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The MOST Theological Collection: Grace, Predestination and the Salvific Will of God: New Answers to Old Questions

"Pt. 2: Predestination and reprobation - General conclusions from part two"

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1) The revelation on predestination has been progressively clarified over the centuries. All the Eastern Fathers, and all the Western Fathers before St. Augustine, saw clearly that the fundamental reason underlying the decision as to who will or will not be reprobated is found in human conditions. For the most part, they did not even try to find the precise nature of that condition. St. Augustine however saw that predestination must be before foreseen merits. But neither St. Augustine nor the other Fathers saw the way of reconciling these truths. St. Thomas, because he was so faithful in following strict theological method, found the principal elements of the solution and gave a splendid description of the whole process of the granting of grace and of its principles. However he did not indicate clearly the precise point at which the decree of predestination is made, nor was he able to avoid all obscurity, because of the erroneous interpretation of Romans 8-9 which he thought he had to hold. St. Francis de Sales saw the same facts, and proposed them in less technical form, but with less obscurity from Romans 8-9. In more recent times, since the obstacles that formerly stood in the way from erroneous interpretations of Romans 8-9 and 1 Cor 4.7 have been removed, and since, by the ever increasing light of the Holy Spirit, the Church has been teaching certain truths with ever increasing clarity (especially the force of the salvific will) the true solution has appeared.

2) It is a revealed truth that there is no reprobation, positive or negative, before consideration of demerits. For reprobation, demerits must be grave and persistent.

3) It is a revealed truth (especially in the Father analogy) that predestination is decreed before consideration of merits. The cause of predestination is solely the goodness of the Father, who predestines those in whom the effect of His goodness is not impeded by a human condition, by grave and persistent resistance. Insofar as the absence of resistance in the first logical moment is an ontological zero, there is no condition in the man who is predestined. The point at which predestination is decreed is before foreseen merit, but after the foreseen absence of grave and persistent resistance. Short of this point, reprobation is not decreed, although God may at times send an earlier death, after one or a few mortal sins, to a man who is foreseen as going to be incurable. He does this out of mercy towards the man himself and towards those whom that man would have harmed.

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