Author Topic: Why not hedonism?  (Read 13694 times)

Offline Xavier

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Re: Why not hedonism?
« Reply #45 on: January 21, 2019, 12:19:35 AM »
It is Christ and the Bible that assure us the Holy Spirit is given to the Church for all time (Isa 59:21, Mat 28:20), that hell will never conquer the Church built on St. Peter (Mat 16:18), that this Church is His voice on earth and all are to listen to and remain in Her (Mat 18:17-18) etc.

Vetus, to deny free will and moral responsibility is totally foreign even to the Bible, Deut 30:15 "Consider that I have set before thee this day life and good, and on the other hand death and evil ...  19 I call heaven and earth to witness this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Choose therefore life, that both thou and thy seed may live:" and Ecclus 15:"[11] Say not: It is through God, that she is not with me: for do not thou the things that he hateth. [12] Say not: He hath caused me to err: for he hath no need of wicked men. [13] The Lord hateth all abomination of error, and they that fear him shall not love it. [14] God made man from the beginning, and left him in the hand of his own counsel. [15] He added his commandments and precepts. [16] If thou wilt keep the commandments and perform acceptable fidelity for ever, they shall preserve thee. [17] He hath set water and fire before thee: stretch forth thy hand to which thou wilt. [18] Before man is life and death, good and evil, that which he shall choose shall be given him" And St. James pretty much cites this and continues along the same lines in his epistle , saying that a man is tempted by his own will, and then when evil desire has conceived, it brings forth sin. So no one should say he is tempted by God or caused by him to err or sin, these things come from man. Likewise, the Lord and Apostles say, all of us come to God when we are drawn by Him, that without Him we can do nothing, but with Him Who strengthens us, we can do all things, that all the good in us is of God; St. Peter says we are to abound in good works, to grow in grace, St. Paul says he labored much, "But by the grace of God, I am what I am; and his grace in me hath not been void, but I have laboured more abundantly than all they: yet not I, but the grace of God with me" (1 Cor 15:10), here we see both Divine Grace and human effort are needed, but Divine Grace is the first cause of all our meritorious good actions, since they are supernatural, and human effort is the second cause.

In creating us, God already gave us the natural power of free will. Free will means the power to perform either virtuous or sinful actions. Grace does not destroy free will but rather supernaturally elevates and perfects it, enabling us to perform supernaturally meritorious ones. If God were to gave some the preternatural ability to fly, would this ability take away from our freedom? Not at all, it is an added ability, although, it is true, only a natural one. Grace, in the same way, enables additional actions, although of a different order.

Of an evil action, man alone is first and only cause. Of meritorious actions, which God always wants to perform in and through man, God is first cause and man is second cause. Of justification, God is only cause; man must prepare and dispose himself to receive it, in Baptism, by faith in Christ, and sorrow for past sins, but God gives it to us gratuitously. Similarly, the gift of perseverance is also gratuitous, which man must constantly ask and pray for, work and labor for, both for himself and for others.

If a man loses grace through mortal sin, it is always his own fault. If in addition to this, despising so many calls of divine Mercy to return to grace by the Sacraments, he chooses to die in final impenitence, that too will be an additional and the most tragic of self-chosen faults, because it is irreversible. However, because of this, it is not to be denied that God's election is gratuitous, meaning freely given, "But it is said, It is by his own fault that any one deserts the faith, when he yields and consents to the temptation which is the cause of his desertion of the faith. Who denies it? But because of this, perseverance in the faith is not to be said not to be a gift of God. For it is this that a man daily asks for when he says, Lead us not into temptation; Matthew 6:13 and if he is heard, it is this that he receives. And thus as he daily asks for perseverance, he assuredly places the hope of his perseverance not in himself, but in God." (On the Predestination of the Saints, Book II, St. Augustine http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/15122.htm)

So, since the cause always precedes the effect, and (1) the election of the just is caused by God, while (2) the reprobation of the wicked is caused by themselves, therefore, even if everyone were predestined (hypothetically), predestination would still be gratuitous. And if everyone were lost (God forbid!), even in this impossible case, each and all of the condemned would be lost because of their own fault.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2019, 12:26:24 AM by Xavier »
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Offline John Lamb

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Re: Why not hedonism?
« Reply #46 on: January 21, 2019, 05:53:26 AM »
Being a hedonist is like being a lover of music but only wanting to listen to the recording of an orchestra and not an actual orchestra; or a lover of painting who never visits galleries but only sees digital images of famous paintings; or being a lover of food & drink who only wants the taste on the tongue but not the actual substance in their mouths.

Hedonism mistakes the radiance or effect of an object for the object itself, which is to say that pleasure is the result of the good, not the good itself - as hedonists naively or foolishly say. Pleasure comes of its own accord. It's not something to be sought after or extracted for its own sake, because it's merely an effect, an aura, a radiance which arises from what is truly and substantially good. We know this by experience because the most miserable men in the world are those who are constantly seeking a certain pleasure for its own sake - the drug addict is only the archetypal example, but even those chasing something which men tend to esteem (like fame) tend to be miserable. I think an eminent example is sex, because those who become addicted to it eventually deprive themselves of any real pleasure or joy that might result from it until it becomes a miserable drug; the irony being that those who esteem chastity and are sincerely chaste at heart are the most likely to get real pleasure from it because they do it for its real natural purpose and nature duly rewards them. The happiest men in life tend to be those who are least intent on getting anything out of it but are happy to go along with the shifting sands and play their little part on the stage before they retire. I came across a funny text from Hilaire Belloc about a bus driver who spoke of the ridiculous hours he worked in his dull job, yet who obviously lived in a constant state of contentment. Belloc concludes that he must have been insane, but obviously the bus driver had unwittingly discovered life's secret which is that happiness comes when you aren't doing anything for its sake, or as Our Lord puts it "blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." But above this natural contentment there is the superabundant joy of the saints who happen to be happy even in the midst of trials and persecutions (which is really a godlike & superhuman joy). In fact St. Francis Xavier while he was going around baptising foreign peoples and deprived of the company of his own countrymen was so filled with supernatural joy that he begged God to stop because the pressure it had on his heart felt like too much for him.

The reason people become hedonists is that they do or see evil things and recognise that a certain pleasure still arises from them, so they come to the mistaken conclusion that goodness and pleasure have no necessary relation. But these hedonists think wrongly and in the final analysis turn out to be shoddy philosophers and even worse theologians: because in doing evil they are only turning away from a greater good to a lesser good, and eventually they turn away from the Supreme Good which is God and deprive themselves of the only Source of lasting human happiness and fulfilment. The reason pleasure-seekers are never happy is that they are only chasing a shadow or an echo of the good.

Read the Book of Wisdom chapters 1-4 because it addresses this topic directly and in detail. Especially chapter 2 which covers the way hedonists think.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2019, 06:07:02 AM by John Lamb »
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Why not hedonism?
« Reply #47 on: January 21, 2019, 06:26:41 AM »
but at the same time I don't see a refutation to Aquinas' first way.  The only other option would be pantheism: that the universe itself is uncaused and uncreated.
Don't you mean his second way, about the uncaused cause?
Because St. Thomas's first way is that stuff about potency and act, and an unmoved mover, which is only a good argument if Aristotle's metaphysics is true. I'm personally hesitant to accept the first way at the moment, since I do not yet know whether or not Aristotle got it right.
St. Thomas's second way, however, appears to be irrefutable... though I haven't yet thoroughly gone through it to see if it can be disproven.

but Plato had the audacity to ascribe goodness to the One, and I'm not sure how he arrived at that notion.
Wasn't it an identification rather than an ascription? If the One isn't nothing then the One must be Existence i.e. Goodness.

[. . .] I recently read a very interesting short story called Nethescurial, by Thomas Ligotti, about a pantheistic cult in which the universal god was believed to be evil.
I could imagine an evil God and that this world was a nightmare and the meaning of life was to seek out our own annihilation
The fact that good things exist proves that God isn't evil. Because if God is evil, where do the good things come from? (We can account for evil/nonbeing as a privation of good/being, but we cannot account for good/being as a privation of evil/nonbeing.)
 

Offline John Lamb

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Re: Why not hedonism?
« Reply #48 on: January 21, 2019, 06:46:57 AM »
but Plato had the audacity to ascribe goodness to the One, and I'm not sure how he arrived at that notion.
Wasn't it an identification rather than an ascription? If the One isn't nothing then the One must be Existence i.e. Goodness.

Indeed, he made the identification. I think the reason must be obvious: the One of things is necessarily the Source of things, and if goodness exists in things it must be super-existent in the Source. The theological conundrum is how not to identify the One as the Source of evil as well as good. In fact, many ancient theologies define the One as being the principle of both Good & Evil. St. Augustine solved it by pointing out that evil has no metaphysical reality of its own, but is merely a decay from or absence of the good. Evil then is merely alienation from the Source, it is not of or in the Source. Plato (whom St. Augustine admired) thought along these lines, but he couldn't recognise the material world as arising immediately from the Source because of the evils present in the world; so he speculated an intermediary being called the Demiurge which emanated from the Source and created the material world. This false speculation lead to the Gnostic and Marcion heresies, and it comes from lack of knowledge of the real source of evil in the material world: the Fall. If Plato was more acquainted with Moses he'd know that the original creation was a perfect mirror of the Creator – the Good – and wouldn't have ascribed its making to an inferior being (i.e. the Demiurge).
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Offline Gardener

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Re: Why not hedonism?
« Reply #49 on: January 21, 2019, 09:23:25 AM »
You do realize of course that St. Alphonsous challenged the Banezian understanding such that Garrigou-Lagrange countered him in, I believe, his work titled “Grace”, right?

St. Alphonsous did not follow the Banezian understanding unfortunately repopularized by GL in the 20th century, but was a Congruist.

Yes, St. Alphonsus did disagree with Banez. There are some questions that remain to be clarified, as Cardinal Journet says, which is why the final definition has not yet come. St. Alphonsus defends intrinsically efficacious grace against Molina. He also denies negative reprobation. I think both of those are right. "negative reprobation" is a totally wrong idea that confused the issue completely. St. Alphonsus lays great stress on the point that reprobation is always consequent to faults and thoroughly deserved - both in a sermon on "the number of sins beyond which God pardons no more", which St. Alphonsus repeats in his work, "the true spouse of Jesus Christ" warning those in religious life especially, not to listen to the devil when he says, "you can sin mortally now and repent later", that any mortal sin could be their last, and cause them to die in final impenitence. So, here we have consequent or "ppd" reprobation.

No Thomist is obliged to agree with Banez on these and a few other points. We are Thomists because of St. Thomas.

Summary from St. Alphonsus: "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."

+Journet: "There are two schools of thought on this. One is that of St Thomas Aquinas which, through St Augustine, derives from St Paul—the great traditionalist school.

The other arose in the age of the baroque and of humanism. It is that of Molina, a Portuguese Jesuit who, on account of certain unresolved difficulties, wanted to explain in a way hitherto untried the relation of grace and freedom. God and man, he said, act like two horses on the tow-path of a canal drawing a boat. The actions of God and of man are supplementary like those of the horses. Molina thought of them as simply added one to the other. His doctrine has not been condemned, since he said, as regards the good act, God and man, grace and freedom. But, as we see, he transposed to within the circle the preceding error and if he did not set them against each other, at any rate he juxtaposed the divine and the human action. He did not sufficiently grasp the difference in plane between divine and human action and stressed unduly, to an extreme degree, the power of the human will. Here, expressed in accepted Christian terminology, we find again the example just given: God holds out his hand, I take it.

5. The traditional doctrine, the only one rooted in Revelation, has not yet been defined because there still remain certain questions to elucidate. But the definition will come, already the general line is clear: human action is subordinated to the divine action. It is not only God and man, grace and freedom, but God through man, grace through freedom, that does the good act. Is the rose produced by the rose-tree? Or by God? Or else partly by God, partly by the rose-tree? We must say: the rose is produced wholly by the rose-tree as secondary cause, and wholly by God as first cause, the enveloping cause. God gives the rose-tree the ability to produce the rose. God, acting on the rose-tree to make it produce the rose, does not diminish, but rather enriches, it. The more he intervenes, the more excellent will be the rose-tree the more powerful its action ... 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 ... My soul keeps its power and freedom of choice. Then God, when he touches me according to my nature, does not infringe my freedom but, on the contrary, exalts it: 'God who made this delicate machine of our free-will is the only one who can move it without breaking it.' He does not impair natures, but makes them flourish. Who was more dependent on God than St Francis of Assisi, and who was freer? You could place him in any condition you like, throw him into a concentration-camp, he would still be in command of all that was lower in the scale of being, he would still be St Francis."

Tell the bold to Banezian Thomists. lol.
 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Why not hedonism?
« Reply #50 on: January 21, 2019, 10:00:37 AM »
Don't you mean his second way, about the uncaused cause?
Because St. Thomas's first way is that stuff about potency and act, and an unmoved mover, which is only a good argument if Aristotle's metaphysics is true. I'm personally hesitant to accept the first way at the moment, since I do not yet know whether or not Aristotle got it right.
St. Thomas's second way, however, appears to be irrefutable... though I haven't yet thoroughly gone through it to see if it can be disproven.

The first way and the second way seem like different phrasings of the same concept to me; I accept both of them.  I can see where I would need to take on Aristotle's metaphysics in order to get to his specific conceptualization of the prime mover, but logically I can arrive at the idea that there is (or likely is) one, because motion is something that exists in time.  A pantheist could say "motion is eternal and things have always been in flux" (which I think was the pre-Socratic idea, expressed by Heraclitus), but that seems to invite the same frustrating infinite regress as the pantheist notion that "there have always been causes."

I often wonder if I'm missing something in my rejection of the pantheist claims.  I can conceive of an eternity where life keeps going on forever, but for some reason I can't imagine a past that keeps receding forever.  No end seems possible, but not no beginning.  This might be a deficiency in my mortal and linear human thought, or maybe a person needs to go out into the desert and eat psilocybin mushrooms and gaze up at the stars under the tutelage of a shaman to see it.  But thinking about it gives me a kind of vertigo.

Wasn't it an identification rather than an ascription? If the One isn't nothing then the One must be Existence i.e. Goodness.

That's my problem with it.  "Existence = goodness" is a value judgement, and not something universally self-evident.  Plato is personally welcome to the claim.  A member of the Greek upper class who spent his time philosophizing and who was able to occupy his spare time with gazing rapturously on beautiful youths might be apt to equate existence with goodness.  Keith Richards and Saudi princes would probably assign existence an extreme level of goodness; Allahu Akbar indeed.  But that is subjective, and not all existence is worth having.  Christ Himself, speaking of Judas' fate, said as much for the soul who ends up in hell: "it is better for that man to have never been born."  Whether we want to apply this to a metaphysical concept such as hell, where more souls end up than do those who make it to heaven, or to a hell on earth such as the myriad animals born into factory farms, there are countless lives being lived that ultimately cannot be equated with goodness.

The fact that good things exist proves that God isn't evil. Because if God is evil, where do the good things come from? (We can account for evil/nonbeing as a privation of good/being, but we cannot account for good/being as a privation of evil/nonbeing.)

True, omnimalevolence runs into the same sort of problems as the claims for omnibenevolence.  An omnimalelovent creator would not permit goodness, and an omnibenevolent creator would not permit evil.  I guess an apologist for an evil deity could just say, "God allows goodness in order to bring about a greater evil," whatever that would entail.  It makes about as much sense as the reverse claim.  The only thing the observable world seems to prove is that God is neither; "impersonal" I guess would be the term.
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Offline Vetus Ordo

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Re: Why not hedonism?
« Reply #51 on: January 21, 2019, 03:40:39 PM »
True, omnimalevolence runs into the same sort of problems as the claims for omnibenevolence.  An omnimalelovent creator would not permit goodness, and an omnibenevolent creator would not permit evil.  I guess an apologist for an evil deity could just say, "God allows goodness in order to bring about a greater evil," whatever that would entail.  It makes about as much sense as the reverse claim.  The only thing the observable world seems to prove is that God is neither; "impersonal" I guess would be the term.

Although it is impossible to give a fully satisfactory explanation for the existence of evil, the idea that God decrees and allows its existence for a greater good in an eschatological sense, is not logically unsound. It may be emotionally hard to accept given the seemingly random suffering that we experience, I grant it, but not logically so.

In the face of the other alternatives, it seems to be the correct answer.

God not existing renders the whole question void of any real meaning, so let's skip that one. An omnimalevolent God, the seemingly logical counterpart to God, would face the problem of defect since evil is a defect and God cannot have defects. Therefore, an omnimalevolent God would not exist as such. A God that is impersonal and detached from His creation would not account for the existence of moral values and the innate need humans have to relate to Him and be ultimately explained by Him, unless he were evil but then we're back to a God who has deficiencies and that cannot, by definition, exist.

An omnibenevolent God seems the best explanation by far of the data available. Evil remains a difficulty but a difficulty that can only be understood if God exists and God existing entails moral perfection, and thus omnibenevolence.
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Offline Arvinger

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Re: Why not hedonism?
« Reply #52 on: January 21, 2019, 05:38:29 PM »
That's not a problem. Your problem is insisting upon confusing the grace that makes this freely-willed acceptance possible with God magically making a man's will no longer his own, believing man must turned into a puppet on a string by the grace to accept grace, yet still actually will something.
"Possible". But an individual has to excercise his potency to accept God's grace. Because man can't do anything apart from God, this decision to accept God's grace must also be a grace, unless man can make a free choice apart from God's grace. Therefore, man must receive grace of decision to accept graces in order to be saved - his acceptace or lack of thereof still depends on God's grace. This is why an explanation "they were damned for rejecting graces" moves the problem only one step back - to accept graces necessary for salvation they would have needed graces to make this decision.

Receiving un-asked-for power to do something, even if that something is to exercise my will to make a particular choice, is not a violation of the freedom of my will in general or in that decision.
I never argued against free will, just pointing out that Thomism taken to its logical conclusion denies it.

Quote
No, it doesn't. It just means they exercised their free will to refuse to cooperate.
To choose to cooperate they would have to receive grace of making a decision to cooperate. They could not have chosen to cooperate without this grace, unless you say that man is capable of making the right decision by himself, apart from God's grace. Therefore, when people are condemned for rejecting graces, they are condemned for something they were incapable of doing.

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Without God's grace, there's no grace to accept in the first place, leaving man lost, and without a prevenient grace, man's will, bogged down in sin, is not free to choose to accept it, and so has no way to salvation.
True, but being offered graces is not enough to choose them - man must receive grace to make the right decision as well, since he can't do anything apart from God's grace. If he does not receive grace of making right decision, he can't choose to accept any graces he is offered.

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That grace frees and empowers the will to be able choose God does not mean just its opposite.

But grace is necessary not only for having free will, but also excercising it to make a right decision. If man can make this decision by himself, it means he can do something apart from God's grace.

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Beliveing in man actually having a really real free will is not any kind of Pelagianism, regardless of your turn of phrase.
I do believe in free will. Thomism leads to its effective denial - no matter how you slice it, at some point God did not give the damned graces to do something necessary for salvation, and they are condemned for doing something they were incapable of doing. Thomism taken to its logical conclusion does not differ much from Calvinism.

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That doesn't resolve a contradiction. It leaves it there, and no appeal to a "mystery", that ubiquitous Latin copout, will ever make a logical contradiction possible. The proper response to a reductio ad absurdum is to get rid of a false premise that led one to it, not to declare the question of how a contradiction is possible a mystery so you can just stick with it.
Some things just are a mystery which we cannot understand, and we have to accept it. If you dig to the bottom of the issue, God willing to save all and not predestining all is an apparent contradiction (but I know it is only apparent and that it is not a realy contradiction, and a solution must exist, since both of these truths are taught by the Church). No theological system succeeded in resolving it, I'm content with leaving it as a mystery.
 

Offline John Lamb

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Re: Why not hedonism?
« Reply #53 on: January 21, 2019, 06:16:57 PM »
Critics of Thomistic doctrine of grace (Bañezian Thomism if we accept Gardener's clarification) always deny that what it calls sufficient grace is really sufficient. Just because sufficient grace does not bear any fruit in the soul due to man's sinful resistance to it – does not mean that it is useless or powerless in itself, or that it would not bear fruit if man were not to resist it. Yes, intrinsically efficacious grace is required over and above merely sufficient grace in order to convert and save a sinner: that does not mean that a man given merely sufficient grace can't be converted or can't be saved, rather it means he won't be converted or won't be saved: because of his refusal to co-operate with the grace given to him which is really sufficient to convert and save him, he won't be – i.e. he wills not to be – converted and wills not to be saved. If we look at Our Lady we see someone where the distinction between efficacious grace and sufficient grace is not necessary, because all grace was perfectly efficacious in her seeing as she never offered any resistance to it. The distinction between efficacious and merely sufficient grace arises out of man's resistance to God's grace, and in this sense: that once a man has hardened his heart towards God's grace, it is totally up to God's mercy to efficaciously move man's evil will to convert and receive His mercy, or to leave man to continually resist His grace and receive His justice. But the grace which God gives to the reprobate is not weak or insufficient to save him: it is merely wasted on the sinner who despises, rejects, and makes no use of what in itself is sufficiently powerful to save his soul.

Therefore, these statements . . .

Quote from: Arvinger
To choose to cooperate they would have to receive grace of making a decision to cooperate. They could not have chosen to cooperate without this grace, unless you say that man is capable of making the right decision by himself, apart from God's grace. Therefore, when people are condemned for rejecting graces, they are condemned for something they were incapable of doing.

Quote from: Arvinger
I do believe in free will. Thomism leads to its effective denial - no matter how you slice it, at some point God did not give the damned graces to do something necessary for salvation, and they are condemned for doing something they were incapable of doing. Thomism taken to its logical conclusion does not differ much from Calvinism.

. . . Are false and are an unfair description of Thomism. Arvinger says that Thomism describes the damned as being unable or incapable of "making the right decision" and doing "something necessary for salvation". This is false. Sufficient grace gives them the real capability, and Thomism affirms that all men receive sufficient grace.

This tends to agree with our experience – who, when tempted, after having sufficient time and awareness to deliberate whether or not to commit the sin, then later having committed the sin does not admit upon reflection: "I could have resisted the temptation", i.e. I could have co-operated with God's grace, i.e. I received sufficient grace, which I rejected in favour of the sin. We feel that we have the real power to resist temptation, but we often waste, or ignore, or refuse that power given to us because we'd prefer to sin. And what is that power which we sinfully forego? – The sufficient grace of God. We don't feel as though we're being infallibly pulled towards sin by a power beyond our control, and that we don't have the power to resist temptation as to imply that God does not give us sufficient grace to do good (now that would be Calvinism). When we do feel something like that it is almost always the passions and weaknesses and addictions of the flesh which pull on us, and in those cases our culpability is less and God more easily forgives us because He understands our frailty. But there are sins of frailty arising out of our weakness, and sins of malice arising from the hardness of our hearts . . . But even in the most hardened of hearts and in the weakest of sinners overcome by addiciton, at the bottom of the soul there is always this seed (however tiny), this light (however dim), this voice (however quiet) which says: "you know, you could do otherwise, and you could be forgiven". This is sufficient grace which is given to everyone, and it is powerful enough of itself to save everyone if not for our wickedness.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2019, 06:44:38 PM by John Lamb »
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Offline Arvinger

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Re: Why not hedonism?
« Reply #54 on: January 21, 2019, 06:52:31 PM »
Critics of Thomistic doctrine of grace (Bañezian Thomism if we accept Gardener's clarification) always deny that what it calls sufficient grace is really sufficient. Just because sufficient grace does not bear any fruit in the soul due to man's sinful resistance to it – does not mean that it is useless or powerless in itself, or that it would not bear fruit if man were not to resist it. Yes, intrinsically efficacious grace is required over and above merely sufficient grace in order to convert and save a sinner: that does not mean that a man given merely sufficient grace can't be converted or can't be saved, rather it means he won't be converted or won't be saved: because of his refusal to co-operate with the grace given to him which is really sufficient to convert and save him, he won't be – i.e. he wills not to be – converted and wills not to be saved. t once a man has hardened his heart towards God's grace, it is totally up to God's mercy to efficaciously move .
You confuse possibility with potency. "Sufficient grace" is insufficient to convert a sinner and insufficient to bring any fruit in his life, by your own admition, and efficacious grace is necessary to save him. What is "suficient grace" sufficient for, then? It makes salvation a theoretical possibility, but without actual potency it is worthless, as it is metaphisically incapable of breaking man's resistance. In order to convert man has to receive efficacious grace, otherwise he is incapable of accepting sufficient grace. Therefore, if he does not receive efficaciois grace he is condemned for rejecting sufficient grace which he was incapable of accepting to begin with. Ergo, in Thomism God fails to provide graces necessary for salvation to some, which makes it little different from Calvinism.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2019, 06:57:16 PM by Arvinger »
 

Offline John Lamb

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Re: Why not hedonism?
« Reply #55 on: January 21, 2019, 07:13:12 PM »
Sufficient grace confers a real power or potency in the soul, is sufficient to convert and save a soul, and would bear this spiritual fruit if not resisted. Man is really capable of co-operating with merely sufficient grace, he simply chooses not to (hence, it is merely sufficient, as opposed to efficacious). God provides all men with the graces necessary for salvation in a conditional sense, i.e. on the condition that they do not refuse His grace. But after having refused His grace, absolutely speaking only some are given the grace necessary for salvation. Still, if some are damned that it is not because God refuses grace, but because man resists the sufficient grace which God gives to all men and which is sufficient to save them on the condition that they freely co-operate with it. Man is always free to co-operate with God's grace. God never leaves men in a situation where they "can't accept" or are "forced to reject" God's grace. The resistance of the reprobate to God's sufficient grace is a free resistance, a free denial to co-operate with sufficient grace for which they have the real power to co-operate. Sufficient grace itself gives men sufficient power to co-operate with it: otherwise it wouldn't be sufficient. Efficacious grace not only gives men the sufficient power to co-operate with grace, but in addition it actively moves them freely to co-operate. That God denies some men this efficacious grace is only because of their sinful resistance to sufficient grace, and He is perfectly just in this denial of utterly gratuitous grace; and that God gives some men efficacious grace despite their initial resistance to sufficient grace is due to His superabundant mercy.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2019, 07:18:01 PM by John Lamb »
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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Why not hedonism?
« Reply #56 on: January 21, 2019, 07:32:16 PM »
God not existing renders the whole question void of any real meaning, so let's skip that one.

Happily.

An omnimalevolent God, the seemingly logical counterpart to God, would face the problem of defect since evil is a defect and God cannot have defects.

Here I think we go astray.  When we say "God cannot have defects," we make a metaphysical assumption along the same lines as Plato and Aristotle made.  The logic of cause and effect has only gotten us to: "the uncaused cause, eternal and uncreated, that from which all else proceeds" and, as Aquinas says, "we call this God."  Well and good.  That same logic, however, cannot get us to know the nature of this entity.  How can we know whether it has no defects or not?  The only thing we can know is that an imperfect world has proceeded from it.  This would appear to rule out omnibenevolence or perfection.  This entity could be an unthinking and unfeeling monad, caring not for (or being completely ignorant of) whatever proceeds or emanates from it.

The only refutation of an omnimalevolent God would be the existence of goodness or pleasure; a refutation, unfortunately, that cuts both ways and negates an omnibenevolent God as well, due to the existence of evil or suffering.
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Offline Quaremerepulisti

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Re: Why not hedonism?
« Reply #57 on: January 21, 2019, 08:20:56 PM »
Sufficient grace confers a real power or potency in the soul, is sufficient to convert and save a soul, and would bear this spiritual fruit if not resisted. Man is really capable of co-operating with merely sufficient grace, he simply chooses not to (hence, it is merely sufficient, as opposed to efficacious). God provides all men with the graces necessary for salvation in a conditional sense, i.e. on the condition that they do not refuse His grace. But after having refused His grace, absolutely speaking only some are given the grace necessary for salvation. Still, if some are damned that it is not because God refuses grace, but because man resists the sufficient grace which God gives to all men and which is sufficient to save them on the condition that they freely co-operate with it. Man is always free to co-operate with God's grace. God never leaves men in a situation where they "can't accept" or are "forced to reject" God's grace. The resistance of the reprobate to God's sufficient grace is a free resistance, a free denial to co-operate with sufficient grace for which they have the real power to co-operate. Sufficient grace itself gives men sufficient power to co-operate with it: otherwise it wouldn't be sufficient. Efficacious grace not only gives men the sufficient power to co-operate with grace, but in addition it actively moves them freely to co-operate. That God denies some men this efficacious grace is only because of their sinful resistance to sufficient grace, and He is perfectly just in this denial of utterly gratuitous grace; and that God gives some men efficacious grace despite their initial resistance to sufficient grace is due to His superabundant mercy.

1.  A potency is not "sufficient" for an act.  It is a necessary condition, not a sufficient one.  Thus "sufficient" grace is not sufficient in and of itself.  Yes, I know you will say it is "sufficient" in the sense that efficacious grace will follow if it is not resisted.  SO, therefore:
2.  Is resistance to sufficient grace an evil?
2a.  If no, how is it just for God to deny the efficacious grace?
2b.  If yes (which seems to be your opinion because you call resistance to sufficient grace "sinful"), then what is is the good to which this evil is opposed (e.g. is a defect of)?
2b.1. And whatever this good is, is man expected to produce it all by himself?
2b.1a.  If yes, then this is violation of the principle that God is First Cause of all good.
2b.1b.  If no, then again God is punishing man for failing to bring about a good which he could not bring about on his own, and which He failed to cause.


 

Offline John Lamb

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Re: Why not hedonism?
« Reply #58 on: January 21, 2019, 08:31:07 PM »
Here I think we go astray.  When we say "God cannot have defects," we make a metaphysical assumption along the same lines as Plato and Aristotle made.  The logic of cause and effect has only gotten us to: "the uncaused cause, eternal and uncreated, that from which all else proceeds" and, as Aquinas says, "we call this God."  Well and good.  That same logic, however, cannot get us to know the nature of this entity.  How can we know whether it has no defects or not?

Because included in this definition – "the uncaused cause, eternal and uncreated, that from which all else proceeds" – is the implicit understanding that this limitless & all-powerful Being is ipso facto the very Standard by which we measure all things, including goodness. That is, we wouldn't know what a "defect" is, ultimately, if not for this transcendent uncreated Good & First Cause of all created goods.

This is what Aquinas is getting at in his fourth way:

The fourth way is taken from the gradation to be found in things. Among beings there are some more and some less good, true, noble and the like. But "more" and "less" are predicated of different things, according as they resemble in their different ways something which is the maximum, as a thing is said to be hotter according as it more nearly resembles that which is hottest; so that there is something which is truest, something best, something noblest and, consequently, something which is uttermost being; for those things that are greatest in truth are greatest in being, as it is written in Metaph. ii. Now the maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus; as fire, which is the maximum heat, is the cause of all hot things. Therefore there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God.

To be ipsum esse subsistens implies being in such a way that nothing could be added or taken away because of the infinity of perfection. There is no good even conceivable which is not ultimately possible to, or included in, or perfectly exemplified by the eternal & transcendent Self-subsisting Being.

Quote
The only thing we can know is that an imperfect world has proceeded from it.


But, outside of divine revelation, we don't the manner of the proceeding.

There is a certain evil that is necessarily included in the definition of all created beings: defectibility (i.e. as created or limited beings we are inherently subject to defects, unlike the unlimited Being which is not even subject to defect, as discussed above). And in material beings: corruptibility (i.e. material things can be dissolved and lose their very being thereby, and in animals specifically that means death).
So a benevolent Creator can't be blamed for creating things which of their very nature are defectible, as long as He intends to bring them to their proper end or good. That indeed would be like calling for the destruction of all food & drink because some people use them defectively and become overweight – should we all starve to death because some people are immoderate? Should God have avoided creating creatures since they are potentially defectible?

The problem of evil is not the potential defectibility of creatures, but the fact that some creatures actually have defected. And, in the case of the material world, the entire world has been made subject to defection ("subject to vanity", as St. Paul phrases it). This is the "problem of evil": that living things die and rot, among other natural catastrophes.

But divine revelation approaches a satisfactory answer: God only made the material world subject to defect, because of the supreme kind of evil which is moral evil – the defect of spiritual creatures. If it were not for the defect of spiritual creatures, the material world would not have had any defect and death, pain, and disease would never have entered the world. The defect of spiritual creatures is an abuse of their free-will so God is not morally responsible even if He permits it. All of the material evils which we see in the world are really a shadow of the spiritual evils present in the immaterial world. If there were no sin, there would be no death: this is the testament of divine revelation in the scriptures.

So yes, an imperfect world did proceed from God: but only through an intermediary. The original creation that proceeded from Him was "very good", as Genesis says; the imperfection or defect in the world proceeded through Adam & the serpent, beings created by God with the power to freely rebel against Him and subject themselves and their descendants to this curse under which we are presently suffering. Whether one accepts this testimony of divine revelation or not the unbiased thinker must admit its logical coherence and plausibility. Failure to do so is usually an inability to grasp how great moral/spiritual evils are in comparison to natural/material evils. But if we were all saints the sufferings of this life would be relatively easy to bear; the truth is that our really bitter sufferings are those we do to ourselves and each other, not those others which God permits in order to check & punish our pride. As for the innocent who suffer at the hands of the wicked – this is the trial of faith in this life: to wait for God's mercy on the innocent & justice on the wicked.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2019, 08:50:53 PM by John Lamb »
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Offline John Lamb

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Re: Why not hedonism?
« Reply #59 on: January 21, 2019, 08:47:42 PM »
1.  A potency is not "sufficient" for an act.  It is a necessary condition, not a sufficient one.  Thus "sufficient" grace is not sufficient in and of itself.  Yes, I know you will say it is "sufficient" in the sense that efficacious grace will follow if it is not resisted.

Not sufficient to produce it in the realm of facts, but sufficient to produce it in the realm of possibilities: and that's all we're talking about here, because we're demonstrating that God makes it at least conditionally possible for all men to be saved.

Granted that according to Thomism it is not absolutely possible for all men to be saved due to the infallibility of the eternal decrees; still, God does not decree anything in a way that takes away man's freedom or responsibility in choosing his everlasting destiny.

Quote
2.  Is resistance to sufficient grace an evil?
2a.  If no, how is it just for God to deny the efficacious grace?
2b.  If yes (which seems to be your opinion because you call resistance to sufficient grace "sinful"), then what is is the good to which this evil is opposed (e.g. is a defect of)? [Answer: Charity, which is the full or proper form of co-operation with God's grace.]
2b.1. And whatever this good is, is man expected to produce it all by himself?
2b.1a.  If yes, then this is violation of the principle that God is First Cause of all good.
2b.1b.  If no, then again God is punishing man for failing to bring about a good which he could not bring about on his own, and which He failed to cause. [Answer: God is not punishing man merely for failing to love Him, but for actively refusing to love Him despite God's giving him the grace to do so. God would not withdraw efficacious grace if sufficient grace were not initially resisted: the punishment follows the sin.]

"Let all bitterness and animosity and indignation and defamation be removed from you, together with every evil. And become helpfully kind to one another, inwardly compassionate, forgiving among yourselves, just as God also graciously forgave you in the Anointed." – Paul

The Question of Catholicism.

An ominous dream.