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The Church Courtyard => The Sacred Sciences => Topic started by: Quaremerepulisti on November 22, 2016, 10:27:40 AM

Title: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on November 22, 2016, 10:27:40 AM
The controversy over grace and predestination arose out of the desire to fit everything (and not just those things for which those categories were defined) Procrustes-like, into the Aristotelian-Thomist-Scholastic framework of act, potency, matter, form, essence, motion, cause, etc.  But human wills are not material objects.

Personally, I think the failure of Scholasticism on this score is to a great extent responsible for the decline in Thomism before the Leonine revival.  It's not just that seminary and university professors were lazy or guilty of "temerity"; there was a real reason for its decline.  But be that as it may.

We begin with certain doctrines:

God is the efficient cause of salvation of those who are saved.
The elect are predestined to good and salvation, but no one is ever predestined to evil and damnation.
God sincerely desires all men saved and makes their salvation possible.

Grace and salvation are completely free gifts of God (even if offered to all).
Grace is absolutely necessary for salvation and even for every supernaturally good work.
If men are not saved, it is their own fault.

I've grouped these as follows, since the meaning of the last three is completely clear, but the meaning of the first three is not.  What is the exact meaning of "cause", "desire", or "predestining" for God?

For Thomists, "cause" means cause as it is in the created order, just as touching a hot object to a cold one is the cause of the cold one heating up.  There's something about the first object (an accident) that infallibly makes it the cause of heating: that it is hot, and that it is touching the cold object.  While they will admit in theory that God is simple and therefore has no accidents, they proceed in practice as though He does; as though Him causing something in the created order is a quasi-accident of His.

"Cause" being interpreted as a quasi-accident of God, predestination naturally gets interpreted as predetermination.  Obviously there is a prior fact (the quasi-accident) which predetermines that the elect are saved.  But that being the case, secondary causes must be infallibly efficacious in themselves too, since they infallibly derive their causal power from the quasi-accident of God.  (Here Thomists and Molinists part company, with Thomists insisting grace is efficacious of itself, while Molinists instead saying the external circumstances are determinative of whether grace is effective or not.)  The Thomists say that any other theory (e.g. Molinism) makes God not the First Cause of salvation, but a passive "onlooker" whose causation of salvation is ontologically dependent on something else (e.g. non-resistance to grace).

Well, there is obviously no problem here with grace and salvation being free gifts and grace being absolutely necessary, but this does seem to yield some questions (to put it mildly) regarding God's desire of all to be saved, the possibility of salvation, predestination to evil, and man's culpability.  How do the Thomists answer these?

With regard to the possibility of salvation, the Thomists answer that God makes good acts and salvation present in potency (this is called sufficient grace).  Since they exist in potency, they possibly exist in actuality.  They say the potency gives one a true "power" to be saved.  To the argument that the actualization isn't possible if God doesn't in fact actualize it, they charge their accusers with claiming a potency isn't a real potency unless it's actualized (Megarianism). 

With regard to man's culpability, the Thomists answer that, while God's failure to give efficacious grace entails sin and damnation, it is not the cause of it - that is man's perverse will.  Some will say that God's failure to give efficacious grace is punishment for resistance to sufficient grace - if sufficient grace were not resisted, efficacious grace will follow.  Nevertheless, non-resistance is also a grace from God, so the same argument applies with respect to God's failure to give that.  With regard to lack of predestination to damnation, the Thomists likewise answer that God is not the cause of damnation.

Finally, with regard to God's desire to save all, the Thomists answer that this is not a concrete desire in the here and now, given the actual situation, but only an abstract desire, abstracting from the situation.  This is like a judge abstractly desiring all should live, but in the concrete sentencing a murderer to death.

Now if a freshman philosophy student submitted the above Thomist answers as part of a term paper today, he would receive an "F" with some pretty harsh comments.  This won't bother the Thomists.  They'll simply say the professor is a rationalist or was duped by the likes of Descartes, Kant, and Hegel, etc.  In the real world, however, changing the definitions of terms post-hoc in order to fit a theory is a big no-no in intellectual circles.

Potency is not the same thing as possibility.  This is shown since it is metaphysically impossible for a potency to self-actualize (a premise the Thomists will surely agree with).  And so, if in the actual world, an external actualizer of the potency isn't present, it is likewise metaphysically impossible for it to be actualized.  Or, put another way, the facts of the actual world entail the potency won't actualize.  So if salvation is present in potency, but nothing is available to actualize it, it is impossible in actuality.  Now, to be sure, there are other possible worlds in which it is actualized, but the clear import of God's making people's salvation possible is in reference to actually existent people in the actual world.

Culpability does not necessarily refer to one's being the cause of a bad outcome, but only for an act or failure to act in which the bad outcome could be reasonably foreseen.  If I invite a known alcoholic over to my house and place lots of booze within his reach, I am culpable for his drunkenness.  With reference to sin, we are bound in justice, if we can reasonably foresee ones under our charge (e.g. children) committing sin in a certain situation, to do something about the situation.  If we fail to do so, we are not the cause of their sin, but we are culpable.  Even with regard to others, we are so bound in charity, and if we lead our neighbor into sin we are likewise culpable.  Here, however, according to Thomists, God is predeterming the situation in which, not only can sin be reasonably foreseen, it is absolutely foreseen and metaphysically inevitable.  To which the Thomists will no doubt respond: God has no obligation to keep His creatures from sin.  To which I respond: so, then, if we keep the great commandments, we love our neighbors more than God, Who is allegedly Love itself.

And the analogy of God and salvation to a judge sentencing death is completely inapt, at least insofar as the Thomists interpret it.  The judge wills that all live, not merely as an abstraction, but as a hypothetical reality - he would will that the murderer live, except for the fact that he murdered.  And thus God wills the salvation of all as a hypothetical reality, which is the clear meaning of the phrase - He would will their salvation but for their final impenitence.  This is how God's antecedent will was interpreted, for instance, by St. John Damascene.  And it simply can't be that anyone could have more zeal for salvation of souls than Christ Himself.  But for the Thomists, God doesn't really desire the salvation of some in the situation in which they actually find themselves - and so, if we do, we have more zeal than Christ.

So, obviously, something went wrong.  What a soul does is not pre-determined in time, and God can not only not cause, but can not even predetermine sin.  While a human will cannot move itself, it can determine itself.  That is what makes a human will distinct from a material object, and why categories of potency, act, etc., are not applicable.  The Thomist claim that God "is passive" in salvation and "waits" for the soul's free acceptance of grace is not well taken.  Is God "passive" if He answers prayers since this is consequent to the prayer being made?  It is no answer to say God foresaw the prayer "from all eternity" - for He likewise does so with free acceptance of grace - and doesn't change the fact God's answering prayer is consequent to the prayer.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Michael Wilson on November 22, 2016, 12:10:51 PM
A very good and concise summary of the arguments you have made in the various threads on grace and predestination. Thank you.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Clarence Creedwater on November 22, 2016, 07:41:16 PM
The controversy over grace and predestination arose out of the desire to fit everything (and not just those things for which those categories were defined) Procrustes-like, into the Aristotelian-Thomist-Scholastic framework of act, potency, matter, form, essence, motion, cause, etc.  But human wills are not material objects.

Personally, I think the failure of Scholasticism on this score is to a great extent responsible for the decline in Thomism before the Leonine revival.  It's not just that seminary and university professors were lazy or guilty of "temerity"; there was a real reason for its decline.  But be that as it may.

We begin with certain doctrines:

God is the efficient cause of salvation of those who are saved.
The elect are predestined to good and salvation, but no one is ever predestined to evil and damnation.
God sincerely desires all men saved and makes their salvation possible.

Grace and salvation are completely free gifts of God (even if offered to all).
Grace is absolutely necessary for salvation and even for every supernaturally good work.
If men are not saved, it is their own fault.

I've grouped these as follows, since the meaning of the last three is completely clear, but the meaning of the first three is not.  What is the exact meaning of "cause", "desire", or "predestining" for God?

For Thomists, "cause" means cause as it is in the created order, just as touching a hot object to a cold one is the cause of the cold one heating up.  There's something about the first object (an accident) that infallibly makes it the cause of heating: that it is hot, and that it is touching the cold object.  While they will admit in theory that God is simple and therefore has no accidents, they proceed in practice as though He does; as though Him causing something in the created order is a quasi-accident of His.

"Cause" being interpreted as a quasi-accident of God, predestination naturally gets interpreted as predetermination.  Obviously there is a prior fact (the quasi-accident) which predetermines that the elect are saved.  But that being the case, secondary causes must be infallibly efficacious in themselves too, since they infallibly derive their causal power from the quasi-accident of God.  (Here Thomists and Molinists part company, with Thomists insisting grace is efficacious of itself, while Molinists instead saying the external circumstances are determinative of whether grace is effective or not.)  The Thomists say that any other theory (e.g. Molinism) makes God not the First Cause of salvation, but a passive "onlooker" whose causation of salvation is ontologically dependent on something else (e.g. non-resistance to grace).

Well, there is obviously no problem here with grace and salvation being free gifts and grace being absolutely necessary, but this does seem to yield some questions (to put it mildly) regarding God's desire of all to be saved, the possibility of salvation, predestination to evil, and man's culpability.  How do the Thomists answer these?

With regard to the possibility of salvation, the Thomists answer that God makes good acts and salvation present in potency (this is called sufficient grace).  Since they exist in potency, they possibly exist in actuality.  They say the potency gives one a true "power" to be saved.  To the argument that the actualization isn't possible if God doesn't in fact actualize it, they charge their accusers with claiming a potency isn't a real potency unless it's actualized (Megarianism). 

With regard to man's culpability, the Thomists answer that, while God's failure to give efficacious grace entails sin and damnation, it is not the cause of it - that is man's perverse will.  Some will say that God's failure to give efficacious grace is punishment for resistance to sufficient grace - if sufficient grace were not resisted, efficacious grace will follow.  Nevertheless, non-resistance is also a grace from God, so the same argument applies with respect to God's failure to give that.  With regard to lack of predestination to damnation, the Thomists likewise answer that God is not the cause of damnation.

Finally, with regard to God's desire to save all, the Thomists answer that this is not a concrete desire in the here and now, given the actual situation, but only an abstract desire, abstracting from the situation.  This is like a judge abstractly desiring all should live, but in the concrete sentencing a murderer to death.

Now if a freshman philosophy student submitted the above Thomist answers as part of a term paper today, he would receive an "F" with some pretty harsh comments.  This won't bother the Thomists.  They'll simply say the professor is a rationalist or was duped by the likes of Descartes, Kant, and Hegel, etc.  In the real world, however, changing the definitions of terms post-hoc in order to fit a theory is a big no-no in intellectual circles.

Potency is not the same thing as possibility.  This is shown since it is metaphysically impossible for a potency to self-actualize (a premise the Thomists will surely agree with).  And so, if in the actual world, an external actualizer of the potency isn't present, it is likewise metaphysically impossible for it to be actualized.  Or, put another way, the facts of the actual world entail the potency won't actualize.  So if salvation is present in potency, but nothing is available to actualize it, it is impossible in actuality.  Now, to be sure, there are other possible worlds in which it is actualized, but the clear import of God's making people's salvation possible is in reference to actually existent people in the actual world.

Culpability does not necessarily refer to one's being the cause of a bad outcome, but only for an act or failure to act in which the bad outcome could be reasonably foreseen.  If I invite a known alcoholic over to my house and place lots of booze within his reach, I am culpable for his drunkenness.  With reference to sin, we are bound in justice, if we can reasonably foresee ones under our charge (e.g. children) committing sin in a certain situation, to do something about the situation.  If we fail to do so, we are not the cause of their sin, but we are culpable.  Even with regard to others, we are so bound in charity, and if we lead our neighbor into sin we are likewise culpable.  Here, however, according to Thomists, God is predeterming the situation in which, not only can sin be reasonably foreseen, it is absolutely foreseen and metaphysically inevitable.  To which the Thomists will no doubt respond: God has no obligation to keep His creatures from sin.  To which I respond: so, then, if we keep the great commandments, we love our neighbors more than God, Who is allegedly Love itself.

And the analogy of God and salvation to a judge sentencing death is completely inapt, at least insofar as the Thomists interpret it.  The judge wills that all live, not merely as an abstraction, but as a hypothetical reality - he would will that the murderer live, except for the fact that he murdered.  And thus God wills the salvation of all as a hypothetical reality, which is the clear meaning of the phrase - He would will their salvation but for their final impenitence.  This is how God's antecedent will was interpreted, for instance, by St. John Damascene.  And it simply can't be that anyone could have more zeal for salvation of souls than Christ Himself.  But for the Thomists, God doesn't really desire the salvation of some in the situation in which they actually find themselves - and so, if we do, we have more zeal than Christ.

So, obviously, something went wrong.  What a soul does is not pre-determined in time, and God can not only not cause, but can not even predetermine sin.  While a human will cannot move itself, it can determine itself.  That is what makes a human will distinct from a material object, and why categories of potency, act, etc., are not applicable.  The Thomist claim that God "is passive" in salvation and "waits" for the soul's free acceptance of grace is not well taken.  Is God "passive" if He answers prayers since this is consequent to the prayer being made?  It is no answer to say God foresaw the prayer "from all eternity" - for He likewise does so with free acceptance of grace - and doesn't change the fact God's answering prayer is consequent to the prayer.

Such heretical garbage you keep dishing out.

The controversy over grace and predestination arose out of the desire to fit everything (and not just those things for which those categories were defined) Procrustes-like, into the Aristotelian-Thomist-Scholastic framework of act, potency, matter, form, essence, motion, cause, etc.  But human wills are not material objects.

What is this "desire to fit everything"?  This is only ONE subject, and this subject the Church Herself said may or may not be accurate application of official Church principle. You are trying to spread mud over the official philosophy of the Church, just like a heretic would do.

Personally, I think the failure of Scholasticism on this score is to a great extent responsible for the decline in Thomism before the Leonine revival.  It's not just that seminary and university professors were lazy or guilty of "temerity"; there was a real reason for its decline.  But be that as it may.

Scholasticism, as a whole, does not fail just because one subject that is the depth of divine mystery, has a unresolved controversy connected with it, and it may still be correct. You are just showing your hatred for a system which in God's Providence made the official philosophy of the Church.

And that's with a most deep and divine mystery. Never mind all the really easy facts and logic that you flub up on left and right on these forums. Pretty clear who is the failure, and it is NOT Scholasticism.


Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on November 22, 2016, 08:00:32 PM
Scholasticism, as a whole, does not fail just because one subject that is the depth of divine mystery, has a unresolved controversy connected with it, and it may still be correct. You are just showing your hatred for a system which in God's Providence made the official philosophy of the Church.

And that's with a most deep and divine mystery. Never mind all the really easy facts and logic that you flub up on left and right on these forums. Pretty clear who is the failure, and it is NOT Scholasticism.

This is the Sacred Sciences subforum.  It is the place for semi-scholarly debates, not personal attacks. Your lack of a substantive reply is noted.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Clarence Creedwater on November 22, 2016, 08:07:19 PM
Scholasticism, as a whole, does not fail just because one subject that is the depth of divine mystery, has a unresolved controversy connected with it, and it may still be correct. You are just showing your hatred for a system which in God's Providence made the official philosophy of the Church.

And that's with a most deep and divine mystery. Never mind all the really easy facts and logic that you flub up on left and right on these forums. Pretty clear who is the failure, and it is NOT Scholasticism.

This is the Sacred Sciences subforum.  It is the place for semi-scholarly debates, not personal attacks. Your lack of a substantive reply is noted.

The argumentum ad hominem is a legitimate tool of semi-scholarly debate. As is the reasoning I presented.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on November 22, 2016, 08:45:25 PM
The argumentum ad hominem is a legitimate tool of semi-scholarly debate. As is the reasoning I presented.

No, it's not (argumentum ad hominem is a fallacy), and there was no reasoning presented.

If you love Scholasticism as much as you claim, perhaps your ire would be better directed at those Thomists who make arguments that wouldn't even pass muster in freshman philosophy or logic, rather than making fruitless attempts to shoot the messenger.

"This is heretical garbage" is mere argument by assertion.

"The Church Herself has said this may or may not be correct application of principle." - that is not an argument for it being correct application of principle.

"You just hate Scholasticism and want to spread mud over it" is an argumentum ad hominem fallacy.  Whether someone hates or loves Scholasticism has nothing whatsoever to do with whether his arguments are correct.

"You flub up easy facts and logic" is likewise an ad hominem as well as an argument by assertion.

Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Clarence Creedwater on November 22, 2016, 09:21:19 PM
The argumentum ad hominem is a legitimate tool of semi-scholarly debate. As is the reasoning I presented.

No, it's not (argumentum ad hominem is a fallacy), and there was no reasoning presented.

It's a fallacy in logic, not in debate. Scripture has used it also. And, yes I did use reasoning - the fact that you condemn the whole Church approved and commanded system because of one possible mistaken historical application. That sentence alone reveals you have flubbed for multiple reasons.

If you love Scholasticism as much as you claim, perhaps your ire would be better directed at those Thomists who make arguments that wouldn't even pass muster in freshman philosophy or logic, rather than making fruitless attempts to shoot the messenger.

You have already shown how terrible you do reasoning on these forums in very easy and common matters. That's the argumentum a fortiori why you are not credible, besides the fact that a pope said anyone who puts down Scholasticism is 'suspect as to the truth'.

"This is heretical garbage" is mere argument by assertion.

It's a conclusion give before the reasoning was presented.

"The Church Herself has said this may or may not be correct application of principle." - that is not an argument for it being correct application of principle.

It's an argument that says you shouldn't be condemning that particularly application (just not preferring it), NOR attacking the system as a whole.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on November 22, 2016, 09:51:41 PM
It's a fallacy in logic, not in debate.

Guess what debates are supposed to use?  That's right, logic.  If your argument hinges on a logical fallacy you lose the debate.

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And, yes I did use reasoning - the fact that you condemn the whole Church approved and commanded system because of one possible mistaken historical application.

That is not reasoning.  That is just a statement of (mistaken) fact.  Nowhere do I "condemn the whole Church approved and commanded system".  What I condemn is people who use that as an excuse for failure to engage in critical thinking, and as a shield for weak arguments.

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You have already shown how terrible you do reasoning on these forums in very easy and common matters.

Says the one who just admitted to using a logical fallacy.  "Good reasoning" != agreeing with Clarence's biases.

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That's the argumentum a fortiori why you are not credible...

It is not an argument at all.  Attacking one's credibility rather than his arguments is a tacit admission that one really has no answer to his arguments.  What matters is what arguments are made, not who makes them.

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It's an argument that says you shouldn't be condemning that particularly application (just not preferring it), NOR attacking the system as a whole.

No, it isn't.  Plenty of others have condemned that particular application without attacking the system as a whole.

Now, if you have a substantive argument to make, by all means make it.  Otherwise,  I'll simply ignore you.  God bless.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on November 22, 2016, 11:23:44 PM
The problem with this, Q, is that you set the Thomists up as holding things that they don't hold, and you know better.

For example, you say:

"Finally, with regard to God's desire to save all, the Thomists answer that this is not a concrete desire in the here and now, given the actual situation, but only an abstract desire, abstracting from the situation.  This is like a judge abstractly desiring all should live, but in the concrete sentencing a murderer to death."

You know that that analogy fails entirely to capture how Thomists self-describe because the reality of the Thomistic system in this regard is based upon permission while the analogy employed subtly shifts to causation.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: John Lamb on November 23, 2016, 02:18:58 AM
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The judge wills that all live, not merely as an abstraction, but as a hypothetical reality - he would will that the murderer live, except for the fact that he murdered.  And thus God wills the salvation of all as a hypothetical reality, which is the clear meaning of the phrase - He would will their salvation but for their final impenitence.  This is how God's antecedent will was interpreted, for instance, by St. John Damascene.  And it simply can't be that anyone could have more zeal for salvation of souls than Christ Himself. 

This agrees with Thomism.

Quare, what you have to answer is: why, if God wishes everyone to be saved, is not everyone in fact saved? Is God not capable of infallibly moving the will, softening the heart, towards Him? Or is the will of man omnipotent in resisting the omnipotence of God's will to save him? Why does God not do for every man what He did for St. Paul, if he desires to save everyone as much as He did St. Paul?
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: John Lamb on November 23, 2016, 03:04:50 AM
Here's an analogy.

God puts the medicine to our mouths, but we freely resist by putting our hands over our mouths. Some God takes hold of the hand and removes it from their mouth, with them finally co-operating; others He leaves with their hands over their mouth until they die.

What I can't stand about the Molinist account is the idea that God saves us according to our merits, rather than our merits being caused by God's will to save us.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on November 23, 2016, 08:35:05 AM
The problem with this, Q, is that you set the Thomists up as holding things that they don't hold, and you know better.

I assure you that every single thing I have said has been argued by Thomists before here on this very forum.

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For example, you say:

"Finally, with regard to God's desire to save all, the Thomists answer that this is not a concrete desire in the here and now, given the actual situation, but only an abstract desire, abstracting from the situation.  This is like a judge abstractly desiring all should live, but in the concrete sentencing a murderer to death."

You know that that analogy fails entirely to capture how Thomists self-describe because the reality of the Thomistic system in this regard is based upon permission while the analogy employed subtly shifts to causation.

So what?  No analogy is perfect, and the point is to illustrate what an abstract vs. a concrete desire is.  Is it or is it not true that according to Thomism God's desire to save all is only an abstract desire but not a concrete one; it doesn't exist in the concrete for person X who happens to be in situation Y, but only for a "person" considered as an abstraction?

Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on November 23, 2016, 09:25:21 AM
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The judge wills that all live, not merely as an abstraction, but as a hypothetical reality - he would will that the murderer live, except for the fact that he murdered.  And thus God wills the salvation of all as a hypothetical reality, which is the clear meaning of the phrase - He would will their salvation but for their final impenitence.  This is how God's antecedent will was interpreted, for instance, by St. John Damascene.  And it simply can't be that anyone could have more zeal for salvation of souls than Christ Himself. 

This agrees with Thomism.

Not according to what some Thomists have argued on this forum, most notably INPEFESS.

I certainly accept God's will to save all as a hypothetical reality, and that is the traditional Patristic interpretation.

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Quare, what you have to answer is: why, if God wishes everyone to be saved, is not everyone in fact saved? Is God not capable of infallibly moving the will, softening the heart, towards Him?

That is a question everyone must answer, for God's wishing everyone to be saved is a matter of doctrine as well as a logical consequence of God's goodness.  God can't wish anyone to be damned; that would be an evil God.

But He will not do so without man's consent.  He does not force Himself upon man.  Both Scriptural sayings are true: "Turn ye to Me, and I will turn to you" and "Convert us to You, and we will be converted".  Why would God bother to say "Turn ye to Me" instead of simply turning them to Him?  He wants something from sinners first.  Yet if we ask God for our conversion He will infallibly convert us.  I speak from personal experience, for this was the exact prayer I made while still leading a very wicked life.

But, Thomists will argue, such consent is itself an act of the will.  It is not.  It is a mere willingness to will, or an act of will only hypothetically.

A better question is, why does God not just override everyone's lack of consent?  Obviously, there must be greater good in allowing for its possibility.

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Or is the will of man omnipotent in resisting the omnipotence of God's will to save him? Why does God not do for every man what He did for St. Paul, if he desires to save everyone as much as He did St. Paul?

But He did do something much greater than the miracle on the road to Damascus for every man, did He not, on Calvary (not mankind in general, but every man in particular)?  Is it not the case that, were you or I the only man in the world needing redemption, Christ would have died for our sakes all the same?  Nothing is ever lacking from God.

Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on November 23, 2016, 12:54:30 PM
The problem with this, Q, is that you set the Thomists up as holding things that they don't hold, and you know better.

I assure you that every single thing I have said has been argued by Thomists before here on this very forum.

Quote
For example, you say:

"Finally, with regard to God's desire to save all, the Thomists answer that this is not a concrete desire in the here and now, given the actual situation, but only an abstract desire, abstracting from the situation.  This is like a judge abstractly desiring all should live, but in the concrete sentencing a murderer to death."

You know that that analogy fails entirely to capture how Thomists self-describe because the reality of the Thomistic system in this regard is based upon permission while the analogy employed subtly shifts to causation.

So what?  No analogy is perfect, and the point is to illustrate what an abstract vs. a concrete desire is.  Is it or is it not true that according to Thomism God's desire to save all is only an abstract desire but not a concrete one; it doesn't exist in the concrete for person X who happens to be in situation Y, but only for a "person" considered as an abstraction?

1) Let's not use people on this forum as Thomistic models. Let's use St. Thomas and the great Thomistic commentators such as Banez, Cajtean, John of St. Thomas, Garrigou, et al.

2) It's not just an imperfect analogy, it completely fails at upholding a key aspect of the Thomistic treatment. That it fails at this task is then upheld as evidence that Thomism fails. That's not intellectually honest.

Part of the issue with this topic is that you are constantly applying language to Thomas which he does not use. If you want to properly understand him, at least begin with his own language. The antecedent will is not called "abstract" but instead a velleitas, while the consequent will is a simpliciter vult.

Quote from: ST I, q. 19, a. 6, ad 1
Unde magis potest dici velleitas, quam absoluta voluntas. Et sic patet quod quidquid Deus simpliciter vult, fit; licet illud quod antecedenter vult, non fiat.

In all honesty, Q, you are among the smartest people on this forum. You very much dislike the Thomistic treatment of these issues, and I can honestly understand that. I have sympathy for it. However, it doesn't seem as though you are always willing to employ the patience necessary to actually understand Thomas and the commentators at face value. It always seems like you're simply searching for the quickest knock out.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: John Lamb on November 23, 2016, 01:28:59 PM
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Yet if we ask God for our conversion He will infallibly convert us.  I speak from personal experience, for this was the exact prayer I made while still leading a very wicked life.

But this event can be explained in diverse ways. Is it that God gave you the grace of conversion because He foreknew the prayer for conversion that you would make, or is it that God had preordained that He would first move your heart to make that pray for conversion, and then supply you with the corresponding grace? Did God convert you because you prayed, or did you pray because God converted you? Which is the Prime Mover in this act?

This is the main reason I favour the Thomistic account: all is from God as Prime Mover. All the praise belongs ultimately to Him. Grace isn't a reward God gives to us as a spectator of our good actions; God's grace is the very cause of our doing good actions in the first place. Otherwise, how is it "grace"? It is merely the just reward due to our merit. You weren't rewarded with conversion because you prayed; rather, you prayed because God had predestined you to a reward.: For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Clarence Creedwater on November 23, 2016, 06:07:49 PM
It's a fallacy in logic, not in debate.

Guess what debates are supposed to use?  That's right, logic.  If your argument hinges on a logical fallacy you lose the debate.

I don't have to "guess"; I know. This  is not an academic debate that sports points for winning. This is real life. Read "Liberalism is a Sin" and learn more about this. Discussion must be reasonable, not merely logical. Convincing others is an art, not a mathematical science.


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And, yes I did use reasoning - the fact that you condemn the whole Church approved and commanded system because of one possible mistaken historical application.

That is not reasoning.  That is just a statement of (mistaken) fact.  Nowhere do I "condemn the whole Church approved and commanded system".  What I condemn is people who use that as an excuse for failure to engage in critical thinking, and as a shield for weak arguments.

You have repeatedly thrown mud on the official philosophy of the Church. You are a creep.

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You have already shown how terrible you do reasoning on these forums in very easy and common matters.

Says the one who just admitted to using a logical fallacy. 

You just lied. I said it is not a logical fallacy and that the Scripture used it. You just ignored it.

"Good reasoning" != agreeing with Clarence's biases.

"Biases" is not really a "logical" conclusion, now is it? Yet you hypocritically want to put down the "argumentum ad hominem" which is in Scripture, and then dabble in knowing the intention of others!

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That's the argumentum a fortiori why you are not credible...

It is not an argument at all.  Attacking one's credibility rather than his arguments is a tacit admission that one really has no answer to his arguments.  What matters is what arguments are made, not who makes them.

"Rather than"? No, in addition to!  I have given reasonable answer, and then put the cherry on top by saying that you have FLUBBED so much in matters of common logic, that you should certainly be suspect as to the truth on that statistical fact alone.

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It's an argument that says you shouldn't be condemning that particularly application (just not preferring it), NOR attacking the system as a whole.

No, it isn't.  Plenty of others have condemned that particular application without attacking the system as a whole.

Now, if you have a substantive argument to make, by all means make it.  Otherwise,  I'll simply ignore you.  God bless.

Silly. I don't care what other have done. I know what you have been doing right here in print, repeatedly. You denigrate the OFFICIAL philosophy o the Church, repeatedly.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Michael Wilson on November 23, 2016, 08:07:37 PM
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Yet if we ask God for our conversion He will infallibly convert us.  I speak from personal experience, for this was the exact prayer I made while still leading a very wicked life.

But this event can be explained in diverse ways. Is it that God gave you the grace of conversion because He foreknew the prayer for conversion that you would make, or is it that God had preordained that He would first move your heart to make that pray for conversion, and then supply you with the corresponding grace? Did God convert you because you prayed, or did you pray because God converted you? Which is the Prime Mover in this act?

This is the main reason I favour the Thomistic account: all is from God as Prime Mover. All the praise belongs ultimately to Him. Grace isn't a reward God gives to us as a spectator of our good actions; God's grace is the very cause of our doing good actions in the first place. Otherwise, how is it "grace"? It is merely the just reward due to our merit. You weren't rewarded with conversion because you prayed; rather, you prayed because God had predestined you to a reward.: For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will.
I believe that Quare would agree that "without Me you can do nothing"; so even the desire to convert must come from God. But God, if He sincerely wills all to be saved, will send to all at the least the desire to pray, as St. Alphonsus held. If the Thomists are correct, then He will only grant this grace to the predestined and as to the rest, He will leave them as they are; otherwise some that are not predestined to Heaven would pray and obtain conversion and end up being saved.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on November 23, 2016, 09:26:15 PM
1) Let's not use people on this forum as Thomistic models. Let's use St. Thomas and the great Thomistic commentators such as Banez, Cajtean, John of St. Thomas, Garrigou, et al.

Fine.  Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange says exactly what I am saying the Thomists say, and INPEFESS said what he said precisely because he was quoting from Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange.

Quote from: Reality - A Thomistic Synthesis
"The will," says St. Thomas, [1454] "is related to things as they are in themselves, with all their particular circumstances. Hence we will a thing simply (simpliciter) when we will it with all its concrete circumstances. This will we call the consequent will. Thus it is clear that everything which God wills simpliciter comes to pass."

If, on the contrary, we will a thing in itself good, but independently of its circumstances, this will is called the antecedent will, or conditional will, since the good in question is not realized here and now. That man should live, says St. Thomas, [1455] is good. But if the man is a murderer, it is good that he be executed. Antecedently, God wills that harvests come to maturity, but He allows for some higher good, that not all harvests do in fact mature. Similarly, He wills antecedently the salvation of all men, though for some higher good, of which He alone is judge, He permits some to sin and perish.

But, since God never commands the impossible, His will and love make the observance of His commandments possible to all men, to each according to his measure. He gives to each, says St. Thomas, [1456] more than strict justice requires. It is thus that St. Thomas harmonizes God's antecedent will, of which St. John Damascene speaks, with God's omnipotence.

Of course it is true St. John Damascene "speaks" of God's antecedent and consequent wills, but he doesn't understand this the same way Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange does.  Fr. G-L understands it as abstracting from the concrete circumstances, just as I said.

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2) It's not just an imperfect analogy, it completely fails at upholding a key aspect of the Thomistic treatment. That it fails at this task is then upheld as evidence that Thomism fails. That's not intellectually honest.

Part of the issue with this topic is that you are constantly applying language to Thomas which he does not use.

St. Thomas himself uses the analogy of the judge and the criminal.  Sure, it fails at upholding the aspect of the Thomistic treatment that God permits but does not cause sin.  St. Thomas knew this too.  But that is not why I objected to it.  Your claim that it is is intellectually dishonest.

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If you want to properly understand him, at least begin with his own language. The antecedent will is not called "abstract" but instead a velleitas, while the consequent will is a simpliciter vult.

Quote from: ST I, q. 19, a. 6, ad 1
Unde magis potest dici velleitas, quam absoluta voluntas. Et sic patet quod quidquid Deus simpliciter vult, fit; licet illud quod antecedenter vult, non fiat.

Right, and this "velleitas" is interpreted as an abstract will by one of the prominent great Thomist commentators you yourself suggested.

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In all honesty, Q, you are among the smartest people on this forum. You very much dislike the Thomistic treatment of these issues, and I can honestly understand that. I have sympathy for it. However, it doesn't seem as though you are always willing to employ the patience necessary to actually understand Thomas and the commentators at face value. It always seems like you're simply searching for the quickest knock out.

I understand it quite well.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: John Lamb on November 24, 2016, 03:03:45 AM
Quote from: Reality - A Thomistic Synthesis
"The will," says St. Thomas, [1454] "is related to things as they are in themselves, with all their particular circumstances. Hence we will a thing simply (simpliciter) when we will it with all its concrete circumstances. This will we call the consequent will. Thus it is clear that everything which God wills simpliciter comes to pass."

If, on the contrary, we will a thing in itself good, but independently of its circumstances, this will is called the antecedent will, or conditional will, since the good in question is not realized here and now. That man should live, says St. Thomas, [1455] is good. But if the man is a murderer, it is good that he be executed. Antecedently, God wills that harvests come to maturity, but He allows for some higher good, that not all harvests do in fact mature. Similarly, He wills antecedently the salvation of all men, though for some higher good, of which He alone is judge, He permits some to sin and perish.

But, since God never commands the impossible, His will and love make the observance of His commandments possible to all men, to each according to his measure. He gives to each, says St. Thomas, [1456] more than strict justice requires. It is thus that St. Thomas harmonizes God's antecedent will, of which St. John Damascene speaks, with God's omnipotence.

This is exactly how I understand the passage from Timothy about God's universal salvific will. It does not mean that God wishes concretely and absolutely that every man should be saved, for if that were the case then all men would in fact be saved, for nothing can prevent what the omnipotent God wills concretely and absolutely. It means that, in general, prescinding from concrete circumstances, God has a general will that all men turn to Him, that He prefers men to be saved than to be damned.

It's like someone saying, "I enjoy the company of my fellow man", which may be true in general, but then if he comes across someone who is intent on murdering him, he does not in fact enjoy that particular man's company. Similarly, "God wishes all to be saved", is true in a general sense, but then with a certain man who hardens his heart completely and refuses to co-operate with God's grace, He does not want to save, but to reprobate. This does not make God's wish that all men be saved an insincere one, just as the man who says, "I enjoy the company of my fellow man", is not at all insincere, because it's a true statement when talking about man in general rather than concrete men. St. Paul's intention when he wrote "God wishes that all men be saved", was not to say that God has predestined all men, or that all men are numbered among the elect*, but to say that God has a general will that men be saved, regardless of their sex, station, nation, etc, and that therefore we should pray for and evangelise all men, because there are elect souls from all walks of life and from every part of the world. We don't know who is elect and who isn't, so from our point of view it is good for us to hope and act as though every particular man could be saved, even knowing that God already knows that many of them will not in fact be saved; in the sense that we pray for all men that they might be saved, even though God knows that our prayer for a particular one will not bear fruit in eternity (well, if we are elect our prayers for them will profit ourselves, but it won't profit the reprobates that we prayed for, at least not in eternity).

*This is the Thomistic view: that from all eternity God wrote down the names of the elect souls, and that those elect souls will certainly be saved. Those whose names are not found in that book, which was pre-written before time began, will not be saved. Other views seem to have the book blank, and God leaving it to us to write down or erase our names. I think that the former view is far more consonant with sacred scripture.

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Of course it is true St. John Damascene "speaks" of God's antecedent and consequent wills, but he doesn't understand this the same way Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange does.  Fr. G-L understands it as abstracting from the concrete circumstances, just as I said.

So what is the difference between Garrigou-Lagrange's universal salvific will "abstracting from concrete circumstances", and the "hypothetical" universal salvific will which you espouse?
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: John Lamb on November 24, 2016, 09:20:08 AM
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Yet if we ask God for our conversion He will infallibly convert us.  I speak from personal experience, for this was the exact prayer I made while still leading a very wicked life.

But this event can be explained in diverse ways. Is it that God gave you the grace of conversion because He foreknew the prayer for conversion that you would make, or is it that God had preordained that He would first move your heart to make that pray for conversion, and then supply you with the corresponding grace? Did God convert you because you prayed, or did you pray because God converted you? Which is the Prime Mover in this act?

This is the main reason I favour the Thomistic account: all is from God as Prime Mover. All the praise belongs ultimately to Him. Grace isn't a reward God gives to us as a spectator of our good actions; God's grace is the very cause of our doing good actions in the first place. Otherwise, how is it "grace"? It is merely the just reward due to our merit. You weren't rewarded with conversion because you prayed; rather, you prayed because God had predestined you to a reward.: For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will.
I believe that Quare would agree that "without Me you can do nothing"; so even the desire to convert must come from God. But God, if He sincerely wills all to be saved, will send to all at the least the desire to pray, as St. Alphonsus held. If the Thomists are correct, then He will only grant this grace to the predestined and as to the rest, He will leave them as they are; otherwise some that are not predestined to Heaven would pray and obtain conversion and end up being saved.

He grants all the sufficient grace to pray, but not all the efficacious will to pray. But yes, God does soften some men's hearts and leave others hardened against Him.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Michael Wilson on November 24, 2016, 09:35:01 AM
John L. Stated:
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his is exactly how I understand the passage from Timothy about God's universal salvific will. It does not mean that God wishes concretely and absolutely that every man should be saved, for if that were the case then all men would in fact be saved, for nothing can prevent what the omnipotent God wills concretely and absolutely. It means that, in general, prescinding from concrete circumstances, God has a general will that all men turn to Him, that He prefers men to be saved than to be damned.
John, I would restate the above as follows: God wills that all men arrive at salvation, and offers them the necessary graces to do so, but men are free to either accept or reject those graces. God could override our wills by His omnipotence, but He has given us a free will that we may freely cooperate with His graces and by this means to truly love Him and obtain eternal salvation; or to freely reject Him and to be condemned to eternal damnation.
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He grants all the sufficient grace to pray, but not all the efficacious will to pray. But yes, God does soften some men's hearts and leave others hardened against Him.
This is what I have trouble with. If God truly wills the salvation of all men, then He would concede them at least the ability to pray, as St. Alphonsus holds.

Finally, I didn't address this point on the other thread re. God's predilection for some souls over others; undoubtedly this is true, but I would hold that it would extend not to the granting of the graces necessary for salvation, but to the places in Heaven reserved for those who love Him more; for example, a St. Teresa of Avila or a St. John Berchmans was endowed with greater graces and a greater capacity to love than say a normal Catholic that is faithful to his duties and saves his soul.   
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Xavier on November 24, 2016, 09:50:22 AM
This has been a good discussion. I'm a Thomist and hold that grace is intrinsically efficacious, Holy Writ gives us to understand this by means of parables. Christ the Lord speaks of the Word sown in the human heart as seed bearing fruit if not resisted, in some a hundredfold, in others according to measure. Notice that the soil had neither the power, not even as a potency, to give rise to any tree or fruit before the seed was planted therein by the preaching of the Savior and that after it was so planted, it is nothing other than the intrinsic potential of the seed that is being realized, to a greater or lesser extent, according to the measure of co-operation it receives in different souls. This is an example of sufficient grace and so Thomists teach, based on this and other examples in Sacred Scripture and Patristic Tradition, that efficacious grace is offered in sufficient grace as the fruit is offered in the flower.

Now, He alone who is Pure Act is capable of reducing Potency into Act, from which it follows that God alone can reduce sufficient grace to efficacious grace, on account of which this work is to be attributed to the action of God as First and principal Cause - and thus in a truly splendid way, Thomism preserves the majesty of divine sovereignty without doing any harm to the freedom of the will.

The same may be seen in the example of the Vine and the Branches, or the Head and the Body, by which our divine Savior gives us to understand the operation of grace in the soul of the justified Christian. The branch contributes nothing to the inner life of the vine, but rather derives all its life and power from it, being continously sustained by the vine and receiving a continual inner influx of life from it. So it is with the soul who, by the grace of God, lives in the state of Christian justification and increases in grace by good works and prayer.

St. Alphonsus on the universal salvific will of God in his epic work on prayer, the Great Means of Salvation and Perfection.

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For this we have, first of all, the express text of St. Paul: "Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth." The sentence of the Apostle is absolute and indicative-----"God wills all men to be saved". [1 Tim. 2: 4] These words in their natural sense declare that God truly wills all men to be saved; and it is a certain rule, received in common by all, that the words in Scripture are not to be distorted to an unnatural sense, except in the sole case when the literal meaning is repugnant to faith or morals. St. Bonaventure writes precisely to our purpose when he says, "We must hold that when the Apostle says, God wills all men to be saved, it is necessary to grant that He does will it."

 It is true that St. Augustine and St. Thomas mention different interpretations which have been given to this text; but both these Doctors understand it to mean a real will of God to save all, without exception.

And concerning St. Augustine, we shall see just now that this was his true opinion; so that St. Prosper protests against attributing to him the supposition that God did not sincerely wish the salvation of all men, and of each individual, as an aspersion on the holy Doctor. Hence the same St. Prosper, who was a most faithful disciple of his, says, "It is most sincerely to be believed and confessed that God wills all men to be saved; since the Apostle [whose very words these are] is particular in commanding that prayers should be made to God for all ...

Let us hear how St. Thomas uses another method of reconciling the opinion of St. Augustine with that of St. John Damascene, who holds that antecedently God wills all and each individual to be saved: "God's first intention is to will all men to be saved, that as good He may make us partakers of His goodness; but after we have sinned, He wills to punish us as just." On the other hand, St. Augustine [as we have seen] seems in a few passages to think differently. But St. Thomas reconciles these opinions, and says that St. Damascene spoke of the antecedent will of God, by which He really wills all men to be saved, while St. Augustine spoke of the consequent will. He then goes on to explain the meaning of antecedent and consequent will: "Antecedent will is that by which God wills all to be saved; but when all the circumstances of this or that individual are considered, it is found to be good that all men should be saved; for it is good that he who prepares himself, and consents to it, should be saved; but not he who is unwilling and resists, etc. And this is called the consequent will, because it presupposes a foreknowledge of a man's deeds, not as a cause of the act of will, but as a reason for the thing willed and determined.

...We ought to submit ourselves to the will of God, Who has chosen to leave this mystery in obscurity to his Church, that we all might humble ourselves under the deep judgments of His Divine Providence. And the more, because Divine grace, by which alone men can gain eternal life, is dispensed more or less abundantly by God entirely gratuitously, and without any regard to our merits. So that to save ourselves it will always be necessary for us to throw ourselves into the arms of the Divine mercy, in order that He may assist us with His grace to obtain salvation, trusting always in His infallible promises to hear and save the man who prays to Him. "
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: John Lamb on November 24, 2016, 11:06:40 AM
John, I would restate the above as follows: God wills that all men arrive at salvation, and offers them the necessary graces to do so, but men are free to either accept or reject those graces.

This is sufficient grace.

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God could override our wills by His omnipotence

Efficacious grace works through our free will, it does not override it.



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He grants all the sufficient grace to pray, but not all the efficacious will to pray. But yes, God does soften some men's hearts and leave others hardened against Him.
This is what I have trouble with. If God truly wills the salvation of all men, then He would concede them at least the ability to pray, as St. Alphonsus holds.

He does grant them the ability to pray, that is what sufficient grace is. All men have the ability to pray, it's just that only the predestined will do so efficaciously by God's (efficacious) grace.

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Finally, I didn't address this point on the other thread re. God's predilection for some souls over others; undoubtedly this is true, but I would hold that it would extend not to the granting of the graces necessary for salvation, but to the places in Heaven reserved for those who love Him more; for example, a St. Teresa of Avila or a St. John Berchmans was endowed with greater graces and a greater capacity to love than say a normal Catholic that is faithful to his duties and saves his soul.

The principle of predilection says that God is the cause of all the goodness that creatures have. It's not that creatures have some goodness in and of themselves, and God gives them the extra goodness of eternal glory - it's that all goodness whatsoever a creature has, is from God. So God is the one who defines the goodness in all creatures, from the devil all the way up to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Evil, however, is not from God directly, but from the disordered will of creatures, with God permitting. So that God loves Jacob (predestines him) and hates Esau (permits him to become reprobate) is from God's predilection.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Michael Wilson on November 24, 2016, 12:00:11 PM
John L. :1.  But yes, God does soften some men's hearts and leave others hardened against Him.
Mike: 2. " then He would concede them at least the ability to pray, as St. Alphonsus holds. 
John responded:3.  "This is sufficient grace."

#3. "This is Sufficient grace": 'Sufficient grace" as you stated in #1, does not allow one to act on it, unless one is given the power by God. Therefore this is not the equivalent to what I stated.

Here is St. Alphonsus in "How Grace Acts" page 4.
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"..."If these helps," says Thomassin, "give true power to act, how is it that no one [with this grace alone] observes what God commands?  And how are they truly sufficient...if efficacious grace is also necessary?  he who lacks a necessary help....cannot be said to have sufficient power."  How can we understand (enquires Thomassin) that sufficient grace gives true ability to keep a given commandment, if efficacious grace is needed in addition for this ability to be given practical effect?  And if efficacious grace is indeed necessary to reduce this power to act, in what sense is sufficient grace truly sufficient?  For this reason it cannot be understood how this system safeguards the freedom of the human will
So indeed as Xavier states, the Thomist system does preserve the majesty of Divine Sovereignty, but contrary to what the Thomists affirm, it comes at the expense of the human will, as all of the critics of the Thomistic system affirm. 

Xavier, here are some quotes from St. Alphonsus in his treatise: "How Grace Acts" (bolding in the original):
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pg. 32: "If God imposes on all men the the actual observance of the commandments, He also universally bestows upon all men the grace necessary for their actual observance at least by the means of prayer."......(pg 33) Hence Petavius shows at length that man can truly perform good works with sufficient grace alone and without other help; indeed he goes so far as to say that the contrary assertion would be monstrous and that this is not the mere opinion of theologians but the teaching of the Church. Hence he concludes that the grace of actually observing the commandments comes after prayer, but that the gift of prayer is granted by God at the same time as He imposes the laws. It follows  that this gift whereby God grants us to carry out His commands....is subsequent to the disposition of prayer, while this disposition itself accompanies the giving of the law." Hence, as the law is imposed on all, to all is granted the gift of praying if they wish to do so. Louis Thomassin holds the same view.  First he wonders that some should contend that sufficient grace alone is not enough for the actual accomplishment of any good work, however slight.  Then he concludes, in order to reconcile the two propositions that sufficient grace is enough for man's salvation and yet that efficacious grace is necessary to observe the whole law, that sufficient grace must be enough for actual prayer and for the performing of easy acts, by help of which efficacious grace is obtained whereby to carry out difficult ones, which accords with Saint Augustine's teaching: "By the very fact that we firmly believe that God does not command the impossible, we are hence admonished what to do in easy matters and what to pray for in difficult ones." Of this text Cardinal Norris writes: "So easy works or less perfect good acts can be done without seeking greater help from God: which however we must seek in more difficult cases," commenting on the authority of Saint Bonaventure, Duns Scotus remarks: "All agree about sufficient helps being truly sufficient and that the will sometimes does and sometimes does not correspond to them."
As we can read above St. Alphonsus holds that God does bestow on men at least the ability to pray and that, "he goes so far as to say that the contrary assertion would be monstrous and that this is not the mere opinion of theologians but the teaching of the Church"
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on November 24, 2016, 06:27:47 PM
This is exactly how I understand the passage from Timothy about God's universal salvific will. It does not mean that God wishes concretely and absolutely that every man should be saved, for if that were the case then all men would in fact be saved, for nothing can prevent what the omnipotent God wills concretely and absolutely. It means that, in general, prescinding from concrete circumstances, God has a general will that all men turn to Him, that He prefers men to be saved than to be damned.

But for actual person X in actual situation Y, He may prefer and wish X to be damned.  Is that what you are saying?  He does NOT prefer that X turn to Him and be saved, but He rather wishes that X remain in sin and be damned.  That is monstrous.

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Similarly, "God wishes all to be saved", is true in a general sense, but then with a certain man who hardens his heart completely and refuses to co-operate with God's grace, He does not want to save, but to reprobate. This does not make God's wish that all men be saved an insincere one, just as the man who says, "I enjoy the company of my fellow man", is not at all insincere, because it's a true statement when talking about man in general rather than concrete men.

No, it's true in a true sense for that man.  He wishes the man would not refuse to cooperate with His grace.  Now, given that he refuses to do so, resulting in final impenitence, because of that, and only that, God wills his reprobation.  It is not His preferred result.

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St. Paul's intention when he wrote "God wishes that all men be saved", was not to say that God has predestined all men, or that all men are numbered among the elect*, but to say that God has a general will that men be saved, regardless of their sex, station, nation, etc, and that therefore we should pray for and evangelise all men, because there are elect souls from all walks of life and from every part of the world. We don't know who is elect and who isn't, so from our point of view it is good for us to hope and act as though every particular man could be saved, even knowing that God already knows that many of them will not in fact be saved; in the sense that we pray for all men that they might be saved, even though God knows that our prayer for a particular one will not bear fruit in eternity (well, if we are elect our prayers for them will profit ourselves, but it won't profit the reprobates that we prayed for, at least not in eternity).

This is doing clear violence to the clear meaning of the text.  The freshman philosophy student who claims all men  = some men from all classes of men gets an "F".

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*This is the Thomistic view: that from all eternity God wrote down the names of the elect souls, and that those elect souls will certainly be saved. Those whose names are not found in that book, which was pre-written before time began, will not be saved. Other views seem to have the book blank, and God leaving it to us to write down or erase our names. I think that the former view is far more consonant with sacred scripture.

Predestination isn't something that happens in time.  Saying God predestined "from all eternity" is not the same thing as saying God predestined "before time began".  And there isn't anything that predetermines a man to evil.  That is consonant with the Council of Orange and other teachings, which teach a man isn't predestined to evil.

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So what is the difference between Garrigou-Lagrange's universal salvific will "abstracting from concrete circumstances", and the "hypothetical" universal salvific will which you espouse?

Because the hypothetical universal salvific will is, in fact, universal, and doesn't abstract from concrete circumstances.  For sinner X in concrete situation Y, God's hypothetical will is that X repent of his sins and turn to Him.  And His hypothetical will becomes a reality when X stops resisting God's grace.  This is opposed to a merely abstract universal salvific will in which God in no sense wills the conversion of sinner X in concrete situation Y.


Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: John Lamb on November 24, 2016, 06:52:21 PM
But for actual person X in actual situation Y, He may prefer and wish X to be damned.  Is that what you are saying?  He does NOT prefer that X turn to Him and be saved, but He rather wishes that X remain in sin and be damned.  That is monstrous.

How is it monstrous?
I prefer generally that men not be in prison, but if I want the murderer of my brother to be thrown in prison, is that monstrous?
God wishes all men to be saved antecedent to their sinning; but after that, it's entirely at His disposal whether to give them what they deserve according to justice, or indulge them gratuitously according to His mercy.
I think that you are implicitly denying that men (prior to baptism) deserve to go to hell, or that God's mercy is entirely gratuitous and not according to our merits. If God damned the whole human race following Adam's sin - like He did with Satan and every one of his followers - there would be no injustice in that, and it would certainly not be "monstrous". Do you deny this?

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This is doing clear violence to the clear meaning of the text.  The freshman philosophy student who claims all men  = some men from all classes of men gets an "F".

So an average freshman philosophy student would be a more trustworthy interpreter of the scriptures than St. Augustine and St. Thomas, both of whom found the above exegesis satisfying?
It's true that God wishes all men to be saved according to His antecedent will, and true that He wishes men of all kinds to be saved according to His consequent will. The latter is even more evident in the context of the verse, where St. Paul talks about praying for rulers.

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Because the hypothetical universal salvific will is, in fact, universal, and doesn't abstract from concrete circumstances.  For sinner X in concrete situation Y, God's hypothetical will is that X repent of his sins and turn to Him.  And His hypothetical will becomes a reality when X stops resisting God's grace.

So man has the power to turn God's will from hypothetical into actual? That's an awesome power you are giving man over God.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Michael Wilson on November 25, 2016, 12:43:08 PM
If the Thomist's position was that God leaves souls in Original sin, but chooses to save some out of His mercy, at least this would be a reasonable argument; I wouldn't agree with it, but it is better than the Thomists' position that God damns souls and Angels from all eternity with no previous consideration of their possible future acceptance or rejection of His grace APM (Ante Prevista Merita) in order to show forth His justice; but this isn't the case; here is Fr. William G. Most in "Grace, Predestination, and The Salvific Will of God". pg. 8
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6.The Opinion of the older Thomists:
1) Predestination and Reprobation: They hold that God decrees predestination before consideration of merits. In regard to reprobation, they make a distinction between :
a) Negative reprobation which "is the will to permit a fault which actually will not be forgiven;....this negative reprobation comes before the prevision of these demerits that will not be forgiven. Without this divine permission, the demerits would not be infallibly foreseen as going to occur". (R. Garrigou-Lagrange, OP, De Deo Uno, Desclee de Brower Lutetia Parisiorum, 1938, p. 532. Emphasis added by Fr. Most.)
2) Positive reprobation: Which , "is the will to inflict damnation, for the fault.  It comes after the prevision of demerits..." (ibid). Certain Thomists add that negative reprobation is (ibid., pp. 532-533)"a positive exclusion from glory as from a benefit that is not due.  This was the view of Alvarez, the theologians of Salamanca, John of St. Thomas, Gonet, Contenson." Others, with Garrigou-Lagrange, do not wish to consider negative reprobation as a positive exclusion, but prefer to consider it as the will of permitting a fault that will not be forgiven, as we saw above.
2) The Reason for negative reprobation: Garrigou-Lagrange says: (ibid. p. 551) "in regard to negative reprobation...since original sin is the same in all the predestined and in the reprobate, it cannot be the cause, in the reprobate for the permission of sins that will not be remitted...This is the opinion of the theologians of Salamanca, Alvarez, John of St. Thomas." Rather, he himself holds: (p.544) "So the reason for negative reprobation, abosolutely considered, is this: the manifestation of divine goodness by way of justice..." (emphasis mine).
There it is; God to show forth His justice has created some men and angels and decided not to give them the necessary aids to enable them to at least try to obey Him and by this means to save their souls.
Personally, I find this very difficult to accept.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: John Lamb on November 25, 2016, 01:35:22 PM
If the Thomist's position was that God leaves souls in Original sin, but chooses to save some out of His mercy, at least this would be a reasonable argument;

That is the Thomist position. Although God does not just abandon souls entirely. He gives them many graces / mercies. Every day God calls sinners to repentance. He is constantly giving them opportunity to repent. He could have damned them the moment they committed a sin, but he lets them live for years and years afterwards, and constantly pricks their conscience to warn them of the punishment that awaits them if they do not repent. He sends sinners riches and good health and friends, and so many other blessings, yet they harden their hearts and refuse to thank Him for anything. He always sends grace to soften their hearts, but they persevere in their hard-heartedness.

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I wouldn't agree with it, but it is better than the Thomists' position that God damns souls and Angels from all eternity with no previous consideration of their possible future acceptance or rejection of His grace APM (Ante Prevista Merita) in order to show forth His justice;

You are confusing negative and positive reprobation. God does not damn souls before foreseen demerits, He merely permits souls to demerit (negative reprobation), and then after they have demerited, He damns them (positive reprobation). So it's not true that God "damns souls from all eternity with no previous consideration". He only positively damns souls after they have rejected Him.
 
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There it is; God to show forth His justice has created some men and angels and decided not to give them the necessary aids to enable them to at least try to obey Him and by this means to save their souls.

God does give all men the ability to pray. It is called sufficient grace. It's just that not all men will use that sufficient grace given to them efficaciously. All men can pray, not all will. God gave Judas the grace to pray after he had betrayed Christ, it's just that Judas refused to pray and despaired instead.

God did not create anyone or anything for evil. He does not delight in suffering or death or punishment in and of themselves. If nobody had sinned, He would have kept them in paradise forever. Punishment came in only after sin. He did not create Adam so that Adam would betray Him; it's just that, foreknowing that Adam would betray Him, He permitted his sin and subsequently willed to punish it.

Let me ask you (and Quare) a question: do you agree with St. Augustine and St. Thomas that the blessed in heaven will delight in the punishment of the damned? Not in the suffering itself, but in the justice of the punishment. It will be very satisfying to know that reprobates got what they deserved. I say this not knowing whether I will be saved or reprobated. Do you not have any sympathy with God, or the prophets, or with St. John the Baptist, or with Our Lord, or with St. Peter & Paul, or with St. John the Evangelist - all of whom, in sacred scripture, express a righteous anger and desire for retribution of injustices: "Blessed are those that hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall have their fill." Think for example, of those men and women most responsible for the abortion catastrophe and the slaughter of millions of unborn children. Do you not have any desire to see them punished? I am not saying that our desire to see sinners punished should override our desire to see them converted, but I think that it is in principle right to want sin to be punished, and to be satisfied when it is.

I've just thought of an episode in the Old Testament where two young boys insult one of the prophets for his baldness, and the prophet sets two bears on the boys which slaughter them. I like this particular story because it shows just how strong our obligation to respect our elders is, such that someone who does not respect their elders deserves to die. I bring it up because I know that many people today would see this as an example of vindictiveness and unholy wrath, when I think that the scripture teaches us here what the demands of justice really are, how clear the distinction between good & evil is. If two young boys deserve death for disrespecting their elders, then what do those I mentioned above deserve who are responsible for the slaughtering of countless innocents? I think we need to reflect more deeply on how far fallen we are, because it will go a long way to understanding St. Augustine's phrase, "massa damnata".
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on November 25, 2016, 02:57:02 PM
How is it monstrous?
I prefer generally that men not be in prison, but if I want the murderer of my brother to be thrown in prison, is that monstrous?

Bad analogy.  If you want the murderer of your brother to not repent and be damned, that is monstrous.  It is a mortal sin, and a grave mortal sin against charity.  I did cooperate with law enforcement and ensure that the person who sexually assaulted three of my daughters went to prison.  He is there now.  But I do not wish his damnation.  I wish him to repent and to be saved.  And it can't be that we are bound to have more charity than God has.

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God wishes all men to be saved antecedent to their sinning; but after that, it's entirely at His disposal whether to give them what they deserve according to justice, or indulge them gratuitously according to His mercy.

He wishes all men to be saved even consequent to their sinning, as long as they are not finally impenitent.  Christ Himself assures us that He came not for the just, but for sinners.  He does not wish for them to die impenitent.  It's true that God's mercy is not something that is deserved; but it's also true that God is merciful by nature: in fact He is Mercy itself.


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I think that you are implicitly denying that men (prior to baptism) deserve to go to hell, or that God's mercy is entirely gratuitous and not according to our merits.

You are wrong.  God's mercy is "entirely gratuitous" insofar as it is not according to our merits, otherwise it wouldn't be mercy, conceded; that God's mercy may or may not be a reality, denied.  God is Mercy itself, and thus He cannot act otherwise than to be merciful.

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If God damned the whole human race following Adam's sin - like He did with Satan and every one of his followers - there would be no injustice in that, and it would certainly not be "monstrous". Do you deny this?

Yes.  The redemption of Satan and his followers is metaphysically impossible, the human race following Adam's sin not so.  God is not only Justice, but also Mercy and Love.  A God who acts with justice alone but without mercy and love is not the true God, and not the God I worship.

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So an average freshman philosophy student would be a more trustworthy interpreter of the scriptures than St. Augustine and St. Thomas, both of whom found the above exegesis satisfying?

Unfortunately, yes.  It's not an exegesis but an eisegesis, a transparently desperate attempt to fit, Procrustes-like, the plain meaning of the words of Scripture into one's personal theory of grace and predestination.  The text doesn't say "men of all kinds"; it says "all men".

And the Church has never accepted this interpretation, and in fact specifically denies (contra the Jansenists) that something is acceptable merely because it is found somewhere in the writings of St. Augustine.

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It's true that God wishes all men to be saved according to His antecedent will, and true that He wishes men of all kinds to be saved according to His consequent will. The latter is even more evident in the context of the verse, where St. Paul talks about praying for rulers.

Yes, that much is obvious.  The question is whether God's antecedent will is a hypothetical will for everyone actually existing, or merely an abstract will.

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So man has the power to turn God's will from hypothetical into actual? That's an awesome power you are giving man over God.

This is the same old fallacy as that posed by Fr. Garrrigou-Lagrange: "God determined, or God determining; there is no third option", as though what God wills is an intrinsic property of God.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on November 25, 2016, 03:25:41 PM
That is the Thomist position. Although God does not just abandon souls entirely. He gives them many graces / mercies. Every day God calls sinners to repentance. He is constantly giving them opportunity to repent. He could have damned them the moment they committed a sin, but he lets them live for years and years afterwards, and constantly pricks their conscience to warn them of the punishment that awaits them if they do not repent. He sends sinners riches and good health and friends, and so many other blessings, yet they harden their hearts and refuse to thank Him for anything. He always sends grace to soften their hearts, but they persevere in their hard-heartedness.

And so why is He doing this, if He does not in fact wish that they repent?

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You are confusing negative and positive reprobation. God does not damn souls before foreseen demerits, He merely permits souls to demerit (negative reprobation), and then after they have demerited, He damns them (positive reprobation). So it's not true that God "damns souls from all eternity with no previous consideration". He only positively damns souls after they have rejected Him.

But His will to permit entails that they will demerit, and is prior to their demeriting.  The ultimate explanation for sin and damnation therefore lies with God's will to permit it; and thus, God is held to less responsibility for His creation then we are bound to have.
 
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God does give all men the ability to pray. It is called sufficient grace. It's just that not all men will use that sufficient grace given to them efficaciously. All men can pray, not all will. God gave Judas the grace to pray after he had betrayed Christ, it's just that Judas refused to pray and despaired instead.

Notice that you need to implicitly deny what you explicitly assert; namely, that man can't do anything on his own.  Here the responsibility is laid with men for failing to use the sufficient grace and pray, but this overlooks the fact that in Thomism that proper use is itself a grace, which was denied to these people, prior to any fault of theirs.  So any discussion of responsibility in Thomism proceeds from the assumption that man can do something on his own.

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Let me ask you (and Quare) a question: do you agree with St. Augustine and St. Thomas that the blessed in heaven will delight in the punishment of the damned? Not in the suffering itself, but in the justice of the punishment. It will be very satisfying to know that reprobates got what they deserved.

Sure they will delight in God's Justice.  This has nothing to do with the question at issue though.  Do you agree with Scripture that there is joy in heaven for one sinner doing penance, more so than 99 just?  Do you think there is more joy over a sinner's conversion than his damnation?

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Think for example, of those men and women most responsible for the abortion catastrophe and the slaughter of millions of unborn children. Do you not have any desire to see them punished? I am not saying that our desire to see sinners punished should override our desire to see them converted, but I think that it is in principle right to want sin to be punished, and to be satisfied when it is.

And this will continue to bother you as long as you see a sinner's conversion as him "getting off", like the judge who lets a criminal go on a technicality.  God is both perfectly merciful and perfectly just in how He deals with sinners, and there is absolutely no conflict between the two.

So yes, we should desire to see sinners punished up to a point, but this can't stem from self-righteousness, and too often it does.  The Pharisees desired, after all, to see the adulterous woman punished, but Christ condemned them, saying, let he who is without sin cast the first stone.  Then He said to the woman, neither do I condemn you, now go and sin no more.

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I think we need to reflect more deeply on how far fallen we are, because it will go a long way to understanding St. Augustine's phrase, "massa damnata".

Yes, but we also need to reflect on the breadth of God's Mercy and the fact Christ died for all.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Clarence Creedwater on November 25, 2016, 04:32:02 PM
Personally, I still think what Quare wrote here in January of 2015 still is the case:

"Predestination is one of a few obstacles I have to accepting the truth claims of Catholicism."

By the way, what are the other obstacles?

Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: james03 on November 26, 2016, 03:52:56 PM
All Grace is efficacious and accomplishes its purpose.  If God sends an external Grace where I happen upon a Holy Book that puts the fear of sin before my intellect then the fear of sin will be considered by my intellect.  If I repent, then this Grace is the First Cause and AN efficient cause, but my free will decision to repent is also AN efficient cause, and secondary.

Same circumstances, a sinner decides to remain in his sin.  The Grace is identical, the fear of sin is considered by his intellect, but he freely chooses to stay in his sin.

The Grace is identical, the Free Will choose is different BECAUSE it is a Free Will choose.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on November 27, 2016, 01:07:09 AM
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Yet if we ask God for our conversion He will infallibly convert us.  I speak from personal experience, for this was the exact prayer I made while still leading a very wicked life.

But this event can be explained in diverse ways. Is it that God gave you the grace of conversion because He foreknew the prayer for conversion that you would make, or is it that God had preordained that He would first move your heart to make that pray for conversion, and then supply you with the corresponding grace? Did God convert you because you prayed, or did you pray because God converted you? Which is the Prime Mover in this act?

This is the main reason I favour the Thomistic account: all is from God as Prime Mover. All the praise belongs ultimately to Him. Grace isn't a reward God gives to us as a spectator of our good actions; God's grace is the very cause of our doing good actions in the first place. Otherwise, how is it "grace"? It is merely the just reward due to our merit. You weren't rewarded with conversion because you prayed; rather, you prayed because God had predestined you to a reward.: For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will.
I believe that Quare would agree that "without Me you can do nothing"; so even the desire to convert must come from God. But God, if He sincerely wills all to be saved, will send to all at the least the desire to pray, as St. Alphonsus held. If the Thomists are correct, then He will only grant this grace to the predestined and as to the rest, He will leave them as they are; otherwise some that are not predestined to Heaven would pray and obtain conversion and end up being saved.

As I would understand this, God gives sufficient grace to all men so that they can desire to pray. I think this would be a kind of external sufficient grace including in particular natural knowledge of God and the conscience.  I think this  is enough to tell them that they can pray and SHOULD pray, but I think some men turn away (resist the sufficient grace) even before they can get to "desire".

I think that God's help is needed even to desire.  I'm not sure if it takes grace to desire to pray, but it takes some kind of help - I believe Thomists might call this general concurrence. Desiring to do a good thing is a good thing, and God is the primary cause of all good things. (It seem to me that desiring to pray is itself praying; reaching out the heart to God.)

All men can pray; it is false to say that because God's help is needed, therefore not all can do it.  If a man resists the sufficient grace to pray, then it is the man who freely resists.  If a man prays, then it is still the man who freely prays. God's help/grace is what gives life to the willing of the prayer.  In a sense (not meant irreverently) God can't help it that He is necessary, the Prime Mover, of every good willing.  Some seem to say, "if He were good He would make it unnecessary and let man do it on his own", but that is just absurd.

I am not sure of myself here, but I think that  permitting sin is like preventing it.  God could prevent all sin because He could cause the opposing good (working by grace in a man's will).  But He chooses not to prevent some particular sins.  He made choices of both good done and evil-not-prevented in His plan for Redemption.  We can see some reasons there, even for the likely reprobation of Judas due to HIS not-prevented sins (or permitted sin).  We should know that all His non-prevention/permission of sin is for a greater good, such as the good of the Incarnation and Redemption. Providence covers both the good caused and the evil not prevented; I think there is a PLAN. Things don't just work out as they happen to work out.

Prayer is answered, but not any one prayer is always answered in the desired way.  Prayer for final perseverance does not guarantee that we will persevere in the end.  People do pray for conversion who are not then converted. God's grace is needed for prayer and for conversion to God and for final perseverance. "God can't help it" that His grace is needed for good, and when He does not prevent evil (by not giving the grace) it is for a greater good, as is perhaps most easily seen in the Redemption.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: John Lamb on November 27, 2016, 03:43:45 AM
All Grace is efficacious and accomplishes its purpose.  If God sends an external Grace where I happen upon a Holy Book that puts the fear of sin before my intellect then the fear of sin will be considered by my intellect.  If I repent, then this Grace is the First Cause and AN efficient cause, but my free will decision to repent is also AN efficient cause, and secondary.

Same circumstances, a sinner decides to remain in his sin.  The Grace is identical, the fear of sin is considered by his intellect, but he freely chooses to stay in his sin.

The Grace is identical, the Free Will choose is different BECAUSE it is a Free Will choose.

This is Molinism, which says that efficacious grace is extrinsically efficacious - that is, it depends upon the Free Will whether or not it is efficacious - as opposed to Thomism, which says that efficacious grace is intrinsically efficacious - that is, the Free Will will always and infallibly co-operate with efficacious grace, because God infallibly wills it so.

Just like Molinism, you say that grace is not either efficacious or inefficacious until the Free Will of man determines it; whereas in Thomism, efficacious and merely sufficient grace are really two distinct orders of grace, because the former always and intrinsically moves the Free Will to co-operate with God, whereas the latter does not.

The problem with your view is what I said earlier: you are making man more responsible for his salvation than he is; whether or not a man is saved depends first and foremost upon his Free Will, whereas in scripture God is the first cause of our salvation. The clear sense of sacred scripture, and of St. Augustine and St. Thomas, is that if God wills to save someone, He will infallibly move their will such that they will certainly be saved. He does not wait until man chooses Him before He saves the man; rather, He first chooses the man, and then moves the man to co-operate.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Michael Wilson on November 27, 2016, 03:06:23 PM
Non Nobis stated:
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As I would understand this, God gives sufficient grace to all men so that they can desire to pray. I think this would be a kind of external sufficient grace including in particular natural knowledge of God and the conscience.  I think this  is enough to tell them that they can pray and SHOULD pray, but I think some men turn away (resist the sufficient grace) even before they can get to "desire".
I qualify by stating that God gives all the desire and ability to pray; I believe God inspires all men to pray, because without prayer we cannot be saved.  Those who assent to His inspiration and do pray are heard by God: "Ask and ye shall receive"; (Zacharias 1.13)"Turn to Me and I will turn to you"; (I Corinthians 12:3)
Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man, speaking by the Spirit of God, saith Anathema to Jesus. And no man can say the Lord Jesus, but by the Holy Ghost.
Non Nobis:
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I think that God's help is needed even to desire.  I'm not sure if it takes grace to desire to pray, but it takes some kind of help - I believe Thomists might call this general concurrence. Desiring to do a good thing is a good thing, and God is the primary cause of all good things. (It seem to me that desiring to pray is itself praying; reaching out the heart to God.)

Yes, even our smallest thoughts and actions are not possible without God's help:  "Without me you can do nothing"
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All men can pray; it is false to say that because God's help is needed, therefore not all can do it.  If a man resists the sufficient grace to pray, then it is the man who freely resists.  If a man prays, then it is still the man who freely prays. God's help/grace is what gives life to the willing of the prayer.  In a sense (not meant irreverently) God can't help it that He is necessary, the Prime Mover, of every good willing.  Some seem to say, "if He were good He would make it unnecessary and let man do it on his own", but that is just absurd.
I agree; but doesn't the Thomist position on predestination APM preclude some from receiving God's help to pray?
Non Nobis:
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I am not sure of myself here, but I think that  permitting sin is like preventing it.  God could prevent all sin because He could cause the opposing good (working by grace in a man's will).  But He chooses not to prevent some particular sins.  He made choices of both good done and evil-not-prevented in His plan for Redemption.  We can see some reasons there, even for the likely reprobation of Judas due to HIS not-prevented sins (or permitted sin).  We should know that all His non-prevention/permission of sin is for a greater good, such as the good of the Incarnation and Redemption. Providence covers both the good caused and the evil not prevented; I think there is a PLAN. Things don't just work out as they happen to work out.
I would object that for God to sincerely desire the salvation of Judas or any man, He would at least give that man the means to obtain grace to avoid sinning and losing his soul; i.e. At least the inspiration to pray; if the person would reject this inspiration, that would be the sinner's fault and not God's; but if God only gives the sinner the "power'' to pray, but not the ability to actually pray, then it is God's fault and not the sinner's if he is lost.
Non Nobis:
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Prayer is answered, but not any one prayer is always answered in the desired way.  Prayer for final perseverance does not guarantee that we will persevere in the end.  People do pray for conversion who are not then converted. God's grace is needed for prayer and for conversion to God and for final perseverance. "God can't help it" that His grace is needed for good, and when He does not prevent evil (by not giving the grace) it is for a greater good, as is perhaps most easily seen in the Redemption.
Not all prayers are heard, because men do not ask correctly or for the right things; but I believe God does give each person the inspiration to pray and the ability to do so; In other words He never fails to do what is His part, it is men by their sins that fail to correspond to God's grace; not God's grace that fails men.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Michael Wilson on November 27, 2016, 03:29:54 PM
John Lamb:
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    M.W.:..... the Thomists' position that God damns souls and Angels from all eternity with no previous consideration of their possible future acceptance or rejection of His grace APM (Ante Prevista Merita) in order to show forth His justice;

J.Lamb:
You are confusing negative and positive reprobation. God does not damn souls before foreseen demerits, He merely permits souls to demerit (negative reprobation), and then after they have demerited, He damns them (positive reprobation). So it's not true that God "damns souls from all eternity with no previous consideration". He only positively damns souls after they have rejected Him.
How does it not amount to the same thing? If God did not give the fallen Angels or the foreknown the grace to save their souls, they would infallibly fall into Hell. In the AMP predestination theory, God does not furnish these with those graces necessary for salvation, and they are necessarily lost.
Here is the part of the article from the Cath. Ency.
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    .... that is, to assume that, though not positively predestined to hell, yet they are absolutely predestined not to go to heaven (cf. above, I, B). While it was easy for the Thomists to bring this view into logical harmony with their præmotio physica, the few Molinists were put to straits to harmonize negative reprobation with their scientia media. In order to disguise the harshness and cruelty of such a Divine decree....Whatever view one may take regarding the internal probability of negative reprobation, it cannot be harmonized with the dogmatically certain universality and sincerity of God's salvific will. For the absolute predestination of the blessed is at the same time the absolute will of God "not to elect" a priori the rest of mankind (Suarez), or which comes to the same, "to exclude them from heaven" (Gonet), in other words, not to save them.....Lessius rightly says that it would be indifferent to him whether he was numbered among those reprobated positively or negatively; for, in either case, his eternal damnation would be certain. The reason for this is that in the present economy exclusion from heaven means for adults practically the same thing as damnation. A middle state, a merely natural happiness, does not exist.
John,
do you really think that God predestined some of the Angels and men to be excluded from Heaven i.e. Damnation, without considering even giving them a real opportunity to save their souls?  I just have a great deal of trouble not only accepting such a theory, but even seeing how Catholics can accept such a theory.
 
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on November 28, 2016, 02:48:51 AM
...
do you really think that God predestined some of the Angels and men to be excluded from Heaven i.e. Damnation, without considering even giving them a real opportunity to save their souls?  I just have a great deal of trouble not only accepting such a theory, but even seeing how Catholics can accept such a theory.

A man goes to hell because of his own free final impenitence. God (as I understand this) could have chosen to PREVENT final impenitence (working by His grace).  But if God chose to NOT prevent it (to permit it), then in fact the final impenitence will happen; but how does this make it God's fault? The sinner had a real opportunity, and threw it away.  If he took the opportunity, he would only be doing it with God's grace, but he still had an opportunity either way.

Planning what final impenitence is not prevented/is permitted does amount to predestination, but it does not take away man's fault. 

God reprobates some in His plans to permit/not prevent some from ultimately rejecting it His goodness, as a part of His providential design (they will be damned); but it is their fault.  It is simply untrue that permission entailing sin takes away the fault of sin.

God predestines the elect in His plans to give grace and so NOT permit their final rejection of His goodness, again as a part of His providential design (they will be saved).  "Not permit their rejection of His goodness" is really "works in their will to accept His goodness".  It is simply untrue that this takes away their free will, or their ability to supernaturally merit a reward.

I think a big part of the problem with accepting predestination of the elect is seeing/accepting that God can move man's will by grace without violating its freedom. This is a mystery, but I don't see how God being the cause of all good, and being all powerful over ALL things can be supported if we deny this.

Why these men and not those? ...I think this is finally a part of God's inscrutable Wisdom and will not delve into it here. But whatever His choices, I don't see that anyone is being done an injustice, or is not given an opportunity. What is true is that no man can escape the plan of His providence.

If God has any providential design at all, is all good and the source of all good, is all powerful, and CHOOSES where to permit final impenitence (when He could prevent it), then I don't see how there could not be predestination. 
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Michael Wilson on November 28, 2016, 08:28:32 AM
Non Nobis,
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A man goes to hell because of his own free final impenitence. God (as I understand this) could have chosen to PREVENT final impenitence (working by His grace).  But if God chose to NOT prevent it (to permit it), then in fact the final impenitence will happen; but how does this make it God's fault? The sinner had a real opportunity, and threw it away.  If he took the opportunity, he would only be doing it with God's grace, but he still had an opportunity either way.
Planning what final impenitence is not prevented/is permitted does amount to predestination, but it does not take away man's fault.

As I understand the Thomistic position on grace, 'sufficient grace' gives man the "potential" to act, but not the act itself. If God does not give him and additional grace, the soul (or the angel) will reject the grace and will fall. How is this then not the fault of God? 

My impression is that the Thomists are all about the sovereignt of God and man's absolute dependence on Him except when it comes to the salvation of a soul; then they insist that men respond to sufficient grace without God's help.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on November 28, 2016, 12:11:07 PM
This is Molinism, which says that efficacious grace is extrinsically efficacious - that is, it depends upon the Free Will whether or not it is efficacious - as opposed to Thomism, which says that efficacious grace is intrinsically efficacious - that is, the Free Will will always and infallibly co-operate with efficacious grace, because God infallibly wills it so.

Just like Molinism, you say that grace is not either efficacious or inefficacious until the Free Will of man determines it; whereas in Thomism, efficacious and merely sufficient grace are really two distinct orders of grace, because the former always and intrinsically moves the Free Will to co-operate with God, whereas the latter does not.

And both explanations are obviously wrong, despite the fervor with which they are argued by theologians and philosophers.  They both involve a clear contradiction of a certain principle.  In science, we realize that when something like this happens it's time to look for a new model or a new theory, and not demand that a falsified one be accepted merely because of the renown of the person who proposed it.

That God supernaturally works the willing and the doing is certain.  Contra Molinism, God can't be waiting for an additional act of will from us.

But that nothing is lacking from God is equally certain.  Contra Thomism, God doesn't refuse to grant the (metaphysically necessary) grace of non-resistance to sufficient grace and then punish one for resisting.  Put more forcefully, God doesn't predetermine conditions which make sin metaphysically certain and its avoidance metaphysically impossible, and then punish the sin.

So what does this mean?  It means resistance or non-resistance isn't an act of the will properly so-called.  It's a willingness to will, or an only hypothetical act of will.  Grace is certainly efficacious of itself, moving the will, working the willing and the doing.  Yet (in accordance with Trent) it isn't irresistible.

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The clear sense of sacred scripture, and of St. Augustine and St. Thomas, is that if God wills to save someone, He will infallibly move their will such that they will certainly be saved. He does not wait until man chooses Him before He saves the man; rather, He first chooses the man, and then moves the man to co-operate.

This isn't the clear sense of sacred scripture.  It is not how it was interpreted by all the Eastern Fathers and the Fathers before St. Augustine.  And I'll point out that the Church has rejected the view that something can be accepted simply because it is found somewhere in St. Augustine.

Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on November 28, 2016, 12:25:51 PM
A man goes to hell because of his own free final impenitence. God (as I understand this) could have chosen to PREVENT final impenitence (working by His grace).  But if God chose to NOT prevent it (to permit it), then in fact the final impenitence will happen; but how does this make it God's fault?

Under Thomism, God's will to permit entails the final impenitence and is metaphysically prior to it.  Thus, God is setting pre-conditions under which final repentance is metaphysically impossible.  The Thomist response that final repentance is actually possible "in the divided sense", abstracting from the pre-conditions God set up, is risible and would get an "F" if tried by a freshman philosophy student.

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God reprobates some in His plans to permit/not prevent some from ultimately rejecting it His goodness, as a part of His providential design (they will be damned); but it is their fault.  It is simply untrue that permission entailing sin takes away the fault of sin.

It is simply true under Thomism, since their doing otherwise than sinning is metaphysically impossible.

Which is a reason to reject Thomism, as God's permission cannot in fact entail the sin, but only makes the sin possible.

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I think a big part of the problem with accepting predestination of the elect is seeing/accepting that God can move man's will by grace without violating its freedom. This is a mystery, but I don't see how God being the cause of all good, and being all powerful over ALL things can be supported if we deny this.

Because men can be willing or not be willing to have their wills so moved.

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Why these men and not those? ...I think this is finally a part of God's inscrutable Wisdom and will not delve into it here. But whatever His choices, I don't see that anyone is being done an injustice, or is not given an opportunity. What is true is that no man can escape the plan of His providence.

You don't have an "opportunity" if God has already willed to permit you dying impenitent.  Things cannot happen otherwise than that.

Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: An aspiring Thomist on November 28, 2016, 05:31:06 PM
Quare, what exactly do you mean by hypothetical act of willing?
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Michael Wilson on November 28, 2016, 05:41:10 PM
Quare stated:
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So what does this mean?  It means resistance or non-resistance isn't an act of the will properly so-called.  It's a willingness to will, or an only hypothetical act of will.  Grace is certainly efficacious of itself, moving the will, working the willing and the doing.  Yet (in accordance with Trent) it isn't irresistible.
Could you flesh this out a little more? I can see where non-resistance isn't an act of the will, since essentially nothing has happened; but resistance to grace appears to be a definite act of the will.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on November 28, 2016, 09:58:49 PM
Quare, what exactly do you mean by hypothetical act of willing?

It's a statement that if conditions X should obtain, then I will will Y.  This isn't an actual act of willing Y, since conditions X aren't present.  But it is a willingness to will Y, unlike the contrary that Y will not be willed, conditions X or no.

So, for instance, I can say that, if tempted, I will pray to God for help and rely on His help alone and not on my own feeble strength, and then afterwards give all credit to Him for overcoming the temptation.  This statement is not, in itself, an act of virtue in overcoming temptation and avoiding sin.  It is, however, a hypothetical act of virtue and thus, when tempted this is what is going to happen through God's grace, however with God working the actual willing and doing.

Could you flesh this out a little more? I can see where non-resistance isn't an act of the will, since essentially nothing has happened; but resistance to grace appears to be a definite act of the will.

To answer this I need a little more detail.  Is "resistance to grace" considered separately from the sin committed thereby?  If not, of course sin is a definite act of the will, but resistance to grace isn't anything separate.  If it is considered separately, what exactly is willed (e.g. what apparent good) when grace is resisted?
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on November 29, 2016, 12:58:29 AM
Quare, what exactly do you mean by hypothetical act of willing?

It's a statement that if conditions X should obtain, then I will will Y.  This isn't an actual act of willing Y, since conditions X aren't present.  But it is a willingness to will Y, unlike the contrary that Y will not be willed, conditions X or no.

So, for instance, I can say that, if tempted, I will pray to God for help and rely on His help alone and not on my own feeble strength, and then afterwards give all credit to Him for overcoming the temptation.  This statement is not, in itself, an act of virtue in overcoming temptation and avoiding sin.  It is, however, a hypothetical act of virtue and thus, when tempted this is what is going to happen through God's grace, however with God working the actual willing and doing.
...

But willingness to will, praying to have grace, is itself a good thing and so must be caused by God.

Praying here is for the WILL (and grace) to overcome temptation and avoid sin.  This is praying for something good that one doesn't have.  But praying itself is a prior good, and doing it requires God's help (whether it is supernatural grace or general help).
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Michael Wilson on November 29, 2016, 08:30:43 AM
Quare asked:
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o answer this I need a little more detail.  Is "resistance to grace" considered separately from the sin committed thereby?  If not, of course sin is a definite act of the will, but resistance to grace isn't anything separate.  If it is considered separately, what exactly is willed (e.g. what apparent good) when grace is resisted?
I was thinking of the woman who appeared to her friend after she died (whether true or not is not important), and told her that she was in Hell, and then went through her life to the final act of her life: she and her husband were taking a drive in the countryside on a Sunday; she hadn't assisted at Mass that morning, as she hadn't practiced her faith in years; as they were driving by a Church, she suddenly received an inspiration: "You could stop and make a visit"; she reacted: "No, I wont, I'm finished with all of that for good"; shortly after, the couple were in an accident and they were killed; she died impenintent and ended up in Hell.
Was her rejection of that suggestion an act of the will?
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on November 29, 2016, 10:50:53 AM
But willingness to will, praying to have grace, is itself a good thing and so must be caused by God.

Willingness to will (as distinct from prayer) isn't an ontological "thing" properly so-called.

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Praying here is for the WILL (and grace) to overcome temptation and avoid sin.  This is praying for something good that one doesn't have.  But praying itself is a prior good, and doing it requires God's help (whether it is supernatural grace or general help).

With respect to prayer, admitted; with respect to willingness to will, denied.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on November 29, 2016, 10:57:14 AM
I was thinking of the woman who appeared to her friend after she died (whether true or not is not important), and told her that she was in Hell, and then went through her life to the final act of her life: she and her husband were taking a drive in the countryside on a Sunday; she hadn't assisted at Mass that morning, as she hadn't practiced her faith in years; as they were driving by a Church, she suddenly received an inspiration: "You could stop and make a visit"; she reacted: "No, I wont, I'm finished with all of that for good"; shortly after, the couple were in an accident and they were killed; she died impenintent and ended up in Hell.
Was her rejection of that suggestion an act of the will?

Sure, insofar as she willed to continue on her drive instead of stopping at Church.  Note that she had a prior unwillingness to will this though; which, had it not been there, the grace would undoubtedly have been successful.  Then, kneeling in Church, she would have received a further inspiration: you need to repent of your sins and go to confession.  Without a prior unwillingness to do that, that grace would have been successful too.

Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on November 30, 2016, 12:33:10 AM
Non Nobis,
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A man goes to hell because of his own free final impenitence. God (as I understand this) could have chosen to PREVENT final impenitence (working by His grace).  But if God chose to NOT prevent it (to permit it), then in fact the final impenitence will happen; but how does this make it God's fault? The sinner had a real opportunity, and threw it away.  If he took the opportunity, he would only be doing it with God's grace, but he still had an opportunity either way.
Planning what final impenitence is not prevented/is permitted does amount to predestination, but it does not take away man's fault.

As I understand the Thomistic position on grace, 'sufficient grace' gives man the "potential" to act, but not the act itself. If God does not give him and additional grace, the soul (or the angel) will reject the grace and will fall. How is this then not the fault of God? 

When a man sins, there are two wills involved: 1) God's, permitting him to sin 2) man's, sinning.  Though God's permission entails man's sinning, it does not change what is going on in man's will.  "Entails" does not mean "forces". The fault is in man's willing, not in God's permission.

It's not a fault in God's will that when He permits evil (not giving grace), it must in fact happen (entailing).  This is so because otherwise good would happen without God's grace: which is absurd. This is just a logical conclusion that something must happen, it is not a cause forcing it to happen.

My impression is that the Thomists are all about the sovereignt of God and man's absolute dependence on Him except when it comes to the salvation of a soul; then they insist that men respond to sufficient grace without God's help.

On the contrary, they insist that man CANNOT respond (not resist, accept) to sufficient grace without God's help.

Man can freely either reject grace or accept(see footnote*) sufficient grace.

* Man doesn't even have to think or write about God's part here, but the underlying reality is that he only freely accepts grace because God is working in his will.

Man is not expected to be good without grace; God freely gives the necessary grace when He does cause good in man's will.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on November 30, 2016, 01:06:34 AM
But willingness to will, praying to have grace, is itself a good thing and so must be caused by God.

Willingness to will (as distinct from prayer) isn't an ontological "thing" properly so-called.

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Praying here is for the WILL (and grace) to overcome temptation and avoid sin.  This is praying for something good that one doesn't have.  But praying itself is a prior good, and doing it requires God's help (whether it is supernatural grace or general help).

With respect to prayer, admitted; with respect to willingness to will, denied.

Willingness to will (not resisting) is good as opposed to evil (regardless of its difference from just "willing" or its philosophical categorization). How can you say otherwise?  Doesn't all good come from God?
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on November 30, 2016, 12:12:59 PM
When a man sins, there are two wills involved: 1) God's, permitting him to sin 2) man's, sinning.  Though God's permission entails man's sinning, it does not change what is going on in man's will.  "Entails" does not mean "forces". The fault is in man's willing, not in God's permission.

There is no fault in man's willing in this case, since he could not do otherwise than he did: given the preconditions set up by God (His permission), man's avoidance of sin is metaphysically impossible.  No one can be held to account for failing to do the impossible.

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On the contrary, they insist that man CANNOT respond (not resist, accept) to sufficient grace without God's help.

And so, when God denies this help, and thus man does not respond to sufficient grace and sins, he sins due to an insufficiency of Divine help.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on November 30, 2016, 12:16:35 PM
Willingness to will (not resisting) is good as opposed to evil (regardless of its difference from just "willing" or its philosophical categorization). How can you say otherwise?  Doesn't all good come from God?

All actual good comes from God.  But willingness to will is good only hypothetically, not actually.

Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on December 01, 2016, 12:09:25 AM
No one can be held to account for failing to do the impossible.

Just because willing good is impossible doesn't mean willing evil is impossible.

Don't both the Thomistic and non-Thomistic views say that while a man IS resisting (has NOT stopped) it is impossible for him to will good NOW, because efficacious grace is not in him?  Yet he can freely will evil.

The Thomistic view is that STOPPING resistance itself requires grace, but regardless of what it TAKES to stop, the absence of efficacious grace to will the final good makes it impossible.  Yet it is possible to will evil.

(In other words, I think you hold that efficacious grace IS working in a man's will when he chooses good, so if it is not there choosing good is impossible.  Yet choosing evil is possible.)

Satan is held to account for the evil he wills, even though he can't will good.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on December 01, 2016, 12:26:05 AM
Quare, what exactly do you mean by hypothetical act of willing?

It's a statement that if conditions X should obtain, then I will will Y.  This isn't an actual act of willing Y, since conditions X aren't present.  But it is a willingness to will Y, unlike the contrary that Y will not be willed, conditions X or no.

So, for instance, I can say that, if tempted, I will pray to God for help and rely on His help alone and not on my own feeble strength, and then afterwards give all credit to Him for overcoming the temptation.  This statement is not, in itself, an act of virtue in overcoming temptation and avoiding sin.  It is, however, a hypothetical act of virtue and thus, when tempted this is what is going to happen through God's grace, however with God working the actual willing and doing.

Anyone can make the statement "if conditions X should obtain, I will will Y".
But it's meaningless unless you seriously intend to do that in the future.  Intending to do something under certain circumstances in the future is an act of the will.

Telling God that you intend to accept martyrdom rather than deny the faith, should this ever be necessary, is an act of the will (He knows how firmly you make the resolution), and is virtuous even if not as virtuous as martyrdom itself.

Willingness (or willing) to will in the future is a good act of the will, even if not as good as the final willing.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on December 01, 2016, 10:50:43 AM
Anyone can make the statement "if conditions X should obtain, I will will Y".
But it's meaningless unless you seriously intend to do that in the future.  Intending to do something under certain circumstances in the future is an act of the will.

Telling God that you intend to accept martyrdom rather than deny the faith, should this ever be necessary, is an act of the will (He knows how firmly you make the resolution), and is virtuous even if not as virtuous as martyrdom itself.

Willingness (or willing) to will in the future is a good act of the will, even if not as good as the final willing.

It is not.  An real act of the will must have an actual object, not merely a hypothetical one.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on December 01, 2016, 11:11:43 PM
Anyone can make the statement "if conditions X should obtain, I will will Y".
But it's meaningless unless you seriously intend to do that in the future.  Intending to do something under certain circumstances in the future is an act of the will.

Telling God that you intend to accept martyrdom rather than deny the faith, should this ever be necessary, is an act of the will (He knows how firmly you make the resolution), and is virtuous even if not as virtuous as martyrdom itself.

Willingness (or willing) to will in the future is a good act of the will, even if not as good as the final willing.

It is not.  An real act of the will must have an actual object, not merely a hypothetical one.

So willing to die a martyr in the future if asked to deny your faith, and willing to deny  your faith under the same conditions are both neither good nor bad, and in no way acts of the will???  They are both willing now the conditional willing of something in the future; but that is an object of sorts, something that the will CAN will.

"Willing to will" here doesn't mean something vague and hazy, it means purposely exerting the will here and now.  The will itself does something, it is not inert.

Perhaps there is a passive "willingness to will" (e.g. if you don't explicitly think about martyrdom, but are ready for it) but it still belongs to the will and is GOOD.  With Scripture we speak of "a man of good will", even if his will is not acting. Goodness is from God.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on December 02, 2016, 06:14:35 PM
So willing to die a martyr in the future if asked to deny your faith, and willing to deny  your faith under the same conditions are both neither good nor bad, and in no way acts of the will???  They are both willing now the conditional willing of something in the future; but that is an object of sorts, something that the will CAN will.

To be a real act of the will, something real and actual must be willed, not an "object of sorts". 

It is not an act of virtue for us to say, from the comfort of our living rooms and facing no persecution whatsoever, how we'd be willing to die a martyr.  If it were, everyone could become a Saint by building what St. Teresa of Avila called "castles in the air" without ever actually having to do anything.  Spiritual life then becomes another chapter to "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty".  I can be a missionary to Alaska, the Pope, anything I want to be.  No, we aren't willing martyrdom in this instance.  God has to give the grace of martyrdom for this to mean anything.

Yet it is evil for us to determine we would not be willing to die a martyr if necessary.  Obviously we would refuse the grace if offered.

Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on December 02, 2016, 11:26:52 PM
It is not an act of virtue for us to say, from the comfort of our living rooms and facing no persecution whatsoever, how we'd be willing to die a martyr.  If it were, everyone could become a Saint by building what St. Teresa of Avila called "castles in the air" without ever actually having to do anything.  Spiritual life then becomes another chapter to "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty".  I can be a missionary to Alaska, the Pope, anything I want to be.  No, we aren't willing martyrdom in this instance.  God has to give the grace of martyrdom for this to mean anything.


But God knows what is in our heart (our intellect and will). If He knows we are just making "castles in the air", He knows we are pretty much just using our imagination and our will accounts for little, if anything.  But if a priest knows he is going to be a missionary among murderous savages, he can use his will so strongly that it may even be a resolution, even if not the will for martyrdom here and now.  God knows these things. Do you think they matter nothing to God? Isn't a resolution an act of the will? Is a firm resolution to do something if a certain condition is met not a resolution at all?  Does a "man of good will" mean nothing?

Priests make vows, to never even marry, even if they "fall in love".  I think this (as it is in the priest) is an act of the will. We will even now to go to confession in the future if we commit a mortal sin.  Or, when we are in the state of mortal sin, we firmly will to go to confession as soon as we possibly can - this is enough for God to forgive us if we die before we can! I don't understand why you don't see these things as acts of the will.

The will NOW to have the courage in the future to do something good leads us to pray NOW for the courage then. Of course it may not be as good as the actual will THEN, but it is still good.  St. Therese wanted to be a missionary.  Do you think that accounted for nothing with God, who knew the love with which she willed it (when she was no longer just an imaginative child)?

I think you are incorrectly restricting the object of the will to what is "here and now". At most that is one sense of "to will something", and the most solid and provable. But it is not the only sense - and most certainly not to God. An act of love is an act of the will (when it is not only words).
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: james03 on December 04, 2016, 11:34:06 AM
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This is Molinism, which says that efficacious grace is extrinsically efficacious - that is, it depends upon the Free Will whether or not it is efficacious - as opposed to Thomism, which says that efficacious grace is intrinsically efficacious - that is, the Free Will will always and infallibly co-operate with efficacious grace, because God infallibly wills it so.

Just like Molinism, you say that grace is not either efficacious or inefficacious until the Free Will of man determines it; whereas in Thomism, efficacious and merely sufficient grace are really two distinct orders of grace, because the former always and intrinsically moves the Free Will to co-operate with God, whereas the latter does not.
Will you do me the courtesy of reading what I wrote, as in "ALL GRACE IS EFFICACIOUS".  Grace does not depend on man AT ALL.  There is only Grace and it is always efficacious.  It accomplishes its immediate task.  When God gives you a grace to have the consequences of sin before your intellect, the consequences of sin will be before your intellect.  Note there is zero involvement by man.  The Grace is always efficacious.
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The problem with your view is what I said earlier: you are making man more responsible for his salvation than he is; whether or not a man is saved depends first and foremost upon his Free Will, whereas in scripture God is the first cause of our salvation.
False.  Go back to my example.  Take away the Grace God gave the man: putting the consequences of sin before his intellect.  Take that Grace away.  Is the man saved?  No.  What was the First Cause in the causal chain I put forward?  Your objection is false.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on December 04, 2016, 04:39:26 PM
But God knows what is in our heart (our intellect and will). If He knows we are just making "castles in the air", He knows we are pretty much just using our imagination and our will accounts for little, if anything.  But if a priest knows he is going to be a missionary among murderous savages, he can use his will so strongly that it may even be a resolution, even if not the will for martyrdom here and now.  God knows these things.

Right, but there's a difference between willing something based on conditions we know will happen in the future (which is a resolution properly so-called) versus a willingness to will something based on conditions we don't know will happen in the future.

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I think you are incorrectly restricting the object of the will to what is "here and now". At most that is one sense of "to will something", and the most solid and provable. But it is not the only sense - and most certainly not to God. An act of love is an act of the will (when it is not only words).

Yes, but an act of love is an act of the will for something here and now.  Sure, the love with which St. Theresa desired to be a missionary counted for a lot.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on December 05, 2016, 12:11:56 AM
But God knows what is in our heart (our intellect and will). If He knows we are just making "castles in the air", He knows we are pretty much just using our imagination and our will accounts for little, if anything.  But if a priest knows he is going to be a missionary among murderous savages, he can use his will so strongly that it may even be a resolution, even if not the will for martyrdom here and now.  God knows these things.

Right, but there's a difference between willing something based on conditions we know will happen in the future (which is a resolution properly so-called) versus a willingness to will something based on conditions we don't know will happen in the future.

The priest who is going to be a missionary doesn't know for certain that he will be called to be a martyr. He may not even be able to go at all. The priest who resolves not to marry may never fall in love.

The greatest saints who truly give their whole will to God resolve (more strongly than we do) to do whatever God asks in the future, no matter what the circumstances.

...
You just aren't convincing me on this issue.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Xavier on December 06, 2016, 06:45:51 AM
I agree with John and Non Nobis. The Fathers even say, God accounts the wish for the reality and the will for the deed, when it is a firm and resolute intention to undergo something like martyrdom or some other pious endeavor, especially if inflamed by perfect charity. Even such a holy intention can only be the effect of grace. Baptism of desire, perfect contrition, the will to confess every sin, even if a sin has been inculpably forgotten, etc are all examples. This is a case of "willingness to will" or what one would will in a specific situation (eg if one recalled the sin, one would will to confess it) and is still an example of God giving the grace in potency before He Himself reduces it to act by His own power.

Now, the Saints tell us the restoration of a single soul from the state of original or mortal sin (by the grace of regeneration granted through Christ's blood) is a greater good than the creation of the whole universe. Let's consider how God made the world and especially man ex nihilo. Nothing existed even potentially, until God began to create and He made in the universe the material cause of human life, which is the body. Even after this, with a man potentially alive, nothing but His own direct divine action created the soul as formal cause of life and made man actually alive. It is similar in what Cardinal Journet and other Thomists call the universe of grace.

God first, where no supernatural potency as yet exists in a soul unhappily dead to grace, mercifully causes the real capability for supernatural life. And this is called sufficient grace. And God on account of the Passion of Christ now gives this grace to every man as long as he lives in this world, as St Alphonsus also says. Like the sun shining gives the light and warmth necessary for natural life to all, God always gives the strength and power necessary for us to be elevated to, or persevere in, supernatural life to us, while different souls surrender to His working in them, to a greater or lesser degree.

It is an axiom to Thomists, and is clearly stated by Fr. Garrigou, "to him who does what lies in his natural power with the aid of actual grace, God does not deny habitual grace." Most critics of Thomism conflate the two. Molinism does not preserve the intrisic efficacy of grace in bringing about this habitual transition from the state of death to the state of grace.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Xavier on December 06, 2016, 06:47:53 AM
The Pelagian blasphemy and Semipelagian heresy pretended man by his natural power could will himself to life and salvation, at least in some cases, so that prevenient grace etc was not intrinsically necessary.

The Molinist school escapes these extremes but still makes God more of an external helper than an inner worker in the soul. We have seen that the Thomist doctrine of efficacious grace as fruit offered in the seed of sufficient grace is founded in Revelation and practically explicitly taught by the Savior. The Molinist idea has been compared to God tossing two men a ball of clay which they by their own working, and his external urging, can mould into any shape and fashion they will. Molina held two may receive graces in every way identical but produce completely different results through their own power. Others compare it to two in a boat, God no doubt the principal rower, but the man also rowing equally. Here the second cause is not intrinsically subordinated to the first cause but extrinsically superadded to it.

Compare the Savior's example of the vine and the branches, cited with approval at Orange on how grace completes and perfects nature. God gives the supernatural potency, whether actual or habitual, as His own free gratuitous gift, and when we don't resist by our natural power, grace itself actuates our consent to perform supernaturally good actions. Thomism is simply Catholicism and will one day be approved expressly by the Magisterium as such. It already enjoys the tacit approval of the Popes, "those who firmly hold to it are never found swerving from the path of truth and he who dare assail it will always be suspect of error." It admirably preserves the freedom of the power of the will for natural actions while solemnly insisting upon attributing to every meritorious action the intrinsic efficacy of divine grace.

I will come back to the interesting question of predestination ante praeviste merita - thanks Michael for the articles from Fr. Most and St. Alphonsus.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: james03 on December 08, 2016, 07:25:10 AM
Quote
grace itself actuates our consent to perform supernaturally good actions.
  No it doesn't.  Our Free Will is the efficient cause for cooperation with Grace.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Michael Wilson on December 08, 2016, 09:00:22 AM
Quote
grace itself actuates our consent to perform supernaturally good actions.
  No it doesn't.  Our Free Will is the efficient cause for cooperation with Grace.
James,
I believe that grace does actuate our consent or else the first act of our salvation would come from us and not from God's grace; this would be semi-pelagianism. However against the Thomists, grace does leave our will's free to accept or reject it. As Msgr. Pohl stated so diplomatically: "It is not clear where there is room for free will in the Thomistic system of grace."
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: John Lamb on December 08, 2016, 11:25:46 AM
Some quotations from St. Thomas' commentary on Romans, Chapter 9:

Quote from: St. Thomas

But God's love is the cause of every good found in a creature; consequently, the good in virtue of which one is preferred to another through election follows upon Gods willing it—which pertains to His love, Consequently, it is not in virtue of some good which He selects in a man that God loves him; rather, it is because He loved him that He prefers him to someone by election. But just as the love, about which we are speaking, pertains to Gods eternal predestination, so the hatred about which we are speaking pertains to the rejection by which God rejects sinners. It should not be supposed that this rejection is temporal, because nothing in the divine will is temporal; rather, it is eternal. Furthermore, it is akin to love or predestination in some respect and different in another. It is akin in the sense that just as predestination is preparation for glory, so rejection is preparation for punishment: "For a burning place has long been prepared, yes, for the king it is made ready" (Is 30:33). It is different in that predestination implies preparation of the merits by which glory is reached, but rejection implies preparation of the sins by which punishment is reached. Consequently, a foreknowledge of merits cannot be the reason for predestination, because the foreknown merits fall under predestination; but the foreknowledge of sins can be a reason for rejection on the part of the punishment prepared for the rejected, inasmuch as God proposes to punish the wicked for the sins they have from themselves, not from God; the just He proposes to reward on account of the merits they do not have from themselves: "Destruction is thy own, O Israel; thy help is only in me" (Hos 13:9).

...

But having mercy on one who is worthy can be understood in two ways: in one way so that one is counted worthy of mercy on account of preexisting works in this life, though not in another life, as Origen supposed. This belongs to the Pelagian heresy which taught that God's grace is given to men according to their merits. But this cannot stand, because, as has been stated, the good merits themselves are from God and are the effects of predestination. But there is another way in which one is considered worthy of mercy, not on account of merits preceding grace, but on account of merits subsequent to grace; for example, if God gives a person grace and He planned from eternity to give him that grace which He foresaw would be used well [Molinism]. According to this the Gloss is saying that He has mercy on him who should be given mercy. Hence he says: I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, i.e., by calling and bestowing grace, I will have mercy on him to whom I know beforehand that I will show mercy, knowing that he will be converted and abide with me. But it seems that not even this is a suitable explanation. For it is clear that nothing which is an effect of predestination can be taken as a reason for a predestination, even if it be taken as existing in God's foreknowledge, because the reason for a predestination is presupposed to the predestination, whereas the effect is included in it. But every benefit God bestows on a man for his salvation is an effect of predestination. Furthermore, God's benefits extend not only to the infusion of grace, by which a man is made righteous, but also to its use, just as in natural things God not only causes their forms but all the movements and activities of those forms, inasmuch as God is the source of all movement in such a way that when He ceases to act, no movement or activity proceeds from those forms. But sanctifying grace and the accompanying virtues in the soul are related to their use as a natural form is related to its activity. Hence, it is states in Is (26:12): "O Lord, thou hast wrought for us all our works."

...

Consequently, it is impossible that the merits which follow grace are the reason for showing mercy or for predestination; the only reason is God's will, according to which he mercifully delivers certain ones.

...

 For since all men are born subject to damnation on account of the sin of the first parent, those whom God delivers by His grace He delivers by His mercy alone; and so He is merciful to those whom He delivers, just to those whom He does not deliver, but unjust to none.

...

This interpretation is more in keeping with the version before me: "I will be gracious to whom I will, and I will be merciful to whom it shall please me" where divine mercy is clearly ascribed not to merits but solely to the divine will.

 This conclusion can be understood in a number of ways; in one say thus: So a man's salvation depends not on man's will or exertion, i.e., it is not owing to anyone through any willing of his own or any outward action; but on God's mercy, i.e., it proceeds from the sole mercy of God.

...

But it can be understood in another sense: all things proceed form God's mercy; so it depends not on man's will to will or exertion to exert oneself, but each depends on God's mercy, as it says in 1 Cor (15:10): "it was not I but the grace of God which is with me," and in Jn (15:5): "Without me you can do nothing." 777. But if this is all that is understood in this word, since even grace without man's free judgment does not will or strive, he could have said the converse, namely, it does not depends on God's mercy but on man's will or exertion, which is offensive to pious ears. Consequently, something more must be understood from these words, if first place is to be given to God's grace. For an action is attributed more to the principal agent than to the secondary, as when we say that the hammer does not make the box but the carpenter by using the hammer. But man's will is moved to good by God, as it says above: "All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God" (Rom 8:14); therefore, an inward action of man is not to be attributed principally to man but to God: "It is God who of his good pleasure works in you both the will and the performance" (Phil 2:13). But if willing does not depend on the man willing or exertion on the man exerting himself, but on God moving man to this, it seems that man is not master of his own action, which pertains to freedom of will. But the answer is that God moves all things, but in diverse ways, inasmuch as each is moved in a manner befitting its nature. And so man is moved by God to will and to perform outwardly in a manner consistent with free will. Therefore, willing and performing depends on man as freely acting; but on God and not on man, as initial mover.

...

Hence, Augustine says in his book On Grace and Free Will that God works in men's hearts to incline their wills whithersoever He wills, either to good through His mercy or to evil according to their deserts. Thus, God is said very often to stir up men to do good, as it says in Dan (13:45): "The Lord raised up the holy spirit of a young boy." He is also said to raise up others to do evil, as in Is (13:1): "I will stir up the Medes against them and with their arrows they shall kill the children." However, He stirs them to good and to evil in different ways: for he inclines men's wills to good directly as the author of these good deeds; but he is said to incline or stir up men to evil as an occasional cause, namely, inasmuch as God puts before a person, either in him or outside of him something which of itself is conducive to good but which through his own malice he uses for evil: "Do you not know that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath" (Rom 2:4-5) and "God gave his place for penance: and he abused it unto pride" (Jb 24:23). Similarly, as far as in him lies, God enlightens a man inwardly to good, say a king to defend the rights of his kingdom or to punish rebels. But he abuses this good impulse according to the malice of his heart. This is plain in Is (10:6) where it is said of Assyria: "Against a godless nation I send him and against the people of my wrath I command him to take spoil and seize plunder..." and further on: "But he does not so intend, and his mind does not so think, but it is in his mind to destroy." That is the way it happened with Pharaoh, who, when he was prompted by God to defend his kingdom, abused this suggestion and practiced cruelty.

...

But two difficulties seem to exist in regard to hardening: first, hardening of heart seems allied to sin, as it says in Sir (3:27): "A hard heart shall fear evil at the last." Consequently, if God hardens the heart, He is the author of a sin—contrary to what is said in Jas (1:13): "God is no tempter to evil." The answer is that God is not said to harden anyone directly, as though He causes their malice, but indirectly, inasmuch as man makes an occasion of sin out of things God does within or outside the man; and this God Himself permits. Hence, he is not said to harden as though by inserting malice, but by not affording grace. The second difficulty is that this hardening does not seem ascribable to the divine will, since it is written: "This is the will of God, your sanctification" (I Th 4:3) and "He desires all men to be saved" (1 Tim 2:4). The answer is that both mercy and justice imply a disposition of the will. Hence, just as mercy is attributed to the divine will, so also that which is just. Therefore, the interpretation is that he has mercy upon whomever he wills through His mercy and he hardens whomever he wills through His justice, because those whom He hardens deserve to be hardened by Him, as was stated above in chapter 1.

...

In the same way God has free power to make from the same spoiled matter of the human race, as from a clay, and without any injustice some men prepared for glory and some abandoned in wretchedness: "Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel" (Is 18:6). Then (v. 22) he answers the first question, namely, why God wills to be merciful to some and leave others in wretchedness, i.e., to choose some and reject others. Here it should be noted that the end of all divine works ins the manifestation of divine goodness: "The Lord has made all things for himself" (Pr 16:4). Hence, it was stated above that the invisible things of God have been clearly perceived in the things that have been made (1:20). But the excellence of the divine goodness is so great that it cannot be manifested in one way or in one creature. Consequently, he created diverse creatures in which He is manifested in diverse ways. This is particularly true in rational creatures in whom is justice is manifested with regard to those he benefits according to their deserts and His mercy in those He delivers by His grace. Therefore, to manifest both of these in man He mercifully delivers some, but not all. First, therefore, he gives an account of the rejections of the wicked; secondly, of the election of the good [v. 23; n. 794].

...

 Now the end of the rejection or hardening of the wicked is the manifestation of divine justice and power. Referring to this he says: What, i.e., But if God, desiring to show him wrath, i.e., retaliatory justice. For wrath is said of God not as an emotion but as the effect of retaliation: "The wrath of God is revealed from heaven" (Rom 1:18). Then he adds: and to make known his power, because God not only uses wrath, i.e., retribution, by punishing those subject to him, but also by subjecting them to himself by his power: 393 "According to his work by which he can subject all things to himself" (Phil 3:21); "And they saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore, and the mighty hand that the Lord had used against them" (Ex 14:31). The use which God makes of the wicked is wrath, i.e., punishment. And this is why he calls them vessels of wrath, i.e., instruments of justice that God uses to show wrath, i.e., retributive justice: "We were by nature children of wrath" (Eph 2:3). But God’s action toward them is not that he disposes them to evil, since they of themselves have a disposition to evil from the corruption of the first sin. Hence he says fit for destruction, i.e., having in themselves an disposition towards eternal condemnation: "God saw that the wickedness of men was great on the earth, and that all the thought of their heart was bent upon evil at all times" (Gen 6:5). The only thing God does concerning them is that he lets them do what they want.

...

For he does not will to harden them in such a way that he compels them to sin, but rather he endures them so that they may tend to evil by their own inclination.



https://sites.google.com/site/aquinasstudybible/home/romans/st-thomas-aquinas-on-romans/chapter-1/chapter-2/chapter-3/chapter-4/chapter-5/chapter-6/chapter-7/chapter-8/chapter-9
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: james03 on December 08, 2016, 01:09:32 PM
JL, 99% of what you wrote is a non-sequitur.  It refutes nothing I wrote.  Here is the money quote:

Quote
But the answer is that God moves all things, but in diverse ways, inasmuch as each is moved in a manner befitting its nature. And so man is moved by God to will and to perform outwardly in a manner consistent with free will. Therefore, willing and performing depends on man as freely acting; but on God and not on man, as initial mover.
  So willing depends on man.  Man is the efficient cause of his free will choice to cooperate with Grace.  So says St. Thomas.

The First Cause is grace.  I gave the example of putting a fear of sin before the intellect.  It is the first cause.  You remove this Grace and the man is not saved.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: John Lamb on December 08, 2016, 02:55:00 PM
JL, 99% of what you wrote is a non-sequitur.  It refutes nothing I wrote.  Here is the money quote:

Quote
But the answer is that God moves all things, but in diverse ways, inasmuch as each is moved in a manner befitting its nature. And so man is moved by God to will and to perform outwardly in a manner consistent with free will. Therefore, willing and performing depends on man as freely acting; but on God and not on man, as initial mover.
  So willing depends on man.  Man is the efficient cause of his free will choice to cooperate with Grace.  So says St. Thomas.

Grace is the primary efficient cause, free will co-operating is the secondary. Free-will cannot perform a meritorious action without first being moved by grace. It is grace that moves the will to co-operate, so "man is the efficient cause of his free will choice to cooperate with Grace" is false:

Quote from: St. Thomas
Hence in him who has the use of reason, God's motion to justice does not take place without a movement of the free-will; but He so infuses the gift of justifying grace that at the same time He moves the free-will to accept the gift of grace, in such as are capable of being moved thus.

Quote from: St. Thomas
But if we speak of grace as it signifies a help from God to move us to good, no preparation is required on man's part, that, as it were, anticipates the Divine help, but rather, every preparation in man must be by the help of God moving the soul to good. And thus even the good movement of the free-will, whereby anyone is prepared for receiving the gift of grace is an act of the free-will moved by God. And thus man is said to prepare himself, according to Proverbs 16:1: "It is the part of man to prepare the soul"; yet it is principally from God, Who moves the free-will.

To co-operate with grace is a meritorious act, so this will to co-operate comes first of all from God.
God works the good through our free-will. He does not ever propose something to our minds and let our free-will determine to be good by itself.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: james03 on December 08, 2016, 04:14:09 PM
Quote
Grace is the primary efficient cause, free will co-operating is the secondary. Free-will cannot perform a meritorious action without first being moved by grace. It is grace that moves the will to co-operate, so "man is the efficient cause of his free will choice to cooperate with Grace" is false:
Self contradictory, and perhaps self delusional.    Let me rewrite it with the missing words:

"Grace is the primary efficient cause (in my example, putting fear of sin before the intellect), free will co-operating is the secondary efficient cause."

Man's free will act to cooperate with Grace is an efficient cause.  (admitted, I put THE previously, which is an error.)

Agreed, a good will act can not have supernatural merit unless first you are infused with Sanctifying Grace and receive the indwelling of the Blessed Trinity.  St. Thomas points out that a heathen building a vinyard is a good act.  A hindu visiting his grandmother will certainly give him a better place in hell vs. a mexican drug dealer that tortures people.  So there is merit under the law, but it can not save.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: james03 on December 08, 2016, 04:16:08 PM
Quote
He moves the free-will to accept the gift of grace, in such as are capable of being moved thus.

Interesting, no?  Is St. Thomas a heretic, or does he truly believe in free will?
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: james03 on December 08, 2016, 04:18:43 PM
Quote
James,
I believe that grace does actuate our consent or else the first act of our salvation would come from us and not from God's grace;
  If you are objecting to my use of "the efficient" vs. "an efficient", I recognize your valid complaint.

I want to point out that in my case, the grace of putting the fear of sin before the intellect is first in the causal chain.  So this grace indeed "actuates" our consent.  The Free Will consent however is done freely by man.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: james03 on December 08, 2016, 04:24:49 PM
Quote
He does not ever propose something to our minds and let our free-will determine to be good by itself.
  This is the prime dispute between the Congruentist Thomist and the Banez Thomist.  And it is a bit dishonest.  How is the free will "determine to be good by itself" when you yourself mention that God proposes?  In my example, how is the free will determining to be good by itself when I said God first puts the fear of sin before the intellect?  So your objection is proven false.

Anyhow, St. Thomas teaches that God does not do violence to the will and that there is no compulsion.  You have no ability to explain your belief if you accept that.  I can explain the congruentist system by relying on St. Thomas:
Quote
Therefore, willing and performing depends on man as freely acting; but on God and not on man, as initial mover.
  The initial move by God in my example is God putting fear of sin before the intellect.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: John Lamb on December 08, 2016, 06:54:34 PM
The difference is that St. Thomas, and the Thomists, see God's grace as acting internally in the will, whereas you see grace as merely proposing something to the mind, and letting the will determine of itself to will the good proposed by grace. In Thomism, the will's very movement towards the good is caused internally by grace.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: james03 on December 08, 2016, 07:05:42 PM
There is no cite you have put up where St. Thomas says that. In fact what you cited states the opposite from what I quoted.  St. Thomas is clear. God does not do violence to the will and there is no compulsion.

You are preaching the exact opposite.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: james03 on December 08, 2016, 07:16:10 PM
 
Quote from: 1 of 2, Q6, A1, reply 1
Not every principle is a first principle. Therefore, although it is essential to the voluntary act that its principle be within the agent, nevertheless it is not contrary to the nature of the voluntary act that this intrinsic principle be caused or moved by an extrinsic principle: because it is not essential to the voluntary act that its intrinsic principle be a first principle.

Therefore since the will is free, it is essential that the choice be within the agent.  God indeed moves the will extrinsically, and this act is the first principle, but the act is still rightly called free.  This was demonstrated in my example.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: james03 on December 08, 2016, 07:21:36 PM
Quote
He does not ever propose something to our minds and let our free-will determine to be good by itself.

This is the kind of nebulous statement that bears further examination.  What does "determine to be good" mean?  So let's expand my example.  A man does not want to go to Church.  God sends a Grace, in this case he hears Fr. Isaac preaching hell fire on Youtube.  The man then wills to get in the car and drive to Church.  It is a Free Will decision of the man to get in the car and drive to Church.  The first cause was the Grace given to him to consider hell.  It indeed moves his will, but the choice of the man to drive his car is a free will choice he made.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on December 09, 2016, 12:29:36 AM
St. Thomas is clear. God does not do violence to the will and there is no compulsion.

This much is accurate, but nevertheless St. Thomas DOES teach that God moves the will internally.
 
There is no cite you have put up where St. Thomas says that.

Here is your cite, James: text right above the minimal context cite you made earlier:
 
https://sites.google.com/site/aquinasstudybible/home/romans/st-thomas-aquinas-on-romans/chapter-1/chapter-2/chapter-3/chapter-4/chapter-5/chapter-6/chapter-7/chapter-8/chapter-9
Quote
...man's will is moved to good by God, as it says above: "All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God" (Rom 8:14); therefore, an inward action of man is not to be attributed principally to man but to God: "It is God who of his good pleasure works in you both the will and the performance" (Phil 2:13). But if willing does not depend on the man willing or exertion on the man exerting himself, but on God moving man to this, it seems that man is not master of his own action, which pertains to freedom of will. But the answer is that God moves all things, but in diverse ways, inasmuch as each is moved in a manner befitting its nature. And so man is moved by God to will and to perform outwardly in a manner consistent with free will. Therefore, willing and performing depends on man as freely acting; but on God and not on man, as initial mover.

St. Thomas is speaking to people like you, who think that GOD moving the will means "man is not master of his own action", i.e. that man does not have free will. His answer to you is that God moves ALL things, including the will, but it moves the will in a manner befitting its nature as FREE WILL (that is, without violence or compulsion).  I know that is hard to understand, but that is what he is saying.  I could find more cites if I need to, and spent some time.

The last bit that you quoted:

Quote
Therefore, willing and performing depends on man as freely acting; but on God and not on man, as initial mover.

Willing DOES depend on man as freely acting, but while he freely moves his will as secondary cause, God is moving it inwardly too, as primary cause.

Here's a another minimal context quote from St. Thomas (you can examine the larger context yourself if you want).  I include this quote because it speaks of primary and secondary causes, but it (and all that is linked to)  is also pertinent to our overall discussion.

http://dhspriory.org/thomas/english/QDdeVer24.htm
Quote
Although man can perform good actions of this kind [natural acts like building a house]without ingratiatory grace, he cannot perform them without God, since nothing can enter upon its natural operation except by the divine power, because a secondary cause acts only by the power of the first cause, as is said in The Causes. This is true of both natural and voluntary agents. Yet it is verified in a different way in either case.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: John Lamb on December 09, 2016, 04:07:04 AM
Quote
He does not ever propose something to our minds and let our free-will determine to be good by itself.

This is the kind of nebulous statement that bears further examination.  What does "determine to be good" mean?  So let's expand my example.  A man does not want to go to Church.  God sends a Grace, in this case he hears Fr. Isaac preaching hell fire on Youtube.  The man then wills to get in the car and drive to Church.  It is a Free Will decision of the man to get in the car and drive to Church.  The first cause was the Grace given to him to consider hell.  It indeed moves his will, but the choice of the man to drive his car is a free will choice he made.

This is not how grace works according to St. Thomas. According to St. Thomas, it is not just God's grace that causes the man to hear Fr. Isaac preaching hell fire, it is God's grace that softens the man's heart, causing him to listen to the preacher without dismissing what he hears, and then moves the will towards fearing hell and towards the Church. In other words, grace actively moves the will. St. Thomas explicitly states that grace heals and strengthens and moves the will.

Quote from: St. Thomas
Now there are five effects of grace in us: of these, the first is, to heal the soul; the second, to desire good; the third, to carry into effect the good proposed; the fourth, to persevere in good; the fifth, to reach glory.

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2111.htm

Grace according to you is merely an external act (external to the will), and the free will can of its own power choose to do good (in this case, choose to go to Church), when in St. Thomas, God's grace must act upon the will itself and move it towards the good (towards going to Church). God's grace does not stop at putting the idea in the intellect, it also acts upon the will in order to respond to what is in the intellect meritoriously; so, in this case, grace moves the man to get in the car and go to Church.

Your understanding of grace is Pelagian, imo, because your leaving merit to depend on man's free will. God merely gives the opportunity, but man decides whether or not to merit. Listen to what Cardinal Journet says here, because I think he's describing your position as Pelagian:

Quote from: Cardinal Journet
On the one hand there is the position of Pelagius, a British monk, a contemporary of St Augustine who attacked him. The Pelagian error consists in saying that the good act is decisively the product of man alone. Of course, Pelagius says, God created the universe, placed me in the world, gave me my human nature with its faculties, and imparts abundant graces of illumination [This is the grace you describe]. But it is I alone who assent freely to God, and it is this assent which is decisive. Take an example of two men at the bottom of a well: God holds out his hand to each, and so is ready to help; but it is I alone who take his hand; I am, doubtless, saved because God first stretched out his hand, but the decisive factor is that I, by my free will alone, took the hand, whereas my neighbor did not. So the choice is mine alone.

https://www.ewtn.com/library/DOCTRINE/MNGGRACE.HTM

Pelagius thought that God merely gave men instructions (like in the Bible, or by preachers, or by philosophers), and God left it to man's free-will to decide how to use these illuminations and to what extent to merit. He did not believe that God's grace actively moved the will, like St. Augustine did.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: John Lamb on December 09, 2016, 02:36:46 PM
The relationship between grace and free-will, is like the relationship between faith and reason. People think that faith and reason are mutually opposed, so that where faith starts, reasons must end, and vice versa; the truth is that the light of faith perfects reason, just as the light of grace perfects the free-will.

Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange points out that the Molinists agree with the Calvinists/Jansenists that where grace starts, free-will ends, and vice versa:

Quote from: Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange
Another general system is that of the theologians of the Society of Jesus, who deny that efficacious grace is intrinsically efficacious since, as they declare, intrinsically efficacious grace deprives man of his liberty. In this major, as Del Prado shows, they are in agreement with Protestants and Jansenists. For these heretics say that intrinsically efficacious grace takes away liberty; but grace efficaciously moving one toward the good is intrinsically efficacious; therefore freedom from necessity is not required in order to merit, but only freedom from force.

The theologians of the Society of Jesus agree with these in the major and distinguish the minor, thus: intrinsically efficacious grace takes away freedom; but freedom from necessity is required in order to merit; therefore grace is not intrinsically efficacious but only extrinsically so, that is, on account of our consent foreseen by mediate knowledge. We, on the other hand, disagree with the heretics in the major, that is, in the very basic principle by which the problem is solved: whether God can, gently and firmly, in other words, infallibly, move our will to this free act rather than to another. To this fundamental question we reply in the affirmative; the heretics, however, deny it, and with them the Molinists and Congruists.  It is clear from this how greatly Thomism differs from Calvinism and Jansenism.

The inability to see how grace can move the free-will without destroying its freedom, is similar to the inability to see how faith can move the rational mind without destroying its reason. Of course, faith itself is a species of grace, applicable to the intellect.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Michael Wilson on December 10, 2016, 11:32:02 AM
But the Thomistic explanation on how grace operates, leaves no room for free will; here is Msgr. Pohl in the Catholic Encyclopedia:http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06710a.htm
Quote
.....The first objection is the danger that in the Thomistic system the freedom of the will cannot be maintained as against efficacious grace, a difficulty which by the way is not unperceived by the Thomists themselves. For since the essence of freedom does not lie in the contingency of the act nor in the merely passive indifference of the will, but rather in its active indifference — to will or not to will, to will this and not that — so it appears impossible to reconcile the physical predetermination of a particular act by an alien will and the active spontaneousness of the determination by the will itself; nay more, they seem to exclude each other as utterly as do determinism and indeterminism, necessity and freedom. The Thomists answer this objection by making a distinction between sensus compositus and sensus divisus, but the Molinists insist that this distinction is not correctly applicable here. For just as a man who is bound to a chair cannot be said to be sitting freely as long as his ability to stand is thwarted by indissoluble cords, so the will predetermined by efficacious grace to a certain thing cannot be said to retain the power to dissent, especially since the will, predetermined to this or that act, has not the option to receive or disregard the premotion, since this depends simply and solely on the will of God. And does not the Council of Trent (Sess. VI, cap. v, can. iv) describe efficacious grace as a grace which man "can reject", and from which he "can dissent"? Consequently, the very same grace, which de facto is efficacious, might under other circumstances be inefficacious.

Herein the second objection to the Thomistic distinction between gratia efficax and gratia sufficiens is already indicated. If both graces are in their nature and intrinsically different, it is difficult to see how a grace can be really sufficient which requires another grace to complete it. Hence, it would appear that the Thomistic gratia sufficiens is in reality a gratia insufficiens. The Thomists cannot well refer the inefficacy of this grace to the resistance of the free will, for this act of resistance must be traced to a proemotio physica as inevitable as the efficacious grace.

Moreover, a third great difficulty lies in the fact that sin, as an act, demands the predetermining activity of the "first mover", so that God would according to this system appear to be the originator of sinful acts. The Thomistic distinction between the entity of sin and its malice offers no solution of the difficulty. For since the Divine influence itself, which premoves ad unum, both introduces physically the sin as an act and entity, and also, by the simultaneous withholding of the opposite premotion to a good act, makes the sin itself an inescapable fatality, it is not easy to explain why sin cannot be traced back to God as the originator. Furthermore, most sinners commit their misdeeds, not with a regard to the depravity, but for the sake of the physical entity of the acts, so that ethics must, together with the wickedness, condemn the physical entity of sin. The Molinists deny that this objection affects their own system, when they postulate the concursus of God in the sinful act, and help themselves out of the dilemma by drawing the distinction between the entity and malice of sin. They say that the Divine co-operation is a concursus simultaneus, which employs the co-operating arm of God only after the will by its own free determination has decided upon the commission of the sinful act, whereas the Thomistic co-operation is essentially a concursus proevius which as an inevitable physical premotion predetermines the act regardless of the fact whether the human will can resist or not.

From this consideration arises the fourth and last objection to the claim of the Thomists, that they have only apparently found in their physical premotion an infallible medium by which God knows in advance with absolute certainty all the free acts of his creatures, whether they be good or bad. For as these premotions, as has been shown above, must in their last analysis be considered the knell of freedom, they cannot well be considered as the means by which God obtains a foreknowledge of the free acts of rational agents. Consequently the claims and proper place of the scientia media in the system may be regarded as vindicated.
As Msgr. Pohl expressed elsewhere, the place for freedom of the will in the Thomistic System should be between the application of "sufficient grace" which would offer the soul the choice of acceptance or rejection and efficacious grace, that would give him the act to accomplish the choice, but there is no room for it in the system.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on December 11, 2016, 01:02:48 AM
But the Thomistic explanation on how grace operates, leaves no room for free will; here is Msgr. Pohl in the Catholic Encyclopedia:http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06710a.htm

Would you say simply that St. Thomas Aquinas' explanation of grace leaves no room for free will?  How can you state something like that so firmly? Why not just say you can't understand how it does, or it seems not to, or "many theologians and Saints explain their view"...?

The Church does allow (at least) 2 views on predestination and grace.  I know the Thomists sometimes accuse the Molinists of virtually being heretics too; but maybe both sides should be more considerate and work together to find truth. (I know I am probably being too idealistic...)

I know I have a stubborn bias in favor of St. Thomas (pretty much until the Church makes the contrary clear), but so does the Church.

("The Thomists" are not equivalent to St. Thomas, but I think that most people who disagree with the root of the former disagree with the latter too.  St. Thomas definitely (as you know) teaches predestination and reprobation, and that God moves the will to good).
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: james03 on December 11, 2016, 10:00:33 AM
Quote
Willing DOES depend on man as freely acting, but while he freely moves his will as secondary cause, God is moving it inwardly too, as primary cause.
  NN, can you find one quote from St. Thomas where he says God moves the will "inwardly"?  This has the savor of arguing with Prots who tell you you are saved by Faith alone.  You ask them for the alone quote over and over again, and they never produce.

To recap, God DOES move the will externally.  See my example.  Go back and reread my example, i.e. fear of sin, and point out where this conflicts with anything St. Thomas wrote in your cite.  You will discover you can't.

Edit:  NN, I do concede that God also acts inwardly, for example His actions on the intellect and passions is certainly God acting inwardly.  So for example, we can add to my example that God arouses the fear in the man.  God does not act inwardly on the will. (Note if the mere hearing of the fire and brimstone is enough, then that would be the only Grace God would send). The will is truly free.  It would seem that if you say a man can't choose rightly, you reject regeneration and are preaching Luther's manure pile covered with snow.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Michael Wilson on December 11, 2016, 10:11:36 AM
Non,
Let me modify the last statement as close as I can remember how Msgr. Pohl stated it: "The action of free will should come between "sufficient grace" and "efficacious grace"; but the Thomists deny that there is any room for it there. In other words the Thomists believe that their system does protect the freedom of the will and therefore there is no necessity to "make room for it" at all. I did not word that correctly; and if I can find the actual quote, I will post it.
Yes, I agree one can hold the Thomistic position as it is approved by the Church.
Re. Predestination & Reprobation in St. Thomas. I will see if I have time to post from Fr. Most's book on this very subject; as he stated that St. Thomas did not fully reconcile the two threads of his thinking on this matter.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: james03 on December 11, 2016, 10:17:25 AM
Quote
therefore, an inward action of man is not to be attributed principally to man but to God: "It is God who of his good pleasure works in you both the will and the performance"

NN., why did you italicize "inward"?  Let's write the equivalent: "man's inward action.  The inward action is man's.

Question:  How would you move free will such that it is befitting it's nature?   That's consistent with free will?  Such that willing and performing depend on man freely acting?  Does not my example show how this is done?

edit: see above edit showing that God does work inwardly on the intellect and passions.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: james03 on December 11, 2016, 10:20:49 AM
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The inability to see how grace can move the free-will without destroying its freedom,
In my example, does Grace move the will?  Is it your position that considering hell does not move the will?
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: james03 on December 11, 2016, 10:28:03 AM
Quote
Your understanding of grace is Pelagian, imo, because your leaving merit to depend on man's free will.

So you believe merit does not depend on man's free will?  Is that your position?  That's heresy.

Edit: 
Quote from: St.Thomas, de Veritate, Reply on Free Choice
Without any doubt it must be affirmed that man is endowed with free choice. The faith obliges us to this, since without free choice there cannot be merit
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: james03 on December 11, 2016, 11:12:16 AM
On man being an efficient cause of his actions, again de Veritate:
Quote
But man, judging about his course of action by the power of reason, can also judge about his own decision inasmuch as he knows the meaning of an end and of a means to an end, and the relationship of the one with reference to the other. Thus he is his own cause not only in moving but also in judging. He is therefore endowed with free choice—that is to say, with a free judgment about acting or not acting.

The Conguent Thomistic position was taught by St. Thomas himself.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Michael Wilson on December 11, 2016, 11:15:27 AM
Non,
here is the quote from Msgr. Pohl's book
Grace, Actual and Habitual; A Dogmatic Treatise pgs. 237 ffd.
Quote

A. The Thomistic Conception of efficacious is open to two serious theological difficulties:
(1). To draw an intrinsic and substantial distinction between  efficacious and merely sufficient grace destroys the true notion of sufficient grace.
(2). The Thomistic theory of efficacious graces is incompatible with the dogma of free will. Note: Thomist defend both the sufficiency of grace and the freedom of the will.
a) Sufficient grace, as conceived by the Thomists, is not truly sufficient to enable a man to perform a salutary act, because “ex vi notionis” (the force of the idea) it confers merely the power to act, postulating for the act itself substantially new grace (gratia efficax).  A grace that requires to be entitatively supplemented by another, in order to enable a man to perform a salutary act, is clearly  not sufficient for the performance of that act.  “To be truly sufficient for something” and “to require to be complemented by something else” are mutually exclusive notions, and hence “sufficient grace” as conceived by Thomists is in reality insufficient.
Many subtle explanations have been devised to obviate this difficulty.  Billuart and nearly all the later Thomists say that if any one who has received sufficient grace (in the Thomistic sense of the term) is denied the ‘gratia efficax’ it must be attributed to the sinful resistance of the will.  But this explanation is incompatible with the Thomistic teaching that together with the ‘gratia sufficiens’ there co-exists in the soul of the sinner an irresistible and inevitable ‘premotio physica’ to the entity of sin, with which entity formal sin is inseparably bound up. (see Banez, Comment. In S. Theol. Etc.) If this is true, how can the will of man be held responsible so long as God denies him the ‘gratia ab intrinseco efficax” (Intrinsically efficacious grace)?
Speaking in the abstract, the will may assume one of three distinct attitudes toward sufficient grace.  It may consent, it may resist, or it may remain neutral.  It cannot consent except with the aid of a predetermining ‘gratia efficax’, to merit which is beyond its power. If it withstands, it ‘eo ipso’ (by this) renders itself unworthy of the ‘gratia efficax’. If it takes a neutral attitude, (which may in itself be a sinful act), and awaits efficacious grace, of what use is sufficient grace?
 To resist sufficient grace involves an abuse of liberty.  Now, where does the right use of liberty come in?  If co-operation with sufficient grace moves God to bestow the ‘gratia per se efficax’, as the Thomists contend, then the right use of liberty must lie somewhere between the ‘gratia sufficiens’ and the ‘gratia efficax per se’.  But there is absolutely no place for it in the Thomistic system.  The right use of liberty for the purpose of obtaining efficacious grace is attributable either to grace or to unaided nature.  To assert that it is the work of unaided nature would lead to Semipelagianism.  To hold that it is owing to grace would be moving in a vicious circle, thus: “Because the will offers no resistance, it is efficaciously moved to perform a salutary act; that it offers no sinful resistance is owing to the fact that it is efficaciously moved to perform a salutary act.” 
It is impossible to devise any satisfactory solution of this difficulty which will not at the same time upset the very foundation on which the Thomistic system rests, viz.: “Nula secunda causa potest operari, nisi sit efficaciter determinate a prima [scil. Per applicationem potentiae ad actum],”  that is to say, no secondary cause can act, unless it be efficacious  determined by the First cause; by the application of the latter to the former as of potency to act.
The Thomistic ‘gratia efficax’ conceived as a ‘pradeterminatio ad unum’ [predermination to one], inevitably destroys free will.
It is important to state the question clearly: Not physical premotion as such, but the implied connotation of ‘previa determination ad unum’ (the previous determination to one), is incompatible with the dogma of free will.  The freedom of the will does not consist in the pure contingency of an act, or in a merely passive indifference, but in active indifference either to will or not to will, to will thus or otherwise.  Consequently every physical predetermination, in so far as it is a “determination ad unum’ (determination to one), must necessarily be destructive of free will.  Self determination and physical predetermination by an extraneous will are mutually exclusive.  Now the Thomists hold that the ‘gratia per se efficax’ operates in the manner of a supernatural ‘praedeterminatio ad unun’.  If this were true, the will under the influence of efficacious grace would no longer be free.
To perceive the full force of this argument, it is necessary to keep in mind the Thomistic definition of ‘praemotio physica’..(Gonet,Latin)..that is to say: As the non-perfomance of an act by the will owing simply and solely to the absence of the respective physical premotion, so conversely, the performance of an act is conditioned simply and solely by the presence of a divine premotion; the will itself can neither obtain nor present such a premotion, because this would require a new premotion, which again depends entirely on the divine pleasure.  If the will of man were thus inevitably predetermined by God, it would not in any sense of the term be called truly free.
The Thomists meet this argument with mere evasions. They make a distinction between ‘necesitas consequentis (antecedens) [(antecedent) consequent necessity], which really necessitates, and ‘necessitas consequentiae’ (subsequens)[(subsequent) necessity of consequence], which does not. A free act, they say, necessarily proceeds from a physical premotion, but it is not on that account in itself necessary.  But we answer, a ‘determinatio ad unum’ which precedes a free act and is independent  of the will, is more than a ‘necessitas consequentiae’-it is a ‘necessitas consequentis’ [consequent necessity] destructive of free will. 

Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: james03 on December 11, 2016, 11:46:50 AM
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that is to say, no secondary cause can act, unless it be efficacious  determined by the First cause; by the application of the latter to the former as of potency to act.
  This smacks of heresy.  A will that is determined is not a will that is free.  Compare the Banez Thomist to St. Thomas:

Quote
Thus he is his own cause not only in moving but also in judging. He is therefore endowed with free choice—that is to say, with a free judgment about acting or not acting.

edit: The Banez Thomist quote is kind of an out-of-the-closet event.  If you subsititute "moved" for "determined", then I would not object, except to the ambiguity.  At least they finally come out and say that the will is determined and not free.  Except when it is sinning, because then it is totally depraved.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Michael Wilson on December 11, 2016, 11:55:58 AM
James.
I'm not sure about that statement being heresy or contradicting the statement from St. Thomas; as I understand it, man is not the primary mover of himself, but the secondary; he needs God's assistance to perform even the most basic movement. Its been a while since I read this, but it goes back to the "five proofs of the existence of God"; the one about "the first mover"; nothing can move itself except if it is not first moved by another; all the way back to the prime mover which is God. Do you know what I am referring to?
The second quote i.e. "he is his own cause not only in moving but in judging etc." Is true if one first stipulates that God's cooperation with man willing, thinking and choosing make possible that man be his own secondary cause. At least that is the way I understand it.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: james03 on December 11, 2016, 12:05:39 PM
God is the First Cause.  Man is an efficient cause.  That is my point.

If the act is meritorious, it is because it is done in Charity.  The Cause of Charity is the infusion of Charity into the soul during Justification.  The Cause of the infusion, and the First Cause, is God.  God is therefore the First Cause.

The meritorious act is not meritorious because man freely chose to do it, and is the cause of this choice, which he is.  The meritorious act is meritorious because it is done in Charity.  This is the teaching of St. Thomas that the Banez Thomists forget.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: james03 on December 11, 2016, 12:09:40 PM
Quote
I'm not sure about that statement being heresy

Michael, "determine" is a very well understood word.  To say man's will is determined by God is heresy.  I WILL say that man's free will decision to cooperate with Grace is a necessity of consequence due to Divine Providence.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Michael Wilson on December 11, 2016, 12:44:02 PM
God is the First Cause.  Man is an efficient cause.  That is my point.

If the act is meritorious, it is because it is done in Charity.  The Cause of Charity is the infusion of Charity into the soul during Justification.  The Cause of the infusion, and the First Cause, is God.  God is therefore the First Cause.

The meritorious act is not meritorious because man freely chose to do it, and is the cause of this choice, which he is.  The meritorious act is meritorious because it is done in Charity.  This is the teaching of St. Thomas that the Banez Thomists forget.
Thanks for the response; I would modify the last part as follows: The meritorious act is not meritorious because man freely chose to do it, but rather because he chose do to it in Charity with the aid of Divine grace.
Trent is pretty clear in its decree of justification that Grace precedes, accompanies and helps man accomplish any meritorious work.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: james03 on December 11, 2016, 01:33:41 PM
That is not what is being debated. 
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on December 12, 2016, 01:16:45 AM

[James you have a bad habit of not showing the source of your quotes.]

St Thomas says

Quote
therefore, an inward action of man is not to be attributed principally to man but to God: "It is God who of his good pleasure works in you both the will and the performance"

...Let's write the equivalent: "man's inward action.  The inward action is man's.


Of course the inward action is man's, but "it is attributed PRINCIPALLY to God", not man.  GOD works IN you .. the will.  If that is not saying that affecting your will is something God  does in you (although it is SECONDARILY attributed to you), then A is not A.

God is not man doing the willing. Man wills, but God affects/moves the will IN man.

Question:  How would you move free will such that it is befitting it's nature?   That's consistent with free will?  Such that willing and performing depend on man freely acting?

I agree your questions are very difficult to answer (my understanding ends in seeing mystery).  But St. Thomas (and the Bible) is saying that God can move the will that way.  We think that He can't, but He is the author of the will, its freedom, its acting and He would never destroy these things as He moves them.  God transcends our understanding in this, and offends our own sense of identity and pride that our will is our own; our sense of identity makes us think that our wills are little gods that escape His control.  We do control our own will, but His will transcendentally "controls" our will in a way that does not take away OUR control. He is God, but we try to understand Him as if He were an almighty human tyrant who tries to FORCE our will.  It isn't that. I admit I don't humanly understand it.

Quote from: Proverbs 21
... the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord: whithersoever he will he shall turn it..

God does not move the will to evil, but He can prevent it.   He is the author of all good and good willing is good.  For supernatural good will/willing, how can God not be the cause?  We are TRULY the cause too; but He is the primary cause, working in us.

I would agree that Calvinists could read St. Thomas (as they do the Bible) the wrong way.  But St. Thomas explicitly defends Free Will. And the Thomists are not all anti-Catholic  idiots when they see St. Thomas views on grace as consistent with Free Will.

...willing and performing depend on man freely acting?
 Does not my example show how this is done?

I agree with some of what you say, but I just don't read St. Thomas when I read you.  You seem to read what he says in a kind of quick blur and then say what you think it ought to mean.

James, maybe you should just say that you think St. Thomas was wrong about this.  I can understand that view.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: james03 on December 12, 2016, 01:45:12 AM
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Of course the inward action is man's, but "it is attributed PRINCIPALLY to God", not man.  GOD works IN you .. the will.  If that is not saying that affecting your will is something God  does in you (although it is SECONDARILY attributed to you), then A is not A.
  I stipulate:
1.  God moves the will through external graces, and inwardly by means of the intellect and emotions. He does NOT determine the will.
2.  I repeat, God does not determine the Will.  When you freely choose to do something, you are the cause of that.
3.  God is the First Cause.
Quote
I agree your questions are very difficult to answer (my understanding ends in seeing mystery).
Your understanding ends in contradiction.
Quote
James, maybe you should just say that you think St. Thomas was wrong about this.  I can understand that view.
  My point is that St. Thomas teaches Congruentism, not Banez Thomism.  Why would I disagree with St. Thomas?
Quote from: St. Thomas
Thus he is his own cause not only in moving but also in judging. He is therefore endowed with free choice—that is to say, with a free judgment about acting or not acting.
Why would I say I disagree with this?  The only quotes I've seen from the other side talk about God moving the will.  I've shown how this is done while preserving free will.  No where does St. Thomas say God determines the will -- he says the opposite.  No where is there any talk about efficacious grace or sufficient grace.  These were all later inventions.



Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: james03 on December 12, 2016, 01:51:24 AM
This question will reveal everything.  Suppose you are considering not doing something you ought.  And God gives you the external grace of the Fr. Isaac sermon.  So you go and do it.

Question:  Why does God need do anything else?  Not only are you teaching Luther's total depravity, you are even preaching total depravity of the regenerated !

Answer the question.  Does God need to do any more?
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on December 13, 2016, 01:09:14 AM
This question will reveal everything.  Suppose you are considering not doing something you ought.  And God gives you the external grace of the Fr. Isaac sermon.  So you go and do it.

Question:  Why does God need do anything else?  Not only are you teaching Luther's total depravity, you are even preaching total depravity of the regenerated !

Answer the question.  Does God need to do any more?

If good is in fact done (or willed), then yes indeed God must have been its primary cause - the cause of the very good INSIDE, not giving man something that is not in man and letting man be the entire cause of the internal good himself.  This is not an obligation imposed upon God or a deficiency (it is not that sense of "need"), it is a simple fact:  God MUST HAVE BEEN THE ONE to  create creation and the one to cause any internal good, as the Primary Cause working internally. Otherwise there could be no creation or good.

Spiritual good is INSIDE, external grace is OUTSIDE.  But  if the ultimate grace (God acting through it) causes the good INSIDE it must be acting INSIDE, or else it is only man who is ultimately causing it.

Spiritual good is caused by God in the soul, not by giving sermons and then man becomes spiritually good by himself.  There is no "do it yourself" book of sermons.

God works through external things, but He can not stop with them and let man handle it from there.  "So you go and do it" is true but only if God is working in you.

Charity is spiritual, internal.  It is given to the soul at justification, but it is not just guaranteed to be in the background when we act.  We must act through charity, which must be in our hearts, i.e. our wills (we love by our will).  If there is no charity (applied charity, as it were) in our wills, we lose the the supernatural gift of charity.

Quote from: Phillipians 2
...with fear and trembling work out your salvation. [13] For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will. [14]

So indeed,  you do it.  But also, God works IN you to WILL.  It doesn't say only to teach, preach sermons, and inspire. It doesn't say, affect the intellect and then leave you to will all by yourself.

I appreciate the difficulties you pose (and even your outrage, although you are uncharitable in the way you put it). But you are not acknowledging the difficulties on the other side.  I do not think you have it "all figured out" in your theory of grace.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Xavier on December 13, 2016, 11:26:46 AM
Indeed, Non Nobis. Almighty God most certainly moves not only the intellect but also the will by the power of His grace. To maintain otherwise would be like the branch reasoning, To the extent I am dependent on the tree and moved by it, I cannot be really free! An incredible error. Does freedom consist in autonomy from God, as liberals believe?  By no means. God alone is perfectly free, not merely because being Omnipotent He can do all that He wills (while we of ourselves cannot) but in particular because being Truth and Goodness itself He always does what is true and good - and He predestined us to be participators in His freedom, so that we also, perfected by grace, will always do that which is good and pleasing to Him, like the Saints and Angels in heaven. It follows that man will only be truly and perfectly free to the extent he surrenders and consecrates himself without reserve to God, and this is a most certain truth that we are taught by the Saints and mystics of the Church.

Now, man's will is indeed free to choose between two or more alternatives set before him (as God says in Deuteronomy, "I set before you life and death. Choose life that you and your descendants may live") but in the exercise of this choice, he is not altogether independent of the Prime Mover, "in Whom we live and move and have our being" as St. Paul says in Scripture. Thomists understand this to be true even in the order of nature itself and so much more in the order of grace. It is why our divine Redeemer says, "Without Me you can do nothing." If we consider the branch apart from the vine, it has not even the potential to bear fruit. It only receives that potential from the Vine i.e Christ's own prior choice to communicate life i.e grace to it, whether actual or habitual. This doctrine of grace, as Fr. Garrigou rightly says, leads and has led - in the life of the Saints who not only knew it but lived it - to the profoundest humility because they understood they were mere instruments of divine Providence and could not glory in anything before God. Some canons from Orange, where St Augustine, the Doctor of grace, was vindicated and the heretic Pelagius condemned.

Canon 3. If anyone says that the grace of God can be conferred as a result of human prayer, but that it is not grace itself which makes us pray to God, he contradicts the prophet Isaiah ...

Canon 6 If any one says that God has mercy on us when, apart from his grace, we believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock, but does not confess that it is by the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within us that we have the faith, the will, or the strength to do all these things as we ought; or if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10).
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on December 13, 2016, 12:25:23 PM
Indeed, Non Nobis. Almighty God most certainly moves not only the intellect but also the will by the power of His grace.... 

That is all fine, Xavier, but there is a difference between God moving the will and God determining the will.  God, indeed, moves the will, but does so in accordance with the nature of the will as free, as St. Thomas says.  If He, however, determined the will, it would not be free by definition.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on December 14, 2016, 08:09:44 PM
Indeed, Non Nobis. Almighty God most certainly moves not only the intellect but also the will by the power of His grace.... 

That is all fine, Xavier, but there is a difference between God moving the will and God determining the will.  God, indeed, moves the will, but does so in accordance with the nature of the will as free, as St. Thomas says.  If He, however, determined the will, it would not be free by definition.

I'm not sure your meaning of "in accordance with the nature of the will as free" would match St. Thomas' understanding that would still allow God to move the free-will unfailingly to good, without overriding man's free willing.  Comment? 

Consider this quote from St. Thomas:
Quote
http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2113.htm#article3
I IIae Question 113. The effects of grace
Article 3. Whether for the justification of the ungodly is required a movement of the free-will?
I answer that, The justification of the ungodly is brought about by God moving man to justice. For He it is "that justifieth the ungodly" according to Romans 4:5. Now God moves everything in its own manner, just as we see that in natural things, what is heavy and what is light are moved differently, on account of their diverse natures. Hence He moves man to justice according to the condition of his human nature. But it is man's proper nature to have free-will. Hence in him who has the use of reason, God's motion to justice does not take place without a movement of the free-will; but He so infuses the gift of justifying grace that at the same time He moves the free-will to accept the gift of grace, in such as are capable of being moved thus.

There is no question that the free-will will accept grace here.

Below is an excerpt from the book "The Thomist Tradition" by Brian Shanley.  I found this on google books https://books.google.com/books?id=v6pDBQAAQBAJ&pg=PA239&dq=Shanley+Thomist&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiN3J-s1vTQAhUCrlQKHQNsBJQQ6AEIHDAA#v=snippet&q=hard%20for%20us%20to%20conceive&f=false.

I do not know much about it, but it seems to explain God's causation and free-will the way that I (roughly) understand it.  (This is incomplete because it is hard to copy text out of google books; I just used screen capture to get what I could)

(http://i980.photobucket.com/albums/ae283/nekuss/Thomistic%20Tradition%201.png)
(http://i980.photobucket.com/albums/ae283/nekuss/Thomistic%20Tradition%202.png)
(http://i980.photobucket.com/albums/ae283/nekuss/Thomistic%20Tradition%203.png)
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Xavier on December 17, 2016, 08:31:17 AM
1. That's a nice description of the teaching of the Angelic Doctor. God, the Sustainer of Life, "in Whom we live and move and are" is able to interiorly move His creatures in such a way as to actualize their free and natural movement. I like the way Cardinal Journet puts it, "A bird sings. When God touches its nature, he enables it, without violating it, to exercise its activities in the sensitive order. He enables it to sing in the way proper to a bird. We come to man, a free being with intelligence and will, with his immortal soul greater than all the world; when God touches his soul he enables it to act according to its nature, which is to rule over things of a lower order. Freedom is not independence in relation to God: if God does not touch me, am I then free? O no! If God does not touch me, I act no more, I exist no more, I fall into nothingness. Freedom is to be found within God himself, as in its infinite source; the nearer I draw to God and the more I share in his rule over lower beings, the more I am free. My freedom is a dependence in relation to God, a dependence that gives me a power over and freedom of choice in regard to the lower things."

Free will, as St. Thomas explains, is a power, the real power to choose, between intellectual or moral alternatives, a capability of conscious self-reflection and free action with which we are naturally endowed. Free will is a true cause in its own order and while God wishes to move it so that it may attain the end for which it was created, He leaves it in our power to decide otherwise. A solemn responsibility from which the possibility of evil and hell arise. While good is from God as first cause and through man as secondary cause, evil originates from man as first cause, "In the good act, God has the first initiative, he is the first, enveloping cause of the act, and man the secondary cause. In the sinful act, man is first cause of the deviation, that is of the non-being, the disorder, the destruction. Homo prima causa mali: man is first cause of evil! But can he be first cause of anything? Yes, he can be first cause of whatever is not a thing; he can do what is no thing, he can destroy, annihilate the divine action that comes to visit him. Here man can take the first initiative; he is first cause of the annulling of the divine action." So let's come to some objections

2. So, Quare, I know you like modal logic, the logic of the contingent and the necessary - as the above excerpt did, let us describe it in those terms, to the objection that if God foreknows or has predestined X, X will necessarily happen, therefore man is not free. Theologians answer generally that God predestining X means only that X will actually happen, meaning God willed it to happen in such a way as to produce contingent effects from contingent causes; from all possible worlds which He could conceivably actualize, He chooses the set of contingent effects which in the real world will certainly - but not necessarily in the modal sense - lead to the fulfilment of His divine plan. http://www.iep.utm.edu/foreknow/ The objection to the contrary is called the modal fallacy, there is a great deal of difference between what is actually (but only contingently) true and what is necessarily true.

Now, concerning predestination and reprobation, I agree with St. Thomas' commentary on Romans 9 that John posted earlier. The Synod of Orange said, "God loves us for what we shall be by his gift, and not by our own deserving", which shows God's grace is itself the cause of what we shall be and does not presuppose it. God predestined us to grace antecedently to any consideration of our merits, because those merits themselves are the effect of His predestination, this is the doctrine of St. Thomas. Trent confirms this when it decrees, "It is furthermore declared that in adults the beginning of that justification must proceed from the predisposing grace of God through Jesus Christ, that is, from His vocation, whereby, without any merits on their part, they are called"; as St. Thomas says, Almighty God knows and sees all things in the light of His divinity by one eternal act of the intellect and He predestines many to glory by one and eternal act of the will, which Holy Writ expresses by saying He predestined us before the foundation of the world; this predestination is the cause of our merits and thus St. Augustine says that in crowning us, God crowns His own gifts. Orange said, "That grace is not preceded by merit. Recompense is due to good works if they are performed; but grace, to which we have no claim, precedes them, to enable them to be done ... No man shall be honored by his seeming attainment, as though it were not a gift." Do you believe God's predestination is logically consequent to consideration of our merits that are His own gift?
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Xavier on December 17, 2016, 08:51:18 AM
3. Reprobation is different because God is not first cause of evil as St. Thomas says, "Consequently, a foreknowledge of merits cannot be the reason for predestination, because the foreknown merits fall under predestination; but the foreknowledge of sins can be a reason for rejection on the part of the punishment prepared for the rejected, inasmuch as God proposes to punish the wicked for the sins they have from themselves, not from God ... Consequently, it is impossible that the merits which follow grace are the reason for showing mercy or for predestination; the only reason is God's will, according to which he mercifully delivers certain ones. " Before we object to this doctrine of St. Thomas, by denying predilection or the possibility of negative reprobation or saying God should give equal graces to all or as you said, "you said "for the Thomists, God doesn't really desire the salvation of some in the situation in which they actually find themselves - and so, if we do, we have more zeal than Christ" - we would do well to remember that our faith teaches that the remission of sins and each new infusion of grace has a terrible cost, and that cost was the blood of Jesus Christ Our Lord, as also the tears of His Holy Mother. Fr. Garrigou Lagrange speaks beautifully about this in his writings on the sufferings of Jesus on the Cross and Mary below it. More on that in a minute.

Predestination and reprobation is also mentioned by St. Bridget in this prayer that Our Lord taught her,"O Jesus! Mirror of eternal splendor, remember the sadness which Thou experienced, when contemplating in the light of Thy Divinity the predestination of those who would be saved by the merits of Thy Sacred Passion, Thou didst see at the same time, the great multitude of reprobates who would be damned for their sins and Thou didst complain bitterly of those hopelessly lost and unfortunate sinners" which illustrates that God loved and obtained graces even for those sinners whom He foresaw would wickedly and obstinately frustrate all His graces obtained at so great a cost even until the end of their lives.

4. And from the time the divine Word had become Incarnate, as sacred writers tell us, He even as an Infant in Bethlehem on Christmas night saw our sins and prayed for us sinners, offering Himself - and His Mother offering Herself with Him - as a Victim to suffer throughout His life that the graces due to His merits may go to them and the punishment due to our sins may fall upon Him. The Blessed Mother would later do the same. How great the depths of the Mercy and Love of our Savior! And how right and fitting it is also that those who stubbornly refuse His gift of grace should suffer by His Justice the due penalty of their sins which they could have escaped. St. Alphonsus explains this is the sense in which it is to be understood that Our Lord Jesus is the Savior of all, wills to saved all and died for all. Supposing God had asked you or me, Do you desire the salvation of your non-Christian relatives/friends? We would surely answer, Yes, Lord, very much so. And then the Lord told you, how willing are you? Would you shed tears for those who are perishing? Your own blood, down to the last drop in the most terrible pain? When would we say enough? None of us could do as much as Jesus and Mary have done, who offered their whole life for the salvation of us sinners.  Not to mention that being sinners ourselves, we could do nothing for others even if we wished without Jesus; though we can and should offer our lives to Him to assist Him as His associates, like Mary did.

As Pope Pius XII says in Mystici Corporis, "This is a deep mystery, and an inexhaustible subject of meditation, that the salvation of many depends on the prayers and voluntary penances which the members of the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ offer for this intention and on the cooperation ... which they must offer to our Divine Savior as though they were His associates". This should cause us to reflect on how much have we really desired the salvation of those who are perishing in their sins "not in word only, but in deed and in truth"? Not even the most infinitesimal fraction of a fraction as God has. God in His justice has the right to threaten sinners that if they carry on in their sin, there will be no more pardon for them and that after an eternally pre-set limit for the number of times they freely choose to fall into mortal sin, He will not permit His Son and the Blessed Mother to be wounded any more by them and His Divine Justice will banish them to hell. And this is the sense in which St. Thomas and Thomists hold that God, who greatly desired their salvation - upon foreseeing in the light of His divine prevision that they will repeatedly and obstinately frustrate the graces He won for them at so great a cost, something which He is not in any way the cause of but which originates from their own evil will - reprobates them negatively.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: james03 on December 17, 2016, 01:48:41 PM
Quote from: St. Thomas
Not every principle is a first principle. Therefore, although it is essential to the voluntary act that its principle be within the agent, nevertheless it is not contrary to the nature of the voluntary act that this intrinsic principle be caused or moved by an extrinsic principle: because it is not essential to the voluntary act that its intrinsic principle be a first principle.

St. Thomas uses "principle" synonymously with cause, so first principle is the First Cause.

St. Thomas is laying out that the intrinsic cause of a voluntary act (like choosing to cooperate with Grace) is still free if it is moved by an extrinsic cause even if the extrinsic cause is the first cause.

In my example hearing the Fr. Isaac sermon in the extrinsic first principle in the choice to do something good.

Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: james03 on December 17, 2016, 01:59:44 PM
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If good is in fact done (or willed), then yes indeed God must have been its primary cause - the cause of the very good INSIDE, not giving man something that is not in man and letting man be the entire cause of the internal good himself.
  I stipulate, a good act is only meritorious if done in Charity.  Charity is infused by God into the soul freely as an act of Mercy.  Therefore God is the First Cause of all meritorious acts BECAUSE without God infusing Charity, it is impossible for an act to be meritorious.  This is not being debated.

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Spiritual good is INSIDE, external grace is OUTSIDE.  But  if the ultimate grace (God acting through it) causes the good INSIDE it must be acting INSIDE, or else it is only man who is ultimately causing it.
  Man is ultimately the efficient cause of his good will act, as St. Thomas said.  First outright stating that Man is the cause of his judgment and action, and pointing out that if man is not free, there can be no merit (previously cited).

If man is not the intrinsic principle of his choice to do good, then you are going to end up with an infinite regress and face the incoherence error.

So you are left with an infinite regress or holding that after regeneration man is akin to a manure pile covered with snow.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on December 17, 2016, 09:18:14 PM
I'm not sure your meaning of "in accordance with the nature of the will as free" would match St. Thomas' understanding that would still allow God to move the free-will unfailingly to good, without overriding man's free willing.  Comment? 

It depends on what is meant by "unfailing".  If this means "predetermining", then I disagree.  It means the will cannot determine itself to evil, contrary to the nature of a free will.  It also means the final explanation for those who commit evil is that God didn't move the will to good, and it was therefore predetermined to evil.  This conclusion is against reason as well as Catholic doctrine.

If "unfailing" means "without defect", then I'll grant this: there is no defect in the cause, but it does not entail its effect.  You balked at this conclusion before, but your citation from Shanley says exactly the same thing.

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Consider this quote from St. Thomas:

There is no dispute that God moves the free will to accept the gift of grace.

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There is no question that the free-will will accept grace here.

Yes, there is.  If it is predetermined to do so then it is not free.  If it is not predetermined, then it might or might not - it is contingent.

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I do not know much about it, but it seems to explain God's causation and free-will the way that I (roughly) understand it.  (This is incomplete because it is hard to copy text out of google books; I just used screen capture to get what I could)

This actually does quite a good job.

The relevant quotes:

Quote
...they all depend on the divine will as the first cause which transcends the order of necessity and contingency.  This cannot be said of any human will or any other cause, because every other cause falls under the categories of necessity or contingency and hence it must be that either the cause itself can fail or that its effect not be contingent but necessary.  While the will of God is unfailing, nevertheless not all its effects are necessary, but rather some are contingent.

...

Aquinas consistently asserts that the divine motion does not causally determine the will to any particular good, and he studiously avoids the term praedeterminatio precisely because of its undesirable undertones of divine determinism.  It is rather that God moves the will so that it acts in accord with its own nature as a self-determining power.


Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on December 19, 2016, 09:34:41 PM
I added more of St. Thomas' text:

Quote from: St. Thomas S.T II IIae A1

Objection 1. It would seem that there is nothing voluntary in human acts. For that is voluntary "which has its principle within itself." as Gregory of Nyssa [Nemesius, De Natura Hom. xxxii.], Damascene (De Fide Orth. ii, 24), and Aristotle (Ethic. iii, 1) declare. But the principle of human acts is not in man himself, but outside him: since man's appetite is moved to act, by the appetible object which is outside him, and is as a "mover unmoved" (De Anima iii, 10). Therefore there is nothing voluntary in human acts.

Reply to Objection 1.
Not every principle is a first principle. Therefore, although it is essential to the voluntary act that its principle be within the agent, nevertheless it is not contrary to the nature of the voluntary act that this intrinsic principle be caused or moved by an extrinsic principle: because it is not essential to the voluntary act that its intrinsic principle be a first principle.

...

St. Thomas is not talking about God's movement of the will to good here, but rather how an  "the appetible object" moves the will as one kind of first principle.  As THIS kind of first principle, Fr. Isaac' sermons move a man to desire good, but St. Thomas speaks of God's movement of the will in another way in the same article:

Quote from: St. Thomas S.T II IIae A1
Reply to Objection 3. God moves man to act, not only by proposing the appetible to the senses [Fr. Isaac's sermons], or by effecting a change in his body, but also by moving the will itself; because every movement either of the will or of nature, proceeds from God as the First Mover. And just as it is not incompatible with nature that the natural movement be from God as the First Mover, inasmuch as nature is an instrument of God moving it: so it is not contrary to the essence of a voluntary act, that it proceed from God, inasmuch as the will is moved by God. Nevertheless both natural and voluntary movements have this in common, that it is essential that they should proceed from a principle within the agent.

Within the voluntary order, the movement of the will proceeds from a principle within man (as secondary mover).  But it also "proceeds from God as the First Mover".  And "it is not contrary to the essence of a voluntary act, that it proceed from God, inasmuch as the will is moved by God". God actually moves the will and yet at the same time the man is voluntarily moving it, because God is the author of free willing in a man.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: james03 on December 19, 2016, 10:58:10 PM
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Nevertheless both natural and voluntary movements have this in common, that it is essential that they should proceed from a principle within the agent.

St. Thomas is arguing the Congruentist belief here.  Natural and voluntary movements have as their efficient cause  the internal principle.  The first principle is God.  In my example God moves the will by the Fr. Isaac sermon.  The voluntary movement to get in the car and drive to Church has as its efficient cause the man's will.  The fact that the man freely chose to cooperate with the grace is the reason his act has merit, and done in Charity, supernatural merit.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on December 20, 2016, 01:56:18 AM

Quote from: see google books quote in previous NN quote
...they all depend on the divine will as the first cause which transcends the order of necessity and contingency.  This cannot be said of any human will or any other cause, because every other cause falls under the categories of necessity or contingency and hence it must be that either the cause itself can fail or that its effect not be contingent but necessary.  While the will of God is unfailing, nevertheless not all its effects are necessary, but rather some are contingent.

...

Aquinas consistently asserts that the divine motion does not causally determine the will to any particular good, and he studiously avoids the term praedeterminatio precisely because of its undesirable undertones of divine determinism.  It is rather that God moves the will so that it acts in accord with its own nature as a self-determining power.

I read the first paragraph this way:

IF a cause falls under the categories of necessity or contingency
THEN
 ( Either the cause can fail (= NOT PRODUCE ITS EFFECT)
  Or if it can't fail  its effect must be necessary (and predetermined))

BUT IF a cause transcends  the order of necessity and contingency (GOD)
THEN
  (the cause never fails (ALWAYS PRODUCES ITS EFFECT)
   BUT not all its effects are necessary, but some are contingent (and some voluntary))
====
God TRANSCENDS the voluntary; He can cause it (move the will) unfailingly without destroying it.

"Unfailingly" means always bringing the intended effect, not sometimes not bringing it (but doing this without blame or defect). I don't see how else to read it.

Quote from: St. Thomas S.C.G III 90
Damascene states in Book II, that “God foreknows the things that are within our power, but He does not predetermine them.” These texts should be explained as meaning that things in our power are not subject to determination by divine providence in the sense that they receive necessity from it.

I admit I do not entirely understand all St. Thomas' usages of  "necessary" and "contingent" and "voluntary", but I understand that God transcends all of these as they exist in creatures.

"God moves the will so that it acts in accord with its own nature as a self-determining power".  God transcends that nature, and actually moves the will in its own self-determination.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: james03 on December 25, 2016, 05:09:48 PM
Quote
"God moves the will so that it acts in accord with its own nature as a self-determining power".  God transcends that nature, and actually moves the will in its own self-determination.

e.g., God provides the Fr. Isaac sermon which moves the will.

Quote
Aquinas consistently asserts that the divine motion does not causally determine the will to any particular good, and he studiously avoids the term praedeterminatio precisely because of its undesirable undertones of divine determinism.
  So this author agrees that the previous quote above by the Banez Thomist that God determines the will is opposed to the teaching of St. Thomas.

Anyhow, God knows what Grace to use because He is already there at the effect.  God is there giving the external Grace of the sermon, and at the same time He is there as you get into your car to drive to Church.  Also every Grace is efficacious.  The external Grace of the sermon will infallibly place the fear of hell before your intellect.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: INPEFESS on March 05, 2017, 03:10:46 PM
The dispute over the Thomistic theory of grace, whether admitted or not, revolves around the perceived conflict between God's omnipotence and human liberty. Rather than state definitely either way, I suggest that each poster who disputes the system study the explanations of the famous Thomists who explicate this appararent conflict beginning with the very foundational principles of Aristotelian potency and act all the way to the mysterious solution to this dilemma. For serious students who truly want to understand, not to disagree; who will study as though they don't already know, not as one who already knows it all; who don't have biases for or against Thomism, and so will embrace it if they find themselves to have misunderstood it; who don't care about their admitting they were wrong, but only want the truth--to them I suggest Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange's "God: His Existence and His Nature." I recommend both volumes, but he brings the foundationsl principles of Thomism to their pinnacle resolution of this dilemma in Volume II.

In a word, Non Nobis is completely right regarding the mechanical terminology: God determines the will to determine itself to good. Exactly what this means, however, requires a lot of unpacking, and after reading this entire thread, no one has even brought up or mentioned the topics necessary for this unpacking. The very idea thwt it is possible is rejected out of hand as a contradiction. The will is even spoken of here as an independently-operating faculty, operating by itself without a reciprocity with the intellect. These theological preconceptions get us no where. If we want to understand, then we need to talk less and listen more. Everyone thinks they have who's right and who's wrong all figured out, meaning no explanation--even the right one--from the contrary position will do, even if St. Thomas himself appeared and explained it. Go to the sources themselves and learn if you are truly open to being wrong. How God determines the will to determine itself is extremely complex and involves a synthesis of a variety of Aristotelian principles. No one can reject the theory without at least addressing the mechanics, which has yet to be done here. And if it's not done here, I would venture to guess it's because they aren't known.

Again, that is why I urge the sincere student, who doesn't care about what he thought but only cares about what he will think, to avail himself of the numerous sources that explicate this mysterious causal subordination. Then bring that knowledge here. Until then, we can't really get anywhere.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on March 18, 2017, 11:49:17 PM
Quote from: INPEFESS
I suggest Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange's "God: His Existence and His Nature." I recommend both volumes, but he brings the foundationsl principles of Thomism to their pinnacle resolution of this dilemma in Volume II.

Well, I've ordered these books. I got them on Kindle first (99 cents each); but I find them hard to read there, so I've ordered the actual books. Let's see if I can have the discipline to read them... My usual (bad) habit is to read only part of Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange's books; but even that is usually worthwhile.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: INPEFESS on March 20, 2017, 02:31:35 PM
Quote from: INPEFESS
I suggest Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange's "God: His Existence and His Nature." I recommend both volumes, but he brings the foundationsl principles of Thomism to their pinnacle resolution of this dilemma in Volume II.

Well, I've ordered these books. I got them on Kindle first (99 cents each); but I find them hard to read there, so I've ordered the actual books. Let's see if I can have the discipline to read them... My usual (bad) habit is to read only part of Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange's books; but even that is usually worthwhile.

That's wonderful! You will probably want to read both volumes in order, but if you find yourself bored before reaching the most relevant chapter, since you already seem to have a solid grasp of Thomistic thought, you might consider skipping to them first to see if you can make sense of them. You can always go back and read both volumes as context for these chapters.

The most relevant chapters are Volume II, Article III, Section IV. The Special Antinomies Relating to Freedom, qq. 60-65 (but specifically 61 and 65). It explains how God can have infallible foreknowledge of sin without being the cause of it.

But make sure you take your time in reading them. Read them slowly, and reread whatever doesn't make sense at first. I have read these chapters several times and I always discover something I missed. Finally, especially in q. 65, read the footnotes as you go. They bring a great deal of clarity to whatever point he is making at the time. What q. 61 leaves unanswered, q. 65 answers.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on March 21, 2017, 08:52:19 PM
Jean-Herve Nicolas' The Mystery of God's Grace is also a short but fantastic work. If you can read French, there are several works by modern Dominicans (Michal Paluch and Fabio Schmitz) which are superb.

There is also the new Thomism and Predestination volume which sprung forth from a conference which I was lucky enough to present at. The paper that I gave was published in October.

I hope to begin shopping my own doctoral dissertation this summer. ;)
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: INPEFESS on March 22, 2017, 12:30:28 PM
Jean-Herve Nicolas' The Mystery of God's Grace is also a short but fantastic work. If you can read French, there are several works by modern Dominicans (Michal Paluch and Fabio Schmitz) which are superb.

There is also the new Thomism and Predestination volume which sprung forth from a conference which I was lucky enough to present at. The paper that I gave was published in October.

I hope to begin shopping my own doctoral dissertation this summer. ;)

Interesting. What is the topic of your dissertation?
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on March 22, 2017, 07:06:14 PM
The 20th century intra-Thomistic discussion on these issues (physical premotion, permission of sin, predestination, and reprobation). It takes up a number of figures, including Banez, Garrigou, Marin-Sola, Maritain, Lonergan, etc.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: INPEFESS on March 24, 2017, 02:05:20 PM
The 20th century intra-Thomistic discussion on these issues (physical premotion, permission of sin, predestination, and reprobation). It takes up a number of figures, including Banez, Garrigou, Marin-Sola, Maritain, Lonergan, etc.

Wonderful! I would love to read it.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on April 03, 2017, 01:00:29 AM
Jean-Herve Nicolas' The Mystery of God's Grace is also a short but fantastic work. If you can read French, there are several works by modern Dominicans (Michal Paluch and Fabio Schmitz) which are superb.

There is also the new Thomism and Predestination volume which sprung forth from a conference which I was lucky enough to present at. The paper that I gave was published in October.

I hope to begin shopping my own doctoral dissertation this summer. ;)

So was this the conference schedule https://www.avemaria.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/conference-schedule.pdf , and this the book that came of it https://amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1932589791/hnetreviews-20/ref=smi_www_rco2_go_smi_2609328962?_encoding=UTF8&camp=2025&dev-t=mason-wrapper&ie=UTF8&link_code=xm2 ?

I wish I had infinite time or a lot more discipline to peruse these works and yours... (a little more intelligence and a better memory might also come in handy).

Maybe I can read The Mystery of God's Grace.  I did finally read Predestination but I wish I could comprehend and remember it better.

In the mean time, God: His Existence and His Nature Vol II is sitting on my table so I should get to q60-q65 that INPEFESS especially recommended soon!
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on April 08, 2017, 05:35:27 PM
Jean-Herve Nicolas' The Mystery of God's Grace is also a short but fantastic work. If you can read French, there are several works by modern Dominicans (Michal Paluch and Fabio Schmitz) which are superb.

There is also the new Thomism and Predestination volume which sprung forth from a conference which I was lucky enough to present at. The paper that I gave was published in October.

I hope to begin shopping my own doctoral dissertation this summer. ;)

So was this the conference schedule https://www.avemaria.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/conference-schedule.pdf , and this the book that came of it https://amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1932589791/hnetreviews-20/ref=smi_www_rco2_go_smi_2609328962?_encoding=UTF8&camp=2025&dev-t=mason-wrapper&ie=UTF8&link_code=xm2 ?

Yes.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on April 19, 2017, 09:35:35 PM
The Thomist equivalent of the atheist complaint of the "Courtier's Reply".  For my response, I'll use the unforgettable words of Judge Judy: Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining.

... I suggest that each poster who disputes the system study the explanations of the famous Thomists who explicate this appararent conflict beginning with the very foundational principles of Aristotelian potency and act all the way to the mysterious solution to this dilemma.

We already know what they say - Banez, Garrigou-Lagrange, et al., get quoted all the time on these types of threads - and their "solution" is to take refuge in "mystery".

Quote
For serious students who truly want to understand, not to disagree; who will study as though they don't already know, not as one who already knows it all; who don't have biases for or against Thomism, and so will embrace it if they find themselves to have misunderstood it; who don't care about their admitting they were wrong, but only want the truth--to them I suggest Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange's "God: His Existence and His Nature." I recommend both volumes, but he brings the foundationsl principles of Thomism to their pinnacle resolution of this dilemma in Volume II.

Ah yes; everyone who disagrees with Thomism suffers from a moral defect.  But there is no possibility Thomists might be wrong, dogmatic, misunderstanding things, and/or motivated by other factors than pure desire for the truth, now is there?  There is no possibility Thomists can be, at bottom, not humble searchers for truth, but ideologues?

The blind spot of Thomism is that ontology (which Thomism does a fine job with) does not suffice for a complete description of reality.  Hence it is unable to really deal with this issue.

Quote
In a word, Non Nobis is completely right regarding the mechanical terminology: God determines the will to determine itself to good. Exactly what this means, however, requires a lot of unpacking, and after reading this entire thread, no one has even brought up or mentioned the topics necessary for this unpacking.

The burden is on you and Non Nobis to do such unpacking, since you are the ones making the claim.  And I will put it to you that you can't even get past the starting gate.  So let's start with exactly what it is for God to "determine" something, ontologically speaking.  Is this an accident of God?  No, because God is pure act and therefore has no accidents. OK, so it is God's essence?  Well that would make God's determining something necessary, which would make that something necessary.  A "Cambridge property" of God?  But that would be something outside of God.

Quote
The very idea that it is possible is rejected out of hand as a contradiction.

Because it clearly is.  If God determines the will to something, then the will is already determined to that something (meaning it "must" will that something), and therefore cannot be determined again either by itself or by any other thing - that is a contradiction in terms.

Quote
How God determines the will to determine itself is extremely complex and involves a synthesis of a variety of Aristotelian principles. No one can reject the theory without at least addressing the mechanics, which has yet to be done here. And if it's not done here, I would venture to guess it's because they aren't known.

If you were serious, you'd show how this is done, instead of excoriating everyone else for their supposed lack of knowledge.  Instead, you use the m.o. of an ideologue.

Quote
Again, that is why I urge the sincere student, who doesn't care about what he thought but only cares about what he will think, to avail himself of the numerous sources that explicate this mysterious causal subordination. Then bring that knowledge here. Until then, we can't really get anywhere.

Ah, but "mysterious causal subordination" is different than "determination".
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on April 20, 2017, 12:09:39 AM
Happy Easter, Quaremerepulisti!
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on April 22, 2017, 06:28:35 PM
The Thomist equivalent of the atheist complaint of the "Courtier's Reply".  For my response, I'll use the unforgettable words of Judge Judy: Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining.

... I suggest that each poster who disputes the system study the explanations of the famous Thomists who explicate this appararent conflict beginning with the very foundational principles of Aristotelian potency and act all the way to the mysterious solution to this dilemma.

We already know what they say - Banez, Garrigou-Lagrange, et al., get quoted all the time on these types of threads - and their "solution" is to take refuge in "mystery".

Quote
For serious students who truly want to understand, not to disagree; who will study as though they don't already know, not as one who already knows it all; who don't have biases for or against Thomism, and so will embrace it if they find themselves to have misunderstood it; who don't care about their admitting they were wrong, but only want the truth--to them I suggest Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange's "God: His Existence and His Nature." I recommend both volumes, but he brings the foundationsl principles of Thomism to their pinnacle resolution of this dilemma in Volume II.

Ah yes; everyone who disagrees with Thomism suffers from a moral defect.  But there is no possibility Thomists might be wrong, dogmatic, misunderstanding things, and/or motivated by other factors than pure desire for the truth, now is there?  There is no possibility Thomists can be, at bottom, not humble searchers for truth, but ideologues?

The blind spot of Thomism is that ontology (which Thomism does a fine job with) does not suffice for a complete description of reality.  Hence it is unable to really deal with this issue.

Quote
In a word, Non Nobis is completely right regarding the mechanical terminology: God determines the will to determine itself to good. Exactly what this means, however, requires a lot of unpacking, and after reading this entire thread, no one has even brought up or mentioned the topics necessary for this unpacking.

The burden is on you and Non Nobis to do such unpacking, since you are the ones making the claim.  And I will put it to you that you can't even get past the starting gate.  So let's start with exactly what it is for God to "determine" something, ontologically speaking.  Is this an accident of God?  No, because God is pure act and therefore has no accidents. OK, so it is God's essence?  Well that would make God's determining something necessary, which would make that something necessary.  A "Cambridge property" of God?  But that would be something outside of God.

Quote
The very idea that it is possible is rejected out of hand as a contradiction.

Because it clearly is.  If God determines the will to something, then the will is already determined to that something (meaning it "must" will that something), and therefore cannot be determined again either by itself or by any other thing - that is a contradiction in terms.

Quote
How God determines the will to determine itself is extremely complex and involves a synthesis of a variety of Aristotelian principles. No one can reject the theory without at least addressing the mechanics, which has yet to be done here. And if it's not done here, I would venture to guess it's because they aren't known.

If you were serious, you'd show how this is done, instead of excoriating everyone else for their supposed lack of knowledge.  Instead, you use the m.o. of an ideologue.

Quote
Again, that is why I urge the sincere student, who doesn't care about what he thought but only cares about what he will think, to avail himself of the numerous sources that explicate this mysterious causal subordination. Then bring that knowledge here. Until then, we can't really get anywhere.

Ah, but "mysterious causal subordination" is different than "determination".

There's more than one sense of "determination" according to the Thomist. It does no good to speaking of the term univocally when that is not how it is employed.

But, the real question here is whether you actually wish to engage in a discussion on these issues or whether your intention is solely to win an argument.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on April 23, 2017, 02:46:16 AM
There's more than one sense of "determination" according to the Thomist. It does no good to speaking of the term univocally when that is not how it is employed.

I wasn't speaking of the term univocally.  And as you well know, I have said many times I accept that attributes of humans are only analogically and not univocally related to attributes of God.

But you don't bother to show how this is even relevant to the topic at hand (nor can you, since it isn't). 

Quote
But, the real question here is whether you actually wish to engage in a discussion on these issues or whether your intention is solely to win an argument.

There must be something (intellectually, morally, or both) wrong with anyone who opposes baroque Thomism on any point.  And that's why it degenerated into an ideology. 

Actually, adherence to Thomism seems all too often to be an excuse for intellectual laziness.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on April 23, 2017, 08:46:19 PM
Are you open to the idea that Thomism could have something meaningful to say or to add, nuance, or perhaps even slightly adjust your views? If not, you're proselytizing here rather than engaging in real and sincere discussion.

I honestly enjoy discussing this topic with you when we're actually doing so sincerely because you have interesting and sometimes penetrating objections. Though I disagree with those objections, I find that kind of intellectual dialogue to be fecund. But, to be completely honest with you, it seems as though you feel personally slighted by Thomism itself, and that makes it nearly impossible to engage with you on a consistent basis.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Gardener on April 24, 2017, 01:09:16 AM
What makes you think he hasn't already looked at those nuances and found them lacking?

Because he objects? Perhaps he objects after already having known the reply to the objection, finding it insufficient?

I think this is what he means by the problem of the Thomists' objection to being objected to. It's like an Indie Rock band fan. "You don't like Jimmy Broom and the Dust Pans?! You must not have heard enough of their stuff." Or, "you obviously have no taste in music." Etc.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on April 24, 2017, 02:44:30 AM
Whenever people speak of "the Thomists" I tend to  think "St. Thomas", since he does seem to say similar things  ;)

I don't know when I'll know enough to say St. Thomas' nuances are lacking.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Gardener on April 24, 2017, 02:55:27 AM
Fr. William Most's book makes the argument that St. Thomas never actually came to a coherent conclusion on the issue of Predestination and Grace. The idea of "Thomism" = Thomas is not correct. There are Thomists who disagree on Thomistic principles' conclusions.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on April 24, 2017, 01:17:04 PM
Are you open to the idea that Thomism could have something meaningful to say or to add, nuance, or perhaps even slightly adjust your views? If not, you're proselytizing here rather than engaging in real and sincere discussion.

Yes, I am open.  But I will put that back on you.  Are you open to the idea that I (or others) could have meaningful things to say or add or nuance that would cause you to perhaps slightly adjust your views?  In my experience, Thomists are never open to the idea they might be wrong on anything, and ascribe their opponents' objections to ignorance or bad will, and too often make the most specious and intellectually unsound arguments in support.  This is proselytization and in fact the m.o. of an ideologue - exactly the same as leftist politicians and materialist evolutionist scientists.  And, in my opinion, it's why things ground to a halt, for a certain willingness to "think outside the box" is necessary for progress.

Quote
But, to be completely honest with you, it seems as though you feel personally slighted by Thomism itself, and that makes it nearly impossible to engage with you on a consistent basis.

And just why shouldn't I feel that way, I would like to know?  It delayed my conversion to the Church for quite some time.  And I am sorry but this is not some nonsense like Protestant claims that Catholics "worship statues" and "forbid to marry", etc.  It was at least reasonable for me to think as I did.  Maybe my experience is somewhat unique, but I am sure I am not the only one.  Just think about how this looks to a prospective convert.

(Glossy brochure, front page) Come into the Church!  God so loved the world He sent His only-begotten Son into it to die for my sins and yours and everyone else's!  Repent and be saved, for the kingdom of God is at hand!  And He gives Himself at every Mass both as Victim and in Holy Communion. (Certain conditions apply.)

(The fine print, at the bottom of the third page) *Salvation is something chosen by God prior to any actions of man, and "negatively reprobates" the majority of mankind, that is, does not choose them for Heaven prior to any action of theirs, which means (for those who reach the use of reason) an eternity in Hell.  This He does in order to better manifest His justice, and to better manifest His mercy and love towards the small minority who are saved.  But God is still Love, for He still wills some good to everyone.

The response: False advertising.  Your "God Who is Love" is a fraud.  He does not will the good of men for their sake, but only for His, even at the cost of the vast majority of men spending eternity in torment.  And that is not love, that is using others for one's own good; love means willing another's good for his sake, not for yours.  Granted human love is only analogically equivalent to God's, but this is using the term in an equivocal sense.

The salesman's indignant retort: How dare you find fault with God???  Can He not do as He wishes or pleases???  And don't you realize we are all "children of wrath" with no opportunity whatsoever for salvation except for the Atoning Death of Christ???

The response: Sorry, I will not worship a tyrant.  Putting lipstick on a pig doesn't make it other than a pig, and merely rendering obeisance to a tyrant doesn't make it a relationship of love.  If God expects my love and service it must be because He has loved me first, in the true sense of the word, and not in name only.


Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on April 24, 2017, 06:14:12 PM
What makes you think he hasn't already looked at those nuances and found them lacking?

Because he objects? Perhaps he objects after already having known the reply to the objection, finding it insufficient?

I think this is what he means by the problem of the Thomists' objection to being objected to. It's like an Indie Rock band fan. "You don't like Jimmy Broom and the Dust Pans?! You must not have heard enough of their stuff." Or, "you obviously have no taste in music." Etc.

It's not that he objects at all. It's that he objects by stating that Thomists are "lazy" or half-witted. He usually doesn't actually get into the speculative territory of his disagreement. He places obstacles to that kind of discussion before it begins.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on April 24, 2017, 06:15:34 PM
Fr. William Most's book makes the argument that St. Thomas never actually came to a coherent conclusion on the issue of Predestination and Grace. The idea of "Thomism" = Thomas is not correct. There are Thomists who disagree on Thomistic principles' conclusions.

Fr. Most has some interesting objections but it seems a bit of a stretch to claim that ST I, q. 23 involves no coherent conclusions.

The vast majority of the theological tradition disagrees with that, even if they think St. Thomas is wrong. In fact, I can't think of another theologian who posits that St. Thomas doesn't really have a theology of predestination. Moreover, he treats it throughout his corpus. It pops up explicitly in De veritate and numerous Scriptural commentaries, and it pops up implicitly at least in ScG and De malo.

There's even a fairly ubiquitous idea (to which I subscribe) that St. Thomas' views of grace and premotion develop and change fairly significantly from his earlier writing in the Scriptum to the last third of his corpus.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on April 24, 2017, 07:08:20 PM
What makes you think he hasn't already looked at those nuances and found them lacking?

Because he objects? Perhaps he objects after already having known the reply to the objection, finding it insufficient?

I think this is what he means by the problem of the Thomists' objection to being objected to. It's like an Indie Rock band fan. "You don't like Jimmy Broom and the Dust Pans?! You must not have heard enough of their stuff." Or, "you obviously have no taste in music." Etc.


It's not that he objects at all. It's that he objects by stating that Thomists are "lazy" or half-witted. He usually doesn't actually get into the speculative territory of his disagreement. He places obstacles to that kind of discussion before it begins.


Oh bullshit.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Gardener on April 24, 2017, 08:23:19 PM
Fr. William Most's book makes the argument that St. Thomas never actually came to a coherent conclusion on the issue of Predestination and Grace. The idea of "Thomism" = Thomas is not correct. There are Thomists who disagree on Thomistic principles' conclusions.

Fr. Most has some interesting objections but it seems a bit of a stretch to claim that ST I, q. 23 involves no coherent conclusions.

The vast majority of the theological tradition disagrees with that, even if they think St. Thomas is wrong. In fact, I can't think of another theologian who posits that St. Thomas doesn't really have a theology of predestination. Moreover, he treats it throughout his corpus. It pops up explicitly in De veritate and numerous Scriptural commentaries, and it pops up implicitly at least in ScG and De malo.

There's even a fairly ubiquitous idea (to which I subscribe) that St. Thomas' views of grace and premotion develop and change fairly significantly from his earlier writing in the Scriptum to the last third of his corpus.

Fr. Most's claim isn't that he never addresses things, but that he seems to have two different approaches (for example the ST for approaching it from one perspective and SCG, Etc. for the other perspective). Fr. Most contends St. Thomas never offers a plainly stated thesis which circles the Salvific Will (one of the Timothy's, cannot recall right now) with the ideas of how he approaches Romans (borrowing from the Augustinian exegesis).

I was under the impression you'd read the book, since you've poopooed his metaphysics before.

Fr. Most uses the same Thomistic texts to reach conclusions disparate from Banezian adherents. If Thomas was so clear, how is this possible?
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: John Lamb on April 25, 2017, 09:21:50 AM
And just why shouldn't I feel that way, I would like to know?  It delayed my conversion to the Church for quite some time.  And I am sorry but this is not some nonsense like Protestant claims that Catholics "worship statues" and "forbid to marry", etc.  It was at least reasonable for me to think as I did.  Maybe my experience is somewhat unique, but I am sure I am not the only one.  Just think about how this looks to a prospective convert.

(Glossy brochure, front page) Come into the Church!  God so loved the world He sent His only-begotten Son into it to die for my sins and yours and everyone else's!  Repent and be saved, for the kingdom of God is at hand!  And He gives Himself at every Mass both as Victim and in Holy Communion. (Certain conditions apply.)

(The fine print, at the bottom of the third page) *Salvation is something chosen by God prior to any actions of man, and "negatively reprobates" the majority of mankind, that is, does not choose them for Heaven prior to any action of theirs, which means (for those who reach the use of reason) an eternity in Hell.  This He does in order to better manifest His justice, and to better manifest His mercy and love towards the small minority who are saved.  But God is still Love, for He still wills some good to everyone.

The response: False advertising.  Your "God Who is Love" is a fraud.  He does not will the good of men for their sake, but only for His, even at the cost of the vast majority of men spending eternity in torment.  And that is not love, that is using others for one's own good; love means willing another's good for his sake, not for yours.  Granted human love is only analogically equivalent to God's, but this is using the term in an equivocal sense.

The salesman's indignant retort: How dare you find fault with God???  Can He not do as He wishes or pleases???  And don't you realize we are all "children of wrath" with no opportunity whatsoever for salvation except for the Atoning Death of Christ???

The response: Sorry, I will not worship a tyrant.  Putting lipstick on a pig doesn't make it other than a pig, and merely rendering obeisance to a tyrant doesn't make it a relationship of love.  If God expects my love and service it must be because He has loved me first, in the true sense of the word, and not in name only.

I think I understand your concerns here. I admit that it is very difficult to explain the doctrine of St. Augustine and St. Thomas on predestination while avoiding making God seem like a capricious monster who chooses favourites and damns the rest, but I think that's more due to the complexity of their teaching (mirroring the complexity of the problem itself, which must be one of the most complex in all theology), than to its falsity or inadequacy. Molinist and Semi-Pelagian explanations of predestination (I am not accusing Molinism of being Semi-Pelagian) avoid making God seem malevolent for picking favourites or allowing millions to suffer in hell forever, but they seem to give man, through his free-will, a certain power over God which seems not to agree with God's being.

Quote from a Thomist blog:

Quote from: iteadthomam
The Catholic Church teaches that there is positive predestination (to salvation) and that man does have free will (i.e., free will was not lost as a consequence of original sin). Predestination, then, means that God chose from all eternity that certain men will USE THEIR FREE WILL to cooperate with His grace and thus merit (in a certain sense) their salvation. But the Church condemns double predestination (which includes predestination to eternal damnation) and teaches that those who are damned are damned because they simply chose to reject God, not because He has predestined them to be damned. In short, the Catholic Church has: single predestination with free will and merit. But this still allows different Catholic theologians to explain how these three facts (single predestination, free will, and merit) fit together:

Thus, Banez affirms everything that the Church teaches (predestination, free will, and merit), but he adds this explanation, taken from St. Thomas Aquinas: God, stands outside of history and is not part of history, is the one who causes all things and, therefore, for a free act to exist, God must cause it. This is the famous "premotion." Thus, all of our acts are BOTH free AND caused by God, and this is not a contradiction. So, in short, Banez has: single predestination with free will, merit, and divine premotion.

Whereas Molina affirms everything that the Church teaches (BOTH predestination AND free will), but he adds this explanation: God is the cause of all things, except man's free will: He only cooperates with free will. But he cooperates with their will because he has a 'scientia media' (i.e., pretty much an 'educated guess') of their future choices: that is, he does not cause human beings to perform salutary acts (acts that will get them to heaven), but only knows who will choose salvation and because of this He cooperates with them to lead them infallibly to salvation. Predestination, then, consists merely in foreknowing the salvation of certain men, and not in infallibly causing their salvation. So, in short, Molina has: single predestination with free will, merit, and mere concurrence.

http://iteadthomam.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/predestination-is-not-in-itself.html

I think the complex part is:

God chose from all eternity that certain men will USE THEIR FREE WILL to cooperate with His grace and thus merit (in a certain sense) their salvation.
(predestination to salvation)

Corollary:

God chose from all eternity that certain men will NOT use their free will to cooperate with His grace and thus merit (in a certain sense) their damnation.
(negative reprobation)

The mystery / philosophical complexity is: how can God choose something, while leaving man's free-will intact? How God can decide that a man will use His free-will in a certain way, without impeding upon its freedom?

But this refutes the objection against Thomism that it makes God out to be a capricious monster, because it's not that God is choosing favourites and damning the rest without any regard to their free-will / merits; rather, it's that God has preordained that some men will use their free-will to damn themselves; so the malice in their will and not in God's.
But the question is: why didn't God preordain it so that more men, or all men, would freely co-operate with His grace and merit salvation? It's this question that has only one answer, the one St. Paul gives: "O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are his judgments, and how unsearchable his ways!"
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Kreuzritter on April 25, 2017, 11:27:03 AM
I've always been more partial to Molinism than Thomism as a truly successful attempt to reconcile God's nature and human free will. I think every other explanation ultimately fails by robbing God of His power or reducing free will to a mere word. But then I've always greatly preferred Plato to that crypto-materialist Aristotle too.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Kreuzritter on April 25, 2017, 11:45:17 AM
God, stands outside of history and is not part of history, is the one who causes all things and, therefore, for a free act to exist, God must cause it. This is the famous "premotion." Thus, all of our acts are BOTH free AND caused by God, and this is not a contradiction.

In what sense? In the sense I read it, it is a contradiction, and simply saying it is not so doesn't prove that it isn't. Will is emphatically not FREE in any sense I can think of if it designed by its creator to make pre-determined choices or is not causa sui in its own acts. As I said, all of the theories besides Molinism which err on the side of God's power reduce "freedom" to a mere word. Yes, one can talk of square circles too, but the term is pure nonsense. What do you even mean by "free" then? I'm with Wittgenstein in seeing a horrible game of semantics in much of man's philosophical discourse, and I'm seeing it here. Saying "it's a mystery" or somethign of the sort is not going to cut it in philosophy. Yes, yes, something like the Trinity is a "mystery", but one ousia in three hypostatses is a statement with well-defined terms that do not imply a contradiction to the intellect that needs to be explaiend away by an appeal to "mystery" cloaked in profound-soundign language. Mysteries don't trump the principle of the excluded middle.

Regardless, it's precisely BECAUSE god is omnipotent that he has the power to create such a mysterious thing as a will that is truly free and precisely BECAUSE he is omniscient that he has the foreknowledge of every potential act of thsi free will to organise His creation around it in such a way as to achieve His ends.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on April 25, 2017, 12:28:57 PM
Are you open to the idea that Thomism could have something meaningful to say or to add, nuance, or perhaps even slightly adjust your views? If not, you're proselytizing here rather than engaging in real and sincere discussion.

Yes, I am open.  But I will put that back on you.  Are you open to the idea that I (or others) could have meaningful things to say or add or nuance that would cause you to perhaps slightly adjust your views?  In my experience, Thomists are never open to the idea they might be wrong on anything, and ascribe their opponents' objections to ignorance or bad will, and too often make the most specious and intellectually unsound arguments in support.  This is proselytization and in fact the m.o. of an ideologue - exactly the same as leftist politicians and materialist evolutionist scientists.  And, in my opinion, it's why things ground to a halt, for a certain willingness to "think outside the box" is necessary for progress.

I am always open to the idea that I may be wrong on any issue which is not de fide, and St. Thomas' views on grace and predestination are not explicitly de fide. Moreover, I have (I think) complimented you numerous times on these threads as giving penetrating and important objections. If I wasn't interested in what you had to say, I wouldn't continue to engage with you.

Quote
But, to be completely honest with you, it seems as though you feel personally slighted by Thomism itself, and that makes it nearly impossible to engage with you on a consistent basis.

And just why shouldn't I feel that way, I would like to know?  It delayed my conversion to the Church for quite some time.  And I am sorry but this is not some nonsense like Protestant claims that Catholics "worship statues" and "forbid to marry", etc.  It was at least reasonable for me to think as I did.  Maybe my experience is somewhat unique, but I am sure I am not the only one.  Just think about how this looks to a prospective convert.

(Glossy brochure, front page) Come into the Church!  God so loved the world He sent His only-begotten Son into it to die for my sins and yours and everyone else's!  Repent and be saved, for the kingdom of God is at hand!  And He gives Himself at every Mass both as Victim and in Holy Communion. (Certain conditions apply.)

(The fine print, at the bottom of the third page) *Salvation is something chosen by God prior to any actions of man, and "negatively reprobates" the majority of mankind, that is, does not choose them for Heaven prior to any action of theirs, which means (for those who reach the use of reason) an eternity in Hell.  This He does in order to better manifest His justice, and to better manifest His mercy and love towards the small minority who are saved.  But God is still Love, for He still wills some good to everyone.

The response: False advertising.  Your "God Who is Love" is a fraud.  He does not will the good of men for their sake, but only for His, even at the cost of the vast majority of men spending eternity in torment.  And that is not love, that is using others for one's own good; love means willing another's good for his sake, not for yours.  Granted human love is only analogically equivalent to God's, but this is using the term in an equivocal sense.

Suffice it for now to state that, this isn't false advertising. It's a difference between Catholics regarding the approach to theology and catechesis. The implication that you're making is that Thomists intentionally deceive people as to what they believe. I don't think that that is true.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on April 25, 2017, 12:30:44 PM
It's not that he objects at all. It's that he objects by stating that Thomists are "lazy" or half-witted. He usually doesn't actually get into the speculative territory of his disagreement. He places obstacles to that kind of discussion before it begins.
Oh bullshit.

I mean, just a few posts ago you said this:

Actually, adherence to Thomism seems all too often to be an excuse for intellectual laziness.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on April 25, 2017, 12:36:51 PM
Fr. Most uses the same Thomistic texts to reach conclusions disparate from Banezian adherents. If Thomas was so clear, how is this possible?

This is like asking how it's possible for Augustine to be so clear if both Protestants and Catholics read him. I mean, Rahner considers himself a Thomist. Does the existence of Rahner alone prove that St. Thomas is ambiguous?

The reason for much of the disparity is that St. Thomas' writings on the matter depend upon the whole of the scientia which he has built in his corpus. He doesn't, for example, describe the whole of the mechanism behind predestination within the articles which described it. For that, one must pull from the treatise on grace, what he has to say about motion in the Prima Pars and in the ScG, some varied comments on predestination in De veritate, his comments on evil in De malo, etc.

Consider Bernard Lonergan as another example. Lonergan's entire treatment of St. Thomas on grace and predestination is anti-Banezian and significantly different from every other Catholic theologian in history. What is the source of such a novel account? It begins with a variation in how he understands the property of operation on the metaphysical level.

These are complicated matters. St. Thomas did not write in such a way that he explicitly answers objections from ideas which had not yet been developed, so there is always room for disagreement. That doesn't necessarily say anything about St. Thomas' writing.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on April 25, 2017, 01:25:05 PM
I think I understand your concerns here. I admit that it is very difficult to explain the doctrine of St. Augustine and St. Thomas on predestination while avoiding making God seem like a capricious monster who chooses favourites and damns the rest, but I think that's more due to the complexity of their teaching (mirroring the complexity of the problem itself, which must be one of the most complex in all theology), than to its falsity or inadequacy.

OTOH, maybe it really is false or inadequate.  Maybe the reason it is "very difficult" to explain the doctrine of St. Augustine and St. Thomas on predestination without avoiding making God seem like a capricious monster is because in fact that conclusion is entailed by the doctrine.

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Molinist and Semi-Pelagian explanations of predestination (I am not accusing Molinism of being Semi-Pelagian) avoid making God seem malevolent for picking favourites or allowing millions to suffer in hell forever, but they seem to give man, through his free-will, a certain power over God which seems not to agree with God's being.

Not to mention the philosophically incoherent concept of scientia media (in Molinism).  So maybe it's time for a third way, and to critically examine the assumptions which underlie both Thomism and Molinism.

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Quote from a Thomist blog:

The problem here, as it often is, is that terms are thrown around without them being precisely defined: specifically, how they apply to God, as opposed to how they apply to humans in the ordinary use of language.  Therefore, implicitly they are applied in a univocal way to God, and as we know, they only apply analogically.

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God chose from all eternity that certain men will USE THEIR FREE WILL to cooperate with His grace and thus merit (in a certain sense) their salvation.
(predestination to salvation)

What does it mean for God to "choose"?  What does it mean for Him to do so "from all eternity"?  And by "what does it mean", I mean from the ontological viewpoint.

And finally for men, what does it mean to "cooperate with grace"?  Is this a separate act of the will?  If not, then what?  Until all this is precisely fleshed out, everything that follows is going to be a mass of confusion, as we see.

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Corollary:

God chose from all eternity that certain men will NOT use their free will to cooperate with His grace and thus merit (in a certain sense) their damnation.
(negative reprobation)

Well, to be technical, this is positive reprobation: negative reprobation is that God did not choose from eternity that certain men will use their free will...

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The mystery / philosophical complexity is: how can God choose something, while leaving man's free-will intact? How God can decide that a man will use His free-will in a certain way, without impeding upon its freedom?

And the answer is that this impossible, using the term "choose" and "decide" univocally with respect to God in the same way these terms are meant with men.  And I say: this is not a mystery.  It is not a complexity.  It is a contradiction.  If God has decided or determined "from eternity" that I am going to the store, then I, by definition, cannot be the one deciding or determining it, since it has already been determined.

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But this refutes the objection against Thomism that it makes God out to be a capricious monster, because it's not that God is choosing favourites and damning the rest without any regard to their free-will / merits; rather, it's that God has preordained that some men will use their free-will to damn themselves; so the malice in their will and not in God's.

No, it doesn't refute the objection, any more than putting lipstick on a pig makes it other than a pig, or that claiming a used-car salesman isn't in reality such, but a seller of "pre-owned vehicles".  This defense of Thomism is constantly made, and it is entirely intellectually vacuous.  God's choice is ontologically prior to free will / merits.  Therefore, He is choosing to save or not save (which He knows entails damnation for adults) without regard to them.

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But the question is: why didn't God preordain it so that more men, or all men, would freely co-operate with His grace and merit salvation? It's this question that has only one answer, the one St. Paul gives: "O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are his judgments, and how unsearchable his ways!"

No, this is not an answer, simply an evasion.  The real answer is that He does not, in reality, love them.

Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on April 25, 2017, 01:37:25 PM
I mean, just a few posts ago you said this:

Yeah, I know.  That doesn't mean that I hardly ever discuss the speculative territory of the disagreement.  I've asked the following questions time and time again, and they remain unanswered by Thomists.  I believe the Eastern charge of an unrecognized anthropomorphism(cf. David Bentley Hart) in this aspect of Thomism to be correct.

What EXACTLY is it for God to "determine", "decide", "choose", "cause", or "will", and for Him to do so "from all eternity" (from an ontological standpoint)?  What EXACTLY is different between two worlds where God wills X and doesn't will X, (other than the obvious fact X exists in the one and not the other)?

Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on April 25, 2017, 01:42:11 PM
I am always open to the idea that I may be wrong on any issue which is not de fide, and St. Thomas' views on grace and predestination are not explicitly de fide. Moreover, I have (I think) complimented you numerous times on these threads as giving penetrating and important objections. If I wasn't interested in what you had to say, I wouldn't continue to engage with you.

OK good.

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Suffice it for now to state that, this isn't false advertising. It's a difference between Catholics regarding the approach to theology and catechesis. The implication that you're making is that Thomists intentionally deceive people as to what they believe. I don't think that that is true.

No, the implication is that apologetics is contradicted by theology, which either makes apologetics false advertising or theology false.

Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on April 25, 2017, 01:48:30 PM
I mean, just a few posts ago you said this:

Yeah, I know.  That doesn't mean that I hardly ever discuss the speculative territory of the disagreement.  I've asked the following questions time and time again, and they remain unanswered by Thomists.  I believe the Eastern charge of an unrecognized anthropomorphism(cf. David Bentley Hart) in this aspect of Thomism to be correct.

What EXACTLY is it for God to "determine", "decide", "choose", "cause", or "will", and for Him to do so "from all eternity" (from an ontological standpoint)?  What EXACTLY is different between two worlds where God wills X and doesn't will X, (other than the obvious fact X exists in the one and not the other)?

See, I think that this critique is a good one (though I disagre with it), and we've discussed it before. It requires that we make a distinction between the divine will and the object of the willing. For God, all created objects of the will are ad extra precisely because there are no accidents in actus purus.

I would here respond by stating that DBH's critique seems to me to be overly anthropomorphizing God because it does not recognize the great difference between a divine and a human mover. Lonergan misses this point as well, but from the other direction. He states that there can be no difference between Peter sitting and Peter not sitting because he is placing the divine mechanism of operation into the human agent. DBH, missing the same distinction, creates a critique wherein the difference between being potentially moving and actually moving applies to God within the Thomistic system.

I think that this is an especially impossible objection for a practicing Christian to hold given that the objection, if tenable, renders any necessary relation of the creature to God to transgress the divine simplicity. This would, of course, include the very act of creation. One begins to ask how it might be the case that God is unaltered when He creates vs. does not create the universe. Either God can cause ad extra without a change in Himself or He cannot. It hardly makes a difference whether that causation is creation or movement. The type of causation is accidental to the critique itself.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on April 25, 2017, 01:49:12 PM
I am always open to the idea that I may be wrong on any issue which is not de fide, and St. Thomas' views on grace and predestination are not explicitly de fide. Moreover, I have (I think) complimented you numerous times on these threads as giving penetrating and important objections. If I wasn't interested in what you had to say, I wouldn't continue to engage with you.

OK good.

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Suffice it for now to state that, this isn't false advertising. It's a difference between Catholics regarding the approach to theology and catechesis. The implication that you're making is that Thomists intentionally deceive people as to what they believe. I don't think that that is true.

No, the implication is that apologetics is contradicted by theology, which either makes apologetics false advertising or theology false.

Well, there have been a lot of bad apologists. This is due, in large part, to the (at least recent) split between apologetics and speculative theology.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on April 26, 2017, 03:57:39 AM
Well, there have been a lot of bad apologists. This is due, in large part, to the (at least recent) split between apologetics and speculative theology.

OK, is it also maybe possible there have been a lot of bad theologians?
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on April 26, 2017, 04:14:49 AM
See, I think that this critique is a good one (though I disagre with it), and we've discussed it before. It requires that we make a distinction between the divine will and the object of the willing. For God, all created objects of the will are ad extra precisely because there are no accidents in actus purus.

This is equivocation on the terms "object of the willing" or "created objects of the will".  You use them to mean "God's willing X" when you want to promote God as First Cause, but you use them to simply mean X when you want to evade arguments based on X being necessary from Divine simplicity.

What this really requires is that you make a distinction between God's will (which is identical to God's existence, per Divine simplicity) and God's willing X (not to be conflated with X).  Fine.  But what, then, is God's willing X?  It can't be His existence (His being actus purus), with the need to make such distinction.  And it can't be an accident.  But if you say it's ad extra then it's something outside of God and not "God's" in any usual definition of the term.  And, if "God's willing X" is First Cause of X, but "God's willing X" is not God, then God is not First Cause and the Five Ways just ended up in the Recycle Bin.

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DBH, missing the same distinction, creates a critique wherein the difference between being potentially moving and actually moving applies to God within the Thomistic system.

OK, but Thomism has not described precisely what the distinction between God moving and God not moving is.  Because it can't, because in Thomism there are no categories of reality beyond actuality and potency.

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I think that this is an especially impossible objection for a practicing Christian to hold given that the objection, if tenable, renders any necessary relation of the creature to God to transgress the divine simplicity.

Unless you take Perry Robinson's tack and go Orthodox and deny simplicity and embrace essence-energies.

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One begins to ask how it might be the case that God is unaltered when He creates vs. does not create the universe. Either God can cause ad extra without a change in Himself or He cannot. It hardly makes a difference whether that causation is creation or movement. The type of causation is accidental to the critique itself.

Yeah, one begins to ask that, and realizes Thomism doesn't have the answer, even though it must be true.  All Thomism can do is proclaim that it isn't true.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: John Lamb on April 26, 2017, 07:46:33 AM
But what, then, is God's willing X?  It can't be His existence (His being actus purus), with the need to make such distinction.

God does will X, Y, Z through one simple act of will which is identical to His existence, as all X, Y, Z, etc., are in Him as one: “the material immaterially and the many unitedly."

Quote from: St. Thomas
Thereby it can be shown, however, that in willing Himself God also wills other things.

For to whom it belongs to win the end principally, to him it belongs to will the things that are ordered to the end for the sake of the end. Now, God Himself is the ultimate end of things, as appears somewhat from what has been said. Hence, because He wills Himself to be, He likewise wills other things, which are ordered to Him as to the end.

...

Moreover, will accompanies intellect. But by His intellect God principally understands Himself, and He understands other things in Himself. In the same way, therefore, He principally wills Himself, and wills all other things in willing Himself.

...

From this result it follows that God wills Himself and other things by one act of will.

Again, since God wills Himself always, if He wills Himself and other things by different acts it will follow that there are at once two acts of will in Him. This is impossible, since one simple power does not have at once two operations.

Furthermore, in every act of the will the object willed is to the one willing as a mover to the moved. If, then, there be some action of the divine will, by which God wills things other than Himself, which is diverse from the action by which He wills Himself, there will be in Him some other mover of the divine will. This is impossible.

Moreover, God’s willing is His being, as has been proved. But in God there is only one being. Therefore, there is in Him only one willing.

Again, willing belongs to God according as He is intelligent. Therefore, just as by one act He understands Himself and other things, in so far as His essence is the exemplar of all things, so by one act He wills Himself and other things, in so far as His goodness is the likeness of all goodness.

...

From this it follows that the multitude of the objects of the will is not opposed to the unity and simplicity of the divine substance.

For acts are distinguished according to their objects. If, then, the many objects that God wills caused a multitude in Him, it would follow that there was not in Him solely one operation of the will. This is against what has been proved above.

Again, it has been shown that God wills other things in so far as He wills His own goodness. Hence, other things are to His will in the manner in which they are comprehended by His goodness. But all things in His goodness are one, since other things are in Him according to His way, namely, “the material immaterially and the many unitedly,” as appears from what has been said. It remains, then, that the multitude of the objects of the will does not multiply the divine substance.

Moreover, the divine intellect and will are of an equal simplicity, for both are the divine substance, as has been proved. But the multitude of intellectual objects does not cause a multitude in the divine essence, nor a composition in the divine intellect. Neither, therefore, does a multitude of the objects of the will cause either a diversity in the divine essence or a composition in the divine will

...

But, if the divine will of necessity wills the divine goodness and the divine being, it might seem to someone that it wills of necessity other things as well, since God wills all other things in willing His own goodness, as was proved above. Nevertheless, if we consider the matter correctly, it appears that He does not will other things necessarily.

For God wills other things as ordered to the end of His goodness. But the will is not directed to what is for the sake of the end if the end can be without it. For, on the basis of his intention to heal, a doctor does not necessarily have to give to a sick person the medicine without which the sick person can nevertheless be healed. Since, then, the divine goodness can be without other things, and, indeed, is in no way increased by other things, it is under no necessity to will other things from the fact of willing its own goodness.

...

Moreover, God, in willing His own goodness, wills things other than Himself to be in so far as they participate in His goodness. But, since the divine goodness is infinite, it can be participated in infinite ways, and in ways other than it is participated in by the creatures that now exist. if, then, as a result of willing His own goodness, God necessarily willed the things that participate in it, it would follow that He would will the existence of an infinity of creatures participating in His goodness in an infinity of ways. This is patently false, because, if He willed them, they would be, since His will is the principle of being for things, as will be shown later on. Therefore, God does not necessarily will even the things that now exist.
.


Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Kreuzritter on April 26, 2017, 11:08:25 AM
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What this really requires is that you make a distinction between God's will (which is identical to God's existence, per Divine simplicity) and God's willing X (not to be conflated with X).  Fine.  But what, then, is God's willing X?  It can't be His existence (His being actus purus), with the need to make such distinction.  And it can't be an accident.  But if you say it's ad extra then it's something outside of God and not "God's" in any usual definition of the term.  And, if "God's willing X" is First Cause of X, but "God's willing X" is not God, then God is not First Cause and the Five Ways just ended up in the Recycle Bin.

This is a Scheinproblem arising from a falsche Verdinglichung. Why are we treating acts as though they were things?

Why even restrict the question to the will? What about perception? What about comprehension? Does God's perception contradict actus purus? Does His comphrehension contradict divine simplicity? If not, must they not be God's "in any usual definition of the term"?

What is perceived is not within me; I perceive it. What is comphrehened is not within me; I comprehend it. And what is willed is not within me; I will it. Yet my peceiving, comprehending, and willing are my own, and not the perceiving, nor the comprehending, nor the willing is a thing.

ACTS are not things that they might be causes; AGENTS who act are causes.

Not "God's willing X causes X", but God, in his willing X, causes X. An agents acts, his acting drives a process taking something from one state to another, and I end with the effect of which I call the agent the efficient cause.

The problem is all in your imagination.

Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on April 26, 2017, 12:44:21 PM
Well, there have been a lot of bad apologists. This is due, in large part, to the (at least recent) split between apologetics and speculative theology.

OK, is it also maybe possible there have been a lot of bad theologians?

Hah. I don't think that there's any question about that!
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on April 26, 2017, 12:59:58 PM
See, I think that this critique is a good one (though I disagre with it), and we've discussed it before. It requires that we make a distinction between the divine will and the object of the willing. For God, all created objects of the will are ad extra precisely because there are no accidents in actus purus.

This is equivocation on the terms "object of the willing" or "created objects of the will".  You use them to mean "God's willing X" when you want to promote God as First Cause, but you use them to simply mean X when you want to evade arguments based on X being necessary from Divine simplicity.

What this really requires is that you make a distinction between God's will (which is identical to God's existence, per Divine simplicity) and God's willing X (not to be conflated with X).  Fine.  But what, then, is God's willing X?  It can't be His existence (His being actus purus), with the need to make such distinction.  And it can't be an accident.  But if you say it's ad extra then it's something outside of God and not "God's" in any usual definition of the term.  And, if "God's willing X" is First Cause of X, but "God's willing X" is not God, then God is not First Cause and the Five Ways just ended up in the Recycle Bin.

No, I deny the consequent. Unlike in the created agent, which moves from being potentially moving X from actually moving X, no such movement takes place in God. I recognize that this is an absurdity when considered according to created agency, but divine agency doesn't work like created agency given the fact that God is actus purus. It's a kind of motion which reduces nothing potential in the mover. The unification of "God wills x" with the divine nature is an anthropomorphizing of the divine nature. That God wills unceasingly is in accord with God's nature. That X comes about when He wills it is a corollary of the divine simplicity only under the condition that He wills X. It places no necessity in regard to the divine simplicity that He wills X at all because the object of the movement is entirely ad extra. Again, I'm not stating that it is entirely possible for us to fully apprehend what it means to will entirely ad extra because that is entirely beyond human experience, just as all of the divine perfections are.


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DBH, missing the same distinction, creates a critique wherein the difference between being potentially moving and actually moving applies to God within the Thomistic system.

OK, but Thomism has not described precisely what the distinction between God moving and God not moving is.  Because it can't, because in Thomism there are no categories of reality beyond actuality and potency.

It depends upon what we mean by divine motion. Do we mean motion as act? In that case, the distinction is the distinction between God existing and God not existing. If to be God is to be I AM (actus purus) then a God which is not in act is a nothingness, the opposite of God.

If by motion we mean something in the moved, (which is precisely what Thomists claim premotion is) then there is absolutely no difference between God moving and God not moving, which Lonergan points out well, because, in this particular case, the movement implies no change in the mover.

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One begins to ask how it might be the case that God is unaltered when He creates vs. does not create the universe. Either God can cause ad extra without a change in Himself or He cannot. It hardly makes a difference whether that causation is creation or movement. The type of causation is accidental to the critique itself.

Yeah, one begins to ask that, and realizes Thomism doesn't have the answer, even though it must be true.  All Thomism can do is proclaim that it isn't true.

I propose that the objection which you are giving (which is indeed an intelligent one) is, nonetheless, not a real objection given the difference between human and divine willing. If the objection attacks not just Thomistic premotion but also the traditional Christian idea of creatio then perhaps it is the objection which is wanting.

In all fairness, to claim that the objection is a true one, the one making the objection ought to be able to show how the objection does not destroy theistic creation itself. It seems to me that there are only these two options:

a) the divine simplicity can be preserved in the face of creation but not in the face of Thomistic premotion.

OR

b) the divine simplicity cannot be preserved in the face of creation nor Thomistic premotion.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on April 26, 2017, 01:40:07 PM
God does will X, Y, Z through one simple act of will which is identical to His existence, as all X, Y, Z, etc., are in Him as one: “the material immaterially and the many unitedly."

But if God's willing X, Y, Z is identical to His existence, and God's existence is necessary, then God's willing X, Y, and Z is necessary, and therefore X, Y, and Z are necessary.

This argument is valid, and sound given the premises.  To be clear, this is not a necessity of supposition but an absolute necessity being talked about here.

Since Thomism posits X, Y, and Z are not necessary absolutely, it is caught in a logical contradiction.

Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on April 26, 2017, 01:50:42 PM
This is a Scheinproblem arising from a falsche Verdinglichung. Why are we treating acts as though they were things?

Well, they are either things or accidents, in Thomism.  If you are trying to argue that, in fact, there is more to reality then potency and act then you are agreeing with me and against Thomism.

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Yet my peceiving, comprehending, and willing are my own, and not the perceiving, nor the comprehending, nor the willing is a thing.

Fine, but my willing of this or that is an accident of me, in Thomism.

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ACTS are not things that they might be causes; AGENTS who act are causes.

Adopt agent causality all you wish, but it still the remains the case that the agent must be moved from potentially acting to actually acting.

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Not "God's willing X causes X", but God, in his willing X, causes X. An agents acts, his acting drives a process taking something from one state to another, and I end with the effect of which I call the agent the efficient cause.

The problem is all in your imagination.

You don't even understand the problem.  Is God's willing X identical to God, and is that identical to God causing X?

Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on April 26, 2017, 02:10:24 PM
No, I deny the consequent. Unlike in the created agent, which moves from being potentially moving X from actually moving X, no such movement takes place in God. I recognize that this is an absurdity when considered according to created agency, but divine agency doesn't work like created agency given the fact that God is actus purus. It's a kind of motion which reduces nothing potential in the mover.

So it's a quasi-motion, God's willing X is a quasi-accident and the possibility of God's willing Y (even though He does not) is a quasi-potential.  Which means, there is more to reality than act and potency.  This is the point I have been attempting to make the whole time.

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The unification of "God wills x" with the divine nature is an anthropomorphizing of the divine nature.

Yes, but it is a logical consequence of insisting act and potency are the only categories of what is, combined with Divine simplicity.

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That God wills unceasingly is in accord with God's nature. That X comes about when He wills it is a corollary of the divine simplicity only under the condition that He wills X.

His willing X must be either act (which means identical to God and therefore necessary), or accident (which means God has potency) or something else.

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It places no necessity in regard to the divine simplicity that He wills X at all because the object of the movement is entirely ad extra. Again, I'm not stating that it is entirely possible for us to fully apprehend what it means to will entirely ad extra because that is entirely beyond human experience, just as all of the divine perfections are.

That does not give the right to posit contradictions.


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If by motion we mean something in the moved, (which is precisely what Thomists claim premotion is) then there is absolutely no difference between God moving and God not moving, which Lonergan points out well, because, in this particular case, the movement implies no change in the mover.

In that case Thomist premotion is meaningless and devoid of informational content (tautology and circular).  It explains differences in the moved due to "Divine premotion", but then when you ask exactly what "Divine premotion" is, it is actually nothing about God, but something different in the moved.

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I propose that the objection which you are giving (which is indeed an intelligent one) is, nonetheless, not a real objection given the difference between human and divine willing.

That of course has to be the answer, since human willing is only analogous to Divine willing, and human causation is only analogous to Divine causation.  This is exactly the answer David Bentley Hart gives.  God is First Cause of everything by nature, but this causation is non-deterministic, allowing complete room for human freedom.  God causing X is a quasi-accident, and thus God is not changed ontologically when human X decides to do Y.

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If the objection attacks not just Thomistic premotion but also the traditional Christian idea of creatio then perhaps it is the objection which is wanting.

In all fairness, to claim that the objection is a true one, the one making the objection ought to be able to show how the objection does not destroy theistic creation itself. It seems to me that there are only these two options:

Why is that?  The objection attacks the Thomist idea of creation and promotion, not necessarily traditional Christian one.

Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on April 30, 2017, 01:29:48 PM
No, I deny the consequent. Unlike in the created agent, which moves from being potentially moving X from actually moving X, no such movement takes place in God. I recognize that this is an absurdity when considered according to created agency, but divine agency doesn't work like created agency given the fact that God is actus purus. It's a kind of motion which reduces nothing potential in the mover.

So it's a quasi-motion, God's willing X is a quasi-accident and the possibility of God's willing Y (even though He does not) is a quasi-potential.  Which means, there is more to reality than act and potency.  This is the point I have been attempting to make the whole time.

That doesn't follow at all. At the very least, you're making a leap from motions ad extra to quasi-motions which you've not yet explained.

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The unification of "God wills x" with the divine nature is an anthropomorphizing of the divine nature.

Yes, but it is a logical consequence of insisting act and potency are the only categories of what is, combined with Divine simplicity.

Then, again, creation is not entirely distinct from God's nature and therefore God requires to create, which is essentially unanimously denied by the entire theological tradition.

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If by motion we mean something in the moved, (which is precisely what Thomists claim premotion is) then there is absolutely no difference between God moving and God not moving, which Lonergan points out well, because, in this particular case, the movement implies no change in the mover.

In that case Thomist premotion is meaningless and devoid of informational content (tautology and circular).  It explains differences in the moved due to "Divine premotion", but then when you ask exactly what "Divine premotion" is, it is actually nothing about God, but something different in the moved.

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I propose that the objection which you are giving (which is indeed an intelligent one) is, nonetheless, not a real objection given the difference between human and divine willing.

That of course has to be the answer, since human willing is only analogous to Divine willing, and human causation is only analogous to Divine causation.  This is exactly the answer David Bentley Hart gives.  God is First Cause of everything by nature, but this causation is non-deterministic, allowing complete room for human freedom.  God causing X is a quasi-accident, and thus God is not changed ontologically when human X decides to do Y.

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If the objection attacks not just Thomistic premotion but also the traditional Christian idea of creatio then perhaps it is the objection which is wanting.

In all fairness, to claim that the objection is a true one, the one making the objection ought to be able to show how the objection does not destroy theistic creation itself. It seems to me that there are only these two options:

Why is that?  The objection attacks the Thomist idea of creation and promotion, not necessarily traditional Christian one.

1) Banez posits only a conditional necessity, and if by "determined" you mean that it is not free (which seems to be the implication), then even that characterization is incorrect.

2) The objection posits that any premotive effect of the divine will does not affect the divine nature indifferently. In other words, that God wills X vs. not willing X posits some difference in God. What you have not answered is how the same objection does not apply to creation. Why is it that God creating X vs. not creating X does not posit some difference in God? Indeed, creatio would fall under the genus of the divine volition such that creation is simply a kind of divine willing and therefore your objection should apply equally to premotion and creation.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on April 30, 2017, 03:52:13 PM
No, I deny the consequent. Unlike in the created agent, which moves from being potentially moving X from actually moving X, no such movement takes place in God. I recognize that this is an absurdity when considered according to created agency, but divine agency doesn't work like created agency given the fact that God is actus purus. It's a kind of motion which reduces nothing potential in the mover.

So it's a quasi-motion, God's willing X is a quasi-accident and the possibility of God's willing Y (even though He does not) is a quasi-potential.  Which means, there is more to reality than act and potency.  This is the point I have been attempting to make the whole time.

That doesn't follow at all. At the very least, you're making a leap from motions ad extra to quasi-motions which you've not yet explained.

Look, you just said Divine agency (or "motion ad extra") is a "kind of motion" (and by that you don't mean a subset of motion but something which resembles motion but really isn't, since it reduces nothing potential in the mover) which means it is a quasi-motion: that is the definition of the term.  I put it to you that you can't define "motion ad extra" as it pertains to God in any coherent manner other than a quasi-motion which is something distinct from act or potency: and so I charge that it is just verbiage designed to conceal the contradiction inherent in Thomism.

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The unification of "God wills x" with the divine nature is an anthropomorphizing of the divine nature.

Yes, but it is a logical consequence of insisting act and potency are the only categories of what is, combined with Divine simplicity.

Then, again, creation is not entirely distinct from God's nature and therefore God requires to create, which is essentially unanimously denied by the entire theological tradition.

More equivocation.  That creation is not entirely distinct from God's nature, I distinguish: if by "creation" is meant created things, admitted; if by "creation" is meant God's act of creating, denied.  If God's act of creating has nothing whatsoever to do with God, then what is it, actually?

Now, you haven't refuted the claim of logical entailment that act and potency are the only categories of what is (in the sense of fact) entails necessary creation.  All you have done is shown creation is not necessary.
 Therefore, if you deny necessary creation (as do I), then the conclusion is that act and potency are not the only categories.

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1) Banez posits only a conditional necessity, and if by "determined" you mean that it is not free (which seems to be the implication), then even that characterization is incorrect.

The idea that a free will is determined by something outside of itself is a contradiction.
According to Banez, the free will is determined by something outside of itself (premotion).
Therefore, this is a contradiction.
The fact that the something outside of itself is not necessarily the case is irrelevant.

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2) The objection posits that any premotive effect of the divine will does not affect the divine nature indifferently. In other words, that God wills X vs. not willing X posits some difference in God. What you have not answered is how the same objection does not apply to creation. Why is it that God creating X vs. not creating X does not posit some difference in God? Indeed, creatio would fall under the genus of the divine volition such that creation is simply a kind of divine willing and therefore your objection should apply equally to premotion and creation.

What is there to "answer"?  Of course the same objection applies to creation and thus makes the argument even stronger.  It shows the Thomist idea of creation also to be faulty, as well as the Thomist idea of premotion. 
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Michael Wilson on April 30, 2017, 10:48:11 PM
Quare stated:
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More equivocation.  That creation is not entirely distinct from God's nature, I distinguish: if by "creation" is meant created things, admitted; if by "creation" is meant God's act of creating, denied.  If God's act of creating has nothing whatsoever to do with God, then what is it, actually?
I thought that creation was distinct from God's nature; maybe you mean "the act of creation" And  not 'creatures'?
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on May 01, 2017, 02:59:40 PM
Quare stated:
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More equivocation.  That creation is not entirely distinct from God's nature, I distinguish: if by "creation" is meant created things, admitted; if by "creation" is meant God's act of creating, denied.  If God's act of creating has nothing whatsoever to do with God, then what is it, actually?
I thought that creation was distinct from God's nature; maybe you mean "the act of creation" And  not 'creatures'?

Depends on what exactly is meant by "creation", as I said.  Thomists have no real answer to Perry Robinson's argument except for this type of equivocation.  Here is what is happening.

Robinson's argument:

1.  God's act of creating this world is identical to His existence, per Divine simplicity.
2.  His existence is necessary (absolutely).
3.  Therefore, God's act of creating this world is necessary (absolutely).
4.  Therefore, this world necessarily exists (absolutely).

To answer that "creation is distinct from God's nature" is intellectually dishonest equivocation, for "creation" is not meant in the sense of creatures, but in the sense of God's creating this world.  To answer that the argument is false because 3. or 4. is false leads nowhere; the argument is logically valid so if 3 and 4 are false then so is 1. (which is Robinson's point and his argument for essence-energies).

But Robinson is wrong that a denial of 1. leads to essence-energies.  That a will is choosing something vs. not choosing something (even though it could) is indeed an act-potency distinction - it has to be moved from potency to act in terms of making the choice - and indeed, God is pure act and therefore Choice of Something by His very nature, per Divine simplicity.  However, a human will is moved (and a Divine will is in act by nature) to choose something, indeed; but not precisely moved to choose X instead of Y: that is a determination and not a motion.  This successfully solves Perry Robinson's dilemma but at the cost of Thomist physical premotion.  But insist that not just choice of anything, but specifically choice of X is the ontological reality (as premotion posits), then you are right back at Robinson's argument and necessary creation of this world.

Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Michael Wilson on May 01, 2017, 03:48:24 PM
Thanks for the explanation.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: james03 on May 02, 2017, 01:35:27 PM
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1.  God's act of creating this world is identical to His existence, per Divine simplicity.
2.  His existence is necessary (absolutely).
3.  Therefore, God's act of creating this world is necessary (absolutely).
4.  Therefore, this world necessarily exists (absolutely).

This argument does not hold up, and the problem is 1.  Creating THIS world is not identical to His existence, just His act of Creating simple.
There are other problems.  For example, per impossibile, we could consider God creating a different world.  From our perspective this is ontologically possible as we have free will.  From God's perspective, it can't be any different GIVEN His unchanging essence.

Now God's act of creating is His essence as He is The Creator.  We also must stipulate His Divine Intellect and Will, along with Love, Justice, etc...  Given this essence of God, then THIS world becomes a modal necessity.  But it is not an ontological necessity of God.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on May 02, 2017, 04:33:48 PM
This argument does not hold up, and the problem is 1.  Creating THIS world is not identical to His existence, just His act of Creating simple.

That is true (since this world is not necessary), but you then need to unpack the exact implications of this.

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There are other problems.  For example, per impossibile, we could consider God creating a different world.  From our perspective this is ontologically possible as we have free will.  From God's perspective, it can't be any different GIVEN His unchanging essence.

Now God's act of creating is His essence as He is The Creator.  We also must stipulate His Divine Intellect and Will, along with Love, Justice, etc...  Given this essence of God, then THIS world becomes a modal necessity.  But it is not an ontological necessity of God.

If by this you mean God's act of creating THIS world is His essence (as though His essence would have been different had He created a different world), that won't work.  His essence is identical to His existence, and thus creation of this world is ontologically necessary.  If you only mean creation simpliciter, then the same problem arises.

Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on May 02, 2017, 05:10:59 PM
I don't understand this issue or all the explanations very well.

But it seems that God as Pure Act does not have the the same relationship to what He causes or chooses that lesser beings do.  There is no potency in God, and any "kind" of or "quasi-" motion does not involve any change or motion in Him, but only in what is changed or created.  "Act" and "Pure Act" are both act, but differ as the finite differs from the infinite (and this is not talking about mathematical infinity); different things can be said of them without making God's "Pure Act" something other than Act.

"God creating the world" implies something not only in God (His unchanging power to create) but also in creation. The world being created "out of nothing" doesn't meaning it is created out of God's essence, or implied by His essence.  I know you hate resorting to claiming that something is mystery, but I can't help but do that when trying to delve into  Pure Act and "creating the world from nothing"; it is act but transcends all the act that we know.  God's being transcends all other being and yet is being too, and is the Mystery of all mysteries.

QMR, you disagree with Thomists and with Perry Robinson, but I'm not sure how you would unpack your OWN understanding.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on May 02, 2017, 09:13:05 PM
No, I deny the consequent. Unlike in the created agent, which moves from being potentially moving X from actually moving X, no such movement takes place in God. I recognize that this is an absurdity when considered according to created agency, but divine agency doesn't work like created agency given the fact that God is actus purus. It's a kind of motion which reduces nothing potential in the mover.

So it's a quasi-motion, God's willing X is a quasi-accident and the possibility of God's willing Y (even though He does not) is a quasi-potential.  Which means, there is more to reality than act and potency.  This is the point I have been attempting to make the whole time.

That doesn't follow at all. At the very least, you're making a leap from motions ad extra to quasi-motions which you've not yet explained.

Look, you just said Divine agency (or "motion ad extra") is a "kind of motion" (and by that you don't mean a subset of motion but something which resembles motion but really isn't, since it reduces nothing potential in the mover) which means it is a quasi-motion: that is the definition of the term.  I put it to you that you can't define "motion ad extra" as it pertains to God in any coherent manner other than a quasi-motion which is something distinct from act or potency: and so I charge that it is just verbiage designed to conceal the contradiction inherent in Thomism.

That was a mistake. It is a motion in relation to the thing moved but it is not a motion in relation to the mover.

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The unification of "God wills x" with the divine nature is an anthropomorphizing of the divine nature.

Yes, but it is a logical consequence of insisting act and potency are the only categories of what is, combined with Divine simplicity.

Then, again, creation is not entirely distinct from God's nature and therefore God requires to create, which is essentially unanimously denied by the entire theological tradition.

More equivocation.  That creation is not entirely distinct from God's nature, I distinguish: if by "creation" is meant created things, admitted; if by "creation" is meant God's act of creating, denied.  If God's act of creating has nothing whatsoever to do with God, then what is it, actually?

Now, you haven't refuted the claim of logical entailment that act and potency are the only categories of what is (in the sense of fact) entails necessary creation.  All you have done is shown creation is not necessary.
 Therefore, if you deny necessary creation (as do I), then the conclusion is that act and potency are not the only categories.

By all means, go on.


Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on May 02, 2017, 09:14:47 PM
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1) Banez posits only a conditional necessity, and if by "determined" you mean that it is not free (which seems to be the implication), then even that characterization is incorrect.

The idea that a free will is determined by something outside of itself is a contradiction.
According to Banez, the free will is determined by something outside of itself (premotion).
Therefore, this is a contradiction.
The fact that the something outside of itself is not necessarily the case is irrelevant.

This simply does not follow if it is the case that the determining motion penetrates even to the freedom of the choice as such. Of course, this doesn't mean that one has to become a Banezian, but you're not responding to the actual arguments of the premotivists themselves.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on May 03, 2017, 01:26:44 PM
That was a mistake. It is a motion in relation to the thing moved but it is not a motion in relation to the mover.

I love the "Thomist two-step" as they dance around unanswerable difficulties by repeating the same jargon and evasions.

You still haven't defined what motion "ad extra" is as it pertains to God, since it is not a motion in relation to the mover (but only to the thing moved), and not a "kind of motion" (your mistake) or quasi-motion.

And if the answer is "nothing" then the question remains: If "God's" act of creating (or moving) X has in reality nothing whatsoever to do with God, then what is it, actually?

Another way of putting it: what exactly is different between possible worlds where God creates X and where He does not, other than that X exists?

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The idea that a free will is determined by something outside of itself is a contradiction.
According to Banez, the free will is determined by something outside of itself (premotion).
Therefore, this is a contradiction.
This simply does not follow if it is the case that the determining motion penetrates even to the freedom of the choice as such. Of course, this doesn't mean that one has to become a Banezian, but you're not responding to the actual arguments of the premotivists themselves.

I'm well aware the Banezians deny the major.  They can only do this by adopting an idiosyncratic definition of free will, calling a will "free" which in reality isn't.



Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on May 03, 2017, 02:13:09 PM
That was a mistake. It is a motion in relation to the thing moved but it is not a motion in relation to the mover.

I love the "Thomist two-step" as they dance around unanswerable difficulties by repeating the same jargon and evasions.

You still haven't defined what motion "ad extra" is as it pertains to God, since it is not a motion in relation to the mover (but only to the thing moved), and not a "kind of motion" (your mistake) or quasi-motion.

And if the answer is "nothing" then the question remains: If "God's" act of creating (or moving) X has in reality nothing whatsoever to do with God, then what is it, actually?

Another way of putting it: what exactly is different between possible worlds where God creates X and where He does not, other than that X exists?

I feel that what you're asking for is a bit of an impossibility. I cannot give you a fully apprehensive understanding of what it precisely means for the divine mover to be able to will entirely ad extra because it is impossible for human beings to conceive of actus purus. We make all sorts of claims about the divine perfections that must be the case even if we cannot fully apprehend them. Let's not forget that theology is not philosophy. The proper object requires the haze of mystery.

However, to anticipate your first objection, this does not mean that what is stated is false or that we are cloaking contradictions in mystery. Our knowledge of God is apophatic given the divine transcendence. If I were to ask you precisely how God is both three and one you would be unable to answer in absolute precision. And indeed, many agnostics will object that we Catholics are simply employing a God-of-the-gaps to logically justify our sacred texts. This is, of course, an erroneous objection which misses a proper understanding of the science of theology as such.
 
Moreover, the only other possibility is that God is in some way reliant upon creation. In some way, God's transcendence is mitigated by the fact that anything other than God exists. What I don't understand is how you don't recognize that to admit this much (by positing a Cambridge property within God, or however you wish to solve the issue) strikes a fatal blow to classical theism itself.

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The idea that a free will is determined by something outside of itself is a contradiction.
According to Banez, the free will is determined by something outside of itself (premotion).
Therefore, this is a contradiction.
This simply does not follow if it is the case that the determining motion penetrates even to the freedom of the choice as such. Of course, this doesn't mean that one has to become a Banezian, but you're not responding to the actual arguments of the premotivists themselves.

I'm well aware the Banezians deny the major.  They can only do this by adopting an idiosyncratic definition of free will, calling a will "free" which in reality isn't.

This is begging the question. You're not actually addressing the argument. You're simply restating that they're wrong. What you're positing is that it suffices to call a motion violent if its primary principle is external. It's unclear as to why that is the case. Violence implies a transgression of the volition of the acting agent, but what we're talking about is precisely the actuation of choice within the agent.

1. It'd be great if you responded to that actual argumentation.

2. It'd also be great if you addressed the major objection to your criticisms, i.e. the problem of creation.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Teleology on May 04, 2017, 04:25:53 AM
On the properly theological side of things, perhaps it would be fruitful to make a distinction between systematic error and real mystery. Time to dig out the Scheeben volumes, no?

On the other hand, maybe it's not clear what kind of reason we're looking for when we ask, say, why Bob but not Rob was saved. Necessary, but unfortunate reasons? That seems difficult. Contingent reasons? Also difficult. Some mixture of the two? Hard to say. Certainly there are reasons for the difference between Bob and Rob. But can there be an infinite regress of reasons? I'm not sure how there could be. Maybe, for such things, one would have to see the primary Reason which such things back up to in order to grasp the intelligibility of the secondary, subordinate reasons in a satisfying way. Otherwise, again, what kind of secondary, subordinate reason would be satisfactory? There is an open door here in appealing to analogy (here are "satisfying" solutions for various problems, and they have components X, Y, Z, for which we are trying to find analogates in this controversy surrounding predestination).

(In the interest of full disclosure, I am not convinced there has been a satisfactory synthesis on this issue. I hesitate to accept the Bannezian Thomist position. I find undiluted Molinism questionable on metaphysical grounds, but probably a more sophisticated Congruism is more attractive. The Eclecticism of the Sorbonne is probably the most practically balanced, but synthesizes its principles quite poorly. I am unsure quite yet about Maritain, or Most, if we are just considering what the relatively best system would be.) Our situation might be something like this : rather than pointing out the contradictions in rival systems, or boasting of the good points of one's own system, the best strategy is to determine which bullets are the right ones to bite -- or, conversely, which truths should be accepted with priority over the others. What kind of priority should be adopted? What kind of distinction, even in principle, would help us out? What kind of bullets might we have to bite to get to that distinction? Etc. These kinds of questions seem necessary, for they appeal to norms floating above the problematic issues. ("Meta-problematic norms," as I call them to myself.) In such a way, the correct solution, if it comes along, would be recognized, and already accommodated for. Even if it doesn't, there is an attempt to get at the relatively best position. Again, some things might seem contradictory, but are not methodological artifacts or systematic errors; they just are real mysteries. The difficulty is in determining where there really is contradiction, but if it can be determined -- well then, we have found a healthy surplus of principles to at least point us in the right direction.

Not that I'm as well researched as you folks. I haven't even read Lonergan yet. But that is a first pass at summing up the situation.

$0.02
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on May 04, 2017, 12:45:52 PM
I feel that what you're asking for is a bit of an impossibility. I cannot give you a fully apprehensive understanding of what it precisely means for the divine mover to be able to will entirely ad extra because it is impossible for human beings to conceive of actus purus. We make all sorts of claims about the divine perfections that must be the case even if we cannot fully apprehend them. Let's not forget that theology is not philosophy. The proper object requires the haze of mystery.

However, to anticipate your first objection, this does not mean that what is stated is false or that we are cloaking contradictions in mystery. Our knowledge of God is apophatic given the divine transcendence. If I were to ask you precisely how God is both three and one you would be unable to answer in absolute precision.

So, you're going to take refuge in mystery and apophaticism when asked a basic, fundamental question about the natural order such as how motion happens - this is properly a philosophical, not a theological question.   You say, "because God is first mover in the chain leading to X being reduced from potency to act" but not only can you not give a "fully apprehensive" understanding of what this means, you can't give any understanding.  Thomism is an abject failure if it cannot answer such a simple question, and we should go East, where they love mystery and apophaticism and despise Western "rationalism".  Your analogy to Divine perfection is not well-taken.  When we say "God is Justice" or "God is Mercy" we have at least an analogical understanding of what these mean, even if we do not fully comprehend how God can be both Justice and Mercy at the same time.  The key difference is that Divine perfections regard what God is (ontologically) whereas God as mover of X does not, which leads to the following problem regarding distinctions.

There is a real distinction between a just God and an unjust (hypothetical) God; the latter is not God.
There is only a notional distinction between God's Mercy and Justice.  They are in reality one and the same thing; the difference is only in what we are perceiving.

There cannot be a real distinction between a God who moves X and a God who does not move X.  God has no accidents, and X is not necessarily moved; God does not move X necessarily.
There cannot be merely a notional distinction between a God who moves X and a God who does not move X.  That would imply moving X and not moving X are the same thing, which would imply X being moved and X not being moved are the same thing, which is nonsense.

So there must be some other type of distinction, and I submit it is the distinction of relation - a category of reality which is beyond ontology (potency and act).

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And indeed, many agnostics will object that we Catholics are simply employing a God-of-the-gaps to logically justify our sacred texts. This is, of course, an erroneous objection which misses a proper understanding of the science of theology as such.


Yeah, but unfortunately their objection is cogent, based on the above.  When you ask them "how did the universe come into being" they say it is a "mystery".  You say, no, "God-did-it" but in the end your phrase is meaningless and devoid of informational content and you still have to take refuge in "mystery" just like they do.

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Moreover, the only other possibility is that God is in some way reliant upon creation. In some way, God's transcendence is mitigated by the fact that anything other than God exists. What I don't understand is how you don't recognize that to admit this much (by positing a Cambridge property within God, or however you wish to solve the issue) strikes a fatal blow to classical theism itself.

God is not ontologically reliant upon creation, but His relation (NOT a "real (ontological) relation" as Thomists understand it) to His creation is reliant upon it.  If you deny this, then classical theism contains a contradiction.  If "classical theism" as typically stated contains an internal contradiction (or a contradiction with Divine revelation), then of course a fatal blow will be struck no matter how you slice it.

1.  God is pure act, and this is the only reality pertaining to Him; every distinction we make (e.g. between His Justice, Mercy, etc.) is purely notional.
2.  His pure act is identical to His existence which is identical to His essence.
3.  God's existence is necessary.
4.  God's creation of X is identical to pure act which is identical to His existence.
5.  Therefore God's creation of X is necessary.

You deny 4. because 5. is contrary to revelation (and also to reason), but 4. is implied by 1., 2., and 3.  You have to deny 1. in order to deny 4. and 5.  If you don't deny 1., you can't take refuge in "mystery".  This is a contradiction.

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This is begging the question. You're not actually addressing the argument. You're simply restating that they're wrong.

Neither are you.  You're simply restating that they're right.

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What you're positing is that it suffices to call a motion violent if its primary principle is external. It's unclear as to why that is the case. Violence implies a transgression of the volition of the acting agent, but what we're talking about is precisely the actuation of choice within the agent.

1. It'd be great if you responded to that actual argumentation.

Your argument is logically fallacious.  There is a denial of the antecedent fallacy, where since violence -> transgression of volition, you conclude no violence -> no transgression of volition.

Thus, I deny your hidden assumption in the above, where the key thing is whether a will is subjected to "violence" or not.  You're simply redefining "volition of the acting agent" as "lack of violent motion from an external principle".  Therefore, tautologically, if an external mover's motion isn't violent, volition of the acting agent is preserved. 

The true criterion is whether the external mover's motion is deterministic, not whether it is "violent" (whatever that means).

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2. It'd also be great if you addressed the major objection to your criticisms, i.e. the problem of creation.

That objection makes my criticisms that much stronger, since they pertain not only to motion, but also to creation.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on May 04, 2017, 04:51:05 PM
...
1.  God is pure act, and this is the only reality pertaining to Him; every distinction we make (e.g. between His Justice, Mercy, etc.) is purely notional.
2.  His pure act is identical to His existence which is identical to His essence.
3.  God's existence is necessary.
4.  God's creation of X is identical to pure act which is identical to His existence.
5.  Therefore God's creation of X is necessary.

You deny 4. because 5. is contrary to revelation (and also to reason), but 4. is implied by 1., 2., and 3.  You have to deny 1. in order to deny 4. and 5.  If you don't deny 1., you can't take refuge in "mystery".  This is a contradiction.
...

1. God is pure act.
2. God is identical to His existence and to His essence
3. God's existence is necessary.

But God (and so His existence or essence) is not identical to (God, X). God = pure act, not the entirety of act, or the entirety of reality after creation. Creation brings about X, and so (God, X), a new total reality, and any relations between God and X.  God creating and the initial existence of X occur simultaneously (God, X), and this act of creating is not itself God or pure act.  God remains pure act, the same reality in Himself, and X is not necessary.  I.e. 4 is false (and not implied by 1-3), and 5 is false.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on May 04, 2017, 05:05:55 PM
But God (and so His existence or essence) is not identical to (God, X).

Indeed not.  The relevant question is whether God is identical to (God, Creation of X).

Here's the dilemma for Thomists: they must make creation of X either identical to God or identical to X.  If creation of X is identical to God, then X is necessary.  If creation of X is identical to X, then X is self-creating.

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God = pure act, not the entirety of act, or the entirety of reality after creation.

Indeed not.  The relevant question is whether pure act is the entirety of reality pertaining to God.  If so, then "Divine creation of X" either makes X necessary or is incoherent.

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Creation brings about X...

And what is creation of X????  Thomists really have no coherent answer... it's a "mystery".

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I.e. 4 is false (and not implied by 1-3), and 5 is false.

No, 4 is implied by 1-3.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on May 04, 2017, 07:15:27 PM
...

QMR, you disagree with Thomists and with Perry Robinson, but I'm not sure how you would unpack your OWN understanding.

...
And what is creation of X????  Thomists really have no coherent answer... it's a "mystery".

You don't "owe" it to me, and "you asked first", but what is YOUR answer (or thinking)?

How does any relation "come about"?

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The relevant question is whether pure act is the entirety of reality pertaining to God.

I would say creation "pertains to God"; He causes it and it is caused by Him.  None of this involves a difference in His "pure act" (essence/existence). OK, I see you are asking does "creating" pertain to God; I don't see why it can't "pertain" to Him without implying a difference in His essence.

Explain your answer or thinking, other than saying the Thomists got it wrong.  What is God's causing creation of X, i.e. creating X?

Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on May 05, 2017, 01:37:57 PM
OK, I see you are asking does "creating" pertain to God; I don't see why it can't "pertain" to Him without implying a difference in His essence.

Explain your answer or thinking, other than saying the Thomists got it wrong.  What is God's causing creation of X, i.e. creating X?

First, the problem in Thomism.  The only kind of non-necessary descriptor of a thing (that describes something about the thing that could be otherwise,  e.g. my hair is brown) is an accident.  But God is simple and can have no accidents: what He "has", He is; or what is true about Him is what He is.  (Strictly speaking, God is not just; He is justice itself by nature.)  Therefore "Creator of X" cannot be a non-necessary descriptor of God (if God is creator of X He is creator of X by nature).  Yet that is exactly what must be the case if creation of X is not necessary.

The solution is to realize that creaturely existence is only analogous to, and not univocal with, God's existence.  God is not "pure act" as far as the term "act" is applied to creatures.  He is not a being which happens to exist, even if such existence is necessary; He is Being itself.  Therefore there can be true and non-necessary descriptors of Him which are not accidents, such as "creator of X".
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on May 05, 2017, 03:29:50 PM
OK, I see you are asking does "creating" pertain to God; I don't see why it can't "pertain" to Him without implying a difference in His essence.

Explain your answer or thinking, other than saying the Thomists got it wrong.  What is God's causing creation of X, i.e. creating X?

First, the problem in Thomism.  The only kind of non-necessary descriptor of a thing (that describes something about the thing that could be otherwise,  e.g. my hair is brown) is an accident.  But God is simple and can have no accidents: what He "has", He is; or what is true about Him is what He is.  (Strictly speaking, God is not just; He is justice itself by nature.)  Therefore "Creator of X" cannot be a non-necessary descriptor of God (if God is creator of X He is creator of X by nature).  Yet that is exactly what must be the case if creation of X is not necessary.

The solution is to realize that creaturely existence is only analogous to, and not univocal with, God's existence.  God is not "pure act" as far as the term "act" is applied to creatures.  He is not a being which happens to exist, even if such existence is necessary; He is Being itself.  Therefore there can be true and non-necessary descriptors of Him which are not accidents, such as "creator of X".

But St. Thomas Aquinas also says that being is said of God analogously:

Quote from: St. Thomas
http://dhspriory.org/thomas/ContraGentiles1.htm
CONTRA GENTILES
BOOK ONE: GOD
Chapter 32
THAT NOTHING IS PREDICATED UNIVOCALLY OF GOD AND OTHER THINGS
...
[7] For God is called being as being entity itself, and He is called good as being goodness itself. But in other beings predications are made by participation, as Socrates is said to be a man, not because he is humanity itself, but because he possesses humanity. It is impossible, therefore, that anything be predicated univocally of God and other things.

Quote from: St. Thomas

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1013.htm
Summa Theologica
Question 13. The names of God
Article 5. Whether what is said of God and of creatures is univocally predicated of them?
...
I answer that, Univocal predication is impossible between God and creatures. The reason of this is that every effect which is not an adequate result of the power of the efficient cause, receives the similitude of the agent not in its full degree, but in a measure that falls short, so that what is divided and multiplied in the effects resides in the agent simply, and in the same manner; as for example the sun by exercise of its one power produces manifold and various forms in all inferior things. In the same way, as said in the preceding article, all perfections existing in creatures divided and multiplied, pre-exist in God unitedly. Thus when any term expressing perfection is applied to a creature, it signifies that perfection distinct in idea from other perfections; as, for instance, by the term "wise" applied to man, we signify some perfection distinct from a man's essence, and distinct from his power and existence, and from all similar things; whereas when we apply to it God, we do not mean to signify anything distinct from His essence, or power, or existence. Thus also this term "wise" applied to man in some degree circumscribes and comprehends the thing signified; whereas this is not the case when it is applied to God; but it leaves the thing signified as incomprehended, and as exceeding the signification of the name. Hence it is evident that this term "wise" is not applied in the same way to God and to man. The same rule applies to other terms. Hence no name is predicated univocally of God and of creatures.

Neither, on the other hand, are names applied to God and creatures in a purely equivocal sense, as some have said. Because if that were so, it follows that from creatures nothing could be known or demonstrated about God at all; for the reasoning would always be exposed to the fallacy of equivocation. Such a view is against the philosophers, who proved many things about God, and also against what the Apostle says: "The invisible things of God are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made" (Romans 1:20). Therefore it must be said that these names are said of God and creatures in an analogous sense, i.e. according to proportion.

Do you think Thomists disagree with St. Thomas?
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on May 06, 2017, 08:04:40 PM
But St. Thomas Aquinas also says that being is said of God analogously:

...


Do you think Thomists disagree with St. Thomas?

Yes, at least implicitly.  Not only as regards being, but also causation and willing.  Once they would realize that attributes of human being, causation and willing do not apply to God, the "mystery" of grace and predestination would be solved without calling "mystery" contradiction.


Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: An aspiring Thomist on May 07, 2017, 09:52:25 PM
But St. Thomas Aquinas also says that being is said of God analogously:

...


Do you think Thomists disagree with St. Thomas?

Yes, at least implicitly.  Not only as regards being, but also causation and willing.  Once they would realize that attributes of human being, causation and willing do not apply to God, the "mystery" of grace and predestination would be solved without calling "mystery" contradiction.

If Quare is right, I think the bigger problem is not that Thomists would hold views that implicitly contradict St. Thomas but rather St. Thomas himself would have held contradictory views, at least implicitly.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on May 07, 2017, 11:22:04 PM


If Quare is right, I think the bigger problem is not that Thomists would hold views that implicitly contradict St. Thomas but rather St. Thomas himself would have held contradictory views, at least implicitly.

His views certainly evolved from the Summa Contra Gentiles to the Summa Theologica.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on May 08, 2017, 03:38:57 PM
On the properly theological side of things, perhaps it would be fruitful to make a distinction between systematic error and real mystery. Time to dig out the Scheeben volumes, no?

On the other hand, maybe it's not clear what kind of reason we're looking for when we ask, say, why Bob but not Rob was saved. Necessary, but unfortunate reasons? That seems difficult. Contingent reasons? Also difficult. Some mixture of the two? Hard to say. Certainly there are reasons for the difference between Bob and Rob. But can there be an infinite regress of reasons? I'm not sure how there could be. Maybe, for such things, one would have to see the primary Reason which such things back up to in order to grasp the intelligibility of the secondary, subordinate reasons in a satisfying way. Otherwise, again, what kind of secondary, subordinate reason would be satisfactory? There is an open door here in appealing to analogy (here are "satisfying" solutions for various problems, and they have components X, Y, Z, for which we are trying to find analogates in this controversy surrounding predestination).

(In the interest of full disclosure, I am not convinced there has been a satisfactory synthesis on this issue. I hesitate to accept the Bannezian Thomist position. I find undiluted Molinism questionable on metaphysical grounds, but probably a more sophisticated Congruism is more attractive. The Eclecticism of the Sorbonne is probably the most practically balanced, but synthesizes its principles quite poorly. I am unsure quite yet about Maritain, or Most, if we are just considering what the relatively best system would be.) Our situation might be something like this : rather than pointing out the contradictions in rival systems, or boasting of the good points of one's own system, the best strategy is to determine which bullets are the right ones to bite -- or, conversely, which truths should be accepted with priority over the others. What kind of priority should be adopted? What kind of distinction, even in principle, would help us out? What kind of bullets might we have to bite to get to that distinction? Etc. These kinds of questions seem necessary, for they appeal to norms floating above the problematic issues. ("Meta-problematic norms," as I call them to myself.) In such a way, the correct solution, if it comes along, would be recognized, and already accommodated for. Even if it doesn't, there is an attempt to get at the relatively best position. Again, some things might seem contradictory, but are not methodological artifacts or systematic errors; they just are real mysteries. The difficulty is in determining where there really is contradiction, but if it can be determined -- well then, we have found a healthy surplus of principles to at least point us in the right direction.

Not that I'm as well researched as you folks. I haven't even read Lonergan yet. But that is a first pass at summing up the situation.

$0.02

Here's the thing: apart from hard-core Molinism, every attempt to deal with this issue ends up falling into the theoretical question of "Why Bob but not Rob" which is simply to say no more and no less than that every theory in one way or another posits the principle of predilection.

As such, the idea that Banez is the only one who requires us to (at least as wayfarers) appeal ultimately to a divine wisdom and will which transcend human thought is folly. Whether it is Scheeben, Maritain, the Congruists, etc. If God can make it such that this man rather than another is saved, but not all men are saved, how is the divine goodness preserved.

I understand the objections to Banez on various grounds (metaphysical, as is the case with Lonergan; Molina's concerns regarding human freedom) but the majority of the objections to Banez can and ought to be ultimately posed to everyone else because they are equally valid elsewhere.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on May 08, 2017, 03:58:59 PM
I feel that what you're asking for is a bit of an impossibility. I cannot give you a fully apprehensive understanding of what it precisely means for the divine mover to be able to will entirely ad extra because it is impossible for human beings to conceive of actus purus. We make all sorts of claims about the divine perfections that must be the case even if we cannot fully apprehend them. Let's not forget that theology is not philosophy. The proper object requires the haze of mystery.

However, to anticipate your first objection, this does not mean that what is stated is false or that we are cloaking contradictions in mystery. Our knowledge of God is apophatic given the divine transcendence. If I were to ask you precisely how God is both three and one you would be unable to answer in absolute precision.

So, you're going to take refuge in mystery and apophaticism when asked a basic, fundamental question about the natural order such as how motion happens - this is properly a philosophical, not a theological question.

No, I've already answered the questions regarding motion, and St. Thomas is quite explicit in his commentaries on both the Physics and the Metaphysics. But given the divine transcendence, we can't simply apply human metaphysical realities to the divine perfections.

You say, "because God is first mover in the chain leading to X being reduced from potency to act" but not only can you not give a "fully apprehensive" understanding of what this means, you can't give any understanding.  Thomism is an abject failure if it cannot answer such a simple question, and we should go East, where they love mystery and apophaticism and despise Western "rationalism".  Your analogy to Divine perfection is not well-taken.  When we say "God is Justice" or "God is Mercy" we have at least an analogical understanding of what these mean, even if we do not fully comprehend how God can be both Justice and Mercy at the same time.  The key difference is that Divine perfections regard what God is (ontologically) whereas God as mover of X does not, which leads to the following problem regarding distinctions.

That I can give you no understanding is your own claim and is certainly something which I reject. I've already stated that for the general Dominican tradition that premotion means a motion in the moved. So the motion proceeds forth from the immutable divine will (from which it gains its infallible and yet contingent character) but the motion is quite distinct from the will which imparts it. Given that God is actus purus, there is no shift from potentially moving to actually moving, from being potentially mobile to actually mobile. As such, there is no change in the divine will even between two potential effects of that will.

That which creates a distinction between me willing X and me not willing X is within me as a potential mover. That doesn't accurately describe the very different (analogous, but different) movement of the divine will.

I understand that you have objections here, but it's unnecessary to state that I haven't said a thing about operation. I've said a lot. I agree with Lonergan (but only in regard to divine volition), who is quite specific on this issue: for God, the difference between God willing or not willing X is entirely external not unlike how St. Thomas seems to see, for example, the predicamental of location as entirely external. To exist in a location is sometimes called an accidental characteristic but it's more properly an accident of that which exists outside of the subject than a quality of the subject.

At the very least, I would hope that you'd recognize that this is saying something, even if you disagree with it.

There is a real distinction between a just God and an unjust (hypothetical) God; the latter is not God.
There is only a notional distinction between God's Mercy and Justice.  They are in reality one and the same thing; the difference is only in what we are perceiving.

There cannot be a real distinction between a God who moves X and a God who does not move X.  God has no accidents, and X is not necessarily moved; God does not move X necessarily.
There cannot be merely a notional distinction between a God who moves X and a God who does not move X.  That would imply moving X and not moving X are the same thing, which would imply X being moved and X not being moved are the same thing, which is nonsense.

So there must be some other type of distinction, and I submit it is the distinction of relation - a category of reality which is beyond ontology (potency and act).

And I think that this is an interesting theory. I'd like to hear more about it. However, from the outside, my claim is that a third reality isn't needed given that motion from a divine who is actus purus is entirely external.
 
Quote
Moreover, the only other possibility is that God is in some way reliant upon creation. In some way, God's transcendence is mitigated by the fact that anything other than God exists. What I don't understand is how you don't recognize that to admit this much (by positing a Cambridge property within God, or however you wish to solve the issue) strikes a fatal blow to classical theism itself.

God is not ontologically reliant upon creation, but His relation (NOT a "real (ontological) relation" as Thomists understand it) to His creation is reliant upon it.  If you deny this, then classical theism contains a contradiction.  If "classical theism" as typically stated contains an internal contradiction (or a contradiction with Divine revelation), then of course a fatal blow will be struck no matter how you slice it.

1.  God is pure act, and this is the only reality pertaining to Him; every distinction we make (e.g. between His Justice, Mercy, etc.) is purely notional.
2.  His pure act is identical to His existence which is identical to His essence.
3.  God's existence is necessary.
4.  God's creation of X is identical to pure act which is identical to His existence.
5.  Therefore God's creation of X is necessary.

You deny 4. because 5. is contrary to revelation (and also to reason), but 4. is implied by 1., 2., and 3.  You have to deny 1. in order to deny 4. and 5.  If you don't deny 1., you can't take refuge in "mystery".  This is a contradiction.

I deny four not just because of five but most primarily because it fails to recognize the great difference between the modes of human and divine willing. In other words, the divine will is not identical with that which it wills.

Quote
What you're positing is that it suffices to call a motion violent if its primary principle is external. It's unclear as to why that is the case. Violence implies a transgression of the volition of the acting agent, but what we're talking about is precisely the actuation of choice within the agent.

1. It'd be great if you responded to that actual argumentation.

Your argument is logically fallacious.  There is a denial of the antecedent fallacy, where since violence -> transgression of volition, you conclude no violence -> no transgression of volition.

Thus, I deny your hidden assumption in the above, where the key thing is whether a will is subjected to "violence" or not.  You're simply redefining "volition of the acting agent" as "lack of violent motion from an external principle".  Therefore, tautologically, if an external mover's motion isn't violent, volition of the acting agent is preserved.

No, I'm addressing the most common objection which does indeed state that the problem with Banez is that he posits a violent motion. If you don't hold to that objection then that is great. Please give me the benefit of the doubt rather than assuming I'm simply moving into tautology. Part of the difficulty of discussing things with you is that you're evasive, taking shots without grounding them in a principle about which we can talk. As such, I'm sometimes left guessing as to the source of your criticism.

For example, you have still yet to actually explain the third sort of relation (that exists between God and creation) that I've been asking you about for seemingly months.

The true criterion is whether the external mover's motion is deterministic, not whether it is "violent" (whatever that means).

You know that I agree with you on this because we've spent a lot of time in the past discussing the difference between absolute and suppositional necessity and how both St. Thomas and Banez understand them. This is why it's frustrating when you accuse me of tautology. Perhaps you're just entirely forgetting things I've said in the recent past?

Quote
2. It'd also be great if you addressed the major objection to your criticisms, i.e. the problem of creation.

That objection makes my criticisms that much stronger, since they pertain not only to motion, but also to creation.

And yet you've not yet actually posited much of anything.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on May 08, 2017, 04:03:50 PM
OK, I see you are asking does "creating" pertain to God; I don't see why it can't "pertain" to Him without implying a difference in His essence.

Explain your answer or thinking, other than saying the Thomists got it wrong.  What is God's causing creation of X, i.e. creating X?

First, the problem in Thomism.  The only kind of non-necessary descriptor of a thing (that describes something about the thing that could be otherwise,  e.g. my hair is brown) is an accident.  But God is simple and can have no accidents: what He "has", He is; or what is true about Him is what He is.  (Strictly speaking, God is not just; He is justice itself by nature.)  Therefore "Creator of X" cannot be a non-necessary descriptor of God (if God is creator of X He is creator of X by nature).  Yet that is exactly what must be the case if creation of X is not necessary.

The solution is to realize that creaturely existence is only analogous to, and not univocal with, God's existence.  God is not "pure act" as far as the term "act" is applied to creatures.  He is not a being which happens to exist, even if such existence is necessary; He is Being itself.  Therefore there can be true and non-necessary descriptors of Him which are not accidents, such as "creator of X".

I honestly don't see a single lick of what you say in this second paragraph which St. Thomas or the general commentatorial tradition would disagree with. You act like they're condemning Scriptural titles or something. Do you think that Banez never referred to God as "Father" in prayer or something?

Regarding your first paragraph, let me ask you point blank: is creation necessary? Is it a necessary descriptor of God? If so, what is meant by 'necessary' in this second sense?
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on May 08, 2017, 04:04:54 PM
Yes, at least implicitly.  Not only as regards being, but also causation and willing. Once they would realize that attributes of human being, causation and willing do not apply to God, the "mystery" of grace and predestination would be solved without calling "mystery" contradiction.

It's funny because this is entirely the basis for my critique of the little bit of your own theory which you've shared.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on May 08, 2017, 04:07:20 PM


If Quare is right, I think the bigger problem is not that Thomists would hold views that implicitly contradict St. Thomas but rather St. Thomas himself would have held contradictory views, at least implicitly.

His views certainly evolved from the Summa Contra Gentiles to the Summa Theologica.

Prove it. His views evolved from the Scriptum on the Sentences to the ScG or De Veritate given that he began to see grace as a motion in the patient rather than as a moral cause, but the principles which he employs regarding motion and the divine providence are precisely congruent (and the basis for) with the conclusions that he draws in throughout the ST.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: John Lamb on May 08, 2017, 05:14:21 PM
Zoom out if you can't read to the end of the line.

(https://s24.postimg.org/vkbwiuvph/Screen_Shot_2017-05-08_at_22.00.53.png)

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https://tinyurl.com/lwm3u3g


I want to draw attention especially to this: In my view, it is unreasonable to suppose that Aquinas is guilty of a large, explicit, obvious, and uncomplicated contradiction.

This is my gripe with the way Quare handles himself in his anti-Thomist zeal. Quare, you get upset when amateurs question the results of material scientists, but then you seem to want to have Aquinas and centuries of commentators involved in covering up such a glaring error, that an amateur like Perry Robinson could see what said experts could not see for centuries.
Which do you think is more likely: that Aquinas and all his scholastic and neo-scholastic commentators, which have received the Church's special approbation, have made such a drastic blunder in a central point in theology - or that you and Perry Robinson misunderstand their doctrine?
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: John Lamb on May 08, 2017, 05:48:25 PM
But God (and so His existence or essence) is not identical to (God, X).

Indeed not.  The relevant question is whether God is identical to (God, Creation of X).

Here's the dilemma for Thomists: they must make creation of X either identical to God or identical to X.  If creation of X is identical to God, then X is necessary.

Only with necessity of supposition, not absolute necessity; because it is possible to suppose that God had chosen not-X rather than X. There are things which God has by the absolute (logical and metaphysical) necessity of His being God (Pure Act), and there are things that God (physically) has only because He has freely willed them from all eternity. God freely wills X through His essence, without X in any way determining His essence. So indeed, X is necessary, but without in any way limiting God's liberty, as its necessity comes only through God's choosing it. Pure Act is still Pure Act, without any change in Himself, whether He creates the visible world or not. This is what Thomists mean when they say that God willing / creating X is no accident in God. As for how God can physically will X, Y, Z, etc., without this causing a change in God - St. Thomas quotes St. Dionysius that in God is: "the material immaterially, the divisible indivisibly, and the many unitedly,"; God wills all X, Y, Z, etc., not through many separate acts but through willing Himself in one simple act.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on May 08, 2017, 06:36:27 PM
But God (and so His existence or essence) is not identical to (God, X).

Indeed not.  The relevant question is whether God is identical to (God, Creation of X).

Here's the dilemma for Thomists: they must make creation of X either identical to God or identical to X.  If creation of X is identical to God, then X is necessary.

Only with necessity of supposition, not absolute necessity; because it is possible to suppose that God had chosen not-X rather than X. There are things which God has by the absolute (logical and metaphysical) necessity of His being God (Pure Act), and there are things that God (physically) has only because He has freely willed them from all eternity. God freely wills X through His essence, without X in any way determining His essence. So indeed, X is necessary, but without in any way limiting God's liberty, as its necessity comes only through God's choosing it. Pure Act is still Pure Act, without any change in Himself, whether He creates the visible world or not. This is what Thomists mean when they say that God willing / creating X is no accident in God. As for how God can physically will X, Y, Z, etc., without this causing a change in God - St. Thomas quotes St. Dionysius that in God is: "the material immaterially, the divisible indivisibly, and the many unitedly,"; God wills all X, Y, Z, etc., not through many separate acts but through willing Himself in one simple act.

But Q will come back and assert that if God's self-subsisting existence is willed in the same simple act as His willing contingent creaturely act X then the creaturely act must be identical with God's nature. This is why I think it's important to recall the vast difference between human and divine willing, which recognizes the radically external nature of the movement which is premotion (in regard to the divine will).

John, where is the above text from?
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on May 08, 2017, 06:41:08 PM
Also, I think it's important to note that the first point made by Thomas in the quoted material from John is not just Thomas. Lombard says almost exactly the same.

Whether he [God] can do something in another or a better way than he does.” Lombard responds, “If the method of operation is related to the wisdom of the craftsman, it can neither be other nor better. For he cannot do anything otherwise or better he does, that is, with another wisdom or a greater wisdom: for he can make nothing more wisely than he does make it. But if the method is related to the thing itself which God makes, we say that the method can be both other and better. And with respect to this, it can be agreed that what he makes, he can make better and other than he does, because he can furnish to some things a better mode of existence, and to others a different one.” The Sentences, Book 1, Dist. 44, Cap. 2, §4

In other words, I maintain that, while it is possible for God to have created the universe different than He did, He would never have actually done so. So Q's positing of other universes is entirely hypothetical. It's possible in the abstract but under the supposition of an unchanging wisdom, the universe that exists is the one that God would always have created, as it were.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on May 09, 2017, 01:38:12 AM
... I maintain that, while it is possible for God to have created the universe different than He did, He would never have actually done so. So Q's positing of other universes is entirely hypothetical. It's possible in the abstract but under the supposition of an unchanging wisdom, the universe that exists is the one that God would always have created, as it were.

I don't understand this. It seems to be saying if God has unchanging wisdom and creates at all, then He would necessarily create the current universe (because He would never have created another one).

(Or, in other words) If you say God supposedly could have created something less perfect (or different) but never would (because of Who He IS), then I don't see how He really COULD have created something less perfect (or different). Unchanging Wisdom is a given.

God could have created a different universe, but He created this one and "saw that it was good".  He would have created another one if He (from eternity) chose another one, and it too would be good. "Choosing" is said analogously of God; there isn't a pot full of choices or multiple eternities.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: John Lamb on May 09, 2017, 02:57:10 AM
John, where is the above text from?

http://dhspriory.org/thomas/ContraGentiles1.htm

The full quote from Dionysius is chapter 58, but he quotes it (in part) in chapter 77. The relevant chapters are 73-77, 80-83

73. That the will of God is His essence
74. That the principal object of the divine will is the divine essence
75. That in willing Himself God also wills other things
76. That God wills Himself and other things by one act of will
77. That the multitude of the objects of the will is not opposed to the divine simplicity

80. That His own being and His own goodness God wills necessarily
81. That God does not will other things in a necessary way
82. Arguments leading to awkward consequences if God does not necessarily will things other than Himself

edit: if you're asking about the long text, I provided the url at the bottom.
Here it is again: https://tinyurl.com/lwm3u3g

Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: John Lamb on May 09, 2017, 03:05:11 AM
I think it's interesting how, in the text I posted, we find repeatedly the phrase, "there are possible worlds where God exists and . . ."
I think this might show some of the gap between the medieval terminology and the modern, because it's seems nonsense to me to say "possible worlds where God exists and", as though there could possibly be a world where God, the very ground and cause of all existence, does not exist. God isn't an object that exists in some possible worlds and not others . . . He's the cause of there being any possible world in the first place. In other words, there is no possible world where God does not exist, or, it is impossible for God to not exist.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on May 09, 2017, 03:32:23 PM
... I maintain that, while it is possible for God to have created the universe different than He did, He would never have actually done so. So Q's positing of other universes is entirely hypothetical. It's possible in the abstract but under the supposition of an unchanging wisdom, the universe that exists is the one that God would always have created, as it were.

I don't understand this. It seems to be saying if God has unchanging wisdom and creates at all, then He would necessarily create the current universe (because He would never have created another one).

(Or, in other words) If you say God supposedly could have created something less perfect (or different) but never would (because of Who He IS), then I don't see how He really COULD have created something less perfect (or different). Unchanging Wisdom is a given.

God could have created a different universe, but He created this one and "saw that it was good".  He would have created another one if He (from eternity) chose another one, and it too would be good. "Choosing" is said analogously of God; there isn't a pot full of choices or multiple eternities.

Absolutely speaking, God could create any universe which He likes, but that doesn't mean that He would ever actually have created a different universe. What difference could account for God deciding to create a different universe than the one He indeed created?

Under the supposition that God is going to create a universe according to His divine wisdom, it seems to me that He would decide to create this one, but that's not an absolute necessity because God would always retain the power to have made it otherwise.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on May 09, 2017, 09:11:21 PM
Too many posts to respond to individually in detail, but I'll just point out that defenses of Thomism such as we see here are philosophically and logically incoherent and obviously so, and thus it isn't too much of a leap to think the system as a whole is. 

I want to draw attention especially to this: In my view, it is unreasonable to suppose that Aquinas is guilty of a large, explicit, obvious, and uncomplicated contradiction.

No, it isn't.  Anyone can make mistakes.  Aquinas may be a Saint, and a Doctor of the Church.  But he is still a human and does not possess the charism of infallibility.  He disagreed with St. Bonaventure and St. Anselm on various things: and they are also Saints and Doctors of the Church.  They cannot all be correct.  St. Anselm, in fact, made quite an obvious mistake in his defense of the ontological argument.

But to see the contradiction requires modern modal logic and possible worlds semantics, unknown in St. Thomas's time (at least in its current form).  So it's not surprising it didn't come up until now.

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This is my gripe with the way Quare handles himself in his anti-Thomist zeal. Quare, you get upset when amateurs question the results of material scientists, but then you seem to want to have Aquinas and centuries of commentators involved in covering up such a glaring error, that an amateur like Perry Robinson could see what said experts could not see for centuries.

In other words, you are simply going to reject even the possibility of such out of hand, under the pretext I reject what non-scientists say out of hand on the basis they are not scientists (which is certainly not true; sometime scientists are wrong and egregiously so).

What matters is what is right and what is wrong, what is true and what is false; not who is saying it.

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Which do you think is more likely: that Aquinas and all his scholastic and neo-scholastic commentators, which have received the Church's special approbation, have made such a drastic blunder in a central point in theology - or that you and Perry Robinson misunderstand their doctrine?

Again, what is relevant is not what anyone thinks a priori is more likely to be true but what is true and can be demonstrated to be true.

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[If creation of X is identical to God, then X is necessary] Only with necessity of supposition, not absolute necessity; because it is possible to suppose that God had chosen not-X rather than X.

If I've heard the sophistic argument about the distinction between necessity of supposition vs. absolutely necessity, I've heard it a thousand times.  If creation of X is identical to God, and God is absolutely necessary, then creation of X is absolutely necessary.  This argument is valid and so any arguments about why creation of X is not absolutely necessary, if true, prove creation of X not identical to God.

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There are things which God has by the absolute (logical and metaphysical) necessity of His being God (Pure Act), and there are things that God (physically) has only because He has freely willed them from all eternity.

And exactly what is His freely willing them?  Identical to Him, yes or no?  If yes, then freely willing X IS His essence, so the rest of the argument falls through.  If no, then what is it, and why does it exist?

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But Q will come back and assert that if God's self-subsisting existence is willed in the same simple act as His willing contingent creaturely act X then the creaturely act must be identical with God's nature.

Yes....

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This is why I think it's important to recall the vast difference between human and divine willing, which recognizes the radically external nature of the movement which is premotion (in regard to the divine will).

The only way you can really posit a difference between human and Divine willing that actually solves the problem at hand without mere hand-waving (exactly what do you mean by "radically external nature") is to admit Divine willing (or causation, if you prefer) of creatures is non-deterministic, in which case there really is no difference in God but only in the moved.  Modern quantum mechanics strongly supports that conclusion.

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In other words, I maintain that, while it is possible for God to have created the universe different than He did, He would never have actually done so. So Q's positing of other universes is entirely hypothetical. It's possible in the abstract but under the supposition of an unchanging wisdom, the universe that exists is the one that God would always have created, as it were.

This is philosophically and logically incoherent.  If creating another universe were against God's nature as Wisdom, it is not something He could do, since He cannot act contrary to His nature.  If creating another universe were not against God's nature (any aspect of it), then there is no coherent reason why He would not.

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I think it's interesting how, in the text I posted, we find repeatedly the phrase, "there are possible worlds where God exists and . . ."
I think this might show some of the gap between the medieval terminology and the modern, because it's seems nonsense to me to say "possible worlds where God exists and", as though there could possibly be a world where God, the very ground and cause of all existence, does not exist.

To say there are possible worlds where God exists and X, Y, Z does not entail there are possible worlds where God does not exist, and I'm sure Dr. Stumpf does not mean to imply this.  If you think it does, then you need to get more acquainted with modern terminology.

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God isn't an object that exists in some possible worlds and not others . . . He's the cause of there being any possible world in the first place. In other words, there is no possible world where God does not exist, or, it is impossible for God to not exist.

Modal logic recognizes this.

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Absolutely speaking, God could create any universe which He likes, but that doesn't mean that He would ever actually have created a different universe. What difference could account for God deciding to create a different universe than the one He indeed created?

VERY good question, to which there is no good answer...

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Under the supposition that God is going to create a universe according to His divine wisdom, it seems to me that He would decide to create this one, but that's not an absolute necessity because God would always retain the power to have made it otherwise.

If this is the only universe concordant with His divine wisdom (which I deny), then His nature demands this is the universe He creates.  To claim that God would have the power to act contrary to His Wisdom is incoherent.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on May 09, 2017, 09:33:03 PM
You have the power to stick your hand into a meat grinder, but you'll never do so according to your wisdom. That doesn't mean that you lack the power. So, is it possible for you to stick your hand in a meat grinder? Of course. It is possible that God could have created other universes given the divine omnipotence, but, given the divine wisdom, there's no reason to expect that He ever would have done so. This is why I'm stating that He never would have actually created a different universe.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on May 10, 2017, 12:56:26 AM
... I maintain that, while it is possible for God to have created the universe different than He did, He would never have actually done so. So Q's positing of other universes is entirely hypothetical. It's possible in the abstract but under the supposition of an unchanging wisdom, the universe that exists is the one that God would always have created, as it were.

I don't understand this. It seems to be saying if God has unchanging wisdom and creates at all, then He would necessarily create the current universe (because He would never have created another one).

(Or, in other words) If you say God supposedly could have created something less perfect (or different) but never would (because of Who He IS), then I don't see how He really COULD have created something less perfect (or different). Unchanging Wisdom is a given.

God could have created a different universe, but He created this one and "saw that it was good".  He would have created another one if He (from eternity) chose another one, and it too would be good. "Choosing" is said analogously of God; there isn't a pot full of choices or multiple eternities.

Absolutely speaking, God could create any universe which He likes, but that doesn't mean that He would ever actually have created a different universe. What difference could account for God deciding to create a different universe than the one He indeed created?

Under the supposition that God is going to create a universe according to His divine wisdom, it seems to me that He would decide to create this one, but that's not an absolute necessity because God would always retain the power to have made it otherwise.

LouisIX and QMR, some thoughts...

Speaking anthropomorphically (as though God were in time)...

When God "decided" to create any world, and then (whatever it was) "looked back" to see if He might do it better (or create a different one).. He wouldn't, because it would have been perfectly fitting and in accord with His Wisdom in the first place...

But when God first "considered" what world to create... I think He was not limited (infinite "good" worlds that would be in accord with His Wisdom were possible).  But He had His Divine reasons for creating the world He did. "Reasons" is said analogously when speaking of God's infinite Wisdom; however I am sure they were infinitely bound up with God becoming man. There is no better way of manifesting God's glory (the reason for all creation) than infinitely,  through Christ.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on May 10, 2017, 11:52:59 AM
You have the power to stick your hand into a meat grinder, but you'll never do so according to your wisdom. That doesn't mean that you lack the power. So, is it possible for you to stick your hand in a meat grinder? Of course. It is possible that God could have created other universes given the divine omnipotence, but, given the divine wisdom, there's no reason to expect that He ever would have done so. This is why I'm stating that He never would have actually created a different universe.

For me, power is distinct from wisdom, so I have the power to act in a way that is not wise.  For God, however, His power is identical to His wisdom.  So it is logically impossible for any given hypothetical universe to be consistent with His power but inconsistent with His wisdom.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on May 10, 2017, 01:48:33 PM
I'll put this in a way where the problem can't be muddied by sidetracks about accidents and attributes or about appeals to motion "ad extra" (whatever that is).

Here are the premises, which every Thomist would accept (I think):

1.  An (ontological) thing either is or is not; non datur tertium.  (Premise)
2.  A thing that is either exists in act or in potency; non datur tertium. (Premise)
3.  Two things that exist are either identical to or not identical to each other; non datur tertium. (Premise)
4.  For anything which exists and is not identical to God, God wills it to exist.  (Premise)
5.  Willing of anything is an ontological thing, related to the thing willed as cause to effect. (Premise)
6.  This universe (meaning, the set of all existing things excluding God) exists. (Premise)
7.  There cannot exist an infinite chain of hierarchically subordinated (per se) causes. (Premise)
8.  God's existence is absolutely necessary.  (Premise)

And the logical argumentation:

9.  God willing this universe is or is not. (1,5).
10.  If the willing of the universe were not, this universe would not exist. (4)
11.  Therefore, the willing of this universe exists. (6,9,10)
12.  Willing of this universe exists in act or in potency. (2,11)
13. If the willing of the universe existed in potency, this universe would not exist. (4)
14. Therefore, the willing of this universe exists in act.  (6,12,13)
15.  Willing of this universe is either identical to or not identical to God's existence. (3,14)
16.  If willing of this universe is not identical to God's existence, then God wills the willing of this universe. (4)
17. By a repeat of (9-16), willing of willing of this universe exists in act, is either identical to or not identical to God's existence, and if not, was willed by God.
18. Willing of willing is related as cause to effect. (5)
19.  Therefore this chain cannot go on to infinity (willing of willing of willing of willing...) but must terminate at a willing identical to God's existence. (7,15,18)
20.  Such willing is absolutely necessary (8, 19)
21.  Therefore, willing of willing of willing, etc., down the chain until willing of the universe are absolutely necessary (5)
22.  Therefore, the universe is absolutely necessary (5,21).

This argument is logically valid.  That means, the conclusion is entailed by the premises.  It is not a refutation to merely explain why the conclusion must be false without saying which of the premises you reject (and why).  But rejecting any of the premises is fatal to Thomism.

Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on May 10, 2017, 05:26:09 PM
I'll put this in a way where the problem can't be muddied by sidetracks about accidents and attributes or about appeals to motion "ad extra" (whatever that is).

Here are the premises, which every Thomist would accept (I think):

1.  An (ontological) thing either is or is not; non datur tertium.  (Premise)
2.  A thing that is either exists in act or in potency; non datur tertium. (Premise)
3.  Two things that exist are either identical to or not identical to each other; non datur tertium. (Premise)
4.  For anything which exists and is not identical to God, God wills it to exist.  (Premise)
5.  Willing of anything is an ontological thing, related to the thing willed as cause to effect. (Premise)
6.  This universe (meaning, the set of all existing things excluding God) exists. (Premise)
7.  There cannot exist an infinite chain of hierarchically subordinated (per se) causes. (Premise)
8.  God's existence is absolutely necessary.  (Premise)

And the logical argumentation:

9.  God willing this universe is or is not. (1,5).
10.  If the willing of the universe were not, this universe would not exist. (4)
11.  Therefore, the willing of this universe exists. (6,9,10)
12.  Willing of this universe exists in act or in potency. (2,11)
13. If the willing of the universe existed in potency, this universe would not exist. (4)
14. Therefore, the willing of this universe exists in act.  (6,12,13)
15.  Willing of this universe is either identical to or not identical to God's existence. (3,14)
16.  If willing of this universe is not identical to God's existence, then God wills the willing of this universe. (4)
17. By a repeat of (9-16), willing of willing of this universe exists in act, is either identical to or not identical to God's existence, and if not, was willed by God.
18. Willing of willing is related as cause to effect. (5)
19.  Therefore this chain cannot go on to infinity (willing of willing of willing of willing...) but must terminate at a willing identical to God's existence. (7,15,18)
20.  Such willing is absolutely necessary (8, 19)
21.  Therefore, willing of willing of willing, etc., down the chain until willing of the universe are absolutely necessary (5)
22.  Therefore, the universe is absolutely necessary (5,21).

This argument is logically valid.  That means, the conclusion is entailed by the premises.  It is not a refutation to merely explain why the conclusion must be false without saying which of the premises you reject (and why).  But rejecting any of the premises is fatal to Thomism.

You reject  the conclusion. So you reject one or more premises; which ones (2,12?), and why? Explain your idea of God's non-deterministic causality (and ideas of potency, act, relation...), as they fit in here. Forget you ever heard of Thomism.  What is your explanation of God creating or willing X?
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: An aspiring Thomist on May 10, 2017, 06:34:33 PM
Premise five is wrong if applied to God and the Trinity.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on May 11, 2017, 09:16:27 AM
Premise five is wrong if applied to God and the Trinity.

OK, what is meant is:

5.  Willing of anything is an ontological thing, related to the thing willed as cause to effect for anything willed not identical to God.

No Thomist would deny this, and the argument is still valid.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on May 11, 2017, 10:02:39 AM
You reject  the conclusion. So you reject one or more premises; which ones (2,12?), and why? Explain your idea of God's non-deterministic causality (and ideas of potency, act, relation...), as they fit in here. Forget you ever heard of Thomism.  What is your explanation of God creating or willing X?

First, I'd like to see the necessary intellectual honesty from Thomists or Thomism-defenders to admit the argument is valid, that therefore denial of the conclusion entails denial of one of the premises, and which of the premises they would deny.  For many, unfortunately, allegiance to Thomism takes precedence over truth.  There was one implicit premise which should have been made explicit, and I'll take AAT's statement into account:

1.  An (ontological) thing either is or is not; non datur tertium.  (Premise)
2.  A thing that is either exists in act or in potency; non datur tertium. (Premise)
3.  Two things that exist are either identical to or not identical to each other; non datur tertium. (Premise)
4.  For anything which exists and is not identical to God, God willing it to exist is a necessary and sufficient condition for its existence.  (Premise)
5.  For anything willed not identical to God, its willing is an ontological thing, related to the thing willed as cause to effect . (Premise)
6.  This universe (meaning, the set of all existing things excluding God) exists. (Premise)
7.  There cannot exist an infinite chain of hierarchically subordinated (per se) causes. (Premise)
8.  God's existence is absolutely necessary.  (Premise)


9.  God willing this universe is or is not. (1,5).
10.  If the willing of the universe were not, this universe would not exist. (4)
11.  Therefore, the willing of this universe exists. (6,9,10)
12.  Willing of this universe exists in act or in potency. (2,11)
13. If the willing of the universe existed in potency, this universe would not exist. (4)
14. Therefore, the willing of this universe exists in act.  (6,12,13)
15.  Willing of this universe is either identical to or not identical to God's existence. (3,14)
16.  If willing of this universe is not identical to God's existence, then God wills the willing of this universe. (4)
17. By a repeat of (9-16), willing of willing of this universe exists in act, is either identical to or not identical to God's existence, and if not, was willed by God.
18. Willing of willing is related as cause to effect. (5)
19.  Therefore this chain cannot go on to infinity (willing of willing of willing of willing...) but must terminate at a willing identical to God's existence. (7,15,18)
20.  Such willing is absolutely necessary (8, 19)
21.  Therefore, willing of willing of willing, etc., down the chain until willing of the universe are absolutely necessary (5)
22.  Therefore, the universe is absolutely necessary (4,21).

Lest anyone try to muddy the waters "absolutely necessary" is meant in the modal logic sense of "is true in all possible worlds" so what I am saying is that Thomism logically leads to modal collapse (e.g. this world is the only possible one).  So it is not a refutation to say that God's existence is absolutely necessary but this universe is only necessary with a necessity of supposition (it is ontologically dependent on God and only exists under the supposition that God exists and wills it).  That is admitted, but it is not the sense of "absolute" meant here.

Of course I deny 5.  Every other premise can be known to metaphysical certainty.  Willing simpliciter is an ontological thing, but willing of this thing or that thing is not.  It is a relation.

Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on May 11, 2017, 03:22:23 PM
...
5.  For anything willed not identical to God, its willing is an ontological thing, related to the thing willed as cause to effect . (Premise)
...
Of course I deny 5.  Every other premise can be known to metaphysical certainty.  Willing simpliciter is an ontological thing, but willing of this thing or that thing is not.  It is a relation.

I'll just quote St. Thomas without much comment. (Of course "he is just another man with an opinion", but take it for what it is worth)

 
Quote from: St. Thomas Aquinas S.T. I Q45 A3  Whether creation is anything in the creature?
Objection 1. It would seem that creation is not anything in the creature. For as creation taken in a passive sense is attributed to the creature, so creation taken in an active sense is attributed to the Creator. But creation taken actively is not anything in the Creator, because otherwise it would follow that in God there would be something temporal. Therefore creation taken passively is not anything in the creature.

Reply to Objection 1. Creation signified actively means the divine action, which is God's essence, with a relation to the creature. But in God relation to the creature is not a real relation, but only a relation of reason; whereas the relation of the creature to God is a real relation, as was said above (I:13:7) in treating of the divine names.

So I think St. Thomas would disagree with premise 5 too - willing creation doesn't mean an ontological thing,  but an ontological thing (God's essence) with a logical relationship (which does not qualify God) to a creature (something external). It isn't anything in God.

For a more disciplined, scholarly consideration of these things one could read http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1013.htm#article7
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You accept the fact that many things are said only analogically of God. I say that things that we do not understand as they really are in God are mysteries to US.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on May 12, 2017, 09:16:13 AM
I'll just quote St. Thomas without much comment. (Of course "he is just another man with an opinion", but take it for what it is worth)

As a minor (perhaps somewhat peevish) point, please do not highlight objections in the Summa as though they were the actual opinions of St. Thomas.

But as a major point, when you quote the Summa, please be sure that what you quote actually disagrees with me.  Otherwise, it looks like you are just looking for a five-second soundbite "refutation".

 
Quote from: St. Thomas Aquinas S.T. I Q45 A3  Whether creation is anything in the creature?
Reply to Objection 1. Creation signified actively means the divine action, which is God's essence, with a relation to the creature. But in God relation to the creature is not a real relation, but only a relation of reason; whereas the relation of the creature to God is a real relation, as was said above (I:13:7) in treating of the divine names.

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So I think St. Thomas would disagree with premise 5 too - willing creation doesn't mean an ontological thing,  but an ontological thing (God's essence) with a logical relationship (which does not qualify God) to a creature (something external). It isn't anything in God.

No, he would have to agree with premise 5.  Creation means the divine action, which is God's essence.  Thus, it is God's essence, which is obviously an ontological thing.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on May 12, 2017, 04:38:15 PM
Quote from: St. Thomas Aquinas S.T. I Q45 A3  Whether creation is anything in the creature?
Objection 1. It would seem that creation is not anything in the creature. For as creation taken in a passive sense is attributed to the creature, so creation taken in an active sense is attributed to the Creator. But creation taken actively is not anything in the Creator, because otherwise it would follow that in God there would be something temporal. Therefore creation taken passively is not anything in the creature.

As a minor (perhaps somewhat peevish) point, please do not highlight objections in the Summa as though they were the actual opinions of St. Thomas.

St. Thomas does not always disagree with objections in their entirety.  Based on the objection and its answer I understand his thinking this way:

Objector: A)  "creation taken actively is not anything in the Creator" ... and B) "this implies creation taken passively is not anything in the creature."

St. Thomas: A) is correct, B) is not.

 
Quote from: St. Thomas Aquinas S.T. I Q45 A3  Whether creation is anything in the creature?
Reply to Objection 1. Creation signified actively means the divine action, which is God's essence, with a relation to the creature. But in God relation to the creature is not a real relation, but only a relation of reason; whereas the relation of the creature to God is a real relation, as was said above (I:13:7) in treating of the divine names.

I think that St. Thomas believes that A) is correct because he says "in God relation to the creature is not a real relation".  I think St. Thomas thinks that B) is not (that there is no implication) because he says "the relation of the creature to God is a real relation". He makes the distinction between two types of relation; the objector does not.  A logical relation is not something real in God's essence.

When He says "Creation signified actively means the divine action, which is God's essence, with a relation to the creature" the "with" refers to logical relation only, not something that inheres in His essence. 

But as a major point, when you quote the Summa, please be sure that what you quote actually disagrees with me. 

I'm saying that he agrees with you in denying premise 5.  Sorry if I did not make that clear.

No, he would have to agree with premise 5.  Creation means the divine action, which is God's essence.  Thus, it is God's essence, which is obviously an ontological thing.

I think he is saying that God has an association (logical relation) with His creatures, but that it is not something in His essence. "God creates X" means (the ontological being God's essence) logical_association_only-->(the ontological being X). On the other hand "X is created by God" means the ontological being God's essence) <--real_relation (the ontological being X)

I will admit that I do not understand "logical relation" very well at all.  I can't argue these things very well. But I don't think St. Thomas agrees with premise 5.

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5.  For anything willed not identical to God, its willing is an ontological thing,

Maybe we'll have to agree to disagree (about whether St. Thomas like you would reject premise 5).  But however obscure he is I don't think St. Thomas' thinking leads to believing that the universe is absolutely necessary.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on May 13, 2017, 12:01:24 PM
I think that St. Thomas believes that A) is correct because he says "in God relation to the creature is not a real relation".  I think St. Thomas thinks that B) is not (that there is no implication) because he says "the relation of the creature to God is a real relation". He makes the distinction between two types of relation; the objector does not.  A logical relation is not something real in God's essence.

When He says "Creation signified actively means the divine action, which is God's essence, with a relation to the creature" the "with" refers to logical relation only, not something that inheres in His essence. 

Granted, but he still equates creation with God's essence, which means it is an ontological thing.

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I'm saying that he agrees with you in denying premise 5.  Sorry if I did not make that clear.

OK, but he does not.  There is a difference between saying creation is God's essence with a logical relation to the creature, and saying creation is the logical relation to the creature.  In the former, creation is an ontological thing (since God's essence is an ontological thing); in the latter, it is not.

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Maybe we'll have to agree to disagree (about whether St. Thomas like you would reject premise 5).  But however obscure he is I don't think St. Thomas' thinking leads to believing that the universe is absolutely necessary.

If it is held that creation (or willing) is an ontological thing, then I have shown that premise does lead to that conclusion.  The only way to avoid the conclusion is to deny the premise.  Put another way, if God's existence does not entail the existence of X, neither can God's willing or God's causing, since it is identical to His existence - it forces the conclusion causation is non-determinative.


Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: james03 on May 14, 2017, 02:06:45 PM
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Put another way, if God's existence does not entail the existence of X, neither can God's willing or God's causing, since it is identical to His existence - it forces the conclusion causation is non-determinative.
You are swapping perspectives.  St. Thomas addresses this with the Socrates sitting example.  If Socrates is sitting, then it is ontologically necessary that he sits.  However it is not ontologically necessary for Socrates to sit to be Socrates.

If God creates this world, then it is an ontological necessity that this world exists.  However it is not an ontological necessity for God to create this world for God to be God.  GIVEN the entire essence of God, I'd say it is a modal necessity for this world to exist the way it exists.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on May 15, 2017, 04:15:01 PM
You have the power to stick your hand into a meat grinder, but you'll never do so according to your wisdom. That doesn't mean that you lack the power. So, is it possible for you to stick your hand in a meat grinder? Of course. It is possible that God could have created other universes given the divine omnipotence, but, given the divine wisdom, there's no reason to expect that He ever would have done so. This is why I'm stating that He never would have actually created a different universe.

For me, power is distinct from wisdom, so I have the power to act in a way that is not wise.  For God, however, His power is identical to His wisdom.  So it is logically impossible for any given hypothetical universe to be consistent with His power but inconsistent with His wisdom.

Which is why I said that, conceptually, one could imagine that God had the power to create otherwise but since His wisdom and power are one, it is the case that no other universe would ever have been truly created.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on May 15, 2017, 04:15:53 PM
I'll put this in a way where the problem can't be muddied by sidetracks about accidents and attributes or about appeals to motion "ad extra" (whatever that is).

Here are the premises, which every Thomist would accept (I think):

1.  An (ontological) thing either is or is not; non datur tertium.  (Premise)
2.  A thing that is either exists in act or in potency; non datur tertium. (Premise)
3.  Two things that exist are either identical to or not identical to each other; non datur tertium. (Premise)
4.  For anything which exists and is not identical to God, God wills it to exist.  (Premise)
5.  Willing of anything is an ontological thing, related to the thing willed as cause to effect. (Premise)
6.  This universe (meaning, the set of all existing things excluding God) exists. (Premise)
7.  There cannot exist an infinite chain of hierarchically subordinated (per se) causes. (Premise)
8.  God's existence is absolutely necessary.  (Premise)

And the logical argumentation:

9.  God willing this universe is or is not. (1,5).
10.  If the willing of the universe were not, this universe would not exist. (4)
11.  Therefore, the willing of this universe exists. (6,9,10)
12.  Willing of this universe exists in act or in potency. (2,11)
13. If the willing of the universe existed in potency, this universe would not exist. (4)
14. Therefore, the willing of this universe exists in act.  (6,12,13)
15.  Willing of this universe is either identical to or not identical to God's existence. (3,14)
16.  If willing of this universe is not identical to God's existence, then God wills the willing of this universe. (4)
17. By a repeat of (9-16), willing of willing of this universe exists in act, is either identical to or not identical to God's existence, and if not, was willed by God.
18. Willing of willing is related as cause to effect. (5)
19.  Therefore this chain cannot go on to infinity (willing of willing of willing of willing...) but must terminate at a willing identical to God's existence. (7,15,18)
20.  Such willing is absolutely necessary (8, 19)
21.  Therefore, willing of willing of willing, etc., down the chain until willing of the universe are absolutely necessary (5)
22.  Therefore, the universe is absolutely necessary (5,21).

This argument is logically valid.  That means, the conclusion is entailed by the premises.  It is not a refutation to merely explain why the conclusion must be false without saying which of the premises you reject (and why).  But rejecting any of the premises is fatal to Thomism.

You can't imagine willing ad extra because you're anthropomorphizing the divine will. Either you admit that divine willing is at best analogous to human willing or you do not. You're speaking as if willing is univocal between the two.

When you say things like "willing ad extra (whatever that means)" although you're being snarky, you're actually beginning to recognize what Thomists believe about the divine transcendence. We can make certain claims of an analogical sort, but no wayfarer can understand the synthesis of the divine perfections nor can he apprehend the ways in which God is good, wills, thinks, etc. Our only experience relies upon divisibility and particulars.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on May 15, 2017, 06:59:56 PM

Which is why I said that, conceptually, one could imagine that God had the power to create otherwise but since His wisdom and power are one, it is the case that no other universe would ever have been truly created.

One could imagine that God had the power to create otherwise but in reality He actually didn't.

So you're actually going to embrace modal collapse (this world is the only possible one).  The implications of this are that whatever evil is in it, including moral evil, is logically and metaphysically necessary.

Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on May 15, 2017, 07:06:45 PM
You can't imagine willing ad extra because you're anthropomorphizing the divine will. Either you admit that divine willing is at best analogous to human willing or you do not. You're speaking as if willing is univocal between the two.

Not at all.  I'm pointing out that non-determination is precisely why Divine willing is one of the ways it is only analogous to human willing.

Of course, you've now accepted this universe is the only possible one, so you shouldn't be bothered by the conclusion.


Quote
When you say things like "willing ad extra (whatever that means)" although you're being snarky, you're actually beginning to recognize what Thomists believe about the divine transcendence. We can make certain claims of an analogical sort, but no wayfarer can understand the synthesis of the divine perfections nor can he apprehend the ways in which God is good, wills, thinks, etc. Our only experience relies upon divisibility and particulars.

I actually agree, but since you can't apprehend the ways in which God is good, and wills, etc., you have no argument for premotion and for Banezian predestination.  You have to assume something about how God wills and knows in order to make the claim.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on May 17, 2017, 05:56:02 PM
You can't imagine willing ad extra because you're anthropomorphizing the divine will. Either you admit that divine willing is at best analogous to human willing or you do not. You're speaking as if willing is univocal between the two.

Of course not.   The very argument depends on our willing being analogous to God's: our willing is distinct from our existence, whereas God's willing is identical to His existence.  The entire argument depends on that last point.[/quote]

Of course, but you're forgetting another necessary point, the divine transcendence. That which God wills is separate from His pure act of willing.

Quote
When you say things like "willing ad extra (whatever that means)" although you're being snarky, you're actually beginning to recognize what Thomists believe about the divine transcendence. We can make certain claims of an analogical sort, but no wayfarer can understand the synthesis of the divine perfections nor can he apprehend the ways in which God is good, wills, thinks, etc. Our only experience relies upon divisibility and particulars.

Quote from: Q
So the true answer to Perry Robinson's dilemma is to say the identity relation across possible worlds breaks down when we are dealing with the Infinite: God is both identical and different across them just like the jar with or without the added marble.

How can you hold the bolded above and maintain the divine transcendence? The divine nature itself is mutable and has a real relation to the created order.

Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on May 19, 2017, 01:56:32 AM
There is a difference between saying creation is God's essence with a logical relation to the creature, and saying creation is the logical relation to the creature.  In the former, creation is an ontological thing (since God's essence is an ontological thing); in the latter, it is not.

At one point you(/we) were discussing the possibility that God's creating could be considered a "Cambridge property".  What happened to that consideration?

I don't see that "butter with a relation to (affecting) the price of butter" is an ontological being, or that "God with a relation to (creating) creation" is an ontological being.   Butter is unchanged; the relationship is explicitly made, but is logical only and non-inherent in butter. The change is in the price being affected.  Similarly, "God creating" is God, just logically related to creation. Both God and the relationship to creatures matter in creation (it is explicitly God WITH the relationship), but the relationship is non-inherent in God. The "coming to be/timing" of the creation is on the creature's side, not God's.

We can say what is NOT true of God; any relation to a being that is not God is NOT inherent in God. But from Scripture we CAN say that God is related to creatures; a logical relation is there, and the creatures are affected. A logical relationship is there when creatures are created.

Put another way, if God's existence does not entail the existence of X, neither can God's willing or God's causing, since it is identical to His existence - it forces the conclusion causation is non-determinative.

Could you expand on the meaning/implications of "non-determinative causation"? Do good things come about that are not caused by God?  Does God cause things that don't happen?  Is it all random? (goodness is sometimes a coincidence not caused by God?) Where are God's  power and wisdom in this?
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on May 19, 2017, 08:31:58 AM
There is a difference between saying creation is God's essence with a logical relation to the creature, and saying creation is the logical relation to the creature.  In the former, creation is an ontological thing (since God's essence is an ontological thing); in the latter, it is not.

At one point you(/we) were discussing the possibility that God's creating could be considered a "Cambridge property".  What happened to that consideration?

It's rejected as a category error; the category of "Cambridge properties" only applies to finite creatures and not to the Infinite.

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I don't see that "butter with a relation to (affecting) the price of butter" is an ontological being..

Well it clearly is, just like "Jane with red hair" an ontological being.

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Similarly, "God creating" is God, just logically related to creation.

Then obviously "God creating" is an ontological thing, regardless of relations it has or doesn't have.

Quote
Both God and the relationship to creatures matter in creation (it is explicitly God WITH the relationship), but the relationship is non-inherent in God.

So then exactly how is it God "with" a relationship that is "non-inherent"?  For Jane with red hair, the hair and redness are inherent.

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We can say what is NOT true of God; any relation to a being that is not God is NOT inherent in God. But from Scripture we CAN say that God is related to creatures; a logical relation is there, and the creatures are affected. A logical relationship is there when creatures are created.

Yes, we can say these things, but the difficulty lies in showing their logical coherence.  And the horn of the dilemma is this: Is this relation intrinsic or extrinsic to God?  If intrinsic, it is something He must have and therefore must be there (e.g. modal collapse); if extrinsic, it is really nothing about God to start with (e.g. "God is Creator" is a semantically meaningless phrase).

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Could you expand on the meaning/implications of "non-determinative causation"? Do good things come about that are not caused by God?  Does God cause things that don't happen?  Is it all random? (goodness is sometimes a coincidence not caused by God?) Where are God's  power and wisdom in this?

No, it simply means that looking at God alone has no predictive value in terms of knowledge of what He causes.  Just like looking at an infinite set of marbles.  You cannot know, just from looking at that, whether any marbles have been added or removed, or will be added or removed.

Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: INPEFESS on May 20, 2017, 10:49:04 AM
... I maintain that, while it is possible for God to have created the universe different than He did, He would never have actually done so. So Q's positing of other universes is entirely hypothetical. It's possible in the abstract but under the supposition of an unchanging wisdom, the universe that exists is the one that God would always have created, as it were.

I don't understand this. It seems to be saying if God has unchanging wisdom and creates at all, then He would necessarily create the current universe (because He would never have created another one).

(Or, in other words) If you say God supposedly could have created something less perfect (or different) but never would (because of Who He IS), then I don't see how He really COULD have created something less perfect (or different). Unchanging Wisdom is a given.

God could have created a different universe, but He created this one and "saw that it was good".  He would have created another one if He (from eternity) chose another one, and it too would be good. "Choosing" is said analogously of God; there isn't a pot full of choices or multiple eternities.

Absolutely speaking, God could create any universe which He likes, but that doesn't mean that He would ever actually have created a different universe. What difference could account for God deciding to create a different universe than the one He indeed created?

Under the supposition that God is going to create a universe according to His divine wisdom, it seems to me that He would decide to create this one, but that's not an absolute necessity because God would always retain the power to have made it otherwise.

This is exactly what I was arguing when I was active on the forum last year. I thought you said you disagreed, but perhaps I wasn't explaining myself well.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on May 20, 2017, 06:09:46 PM
... I maintain that, while it is possible for God to have created the universe different than He did, He would never have actually done so. So Q's positing of other universes is entirely hypothetical. It's possible in the abstract but under the supposition of an unchanging wisdom, the universe that exists is the one that God would always have created, as it were.

I don't understand this. It seems to be saying if God has unchanging wisdom and creates at all, then He would necessarily create the current universe (because He would never have created another one).

(Or, in other words) If you say God supposedly could have created something less perfect (or different) but never would (because of Who He IS), then I don't see how He really COULD have created something less perfect (or different). Unchanging Wisdom is a given.

God could have created a different universe, but He created this one and "saw that it was good".  He would have created another one if He (from eternity) chose another one, and it too would be good. "Choosing" is said analogously of God; there isn't a pot full of choices or multiple eternities.

Absolutely speaking, God could create any universe which He likes, but that doesn't mean that He would ever actually have created a different universe. What difference could account for God deciding to create a different universe than the one He indeed created?

Under the supposition that God is going to create a universe according to His divine wisdom, it seems to me that He would decide to create this one, but that's not an absolute necessity because God would always retain the power to have made it otherwise.

This is exactly what I was arguing when I was active on the forum last year. I thought you said you disagreed, but perhaps I wasn't explaining myself well.

I'm happy that you two both understand and agree with each other now  :D, but I'm still not quite sure that I do (maybe I just don't understand).

On the supposition (or based on the actual fact) that God did create the world (vs not create), and did create this one (vs any other), I see that He would not have done otherwise. That is the choice that He made from eternity, and there is no reason for Him to have made another choice.  But if we leave the supposition behind, I don't see why we couldn't say that "He would not have created or would have created another world, IF He had made another choice".

God chose to create this world; it is His freedom once exercised that made the world necessary  "on supposition". But saying that in every sense God would NEVER have created another world seems to be saying that one particular use of that freedom (one choice) was necessary. God's choice is only analogous to ours, but isn't there some kind of choice not confined in this way? If God decides to create at all, then I still don't see His Wisdom being confined to one choice.

Any world that God created would have given Him the greatest possible glory that that world could give.  But no created world can give God as much glory as He gives Himself. It seems there is no limit to the possible goodness (glory it gives) of a created world, but the actual goodness is limited to what God chooses to give.

However, adding Christ to the considerations would make a big impact...God creating a world united in a way with God Himself; a world that in some way is best; goodness unlimited, best fitted with Divine Wisdom.  This is beyond my paygrade.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: INPEFESS on May 21, 2017, 12:48:23 PM
... I maintain that, while it is possible for God to have created the universe different than He did, He would never have actually done so. So Q's positing of other universes is entirely hypothetical. It's possible in the abstract but under the supposition of an unchanging wisdom, the universe that exists is the one that God would always have created, as it were.

I don't understand this. It seems to be saying if God has unchanging wisdom and creates at all, then He would necessarily create the current universe (because He would never have created another one).

(Or, in other words) If you say God supposedly could have created something less perfect (or different) but never would (because of Who He IS), then I don't see how He really COULD have created something less perfect (or different). Unchanging Wisdom is a given.

God could have created a different universe, but He created this one and "saw that it was good".  He would have created another one if He (from eternity) chose another one, and it too would be good. "Choosing" is said analogously of God; there isn't a pot full of choices or multiple eternities.

Absolutely speaking, God could create any universe which He likes, but that doesn't mean that He would ever actually have created a different universe. What difference could account for God deciding to create a different universe than the one He indeed created?

Under the supposition that God is going to create a universe according to His divine wisdom, it seems to me that He would decide to create this one, but that's not an absolute necessity because God would always retain the power to have made it otherwise.

This is exactly what I was arguing when I was active on the forum last year. I thought you said you disagreed, but perhaps I wasn't explaining myself well.

I'm happy that you two both understand and agree with each other now  :D, but I'm still not quite sure that I do (maybe I just don't understand).

On the supposition (or based on the actual fact) that God did create the world (vs not create), and did create this one (vs any other), I see that He would not have done otherwise. That is the choice that He made from eternity, and there is no reason for Him to have made another choice.  But if we leave the supposition behind, I don't see why we couldn't say that "He would not have created or would have created another world, IF He had made another choice".

God chose to create this world; it is His freedom once exercised that made the world necessary  "on supposition". But saying that in every sense God would NEVER have created another world seems to be saying that one particular use of that freedom (one choice) was necessary. God's choice is only analogous to ours, but isn't there some kind of choice not confined in this way? If God decides to create at all, then I still don't see His Wisdom being confined to one choice.

Any world that God created would have given Him the greatest possible glory that that world could give.  But no created world can give God as much glory as He gives Himself. It seems there is no limit to the possible goodness (glory it gives) of a created world, but the actual goodness is limited to what God chooses to give.

However, adding Christ to the considerations would make a big impact...God creating a world united in a way with God Himself; a world that in some way is best; goodness unlimited, best fitted with Divine Wisdom.  This is beyond my paygrade.

Hmm. Perhaps this is a better way to explain it...

His wisdom doesn't confine His liberty of choice; it is the reason for it. His wisdom is that which made this particular world the most fitting one for Him to make, though He could have made others, since, all of them being infinitely inadequate compared to Himself, none of them could necessitate His will. And it is the fitness of this or that object as judged by the intellect that is the very motive of free action.

In order to speculate as to whether He would have EVER made a different world is to ask whether His wisdom would ever judge the fitness of another possible world differently that we know He judges it now. But if God is Pure Act, He cannot admit an admixture of potency, even within His intellect.

Remember, His will is not capricious. His attributes of omniscience and omnipotence produce His infallible foreknowledge of all possible worlds. In order for His wisdom to judge one to be most fitting, but then a different one to be most fitting, He would [1] have no sufficient motive for willing one rather than another and [2] would be admitting a change of His unchangeable essence, a deficiency in His intellect, and an imperfection of His wisdom.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on May 21, 2017, 02:22:43 PM
Hmm. Perhaps this is a better way to explain it...

Actually, saying Thomism entails modal collapse is a perfectly fine explanation which should be clear to everyone.  I give both you and LouisIX great credit for honestly and frankly admitting this is the case and not dancing around it.  Ditto for the adoption of the philosophy of Dr. Pangloss.

Obviously, though, since I reject modal collapse, I therefore reject Thomism.

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His wisdom doesn't confine His liberty of choice; it is the reason for it. His wisdom is that which made this particular world the most fitting one for Him to make, though He could have made others, since, all of them being infinitely inadequate compared to Himself, none of them could necessitate His will. And it is the fitness of this or that object as judged by the intellect that is the very motive of free action.

Of course I reject this as a) being contrary to Divine simplicity and b) containing the unproven assertion that "the most fitting world for God to make" is not a logical contradiction, like "the largest integer".

But assuming His wisdom makes this particular world the most fitting, His will, which is identical to His wisdom, makes this particular world to be in the identical act that makes this particular world the most fitting.  It is impossible that He "could have made others".  His power is not distinct from His wisdom.
 Which is another way of saying that God cannot have a moral defect like creatures can: we can act in a way that is not the most fitting but He cannot.

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In order to speculate as to whether He would have EVER made a different world is to ask whether His wisdom would ever judge the fitness of another possible world differently that we know He judges it now. But if God is Pure Act, He cannot admit an admixture of potency, even within His intellect.

Remember, His will is not capricious. His attributes of omniscience and omnipotence produce His infallible foreknowledge of all possible worlds. In order for His wisdom to judge one to be most fitting, but then a different one to be most fitting, He would [1] have no sufficient motive for willing one rather than another and [2] would be admitting a change of His unchangeable essence, a deficiency in His intellect, and an imperfection of His wisdom.

This is the typical nonsense reply from Thomists which doesn't even attempt to grasp the basic modalities.  What NN was actually asking was is there a possible world in which God acts and judges differently "from eternity" (I don't like that phrase, but everyone knows what I mean), not whether God would "change His mind" in the current one.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on May 21, 2017, 05:19:16 PM
...
Hmm. Perhaps this is a better way to explain it...

His wisdom doesn't confine His liberty of choice; it is the reason for it. His wisdom is that which made this particular world the most fitting one for Him to make, though He could have made others, since, all of them being infinitely inadequate compared to Himself, none of them could necessitate His will. And it is the fitness of this or that object as judged by the intellect that is the very motive of free action.

In order to speculate as to whether He would have EVER made a different world is to ask whether His wisdom would ever judge the fitness of another possible world differently that we know He judges it now. But if God is Pure Act, He cannot admit an admixture of potency, even within His intellect.

Remember, His will is not capricious. His attributes of omniscience and omnipotence produce His infallible foreknowledge of all possible worlds. In order for His wisdom to judge one to be most fitting, but then a different one to be most fitting, He would [1] have no sufficient motive for willing one rather than another and [2] would be admitting a change of His unchangeable essence, a deficiency in His intellect, and an imperfection of His wisdom.

First, a terminology question, are we essentially talking about the (famous) "best of all possible worlds" argument here (although using other words)?

I can see how God COULD make a universe that is less good then the current one, but WOULD not.

But I can't see how God COULD make a universe that is better then the current one, but ABSOLUTELY WOULD NOT.

Quote from: St. Thomas, Summa Theologica I

http://newadvent.org/summa/1025.htm#article6

Question 25. The power of God
A6. Could He make better what He makes?
...
Objection 3. Further, what is very good and the best of all cannot be bettered; because nothing is better than the best. But as Augustine says (Enchiridion 10), "each thing that God has made is good, and, taken all together they are very good; because in them all consists the wondrous beauty of the universe." Therefore the good in the universe could not be made better by God.
...
Reply to Objection 3. The universe, the present creation being supposed, cannot be better, on account of the most beautiful order given to things by God; in which the good of the universe consists. For if any one thing were bettered, the proportion of order would be destroyed; as if one string were stretched more than it ought to be, the melody of the harp would be destroyed. Yet God could make other things, or add something to the present creation; and then there would be another and a better universe. 

I just can't see St. Thomas adding, yes, He COULD, but He absolutely WOULD NEVER HAVE DONE SO.

Let me make the analogy of Beethoven creating music (replace with your favorite "practically perfect" human creator).  Someone might reasonably (even if with some exaggeration) say even of a small but exquisite piece, "it's perfect, I wouldn't change a note". Now, Beethoven COULD but WOULD NOT create a piece by throwing rocks backwards over his head at the piano. But he COULD and WOULD have created the 9th symphony if God had inspired him to choose that in the past.

I think there is no "best of all possible worlds" that God would always choose out of His wisdom.  God's wisdom and choice are one and create a world that is perfect in itself; given that it was created, it couldn't have created better.  But no world can be utterly fitting in every possible respect to God's infinite wisdom and goodness; it would need to be as good as God Himself.

It's not denigrating God's wisdom to say He would have created a different universe if He had so chosen.  His wisdom and choices are not bound by some infinite number of possible finite good worlds that are out there, that He chooses among, and must find "the best". He doesn't choose a world because it is the best, it is as good as the goodness He wants to share, always perfect in itself.  His glory is not diminished by creating a lesser but perfect world. Creation has no impact on His goodness.

But since God's motive in creating is to share His goodness, I think that in a world that is "perfect in itself" there would be intellectual creatures who can share that goodness in a marvelous way.  I can't keep Christ out of these considerations...

Comment partly for QMR:  Ultimately God's reasons for creating exactly this world rather than that are rooted in Divine Wisdom, in His being and goodness that we can not fathom. I think "motives" and "reasons" are said analogously of Him. But any such analogy must reasonable on our side, as far as we can go with it.  We can not say that our idea of God's goodness being analogical means that truly perhaps God is evil.  Nor, I think, can we say that our idea of God's motives being analogical means that truly perhaps God's wisdom is "non-deterministic".
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: INPEFESS on May 21, 2017, 08:02:13 PM
NN, I'm glad you brought it up because it occurred to me I should clarify the terminology. "Possible worlds" is a philosophically obscure phrase, because it fails to address the distinction between possible worlds entirely distinct from ours and possible worlds only accidentally or minimally distinct. Take for example a world exactly identical to ours but Venus doesn't exist; a world where there is one fewer grain of sand on the beach; or a world where the constellation Orion is of slightly different dimensions. Technically, a world containing a set of created things that is even the slightest bit different from another is, taken as a whole, a different possible world. This is the sense in which I speak of possible worlds. Given the set of created things of our world, they are most fitting as they are and could not be formally any better. That is not to say, however, that God would not create a materially different possible world substantially distinct from ours. And this world that He would create would be most fitting:  It could not formally be any better. (I apologize for any confusion that lack of specificity caused.)

I should also note that the book you told me you ordered answers this question pointedly. It addresses the possibility of God creating other worlds on Pg. 268. See the italicized subheading that reads: "God could have chosen a better world, but He could not have arranged its elements better than those of the present world." In the language I used above, I would add these parenthetical notes: God could have chosen a better world (materially, substantially), but He could not have arranged its elements better than those of the present world (formally, accidentally). Technically speaking, both of those types of different possible worlds are including in the phrase "possible worlds," which is why a distinction is necessary. To paraphrase Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange in "God: His Existence  and His Nature, Vol. II," God could have created a better world, but He couldn't have created the world better.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on May 22, 2017, 12:09:48 AM
NN, I'm glad you brought it up because it occurred to me I should clarify the terminology. "Possible worlds" is a philosophically obscure phrase, because it fails to address the distinction between possible worlds entirely distinct from ours and possible worlds only accidentally or minimally distinct. Take for example a world exactly identical to ours but Venus doesn't exist; a world where there is one fewer grain of sand on the beach; or a world where the constellation Orion is of slightly different dimensions. Technically, a world containing a set of created things that is even the slightest bit different from another is, taken as a whole, a different possible world. This is the sense in which I speak of possible worlds. Given the set of created things of our world, they are most fitting as they are and could not be formally any better. That is not to say, however, that God would not create a materially different possible world substantially distinct from ours. And this world that He would create would be most fitting:  It could not formally be any better. (I apologize for any confusion that lack of specificity caused.)

I should also note that the book you told me you ordered answers this question pointedly. It addresses the possibility of God creating other worlds on Pg. 268. See the italicized subheading that reads: "God could have chosen a better world, but He could not have arranged its elements better than those of the present world." In the language I used above, I would add these parenthetical notes: God could have chosen a better world (materially, substantially), but He could not have arranged its elements better than those of the present world (formally, accidentally). Technically speaking, both of those types of different possible worlds are including in the phrase "possible worlds," which is why a distinction is necessary. To paraphrase Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange in "God: His Existence  and His Nature, Vol. II," God could have created a better world, but He couldn't have created the world better.

Thanks. I edited my post before this considerably after not seeing yours here first.  You can look over it again if you like.   I don't have time any more tonight to thoroughly read yours or Garrigou-Lagrange but I will.

" God could have created a better world, but He couldn't have created the world better".  That is at least similar to what I was trying to say in quoting St. Thomas (and my example with Beethoven).

Will get back to this tomorrow.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on May 22, 2017, 08:32:46 PM
NN, I'm glad you brought it up because it occurred to me I should clarify the terminology. "Possible worlds" is a philosophically obscure phrase, because it fails to address the distinction between possible worlds entirely distinct from ours and possible worlds only accidentally or minimally distinct. Take for example a world exactly identical to ours but Venus doesn't exist; a world where there is one fewer grain of sand on the beach; or a world where the constellation Orion is of slightly different dimensions. Technically, a world containing a set of created things that is even the slightest bit different from another is, taken as a whole, a different possible world. This is the sense in which I speak of possible worlds. Given the set of created things of our world, they are most fitting as they are and could not be formally any better. That is not to say, however, that God would not create a materially different possible world substantially distinct from ours. And this world that He would create would be most fitting:  It could not formally be any better. (I apologize for any confusion that lack of specificity caused.)

I should also note that the book you told me you ordered answers this question pointedly. It addresses the possibility of God creating other worlds on Pg. 268. See the italicized subheading that reads: "God could have chosen a better world, but He could not have arranged its elements better than those of the present world." In the language I used above, I would add these parenthetical notes: God could have chosen a better world (materially, substantially), but He could not have arranged its elements better than those of the present world (formally, accidentally). Technically speaking, both of those types of different possible worlds are including in the phrase "possible worlds," which is why a distinction is necessary. To paraphrase Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange in "God: His Existence  and His Nature, Vol. II," God could have created a better world, but He couldn't have created the world better.

I didn't find Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange's text  on page 268 in my book (which was the very beginning of The Special Antinomies Relating to Freedom). I have an old used book, 6th printing 1955.  I did find the text on page 345.

I also have this book on my Kindle, although page numbers aren’t shown and Kindle choked on the book for a while. I finally found the text and then highlighted it, which made it available from my Amazon account, and then copy/pasted it here.  (I know you have it already but this is convenient at least for me).
 
Quote from: Garrigou-Lagrange   God: His Existence and His Nature, Vol II
God could have chosen a better world, but He could not have arranged its elements better than those of the present world. Refuting in advance the theories of Leibniz and Malebranche, St. Thomas (Ia, q. 25, a. 5) wrote as follows: “Some think that the divine power is restricted to this present course of events through the order of the divine wisdom and justice, so that another world could not come into existence. But since the power of God, which is His essence, is nothing else but His wisdom, it can indeed be fittingly said that there is nothing in the divine power which is not in the order of divine wisdom; for the divine wisdom includes the whole potency of the divine power. Yet the order placed in creation by divine wisdom, in which order the notion of his justice consists, is not so adequate to the divine wisdom that the divine wisdom should be restricted to this present order of things. Now it is clear that the whole idea of order which a wise man puts into things made by him is taken from their end. So, when the end is proportionate to the things made for that end, the wisdom of the maker is restricted to some definite order. But the divine goodness is an end exceeding beyond all proportion things created. Hence the divine wisdom is not so restricted to any particular order that no other course of events could happen.” Leibniz considered this problem too much as a problem of mathematics in which there is a fixed proportion between the different elements; he did not sufficiently take into account the end itself of the creative act, that is, the infinite goodness which manifests itself in the communication of its riches; he failed to understand the import of these words of St. Thomas: "The divine goodness is the end which exceeds beyond all proportion created things.
 Leibniz says further: “Supreme wisdom could not fail to choose the best . . . and there would be something to correct in the actions of God if there were a better way of doing things” (Theod., 8 ). St. Thomas (Ia, q. 25, a. 6 ad ium.) provided an answer in advance for this objection, when he wrote: “The proposition: God can make a thing better than He makes it, can be understood in two ways. If the word ‘better is taken substantively, as meaning a better object, this proposition is true; for God can make better the things that exist and make better things than those which He has made. But if the word ‘better is taken as an adverb, implying in a more perfect manner, then we cannot say that God can make anything better than He makes it, for He cannot make it from greater wisdom and goodness.” His answer to the third objection is as follows: “The universe, the present creation being supposed, cannot be better, on account of the most beautiful order given to things by God, in which the good of the universe consists. For if any one thing were bettered, the proportion of order would be destroyed as, if one string were stretched more than it ought to be, the melody of a harp would be destroyed.” This is tantamount to saying that the world is a masterpiece, but another divine masterpiece is possible. The organism of the plant is less perfect than that of the animal, and yet, granted its parts and the end that it must attain, there could not be a better arrangement of its parts. A certain symphony of Beethoven is a masterpiece without any fault in it; however it does not exclude the possibility of a masterpiece of the same kind or of another order. The holiness of the Apostle Peter does not exclude that of St. Paul; both are infinitely far from the holiness of God. The Incarnation alone represents to us the highest possible union of the divine with a created nature, but the problem remains for the degree of grace and glory of the human soul of Christ; however high the degree, there is still an infinite difference between the intensity of the beatific vision which the soul of Jesus enjoyed and the comprehensive vision which cannot belong to any but the divine nature (Ilia, q. 7, a. 12 ad 2um).

Quote from: INPEFESS
Given the set of created things of our world, they are most fitting as they are and could not be formally any better. That is not to say, however, that God would not create a materially different possible world substantially distinct from ours. And this world that He would create would be most fitting:  It could not formally be any better

I'm not clear whether you would agree with this or not:  God could have arranged the same set of created things of our world in a different way.  It would also be most fitting, but not better made (or arranged) than the current world.  Again use the analogy with masterpiece symphonies composed by an infinitely great composer.  Each of two different symphonies (using the same finitely good orchestra) would be most fitting (considered in itself), but not one better made than the other.  Neither symphony would be great in proportion to the infinite greatness of the composer.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on May 22, 2017, 09:44:22 PM
This is yet another example of a Thomistic conclusion not actually entailed by the basics of Thomistic ontology and therefore unproven.  What even is "order" in the first place?

Quote
"God could have chosen a better world, but He could not have arranged its elements better than those of the present world." In the language I used above, I would add these parenthetical notes: God could have chosen a better world (materially, substantially), but He could not have arranged its elements better than those of the present world (formally, accidentally). Technically speaking, both of those types of different possible worlds are including in the phrase "possible worlds," which is why a distinction is necessary.

No, they're not.  If He could not have arranged the elements of this present world better, and therefore would not create a world with its present elements but a different arrangement, such a world is impossible, and is therefore not included in the phrase "possible worlds".
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on May 23, 2017, 12:46:44 AM
This is yet another example of a Thomistic conclusion not actually entailed by the basics of Thomistic ontology and therefore unproven.  What even is "order" in the first place?

Quote
"God could have chosen a better world, but He could not have arranged its elements better than those of the present world." In the language I used above, I would add these parenthetical notes: God could have chosen a better world (materially, substantially), but He could not have arranged its elements better than those of the present world (formally, accidentally). Technically speaking, both of those types of different possible worlds are including in the phrase "possible worlds," which is why a distinction is necessary.

No, they're not.  If He could not have arranged the elements of this present world better, and therefore would not create a world with its present elements but a different arrangement, such a world is impossible, and is therefore not included in the phrase "possible worlds".

I don't think a world that is "a total loss" is truly a possible world for God to make, even if it is "logically possible".  Total loss - e.g. world overall (or its creatures with intelligence) gives no glory to God.

I think God, with the same elements of the world, could have made a world arranged with "view A" of Himself (say the current world), or else could have decided to make a world arranged with "view B" of Himself, or else....  No view is arranged "better" than the others; they are each arranged by the Infinitely good "Arranger(/Composer" and are views of God; they are just different.  Even if one view is grander (like a sonata vs a symphony), the arrangement is perfectly done for the thing that is arranged; in that sense no arrangement is better.  There is no "grandest symphony" because no created world can be in proportion to (or approach) the infinite grandeur of God.

I'm not saying this matches what INPEFESS or LouisIX would say now (or Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, or St. Thomas, although I try to be consistent with him).  These are just my current thoughts.

(A view is how God manifests His goodness in and to the world, His motive for creating it.  No view can encompass the full glory of God.)

Adding Christ to these considerations may well show how feeble they are - there does seem to be a grandest symphony that matches God's glory. But we wouldn't know it by reason alone (or would we at least have a clue that God might get intimately involved with His created world?)
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on May 23, 2017, 11:17:54 AM
I don't think a world that is "a total loss" is truly a possible world for God to make, even if it is "logically possible".  Total loss - e.g. world overall (or its creatures with intelligence) gives no glory to God.

It isn't a possible world for God to make, which means it is not logically possible.

Quote
I think God, with the same elements of the world, could have made a world arranged with "view A" of Himself (say the current world), or else could have decided to make a world arranged with "view B" of Himself, or else....  No view is arranged "better" than the others; they are each arranged by the Infinitely good "Arranger(/Composer" and are views of God; they are just different.  Even if one view is grander (like a sonata vs a symphony), the arrangement is perfectly done for the thing that is arranged; in that sense no arrangement is better.  There is no "grandest symphony" because no created world can be in proportion to (or approach) the infinite grandeur of God.

I'm not saying this matches what INPEFESS or LouisIX would say now (or Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, or St. Thomas, although I try to be consistent with him).  These are just my current thoughts.

(A view is how God manifests His goodness in and to the world, His motive for creating it.  No view can encompass the full glory of God.)

Adding Christ to these considerations may well show how feeble they are - there does seem to be a grandest symphony that matches God's glory. But we wouldn't know it by reason alone (or would we at least have a clue that God might get intimately involved with His created world?)

I don't think we can even begin to know exactly which of the (to us, epistemically possible) worlds are or aren't in accordance with God's Infinite Wisdom, except for the actual one.  I don't see how we can legitimately come to the conclusion that the present world but with one less oak tree in it would somehow be "deficient" in its order or in the glory given to God or in some other way.  Now it's (epistemically) possible this is the case, but I don't see how we could even  begin to prove it.


Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on May 23, 2017, 03:06:47 PM

Which is why I said that, conceptually, one could imagine that God had the power to create otherwise but since His wisdom and power are one, it is the case that no other universe would ever have been truly created.

One could imagine that God had the power to create otherwise but in reality He actually didn't.

So you're actually going to embrace modal collapse (this world is the only possible one).  The implications of this are that whatever evil is in it, including moral evil, is logically and metaphysically necessary.

No, as I would want to distinguish between a universe which permitted evil simpliciter and this particular universe in which these particular evils are permitted rather than others.

Also, there's a distinction to be made between absolute metaphysical necessity and suppositional necessity.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on May 23, 2017, 03:09:23 PM
You can't imagine willing ad extra because you're anthropomorphizing the divine will. Either you admit that divine willing is at best analogous to human willing or you do not. You're speaking as if willing is univocal between the two.

Not at all.  I'm pointing out that non-determination is precisely why Divine willing is one of the ways it is only analogous to human willing.

Of course, you've now accepted this universe is the only possible one, so you shouldn't be bothered by the conclusion.


Quote
When you say things like "willing ad extra (whatever that means)" although you're being snarky, you're actually beginning to recognize what Thomists believe about the divine transcendence. We can make certain claims of an analogical sort, but no wayfarer can understand the synthesis of the divine perfections nor can he apprehend the ways in which God is good, wills, thinks, etc. Our only experience relies upon divisibility and particulars.

I actually agree, but since you can't apprehend the ways in which God is good, and wills, etc., you have no argument for premotion and for Banezian predestination.  You have to assume something about how God wills and knows in order to make the claim.

We're simply negating potency and divisibility in God. It's not as physical premotion is anything other than this. It's certainly not an exhaustive understanding of the workings of the divine will. Garrigou can hardly get through 3 or 4 pages without reminding us that the positive knowledge necessary to understand the divine will and causality is partially obscured to us now.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: Non Nobis on May 23, 2017, 03:15:44 PM
I don't think a world that is "a total loss" is truly a possible world for God to make, even if it is "logically possible".  Total loss - e.g. world overall (or its creatures with intelligence) gives no glory to God.

It isn't a possible world for God to make, which means it is not logically possible.

Thanks, I think that you are right.  You can hazily form the idea of a world with just one person whose first and only choice is a mortal sin, but only if you don't consider the idea carefully - that the world is caused by God who is goodness itself. So the idea taken in full is self-contradictory.  Correct?

Isn't Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange implying this when he says "there is nothing in the divine power which is not in the order of divine wisdom"?

Quote
I think God, with the same elements of the world, could have made a world arranged with "view A" of Himself (say the current world), or else could have decided to make a world arranged with "view B" of Himself, or else....  No view is arranged "better" than the others; they are each arranged by the Infinitely good "Arranger(/Composer" and are views of God; they are just different.  Even if one view is grander (like a sonata vs a symphony), the arrangement is perfectly done for the thing that is arranged; in that sense no arrangement is better.  There is no "grandest symphony" because no created world can be in proportion to (or approach) the infinite grandeur of God.

I'm not saying this matches what INPEFESS or LouisIX would say now (or Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, or St. Thomas, although I try to be consistent with him).  These are just my current thoughts.

(A view is how God manifests His goodness in and to the world, His motive for creating it.  No view can encompass the full glory of God.)

Adding Christ to these considerations may well show how feeble they are - there does seem to be a grandest symphony that matches God's glory. But we wouldn't know it by reason alone (or would we at least have a clue that God might get intimately involved with His created world?)

I don't think we can even begin to know exactly which of the (to us, epistemically possible) worlds are or aren't in accordance with God's Infinite Wisdom, except for the actual one.  I don't see how we can legitimately come to the conclusion that the present world but with one less oak tree in it would somehow be "deficient" in its order or in the glory given to God or in some other way.  Now it's (epistemically) possible this is the case, but I don't see how we could even  begin to prove it.

I think I agree.  Did I say something in opposition to this?
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: LouisIX on May 23, 2017, 03:16:40 PM
... I maintain that, while it is possible for God to have created the universe different than He did, He would never have actually done so. So Q's positing of other universes is entirely hypothetical. It's possible in the abstract but under the supposition of an unchanging wisdom, the universe that exists is the one that God would always have created, as it were.

I don't understand this. It seems to be saying if God has unchanging wisdom and creates at all, then He would necessarily create the current universe (because He would never have created another one).

(Or, in other words) If you say God supposedly could have created something less perfect (or different) but never would (because of Who He IS), then I don't see how He really COULD have created something less perfect (or different). Unchanging Wisdom is a given.

God could have created a different universe, but He created this one and "saw that it was good".  He would have created another one if He (from eternity) chose another one, and it too would be good. "Choosing" is said analogously of God; there isn't a pot full of choices or multiple eternities.

Absolutely speaking, God could create any universe which He likes, but that doesn't mean that He would ever actually have created a different universe. What difference could account for God deciding to create a different universe than the one He indeed created?

Under the supposition that God is going to create a universe according to His divine wisdom, it seems to me that He would decide to create this one, but that's not an absolute necessity because God would always retain the power to have made it otherwise.

This is exactly what I was arguing when I was active on the forum last year. I thought you said you disagreed, but perhaps I wasn't explaining myself well.

I think that I agree with you ultimately but want to emphasize that is not an absolute necessity.
Title: Re: Thomist theory of grace and predestination
Post by: INPEFESS on May 24, 2017, 10:41:32 AM
NN, I'm glad you brought it up because it occurred to me I should clarify the terminology. "Possible worlds" is a philosophically obscure phrase, because it fails to address the distinction between possible worlds entirely distinct from ours and possible worlds only accidentally or minimally distinct. Take for example a world exactly identical to ours but Venus doesn't exist; a world where there is one fewer grain of sand on the beach; or a world where the constellation Orion is of slightly different dimensions. Technically, a world containing a set of created things that is even the slightest bit different from another is, taken as a whole, a different possible world. This is the sense in which I speak of possible worlds. Given the set of created things of our world, they are most fitting as they are and could not be formally any better. That is not to say, however, that God would not create a materially different possible world substantially distinct from ours. And this world that He would create would be most fitting:  It could not formally be any better. (I apologize for any confusion that lack of specificity caused.)

I should also note that the book you told me you ordered answers this question pointedly. It addresses the possibility of God creating other worlds on Pg. 268. See the italicized subheading that reads: "God could have chosen a better world, but He could not have arranged its elements better than those of the present world." In the language I used above, I would add these parenthetical notes: God could have chosen a better world (materially, substantially), but He could not have arranged its elements better than those of the present world (formally, accidentally). Technically speaking, both of those types of different possible worlds are including in the phrase "possible worlds," which is why a distinction is necessary. To paraphrase Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange in "God: His Existence  and His Nature, Vol. II," God could have created a better world, but He couldn't have created the world better.

I didn't find Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange's text  on page 268 in my book (which was the very beginning of The Special Antinomies Relating to Freedom). I have an old used book, 6th printing 1955.  I did find the text on page 345.

I also have this book on my Kindle, although page numbers aren’t shown and Kindle choked on the book for a while. I finally found the text and then highlighted it, which made it available from my Amazon account, and then copy/pasted it here.  (I know you have it already but this is convenient at least for me).
 
Quote from: Garrigou-Lagrange   God: His Existence and His Nature, Vol II
God could have chosen a better world, but He could not have arranged its elements better than those of the present world. Refuting in advance the theories of Leibniz and Malebranche, St. Thomas (Ia, q. 25, a. 5) wrote as follows: “Some think that the divine power is restricted to this present course of events through the order of the divine wisdom and justice, so that another world could not come into existence. But since the power of God, which is His essence, is nothing else but His wisdom, it can indeed be fittingly said that there is nothing in the divine power which is not in the order of divine wisdom; for the divine wisdom includes the whole potency of the divine power. Yet the order placed in creation by divine wisdom, in which order the notion of his justice consists, is not so adequate to the divine wisdom that the divine wisdom should be restricted to this present order of things. Now it is clear that the whole idea of order which a wise man puts into things made by him is taken from their end. So, when the end is proportionate to the things made for that end, the wisdom of the maker is restricted to some definite order. But the divine goodness is an end exceeding beyond all proportion things created. Hence the divine wisdom is not so restricted to any particular order that no other course of events could happen.” Leibniz considered this problem too much as a problem of mathematics in which there is a fixed proportion between the different elements; he did not sufficiently take into account the end itself of the creative act, that is, the infinite goodness which manifests itself in the communication of its riches; he failed to understand the import of these words of St. Thomas: "The divine goodness is the end which exceeds beyond all proportion created things.
 Leibniz says further: “Supreme wisdom could not fail to choose the best . . . and there would be something to correct in the actions of God if there were a better way of doing things” (Theod., 8 ). St. Thomas (Ia, q. 25, a. 6 ad ium.) provided an answer in advance for this objection, when he wrote: “The proposition: God can make a thing better than He makes it, can be understood in two ways. If the word ‘better is taken substantively, as meaning a better object, this proposition is true; for God can make better the things that exist and make better things than those which He has made. But if the word ‘better is taken as an adverb, implying in a more perfect manner, then we cannot say that God can make anything better than He makes it, for He cannot make it from greater wisdom and goodness.” His answer to the third objection is as follows: “The universe, the present creation being supposed, cannot be better, on account of the most beautiful order given to things by God, in which the good of the universe consists. For if any one thing were bettered, the proportion of order would be destroyed as, if one string were stretched more than it ought to be, the melody of a harp would be destroyed.” This is tantamount to saying that the world is a masterpiece, but another divine masterpiece is possible. The organism of the plant is less perfect than that of the animal, and yet, granted its parts and the end that it must attain, there could not be a better arrangement of its parts. A certain symphony of Beethoven is a masterpiece without any fault in it; however it does not exclude the possibility of a masterpiece of the same kind or of another order. The holiness of the Apostle Peter does not exclude that of St. Paul; both are infinitely far from the holiness of God. The Incarnation alone represents to us the highest possible union of the divine with a created nature, but the problem remains for the degree of grace and glory of the human soul of Christ; however high the degree, there is still an infinite difference between the intensity of the beatific vision which the soul of Jesus enjoyed and the comprehensive vision which cannot belong to any but the divine nature (Ilia, q. 7, a. 12 ad 2um).

Quote from: INPEFESS
Given the set of created things of our world, they are most fitting as they are and could not be formally any better. That is not to say, however, that God would not create a materially different possible world substantially distinct from ours. And this world that He would create would be most fitting:  It could not formally be any better

I'm not clear whether you would agree with this or not:  God could have arranged the same set of created things of our world in a different way.  It would also be most fitting, but not better made (or arranged) than the current world.  Again use the analogy with masterpiece symphonies composed by an infinitely great composer.  Each of two different symphonies (using the same finitely good orchestra) would be most fitting (considered in itself), but not one better made than the other.  Neither symphony would be great in proportion to the infinite greatness of the composer.

Yes, I think I would agree with this.