The MOST Theological Collection: Grace, Predestination and the Salvific Will of God: New Answers to Old Questions
"Pt. 1: Research in the sources of revelation - Ch. 7: The power of man for good and for evil, and the dependence of man on God"
A. The Teaching of Sacred Scripture
77. Total dependence on God: Both in the Old and in the New Testament, two things are often expressly taught, and are always presupposed, that is, that man is totally dependent on God in good works, and that man can really decide whether and when he will sin or not sin.
This dependence is expressed by Isaiah the prophet:1 "O Lord . . . thou hast wrought for us all our works." But St. Paul still more clearly brings out the need of divine aid, not only that we may do good works, but so that we may even make a good decision of will:2 ". . . for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure." Furthermore, even the good thought that precedes the good act of will is not in our unaided power:3 "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our sufficiency is in God."
78. Man's power of decision: But equally, Sacred Scripture always takes it for granted, as something beyond doubt, that man can really decide whether and when he will sin or not sin. Hence, for example, the prophets frequently exhort the peoples e.g., Zechariah says:4 "Thus says the Lord of hosts: Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you. . . ." Or, in Malachi:5 "Return to me, and I will return to you. . . ." And similarly in the New Testament, Christ Himself says, with many tears:6 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! . . . How often would I have gathered your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not." The Epistle to the Romans represents the Lord as saying:7 "All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people." And St. Paul begs the Corinthians:8 ". . . we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain."
In all these passages it is most clearly implied that man can in some way determine when and whether he will sin or not. For a condition is supposed: "If you return . . . I will return to you." But if the determination did not basically depend on man, God would not exhort men but would merely determine the outcome Himself. Similarly, Christ would not shed tears over the hardness of Jerusalem nor would He stretch out His hands to an unbelieving people, nor would St. Paul exhort his sons not to receive the grace of God in vain, if the decision and determination were not really made basically by man whether he would receive grace in vain or not.
Similarly, Psalm 80:14 represents God as speaking: "If only my people would hear me, and Israel would walk in my ways. . . ." But again, these words suppose that it really does depend on Israel whether or not Israel listens to God when He speaks. Otherwise God would not say: "If only, . . ." but rather, He by Himself would arrange everything, for it would be a mockery to ask a people for that which is not in some way under their control.
79. St. Paul explicitly teaches that a condition is required on the part of man. For he says that even in the first justification, faith is required of man:9 "For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law." And he repeats the same condition, in a more general way, speaking of the Christian life as a whole10 "He who through faith is righteous shall live."
So it is beyond doubt that the basic decision as to whether and when a man will sin or not is in some way within the control of man. For if the decision basically depended on God alone, the exhortations which God makes directly and through His prophets and apostles would be vain-or rather, a mockery. As we said above, if the basic decision depended on God alone, God would not exhort men, but would arrange it all by Himself.
80. The nature of the human condition: But we must investigate further into the nature of the human condition. As we have seen, St. Paul says that the condition is faith. Now this faith, as Fr. Lyonnet explains well, is not a mere intellectual assent, but it is,11 "the adherence of the whole man (including, of course, the intellect) to a living person, that is, to God Himself, who is our supernatural end." The same condition is required in works after the first justification, for, as St. Paul says: "The just man lives by faith." So the adherence of man to God is the condition in all good works.
Faith, in this sense of a total adherence, will produce various effects according to the situation: When God manifests a truth, we adhere by intellectual assent; when He promises, we adhere by confidence; when He commands, we adhere by obedience (and also intellectually, in as much as in obeying, we also believe what He commands is good, and we believe we need His help).
81. In what sense is the condition in man's power?: It is also important to explore precisely to what extent this condition is in the unaided power of man. For as we saw above, St. Paul also teaches that divine power is required not only for the exterior performance of a good act, but also for the good will and for the good thought that precede. How then can faith be in the power and control of man if man without God can have neither good will nor even a good thought? It must be in man's control in some way, as is evident from the passages we have just seen.
To solve the problem, we must take careful note of precisely what it is that Scripture excludes from man's unaided power. St. Paul says that by our unaided powers we cannot perform an outward good act, nor have a good decision of will, nor even a good thought. What sort of things are these that St. Paul excludes from our power? They are all salutary goods, they are positive things, that is, they are not absences or privations of things. So we gather that St. Paul teaches that we can have no positive salutary good without grace.
What then did he leave to us, by which we can condition or control the reception of grace, so that we do not receive it in vain? Since he has excluded positive goods nothing is left but negative things and evil things.12 These we can have without grace. For we can resist grace13 without the help of grace. But Scripture also plainly supposes that still another negative thing is in our power, namely: When grace is offered, we can at least merely do nothing, or not resist grace. For if we could not omit resistance to grace, then the exhortations of the prophets would be mere mockery, and St. Paul would speak in vain in exhorting the Corinthians: "We exhort you not to receive the grace of God in vain." For the prophets and St. Paul would urge men on to that which men could not really control.
82. In what sense can we omit resistance to grace? It is possible to speak of omission of resistance to grace in two senses: Non-resistance can mean:
1) A positive decision, a complete act, in which we formally decide not to resist or not to sin: In this case, a man makes a positive decision as if he were saying: "I will not resist grace." It is obvious that such a decision is a salutary act, a positive good. Hence, it is not in man's unaided power. (Sometimes in a difficult struggle against a temptation, many such positive decisions are made before the temptation is finally vanquished).
2) The mere absence of an evil decision, in which the will does not move itself at all, in the first part of the process. Here the will does not make a decision, so as to say, as it were: "I will not resist." It is not difficult to see how this is possible. For (in the simplest type of movement by grace) grace initiates14 the process by presenting a good to our mind, which God wishes us to perform, and by moving our will to take pleasure in that good. Now precisely because it is grace-not our own activity-that has produced these two effects (making our mind see a good, and our will take pleasure in it), the two effects can continue without any positive decision on our part. If we merely do nothing, they continue, for they are produced by grace and the grace does not withdraw unless we resist. On the contrary, to interrupt these effects, something from us would be required, for without a resistance from us, they will continue by the power of grace.15
We must notice that this type of omission of resistance is only the first stage of the process leading to a decision. On condition of this omission, the second stage follows, in which grace moves us further, so that we do make a decision:16 "It is God who . . . works in you both the will and the performance." Of course, we do actively cooperate with grace in the second stage. The entire process need not take more than one instant of time.17
It is obvious that, at very least, Scripture teaches that we can omit resistance in this sense of merely doing nothing, remaining without any positive decision at all, in the first part of the process. Such an absence of any decision is not a salutary good act:18 it is no act at all. To do nothing is in our power. But yet we must add, that even this very doing nothing is sustained by grace inasmuch as grace attracts us, and maintains the two effects in our minds and wills by its own power, without any contribution from us.
Would it be contrary to Scripture to assert that we receive at once from grace even the power of a positive good decision? The Molinists, as we shall see later,19 do say this. But their view seems to harmonize less readily with Scripture, especially with the words of St. Paul that it is God "who works20 in you . . . the will." Their view seems to fit less well also with the teaching of the Councils.21 And it seems to clearly contradict St. Thomas.22
To sum up, since Scripture teaches that man can control the decision to sin or not to sin, it necessarily implies that, at least, man can refrain from resistance in the sense of making no decision at all against grace, in the first part of the process. Scripture does exclude from our unaided power all positive salutary goods: but such an absence of resistance is merely doing nothing-a doing nothing that is sustained by grace itself.
83. This conclusion is confirmed by the words of Christ weeping over Jerusalem. For He assigned a reason why Jerusalem was not gathered under His wings, in saying: "You would not." He did not say that Jerusalem had the power of gathering itself under His wings: grace does that. But He plainly supposed that Jerusalem at least had the power of doing a mere nothing against the grace by which He willed to gather her children. Otherwise, Christ would have no reason to weep and lament: He would be merely indulging in histrionics.
Similarly, when the Lord says through the Apostle that He stretched out His hands all day in vain to an unbelieving people, He supposes that that people had the power of at least doing nothing against the grace which He offered with outstretched hands.
Again, when God so often exhorted the Jews through the prophets to return and be converted, He did not say they could do this without grace: but He plainly supposed that they can do the nothing of merely making no decision against the grace. Otherwise, the Lord could not have spoken sincerely, if the decision were not basically in man's control. Rather, He should have merely arranged it all Himself.
84. Likewise, if at least this much were not in the control of man, Scripture could not speak of rewards and punishments for men. For he who cannot control basically whether he sins or not cannot be worthy of punishment. Man cannot make a good decision without grace: but he can do the nothing of making no decision against the grace that God offers so abundantly.
85. The same conclusion is implied in the Scriptural teaching on the universal salvific will. For if a man could not at least do nothing against grace, then there would be absolutely no condition in man according to which God could decide who should be reprobated or not. But then, the salvific will could not be sincere, because God could not simultaneously say sincerely that He willed the salvation of this man, e.g., of Marcus, and still decree the ruin of Marcus unconditionally,23 i.e., without any condition which Marcus could really control.
86. Our conclusion is not Pelagian or Semipelagian: St. Paul excluded from man's unaided power only the ability of performing or initiating any positive salutary good without grace. He did not say that man could not control whether or not he would resist grace. Rather, as we have seen, his exhortations presuppose precisely that man can control this matter.24
Again, if God made man so perverse that man could not only not perform any salutary good by his own power, but could not even refrain from resisting the grace offered by God-then a great dishonour would be reflected on God Himself for making a man incapable of omitting evil.
87. It is very important to note also this: Very many of the passages cited from Scripture were spoken to sinners. Therefore it is clear that even sinners (i.e., in general, at least if they are not hardened and blinded) can omit resistance to grace in the sense we have described. The Lord Himself often pleaded with sinners:25 "Repent." Therefore He presupposes that sinners can omit resistance to grace: otherwise, such exhortations would be merely an empty mockery.
B. The Teaching of the Fathers of the Church
1) The Greek Fathers
88. St. Justin the Martyr:26 "That we might be made in the first place, . . . this was not ours [to decide]; but that we might follow and choose the things that are pleasing to Him, through the rational faculties He gave us, He persuades us [to do] this, and leads us to faith."
Comments: St. Justin clearly teaches that we depend on God both because He gave us our faculties, and because "He persuades . . . and leads" us to faith by grace. However, in saying that God persuades and leads, he implies that man can refuse or not refuse grace. For, although it was not ours to decide whether we would come into existence or not, it is ours to decide whether or not we will reject the faith that God offers to us.
89. St. Irenaeus:27 "If . . . you give Him what is yours, that is, faith in Him, and obedience, you will receive [the work of] His artisanship, and you will be a perfect work of God. But if you do not believe Him, and run from His hand, the cause of the imperfection will be in you who did not obey, and not in Him who called you."
Comments: St. Irenaeus teaches the same condition as does St. Paul, namely, faith. The cause of evil is in us: the cause of good is in God. He clearly supposes that we can decide whether we will reject faith or not.
90. Clement of Alexandria:28 "For the coming of the Saviour did not make [men] foolish and hard of heart and faithless, but prudent, amenable to persuasion, and faithful. But they who were unwilling to obey, departing from the voluntary adherence of those who obeyed, were shown to be imprudent and unfaithful and foolish. . . . They who were unwilling to obey, obviously separated themselves."
Comments: Clement obviously teaches the same as St. Irenaeus. He plainly supposes that we can decide whether or not we reject the grace that is offered.29
91. St. Cyril of Jerusalem:30 "Just as those who are about to make a military campaign scrutinize the ages and bodies of the soldiers, so also the Lord, enlisting souls, considers their free choices; and if He finds a hidden hypocrisy, He rejects the man as unfit for the true service; but if He finds [him] worthy, He readily gives him grace."
Comments: God in deciding to whom He will give grace is compared to a general enlisting recruits. He does not give grace without considering the free conditions in the recipient. St. Cyril plainly implies that man can determine whether or not he rejects grace.31
92. St. Gregory of Nazianzus:32 "Since there are some who to such an extent are proud . . . that they attribute all to themselves . . . this text [of Scripture: "there is question not of him who wills nor of him who runs, but of God showing mercy"] teaches them that even good will needs help from God; or rather, that the very choosing of the things that should be chosen is a divine thing, and a gift of God's love of man. For it is necessary that our salvation rest both on us and on God."
Comments: St. Gregory makes a keen distinction. He excludes all positive salutary good from our unaided power, even a good choice of our will. Yet, he teaches equally that in some way our salvation depends on us as well as on God. Since he has excluded positive conditions from our power, it seems that the controlling condition should be a negative. That could be resistance or the lack thereof.
93. St. Gregory of Nyssa:33 "But [the faithless] are not at a loss for a captious contradiction in this matter. For they say that God can, if He wills, coercively draw even those who resist to an acceptance of the preaching. Where then [would there be] control of their own affairs? Where [would be] virtue? Where [would there be] praise for those who do what is right?"
Comments: St. Gregory is replying to a difficulty proposed by infidels: "Cannot God always move our wills, even if we resist?" And he answers that God does not do this, because if He did, our freedom and control of our own affairs would be gone. Therefore he plainly implies that we can control whether or not we reject grace.
94. St. John Chrysostom:34
1)"'You are saved by grace' he [St. Paul] says 'through faith.' . . . [But] 'Not even faith' he says, 'is from us.' For if He had not come, if He had not called, how could we have believed? . . . And so not even [the gift of] faith is from us. 'It is God's gift' he says."
2)35 "The call and the purification came from grace. But that the one who has been called and who has been clothed in clean garments should remain such . . . comes from the effort of those who are called. The call was not on the basis of worthiness but on the basis of grace."
3)36 "'If it is by grace' [someone] says, 'why are not we all saved?' Because you do not wish [to be saved]. For grace, even though it is grace, saves those who wish, not those who do not wish and who turn it aside and constantly war against it and oppose it."
Comments: On the one hand, St. John teaches that we depend entirely on God. Even faith, the very condition within man, does not come from us, at least in this sense: "If He had not come, if He had not called, how could we have believed?" Similarly, our call and purification are not due to our merits, but to grace. Yet, on the other hand, he vigorously asserts that the outcome depends on human conditions. For he explicitly says that the reason some are not saved is: "Because you do not wish" to be saved.
95. St. Cyril of Alexandria:37 St. Cyril says that some make an excuse for their lack of faith, saying: "If they are called whom He foreknew according to the purpose and previous choice, this is nothing to those who have not yet believed. For we have not been called, nor predestined." And he answers saying: "He calls all to Himself . . . He sends away absolutely no one." But the reason why some do not respond is this: "they did not will to come."
Comments: St. Cyril seems to distinguish between the positive and the negative sides. On the positive side no one can come without the call. But all are called. Therefore, the critical and decisive point is found on the negative side, that is, they did not respond who did not want to come but cast grace aside. He implies that others came, who did not reject grace.38
96. Theodoret:39 "'For you are saved by grace through faith.' The grace of God deigned to give us these good things. We brought only faith. But even in this, divine grace was a cooperator. For he [St. Paul] adds this: 'And this is not from you. It is the gift of God. . . .' For we did not believe of our own accord but being called, we approached, and He did not demand purity of life of us when we came, but, accepting only faith, He gave forgiveness of sins as a gift."
Comments: Theodoret teaches the same condition as St. Paul: faith, and he adds with St. Paul that faith is not in our unaided powers. Yet, because the whole process is conditioned by man, and so is under man's control, he added that "divine grace was a cooperator" in the production of faith. So he left something to us, without, however, explaining more precisely just what is the nature of our contribution.
97. St. John Damascene:40 "For He gave us as a gift, the power of doing good, and He made us to be in our own power, so that good should come [both] from Him and from us. For God works together for good with everyone who chooses the good, so that, having observed the things that are according to nature, we may attain those that are above nature."
Comments: St. John plainly teaches that everything is conditioned by man, though he does not explain the way in which this is done. We shall see other texts of St. John, in a similar vein, in chapter 13.41
2 ) The Latin Fathers
98. Arnobius:42 "'But' you say 'if Christ came as the saviour of the human race, why does He not free all with equal munificence?'-Does not He who equally calls all, equally free all? Or does he reject or cast away anyone from His royal pardon when He, without distinction, gives to the lofty, the lowly, to slaves, to women, to children, the power of coming to Him? The font of life is open to all, He says, neither is anyone held off or repelled from the right to drink of it. If you are so haughty as to reject the kindness of the offered gift . . . how does He who invites sin against you, for His function is simply this, that He presents the fruit of His kindness to your free judgment?"
Comments: Arnobius proposes an objection: If Christ came to deliver all, why does He not deliver all? And he answers: God has done His part, but if we reject what He offers, it is our fault. If Christ did not offer grace to all, we could not all be saved. But we can reject the gift He offers. He supposes, obviously, that we are able not to reject it.
99. St. Jerome:43 ". . . the heat of the sun is one, and according to the kind of thing that lies beneath it, it liquefies some, hardens others, loosens some, constricts others. For wax is melted, but mud is hardened: and yet, the nature of the heat [that each receives] is the same. So it is with the goodness and clemency of God: it hardens the vessels of wrath, that are fit for destruction; but it does not save the vessels of mercy, in a blind way, and without a true judgment, but in accordance with preceding causes, for some did not accept the Son of God; but others of their own accord willed to receive Him."
Comments: St. Jerome, the great Doctor of Holy Scripture, teaches that grace in itself always has the power to produce good, like the heat of the sun. He supposes that there are no graces that are by nature ineffective. For the distinction is not found in the difference in the heat of the sun-or of grace-but in the characteristics of the beings that are exposed to the sun, or to grace. That is, the effectiveness or lack of effectiveness of grace depends on man. (We shall see a fuller citation and explanation of this passage later, in chapter 13.44)
100. St. Ambrose: See the texts and explanations in chapter 13.45
101. St. Hilary:46 "The gift of remaining in the faith is from God, but the origin of the beginning is from us. And our will must do that which is its proper task, namely, to will: God will give the increase to him who makes a beginning. . . ."
Comments: If these words are taken in a strict and positive sense, they will mean that the beginning of faith comes from us: this would be the Semipelagian heresy. St. Hilary doubtless did not intend a heretical sense. Yet, though his expression is defective, it is at least clear that he would not deny that in some way the acceptance of faith is conditioned by human conditions.
102. St. Augustine:
1)47 "Esau was unwilling, and did not run. But even if he had willed and had run, he would have arrived by the help of God, who by His call would give [Esau] both the willing and running, unless by scorning the call, he would become reprobate."
2)48 "For if two persons, equally disposed in soul and body, see the beauty of the same body, and on seeing it, one of them is moved to enjoy it illicitly, but the other stands firm in his chaste resolve: what do we think is the reason? . . . If both are tempted by the same temptation and one gives in and consents, but the other remains the same [as he was before the temptation]: what else is obvious except that one was willing, the other unwilling to fail in chastity? How does this happen except by their own will, since before they had the same disposition of body and soul?"
3)49 "It is certain that we will when we will; but He brings it about that we will good. . . . It is certain that we act when we act, but He brings it about that we act, giving most efficacious power to our will."
4)50 "What is the merit of a man before receiving grace, in accordance with which he receives grace, since it is only grace that makes every good merit in us, and since when God crowns our merits, he crowns nothing other than His own gifts?"
5)51 "He works, then, without us, so that we may will, but when we do will, and will in such a way as to act, He cooperates with us. . . ."
Comments: In texts 1 and 2, St. Augustine clearly teaches the same as the other Fathers, that is, that in some way a man can determine whether and when he will do evil. In texts 3-5 he teaches forcefully that man can do no good without grace. In fact, in text 5, he teaches that grace alone, without our cooperation, produces the beginning of a good work. But there is no contradiction in these statements. For in text 1 he implied a distinction. He said that if Esau had run, all would have been due to God. But the fact that he did not run came from his rejection of grace. Therefore, he excludes all positive salutary goods from man's unaided power. But he does not exclude the negative conditions.52
103. St. Prosper: See the texts and explanations in chapter 13.53
C. In the Councils of the Church
104. Second Council of Orange: This council, held in 529 A.D. against the Semipelagians, was not a general council. However, because of a special confirmation by Pope Boniface II, its Canons have the force of solemn definitions. The council wished especially to condemn the Semipelagian error attributing to man the beginning of faith.
Canon 4:54"If anyone contends that God waits for our will, so that we may be purged from sin, and does not confess that the very fact that we even will to be cleansed takes place in us by the infusion and work of the Holy Spirit, he resists the same Holy Spirit. . . ."
Canon 6:55"If anyone . . . does not confess that it is through the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit in us that we believe, will, or are able to do all these things as we ought, and . . . that it is the gift of grace that we are obedient and humble, he resists the Apostle saying: 'What have you that you have not received. . . .'"
Canon 7:56 "If anyone asserts that we, by the good vigour of nature, are able to think anything that pertains to the salvation of eternal life . . . or to choose, or to consent to the salutary preaching (that is, of the Gospel) without the illumination and inspiration of the Holy Spirit . . . he is deceived by a heretical spirit, and does not understand the voice of God in the Gospel saying: 'Without me you can do nothing' and that word of the Apostle: 'Not that we are fit to think anything of ourselves as from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.'"
Canon 9:57 ". . . as often as we do good, God works in us and with us that we may work."
105. Comments on the Canons of Orange: The council excludes from the unaided power of man even the beginning of any salutary work: to believe, will, act, obey, be humble, think, choose, consent, in a salutary way. For even the beginning of a good and salutary work is also good and salutary. But man by his own power, without grace, can do nothing that is a truly salutary good.
Nor do the words of the council apply only to the first justification. For in Canon 9 we read ". . . as often as we do good," and again in another passage of the council:58 "in every good work, we do not begin . . . but He, with no preceding good merits on our part, first inspires in us both faith and love of Him, so that we may both faithfully seek the sacraments of baptism, and after baptism that we may able to fulfil, with His help, the things that are pleasing to Him."
In one word, then, the council excludes from our unaided power every positive salutary good. But it does not say that man can in no way determine whether he will sin or not. Nor does it say that man can never resist grace. Nor does it say that man cannot merely do nothing against grace.
106. The Council of Trent: Decree on justification, chapter 5:59 ". . . when God touches the heart of man by the illumination of the Holy Spirit . . . man . . . is able to cast it away . . . yet without the grace of God he cannot, by his own free will, move himself to justice before God;"
Canon 4:60 "If anyone says that the free will of man, moved and aroused by God, does not cooperate at all in assenting to God who arouses and calls, so as to dispose and prepare himself to obtain the grace of justification, and that he could not dissent if he wishes, but that like a sort of lifeless thing he does nothing at all and is purely passive, let him be anathema."
Canon 6:61 "If anyone says that it is not in the power of a man to make his ways evil, but that God works our evil deeds just as He does our good, not only by permission, but also properly and through Himself . . . let him be anathema."
107. Comments: The council clearly distinguishes between the power of man for good and for evil. For it is really "in the power of a man to make his ways evil." But man cannot perform good works without grace. Yet, even when grace is already present, when God is already arousing and calling by grace, man really can "dissent if he wishes." In fact, the council goes so far as to say that man can "cast [grace] away."
The council obviously supposes that man can really effectively resist: for it is "in the power of a man to make his ways evil." If resistance could not be effective, the council could not have said that it is in the power of man to make his ways evil: it would have said merely that a man can resist. Similarly, the council says that man can cast away grace. Now he who casts away something, does more than he who merely resists. For he who casts away, really succeeds in what he attempts to do. But he who merely resists will perhaps accomplish what he wishes, and perhaps not.
108. But by no means could we suppose that man cannot omit resistance if he so wishes. For the council says that man can "dissent if he wishes." Therefore it implies that if he does not wish to dissent, he is able not to dissent. Similarly, the council says that a man can "cast away" grace. It implies thereby that a man can also omit the action of casting away.
109. When we say that a man can omit the action of casting grace away, we merely say that he is able to omit doing anything against grace, that is, that he can merely do nothing against it. In saying this, we do not say man can perform a positive complete act, a positive decision made with the formal intention of abstaining from sin as if he were to say: "I hereby decide that I will not resist this grace." Such a decision would be morally good and salutary, and so not within the unaided power of man. Rather, we are speaking of the mere absence of a bad decision, not of the presence of a good decision. For we are capable of interrupting the effects in our mind and will that grace produces: the nonresistance of which we speak consists merely of not interrupting them, without making any positive decision, in the sense explained above.62
So, without the movement from the Holy Spirit, man cannot positively consent to grace. But without a movement from the Holy Spirit, he can have the malice of resistance; and he is also able simply to do nothing against grace.
110. We can gather some important facts from a comparison of the statements of the two councils:
1) The Council of Orange teaches that "in every good work, we do not begin." So, since it is true that it is not we who make the beginning in a good work, it is obvious that it is grace alone that makes the beginning:63 we do nothing in the very first instant of the beginning of the process.
2) The Council of Trent teaches that in making the positive consent to grace, we are not "like a sort of lifeless thing," and rejects the view that man "does nothing at all and is purely passive" in making the positive consent.
So we see that we must distinguish between the beginning of a good work, and the further course of the same work in the positive consent to grace. Grace alone makes the beginning. But afterwards, in the positive consent, we are not passive, but really make a contribution, since through our faculties, which God gave us and through the power of the grace that is present and moving us, we can really act actively.
111. Schema of the entire process:
1) First, God offers grace. He does this without our cooperation. Through this grace He begins to move us, showing to or producing in our mind a concept of good, and moving our will (which does not yet move itself) to complacency in this good. When these things are done, we can still either resist, or do nothing (not resist). For the absence of resistance is at least logically presupposed before the positive consent.
2) Then, if we do not resist, grace continues, and works in us the good act of will, but in such a way that we also actively cooperate in assenting, through the power we are receiving from grace.
112. Which graces can man resist? First of all, it is clear from the context that the Council of Trent is speaking of graces that of themselves lead to eternal life. Therefore it is speaking of graces of the internal economy of personal salvation. The Council does not consider the external economy.64 Further, we can presume that the Council does not deny that God can, by extraordinary graces, forestall or remove all human resistance if He so wills. Therefore, we conclude that the council speaks of ordinary graces within the internal economy of personal salvation. It says that man can resist these. But there is no other limitation expressed, implied, or suggested in the text or context. Therefore we should not add any other limitation. (Later in this chapter we will consider the views of the Thomists on these points).
113. It is clear that the councils teach the same as Sacred Scripture and the Fathers, namely, that man cannot by his own unaided power without grace do any positive salutary good, but that he can resist grace, and can omit resistance to grace in the sense of merely doing nothing, making no decision against grace, in the first stage of the process. If he does not resist, grace will continue its course and produce the effect of a positive consent, in such a way however that man does not remain "like a sort of lifeless thing" in mere passivity.
D. In St. Thomas
114. St. Thomas teaches and explains all these matters lucidly. For he tells us that in the first justification, even the very assent to grace is the effect of grace:65 ". . . when we are being justified, we consent to the justice of God by the movement of our free will. However, that movement is not the cause of grace, but the effect of grace. . . ." He teaches likewise that in accepting other graces, the acceptance cannot be made without grace:66 "So in that effect in which our soul is moved but does not move itself, since only God moves it, the operation is attributed to God; and so this grace is called operating grace. But in that effect in which our soul is both moved [by God] and moves itself, the operation is attributed not only to God but also to the soul; and so this grace is called cooperating grace. . . . Hence . . . St. Augustine says: 'He operates so that we may will: but when we will, he cooperates with us so that we accomplish.'"
115. St. Thomas also teaches that man can by his own power either resist grace or omit resistance:67 ". . . although a man, by the movement of his free will, can neither merit nor obtain divine grace, yet he can impede himself from receiving it. . . . And since this is in the power of free will [namely] to impede or not to impede the reception of divine grace not undeservingly is he charged with a fault who sets up an impediment to grace. For God, so far as He is concerned, is ready to give grace to all . . . but they only are deprived of grace who set up an impediment to grace in themselves."68
116. God is always able to move us infallibly or infrustrably. It is clear from Scripture that God always can, if He wishes, so move a man so that at least as a matter of fact the man does not resist, but instead consents. This is clearly taught in the book of Proverbs:71 "The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it whenever he will."
Now there are two ways in which it can be infallibly certain that such a divine movement will have the intended effect:
1) According to the Molinists, the certitude comes from the special character or strength of a moral attraction together with the divine prevision by which God knows precisely what sort of and strength of an attraction is required. It is necessary that prevision be part of the process, because a merely moral motion (as contrasted with a physical motion) would not provide more than moral certitude of the outcome, without the addition of divine foreknowledge.
2) According to the older Thomists, the certitude comes from the fact that God physically moves the human will infrustrably, so that it freely but infallibly consents.
Both a moral and physical motion can be called infallible (if prevision is added to the moral motion). But a physical motion can be called not only infallible but infrustrable. The term "infrustrable" would fit less well with a merely moral motion. (Chapter 18 will discuss these motions more fully).
When does God move infallibly or infrustrably? It is obvious that God does not always move in such a way. Otherwise, there would be no sins at all. So we must inquire into the times and conditions in which God moves infallibly or infrustrably.
117. Preliminary distinctions: two economies: To solve our question, we must keep in mind the distinction between the internal economy of personal salvation, and the external economy (these were sketched in chapter 1). And we need to recall also that, as we saw in chapter 1, two categories of questions are contained within the sphere of the external economy, namely:
1) Who will be kings, physicians, emperors, generals, workmen, shoemakers, carpenters, etc.-in other words one type of question within the external economy concerns those vocations which by their nature have little or no influence in deciding the eternal fate of the individual man.
2) Who will be the Chosen People of the Old Testament, or belong, in the full sense, to the Church of the New Testament.
For the sake of clarity, it is good to divide these things into three parts, so that we divide the external economy into the merely external economy, and the external mixed economy, as follows:
1) The merely external economy: Here the question is: Will this man be a king, physician, general, shoemaker, carpenter etc. By their nature, as we have said, these vocations have little or no influence in deciding the eternal fate of the individual. We do not say that it would be equally good for a man if he were to knowingly choose a vocation contrary to the clear will of God. But, outside this possibility, it makes little difference in regard to salvation whether a man be a tailor or shoemaker etc., for these things do not directly exert an influence on determining his eternal lot.
2) The external mixed economy: Here the question is: who will belong to the Chosen People of the Old Testament or to the Church of the New Testament, in the full sense. Whether one has such a place or not does not strictly decide his eternal lot (as we saw in chapter 1). Yet, it does make a difference, inasmuch as those who are in the Church in the full sense have better external means of grace. Yet, even without these external means, provided that a man in some way pertains to the Church at least by implicit desire, he can be saved, through the abundant graces which God sends down to all.
3) The internal economy: Here the question is about the things that by their nature determine a man's eternal lot, e.g., the grant of sanctifying grace and of actual graces. Salvation itself depends directly on these.
118. Another preliminary distinction: autonomous and secondary freedom: Before taking up the question of when and in what conditions God moves men infrustrably or infallibly, we must add a distinction on two kinds of liberty.
1) In secondary liberty: The first decision is made by God, who, according to the older Thomists, physically moves the human will so that it consents freely but infallibly. The Thomists say that under such a movement man is truly free, but yet that he infrustrably does that which God has decided. This sort of freedom should be called secondary freedom because the first decision, after which all else flows not only infallibly but infrustrably (since the will is physically moved by God) is made by God alone (more on this in chapter 18).
2) In primary or autonomous freedom: The first decision is made by man, not however, without divine help and movement. Autonomous freedom can easily find a place in the process which we deduced above72 from Scripture and the councils. That is, briefly: God first makes a decision to send to man a grace by which He wills to move a man to a specified effect. Grace makes the beginning, for, as the Council of Orange says, it is not we who begin. Grace makes the beginning by presenting good to our intellect, causing it to perceive the good, and moving our will to an initial complacency in this good. Grace alone does these things. Man's intellect and will really act, but only God moves them: the man himself does not move them at this stage of the process. Next, a man can resist or not-resist grace. If he merely does nothing against these effects, he does not resist. He does not even make a decision: I will not resist. On condition of this non-resistance, grace moves him to the positive consent, but in such a way that man becomes active too, for he is not like something passive. (We have sketched the simplest type of process of movement of grace. Later73 we will consider the more complex process in which man chooses among several alternatives).
Even though God begins the process and begins it with the purpose of moving a man to a specified thing, yet the first decisive step comes from man, for by his resistance or lack of resistance man really controls an outcome, an outcome which is not predetermined by God in advance of this negative determination by man.
Even a physical movement from God is compatible with autonomous liberty, provided that God does not move man to the positive consent unless a man omits resistance. (It is obvious that a moral motion would fit with autonomous freedom, though it may diminish freedom if the attraction is very strong).
In regard to the existence of autonomous liberty: In view of the very transcendence of God we must say that God is not limited to using infrustrable movements (in the Thomistic sense) so that without them He would be simply incapable of moving a man to consent to grace. Again, in view of His transcendence, we must reject the older Thomist view that God is simply incapable of making a creature that possesses autonomous freedom. We shall see the reason for these statements more fully in the following paragraphs.
119. The divine principles of acting in the internal economy: In view of the words just cited from the book of Proverbs, and especially, in view of divine transcendence, we hold that God can move a human will physically and infrustrably so that the man freely but infallibly consents. But-it is one thing to hold that God is able to do this. It is quite another thing to hold that God is incapable of moving a man to consent in another way, so that under any other sort of divine motion (i.e., the Thomists' "sufficient grace") it would be metaphysically inconceivable for a man not to sin, at least by a sin of omission. The older Thomists, as we have already seen briefly,74 and will see fully later on,75 not only hold that God can move a man physically and infrustrably, by efficacious grace, without destroying liberty, but they add that God cannot move a man to consent in any other way, so that a divine frustrable movement (sufficient grace) not only never produces a good action, but instead, under it, a man always infallibly sins, at least by a sin of omission (since, although a man cannot,76 with the help of sufficient grace, rise or apply himself to a good act of will-efficacious grace being required for that-yet, God physically moves man's deficient will to the exercise of an act that cannot be a good act).77 Nor can man, in the older Thomistic system, obtain efficacious grace in any way.78 For to obtain efficacious grace, he must omit resistance to sufficient grace: but, according to the older Thomists, to omit resistance requires efficacious grace. Thus there is a complete vicious circle. God, on His part, according to the Thomists, can deny efficacious grace for even an inculpable inadvertence in man.
On the contrary, in view of the very transcendence of the divine will, we must hold that, as we have said, God is not limited to physical infrustrable movements, so that He would be totally incapable of moving a man to consent in any other way.
The salvific will leads us to the same conclusion. The system of the older Thomists cannot coexist with the universal salvific will. For in their system, all things are in such a way controlled by infrustrable movements79 that a man is totally incapable of "distinguishing himself"80 in regard to reprobation or non-reprobation, and in regard to whether or not he will do evil. God alone, with no previous consideration of the free conditions within man, determines whether and when a man will do good or evil and, similarly, He determines the eternal fate of each individual. Now if God alone so determines everything that man is totally incapable of "distinguishing" whether he will be reprobated or not, then, if God really does reprobate anyone, He cannot simultaneously say that He wills the salvation of such a man. Therefore the system of the Thomists contradicts the universal salvific will, even the minimum degree of such a will.
Nor could the older Thomists avoid the conclusion by saying that God merely permits a man to ruin himself, as we saw above.81 For man, in their system, is totally unable to "distinguish himself" as to whether he will be reprobate or not.
We do not deny that man is truly free even under infrustrable physical movements (in secondary freedom). Nor do we deny that man makes decisions in secondary freedom. Yet, precisely because a man is unable to "distinguish himself" in regard to reprobation, God cannot, within the Thomistic system, simultaneously reprobate any man and still say He wills the salvation of that same man.82
Furthermore, as we shall see below,83 in the system of the older Thomists, God becomes, in the full sense, the author of sin.
120. Therefore, from the fact that the universal salvific will is sincere and truly universal, it is obvious that God will do one of two things: (1) He will either give man autonomous freedom, or (2) He will give only secondary freedom, but will not reprobate anyone-for a sincere salvific will, as we have seen, cannot reprobate anyone who has only secondary liberty, and so cannot "distinguish himself" in regard to reprobation.
But, it is revealed, in the Scriptural description of the Last Judgment, that some men are reprobated, therefore it is clear that God has granted autonomous freedom to men. He has surely granted it to the reprobates -else He could not have reprobated them and still said He willed their salvation. But, since human nature is the same in all men, He granted autonomous freedom to all men.
Further, it is clear that infrustrable movements are extraordinary. For a salvific will that has its measure in infinite objective titles for each individual84 will not stop short of anything that is ordinary in order to save a man. But, God does ordinarily stop short of infrustrable graces (if He regularly used them, no one would be lost). Therefore, infrustrable graces must be extraordinary.
By speculative considerations we can show how this is so. From the very fact that God willed to create man, it was necessary to make man free in some way. For a man who would not be free would not be a man. Therefore, since God cannot contradict Himself, His decision to make man involved necessarily the decision to make man free.
We have already shown that God has actually, at least by positive decision, made man free in autonomous freedom. But we can also show that it is the very nature of man to have autonomous freedom. This can be seen if we recall that the kind of action a being can perform depends on the kind of being it is: in the familiar scholastic axiom: agere sequitur esse. Now since man, as he is actually constituted, does have autonomous freedom, if we compare to actual man a hypothetical creature that would be like man in all other respects except that it would have only secondary, not autonomous freedom, then, since the kind of act a being can perform depends on the kind of being it is, it becomes apparent that a being that could not act in autonomous freedom would be quite different from man. That difference would be no small accidental thing: it would flow from the very nature of the being (for the kind of action a being can perform depends on the kind of being it is). The difference is so large between a creature having autonomous freedom and one lacking it and having only secondary freedom that the Thomists declare it metaphysically impossible for God to make a creature having autonomous freedom. A difference of such magnitude and kind presupposes a different nature. Therefore a creature like man in every respect except autonomous freedom would not be a man. Hence, it is part of the very nature of man to have autonomous freedom. Therefore, in deciding to make man, God had to make man naturally autonomously free: otherwise God would contradict Himself, just as He would contradict Himself if he decided to make man, but not to make man rational.
Therefore, since the nature of man is such, if God, after making man such, were to regularly reduce the freedom of man to a secondary freedom, by using infrustrable motions, He would contradict Himself by not respecting the natural condition of the nature He had decided to make.85 God can, of course, use such motions sometimes by way of exception. But to do so regularly would involve Him in a self-contradiction. Therefore, if, for these reasons, God can use infrustrable motions only by way of exception, it is clear that they are extraordinary.
Our reasoning is confirmed, at least to some degree, by another chain of thought. Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that God always used infrustrable movements and saved everyone. There would be two classes of men: (1) Those who would have been saved even if God has used only frustrable motions. (2) Those who would not have been saved if God has used only frustrable motions.
As to the first group: It would be unreasonable for God to use infrustrable movements to save those who would have been saved with frustrable movements.86 It would be unreasonable because it would diminish both the glory of God and the merit of man (we note in passing the interlock of these two: cf. again chapter 3). It would diminish the glory of God because it is less glory to God if a creature chooses to adhere to Him when it cannot really "distinguish itself" to do otherwise, than if a creature chooses to adhere to Him when it really could "distinguish itself" to do otherwise. Further, God would have used a greater exercise of power (for an infrustrable movement requires transcendent power) and have produced thereby a lesser effect: that would be less glorious for Him.87 The merit of man would also be diminished: for there is less merit in choosing to adhere to God when one cannot really "distinguish oneself" to do otherwise, than when one really could have rejected Him.
As to the second group, those who would not have been saved if they had been moved by only frustrable movements: These would have been saved, in a sense, against their will, i.e., against the will they would have had if they had been given a chance to "distinguish themselves." But to regularly save those who, if able, would have rejected salvation, is scarcely fitting, if at all reasonable.
We did not consider at this point the possibility that God might have reprobated some, though giving them only secondary freedom. For we have already shown that such a hypothesis contradicts even the smallest degree of a true universal salvific will.
The weight of the reasons for which God created man having autonomous freedom can also be seen in the following way. God vehemently desires that all be saved: He has shown this by the passion and by establishing infinite objective titles for each individual as we have seen. Likewise, as Infinite Sanctity, He vehemently hates all sin. If He had given only secondary freedom, he could have achieved both goals: all could have been saved, and He would have never been as it were forced to material cooperation in sin, by way of divine concursus.
The older Thomists try to say that God is completely incapable of creating a creature capable of autonomous freedom. But, we have shown by Scripture that He actually has created man as such a creature. No reasoning can wipe out the actual existence of an accomplished fact. He did it: therefore He was able to do it.
But even by way of reason we can explain how man can be free in autonomous freedom. For the whole process in the natural order can be explained in a way closely parallel to the explanation we have given above88 for the supernatural order. That is: God, in the simplest type of process in the natural order, begins to move man by causing a simple apprehension of good in man's intellect and an initial complacency in man's will. This done, man can either resist or omit resistance. And just as no decision or positive act is required from man in not resisting grace in this first logical momentum, similarly in the natural order: the effects of the divine movement in the intellect and will continue by force of the divine movement-not by the work of man. Something definite,89 a resistance from man would be required to remove these effects: but nothing is required of him that they remain, since they remain by force of the divine movement. If man does not resist, the divine movement continues its course,and moves man to positive assent of will in such a way that in this second logical momentum he is both moved by God and moving himself in virtue of the power then being received from God in the faculties which he has previously received from God
We can add that the divine motion can be specified in itself90 rather than versatile (as the Molinists hold). And it can be a physical91 motion without destroying autonomous liberty, provided that God does not move to positive consent until the condition of non-resistance is verified in man.
An added partial confirmation of the conclusion that infrustrable movements are extraordinary will be provided in chapter 8. For there we shall see that St. Paul promises the grace of perseverance to all. Yet, not all actually persevere. Therefore, even the grace of perseverance is not regularly an infrustrable grace. But, if even the grace of perseverance is not regularly an infrustrable grace, it is not likely that other graces are regularly infrustrable.
121. Several passages of St. Thomas confirm that infrustrable graces are extraordinary: In the Contra Gentiles, St. Thomas explains why not all are saved:92 "The power of the divine incarnation is indeed sufficient for the salvation of all. The fact that some are not saved thereby comes from their indisposition, because they are unwilling to receive the fruit of the incarnation within themselves. . . . For freedom of will, by which he can adhere or not adhere to the incarnate God, was not to be taken away from man, lest the good of man be forced, and so be rendered meritless and unpraiseworthy."
In order to bring out the implications of this passage let us note the context: St. Thomas wants to explain why not all are saved if the incarnation really provided means enough for all. In his answer he supposes that two things cannot actually coexist: (1) That all be saved, (2) That man be truly free. The reason why they cannot coexist is that if men really are free, some of them will be unwilling to accept the fruit of the incarnation, which is grace. That is, they will resist grace. But, if St. Thomas held the system of sufficient and efficacious graces which the older Thomists propose, in which everything is controlled by infrustrable motions and infallible permissions, then these two things would not be incompatible. For God really could save all by infrustrable movements and yet, all would be truly free, so that the good of man would not be forced, meritless, and unpraiseworthy. Therefore it is implied that St. Thomas did not hold the older Thomistic system.93 For if he really held that system, then his explanation in this passage would not solve the question.
Similarly, that which is really decisive, according to the Thomists, is not the fact that men are unwilling to accept the fruits of the incarnation: according to the older Thomists, men are completely incapable of "distinguishing themselves".94 So the real explanation why not all are saved would be, according to the Thomists, that God is unwilling. But this is not what St. Thomas says: he, on the contrary, says that the reason is that men "are unwilling." He takes it for granted that men can "distinguish themselves" in regard to reprobation or in regard to accepting or not accepting the fruits of the incarnation.
Further, in the system of the older Thomists, the indisposition or resistance to grace is present in all men, unless God forestalls or removes it. For men, in their system, in the adequate sense are not able not to resist.95 It is true, the Thomists say, that man has the ability of not resisting, but they add that man lacks the application of this ability-which is refused unless a man refrains from resisting. Hence, in the adequate sense, man is unable not to resist: for if he could do so, he would by that very fact be able to "distinguish himself"-a thing the Thomists say man cannot do.96-But, to return to the argument, according to the Thomists, the indisposition is present in all men. But that which is present in all cannot provide the explanation why some receive and others do not receive the fruit of the incarnation. Yet, St. Thomas thinks he is really giving the explanation in saying that men "are unwilling." Nor could the difficulty be removed by saying that God gives pardon to some to show His mercy, and not to others, to display His justice97-such an explanation (if it were true that God acted that way) would explain only why in general God would want to have reprobates and elect. It would not explain why these particular men are reprobated and those particular men are saved. But St. Thomas thinks he is explaining not why there are reprobates in general, but why these particular individuals are reprobated. For he says that these are reprobated precisely because they "are unwilling" to receive the fruit of the incarnation.
It is obvious, then, that the text we are considering cannot be explained if we suppose that St. Thomas held that all things are ruled by infrustrable motions, and that such motions are part of ordinary providence. But if, on the contrary, we suppose that St. Thomas considers infrustrable motions extraordinary, then it is easy to understand the passage and we can see why he did not mention them in any way in the passage cited. For he wanted to explain the ordinary order and providence: it was not required that he speak of extraordinary providence.
122. Again, St. Thomas explains how it happens that prayer, even though it is made with all the due conditions, sometimes does not obtain its effect, and yet, the promise of Christ about prayer is not made void:98 "It happens sometimes that a prayer made for others does not obtain its effect, even though it is made devoutly and perseveringly, and for things that pertain to salvation. [This happens] because of an impediment on the part of the one for whom the prayer is made. . . ."
So, St. Thomas explains that prayer for another sometimes does not have its effect because of an impediment in the one for whom the prayer is made, that is, because of his resistance to grace. Now in the system of the Thomists, in which everything is controlled by infrustrable movements, the good effect of a prayer cannot be brought about without an efficacious grace: for, in their system, a sufficient grace never produces a good work. Further, in their system, man always resists, unless he receives efficacious grace. Therefore, because resistance is always present unless God forestalls or removes it by efficacious grace, the resistance cannot provide the explanation why, in some cases, God does not give efficacious grace through which the prayer could be granted. For, since the same impediment, resistance, is present in all, it cannot provide the explanation of why the prayer is not granted in some cases. So, the true explanation of the refusal of a prayer would not be the impediment in man: it would be that God would be unwilling. But if that were true, the promise of Christ would be made void; and the explanation of St. Thomas would not explain the matter.
We must recall too that in the system of the older Thomists, man cannot, in the adequate sense, refrain from resistance.99 For if he could, he could "distinguish himself."100 But the Thomists deny that he can. Hence, it would follow that God would refuse to grant a prayer because of something that is not within the power of man.
If however, on the contrary, we suppose that St. Thomas considers infrustrable motions (which are needed to forestall or remove resistance) as extraordinary, then it is easy to see why he does not suppose that God will regularly move men who resist. Thus the explanation of St. Thomas really will hold.
St. Thomas makes a similar comment on merit for others, with a similar implication.101
123. The divine principles of acting in the merely external economy: Even in matters of this economy God does not regularly move man infrustrably, since the reason explained above102 holds here too. However, we must notice that many things can be more easily and often accomplished in this external economy by frustrable motions, since men can more easily feel the attractions of things in the natural order, and because man is less likely to resist natural attractions. Furthermore, by giving different men different talents and abilities, God can incline them in various directions: for in general men like to do that which they do easily and well. Therefore, it is rather easy for God to move men in these matters even without infrustrable motions.
It is necessary for God to move men in many things in this economy. For if all men wanted to be physicians, or if all wanted to be shoemakers, the world could not go on, for it is necessary to have men well distributed in a variety of vocations. Hence, God moves men by varied talents and various attractions so that this distribution will be made. In practice, a sufficient number will come into various vocations without the use of infrustrable motions.
124. The divine principles of acting in the external mixed economy: Here too God does not regularly move infrustrably, because the reason explained above holds here too. And we can add that as we saw earlier in this book,103 the words of St. Paul to the Romans seem to imply that God does not regularly move men infrustrably to enter the Church.
However, the assignment of places in the world in which the proximate opportunities are provided for full entry into the Church does not affect autonomous liberty, and so does not fall under the reasons explained in §120. As we saw in chapter 1, these assignments are not made according to merits, but according to other considerations. We also made104 the speculation that in general, God makes these assignments in such a way, following the needs and foreseen resistance of each, that as many as possible may be saved.
125. The same principles seem to apply to vocations to the priesthood and the religious life. God does not choose men for these callings according to their merits, but according to other considerations. He moves them by attractions that are short of infrustrable movements, and by giving various talents and abilities. The fact that He does not regularly use infrustrable movements for such vocations is clear from the fact that in our own times those who follow these vocations are fewer than are needed. But we could not suppose that God would really leave the Church with too few vocations. So it must be that many receive these vocations by way of frustrable movements, and resist them. If God regularly used infrustrable movements, there would be no shortage.
Scholion on Hardness and Blindness
126. It is clear both from Scripture and from experience that sometimes men become hardened or blinded. A man, by repeated sins, makes himself such that he is no longer moved by the usual means, that is, the usual graces and exhortations that move other men do not touch him.105
How does hardening take place?
1) Repeated sins increase the natural inclination to sin. The use of the sacrament of Penance will not always remove this increase unless the change of heart is specially strong, or many difficult works of penance are performed. For that reason the Church in the first centuries ordered difficult penances. Now, even though the Church no longer strictly commands such works in connection with the sacrament of Penance, yet she does not cease to advise and urge us to do them, and she does this even though she so easily grants many plenary indulgences. For indulgences can diminish or remove the punishment due to sin, but they do not touch the evil inclinations, for the latter are in the natural order. If a man keeps on sinning and does not take care to work against these increased inclinations they will grow gradually. They can, in time, grow to such a point that a man always or almost always, by force of habit, actively resists grace. If that happens, the usual means will not touch or convert him: he is hardened.
2) If a man sins mortally for the first time, e.g., by drunkenness, he will probably feel remorse of conscience. For he has acted contrary to his beliefs. But if the same man keeps on sinning, gradually the remorse of conscience is dimmed, so that eventually he will be able to sin and feel no remorse at all. Then the graces and exhortations that move other men will not move him.
3) Just as a good life increases the ability of a man to see religious truths, especially in moral matters, so, on the contrary, a bad life diminishes that power. For example, a man indulging in drunkenness is at first disturbed, because he acts contrary to his beliefs. But if he continues in the same sins, he will eventually reach a point at which he will no longer consider drunkenness to be a sin, or at least, not a great sin. For the things that he says in his beliefs cannot remain indefinitely in conflict with the things he says by his actions. Actions speak louder than words. As a result, eventually a man will either conform his beliefs to his actions, or his actions to his beliefs. The conflict must be resolved. Thus it is that sins cause blindness, so that a man gradually loses the power of seeing the truth in moral matters.
Now it is obvious that a man whose mind can no longer see the moral truths that other men see, and whose will and lower nature are more and more inclined to sin, will not be moved by the means that move others. He will not be touched by exhortations and will not even perceive the presence of ordinary interior graces that move others.106
127. What sort of grace will move a hardened man? Certainly, the graces will need to be greater than ordinary graces at least in degree. But must they be different also in kind? It seems that we must reply affirmatively, and say that they must be really extraordinary. For these men actively and persistently resist grace. Now, as we have explained above, God does not, within ordinary providence, move men infrustrably so as to forestall or overcome resistance.107 Hence it is clear that the grace required to move a hardened sinner must be greater not only in degree but also in kind: it must be extraordinary.
1) Scripture and the Magisterium of the Church explicitly teach that man can accomplish no positive salutary good of his own power without grace. At least most of the Fathers also clearly teach this. Some few Fathers, though they knew well that we depend entirely on God and that yet we can really determine whether or not we will adhere to God, not knowing how to reconcile these two truths, expressed a few points in less apt ways, because they were trying not to deny that man can really determine whether or not he will adhere to God.
2) Scripture, the Fathers, and the Magisterium also explicitly teach that man can, by his own power, determine whether and when and what sort of evil he will commit.
3) Scripture, the Fathers, and the Magisterium also explicitly teach that man can resist grace. From the words of the Council of Trent, considered in context, it is clear that the graces which the Council says man can resist are the ordinary graces of the internal economy. The Council makes clear too that man can effectively resist these graces.
4 ) It is at least implicitly taught that man, even though he be a sinner (at least if he is not hardened) can omit resistance to grace, in the first part of the process in which grace moves him, in the sense described above.108
5) The councils distinguish between the beginning of a good work and the further progress towards consent of the same work. For in the beginning, we do nothing at all: grace alone works. But in making the positive consent itself, we really actively cooperate. Before this consent, we are really able to resist the grace that has already begun to move us; and we can omit this resistance.
6) It is clear that God also can, when He so wills, move the wills of men infrustrably. But this belong to extraordinary providence.
129. Objection 1: But the older Thomist's system of sufficient and efficacious graces can be proved from Scripture, the Magisterium, and St. Thomas. Nor does it contradict the universal salvific will.
Answer: We shall show: (1) That the theory of the older Thomists lacks all foundation in Scripture, (2) and in the Magisterium, (3) and in St. Thomas; (4) We shall also show that the Thomists cannot reconcile their system with the universal salvific will. (5) Further, we shall show in summary fashion (fuller treatment in chapter 18) that their system makes God the author of sin.
1) The theory of the older Thomists has no foundation in Scripture: The texts they cite from Scripture are far from proving their point. This is clear from a consideration of the passages adduced by Garrigou-Lagrange.
To prove the existence of sufficient graces: He cites first, Isaiah 5:4:109 "What more should I have done for my vineyard and I did not do it?" Garrigou-Lagrange comments:110 "Now if God did not have to do anything more, the help is really sufficient. But in this text we do not read, 'What more is there that I could have done.' So we see that God can do more, but is not bound to do it."
However, the words of Isaiah show merely that God had given the grace with which the vineyard really could have produced fruit: He had done everything possible within ordinary providence. They do not prove that God gave only a grace with which it would be metaphysically inconceivable to produce fruit unless something more would be added. Furthermore, Garrigou-Lagrange often speaks of that which God "is not bound to do." But he misses the point. The basic question is not what God is bound to do, but what He has freely decided to do. On the most basic level, God is not bound to do anything; He cannot strictly owe anything to a creature. Yet, the revelation of the salvific will has shown that He has freely decided to do much-to be precise (as we saw in chapters 4 and 5), He freely decided to bind Himself in the Covenant (or implicit agreement), by infinite objective titles for each individual man. In that sense, God is bound to do everything needed for the salvation of each individual, within the realm of ordinary providence (that is, excluding infrustrable graces). So nothing in the text cited proves the definition of sufficient grace that Garrigou-Lagrange holds.
Again, he quotes the words of Proverbs 1:24: "I have called and you have refused. . . ." Obviously, these words do not prove that God gave only a grace with which it would be metaphysically inconceivable that man would not resist.
Similarly, he cites Isaiah 65:2: "All day I stretched out my hands to a people that did not believe and that contradicted." But these words not only do not say anything about a grace with which a good act is metaphysically inconceivable-on the contrary, as we explained above,111 they imply that the grant of grace is really conditioned by human conditions that are fully in human control.
He also quotes the Gospel of St. Matthew 23:37: "Jerusalem, Jerusalem . . . how often I wanted to gather together your children . . . and you were unwilling!" Again, these words by no means prove that Christ gave to Jerusalem only a grace with which, if nothing were added, the conversion of Jerusalem would be metaphysically inconceivable. For if He had done that, He would not have been able to weep sincerely because Jerusalem was not converted.
He quotes too from the Acts of the Apostles 7:51: ". . . with stiff-neck and uncircumcised hearts and ears, you have always resisted the Holy Spirit."
And the words of second Corinthians 6:1: "We entreat you not to receive the grace of God in vain." The words of Acts surely do not prove that God had given only a grace with which it would be metaphysically inconceivable for man not to resist. The words of second Corinthians prove the contrary of Garrigou-Lagrange's position, as we saw earlier in this chapter. For if it were metaphysically inconceivable that a man would not resist when he had only sufficient grace, and yet he could not control whether or not he would receive efficacious grace, it would be superfluous-or rather, a mockery- to encourage him not to resist.
To prove the existence of efficacious graces: he cites the following passages:112
Ezekiel 36:26: "I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit in the midst of you, I will take away the stony heart from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit in the midst of you, and bring it about that you walk in my precepts and that you keep and work my judgments."
Esther 13:9: "Lord almighty king, all things are in your power, and there is no one who can resist your will if you decree to save Israel. . . . You are the almighty Lord of all, nor is there anyone who resists your majesty." And ibid., chapter 14: "Remember, Lord, and show yourself to us in the time of our tribulation, and give me confidence, Lord, king of gods, and of all power . . . and change the heart [of Ahasuerus] to hatred of our enemy. Mighty God above all, hear the voice of those who have no other hope, and deliver us from the hand of our enemies, and deliver me from my fear." And ibid., 15:11: "And God changed the spirit of the king to meekness."
Proverbs 21:1: "Just as the divisions of the waters, so the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord, wherever He wills, he will incline it."
Wisdom 3:1: "The souls of the just are in the hand of God." And ibid., 10:12: "He gave to him a great struggle so that he conquered."
Garrigou-Lagrange also cites some other similar texts, which can be seen either in Scripture itself or in Garrigou-Lagrange's book: Eccl 33:13; Is 29:16, 45:9, 64:8; Jer 18:6; Rom 9:21; Is 10 and 14; Ps 94; Jn 15:5, 10:28; Rom 8:35; 2 Cor 3:5; Heb 4:12; Rom 9:15; Phil 2:13; 1 Cor 4:7.
We have already considered some of these texts in chapter 1. But of all of them we can say that, at most, some texts show that God can, when He wishes, move a man infrustrably. But they by no means prove that God cannot move a man to consent in any other way than by an infrustrable movement, so that with any other movement (a sufficient grace) not only will no good work take place, but it would be metaphysically inconceivable for a man not to sin at least by a sin of omission. Furthermore, all the texts cited above could be explained by the use of moral rather than physical movements: God used a sufficient strong moral movement, and, by His foreknowledge, knew infallibly that the desired result would follow. (As we have already said, we do hold that God can move infrustrably when He so wills, even with a physical movement, without thereby destroying secondary freedom.)
2) The theory of the older Thomists has no foundation in the Magisterium:
To prove the existence of sufficient graces:113 He cites first the words of the Council of Valence saying that: "those who are wicked do not perish because they could not be good, but because they were unwilling to be good." Now these words prove that a man can resist grace, but they do not prove that some receive only graces such that it would be metaphysically inconceivable for them not to resist.
He quotes also some condemned propositions of Jansenius: "Some precepts of God are impossible for just men even though they will and try; there is lacking to them the grace by which they may become possible." But the condemnation of this proposition proves only that the grace with which men can act well is never lacking: it does not prove that some receive only graces such that it would be metaphysically inconceivable for them to do good.
Again, he cites the second condemned proposition of Jansenius: "Interior grace, in the state of fallen nature, is never resisted," and the third: "Freedom from necessity is not required, in the state of fallen nature, so that a man may merit or demerit. . . ." But these words are far from proving Garrigou-Lagrange's thesis.
He gives only a summary of the fourth proposition of Jansenius, thus: "The fourth proposition is that the semipelagian heresy consisted in [saying] this, that the human will can resist or obey grace." Therefore, because the proposition was condemned, we infer: "It is not semipelagian to say that the human will can resist or obey grace." But this not only does not establish the thesis of Garrigou-Lagrange: rather, it almost proves ours (let us recall that, as we saw earlier in this chapter, we hold that it is not in man's unaided power to give positive consent to grace without grace).
Similarly, he cites, in part, other texts, namely: DB 1359-75, 1521, 200, 321, 804. But, just as the texts we have examined, so also these do not prove his position.
To prove the existence of efficacious graces:114 He gives the following passages from the Council of Orange: Canon 16: "Let no one glory over that which he seems to have, as if he did not receive it from God." Canon 22: "No one has anything of himself except sin and a lie." Canon 20: "Man does no good acts that God does not grant that he may do."
From the Council of Trent, he quotes: Session 6, chapter 13: "For God, unless they themselves fail His grace, just as He has begun a good work, so He will complete it." Canon 22: "If anyone says that a man who has been justified either can persevere in the justice he has received without a special help of God, or that he cannot [persevere] with it, let him be anathema."
In regard to the first of the above citations, Garrigou-Lagrange adds the comment: "This is the formulation of the principle of predilection, that is, no one would be better than another, if he were not more loved by God." But actually, the words of the Council mean only that a man cannot have any positive salutary good except by grace. We too have taught this, insistently, in the first part of this chapter: but it does not follow that man cannot "distinguish himself," in regard to the distinction between the reprobate and the elect, or as to whether or not he will do evil. For it is one thing to say that we cannot accomplish salutary good without grace; another thing to say that God does not freely wish to consider the negative free conditions of a man (resistance or nonresistance) in giving or refusing graces. As we saw above,115 Garrigou-Lagrange thinks he can deduce such a principle from 1 Cor 4:7. But we have already shown116 in chapter 1 that the deduction is invalid. Garrigou-Lagrange also thinks he can draw the same conclusion from ST I 20.3.c. We shall show below, in the reply to objection 7,117 that he does not correctly interpret St. Thomas on this point.
The other texts cited above also mean only that a man cannot have any positive salutary good without grace: but we hold that too, without concluding that a man cannot "distinguish himself." The texts from the Council of Trent refer to the gift of perseverance. In the first of them, the Council itself explicitly refers to the condition in man: "unless they themselves fail His grace . . . He will complete it [the good work He has begun]." As we have shown briefly above,118 and will see more fully in chapter 8, the words of Trent not only do not prove the position of Garrigou-Lagrange, but, on the contrary, they prove ours.
3) The theory of the older Thomists has no foundation in St. Thomas: In chapter 18, we shall show in a positive way what is the real position of St. Thomas, which is not the same as that of the Thomists. Among other things, we shall see, in chapter 18, that St. Thomas has two series of texts. The Thomists frequently cite the first series, but do not so often quote the second. The Molinists, conversely, prefer the second series. In the explanation we will give in chapter 18, we can embrace whole-heartedly both series.
Furthermore, in the Prima secundae, where St. Thomas divides and subdivides grace in many ways, he has not one word about a distinction of graces into sufficient and efficacious. Likewise, in all his other works, he simply never proposes such a distinction. Garrigou-Lagrange thinks he can find such a distinction implicitly present in some passages. A priori it seems unlikely that St. Thomas would propose such a system and distinction-which is by no means easy to understand-only implicitly and never explicitly, and that he would do this not only in his more difficult works, but even in the Summa, which he explicitly intended for beginners.
However, it will be worthwhile to inspect the passages which Garrigou-Lagrange proposes so as to see that such a distinction cannot be supported by them:
To prove the existence of sufficient graces: Garrigou-Lagrange tries to find this distinction in various places.119 First of all in ST III. 79.7 ad 2: "The passion of Christ is profitable to all, as far as sufficiency is concerned, both for the remission of fault and for the gaining of grace and glory, but it does not have its effect except in those who are joined to the passion of Christ by faith and charity." But the fact that St. Thomas speaks of sufficiency and effect in this text hardly proves that he really meant to say that the distinction between those who are saved or not saved by the passion depends on two kinds of graces such that with the first kind ("sufficient") it would be metaphysically inconceivable for a man to act well or to be saved, while with the other kind ("efficacious") it would be metaphysically inconceivable for a man to resist. Rather, St. Thomas himself in another passage explains the same point:120 "The power of the divine incarnation is indeed sufficient for the salvation of all. The fact that some are not saved thereby comes from their indisposition, because they are unwilling to receive the fruits of the incarnation within themselves. . . ." We note that he does not say: "because they received only graces with which it would be metaphysically inconceivable for them to be saved," but rather: "because they are unwilling." As we have shown above,121 these words completely exclude the system of the older Thomists.
Likewise, Garrigou-Lagrange quotes III Sent. d. 13, q. 2, a. 2, qc. 2 ad 5: "Christ satisfied for all human nature sufficiently, but not effectively; because not all become partakers of that satisfaction; a thing which comes from their importunity, not from insufficiency of the satisfaction itself." But this surely does not prove the thesis of Garrigou-Lagrange. Rather, it means the same as the citation of note 120 above.
Similarly, he refers the reader to De veritate 29.7 ad 4, but he does not quote it. The text itself reads thus: ". . . the merit of Christ, as far as its sufficiency is concerned, is the same towards all, but not as far as efficacy is concerned. This happens partly as a result of free will, partly from divine choice, by which to some the effect of the merits of Christ is mercifully conferred, but from others it is withheld by just judgment."- Here too it is obvious that St. Thomas is not speaking of two kinds of graces, but of the question whether the effect of the passion which is sufficient in itself, actually reaches all. He replies that the effect does not come to all, and gives two reasons: (1) Free will, (2) Divine choice. He explains the second reason thus: the effect is given to some, by mercy. That is, it is the mercy of God, not our merits, that is the cause of predestination and salvation. But from others the effect is withheld "by just judgment." Now a just judgment is made only after considering demerits. Therefore the sense is: God refuses election or predestination to some because of their demerits. (Below122 we shall examine this text and another similar one more fully).
Again, Garrigou-Lagrange quotes St. Thomas' commentary on 1 Timothy 2:5: "Effectively for some; but sufficiently for all, because the price of His blood is sufficient for the salvation of all, but it does not have effectiveness except in the elect, because of an impediment." But this text means nearly the same as the text cited above at note 120.
Likewise, he quotes ST I-II 106.2 ad 2 which says that God "gives sufficient help not to sin." But this does not prove that God gives some helps such that with them alone it would be metaphysically inconceivable they would not sin.
He cites also the commentary on Ephesians, chapter 3, lesson 2:123 "God gives the faculty by pouring in virtue and grace, by which a man is made capable and fit for working. But the work itself He grants inasmuch as He works interiorly in us, moving and inciting to good . . . inasmuch as His power works in us the will and the accomplishment. . . ." But these words mean merely that man needs a movement from God not only so that he may be fit to work a good work, but also in the very performance itself. We teach the same, as we have seen in the first part of this chapter. For man can do nothing good and salutary except by grace. But it does not follow that God gives certain ones only such a grace that it would be metaphysically inconceivable for them not to sin, and that He does this with no consideration at all of conditions that really depend on man so that a man is completely incapable of "distinguishing himself" in regard to reprobation, or in regard to the decision to do or not to do evil.
Other passages cited by Garrigou-Lagrange in the same pages124 have the same or a similar meaning, namely: ST I-II, 109.1: "The action of the intellect and of any created being depends on God in two ways: 1, inasmuch as man has from Him the form by which he acts; 2, inasmuch as man is moved to act by Him." And in article 2 of the same question: "Man . . . needs an added power above the power of nature in two respects, namely, that he may be healed, and further, that he may perform a work of supernatural virtue." Garrigou-Lagrange also refers the reader to articles 9 and 10, and ST II- III, 137, a.4 and I-II, 137.7 and 10. But immediately after, he confesses that these texts do not prove the thesis he wants to establish: "At least, St. Thomas always distinguishes infused habits which grant the ability of acting well supernaturally, and the actual grace which gives the good work itself; in fact, he distinguished good thoughts which are from God, and the good consent, which presupposes a greater help." In a note, moreover, he at once quotes ST I-II, 112.3: "If God who moves so intends that man whose heart He is moving, should obtain grace, man infallibly obtains it."-But these words prove only that when God so wills He can so move a heart that a man is infallibly moved. They do not prove that God is completely incapable of moving a man to consent in any other way than by an infrustrable motion. We too teach that God can, when He so wills, move infrustrably.125 And even in frustrable movements, we teach that God moves a man's will physically, but that He does not move a man all the way to positive consent except on the condition of the omission of resistance. Only if that condition is fulfilled does God intend to move to consent.
Then, in the same note, Garrigou-Lagrange continues: "In fact, St. Thomas gives the supreme foundation of the distinction of efficacious and sufficient grace: ST I, q.19. a.6, ad 1: 'Whatever God wills simply, is done,' although 'that which He wills antecedently, is not done.'"-Again, this text does not prove the distinction of Garrigou-Lagrange. We ourselves teach the same as the text just cited, for we said above: ". . . even in frustrable movements . . . God moves a man's will physically, but . . . He does not move a man all the way to positive consent except on the condition of the omission of resistance. Only if that condition is fulfilled does God intend to move to consent." That is, antecedently, God always wills that the man to whom grace is offered should really receive it. But simply (in His consequent will) God wills or intends this only on condition of non-resistance-which does not compel, nor move God. God has freely decreed that within ordinary providence He will not move man to consent except on this condition, as we have proved earlier in this chapter from Scripture, the Fathers, and the Magisterium. Hence St. Thomas himself says:126 ". . . the consequent will takes in [consideration] the condition of the creature."
Garrigou-Lagrange also cites in the same note, De malo 6.1 ad 3 and ST I-II. 10.4 ad 3. But they have the same meaning as ST I-II. 112.3.
To prove the existence of efficacious graces: Garrigou-Lagrange cites very many passages of St. Thomas.127 Merely to copy out all, without comment, would be very long. But that is not required for our present purpose. In Chapters 14 and 18 we shall positively show that the position of St. Thomas is not what Garrigou-Lagrange claims, and we will submit all the principal texts to detailed analysis. It is not required that we examine all at this point, since there is absolutely no passage in which St. Thomas explicitly teaches what Garrigou-Lagrange holds. So, for the present, we shall give the references, and shall consider only the principal texts alleged. Now these principal texts can be divided into four categories, according as they more formally speak of divine causality in general, of divine foreknowledge, of predestination, or of the transcendence of the divine will:
Comments: We too hold that every positive salutary choice comes from divine causality, as we have explained in the first part of this chapter. Grace alone makes the beginning, producing a simple apprehension of good in our intellect, and an initial complacency in the will. If we do not resist, grace continues, and produces the consent itself, in such a way, however, that, as Trent teaches, we also cooperate actively. Therefore the human contribution in the first stage, in which comes the first condition which controls the outcome is something negative, that is, the evil specification128 (if we resist) or the mere absence of resistance (if a good act is to follow). But, a negative does not require divine causality, for it is non-being. Hence, the arguments of Garrigou-Lagrange based on divine causality prove nothing against our position. As to the dilemma that God is either determining or determined-this dilemma is not found in St. Thomas, but is inferred by Garrigou-Lagrange. For convenience, we shall reply to it separately, in the answer to objection 8 below. (Similar problems are also treated in other objections to this chapter, below).
b) Texts on divine foreknowledge: All the texts cited come from ST I. 14 (from articles 5, 8, 11 and 14) except the last one, which is ST I. 16. 7 ad 3 (by typographical error the words "De veritate" are inserted in this citation in Garrigou-Lagrange's book).
From ST I. 14.5 he quotes: "Since the divine power extends to other things, since it is the first efficient cause of all beings, it is necessary that God knows things other than Himself. He sees things other than himself not in themselves but in Himself." Garrigou-Lagrange comments: "But, if, out of two men, equally tempted and equally helped, one would be converted and one not, that difference would not be from God. Therefore God could not know that in Himself, in His own power. [This conclusion would be] contrary to the principle of St. Thomas."
Comments: In the comments of Garrigou-Lagrange there is an underlying assumption that God cannot be said to know anything in Himself unless He knows it by His own causality. But let us read the words of St. Thomas on the expression "to know things in Himself." In the body of the same article, St. Thomas explains: "One knows a thing in itself when he knows it by its proper intelligible species, which is adequate for its object: just as when an eye sees a man by the species of a man. One sees something in another, when he sees it by the species of that which contains it: as when a part is seen in the whole by the species of the whole, or when a man is seen in a mirror by the species of the mirror or in any other way in which it happens that one thing is seen in another. Therefore thus we must say that God sees Himself in Himself, because He sees Himself through His essence. But He sees things other than Himself not in themselves, but in Himself, inasmuch as His essence contains the likeness of things other than Himself."
It is obvious that Garrigou-Lagrange assumes but does not prove that the divine essence cannot "contain the likeness of things other than Himself" except through the causality of His will. He supposes, from the fact that divine causality is required for the existence of all beings, that causality is the only medium of divine knowledge. He forgets two things: (1) That causality is not required for non-beings, among which are the absence of resistance, and the evil specification in resistance. Yet, as we have seen, God wills that these non-beings be the conditions according to which He will or will not move man to positive consent. (2) That it is one thing to say that divine causality is a prerequisite for the existence of beings (but not, of course, for non-beings); and another thing to say that causality is the only medium of divine knowledge. And he implicitly denies that the transcendent divine intellect-which is also in the divine essence-can do anything of itself,129 for he makes it depend totally on the help of the divine will in knowing.
However, a complete treatment of this matter is too long for a mere reply to an objection. In chapters 19-23 we shall give it an exhaustive treatment. We shall see that when St. Thomas takes up the question of divine foreknowledge of free human acts, he always gives an explanation different from that of Garrigou-Lagrange. We shall see that absolutely all the witnesses of tradition, that is, the Greek and Latin Fathers, and the scholastics, who treat the question, unanimously, without one dissenting voice, hold that God can have knowledge in another way besides by divine causality. Furthermore, because they speak in this matter as witnesses of divine revelation (as their words show) it seems to be divinely revealed that God can know in a way other than by divine decrees, that is, by His transcendent intellect.
Garrigou-Lagrange also cites ST I. 16.7 ad 3: "That which is now was to be before it came to be, because it was [established] in its cause that it should come to be. Hence, if the cause were removed, it would not be true that it was to be. Now only the First Cause is eternal. From this it follows that it was always true that the things which are were to be only inasmuch as it was [established] in the everlasting cause that they were to be. This cause is God alone."
Comments: We too hold all these points. For nothing that is being, will be except through divine causality. But divine causality is not required for nonbeings, among which are the evil specification in resistance and the absence of resistance, which by the will of God condition all free acts of man. Divine causality is required for the existence, conservation, and movement of the beings in which these non-beings are. But it is not required for the non-beings themselves. Besides, as we have already said, we must not forget that it is one thing to say that the divine causality is a prerequisite for the existence of beings-but another thing to say that divine causality is the only medium of divine knowledge. However, we do not say that any truth, ontological or logical, exists without divine causality. For in the non-beings that condition free acts there is no ontological truth (since they are non-beings) nor does non-being bring logical truth into any mind, not even into a created mind. Therefore we do not say that truth is independent of the divine mind and divine causality. Yet with St. Thomas and as a result of his words,130 we hold that the negative determination made by a creature (in the evil specification or in the lack of resistance) is logically prior to divine foreknowledge, even though the positive determination is posterior to divine causality. In this way, no truth is prior to the divine foreknowledge, for there is no truth in the negative determinations. These points will all be explained more fully below.131
c) Texts on the transcendence of the divine will: Garrigou-Lagrange quotes: ST I. 19.4, 6, 8 and I. 20.2 and 4. He does not quote, but merely refers the reader also to I. 22.2 ad 4 and I. 22.4. Later ( after the texts on predestination, which we shall see soon) he adds: ST I. 83.1. ad 3; I-II. 109.1; I-II. 112.3 and II-II. 24.11.
The most important text is as follows (I. 19.8): "Since the divine will is most efficacious, it not only follows that the things which God wills happen, but that they happen in the way in which God wills them to happen, that is, some things necessarily, some things contingently."
Comments: The text just quoted, and other similar texts, prove only that the divine will, because it is transcendent, can always bring it about that a man chooses the things that God wants him to choose, and in such a way that the man does this freely. We too hold this truth, because of the transcendence of the divine will-though we too cannot explain how it is done, nor can Garrigou-Lagrange, as he himself admits.132 But the text does not prove that God cannot move a man to good in any other way, nor does it prove that God always moves in this way whenever any good is done. We have already explained this point briefly above133 and will explain more fully in chapter 18.
From ST I. 20.3 and 4 Garrigou-Lagrange deduces what he calls the "principle of predilection"134 and negative reprobation before prevision of demerits. We have already shown in many ways that this negative reprobation contradicts revealed truths. We will take up the "principle of predilection" more conveniently below, in the reply to the 7th objection.135
d) Texts on predestination: Garrigou-Lagrange quotes ST I. 23, 4.5 and 6. He wants to prove by these passages that St. Thomas teaches predestination before consideration of merits. We grant that it is at least probable that St. Thomas does teach this. We ourselves teach that it is certain that predestination is before prevision of merits. But it does not follow that God reprobates before prevision of demerits, as we have already indicated briefly,136 and will show more fully below, from the words of St. Thomas137 and from revelation.138
130. 4) The Thomists cannot reconcile their theory with the universal salvific will: Finally, the objection to which we are replying stated that the system of the older Thomists does not contradict the universal salvific will. We have already proved above139 that it does contradict even the least degree of such a will. However, it will be useful to examine the way in which these Thomists try to defend themselves. An excellent example is found in the words of Father Lumbreras, OP. He first quotes John of St. Thomas saying that the defect on account of which God deprives a man of efficacious grace (without which it is metaphysically inconceivable that a man would not sin) can be even something inculpable:140 "To be deprived of efficacious grace, it is not always required that we first desert God by sin; for we would never desert, if we had efficacious help; yet, on our part, there is always some impediment to efficacious grace not by way of fault, yet by way of inconsideration or some other defect . . ." Lumbreras explains this statement of John of St. Thomas as follows: "Because of this defective consideration [in the human intellect, before the act of the will], because of this voluntary defect-which is not yet a sin, since the consideration is for the sake of the judgment, and the judgment for the sake of the work, that is, the assent-God can refuse a man efficacious grace. [God] could indeed correct the defect, by moving the [human] will to impose a new examination or new consideration on the intellect. And He will surely correct it if, in His consequent will He wills that this man, in these circumstances, that is in spite of these circumstances, should embrace the faith. But He is not bound to do it; nor will He do it, if in His antecedent will He wills to bring this man to the assent of faith prescinding from such a defect. . . . Let us use a familiar example. A student, who in school is listening to both the professor and a nearby student, if at some instant he comes closer to the latter to hear him better, is then distracted from hearing the explanation of the professor. The professor indeed could raise his voice, or could repeat the explanation. And he will do so if he has decided to teach the student that point in spite of his distraction. But he is not bound to do so; and he can have a sincere will to instruct even this student, since he speaks to him too, for he has given him a sufficient explanation."
Several comments are needed on these words of John of St. Thomas and Father Lumbreras:
b) The analogy given by Lumbreras is an argument from a parallel. But the parallel is not parallel in several essential respects, namely:
2) It is not metaphysically inconceivable that the student should repel the distraction. But it is metaphysically inconceivable that a man would not resist when he has only sufficient grace, according to the older Thomist system. For man, as we have seen, in that system, is totally incapable of "distinguishing himself" in regard to doing or omitting evil.142
3) Someone might possibly consider it extraordinary for the professor to repeat or raise his voice. But for God to grant efficacious grace is surely not extraordinary: if it were, it would follow that no one could be saved without extraordinary means. No one would say that.
4) Whether or not the student understands everything the professor says is not, in general, a matter of life and death. If, in some special case, it were so, no good professor would refuse to repeat. Rather, even without noticing any distraction, he would, merely as a precaution, repeat and speak with special care.
A parallel which is not parallel on so many major points cannot prove a case.
131. Some Thomists candidly admit that sufficient grace does not suffice for salvation: A group of excellent Thomists wrote:143 "Sufficient grace is certainly not of itself sufficient for salvation, because it cannot produce any acts by itself." The reason for this statement is that the word "sufficient" is a relative word. We must ask: For what is it sufficient? Sufficient grace is not sufficient for salvation, it is not sufficient to produce a good act, it suffices only to give the ability of a good act. But "it cannot produce any acts by itself."144
Now if God did not give graces that suffice for salvation, the universal salvific will could not be sincere even in the minimum degree. But we have shown from revelation that it is sincere, in a vehement degree.
The statement quoted above rests on the following train of metaphysical thought: Sufficient grace, as we have said,145 gives the ability to perform a good act, but it does not give the application. Without the application, the good act is metaphysically impossible. Now man cannot of himself obtain this application, for it is not given to men who resist. Yet, as Garrigou-Lagrange says:146 ". . . efficacious grace is required that a man may not fail [to cooperate with] sufficient grace, that is, that he may not resist." Therefore the vicious circle is complete: The application is refused unless we omit resistance. But we are not able to omit resistance unless the application is given. Garrigou-Lagrange does say in one place that147 "although he has the ability not to resist [sufficient grace],nevertheless he actually resists." But in another passage in the same book he says:148 ". . . [man] cannot of himself alone, refrain from placing an obstacle [to sufficient grace]." And he adds the reason: "since this [not placing an obstacle] is good."
At first sight it seems that Garrigou-Lagrange contradicts himself. But actually he does not. For, in one text he says that man can omit resistance in this sense: man has the ability of non-resistance. But in another text he says that man cannot omit resistance in this sense: because non-resistance (in the sense in which Garrigou-Lagrange understands it) is a positive good, there is need of application. But the application of the ability of non-resisting is not given unless we do not resist. So the vicious circle is again complete: To non-resist we need the application of the ability of non-resisting. But the application of this ability is not given unless we non-resist.
It is plain that nothing is really determined by human conditions in such a theory.149 For it if were, man could "distinguish himself." But Garrigou-Lagrange vehemently denies that man can "distinguish himself."150 So, there is no room for the universal salvific will in such a theory, in which man can "distinguish himself" neither in regard to reprobation, nor in regard to doing or omitting evil.
132. Obscurity of some explanations: The authors who follow Garrigou-Lagrange do not always speak with all desirable clarity. For, in one place they will say that God gives sufficient grace to all men. Then, if someone wishes to infer from this statement that it depends on each man whether or not he is reprobated, they add that sufficient grace does not suffice for salvation. Then, if someone objects that God will not refuse the means needed for salvation, they add that no one is deprived of efficacious grace except for having resisted a sufficient grace. But if someone from this wishes to deduce that God does not desert anyone before prevision of demerits, they add that man always resists unless God, by efficacious grace, impedes resistance. Further, they sometimes say that efficacious grace is given to those who have sufficient grace and pray. But if someone then infers that man can determine by this means whether he will or will not get efficacious grace, they point out that no one can pray so as to get efficacious grace unless he first has an efficacious grace to pray.
133. The theory of the older Thomists makes God the author of sin: We by no means deny that God can, when He so wills, move a man in such a way that that man freely but infallibly does good.151 Nevertheless, we must say that in the system of the older Thomists, God becomes the author of sin. We shall demonstrate this fully in chapter 18.152 For the present, we shall give a brief sketch of the reason for this statement. According to these Thomists, a certain man, e.g., Marcus, is moved by God (when God gives only sufficient grace) out of a state of indetermination as regards sin, into a process as a result of which by metaphysical necessity he is incapable of not committing that sin which God has determined, in the way in which God has determined, and in the circumstances and at the time which God has determined.
For sufficient grace gives only the ability to do good or to avoid sin, but it does not give the application of that ability. For the application, efficacious grace is required. The application is given only to those who do not resist. But, as we have seen briefly above,153 and will see more fully later,154 in the adequate sense, Marcus cannot omit resistance. Therefore, he cannot not fall into the evil specification, because he cannot not resist the good specification. So, when Marcus is in such a state of deficiency, with an evil specification which he cannot not have, God moves him to act. The act cannot be good, since the good specification is lacking. So the act is a sin. Therefore, because God physically moves Marcus from a state of indetermination as regards sin, and then physically moves the will of Marcus (which, as we have said, cannot be other than deficient, in an evil specification) to an act that cannot be other than evil, God becomes the author of sin. For Marcus, according to these Thomists, is completely incapable of "distinguishing himself." God, on the contrary distinguishes or determines everything alone, and physically moves the human will to an act that cannot be other than sin.
Objection 2: St. Thomas teaches that man cannot omit resistance to grace. In his commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews he says:155 "If grace be given, not according to works, but only according to the fact that a man does not place an obstacle to grace, therefore, to have grace depends solely on human free will, and not on the choice of God. This is the error of Pelagius. I reply: We must say that the very fact that a man does not place an obstacle proceeds from grace."
Answer: St. Thomas likewise says:156 "Since . . . a man cannot be directed to his ultimate end except by the help of divine grace, without which also no one can have those things that are necessary for tending to the ultimate end, such as faith, hope, love and perseverance: it could seem to someone that a man should not be blamed if he lacks the aforementioned [graces] especially since he is not able to merit the help of divine grace, nor to be converted to God unless God converts him; for no one is charged with that which depends on another. . . . To solve this problem we must consider that although a man, by the movement of his free will, can neither merit nor obtain divine grace, yet he can impede himself from receiving it. . . . And since this is in the power of free will [namely] to impede or not to impede the reception of divine grace not undeservingly is he charged with a fault who sets up an impediment to grace. For God so far as He is concerned, is ready to give grace to all 'for He wills all men to be saved. . . .' but they only are deprived of grace who set up an impediment to grace in themselves. . . ."
134. It is to be noted that St. Thomas distinguishes three things, namely: (1) to merit grace, (2) to impede grace, (3) not to impede grace. He says that a man, by his free will, cannot do the first, i.e., merit grace. But he explicitly says that man can do the other two things, that is, it "is in the power of free will to impede or not to impede the reception of divine grace." Further, we need to note carefully that he makes the distinction between eternal salvation and eternal ruin depend precisely on these two things, impeding or not impeding. For he says: "God, so far as He is concerned, is ready to give grace to all."
We notice that among the graces of which St. Thomas speaks in the first part of the passage cited are "faith, hope, love" and the grace of conversion from the state of sin, for he speaks also of the graces without which man cannot be converted to God, since that is possible only if God converts him. In fact, among these graces he even enumerates the grace of perseverance. Therefore, God is prepared to give to all even the grace of conversion and the grace of perseverance, and actually gives these graces among others. To whom does He not give them?: "they only are deprived of grace who set up an impediment to grace in themselves. . . ."
Thus St. Thomas makes it entirely clear that the distinction between those who are saved and those who are not saved depends on the two conditions, namely, to impede or not to impede grace. We must notice, however, that St. Thomas does not say that a man can merit or cause grace. Not to impede is only a condition. The true cause of the conferring of grace is the goodness of God.
135. Some have tried to reconcile the two passages by saying that in the Contra Gentiles St. Thomas speaks of actual graces, while in the commentary on Hebrews he means to say that it depends on habitual grace whether or not a man is capable of abstaining from resistance. But this solution does not seem to remove the difficulty, because in the commentary on Hebrews, St. Thomas gives his reason, namely: "If grace be given . . . only according to the fact that a man does not place an obstacle, therefore to have grace depends solely on human free will, and not on the choice of God. This is the error of Pelagius." So, even if a man receives the power of not resisting from habitual grace, the difficulty still will remain, for it will still be true to say: As far as further graces are concerned, and even in regard to the grace of perseverance, "to have grace depends solely on human free will." For St. Thomas says in CG 3.159 that to have even perseverance depends on the power of free will.
136. Nor could we say that St. Thomas perhaps changed his opinion. For the time of composition of books II-IV of Contra Gentiles is 1261-1264;157 for the commentary on Hebrews it is 1259-1265.
137. Should we then say that St. Thomas contradicts himself? By no means is this necessary. Rather, the discrepancy comes from the special fidelity with which he followed strict theological method. Let us recall what we said in the Introduction about method. The ideal theologian should investigate all passages in revelation that treat even indirectly of his question. He should interpret each passage most faithfully, with the help of the declarations of the Magisterium of the Church. He should try to work out the solution separately from each passage, so far as possible. In doing this, he can be compared to a man who stands on the circumference of a circle, and from each of two or more points on the circumference tries to draw lines that will reach the center, the true solution. If he has drawn each line perfectly, then all the lines will meet in a focus in the center. But what will the good theologian do if at least two lines do not seem to focus? If he is following strict theological method, he will not force either line. Rather he will say: Mysteries can easily be present in the highest truths of revelation. I must neither deny nor force any line. I must hold both parts, even though I cannot see how they fit together.
138. St. Thomas acted this way. He used two starting points in revelation, that is, Romans 8:28-9:24 (as we have already seen in chapter 1) and 1 Timothy 2:4 (as we have just seen in CG 3.159). He saw that the two lines did not seem to focus. Yet, he most faithfully held to both lines. Therefore, in CG 3.159 he followed the line from 1 Tim. 2.4. In the commentary on Hebrews he followed the line from Romans 8-9. It is evident from the teaching itself that in the commentary on Hebrews he followed the same line as in the commentary on Romans. For if it in no way depends on man whether he will resist or not, we have the theory of the massa damnata,158 which St. Thomas taught in the commentary on Romans, as we have seen. The same thing is confirmed by the words that follow immediately the passage cited from the commentary on Hebrews. For immediately after saying: ". . . the very fact that a man does not place an obstacle proceeds from grace," he continues: "Hence, if someone places [an obstacle], and yet his heart is moved to remove it, this is from the gift of the grace of God calling through mercy. . . . Therefore, the fact that this obstacle is removed in some, is from the mercy of God; the fact that it is not removed [in others] is from His justice." In other words: All men justly belong to a mass of damnation resulting from original sin. Hence, they are unable not to place an obstacle to grace. Out of justice, God leaves many in the mass of damnation, out of mercy, He withdraws some from that mass.
Which of the two lines should we keep? Because, as we saw in Chapter I, the true interpretation of Romans 9 was not known in the days of St. Thomas, but is now known, we see that St. Thomas inherited an incorrect interpretation of part of the Epistle to the Romans. So we should leave the line based on this erroneous interpretation, and also, everything that he deduced from that interpretation. But we should keep the conclusions he so correctly drew from 1 Tim 2:4. Besides, we recall from the earlier part of this chapter that Scripture itself teaches that even sinners can omit resistance in the sense explained above. (We shall see a more minute analysis of CG 3.159ss in chapter 14).
139. Objection 3: If the result of the offer of grace depends on a condition in man, then man gives efficacy to grace.
Answer: By no means do we hold that man confers efficacy on grace. All the efficacy in the first stage, which controls the outcome, comes from grace: man does no more than to not impede. However, we do not deny that which no one denies (for it is the teaching of Trent) that in the second stage, the making of the positive consent, man is not like something inanimate and passive, but truly cooperates by his faculties which God gave Him, which are moved by power received from grace.159
140. Objection 4: St. Paul says in 1 Cor. 4.7: "Who distinguisheth thee?" But, if the effect of grace depended on man, even by way of a negative condition, then man would "distinguish himself." This would contradict St. Paul.
Answer: As we have seen above,160 in these words St. Paul is simply not speaking of the graces of the internal economy. He was merely rejecting the pride of the Corinthians who thought they had been called into the Church because of their special good qualities and even into special sects within the Church similarly. Nor is it permissible to transfer the principles of the external economy into the internal, as we have seen.161
141. Objection 5: St. Thomas says:162 "Since then the will of God is the universal cause of all things, it is impossible for the divine will not to obtain its effect." And again:163 "Always . . . does man choose this thing, according as God works in his will." But, if the effect of grace depended on a condition in man, these things would not be true.
Answer: By no means do we deny these teachings. But we note that St. Thomas at once adds, after the words of the first citation: "Hence, that which seems to recede from the divine will according to one order falls back into it according to another order: just as a sinner, who, so far as in him lies, recedes from the divine will by sinning, falls into the order of the divine will when he is punished by His justice." We must note also the words of the response to the first objection of the same article: ". . . antecedently, God wills all men to be saved, but consequently, He wills that certain men be condemned, according to the exigence of His justice." Therefore, the will of God is this: that men be able to resist ordinary grace if they wish (and to not resist if they so wish) but that they be punished if they do resist. In other words, as St. Thomas says elsewhere:164 ". . . God wills the non-occurrence of moral faults in His antecedent will, but not in His consequent will except in the case of those whom He knows do not will to commit moral fault: because the consequent will takes in [consideration] the condition of the creature." That is, by His antecedent will, God wills that sins not be committed. But by His consequent will He permits the same sins. His consequent will decrees the absence of sin only in those cases in which He knows that the men concerned do not will to sin. So it is true that the will of God always accomplishes what it wills. But it does not will everything without any condition: the consequent will takes into consideration the condition of the creature. Similarly, it is true that man always chooses what God works in man's will. But, within ordinary providence, God does not move the will to positive consent to grace until after the "condition of the creature" which the consequent will takes into consideration, that is, after the absence of resistance.165
142. Objection 6: If these things are true, then God does not really govern the world. For the course of events is regulated by created wills.
Answer: God governs the world as He wills, in the way He wills, and to the extent He wills. If God wills that many things be conditioned by creatures, who can deny that He can do as He pleases? Now He does will, as St. Thomas says, that166 "the consequent will take in [consideration] the condition of the creature." Once He has freely chosen this mode of governing, He will not contradict Himself by governing in a different way. Within this way of governing, He can effect many things by frustrable movements. This is particularly easy in matters of the external economy.167 But both in the internal and in the external economy, God can always obtain anything He wills, at least by infrustrable movements. He can move in this way even the hardened, even those who actively resist.168 However, God has freely decreed not to use these infrustrable movements regularly, as we have seen.169
Still further: If everything depended on the will of God alone in such a way that nothing would really be controlled by human conditions (resistance and absence of resistance), then the whole state of the world- hardly a pretty one!-would have to be attributed to God Himself. And what a picture of the world do we see-with so many, such great crimes and sins! Do we have to say that all these evils are such precisely because God alone, without consideration of any created condition, has so arranged everything?
143. Objection 7: St. Thomas says:170 "Since the love of God is the cause of the goodness of things . . . one thing would not be better than another if God did not will to one a greater good than to another." And this is the great principle of predilection, which explains predestination and reprobation and all the degrees of goodness that are found in creatures. But if the effects of grace really depended on the absence of resistance, then the reason why one would be better than another would not be that God wills to one a greater good than to the other: the reason would be the human will.171
Answer: In this passage St. Thomas teaches that no good, in whatsoever degree, is found in any creature at all except as a result of the will of God (for to love is to will good to someone). He teaches likewise that God does not love creatures because He has found good in them (as we do), but, on the contrary, good is in creatures because God loves them.
But we must not contradict that which St. Thomas also says in the immediately preceding question on the will of God, especially:172 "Antecedently God wills all men to be saved; but consequently, He wills that certain men be condemned, according to the exigence of His justice." And similarly, in the body of the same article: ". . . that which seems to recede from the divine will according to one order, falls back into it according to another order: just as a sinner, who, so far as in him lies, recedes from the divine will by sinning, falls into the order of divine justice when he is punished by His justice." And in the De malo he says:173 "God, so far as He is concerned, communicates Himself to all in accordance with their capacity hence, the fact that anything falls away from participation in His goodness comes from the fact that there is found in it some impediment to the divine participation . . . in as much as it turns aside from the light that does not turn itself aside." And in the Contra gentiles 3.159, as we saw above, he says:174 "God, so far as He is concerned, is ready to give grace to all . . . but they only are deprived of grace who set up an impediment to grace in themselves. . . ."
Therefore, it remains true that creatures have good only because and insofar as God wills. But, within ordinary providence, God wills the good of grace to creatures only on condition of absence of resistance, because as we have seen, by the will of God,175 "the consequent will takes in [consideration] the condition of the creature." And, as we saw above, "God, so far as He is concerned, communicates Himself to all in accordance with their capacity" and "is ready to give grace to all . . . but they only are deprived of grace who set up an impediment to grace in themselves. . . ."
Actually, the objection implicitly denies the universal salvific will. For if we were to say that all things are decreed by God alone, in an absolute fashion, without any consideration whatever of the absence of resistance in creatures, since creatures could not at all "distinguish themselves", then it would not only follow that God would decide in an absolute, unconditioned way who would be good, better, or best, but also that in the same unconditioned way He would determine who would be bad, worse, and worst-for according to the older Thomists, men can in no way "distinguish themselves." And we would have to say that no one at all would be bad and would perish forever unless God would will to him a good of grace so scanty, and, by its very nature, so ineffective, that it would be metaphysically inconceivable for such a man to be saved.176 Such an opinion is incompatible with even the least degree of an universal salvific will.
144. Objection 8: If the effects of grace are conditioned by the absence of resistance, then God must wait for the good pleasure of man. And God is determined by man. For it is necessary that one of two things be true: Either God determines, or He is determined. There is no other alternative.
Answer: But there is another alternative. For God can determine Himself, that is He can most freely decide this or that, not as if He were moved by reasons outside Himself, but, in accord with His Wisdom, He can decide this or that with consideration of conditions in man. In other words, as St. Thomas says:177 ". . . the consequent will takes in [consideration] the condition of the creature." And similarly he says in the De veritate:178 ". . . we must say that although the divine will is not impeded or changed by anything else, yet according to the order of wisdom, it directs itself to a thing according to the condition of that thing; and thus something from our part is attributed to the divine will."179
It is true, these reasons or conditions in creatures cannot by their own force move God.180 But can we say that God is altogether incapable of freely considering them if He so wills? To say that would be to impose a great limitation on God. We do not say that God must await our consent. But if God freely wills to await our absence of resistance, who could prove that He would be incapable of doing this if He so wills? Nor is this unworthy of God: surely, it is less unworthy than that God became man, and was crucified
Furthermore, in the absence of resistance, no causality is exercised, because in absence of resistance there is no action, but rather, the absence of action. No one is passive under the absence of action. In resistance, two things are to be distinguished:181 the evil specification, and the exercise of the act. Now the evil specification is a falling away. It does not have efficient causality, but "deficient" causality. It is the lack of goodness that should be present. Man, as all concede, can fall away by himself. The exercise of the act comes from the divine movement itself. Hence, God is not passive. He is passive neither under the evil specification which is a mere privation and falling away, nor in the exercise of the act which He himself produces. Furthermore, even if there were causality present in the non-resistance or in the evil specification, it would be exercised not on God Himself but on an exterior effect of God. Actually, all theologians concede that men really do often resist God. The older Thomists hold that man always resists sufficient graces.
The truth is that the objection is not derived from revelation but from metaphysics. Revelation, as we saw in the body of this chapter, clearly teaches that God wills to decide many things in consideration of human conditions.
(The relation of this objection with divine foreknowledge will be treated below in the chapters on foreknowledge).182
(See also many other objections and answers, especially on speculative points, at the end of chapter 18).