however, it needs to be asked whether a simpler solution does not deny some truth of faith. The conceptual complexity may be demanded by the nature of the mystery."

END of extract.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:03 pm

Continuing with “God's Permission of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?...”, Part II, Section VI, “Objections Against the Position of Garrigou-Lagrange”, God’s Will and Sin, pages 236-238, Michael Torre writes (again, I’ve taken the liberty of inserting additional paragraph breaks):

“Garrigou-Lagrange holds two things simultaneously: that the antecedent will is only a velleity and that it is the ground of sufficient grace. He holds the first out of the mistaken view that it is that of Thomas as well. He holds the second because of the doctrine of the Church regarding sufficient grace. Yet it is impossible to reconcile these two assertions. They bear no intrinsic relation to one another and are, in fact, contradictory. This is clear from the very nature of velleity, which, as he himself admits, is inefficacious in itself. God’s antecedent salvific will can be rendered efficacious, then, only by His consequent will. The sense of the statement that the antecedent will grounds the donation of sufficient grace can only be that it is the condition for such a donation, not that it is the cause of such a donation. It is only given that salvific will and given, further, a command stemming from God’s consequent will, that one receives sufficient grace.

"Well then, God’s consequent and absolute will is either a will to reprobate or a will to predestine. In relation to the predestined it is perfectly possible to say that the antecedent will is rendered effective by a command stemming from God’s absolute will to predestine them. In regards to the reprobate, however, it is absurd to say that the donation of the grace they receive stems fro God’s absolute will to reprobate them. If, then, they posses no grounds for sufficient in God’s absolute will, then nothing will be commanded of he antecedent will and no grace will be received by the reprobate. If God’s antecedent will is only a velleity, then, there is no basis for a sufficient grace that is resisted. This is opposed to the Catholic faith. Such an impossible conclusion is a foregone one from the moment God’s antecedent will is conceived as solely a velleity.

“In fact, Garrigou-Lagrange does not want God’s antecedent will to be a mere velleity. He is led, being constrained by the truth of the matter itself, to one and the same time speak of it in terms that make it efficacious and in terms that make it inefficacious. It is the foundation for the real sufficient graces given to all adults and yet is, in itself, incapable of serving as a foundation for anything. He wavers between treating it as a consequent will, since the sufficient graces given are received infallibly by man, and treating it as no true will at all, since a will of a nature abstracted from all conditions and circumstances is an entirely useless and sterile one. He misses the true mean regarding the antecedent will, which is to regard it as a will that is conditionally efficacious, because he insists upon making the limits of its efficacy determined first by God’s will and not man’s.

"It is God’s permissive will that first limits and ultimately negates the saving power of His antecedent will. In order to overcome his problem, then, it is necessary to show only that it is legitimate to affirm that the efficacy of God’s antecedent will can be limited first by man’s will. Showing this here, in direct relation to Garrigou-Lagrange’s own position, will make it possible to understand how this important error concerning God’s antecedent will occurs and how it can be cleared up.

First then, it is important to note that there is a perfectly true sense in which God does abandon a creature. This abandonment is to suffering and not to sin and it proceeds from the depths of His salvific love, not from any lack of such on His part. It is the ones God most loves that He allows to feel the pain of their own nothingness before Him. The mystics attest to this black night of the soul and they describe it in frightening terms. In an analogous fashion, Thomas tells us that the purifying pains of purgatory are worse than earthly pains (4 SN 21, 11, 3). The reason for such pains, however, derives from the love of God burning in man’s soul. These pains derive from the transformation God is working in it whereby it becomes perfectly united to Him. This suffering is a prelude to eternal Happiness, a price paid and paid willingly by those who most love God.

This abandonment, then, is the direct result of His most efficacious love and election. It is absolutely other than the abandonment by which He lets a person remain in sin and be damned. Such an abandonment is the opposite of this love. I occurs first, however, because the creature is not willing to pay the price of that love. If it is proper to speak of the first abandonment as preceding merit, therefore, it is radically false to speak of the second as preceding the demerit that deserves and in some manner asks for it (in the sense that the person refuses the other alternative).

Second, there is a perfectly justifiable way in which one can and should speak of God’s permission as an abandonment, as an unwillingness to preserve someone from defect and sin. God dos abandon some in the sense that He allows them to continue in their sin. God permits man to remain in sin, either personal or at least original (if He does not confer salvific means to children dying unbaptized, which is presently a much debated question). This permission of final impenitence is real and frightening, but is supposes a defect in man. Whenever Thomas speaks of God’s permission as an abandonment, this is the sense in which it is to be taken. He never speaks of it this way in relation to Adam, the angels, or the justified, for, in all these cases, there is no defect in them that impedes God’s salvific will or the reception of salvific grace.

"Third, it is true to say that man’s reprobation finally depends upon God’s absolute will and not his own. It is within God’s power to leave man to his defective state or not to leave him. Whether or not he dies while turned from Heaven depends, finally, upon His consequent will. It is not true to say simply, then, that a creature is reprobated because he resists God’s grace, as though he is strong enough to avoid Heaven if he wills. On the contrary, God can turn those who resist Him back to Him in a manner that is unfailing and irresistible, that that is yet free. This is what Augustine essentially is fighting for when he says that no one can resist God’s will.

"The sense of that affirmation ought to be that one’s determination for Hell could have been overcome by God, but is not. That He does not will to overcome the sin of some is a great and fearful mystery. Yet if one’s reprobation lies finally in God’s will, it does not lie solely or first in His will. To suggest as much is the great mistake made by Garrigou-Lagrange’s position, a mistake that turns mans legitimate fear to desperation.”

END of extract.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:43 pm

Mike,

The point, be it noted, is not what does in fact happen, since whatever good in fact happens occurs by God’s absolute will, and whatever moral evil happens occurs by the creature’s defective will. The point, rather, is what could have happened, but does not. Marin-Sola’s thesis is that more good could in fact have occurred than does (due to man’s sin), and that the evil that occurs (at least as regards a fall from grace) could in fact not have occurred (has the free creature co-operated with the gracious motion given it, rather than fail and introduce moral evil into God’s creation).

The distinction between a divided and a de facto capacity is not to the point when it comes to a free creature’s moral failure, although it can be regarding its moral goodness. For, in the first case, the creature acts an independent, first cause; whereas, in the second it always acts as a dependent and subordinate cause. God may choose to protect a free creature from failure (in which case the free act could fail only in the divided sense); but, if not, then the creature still has the capacity to fail or not to fail (at least as regards a fall from grace), and that in the full, de facto, sense. I am convinced today (more so, were that possible!) that this position is true and essential.

Marin-Sola’s position defines God’s permission as a will to leave a creature to its condition. If the creature is defectible, this entails moving him towards the honest good such that he can fail or not fail to obtain is end.


What does Marin-Sola have to say about the physical act of sin? The crucifixion of Christ? The betrayal of Judas? The slaughter of the innocents?

These are acts of independent powers? They therefore could not have happened according to Marin-Sola?



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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:59 pm

tornpage wrote:Mike,

What does Marin-Sola have to say about the physical act of sin? The crucifixion of Christ? The betrayal of Judas? The slaughter of the innocents?

These are acts of independent powers? They therefore could not have happened according to Marin-Sola?
Mark,

Either you've misunderstood what Marin is saying, or you haven't completely digested the critical distinctions and substance of his text.

I could probably provide a brief summary of the essential points and place this into the context of his unified thesis, but I can't get to it right now, and I'm hoping that you can take the time (again, no rush) to read all of the subject posts.

Mike

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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:04 pm

Mike,

God, knowing his defect, moves him to his sinful act [per Father GL].”

Garrigou-Lagrange’s position is indefensible, for God’s non-preservation is a per accidens cause of a consequent defect. On this theory, God becomes the first cause of sin as sin.

Big talk.

God is the first cause of everything. Again . . . the crucifixion of Christ, the murder of St. Stephen . . . I’ll spare you the string citation.

Did not God sovereignly ordain, decree and cause these things?




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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:06 pm

I could probably provide a brief summary of the essential points and place this into the context of his unified thesis, but I can't get to it right now, and I'm hoping that you can take the time (again, no rush) to read all of the subject posts.

Mike,

Fair enough. I will go back through them - don’t waste your time. I will retract or qualify if necessary.

Mark
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:57 am

Mike,

I haven’t done a review of the posts, so I can’t respond yet in great substance. I have printed them out, which will make it easier for me to follow and make notes on, and will review them over the next several days. Hopefully I will have more time on the weekend.

For now, I’d like to refer you to a discussion by Father Most of Marin-Sola’s (and some others) views on predestination and reprobation. One thing I always admire about Father Most, he comes right out and says what the “upshot” of various positions really comes down to. Here’s the link:

http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/most/getchap.cfm?WorkNum=214&ChapNum=23

At the beginning of the article, Father Most says this:

The removal of obstacles: For many centuries the true solution, which is found implicitly in the sources of revelation, was obscured by the presence of erroneous interpretations of Romans 8-9 which seemed to explicitly contradict the true solution; but today, thanks to the merciful design of Divine Providence, these misinterpretations have been removed and most helpful declarations of the Magisterium on implicit texts have been given. Hence, we are in a position to see clearly what was once obscured.

I think he precisely puts the issue here, and identifies some of the Scriptural passages that are critical. I happen to believe the “interpretation” of those passages were not “erroneous” - and knowing Father Most’s work in this area, he is primarily “fingering” St. Augustine. I think the abandonment of that “interpretation” has all kinds of adverse theological and other consequences, and is a big part of my problem with the non-binding, non-infallible (but nonetheless entitled to, and demanded, some sort of deference by Catholics) teachings coming from “Rome” in the recent past.

Let me say for now that I think the critical event, the thing that distinguishes between the antecedent will and consequent will, the “central” event of our universal damnation in specie - as Our Lord’s Passion and Resurrection, considered together, represent the central event(s) of our justification and salvation - is the Fall. I think I have the warrant and example/guidance of Scripture, and tradition, in saying that. This may, should, be obvious, but I think it has not been treated that way by recent theologians. The Fall is not regarded with the significance I think it has and should be. I hope to elaborate on that as we get into this - the Lord willing.

I acknowledge that I am aware that my thinking may not be in accord with Father GL’s (I believe He finds the antecedent will to save all men to even apply post Fall), but I believe it may be consistent with the view of some more “rigorist” Thomists.

In any event, I think the circumstance “abstracted from” for purposes of the antecedent will to save all men is original sin, or the Fall.

Mark
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Thu Sep 06, 2012 12:19 pm

Mike (or anyone),

Do you know of a way to cut and paste from the Torre book?

Thanks,

Mark
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Thu Sep 06, 2012 12:49 pm

tornpage wrote:Mike (or anyone),

Do you know of a way to cut and paste from the Torre book?

Thanks,

Mark
No.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Thu Sep 06, 2012 12:56 pm

It is Cajetan who introduces the idea that all of God’s providence infallibly attains each of its particular ends, and Prierio and Ferrariensis immdeiatly objected to his innovation. However, Banez, and his followers at the time of eh de auxiliis controversy (Alvarez and Lemos, chiefly) followed Cajetan, and then argues that all divine motion was infallibly efficacious.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but Banez was there and at the center of the de auxiliis controversy. The Church was focused on the question then, and indeed popes, cardinals and her greatest living theologians gave it an intense scrutiny. At one point, I believe one pope almost came out for the Dominican/Banez position.

My point: despite the focus and attention, Banez’s position was not condemned. The Church, after close and attentive deliberation, allowed his view, and I believe will always allow it.

And yet the upshot of Banez’s view has been described thus - by Father Most:

APPROVAL OF THE CHURCH?: Never has the Church endorsed these points, the
<massa damnata>, or the denial of 1 Timothy 2.4. On the contrary, in 1597,
Pope Clement VIII, seeing that these ideas were disturbing souls in debates
in Spain, ordered both Dominicans and Jesuits to send a delegation to Rome,
to debate before cardinals. (The Dominican theory is not from St. Thomas, but from Domingo Banez (cf. the file 1Thomist) who explicitly denied the salvific will.)

The debates ran for ten years and got nowhere. Chief reason was the both
sides were abusing Scripture - as we just saw St. Augustine doing it -
without considering the context in which something was said. Then the next
Pope, Paul V, consulted St. Francis de Sales, Saint, and great theologian. He
had had six weeks of blackness himself, as he tells in one of his letters,
from the Dominican theory -- in which God really loves no one, for God
blindly picks a small number to save, not for their sake, but to use them, to
make a point. St. Francis advised the Pope to approve neither side. That is
what he did , and ordered them not write on it again without special
permission. That order of course fell into disuse, and early this century
they were at it again, until the ferment of Vatican II brought an end to such
solid and difficult matters, on which neither side had found the right
answer.

Here’s another, Poulin-Press,

2. The Theory of “Negative Reprobation.”—Negative reprobation is defined by its defenders as an eternal decree by which God excludes [pg 216] from Heaven those not absolutely predestined, in other words, determines not to save them.

a) Gonet explains the difference between negative and positive reprobation in Scholastic terminology as follows: “... quod haec [i.e. positiva] habet non solum terminum a quo, nempe exclusionem a gloria, sed etiam terminum ad quem, scil. poenam sive damni sive sensus; illa vero [i.e. negativa] solum habet terminum a quo, nempe exclusionem a gloria ut beneficio indebito, non vero terminum ad quem, quia ex vi exclusionis ut sic praecise et ut habet rationem purae negationis, non intelligitur reprobus esse damnandus aut ulli poenae sive damni sive sensus deputandus.”667

The general principle laid down in this quotation is variously developed by Thomist theologians.

The rigorists (Alvarez, John a S. Thoma, Estius, Sylvius) assign as the motive of reprobation the sovereign will of God. God, they say, without taking into account possible sins and demerits, determined a priori to exclude from Heaven those who are not predestined. De Lemos, Gotti, Gonet, Gazzaniga, and others condemn this view as incompatible with the teaching of St. Thomas, and, appealing to St. Augustine's doctrine of the massa damnata, find the ultimate reason for the exclusion of the reprobates from heaven in original sin, in which God, without being unjust, could leave as many as He saw fit. Goudin, Graveson, Billuart, and others assume that the reprobates are not directly excluded from eternal glory but merely from “effective election” thereunto, God simply having decreed ante praevisa merita to leave them to their weakness. 668

[pg 217]
While the Thomists found no difficulty in harmonizing this view with their theory of physical premotion, the few Molinists who espoused it were hard put in trying to square it with the scientia media.669 On the whole these Molinists endorse the third and mildest of the above-quoted opinions, which differs only theoretically from the rigoristic view described in the first place. Practically it makes no difference whether God directly excludes a man from heaven or refuses to give him the graces necessary to attain it.

Surveying all three of the theories under consideration we cannot but regard the first and third as heartless and cruel, because they attribute eternal reprobation to a positive decree that takes effect independently of sin; the second, (which ascribes reprobation to original sin), is open to the serious dogmatic objection that it contradicts the teaching of St. Paul and the Tridentine declaration that “there is no condemnation (nihil damnationis) in those who are truly buried together with Christ by baptism into death.”670

b) Negative reprobation is rightly regarded as the logical counterpart of absolute predestination.671 If Almighty God, by an absolute decree, without regard to any possible merits, merely to reveal His divine attributes and to “embellish the universe,” had determined that only those could enter the “Heavenly Jerusalem” who were antecedently predestined thereto, it would inevitably follow that the unfortunate remainder of humanity [pg 218] by the very same decree were “passed over,” “omitted,” “overlooked,” “not elected,” or, as Gonet honestly admits, “excluded from Heaven,” which is the same thing as being negatively condemned to hell.

The logical distinction between positive and negative reprobation, therefore, consists mainly in this, that the former signifies absolute damnation to hell, the latter (equally absolute) non-election to Heaven. To protect the Catholic champions of negative reprobation against unjust aspersions, however, it is necessary to point out certain fundamental differences between their theory and the heresy of Calvin.

Calvin and the Jansenists openly deny the universality both of God's saving will and of the atonement; they refuse to admit the actual bestowal of sufficient grace upon those fore-ordained to eternal damnation; and claim that the human will loses its freedom under the predominance of efficacious grace or concupiscence. The Catholic defenders of negative reprobation indignantly reject the charge that their position logically leads to any such heretical implications.

c) The theory of negative reprobation can be sufficiently refuted by showing that it is incompatible with the universality of God's will to save all men. For if God willed absolutely and antecedently to “exclude some men from Heaven,” as Gonet asserts, or “not to elect them to eternal glory,” as Suarez contends, then it would be His absolute will that they perish.

[pg 219]
α) For one thus negatively reprobated it is metaphysically impossible to attain eternal salvation. To hold otherwise would be tantamount to assuming that an essentially absolute decree of God can be frustrated. This consideration led certain Thomists672 to describe the divine voluntas salvifica as rather an ineffectual velleitas.673 But this conflicts with the obvious teaching of Revelation.674 Suarez labors in vain to reconcile the sincerity of God's salvific will with the theory of negative reprobation. The two are absolutely irreconcilable. How could God sincerely will the salvation of all men if it were true, as Suarez says, that “it is not in man's power to work out his eternal salvation in case he falls under non-election, non-predestination, or, which amounts to the same thing, negative reprobation”?675

β) The cruel absurdity of the theory of negative reprobation becomes fully apparent when we consider the attitude it ascribes to God. Gonet writes: “Foreseeing that the whole human race would be depraved by original sin, God, in view of the merits of Christ who was to come, elected some men to glory and, in punishment of original sin and to show His justice towards them and His greater mercy towards the elect, permitted others to miss the attainment of beatitude, in other words, He positively willed that they should not attain it.... In virtue of this efficacious intention He devised appropriate means for the attainment of His purpose, and seeing that some would miss beatitude by simply being left [pg 220] in the state of original sin, and others by being permitted to fall into actual sins and to persevere therein, He formally decreed this permission, and finally ... by a command of His intellect ordained these means towards the attainment of the aforesaid end.”676 Translated into plain every-day language this can only mean that God tries with all His might to prevent the reprobate from attaining eternal salvation and sees to it that they die in the state of sin. Suarez is perfectly right in characterizing Gonet's teaching as “incompatible with sound doctrine.”677 But his own teaching is equally unsound and cruel. For he, too, is compelled to assert: “Predestination to glory is the motive for which efficacious or infallible means towards attaining that end are bestowed. Hence to refuse to predestine a man for glory is to deny him the means which are recognized as fit and certain to attain that end.”678

Holy Scripture fortunately speaks a different language. It describes God as a loving Father, who “wills not that any should perish, but that all should return to penance.”679

[pg 221]
γ) Practically it makes no difference whether a man is positively condemned to eternal damnation, as Calvin and the Jansenists assert, or negatively excluded from Heaven, as held by the orthodox theologians whom we have just quoted. The alleged distinction between positive and negative reprobation is “a distinction without a difference.” For an adult to be excluded from Heaven simply means that he is damned. There is no such thing as a middle state or a purely natural beatitude. Lessius justly says that to one reprobated by God it would be all the same whether his reprobation was positive or negative, because in either case he would be inevitably lost.680

I agree with the views of the “rigorists” identified above (and highlighted in cyan). That position has not been condemned, and is “Catholic.”

I believe Pohle-Press (highlight in orange) is wrong because, again, the circumstance “abstracted from” is the Fall, and God’s antecedent will to save men as that being man - as created by Him before the Fall - is real and true.

Did Adam stand in a different state of “justice” then all of us post Fall do? Could he do things that we, stained with original sin, effectively cannot? That is a question I think we need to get into deeper - the difference between Adam and us, and the difference it makes.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Thu Sep 06, 2012 12:59 pm

Mike,

I realize those posts don’t specifically address Marin-Sola. They do however give a background to my view.

I will now turn my attention to Marin-Sola. Promise.

Mark
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Thu Sep 06, 2012 6:03 pm

Mark,

Here is some additional context, this time from St. Thomas Aquinas taken from the same subject work, Part III, Section IX:

St. Thomas Aquinas, both in his Summa and in De Veritate:

“argues that God’s will is efficacious because he brings about things in the manner or mode appropriate to each … Yet … as we have seen, he holds that there is a fallible order of God’s providence…. [H]e goes on to say [in De Veritate]:

God has mercy because of what is from Him, whereas He punishes because of what is from us; and this product of ours is such that it cannot have a place in right order except by means of punishment. He accordingly has mercy from His principle intention, but punishes— as it were beyond the intention of His antecedent will— by a consequent will.
"It is extremely difficult not to read this passage as implying that by his sin man transposes himself from one order of God’s providence to another. Thus the fact that God’s will is efficacious of its effect evidently does not exclude the possibility of man’s will being freely capable of its defect that impedes one order of providence.

"[T]he same doctrine of man’s falling out of one order into another is found in the Summa as well. For Thomas grounds he efficacy of God’s will there on the fact that God is the universal cause of all being. Thus, a creature may fall out of the order of one cause, but this itself is due to the causality of something else, which falls under God’s universal causality: “if anything fails of its effects, this is because of the hindrance of some other particular cause” (I, 19, 6). Thomas obviously here is thinking of physical evil. It will be remembered from De Malo that the primary cause of physical evil is the intervention of an accidental efficient cause. This is not, however, the way moral evil occurs. Nonetheless, Thomas also grounds the efficacy of God’s will in relation to the sinner on its universality:

That which seems to depart from the order of he divine will in one order returns into it in another order; as does the sinner, who by sin falls away from the divine will as much as lies in him, yet falls back into the order of that will when by justice he is punished (I, 16, 6).
The above entails an order of God’s providence that fails to attain the end towards which it was directing the sinner. The sinner is evidently responsible for this failure, as is suggested by the active form of eh verbs: he falls away, turns himself, abandons God. He is not permissively abandoned. God’s will is not infallibly inefficacious in relation to the sinner because it infallibly conditions his sin, but because it is inescapable, not because it determines the sinner’s fate. The doctrine is the same as the Sentences in this respect. God sees and orders sin; He does not permissively entail its existence.

"When Thomas turns from God’s will to His providence, he again affirms its dominion over evil in terms of its universality. One should understand this to imply that it cannot fail in respect to evil because it orders it to good ends. This is just what Thomas says: “it belongs to God’s providence to permit certain defects in particular effects… there would be no patience of martyrs if there were no tyrannical persecution (I, 22, 2 ad 2). As we have already seen, this sort of permission supposes the existence of some evil (to wit the tyrant) and uses that evil to good purpose. That there is a tyrant, however, is not due to some infallible ordination on God’s part, but to the wickedness of the tyrant himself. And, again, when Thomas comes to speak of the certainty of God’s providence in relation to evil (I, 22, 4 ad 2), he does not base that certainty on God’s will, but expressly on His foreknowledge. Again, the implication is that God does not order (“permissively”) men infallibly to evil, but sees the evil they do. By sinning, they depart from the salvific order in which they previously were placed.”

"… To will to permit or simply to permit is not to will that sin be nor to will that sin not be. Thomas always teaches this and almost always in the context of whether or not God will evil to be. He answers that God neither wills this nor wills its opposite:

Neither ought to be conceded, that He Himself wills evil to be or that He wills it not to be, but he does not will it to be, which is negative (I SN, 46, 1, 4, ad 2).

God wills, with an antecedent will, that the evil of guilt not be, not, however, with a consequent will… Nor does it follow that with a consequent will He wills that evil, but He wills to permit that evil be (1, SN, 46, 1, 4 ad 3).

God neither wills evil to be nor wills evil not to be; but nonetheless He wills this: not to will evil to be and not to will evil not to be (QDM, 2, 1 ad 4).

“The statement that evil should exist and that evil should not exist are opposed as contradictories; yet the statement that anyone wills evil to be and that he wills it not to be are not opposed, since either is affirmative. God therefore neither wills evil to be done, nor wills it not to be done, but wills to permit evil to be done; and this is good (I, 19, 9, ad 3).
“As the texts indicate, this is Thomas’s view in both his early and his later life. Permission stands between the intention that something be done and the intention that something not be done.

“[W]henever God permits a defectible creature to fail, He also intends with an antecedent will and an antecedent intent, that it not fail. This is what grounds his movement towards God, the interior vocation that he may impede…. [Thomas] always conceives of the person governed by God’s will as present before His eternity and hence including the term of his life…. If one … supposes a divine permission of sin, one is also supposing an antecedent will that is not an infallible intent.

“[P]redestination is essentially the mystery of the Spirit, working in man’s will that he love God in return for God’s love. That of reprobation is essentially that of the eternal Father, who is before all ages, and the Word who comes as just judge on the basis of what He sees. In any case, Thomas does not mean for us to reduce either of these mysteries to the explanation appropriate to the other. God’s predestination is not infallible mainly because God sees what men do on their own, since what men have done is wicked, not good. Rather, that mystery is founded upon God’s love, which draws men out of their evil ways. God’s reprobation is not infallible because God wills that man sin by permissively determining that he do so, since God’s will is holy and never determinative of sin. Rather, it is founded upon God’s justice, which sees man’s sins as they exist before His eternal gaze and which hands man over to the self-mastery he so manifestly desires by his sins.”

END of extract.

So, no, Mark, God is not the “first cause of sin as sin.” This error “lies in assuming that defect in being must be explained in relation to an extrinsic, rather than an intrinsic, cause. Its mistaken interpretation of Aquinas derives from conflating two senses of permission, without realizing that they involve different suppositions.”

Mike
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Thu Sep 06, 2012 7:01 pm

God’s reprobation is not infallible because God wills that man sin by permissively determining that he do so, since God’s will is holy and never determinative of sin.

Agreed. God's reprobation is infallible because the massa damnata will sin and fail according to the curse of Adam unless God acts affirmatively and applies the merits of Christ's Passion to their souls. He does this with certain men, and not others. As to the category of infants, he does that as to the ones baptized, and "passes over" the rest, as with the rest of men in their corrupt state.

Again, the condition abstracted from is that "blessed fault," the sin of Adam, which resulted in the righteous work of Christ.

God acts "permissively" in the sense He permits the damned mass of men to remain where they are: He could save them all, as He could see to it that all infants are baptized. In no way does that understanding imply that God willed that the corrupt mass of men sin.

Think of it this way: you could take the points that Marin Sola applies to "all" men, even men post-Fall, and apply it to Adam, whose condition was different from yours and mine.

Let us say - without assuming it - that Adam could have done something else, that it is truly possible that He did not commit the original sin. Of course, as St. Thomas had demonstrated, it is "possible" for the will to do otherwise than what it does here below, and therefore even a will whose act is factually determined has not been "compelled" by God, but remains free. In any event, the fact that Adam could really have done differently would satisfy Marin Sola. You therefore have his system satisfied and God's antecedent will - as Sola understands it - operative with regard to Adam.

You then have Adam committing sin, and we are told by Scripture, and the Church has infallibly declared, that this corrupts all subsequent men. I therefore say that, after the Fall, the circumstances under which all men are considered pursuant to the consequent will of God reveals them to be subject to damnation in their corruption unless the merits of Christ are applied to them. Those merits are only applied to the elect, which include baptized (and only the baptized) infants.

Again, Scripture, and the teaching of the Church, justify and support my making original sin and the Fall the circumstance that divides the antecedent from the consequent will of God with regard to man. It is the circumstance "abstracted from," not final impenitence. We need not go beyond the huge circumstance of the Fall to understand the difference between God's antecedent and consequent wills. That is where, after all, God's revelation in Scripture draws the line.

We can continue the discussion along these lines if you wish. I will sit down with my print out of your posts on Marin Sola and get to that as I said. I will, I will . . . Very Happy
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:33 am

Mike,

I've now read through the print outs of the posts. I will go through them again, but I see nothing in them that makes my understanding unsound.

So, no, Mark, God is not the “first cause of sin as sin.” This error “lies in assuming that defect in being must be explained in relation to an extrinsic, rather than an intrinsic, cause. Its mistaken interpretation of Aquinas derives from conflating two senses of permission, without realizing that they involve different suppositions.”

In the understanding I've set forth, the defect is not being proposed as having an extrinsic (i.e, God) rather than an intrinsic cause. Rather, the cause is intrinsic, in Adam's will. Those generated from Adam, all men post-Fall, are in a much different condition. But even their sin is not caused by God. All men since Adam are generated with the taint of original sin; this is a condition that they are subject to, which Adam wasn't. The non-elect are left in that state of corruption by God.

As I said, all of the points made by Marin-Sola hold and can be applied to Adam. God's antecedent will holds as to his creation, man, as exhibited in Adam, and we see vis a vis Adam God's antecedent will to save all men abstracted from the subsequent condition of men, that condition being their corruption by original sin.

I say the case of Adam is sui generis, and that fits the understanding of his condition as opposed to the condition of men born with the stain generated by his sin, even men who have not personally sinned "after the similitude of the transgression of Adam":

Romans 5:12-14

12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into this world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned. 13 For until the law, sin was in the world: but sin was not imputed, when the law was not.14 But death reigned from Adam unto Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of the transgression of Adam, who is a figure of him that was to come.

Relevant to our point of departure, infants, the Haydock commentary says:

All were conceived and born in sin, in what we call original sin, and liable to death, even infants, who were not come to the use of reason, and consequently could not sin after the similitude of the transgression of Adam, or by imitating his sin, but were born in sin

Your first post quotes Torre as follows:

The point, be it noted, is not what does in fact happen, since whatever good in fact happens occurs by God’s absolute will, and whatever moral evil happens occurs by the creature’s defective will. The point, rather, is what could have happened, but does not. Marin-Sola’s thesis is that more good could in fact have occurred than does (due to man’s sin), and that the evil that occurs (at least as regards a fall from grace) could in fact not have occurred (has the free creature co-operated with the gracious motion given it, rather than fail and introduce moral evil into God’s creation).

All of this holds as to Adam. Let us grant all of this as to him: the Fall is the result of his sin, his defective will; he could have done otherwise, and not disobeyed God, had he cooperated with grace. Adam is the titular head of all men, and his fault is passed on to all. As is noted in the post regarding the Augustinian Athanase Sage:

He created Adam I sanctity and integrity, and in Adam, in the morning of his creation, it is all humanity that is loved and God forbids Himself from abandoning His friends. He abandons only those who abandon Him.

In Adam, our titular head, we all abandoned God.

The Thomists I cited, let us use Gonet as an example, "appealing to St. Augustine's doctrine of the massa damnata, find the ultimate reason for the exclusion of the reprobates from heaven in original sin, in which God, without being unjust, could leave as many as He saw fit." I fail to see how Marin-Solas distinctions diminish or defeat this position, which is one of the views holding to holding to "negative reprobation." Men post-Fall do not need to personally reject God; they already have, in their head, Adam. And that is the case of the unbaptized infants.

My noting that infants do not personally place an impediment to God's grace is in the context of the claim that all men are given sufficient grace such that, if they comply, they will be given the efficacious graces that lead to salvation. In light of the situation of these infants, that does not appear to be the case. I say, how are they given the sufficient grace, if all men post-Fall are? And then, in what way do they not comply, since only those (it is said) who do not comply with sufficient grace are not saved - assuming it can be established that they are given sufficient grace?

In short, the assertion that all men post-Fall are given sufficient grace such that, if they comply, they will receive the efficacious grace that infallibly guarantees their salvation - that is what I am dubious of, and challenging, with unbaptized infants who die in infancy as an example. Because if that were the case, you would have to hold, under these principles, that they are saved. But only a "hope" is offered.

I fail to see how your introducing Marin-Sola's distinctions add anything to the discussion that had as its point of departure these infants. There may be a fine point here as to a dispute between Father GL and Marin-Sola, but whatever points that are made relative to their dispute do not impact my understanding regarding the role of original sin, it's effect on men subsequent to Adam, and the impact on infants born with the stain of original sin.

To include those infants in the group of "all men" post-Fall of whom it is said they receive sufficient grace for salvation does not ring true to me.

I think the point made in one of your later posts - I wish the posts here were numbered! - make some sense as far as a criticism of Father GL. I do in fact see a problem for him along these lines as noted:

Garrigou-Lagrange holds two things simultaneously: that the antecedent will is only a velleity and that it is the ground of sufficient grace. He holds the first out of the mistaken view that it is that of Thomas as well. He holds the second because of the doctrine of the Church regarding sufficient grace. Yet it is impossible to reconcile these two assertions. They bear no intrinsic relation to one another and are, in fact, contradictory. This is clear from the very nature of velleity, which, as he himself admits, is inefficacious in itself. God’s antecedent salvific will can be rendered efficacious, then, only by His consequent will.

Yes. But I would say, contra to Father GL - and I think I have made that clear - that not all men appear to get sufficient grace (these infants). So a criticism of Father GL's position, and the inherent tension in it, doesn't apply to my position, or the criticism that I direct to the doctrine of sufficient grace and a universal salvific will post-Fall. That is why I am somewhat befuddled by your opening up this discussion about Father GL and Marin-Sola in the context of our discussion of these infants and my "problem."

I agree with "negative reprobation" and the rigorist Thomists. I do not see how Marin-Sola's position undermines that understanding. A necessary assumption for "negative reprobation" is original sin and its consequences. One could grant that Adam had all the de facto potentials in his choice that Marin-Sola says are necessary. Then we have the Fall, and things change. As to the antecedent will, the condition "abstracted from" is the Fall. One could say that God truly desired to save all men and created Adam with that as a real possibility. He consequently does not will to save men who subsequently are generated are with that stain passed on by Adam's sin/fault, not God's. This has nothing to do with final impenitence - how is that condition relevant to these infants?

The problem of a universal salvific will to save all men post-Fall, and the provision of sufficient grace post-Fall, to all men remains. That is a problem, as I see it, for both Father GL and Marin-Sola. I do not see that as a problem for the rigorist Thomists. Of course, we have the assertion - by Father Most and Pohle-Press - that the upshot of the rigorist Thomist view is that it denies - as I am doing as far as the way it is claimed - the universal salvific will. Yet the rigorist Thomists, and Banez, who, as I noted, was front and center in the de auxiliis controversy, was not condemned. And I say that the universal salvific will to save all men is not denied by I or the rigorist Thomists antecedently - which is God's will abstracted from the huge circumstance or condition of the Fall. We all concede that God does not desire to save all men consequently.

I take solace from the fact that the Banez position, subject to strict scrutiny, was not condemned.

Mark



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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:25 pm

tornpage wrote:Mike,

I've now read through the print outs of the posts. I will go through them again, but I see nothing in them that makes my understanding unsound.
Actually, Mark, I see nothing “sound” about your characterization of the antecedent will of God as essentially being:

the condition [which is] ‘abstracted from’ … the Fall. One could say that God truly desired to save all men and created Adam with that as a real possibility. He consequently does not will to save [all] men who subsequently are generated … with that stain passed on by Adam's sin/fault, not God's.
I simply cannot make sense of this.

Are you saying that God’s antecedent salvific will for the salvation of all men holds true only for Adam and for all men -- provided Adam had not sinned?

Are you saying by the very fact that Adam sinned, God no longer "truly desires" to save all men, “consequently [He] does not will to save [all] men who subsequently are generated … with that stain passed on by Adam's sin/fault, not God's”?

Do you mean by this that Adam and all men (had the Fall not occurred) would have been saved by the antecedent will of God (His true desire to save all men)? So there was no sin in preternatural man that God could see in His foreknowledge that would have impeded the universal salvation of man -- save the original sin of Adam, is that correct?

If all men (pre and post Fall) have the capacity and freedom to sin or not to sin, how can this be?

It appears to me that you are misrepresenting the position of Banez and the “rigorists Thomists" when you say: “that the universal salvific will to save all men is not denied by I or the rigorist Thomists antecedently - which is God's will abstracted from the huge circumstance or condition of the Fall.”

I cannot see where this position is articulated by any of
the older Thomists, especially Bañez, Alvarez, Gonet, John of St. Thomas, and others, [who] had taught that God offers sufficient grace for conversion only inasmuch as He provides general means, sufficient in themselves; but they said that God does not immediately provide sufficient grace to all men.” (Fr. Most - and thanks for that link)

Nowhere, as far as I know, do any of the "older Thomists" suggest that the "general means" for providing grace sufficient for "conversion" is only that "general" means which existed for salvation before the Fall, with Adam and Eve already being in a state of grace (hence, they were already "converted").

And, that the general means, sufficient in themselves (such as Baptism), for obtaining the grace of conversion (since the Fall) has changed does NOT abstract from God’s universal salvific will. His antecedent will to save all men has NOT changed. He willed to save Adam, and He wills to save all men, original sin or not.

Now, if you hold with Banez and the “rigorist Thomists” that "God does not immediately provide sufficient grace to all men, but only general means, sufficient in themselves, for conversion [salvation]", that’s fine if you are applying this position only to unbaptized infants who, after all, may not (all) be given the general and ordinary means for obtaining salvific grace, but I do not see how this position can be reconciled with that which says;

the universal salvific will to save all men … is God's will abstracted from the huge circumstance or condition of the Fall ... consequently [God] does not will to save [all] men who subsequently are generated … with that stain passed on by Adam's sin/fault.
No, the universal salvific will to save all men … is God's will abstracted from God’s foreknowledge of final perseverance, and in the case of infants, His will to save is predicated upon His pure mercy; or, His will to allow them to be denied the beatific vision is predicated upon His universal antecedent salvific will being opposed to the general order, meaning the general order pertaining to His consequent will in the predestination of the saints. If there is a true conflict in justice, God cannot save the former.

And I dare say that every single one of the "rigorist Thomists" would agree with this position, precisely as it was articulated by St. Liguori, and, as it was sufficiently implied by Marin-Sola, whose general propositions lend themselves to such an interpretation (as my detailed post on Marin's hypothetical "Peter" indicated).

And this is the piece of the puzzle you have yet to address, and even suggested that Fr. Marin offers no solution, beyond your saying (in respond to my defense of Jehanne's citation from St. Liguori, who taught "He is not bound to disturb the general order, to provide for the particular order"):

So He died for their sins and wants to save them but it's more important to Him that the "general order" be preserved? His desire to save them there is impotent, and has virtually no meaning, or rather power, since the infants do not frustrate it or posit any volitional impediment to it being achieved, but they are nonetheless not saved.

You are comfortable with that?
His desire to save them is “impotent” ONLY if it is opposed to the general order, the predestination of the saints. The "general order" here is not some "velleity" which has God flipping a coin for or against their salvation, but one of necessity to where the ONLY impediment to His universal will is one of an opposing justice - the predestination of the saints, as St. Thomas and St. Liguori explain with their reference to the general order.

This confusion is only compounded when you say “infants do not frustrate it [His desire to save them] or posit any volitional impediment to it being achieved", when the very definition of volition is “the cognitive process by which an individual decides on and commits to a particular course of action.”

So how can you suggest that "infants do not frustrate it or posit any volitional impediment to it being achieved", unless you mean to say God can overcome the inherent lack of a volitional will by removing the stain of sin and infusing the soul with sanctifying grace by the power of His pure will?

Somehow, I doubt that is what you are are saying; so perhaps you can explain.

The "core of your problem" you say, is this (from the Effraenatam thread):

It is said that the only ones not getting efficacious grace are those who resist sufficient grace and that those who respond favorably to sufficient grace get efficacious grace. And here we are getting to the core of my problem. These infants do not resist sufficient grace - they get none. Therefore the denial to them of the efficacious grace necessary for salvation shows that the provision of that grace to some men is a gratuitous act of God, since some men, the baptized infants, did not respond positively to efficacious grace, and some who did not get it did not reject sufficient grace.

And your point is?

Sufficient grace is nothing else but actual grace, which is defined as “A grace that is given by God for the performance of salutary acts and is present and disappears with the action itself.”

Where is it written that the only grace sufficient for (that leads to) salvation is actual (sufficient) grace? The only grace sufficient for the salvation of infants who die shortly after baptism is sanctifying grace.

With respect to adults, I can’t help but see, if Fr. Most’s rendition of the position of Fr. Banez and the others is correct, a general confusion between the inherently efficacious gift of sufficient grace, and man not making use of this same grace. That it is not always efficacious towards the end for which it is given does not mean that it is not always given (to those who can cooperate with it), or that it is not efficacious in itself for accomplishing the end for which it is given. In other words, if man cooperates, sufficient grace is always efficacious.

We can make a distinction between sufficient grace (actual assisting grace given to those who have the will to make use of it), and, with respect to unbaptized infants, that grace sufficient for salvation, which is nothing less than the gift of sanctifying grace for those who cannot cooperate with actual grace.

Finally, you wrote:

In short, the assertion that all men post-Fall are given sufficient grace such that, if they comply, they will receive the efficacious grace that infallibly guarantees their salvation - that is what I am dubious of, and challenging, with unbaptized infants who die in infancy as an example. Because if that were the case, you would have to hold, under these principles, that they are saved. But only a "hope" is offered.
Mark, please explain, per the doctrine of Fr. Marin, how infants can be included in God's foreknowledge of final perseverance in His election to glory?

Can't you see you are arguing apples to oranges when it comes to man's volitional will in cooperating with sufficient grace? An infants non-volitional will is not an impediment to God, but it is an impediment to the infant's cooperation with grace. The only efficacy that can save unbaptized infants is the infusion and gift of sanctifying grace.

So, if infants cannot cooperate with actual grace, they can be saved only by the pure will of God, whose mercy in the practical order can be opposed only by the justice of the general order - the predestination of the saints.

While we cannot understand the greater implications of the latter (and thus, we cannot resolve the question except to find reasons to hope), why is this common theological principle so difficult to understand?

If I have misinterpreted your position, let me know (I’m sure you will).
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:40 pm

Mike,

It appears to me that you are misrepresenting the position of Banez and the “rigorists Thomists" when you say: “that the universal salvific will to save all men is not denied by I or the rigorist Thomists antecedently - which is God's will abstracted from the huge circumstance or condition of the Fall.”

I may very well be. All I get from their works are snippets here and there from Father GL, Father Most, Pohle-Press, etc. If you are aware of any English translations of any of them, I'd love to know. Almost everything I've heard about them I absolutely agree with. For example:

the older Thomists, especially Bañez, Alvarez, Gonet, John of St. Thomas, and others, [who] had taught that God offers sufficient grace for conversion only inasmuch as He provides general means, sufficient in themselves; but they said that God does not immediately provide sufficient grace to all men.” (Fr. Most - and thanks for that link)

Absolutely agree. This is my point: He doesn't provide sufficient grace immediately to all men. But that is the modern drift. This quote by Father Most is also excellent, from Suarez:

Suarez wrote: ". . . on God's part, sufficient helps are prepared for all. But that which happens in many cases, that such remedies, or the preaching of the faith does not reach them, is accidental, not caused by God, but foreseen and permitted. The permission is not unjust, for God does not owe the greater helps to anyone. In fact, as St. Augustine often says, since men were in original sin, this can be considered a just punishment in those who suffer it, even though by the mercy of God it was forgiven for others."

Then Father Most immediately goes on after the Suarez quote, and refers to developments that are related to my "problem":

Today, on the contrary, we read these words of E. Hugon, OP:3 "To all infidels, even negative infidels, graces that are proximately or remotely sufficient for the time and place are given. Although many theologians once contradicted, this conclusion is today almost general."

Speaking of snippets . . . more later.








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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Sat Sep 08, 2012 8:21 am

Mike,

Continuing.

Of course you can say that God wills to save all men by providing a means that is, mediately, able to save every single human being, those means being the sacraments (primarily thinking of baptism here) . There is also a means that is immediately able to save every human being, mainly the operation of the Holy Ghost upon one's soul.

It just seems to me that to say God wills to save all men when those means do not reach all men in many cases because of no direct fault of their own (the infants) is a bit deceptive as it is asserted. God's failure to overcome that failure when He does on other occasions (some infants are baptized) is indicative of something - it means something.

You say it means:

His will to allow them to be denied the beatific vision is predicated upon His universal antecedent salvific will being opposed to the general order, meaning the general order pertaining to His consequent will in the predestination of the saints. If there is a true conflict in justice, God cannot save the former.

I say it means: God doesn't desire to save the ones He doesn't save.

I don't understand your "God cannot save the former."

In any event, you are saying He doesn't save the infants in some way because of His desire to save others, the predestined saints. We are essentially saying the same thing. I tend not to care if I say something that could be interpreted as doctrinally running afoul: I don't particularly care what others think. And that is a big part of the problem.

Does God give all adults sufficient grace to be saved? That would depend, and I can't say. I don't say "no," and I can't say "yes." I can't say yes because I maintain that explicit faith in Christ is necessary for salvation for adults. God gives grace, power for making the right moral actions, to all adults. St. Thomas says that if a man complies with that grace, God will reveal the necessary faith to him. St. Thomas may very well be right. I don't know what goes on the souls of "infidels" before they die - the internal order.

I do know He doesn't give saving grace to all infants. We could say that as to the adults that don't receive saving grace that it is because they resist sufficient grace - but I don't know that (see above paragraph). On the basis of the example of the infants, perhaps He doesn't give sufficient actual grace to adults, since He doesn't give it to the infants.

I take it that if I agree with the rigorist Thomists that you could say that God desires to save all men by the provision of a general remedy that nonetheless fails to reach all men then I'm doctrinally fine with the Catholic Church. Then fine, I'll say that and essentially shut up. Let me know.

But I'll make a final observation - since I don't particularly care what people think and am bothered by these pretexts or covers we put over the way things really are.
I will resort to the Suarez quote to make my point:

on God's part, sufficient helps are prepared for all. But that which happens in many cases, that such remedies, or the preaching of the faith does not reach them, is accidental, not caused by God, but foreseen and permitted. The permission is not unjust, for God does not owe the greater helps to anyone. In fact, as St. Augustine often says, since men were in original sin, this can be considered a just punishment in those who suffer it, even though by the mercy of God it was forgiven for others.

I agree with all of this. I go further, and say the fact that God does not extend the helps to some (the unbaptized infants) but does to others (the baptized) shows a desire not to save the unbaptized in a real sense, since the reason He does or doesn't extend the help has nothing to do with what they do.

If 5 men are drowning in the water because of their own or others actions for which I can rightfully make them responsible, and I pull 2 out with a power and means that I possess and use to pull them out and could use to pull out the other 3 (nothing can stop me) but don't, in a real sense I do not desire to save 3 of those men.

This is the way it is in reality with the way God saves. I think you know me well enough that I do not fault Him (as you do, I worship, fear and adore Him) for that or question that in any way other than to state it as a real and true fact.

People utilize bandaids of words and concepts to cover this up because they don't like it or are uncomfortable with it.

Whatever.

Answer my question about the rigorist Thomists and my agreement with them about the general means provided by God sufficient to save all men and whether that means I accept the universal salvific will to save all men and I'll shut up.

As to Adam and my theorizing: God acted upon all men based upon what Adam did. God, not I, made him representative. For purposes of the discussion about Marin-Sola I punted on the question of whether God directly caused or wanted the Fall. I am assuming that Adam could have not sinned and it turned out different. It is unquestionable that Adam had prerogatives and powers, stood in a state of righteousness, justice and grace that we do not without the application of the merits of Christ's Blood to us. I therefore see a basis for allowing him to be in the position that Marin-Sola seems to demand - a position in which he could act so that things were different. So if we make that concession for purposes of Sola's system, and I think we can because of the uniqueness of Adam's standing with God, that system is satisfied. And I think it makes sense in light of the significance put on the Fall by Scripture etc.

My point being we don't have to go as far as Sola's goes and we don't need to say that all men could act differently for Sola's concerns about sufficient grace etc. to be satisfied.




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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:34 am

Marin-Sola:

That negative reprobation before prevision of sins seems to us to be, from every point of view, incompatible with the universal salvific will of God. It is true that glory is an entirely gratuitous benefit, which God can grant to whom He wills and refuse to whom He wills, but it is no less true, that God most freely and liberally, has decided to grant that benefit of glory to all men, without exception. If anyone remains without obtaining it, that is not by fault of God, but by his own fault. How, then, could it be maintained that God-even before man has placed resistance to grace by sin-should not elect that one to glory, or should seek to exclude him from heaven?"

Mike, where is the limitation here to adults? Note: "if anyone" does not obtain glory, it is "by his own fault"?

This is what I am talking about. Do the unbaptized infants not go to Heaven - and the Church maintains that as a real possibility - "by [their] own fault"?

I hate to beat this horse over and over, but you keep saying, "you don't understand my 'problem.' " And Marin-Sola lays it out front and center.

Mark
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Sat Sep 08, 2012 12:06 pm

Mark,

I shall return. Maybe later rather than sooner.

Mike
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Sat Sep 08, 2012 2:04 pm

Do the unbaptized infants not go to Heaven - and the Church maintains that as a real possibility - "by [their] own fault"?

Mike,

You mentioned somewhere that there is "fault" in the infants by virtue of original sin. I agree. In fact, it is those of us who believe in negative reprobation who take due cognizance of original sin and its effects: that is precisely the reason why God passes over the infants and all of the men who are negatively reprobated.

So Marin-Sola, in talking about "their own fault" in criticizing negative reprobationists, is not talking about original sin.

I - and the negative reprobationists - say original sin is enough, more than enough, fault.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Sat Sep 08, 2012 2:05 pm

Mark,

I shall return. Maybe later rather than sooner.

Mike

No problemo.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Sat Sep 08, 2012 2:07 pm

Marin-Sola:

How, then, could it be maintained that God-even before man has placed resistance to grace by sin-should not elect that one to glory, or should seek to exclude him from heaven?"

He does - or, I guess as some would say because of a "hope," he may - as to the infants.

Again . . . my point.

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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:25 am


That negative reprobation before prevision of sins seems to us to be, from every point of view, incompatible with the universal salvific will of God. It is true that glory is an entirely gratuitous benefit, which God can grant to whom He wills and refuse to whom He wills, but it is no less true, that God most freely and liberally, has decided to grant that benefit of glory to all men, without exception. If anyone remains without obtaining it, that is not by fault of God, but by his own fault. How, then, could it be maintained that God-even before man has placed resistance to grace by sin-should not elect that one to glory, or should seek to exclude him from heaven?"

My bad: this quote is not from Marin-Sola, but from F. Muñiz, OP. I lifted it from Father Most's article, where he discusses the views of Sola and Muniz.

I'm not sure if Marin-Sola shares Muniz's view of negative reprobation. I'll see if I can find out.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Sun Sep 09, 2012 1:07 am

Mike,

I believe this is Marin-Sola (from one of your posts):

Of this order we recognize two laws (a) that God gives to all men, at least to all adults, some sufficient grace, grace greater or less, proximately or remotely sufficient, as it pleases God, but really and truly efficient to keep the commandments and be saved; (b) that once the first sufficient grace, called vocation is given, God always and infallibly gives the efficacious grace for justification if man, by his own fault, does not paralyze the course of sufficient grace, placing an impediment to its course; that is, if he does with it what he can and prays for what he is not able to do (N 377).

"At least to all adults."

His system has the same hole and defect.

I will stay with the Thomist negative reprobationists:

Alvarez, the Carmelites of Salamanca, John of St. Thomas, Gonet and Contenson admitted that negative reprobation, which applies both to angels and to men and which is prior to the foreseeing of merits, consists in the positive exclusion from glory , in this sense that God would have refused them glory as a gift that is not due to them; then He would have permitted their sins and decided finally to inflict on them the penalty of damnation on account of their sins, which is positive reprobation.

Garrigou-Lagrange, Predestination, pp. 175-6

The rigorists (Alvarez, John a S. Thoma, Estius, Sylvius) assign as the motive of reprobation the sovereign will of God. God, they say, without taking into account possible sins and demerits, determined a priori to exclude from Heaven those who are not predestined. De Lemos, Gotti, Gonet, Gazzaniga, and others condemn this view as incompatible with the teaching of St. Thomas, and, appealing to St. Augustine's doctrine of the massa damnata, find the ultimate reason for the exclusion of the reprobates from heaven in original sin, in which God, without being unjust, could leave as many as He saw fit.

Pohle-Preuss (quoted by me in this thread)

In a universe where even the "hopeful" must acknowledge that infants who die without baptism, and do not reject God's grace or even receive any actual grace to which they may respond, may be barred from heaven, this view is the only one that offers an explanation that makes any sense: God passes over them and excludes them from a heaven that is not due them, even without their personal resistance or rejection of his grace, as a result of their inheritance of the corruption endemic to Fallen man, original sin.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  George Brenner on Sun Sep 09, 2012 2:05 pm

Mark said:


........ that is why the Church will never say that unbaptized infants are in heaven.

Needing to know the fate of unbaptized infants as in many great Catholic religious questions is an ongoing mystery. People of good will are 'dying' to know the answers. Two thirds of the Church are in eternity, that being the Church Triumphant who are in Heaven along with the Church suffering who will all be in Heaven. Some in the Church Triumphant ( perhaps the Church Suffering also? ) have known the answer for nearly two millennium as to whether there are any unbaptized infants , aborted babies etc, in Heaven. It is already decided. I take great comfort in trusting in God's justice and mercy. I can hear in my prayers the Church Triumphant saying that God's will is perfect. Always have faith. Never say never again. The Church has ALREADY said that unbaptized infants are in________ and I thank you for I love you my Lord and my God.


JMJ,

George
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:16 am

tornpage wrote:Mike,

I believe this is Marin-Sola (from one of your posts):

Of this order we recognize two laws (a) that God gives to all men, at least to all adults, some sufficient grace, grace greater or less, proximately or remotely sufficient, as it pleases God, but really and truly efficient to keep the commandments and be saved; (b) that once the first sufficient grace, called vocation is given, God always and infallibly gives the efficacious grace for justification if man, by his own fault, does not paralyze the course of sufficient grace, placing an impediment to its course; that is, if he does with it what he can and prays for what he is not able to do (N 377).

"At least to all adults."

His system has the same hole and defect.
Mark,

I don’t have a lot of time, so let me address just this one key issue; for this apparent misunderstanding remains the “core” of your “problem”.

Marin-Sola plugs the alleged hole, which does not actually exist, and demonstrates why there is no “defect” in his system, which in this respect is no different from that of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Marin-Sola is clearly placing “sufficient grace” into its proper context as being an actual grace (“a called vocation”), and an actual grace gratuitously given to all adults which is “really and truly efficient to keep the commandments and be saved”, barring any impediment placed by these same adults. The only impediment infants can place to receiving sufficient grace is their non-existent capacity to make use of it, which is why I asked you where it is written that without actual (sufficient) grace no one can be saved.

As you well know, infants are not given actual graces for they cannot cooperate with said grace through an act of the will. So why do you insist on saying such things as “These infants do not resist sufficient gracethey get none. Therefore the denial to them of the efficacious grace necessary for salvation shows”, thereby conflating actual (“sufficient”) grace with the only grace that for infants can be “efficacious for salvation” – sanctifying grace?

Yet, you keep conflating the two graces as if they are one in the same, so it is no wonder that you can say “the core of my problem” remains unresolved, for you seem to have created a problem where none actually exists, at least not in the context you present it.

Again, again and again, “sufficient grace for salvation” in this context (infants) is not the vocational/actual graces that assist men in the process of justification (to keep the commandments and to possess the proper dispositions necessary for sanctifying grace and salvation); no, for infants, the only “sufficient” grace efficacious for salvation is sanctifying grace, which can be transmitted only through the sacrament of Baptism, or by God (by a means unknown to the Church).

I'll address on our respective differences on reprobation when I get some free time.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:13 am

Mike,

I am aware of the distinctions regarding actual, sufficient graces and sanctifying grace, and it doesn’t obviate the problem.

God is said to desire the salvation of all men and then, as proof or support of that proposition, it is said that sufficient graces are given to all men. But this is not the case because it doesn’t apply to infants, so a whole group - I have read that it is the majority of men conceived in the history of mankind - of human being who died after conception and birth but before reaching adulthood are carved out and not subject to the “proof” or supporting proposition advanced to justify the claim. I do not accept that: the proof or support for the proposition for all men must apply to all men.

As it stands, even the people who support the claim of a universal salvific will for all men (in the sense of all, every single one) cannot tell us that grace is offered to infants who die without baptism. For me, that undermines the claim.

I think I’ve made my point clear, and I do understand your distinction. It doesn’t address my concern.

On a positive note, I have come to the point where I can leave this issue behind. I do believe that God has an antecedent desire to save all men, and that desire is reflected in the provision of the means of the sacraments, which are available to all - the Church bars her door to no one.

After all, St. Alphonsus addressed my concerns thus:

Here it only remains for us to answer the objection which is drawn from children being lost when they die before Baptism, and before they come to the use of reason. If God wills all to be saved, it is objected, how is it that these children perish without any fault of their own, since God gives them no assistance to attain eternal salvation? There are two answers to this objection, the latter more correct than the former, I will state them briefly.

First, it is answered that God, by antecedent will, wishes all to be saved, and therefore has granted universal means for the salvation of all; but these means at times fail of their effect, either by reason of the unwillingness of some persons to avail themselves of them, or because others are unable to make use of them, on account of secondary causes (such as the death of children), whose course God is not bound to change, after having disposed the whole according to the just judgment of his general Providence; all this is collected from what St. Thomas says. Jesus Christ offered His merits for all men, and instituted baptism for all; but the application of this means of salvation, so far as relates to children who die before the use of reason, is not prevented by the direct will of God, but by a merely permissive will; because as He is the general provider of all things, He is not bound to disturb the general order, to provide for the particular order.

The second answer is, that to perish is not the same as not to be blessed: since eternal happiness is a gift entirely gratuitous; and therefore the want of it is not a punishment. The opinion, therefore, of St. Thomas-----is very just, that children who die in infancy have neither the pain of sense nor the pain of loss; not the pain of sense, he says, "because pain of sense corresponds to conversion to creatures; and in Original Sin there is not conversion to creatures" [as the fault is not our own], "and therefore pain of sense is not due to Original Sin;" because Original Sin does not imply an act. [De Mal. q. 5, a. 2]

I am prepared to simply stop there.

I look forward to your comments about reprobation, and we can only address the universal salvific will in that context henceforth.

Mark

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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:16 am

The highlighted part from St. Alphonsus is the view of the negative reprobationists, and I agree with it and can rest there on this issue.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:58 pm

tornpage wrote:Mike,
I am aware of the distinctions regarding actual, sufficient graces and sanctifying grace, and it doesn’t obviate the problem.
No, it does not obviate your problem and there is nothing that can obviate your problem so long as the problem is viewed through the narrow corrupted lens of “reformed” theology which “assigns as the motive of reprobation the sovereign will of God” and holds that God does not truly love all men, thus, He does not have a true will to save all men. End of story.

Under this system, when God spoke to us through Ezechiel and said without qualification "As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live" (Ez 33:11), He was NOT articulating his universal salvific will and He was not serious about His sincere desire for the wicked to turn away from their sins and live, because He had already reprobated at least some of them to damnation before they were born. The reprobate are wicked because God allows them to be wicked and they cannot be anything but wicked because God withholds the grace by which they might turn from their sins and be saved.

Said another way, He does not make “sufficient” grace (if He even chooses to give it) sufficient for salvation, rendering it absolutely insufficient unless it gets the old “efficacious” boost, which is reserved by divine and infallible decree only for the chosen “elect”.

And thus, to use your own example, God leaves three of the five drowning men “to themselves” and lets them drown NOT because He foresees their final refusal of grace; no, He leaves them to their fate and withholds efficacious grace because by divine decree He does not really want to save them in the first place – they are not among the elect who were chosen from all eternity, they belong and shall remain in that reprobate class to which all men are born, the massa damnata.

So, we see in the unassailable logic of your nice clean “system” that "As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live" is something of a cruel joke, since the latter part cannot be true under your dark and discredited system.

And from there, it is easy to attribute the alleged reprobation of unbaptized infants to God’s sovereign will to where “God passes over them and excludes them from a heaven that is not due them”, for God’s antecedent will to save them is not born of a true love and desire, it is rather only a sort of disinterested, weak and not very convincing “wish” or “velleity”.

And so your system must reject as a contradiction the teaching of the Catholic Church which says:

For since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery. (Gaudium et Spes, 22)
Your system posits that Christ did NOT die for all, that all men are NOT in fact called to one and the same destiny, and that the Holy Spirit does NOT offer to all the possibility of salvation because, you say, the fact that not all men are saved and, allegedly, that unbaptized infants are lost, “proves” that God does not have a true will to save all men (and does not truly love all men, not even all children).

No, you say, if Christ truly died for all, if all men are in fact truly called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, and if we must hold that the Holy Spirit truly offers to all the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery, then God would not only offer the possibility of salvation through the ordinary means of the Church, He would ensure that this means is made effective for all men.

And so, your system appears to hold, that if the ordinary means fails of its effect due to secondary causes, the possibility of God acting through an extraordinary means “known to God” alone (but still through the Church) in applying the merit of His Redemption to unbaptized infants must needs be rejected, for you just “know” that unbaptized infants are lost due to the illogic of Jehannian “null set” logic which declares that it is “de fide that there ARE souls who die in original sin alone”, just as it is theologically “certain” that Limbo exists (just as it was theologically "certain" for the first eight centuries that unbaptized infants suffer the eternal torments of hell, obviating any need for Limbo).

In fact, so certain is it that Limbo exists (at least since the Middle Ages), that theologians began to question this so-called “certainty” around the 16th century by speculating on the possible salvation of unbaptized infants through a vicarious baptism of desire.

And so, the “de fide” and theologically “certain” doctrines of Mark and Jehanne trump the erroneous doctrines of the approved theologians and the Catholic Church.

Nonsense, for it is a FACT that never has it been taught as “de fide” that there ARE unbaptized infants in “hell” who receive the punishment of “pains” unequal to those being tormented for mortal sin, just as it is NOT “de fide” that there ARE unbaptized infants in some “place” other than heaven who enjoy a blissful natural life of unending happiness and peace devoid of any mental or physical sense of pain whatsoever, just as it is a FACT that Limbo is not even “theologically certain”.

But it is precisely this sort of unassailable “logic” that you bring to the table with respect to the Church’s teaching on the hope of salvation for unbaptized infants, while she leaves the question of their salvation open.

That you have come to some sort of peace with the teaching of St. Liguori tells me that you have come to peace with only that generic “part” of his doctrine that everyone can agree with concerning “negative reprobation”, but St. Liguori rejected the principles behind your system, and accepted, at least in its essential principles, the doctrine of Fr. Marin-Sola (as Michael Torre demonstrates).

St. Liguori would have dismissed as specious your own “ridiculous” assertion that says “It seems to me that you have to simply blindly chant ‘God wills to save all men’ in the face of facts that make that claim ridiculous, particularly where it is necessary for that will to be ‘true’ that He provide the necessary grace and aid to all (each particular) man.”

The saints and doctors Augustine, Aquinas, Bellarmine and Liguori did not find it "ridiculous" that God truly wills the salvation of all men, even if not all men are saved.

Here is that "ridiculous" claim of the Catholic Church as it was declared by the The Synod of Quiercy (853):

Almighty God wishes all men without exception to be saved [1 Tim 2:4], although not all are saved. The fact that some are saved, however, is a gift of the Saviour, while the fact that others perish is the fault of those who perish”.[74] Spelling out the positive implications of this statement as regards the universal solidarity of all in the mystery of Jesus Christ, the synod further asserts that: “As there is no man who was, is or will be, whose nature was not assumed in him [the Lord Jesus Christ], likewise there is no one who was, is or will be, for whom he did not suffer, even though not everyone [factually] is redeemed by his passion”.[75](ITC document)
In fact, that St. Liguori might have believed that the ordinary means for transmitting the merit of Christ is the only means available to infants (and the only means available and known to the Church), and that if the ordinary means fails of its effect it fails because of secondary contingent causes, changes nothing of the truth that “Jesus Christ offered His merits for all men”. In fact, I am willing to wager that in his opuscula “On Prayer As the Great means of Obtaining Salvation” that St. Liguori would find the theological principles that leave God open to making the prayers of the Church efficacious for unbaptized infants entirely consistent with his own doctrine “On Prayer As the Great means of Obtaining Salvation”.

He would have no objection whatsoever to the following observations of the ITC:

96. Because all people live in some kind of relation to Christ (cf. GS 22), and the Church is the body of Christ, all people live also in some kind of relation to the Church at every moment. The Church has a profound solidarity or communion with the whole of humanity (cf. GS 1). She lives with a dynamic orientation to the fulness of life with God in Christ (cf. LG chap.7), and wills to draw all people into that fulness of life. The Church is, in fact, 'the universal sacrament of salvation' (LG 48, cf. 1, 9). Salvation is social (cf. GS 12), and the Church already lives the graced life of the communion of saints to which all are called, and embraces all people in all circumstances in her prayer, most especially when she celebrates the Eucharist. The Church includes in her prayer non Christian adults and non baptised infants who die. Very significantly, the pre-Vatican II lack of liturgical prayers for unbaptised infants who die, has been remedied since the Council.[129] Bound in a common sensus fidei (cf. LG 12), the Church reaches out to all, knowing them to be loved by God. An important reason for the failure of attempts to get Vatican II to teach that unbaptised infants are definitely deprived of the vision of God[130] was the testimony of bishops that that was not the faith of their people; it did not correspond to the sensus fidelium.

98. When an infant is baptised, he or she cannot personally make a profession of faith. Rather, at that moment, the parents and the Church as a whole provide a context of faith for the sacramental action. Indeed, St Augustine teaches that it is the Church that presents a child for baptism.[132] The Church professes her faith and intercedes powerfully for the infant, supplying the act of faith that the infant is unable to make; again the bonds of communion, both natural and supernatural, are operative and manifest. If an unbaptised infant is incapable of a votum baptismi, then by the same bonds of communion the Church might be able to intercede for the infant and express a votum baptismi on his or her behalf that is effective before God. Moreover, the Church effectively does express in her liturgy just such a votum by the very charity towards all that is renewed in her in every celebration of the Eucharist.
I’m afraid, Mark, that the wisdom of the Church in the development of her own doctrine (particularly as it relates to the Incarnation and God’s universal salvific will) has simply passed you by -- as you cling to an outmoded and discredited system that sees in God no true desire to have all men saved, and thus, we have instead a loving God who has no real love for all men, and did not die for all men, but only for the predestined elect.

Yes, we have solid reasons for hope for the salvation of unbaptized infants, and every reason to reject your discredited system, for:

Were it the case that God’s antecedent will were of this sort, then one would need to conclude that God’s universal salvific will was completely ineffective and useless in itself. That being the case, one would also need to conclude that the reason some were reprobated lay fundamentally and primarily in the fact that God did not want to save them. Marin will have none of this, and argues that this is to distort Thomas’s own understanding of the antecedent will. (Michael Torre)
I am happy that you have found peace in your doctrine, but …. I simply cannot see it, and, Like Fr. Marin, I will have none of it, and must reject such a system with every fiber of my being.

I’ll leave you with this relevant extract from Fr. Al Kimel (http://pontifications.wordpress.com/limbo/):

Before her martyrdom St Perpetua was given a vision of her brother Dinocrates, who had died a pagan at the age of seven. Her brother was shown to her in travail and suffering. He stood before a font of water, but not being tall enough he was unable to drink. And so Perpetua prayed earnestly for him and was granted a second vision:

I saw that place which I had before seen, and Dinocrates clean of body, finely clothed, in comfort; and the font I had seen before, the edge of it being drawn to the boy’s navel; and he drew water thence which flowed without ceasing. And on the edge was a golden cup full of water; and Dinocrates came up and began to drink therefrom; which cup failed not. And being satisfied he departed away from the water and began to play as children will, joyfully.
Cajetan’s view on vicarious baptism of desire was discussed by the Tridentine fathers during their deliberations on baptism in February 1547. Thanks in large part to the arguments of Cardinal Seripando, the fathers refused to condemn Cajetan and left the question of waterless baptism dogmatically open (see comment by Dr Thomas Pink).

The principle at work here has been well stated by the Catholic Catechism: “God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments” (1257).
Indeed.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:02 pm

No, it does not obviate your problem and there is nothing that can obviate your problem so long as the problem is viewed through the narrow corrupted lens of “reformed” theology which “assigns as the motive of reprobation the sovereign will of God” and holds that God does not truly love all men, thus, He does not have a true will to save all men. End of story.

He loves all men, but His love of some just doesn’t extend to overcoming the “general order.” That’s a . . . fact. Or at least a fact assumed by St. Alphonsus, who also (while believing that fact) believed that God has a universal salvfic will to save all men. Well . . . guess what? I believe that God antecedently wills to save all men - he has provided the sacraments sufficient to save all men - and also that that love is counterbalanced by His attachment to the “general order,” which He chooses to maintain to His glory. You can read about it in St. Alphonsus’s quote above.

That was a nice, blustery sermon though.

Your “sermon" does put things in an apt of historical perspective: the 16th and 17th century theological disputants on this issue wanted to throw the other’s “system” (and perhaps the others) under the bus as “heresy.” They failed, and you will too, my friend.

I already made the point that Father Most, and others cited and quoted, said that the “Thomists’ “ view essentially denied the universal salvific will. Be that as it may, Banez and his “reformed” adherents, with their “negative reprobation” and “mean” and “harsh” views, were front and center during the great grace and predestination controversy, and the pope who settled the dispute said, in effect, “Banez and his adherents are fine, Molina and his adherents are fine . . . and don’t call each other heretics.”

If you want to make a specific point that the pope in his wisdom failed to make, or point out something he apparently couldn’t see with your modern and advanced wisdom and insight, and thereby join the ranks of Father Most et al in telling us how “negative reprobation” and . . . what was it . . . yes, that “outmoded and discredited system” is a actually contrary to God’s love and universal will to save all men, or even a “heresy” (perhaps that discreditation will be MRyan’s distinctive contribution), go right ahead.

For my part, you will forgive me (or not) if I tell you to go pound sand, and/or continue to promote that truthful “outmoded and discredited system” in the face of your rhetoric.

And here I was expecting some deep discussion and insight on reprobation.

Oh well.

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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:09 pm

I will have none of it, and must reject such a system with every fiber of my being.

Ditto as to your view.

God loves all men individually and gives all men individually the grace sufficient for salvation and raises to glory all men who do not resist that grace yet some men who don’t resist that grace are . . . "in glory, yes?" . . . "well, ah, we ‘hope’ so, but we don’t know.” "But you said . . . never mind."

Yes, that works and makes perfect sense. Rolling Eyes
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  Jehanne on Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:59 pm

Mike has never answered my question:

"How does one die in original sin alone?"

Is such even possible? Has it ever happened? Saint Don Bosco had a vision of Limbo:

http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2011/11/limbo-of-infants.html

An interesting text from the First Vatican Council:

First Vatican Council -- Chapter 3 On faith

7. And so faith in itself, even though it may not work through charity, is a gift of God, and its operation is a work belonging to the order of salvation, in that a person yields true obedience to God himself when he accepts and collaborates with his grace which he could have rejected.

9. Since, then, without faith it is impossible to please God and reach the fellowship of his sons and daughters, it follows that no one can ever achieve justification without it, neither can anyone attain eternal life unless he or she perseveres in it to the end.

13. So it comes about that, like a standard lifted up for the nations, she both invites to herself those who have not yet believed, and likewise assures her sons and daughters that the faith they profess rests on the firmest of foundations.

14. To this witness is added the effective help of power from on high. For, the kind Lord stirs up those who go astray and helps them by his grace so that they may come to the knowledge of the truth; and also confirms by his grace those whom he has translated into his admirable light, so that they may persevere in this light, not abandoning them unless he is first abandoned.

15. Consequently, the situation of those, who by the heavenly gift of faith have embraced the Catholic truth, is by no means the same as that of those who, led by human opinions, follow a false religion; for those who have accepted the faith under the guidance of the Church can never have any just cause for changing this faith or for calling it into question.

This being so, giving thanks to God the Father who has made us worthy to share with the saints in light let us not neglect so great a salvation, but looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, let us hold the unshakable confession of our hope.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:02 pm

Under this system, when God spoke to us through Ezechiel and said without qualification "As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live" (Ez 33:11)

That verse was in Banez’s Bible, Alvarez’s Bible, Gonet’s Bible, St. Alphonsus’s Bible, St. Robert Bellarmine’s Bible . . . so what’s to discuss about your personal interpretation? Nothing.

The fact remains that the vast majority of human beings ever conceived and born, who died before reaching maturity and without baptism, are not, or are probably not, or as even you must concede, possibly are not, in heaven.

Your system of “love” utterly fails to address what is even for you and your fellow thinkers a real possibility.

You must acknowledge at least the possibility that His lack of pleasure in the death of the wicked and desire that they turn and live nonetheless exists in a universe where men who do not commit any - any - personal sin are not in heaven.

That is what we are discussing, preacher.

The system of Banez et al explains it, your’s doesn’t.

You are blind to this glaring fault in your “sysem” and theology, and can offer no rational, must less cogent, explanation.

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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:14 pm

tornpage wrote:
No, it does not obviate your problem and there is nothing that can obviate your problem so long as the problem is viewed through the narrow corrupted lens of “reformed” theology which “assigns as the motive of reprobation the sovereign will of God” and holds that God does not truly love all men, thus, He does not have a true will to save all men. End of story.
He loves all men, but His love of some just doesn’t extend to overcoming the “general order.” That’s a . . . fact. Or at least a fact assumed by St. Alphonsus, who also (while believing that fact) believed that God has a universal salvfic will to save all men.
No, that is not a "fact" assumed by St. Liguori, that is a caricature of his position.

It's not that the love of God does not extend to overcoming the "general order" (as if He arbitrarily chooses not to overcome secondary causes), but whether or not the the justice in overcoming these same causes stand in violation to His justice in the "general order", meaning, in the general predestination of the saints. In other words, If God does not intervene to save them, He has a just reason beyond some arbitrary flip of the coin (meaning He cannot contradict Himself). It is a matter of justice, and it is a mystery.

This is a question no one can answer, but, as we both agree, there is no injustice in allowing unbaptized infants to be deprived of the beatific vision, just as there is no injustice should God intervene to save them.

The rest of your post is a defense of your doctrine along the lines of "See, my doctrine is not 'heretical', and your 'blustery sermon' cannot make it heretical".

I never said it was heretical, just as I would never say that insisting that unbaptized infants suffer the eternal torments of hellfire is heretical; but I would place both specious doctrines in the same category of those "beliefs" bereft of a true sensus fidelium.

tornpage wrote:
For my part, you will forgive me (or not) if I tell you to go pound sand, and/or continue to promote that truthful “outmoded and discredited system” in the face of your rhetoric.

And here I was expecting some deep discussion and insight on reprobation.

Oh well.
Mark, let me remind you that you are the one who took the high road in this by labeling the established and infallible doctrine of the Catholic Church that declares that God saved and desires the salvation of all men as "ridiculous" because YOU can't reconcile this doctrine with the common opinion that says unbaptized infants do not enjoy the beatific vision.

When someone mocks the Church and all of her Doctors, I tend to go on offense by demonstrating that the only "ridiculous" doctrine in the room is that of the person making the "ridiculous" accusation.

If you are going to get all defensive and feign some great insult, that's your prerogative, but I stand by my arguments, just as I stand ready for a "deep discussion and insight on reprobation", just as I have already leveled a substantive critique against reprobation as it is presented in the "reformed" system.

There is nothing stopping you from defending your reformed theology and exposing the alleged weakness of the Catholic "system" that insists that God has a true and active will to save all men.

So feel free to attack the following explanation:

IMHO, if He allows an impediment to stand in the way of His will in one order (the particular), it is because it would be unjust to remove that impediment in another (the general). As I said, it is a mystery, but the Church has been nibbling around the edges of this mystery (its called the development of doctrine) to where she is confident in saying that that we have reasons to hope that God will in fact save these infants. But, in the present economy, "hope" is not the assurance of salvation, and the question remains open.




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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:39 pm

When someone mocks the Church and all of her Doctors, I tend to go on offense by demonstrating that the only "ridiculous" doctrine in the room is that of the person making the "ridiculous" accusation.

I thought we were embarking on this debate in a new spirit. Where have I “mock[ed]” the Church since we commenced this discussion in that new spirit?

Please. If men who have engaged in conflict and done some wrong to each other - and worse, to God - in the past can’t let the past go and repent and forgive, then the hope of real dialogue is gone.

Do you want me to dredge up some of your past utterances?

Don’t worry, I won’t.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:44 pm

It's not that the love of God does not extend to overcoming the "general order" (as if He arbitrarily chooses not to overcome secondary causes), but whether or not the the justice in overcoming these same causes stand in violation to His justice in the "general order", meaning, in the general predestination of the saints. In other words, If God does not intervene to save them, He has a just reason beyond some arbitrary flip of the coin (meaning He cannot contradict Himself). It is a matter of justice, and it is a mystery.

Of course God has a good reason, and it’s not “arbitrary” in the sense of no good reason. In fact, the arbitrariness has a specific reason.

There is no reason, in man, why God would fate one infant to baptism and another not. There is no difference in the infants. And I would not dare call that “arbitrary,” but the design of the Maker for a good purpose, primarily His glory, and perhaps others, and may He be feared, adored and submitted to.

There is no “beef” with me in that paragraph. What’s its purpose?
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:58 pm

MRyan wrote:
IMHO, if He allows an impediment to stand in the way of His will in one order (the particular), it is because it would be unjust to remove that impediment in another (the general). As I said, it is a mystery, but the Church has been nibbling around the edges of this mystery (its called the development of doctrine) to where she is confident in saying that that we have reasons to hope that God will in fact save these infants. But, in the present economy, "hope" is not the assurance of salvation, and the question remains open.
If I may expand upon this, it would be similar to Mark's example of the drowning men where God may choose to intervene to save only two of the five, either by overcoming a resistant will that would not otherwise cooperate, or by saving a soul who places no impediment to God’s sufficient grace. In either case, God saves by his consequent will.

However, for the three souls God allows to drown in their sins, He truly loves them and antecedently (and truly) wills their salvation, and does NOT will to have them drown, and could in fact save them; but He deems such an intervention as being opposed (a matter of balance) to the general order (the predestination of the saints). And so He justly chooses not to intervene beyond the graces already given and already sufficient for their salvation, and freely rejected.

In the case of unbaptized infants, the situation is similar with respect to keeping balance in the general order, except here the infants can do nothing of their own to cooperate with or reject God’s grace, and the impediment of original sin is not their fault.

If God does not intervene when the general (ordinary) means is of no effect (due to secondary causes), it is only because such an intervention would unfairly skew the balance that must be maintained in the general order, and not because Our Lord does not “will” to save them, or does not love them enough to have them saved. Of course, with the painless, natural and eternal happiness known as the “Limbo of the Children”, it is hard to use the term “reprobate” in the same context or sentence (somewhat of an oxymoron) – it doesn’t seem to fit (just as Limbo doesn't seem to fit in Heaven or in Hell - though it is closer to a heavenly bliss - which is fine by me).

However, should God intervene to save them, as we are allowed to hope, there is no imbalance to the general order, and His justice is always perfect.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:03 pm

tornpage wrote:
When someone mocks the Church and all of her Doctors, I tend to go on offense by demonstrating that the only "ridiculous" doctrine in the room is that of the person making the "ridiculous" accusation.

I thought we were embarking on this debate in a new spirit. Where have I “mock[ed]” the Church since we commenced this discussion in that new spirit?

Please. If men who have engaged in conflict and done some wrong to each other - and worse, to God - in the past can’t let the past go and repent and forgive, then the hope of real dialogue is gone.

Do you want me to dredge up some of your past utterances?

Don’t worry, I won’t.
Mark,

That's fair. I've been reading all of our posts in order to digest what you are trying to say, and, running them together, I guess I failed to draw that line where you asked that we proceed in a "new spirit".

So yes, I could have and should have softened the rhetoric, mea culpa.

You're still wrong, but that goes without saying. Smile

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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:27 pm

If God does not intervene when the general (ordinary) means is of no effect (due to secondary causes), it is only because such an intervention would unfairly skew the balance that must be maintained in the general order, and not because Our Lord does not “will” to save them, or does not love them enough to have them saved.

That would be one reason.

I say because it glorifies Him is the primary reason.

Isaiah 43:7

And every one that calleth upon my name, I have created him for my glory, I have formed him, and made him.

Psalm 50:15

And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.

Isaiah 60:21

And thy people shall be all just, they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hand to glorify me.

Isaiah 61:3

To appoint to the mourners of Sion, and to give them a crown for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, a garment of praise for the spirit of grief: and they shall be called in it the mighty ones of justice, the planting of the Lord to glorify him.

Exodus 33:18-19

[18] And he said: shew me thy glory. [19] He answered: I will shew thee all good, and I will proclaim in the name of the Lord before thee: and I will have mercy on whom I will, and I will be merciful to whom it shall please me.

Romans 9:18-25

[18] Therefore he hath mercy on whom he will; and whom he will, he hardeneth. [19] Thou wilt say therefore to me: Why doth he then find fault? for who resisteth his will? [20] O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it: Why hast thou made me thus? [21] Or hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump, to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? [22] What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath, fitted for destruction, [23] That he might shew the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he hath prepared unto glory? [24] Even us, whom also he hath called, nor only of the Jews, but also of the Gentiles. [25] As in Osee he saith: I will call that which was not my people, my people; and her that was not beloved, beloved; and her that had not obtained mercy, one that hath obtained mercy.

Ephesians 1:4-6, 11-12

[4]As he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and unspotted in his sight in charity. [5] Who hath predestinated us unto the adoption of children through Jesus Christ unto himself: according to the purpose of his will: [6] Unto the praise of the glory of his grace, in which he hath graced us in his beloved son.

[11] In whom we also are called by lot, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things according to the counsel of his will. [12] That we may be unto the praise of his glory, we who before hoped Christ:

Revelation 4:11

Thou art worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory, and honour, and power: because thou hast created all things; and for thy will they were, and have been created.



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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:48 pm

Jehanne wrote:Mike has never answered my question:

"How does one die in original sin alone?"
Nonsense, you simply haven't been paying attention.

Jehanne wrote:
Is such even possible?
Of course.

Jehanne wrote:
Has it ever happened?
I don't know, has it been revealed? Can you explain how a common theological opinion equates to a "de fide" dogma when the Catholic Church you say you are in communion with tells us it is NOT de fide that there ARE infants who have died in original sin alone?

Wait, or is it de fide that there ARE at least some unbaptized infants in hell? And we're really pushing the "theological note" envelope if it is suggested that "all" aborted infants may be saved, and outright heresy if it is suggested that "all" infants might be saved - right, Jehanne?

It is de fide that anyone who dies in original sin alone is denied the beatific vision; it is NOT de fide that there ARE such souls in hell (isn't Limbo IN hell?).

Jehanne wrote:An interesting text from the First Vatican Council:

First Vatican Council -- Chapter 3 On faith

14. To this witness is added the effective help of power from on high. For, the kind Lord stirs up those who go astray and helps them by his grace so that they may come to the knowledge of the truth; and also confirms by his grace those whom he has translated into his admirable light, so that they may persevere in this light, not abandoning them unless he is first abandoned.
Yes, very "interesting", proving what, exactly?
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:46 pm

tornpage wrote:
If God does not intervene when the general (ordinary) means is of no effect (due to secondary causes), it is only because such an intervention would unfairly skew the balance that must be maintained in the general order, and not because Our Lord does not “will” to save them, or does not love them enough to have them saved.

That would be one reason.
You mean to say that you have no objection to the “reason” cited above, but would qualify it as a possible “secondary” reason?

tornpage wrote:
I say because it glorifies Him is the primary reason.

Every act of God in the general order redounds to His glory, just as every act or non-action in the particular order redounds to His glory, whether any given soul is saved or not.

Reviewing your selected list of Scripture citations (after basically telling me that one can “interpret” Ez 33:11 to mean a will that does NOT truly will to save certain souls), I can find only one citation, taken from St. Paul, that actually addresses the doctrine you are promoting, where he says, “What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath, fitted for destruction, That he might shew the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he hath prepared unto glory?” (Romans 9:22-23)

First of all, “if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath, fitted for destruction”, this takes nothing away from the fact that God loves these same souls and wills “that the wicked turn from his way and live”. After all, “Thou lovest all things that exist, and hast loathing for none of the things which thou hast made, for thou wouldst not have made anything if thou hast hated it” (Wis 11:24)

Neither does it take anything away from the doctrine that says if they are fitted for destruction, it is only because God foresees their refusal of His sufficient graces up until, and especially, the very end of their lives.

Furthermore, as Fr. Most says (thanks for the link):

For many centuries the true solution, which is found implicitly in the sources of revelation, was obscured by the presence of erroneous interpretations of Romans 8-9 which seemed to explicitly contradict the true solution; but today, thanks to the merciful design of Divine Providence, these misinterpretations have been removed and most helpful declarations of the Magisterium on implicit texts have been given. Hence, we are in a position to see clearly what was once obscured. (http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/most/getchap.cfm?WorkNum=214&ChapNum=23)
When Catholics go against the manifest will of the Church and her own teachings on this matter; they are not redounding to God’s glory, but only causing division within the Church. I know you do not want to go there, but I do not see how we are going to avoid it, so we might as well get it out in the open, for it always comes down to this, at least for Catholics who tire of going in circles debating particular Scripture citations, or particular points of reformed theology.

To the extend that this doctrine has not been “defined”, there is some leeway for legitimate dissent, but that is always a risky gambit when one resists the living Magisterium to its face and accuses her of “error” on a matter pertaining directly to a matter of salvation. I would venture to say that there is not a single approved theologian today who would disagree with the statement:

"That negative reprobation before prevision of sins seems to us to be, from every point of view, incompatible with the universal salvific will of God.”
This is disputed by no one (that I am aware of) in Catholic circles. The Church has simply moved on from the minority opinion of Bañez, Alvarez, Gonet, John of St. Thomas, and others, just as she moved on from the long-held common opinion of Augustine that posited that unbaptized infants suffer the eternal torments of the damned. The “reformers” cannot move on, they are stuck in their errors, without an authoritative means of extraction; lost as they are in their misinterpretation of St. Augustine, and in their committed subservience to the doctrines of Calvin and Luther.

By selectively citing Scripture, and by taking exception to the obvious sense of Ezekiel 33:11, you are indeed proving the obvious point, the Catholic Church is the only authority that can render a proper interpretation, and there is no doubt as to where she stands relative to Ez 33:11, Romans 8-9, Gen 3:15, Gen 22:18, 1 Tim 2:3-6, Mt 18:14, etc, etc.

Haydock Commentary on Ezekiel 33:11:

Desire. The sinner's damnation is not an object of God's pleasure. C. xviii. 23. C. --- He has an antecedent will to save all. He knocks at the door of our heart, (Apoc. iii. 20.) and if man do what depends on him, nothing will be wanting on the part of God. S. Tho. i. 2. q. 109. and 112. W.
Yep, that’s what it says.


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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:12 pm

You're baiting for sharks . . . hope you find one.

All of the Scripture cited goes to one point, and you stated it not badly:

Every act of God in the general order redounds to His glory, just as every act or non-action in the particular order redounds to His glory, whether any given soul is saved or not.

You say:

When Catholics go against the manifest will of the Church and her own teachings on this matter; they are not redounding to God’s glory, but only causing division within the Church.

I'm not going against the will of the Church.

But to continue on topic. In answer to the fact (or very real possibility, even for the "hopeful") that God wills all to be saved but yet some children die without baptism and are not saved (and yet do not resist His will), I say:

Here it only remains for us to answer the objection which is drawn from children being lost when they die before Baptism, and before they come to the use of reason. If God wills all to be saved, it is objected, how is it that these children perish without any fault of their own, since God gives them no assistance to attain eternal salvation? There are two answers to this objection, the latter more correct than the former, I will state them briefly.

First, it is answered that God, by antecedent will, wishes all to be saved, and therefore has granted universal means for the salvation of all; but these means at times fail of their effect, either by reason of the unwillingness of some persons to avail themselves of them, or because others are unable to make use of them, on account of secondary causes (such as the death of children), whose course God is not bound to change, after having disposed the whole according to the just judgment of his general Providence; all this is collected from what St. Thomas says. Jesus Christ offered His merits for all men, and instituted baptism for all; but the application of this means of salvation, so far as relates to children who die before the use of reason, is not prevented by the direct will of God, but by a merely permissive will; because as He is the general provider of all things, He is not bound to disturb the general order, to provide for the particular order.

The second answer is, that to perish is not the same as not to be blessed: since eternal happiness is a gift entirely gratuitous; and therefore the want of it is not a punishment. The opinion, therefore, of St. Thomas-----is very just, that children who die in infancy have neither the pain of sense nor the pain of loss; not the pain of sense, he says, "because pain of sense corresponds to conversion to creatures; and in Original Sin there is not conversion to creatures" [as the fault is not our own], "and therefore pain of sense is not due to Original Sin;" because Original Sin does not imply an act. [De Mal. q. 5, a. 2]

I agree with all of that, and a doctor of the Church no less.

This is disputed by no one (that I am aware of) in Catholic circles. The Church has simply moved on from the minority opinion of Bañez, Alvarez, Gonet, John of St. Thomas, and others, just as she moved on from the long-held common opinion of Augustine that posited that unbaptized infants suffer the eternal torments of the damned.

Whatever. She also subjected the "minority" opinion to strict scrutiny and gave it no, no censure whatsoever. The doctrine was fine then, and it's fine now.

Movement? Is that like development of doctrine?

As I said . . . pound sand.


Last edited by tornpage on Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:15 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : typos)
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:27 pm

St. Alphonsus:

it is objected, how is it that these children perish without any fault of their own, since God gives them no assistance to attain eternal salvation? There are two answers to this objection

To which the God doctor answers: a) he gave mankind the sacraments, which are sufficient to save all (even if those children don't get the graces in them for various divine reasons including His preference for the order He created and wishes to maintain)don't get the graces in them); and, b) Limbo (God doesn't punish them).

The non-answer, "hey, maybe God gives them assistance" not having occurred to the good doctor, who simply died before its time.

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