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

"Pt. 4: Divine foreknowledge - Ch. 19: The opinions of the principal schools"


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I. Preliminary observations on divine transcendence

385. The disagreement of the schools over transcendence: As we saw in chapter 18, the older Thomists finally, after the last attempts to explain infrustrable movements, clearly admit that they cannot go further to a completely full explanation. So they appeal to the transcendent power of the divine will. The Molinists oppose them by pressing the arguments from reason by which they think they can show that infrustrable movements cannot be reconciled with human free will.

But the Molinists, for their part, admit that they cannot fully explain divine foreknowledge. For example, H. Lennerz, SJ, to reply to the difficulty that the older Thomists raise about the independence of the knowledge of God from its object, explains that all our knowledge about God is analogous:1 "Now since we form our concepts of dependence and cooperation according to dependence and cooperation as they are in creatures . . . we have to think of the cooperation of God with a creature in those concepts that we form from creatures . . . then we reject the imperfections that are proper to the cooperation of creatures. But in this very rejection, our concepts remain essentially the same." Hence, he says that the problem "must remain, as long as we have to think about the cooperation of God in such concepts; it cannot directly be solved, unless when we perceive the dependence of the creature on God and the cooperation of God with the creature, immediately, and in themselves."

As we shall see below, at least many Molinists really appeal to the transcendence of the divine intellect. But the older Thomists oppose them with arguments from reason by which they try to show that God necessarily must know everything solely by infrustrable decrees, so that He cannot know in any other way.

So, both camps want to appeal to divine transcendence to defend their own system, but each one refuses to allow the other to appeal to transcendence for the needs of the other's system. For the Molinists appeal to the transcendence of the divine intellect, but are unwilling to allow an appeal to the transcendence of the divine will to explain how there can be such a thing as an infrustrable decree. But the older Thomists, on the other hand, appeal to the transcendence of the divine will, but say it is illegitimate to invoke the transcendence of the divine intellect in regard to foreknowledge.

386. Actually, as all admit, both the divine will and the divine intellect are transcendent. If the question is explicitly put as to whether they are or are not transcendent, both Thomists and Molinists readily assent. However, each fails to see one application of the divine transcendence.

387. The older Thomists' counter charge: These Thomists will at once defend themselves and say that the transcendence of the divine intellect cannot be invoked in solving the question of foreknowledge, since before God can know or foreknow anything, that thing must exist. But, no being has been, or is, or will be except through a decree of the divine will.

This argument of theirs does not hold. For the critical and decisive factors in human freedom are found in non-beings, that is, in non-resistance and in the evil specification in resistance. But, for non-beings, divine causality is not required. It is required, of course, for the creation and conservation of the creature in which these non-being factors occur. Further, divine causality is also needed to begin a motion in them (in the process we described in chapter 18). But once God has provided this much, the non-being factors can occur without the need of additional divine causality. Nor can an objection be raised on the ground that non-being is not knowable in itself: for it is knowable by relation to the being in which it occurs-the non-being of resistance is knowable in the fact that it deprives the motion of its effect; non-resistance is knowable in the fact that a motion is not deprived of its effect: the effect continues (a more complete explanation will be given in chapter 23, § 483). In this vein St. Thomas says:2 "Hence, by the fact that God knows His own essence, He knows the things that are from Him, and through them He knows their defects [non-beings or privations]. But if He knew only His own essence, He would know no evil or privation except in a general way."

Furthermore we must not forget that it is one thing to say that divine causality is a prerequisite for the existence of beings-it is quite another thing to say it is the means-and at that, the sole means-He has of knowing.

388. We do not wish to give a false impression, however, from the fact that we agree with the older Thomists in saying that divine transcendence can account for the existence of infrustrable decrees. For this does not mean that we agree with them in saying that everything is ruled by such decrees. It is one thing to say, because of divine transcendence, that God truly can, when He so wills, move men infrustrably; it is quite another thing to say that actually God always moves men in this way, so that He would be totally incapable of moving them to consent in any other way. The divine transcendence does not prove that the power of God is so limited! Furthermore, as we have shown in chapter 18, the system of the older Thomists contradicts many revealed truths, especially the universal salvific will.3 Further, their system makes God fully the author of sin.4

389. So the conclusion still stands: It is legitimate to appeal to the transcendence of the divine intellect to explain foreknowledge. Really, if one says that foreknowledge can be explained only by infrustrable decrees, he seems to imply that the divine intellect is practically impotent to know anything at all by itself: it could know only by causing. But that would be a great imperfection in God if the divine intellect could know nothing without the help of the divine will.

390. The need of strict method in this question: We have already seen that many difficulties came into discussions on predestination because many theologians used a method more philosophical than theological. It is important to guard against such a mistake in treating of foreknowledge. Therefore, we must first of all investigate and heartily accept everything in revelation that has a bearing on foreknowledge, even though these facts are relatively few. Only afterwards will sound method send us to seek the help of metaphysics.

391. The fact that, as all admit, there are mysteries in this question, makes strict method all the more necessary.

Divine providence, for our good, has left mysteries in various parts of theology. Some of these really were not mysteries but were only problems that seemed insoluble in ancient times and are now solved. For example, the ancient Hebrews had to hold two tenets, without knowing how to reconcile them: (1) From revelation they had to believe that God rewarded each one according to his works; (2) Yet human experience showed that the good are often enough in misery, even, in some cases, to the end of their lives, while the wicked often enough have prosperity, even to the end. We today know the means of reconciling these points: retribution in the future life. But the Hebrews seem to have had no clear knowledge of this future retribution until about the middle of the second century B.C.

The Hebrews were not permitted to reason: "Experience does not deceive, so we must explain the revelations about retribution in another sense"-and so to distort the doctrine of retribution as to, almost if not entirely, deny it in actuality.

Similarly we must shun the temptation of saying: "Reasonings that must be true force us to say that God can know only by infrustrable decrees. So we must reinterpret the universal salvific will," and do it in such a way that it becomes a mere metaphor. (We recall that Bañez thought it "much more probably" not sincere).

Just as the problem of retribution once seemed insoluble-but we now see its solution was very easy; and just as once the dilemma on predestination seemed insoluble but we have easily found the solution in revelation; so also the problem of foreknowledge does have an answer. Perhaps it will be found in future ages; perhaps divine providence reserves the answer for the beatific vision. But for now, we must hold to all revealed truths that directly or indirectly touch on it. And we can legitimately appeal to the transcendence of the divine intellect. As we shall see in chapter 21, all the tradition of the Church does so. Furthermore, as we shall see in chapter 23, we can give metaphysical answers to the metaphysical objections.

392. Furthermore, it would be a great mistake to lose sight of the fact that in the very middle of the field in which the question lies there is a great mystery, whose existence no one, from any school, can doubt. That is: the knowledge of God is certainly eternal. In eternity all things are present: nothing is past or future. So things that appear to us as solely in potency, since they are still future, present themselves to God as already in act. Even infrustrable decrees cannot account for this. Therefore, since in the middle of the field we have so great a mystery, it is not strange to find other things in the same field that cannot be solved.

393. Further, it is helpful to recall that there is still a great unsolved mystery about the very decrees themselves, namely: How can God act freely at all? For a free act of God, inasmuch as it is immanent in God, is really identified with the divine essence. How then could there be any chance for it to be other than what it actually is? How can such an act be free? Many theologians merely admit candidly that they cannot explain the question, e.g., I. M. Dalmau, after reviewing various proposed solutions, ends by confessing:5 "The difficulty . . . is rightly considered as among the greatest in all theology; nor do great theologians fear to frankly admit that nothing has yet been found to positively solve it. . . ." Garrigou-Lagrange however tries to solve it by saying:6 ". . . the entity of a free act of God is indeed intrinsic to Him, but its defectibility is only extrinsic. More explicitly: a free act of God is nothing other than a necessary act of love of divine goodness, inasmuch as it means a relationship to creatures that is not necessary, [and] so it is only extrinsically defectible by reason of the defectible thing that is willed." But the solution does not really solve the problem. For the question is not about the "extrinsic defectibility," but about the intrinsic freedom, which seems to conflict with the truth that the act of the will of God is intrinsically identified with His essence, which is immutable.

Because we cannot solve this problem should we say that God is not free? Of course not. Neither are we forced to say that God cannot foresee without infrustrable decrees simply because without them we must appeal to the transcendence of God.

II. The opinions of the principal schools

A. The older Thomists

394. Presentation of the system: As we have already seen,7 the older Thomists hold that God always in all cases, moves the wills of men by infrustrable decrees. If God physically premoves a man to good by an infrustrable premotion and efficacious grace, it would be metaphysically inconceivable for the man not to do a good act. If God does not move in this way, but gives only a sufficient grace, it would be metaphysically inconceivable for man not to commit that sin that God has decreed to permit. They say that only by such decrees can God know what a man will do.

They explain the foreknowledge of God about futuribles in a similar way, i.e., how God knows what this man would do if these graces should be given, in these circumstances. They say that God knows the futuribles through many decrees-almost infinite in number-by which He has decreed how He Himself would move men in these circumstances etc.

395. Difficulties against the older Thomists' view:

1) As we saw in chapter 18,8 the system of decrees on which the Thomists' explanation of foreknowledge rests, cannot be reconciled with any true universal salvific will, not even with the least degree of such a will. Therefore the foundation of their explanation must fall, since it contradicts explicit divine revelation.

Nor could their system be saved by an appeal to divine transcendence. For transcendence shows that God can move men infrustrably when He so wishes, but by no means shows that God cannot move men in any other way when He so wishes. Rather, transcendence itself leads us to say that God can move in other ways if He so wills.

Furthermore, the system of these Thomists makes God the author of sin, as we saw in chapter 18, and it cannot be reconciled, as we saw there also, with the teachings of Trent on the effects of baptism, on concupiscence, and on the divine policy of not deserting creatures once they have been justified unless they first freely desert God.

Therefore, even though no other explanation for divine foreknowledge could be thought up, we would still be obliged to abandon the explanation of these Thomists since, on the one hand, nothing can stand against divine revelation and, on the other hand, the fact that we, feeble men, could not think out any other explanation, would by no means prove there could be no other explanation.

Actually, as we have said, these Thomists arrived at their explanation not from an exegesis of revelation, but from metaphysical reasoning.9

2) A lesser, but not-to-be-scorned difficulty, is found in the application of their system to the futuribles. For in this system it is necessary to suppose that God has made an almost infinite series of decrees that have no effect, and has done so merely in order to be able to know what creatures would do in various circumstances. Further, their explanation leads to some absurdities, e.g., as I. Dalmau points out well:10 ". . . if the theory of predetermination were true, the reproach of Christ to the people of Bethsaida and Corozain [to whom He said that if the Tyrians and Sidonians had seen His miracles they would have done great works of penance] would have approximately the following meaning: 'If the miracles that were done among you had been done among the Tyrians and Sidonians, they would have done penance, a fact that I know since I have decreed that I would have given them a predetermination [to do penance] in this case; which predetermination I am unwilling to give to you.'"

3) It is clear that the explanation of these Thomists cannot be reconciled with the explanation of predestination which we established earlier in this book from Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium.

4) Nor can the explanation of these Thomists be reconciled with many teachings of St. Thomas:

a) It cannot fit with the teaching of St. Thomas on predestination (cf. chapter 14). In the explanation given by St. Thomas, there is no reprobation before consideration of demerits. But that reprobation is a necessary factor in the system of decrees on which the Thomists' explanation of foreknowledge is built.

b) St. Thomas does not hold the definition and distinction of sufficient and efficacious graces that is needed in the explanation of these Thomists.11

c) In chapter 1812 we explained many passages of St. Thomas which either exclude the system of Thomistic decrees, or positively establish a different system.13

d) Later, in chapter 22, we shall show that the explanation of these Thomists does not harmonize with the many passages in which St. Thomas explicitly speaks of foreknowledge.

B. The Molinists

396. Presentation of the system: Molina himself says:14 ". . . we hold that the reason why God certainly knows which alternative of any group of alternatives that depend on a free created will will take place, is not the determination of the divine will bending and determining the free created will, but that it is the free decision [on the part of God] by which He decided to create this free will in this or that order of things and circumstances but [we hold that] this decision is not the only [reason why God foreknows] but [that the reason is] this divine decision together with His understanding, in His essence, of any free created will whatsoever, by His natural knowledge, by which knowledge He knows with certitude before that created will makes its decision, what that particular will would do, in its freedom, in the supposition and condition that He would create it, and place it in that particular order of things, although yet [the free will of man] could, if it willed, do the opposite; and if it were going to do [the opposite] as it can, God by that same knowledge and understanding of the free will, in His essence, would have known [it]. . . ."

So there are two stages, according to Molina, in the foreknowledge of a future free act: 1) God knows what this man would do if he should be placed in various circumstances or positions with various graces, etc. He knows this by "His understanding, in His essence of any free created will whatsoever." 2) God decides to place this man in such and such a combination of circumstances, position, and graces.

The knowledge in the first stage is called middle knowledge (scientia media). For, according to Molina, there are three kinds of divine knowledge, namely: (1) Merely natural knowledge, or knowledge of simple intelligence, by which God knows all things that are merely possible. (2) Merely free knowledge, or knowledge of vision by which God, after the free decision of His own will to place a man in a certain combination, knows without condition or hypothesis the things that actually were, are, or will be. (3) Middle knowledge, by which God knows the things that are possible and actually will be if He should place this man in these circumstances, with these graces, etc., that is, the knowledge of futuribles.

The Molinists explain this middle knowledge in various ways. Some stress God's comprehension or supercomprehension of the created cause. Others prefer to say that the objects of this knowledge are reached in their objective truth. Others speak not too clearly.

397. Difficulties against the Molinists' views: Inasmuch as some theologians unjustifiably deny the legitimacy of the appeal to the transcendence of the divine intellect in explaining foreknowledge, and then base objections on that unjustifiable denial, many objections against Molinism are invalid. However, other objections seem to have more or less validity. We must consider each one separately.

1) Some Molinists seem to wish to explain the middle knowledge by way of God's comprehension or supercomprehension of the free cause, e.g., St. Robert Bellarmine says:15 "God, then, since He knows all the inclinations and the whole character of our soul . . . infallibly gathers in which direction the soul is going to incline itself." Even many Molinists object to this explanation, e.g., H. Lennerz quotes this passage of Bellarmine and then says:16 "In this opinion, it is either supposed that a free act is to such an extent determined in that complex of causes so that the act will follow with highest probability or moral certitude, or it is supposed that it is metaphysically impossible for the act not to follow. In the first supposition, it remains metaphysically possible for the act not to follow: hence, error is possible. . . . In the second supposition . . . the act would be already determined in its causes, and so one could no longer understand how it could still be free and undetermined before it proceeds from its causes."

But it is not certain that either St. Robert or Father Lennerz have rightly interpreted the thought of Molina on God's comprehension or understanding of the free created cause. For Molina himself writes on this point:17 "But we say that the certitude of that middle knowledge comes from the loftiness and unlimited perfection of the divine intellect, in virtue of which it knows with certitude that which in itself is uncertain, and [it does] this most eminently by the comprehension, in its divine essence, of any created will whatsoever that its omnipotence could create." So Molina seems to deny that there is any determinism or determination whatsoever within man, in that he says that God knows "that which in itself is uncertain." Rather, he seems to be merely appealing to the transcendence of the divine intellect without trying to explain how that intellect can know. He seems to mean that the futuribles are not determined by their own nature nor by divine determination antecedent to the human determination and that they are not yet determined by man-but that yet God, by "the loftiness and unlimited perfection of the divine intellect", knows what determination a man is freely going to make even though that determination considered in advance is still "in itself . . . uncertain." We notice too that Molina explicitly says that God knows this "in [the] divine essence."

2) Other Molinists say that God knows the futuribles18 "in their objective truth, or in themselves."

We need to notice that even though one says that God knows these in their objective truth, this does not necessarily imply a denial that God knows the futuribles through His essence. For St. Thomas himself at times uses similar expressions, and yet does not deny that God knows through His essence. For example, he says that God looks on a future contingent (i.e., an absolutely future contingent-for he says nothing at all about futuribles ):19 "Not only as it is in its causes, but as it is in its determined reality . . . God from eternity not only sees His own relation to the thing . . . but He looks upon the very being of the thing." And similarly:20 ". . . by the fact that God knows His own essence, He knows the things that are from Him, and through them He knows their defects [non-beings or privations]. But if He knew only His own essence, He would know no evil or privation except in a general way." Therefore, just as by these expressions St. Thomas did not deny or wish to deny that God knows all things through His own essence, so it is not necessary to conclude that the Molinists, by their similar expressions, deny that God knows all through His essence. On the contrary, as we saw above, Molina explicitly teaches that God does know all in His own essence. Actually, we need to draw a distinction between:

(a) Knowledge through the divine essence as the medium quo, that is the divine essence21 "inasmuch as it contains the likeness of things other than Himself."

(b) Knowledge through the divine essence as the medium in quo, that is, the divine essence as the object known which, because of the connection it has with other things, cannot be known without these other things being also attained in the same knowledge.

So the Molinists deny only that the divine essence is the medium in quo; but they do not deny that it is the medium quo. They make this denial chiefly because they hold that the divine will cannot physically and infrustrably move a created will without destroying freedom. As we explained above, we think that the Molinists are in a way inconsistent in this matter, since they appeal to the transcendence of the divine intellect to explain foreknowledge, but refuse to allow a similar appeal to the transcendence of the divine will. However, the Molinists are right in saying that God does not know solely by infrustrable decrees: for if that were true, as we have shown above,22 there could be no sincere universal salvific will, unless God were to reprobate no one at all. But we know from Scripture (the Last Judgment scene) that some are reprobated.

From the fact that these Molinists say that God knows the futuribles in their objective truth or reality, it seems to be implied that23 "contingent conditional futures [futuribles] have determined truth in them. For, on the fulfilment of a condition, the [human] will will bring about one determined [alternative] out of the possible alternatives."

Does this last statement contradict the statement of St. Thomas that24 future contingent things do not have determined truth until they are realized in the present, so that eternity is needed to make them knowable to God? We reply that the statement of the Molinists does seem to contradict the "futurible" view of St. Thomas, i.e., the view that he would have expressed if he had given an opinion on futuribles. However, St. Thomas actually said nothing at all about futuribles. Perhaps it was because He knew for certain, from Scripture, that God knows the futuribles, but yet, since he held that future contingent free acts are entirely unknowable if considered as future (i.e., unless eternity makes them present), he decided prudently25 to keep silent since he was entirely unable to explain how to reconcile these two points. But, whatever may be the truth about what St. Thomas would have said, we must admit that perhaps all the Molinists mean to say by this explanation is that even though there is no determination within man, and even though God has not yet actually determined the futuribles, nevertheless, the transcendent divine intellect can know what determination a man freely would make.26

3) Objections from Scripture are raised by Garrigou-Lagrange against all types of Molinism:

a) He appeals to the words of St. Paul in 1 Cor 4.7: "Who distinguisheth thee?" and comments:27 "According to the above mentioned words of St. Paul, the distinction of one man from another ultimately must be found not on the side of the human will, but in God who distinguishes one from another by His grace. But, middle knowledge supposes that one man . . . distinguishes himself from another by his own will."

But the objection is invalid, since it rests on an erroneous interpretation of the words of St. Paul, as we saw in chapter 1.28

b) He says likewise:29 ". . . all Thomists . . . affirm, as revealed, the principle that can be called 'the principle of predilection,' namely: no one would be better than another if he were not more loved and helped by God. This principle is stated many times by St. Paul, e.g., Rom 9.15: 'He says to Moses: I will have mercy on whom I have mercy. . . .'"

But again, the argument rests on an erroneous interpretation of St. Paul, as we saw in chapter 1. Garrigou-Lagrange, in the same passage, refers the reader to the words of St. Thomas in ST I.20.3 ad 3. We have already explained these words of St. Thomas30 and have shown that they have a different meaning.

c) Garrigou-Lagrange also asserts that by middle knowledge31 "the supreme dominion [of God] over created freedom would be taken away; God could not, in such circumstances, convert a certain will if it wanted the opposite. For Molina says, in the passage cited: 'It was not in the power of God to know something different, but He would have known something different, if the free created will had been going to do something different.' But this contradicts the words of Sacred Scripture: Prov 21.1: 'Like a stream is the king's heart in the hand of the Lord; wherever it pleases him, he directs it.'-Sir 33.13: 'Like clay in the hands of a potter . . . so are men in the hands of their Creator.'-Phil 2.13: 'It is God who of his good pleasure works in you both the will and the performance.'"

But the texts cited do not prove what Garrigou-Lagrange intends to prove. For, as we have seen32 the words of Proverbs show that God always can incline human wills so that they actually consent. But they do not prove that God inclines wills infrustrably (we believe that He can do so, because of His transcendence-not because of this text). And most certainly, the words of Proverbs do not prove that God always moves men in this way so that He is totally incapable of moving them to a good act in any other way. The words of Ecclesiasticus, as the context shows, refer to divine assignments in the external economy. The same Ecclesiasticus also says vigorously, referring to the internal economy:33 "It was he who created man in the beginning, and left him in the power of his own inclination. If you will, you can keep the commandments, and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice. He has placed before you fire and water: stretch out your hand for whichever you wish. Before a man are life and death, and whichever he chooses will be given to him." As to the words of St. Paul to the Philippians:34 the Molinists could say that St. Paul is only teaching the need of divine concourse (we however prefer to explain these words of a true physical motion, as we did in chapters 7 and 18, without, however, accepting Garrigou-Lagrange's position on "distinguishing oneself").

Nor do the words cited from Molina prove that Molina thinks God is incapable of bringing about what He wills. For Molina, in the context, is speaking of the foreknowledge of futuribles, not of foreknowledge of future contingents that will actually come to pass. But in the foreknowledge of futuribles, according to Molina, God knows what this man would do if placed in these circumstances and with these graces. In the order of actual futures, God always can, by various graces, bring it about that man does what God wills. For Molina says, in the same disputation from which Garrigou-Lagrange quoted:35 "God by His omnipotence can bend our free will wheresoever He wills, except into sin. . . . "

The words of Garrigou-Lagrange imply also the objection that the Molinist theory would make God passive. However, Molina can appeal to divine transcendence. We will discuss the problem more fully below, in chapter 23.

4) Garrigou-Lagrange also says:36 "Middle knowledge diminishes the need of prayer. . . . [Molina] cannot say in this profound sense, as we read in the Mass: 'Make me adhere to your commands. . . .' But, according to his theory, the Molinist asks of God only that God may place him in those circumstances in which He foresees that he [the man] will consent to grace."

The Molinists can reply that in their system, the outcome depends not only on circumstances, but on the graces given. In their system, God can always give such a grace that a given man will actually be moved to consent.

Further, the Molinists can turn the argument back on Garrigou-Lagrange, for his view really takes away from man the true power of praying. For, as we saw in chapter 18,37 in his opinion, man can pray only if God gives efficacious grace to pray. If God gives only sufficient grace, man lacks the application, efficacious grace. Man cannot apply himself. Nor does it depend on man's decision whether or not he gets the application from God, since, according to Garrigou-Lagrange, man cannot "distinguish himself" in regard to resisting or not resisting. Yet, the application is not given to those who resist. Actually, Garrigou-Lagrange's insistence that man cannot "distinguish himself" in regard to praying or not praying, sinning or not sinning, etc. leaves man without the power to decide at all whether he will pray or not.38

5) Garrigou-Lagrange also charges:39 "This theory does not seem to keep sufficiently far from Semipelagianism, according to which 'the beginning of salvation is from us, not from the grace of God.' . . . Molinism does indeed admit a prevenient grace, even an interior one, but it holds that it moves the will only objectively and not infallibly, in fact according to Molina, 'it can happen that, with equal helps, one of those who are called would be converted, and another not;' in this way, the true beginning of salvation seems to be only in him who is converted. . . ."

But Garrigou-Lagrange himself provides the answer to his own objection: "Molinism does indeed admit a prevenient grace, even an interior one," that is, a grace that comes before human activity. But, if such a grace makes the beginning, then it is not man who makes the beginning, and there is no Semipelagianism. Actually, the error of holding that man cannot40 "distinguish himself" in regard to reprobation underlies this objection. Such a theory is completely incompatible with any true universal salvific will, even the minimum degree of such a will, as we have already shown.

6) Garrigou-Lagrange also argues from various texts of St. Augustine. In the first passage he cites,41 St. Augustine is giving the same erroneous interpretation of 1 Cor 4.7 that we saw above.

Garrigou-Lagrange then cites:42 "So this grace, which is given secretly to human hearts by divine generosity, is rejected by no hard heart, for it is given precisely in order that hardness of heart may be taken away." At most these words show that St. Augustine believed that God always can so move hearts that as a matter of fact, a man will not reject grace. They do not prove that St. Augustine held that God moves infrustrably, and especially, they do not prove that St. Augustine believed God cannot move a man to consent by any other means than by an infrustrable grace. Even Molina can say that God always can so move that as a matter of fact a man will not reject grace.

Garrigou-Lagrange also quotes these words:43 "Out of two infants, equally bound by original sin, why this one is taken [by God] and that one is left, and out of two mature wicked persons, why this one is so called that he follows [God] who calls, but that one is either not called, or is not called in such a way [that he follows]-the judgements of God are inscrutable." But Molina too can say the same thing, since he teaches, as we saw,44 that no one, not even an adult, can bring it about that he be predestined by God. We disagree with Molina on this, as we explained in chapter 15. Further, we note that the theory of the massa damnata seems to underlie these words of St. Augustine. We refuted that theory above.

Finally, Garrigou-Lagrange cites St. Augustine saying:45 "The predestination of the saints is nothing other than the foreknowledge and the preparation of benefits by which whosoever are liberated are most certainly liberated. . . . In His predestination God foreknew the things that He Himself was going to do." Having cited these words, Garrigou-Lagrange comments: "On the contrary, Molina says: 'There is a condition, on the part of the use of free will, to the foreknowledge which predestination includes, on the side of the intellect; without this [condition] it would not have pre-existed in God'"-In themselves, the words cited from St. Augustine could be understood of an infallible, but not necessarily an infrustrable predestination. And his idea of foreknowledge, as we shall see,46 is far different from that of Garrigou-Lagrange. However, if St. Augustine, in this passage, really has in mind the massa damnata theory, we have already shown that it contradicts revelation. Further Garrigou-Lagrange does not seem to have understood Molina rightly, for, as we have seen,47 Molina holds, in the most basic sense, that it is not in the power of an adult to bring it about that he be predestined by God.

Besides, we must not forget that nothing can be proved from the opinion of just one Father, howsoever great he may be. Proof requires the morally unanimous agreement of all the Fathers, speaking as witnesses of revelation.

7) Many theologians object, against all forms of Molinism, that it contradicts the opinion of St. Thomas, especially in regard to knowledge by way of causality.

We shall comment on this later, in chapters 22 and 23. For the present, we can notice that Molina and St. Thomas both agree in holding the transcendence of the divine intellect, although Molina seems not to be willing to apply divine transcendence to movements from the divine will, while St. Thomas does make the application. Also, Molina bases his theory on the knowledge of futuribles, while St. Thomas says nothing at all about futuribles. Further, St. Thomas always has recourse to eternity to make future contingents present to God; in Molina's theory, there seems to be no need of such recourse.

C. The Scotists

398. Presentation of the system: Certainly many Scotists, and perhaps Scotus himself, held that God foresees all by infrustrable decrees. But the later Scotists after Mastrius contend that God foresees by codetermining or by concomitant and not determining decrees. In this way they try to avoid the difficulties that come from the system of infrustrable decrees, for they say that the decrees are not prior to the free determination by man.

399. Difficulties against the Scotist position:

1) That form of Scotism in which nothing is foreseen without predetermining infrustrable decrees is subject to the same difficulties as the system of the older Thomists, and so is to be equally rejected.

2) That form of Scotism in which everything is known by codetermining or concomitant decrees does not seem to explain the problem. For if the decrees are the means of knowing, and yet are not at least logically prior to the things that are known, nothing can be known through them.

D. F. Marín-Sola and F. Muñiz

400. Presentation of the system: These excellent theologians hold that God does not foreknow everything by way of decrees, but that He foreknows some things in another way. Hence Muñiz wrote:48 "The Thomists have always recognized two media or ways, valid and sufficient in themselves, on which to base a certain and infallible knowledge of the future: the way of causality or of the decrees, and the way of eternity." He adds:49 ". . . the way of eternity is more universal, more extensive than the way of causality or of the decrees." However:50 ". . . the way of eternity always and necessarily supposes the divine causality and divine decree. . . . It is the divine action that puts things in time, and eternity that makes them present to God." We need to note that he does not say that the way of eternity presupposes the way of causality, but rather, that it supposes "divine causality." For knowledge through causality is not a prerequisite for knowledge by way of eternity. Nor is divine causality needed for the defects of men, for non-beings.

Marín-Sola explains the prevision of sin in four logical moments:51 "First. Decrees of the antecedent will or general providence. . . . It is not to be forgotten that these premotions and these decrees have, just as the antecedent will . . . a conditioned character. . . . That condition is 'If the human will does not place an impediment by its defect'. . . . Second. Knowledge of vision, in those decrees themselves inasmuch as they are decrees, of the beginning of the action by the creature since that beginning is always and infallibly placed; and at the same time, knowledge of vision, in those decrees inasmuch as they are eternal, of the defect or impediment actually placed by the creature to the continuation of the act. Third. Decrees of the consequent will . . . by which God freely determines not to impede the formal sin from following, or . . . not to give the special grace or movement to remove the defect already placed by the creature. Fourth. Knowledge of vision of the formal sin of the creature in those decrees of not giving the special grace or movement. . . ." And he adds: ". . . the infallible connection between the divine decrees and the defect of the creature is not a causal but a logical connection. . . . To say that the infallibility of that connection comes not from God but from the creature is the same as to say that the infallibility is found in the decree not inasmuch as it is a decree, but inasmuch as it is eternal."

401. Difficulties against this view: Some have accused Muñiz of holding that eternity is a medium of divine knowledge. He did say, in the passage cited above: "The Thomists have always recognized two media or ways. . . ." But he probably meant this in a broad sense, not in a technical sense. Certainly, he would not mean to deny that the divine essence is the medium quo. Nor would he wish to say that eternity is something that is known which because of the connection it has with other things, cannot be known without these other things being also attained in the same knowledge (medium in quo). Actually, Muñiz explicitly explains the role of eternity in a different way, in the passage cited above: "eternity . . . makes them present to God." So he seems to mean only that eternity makes things knowable by making them present. St. Thomas, as we shall see in chapter 22, says that eternity is needed so that future contingent free acts may become knowable, for he holds that these acts, as future, are unknowable, since, as future, they are not yet determined. St. Thomas supposes that the transcendent intellect of God can know whatever is knowable and present. Muñiz seems to suppose the same thing.

Marín-Sola seems to hold the same view, even though he did not express his thought in the most felicitous way when he said that the defect of a man who sins is known in the divine decree52 "not inasmuch as it is a decree, but inasmuch as it is eternal." This way of speaking seems to refer everything to the divine will, and to leave out of consideration the divine intellect's power of knowing, for he says that this defect is known in a decree of the will.


1 De Deo uno, Universitas Gregoriana, Romae, 4a ed., 1948, pp. 256-257.
2 1 Sent. d. 36, q. 1, a 2, c.
3 Cf. also §§ 119-120.
4 Cf. §§ 310-322.
5 "De Deo uno et trino" in: Sacrae Theologiae Summa, B. A C., Matriti, 1952, II, p. 153, § 192.
6 De Deo uno, Desclee de Brouwer, Lutetiae Parisiorum, 1938, p. 402. (italics his).
7 Cf. § 309.
8 And in §§ 119-20.
9 Cf. §§ 6, 309.
10 Op. Cit., p. 137, § 171.
11 Cf. § 129. 3.
12 Cf. §§ 323-27.
13 Cf. §§ 340-53.
14 Concordia liberi arbitrii cum gratiae donis . . . , q. 14, a. 13, disp. 50, Parisiis, 1876. p. 302.15. De gratia et libero arbitrio 4.
15 Opera omnia, Neapoli, 1872, pp. 376-77.
16 Op. cit., pp. 237-38.
17 Op. cit. q. 14, a. 13, disp. 53, memb. 3, p. 365.
18 Dalmau, op. cit., p. 135, § 170.
19 1 Sent. d. 38, q. 1, a. 5 c.
20 Ibid., d. 36, q. 1, a. 2 c.
21 ST I. 14. 5. c.
22 §§ 119-20.
23 Dalmau, op. cit., p. 138, § 171 (emphasis his).
24 Cf. § 463.
25 Cf. § 484.
26 Cf. §§ 483-85.
27 De Deo uno, p. 363.
28 § 18.
29 De Deo uno, p. 363.
30 Cf. § 143.
31 De Deo uno, p. 365.
32 Cf. §§ 116-20.
33 Sir 15:14-17. We recall too that normal Hebrew modes of speech spoke as if God directly caused even evils.
34 Cf. M. Brunec, S.D.B., "Cum timore et tremore vestram salutem operamini" in: Verbum Domini 40 (1962) pp. 270-75.
35 Op. cit., q. 14, a. 13, disp. 52, p. 318.
36 De Deo uno, p. 366.
37 § 311.
38 Cf. § 6.8.
39 De Deo uno, p. 366.
40 Cf. § 6.8.
41 De Deo uno, pp. 363-64.
42 De praedestinatione sanctorum 8.13. PL 44.971.
43 De dono perseverantiae 9.21. PL 45.1004.
44 § 248.
45 De dono perseverantiae 14.35. PL 45.1014; De praedestinatione sactorum 10.19. PL 44.975.
46 Cf. §§ 429-37.
47 § 248.
48 In his notes in: Suma Teologica de Santo Tomas de Aquino, B.A.C., 2a ed., Madrid, 1957, p. 684. (italics his).
49 Ibid., p. 687.
50 Ibid., pp. 688-69.
51 "El sistema Tomista sobre la mocion divina" in: La Ciencia Tomista 32 (1925) pp. 47-48 (italics his).
52 Ibid., p. 49 (italics his).