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Nature And Grace by Aquinas

Article Two Whether Predestination Implies Anything in the Predestined

Whether Predestination Implies Anything in the Predestined

We proceed to the second article thus:

1. It seems that predestination does imply something in the predestined. Every action produces a passion in something external. Hence if predestination is an action in God, it is bound to be a passion in those who are predestined.

2. Again, commenting on the passage in Rom., ch. i, |He who was predestined . . . ,| Origen says: |Predestination is of one who is not yet, and destination of one who now is.| But Augustine asks: |What is predestination, if it is not the destination of one who exists?| {De Praed. Sanct.). Hence predestination is only of one who exists. It thus implies something about the predestined.

3. Again, preparation implies something in the thing prepared, and predestination is |the preparation of God's benefits,| as Augustine says (De Dono Persev.14). Predestination is therefore something in the predestined.

4. Again, nothing temporal is included in the definition of the eternal. Yet grace, which is temporal, is included in the definition of predestination, which is defined as preparation for present grace and future glory. It follows that predestination is not anything eternal. It cannot then be in God, since everything in God is eternal. It must therefore be in the predestined.

On the other hand: in the same passage Augustine says that predestination is |the foreknowledge of God's benefits.| But foreknowledge is in one who foreknows, not in what is foreknown. Predestination is therefore in him who predestines, not in the predestined.

I answer: predestination is not anything in the predestined. It is solely in him who predestines. We have already said that predestination is a part of providence, and providence is an intention in the mind of the provider, as we said in Q.22, Art.1, not something in what is provided.

The carrying out of providence, however, which we call government, is passively in the governed while it is actively in him who governs. It is clear, then, that predestination is the reason which exists in the divine mind for the ordination of some to eternal life, and that the carrying out of this ordinance is passively in the predestined while it is actively in God. According to the apostle, predestination is put into effect as calling and glorification -- |whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called . . . them he also glorified| (Rom.8:30).

On the first point: actions which pass out to an external object do issue in some passion, as do heating and cutting, for example. But actions which remain within the agent, such as understanding and willing, do not. (Q.14, Art.4; Q.18, Art.3.) Predestination is an action of this latter kind, and therefore does not imply anything in the predestined. The carrying out of predestination, however, does pass out to its objects, and so implies something about them.

On the second point: destination sometimes means the actual directing of something to an end. It then refers only to the existent. But it also means the mental conception of so doing. For example, we are said to destine something if we firmly intend it in our minds. This is what it means in II Maccabees 6:20: |Eleazar determined to do nothing unlawful through love of life.| Destination may, then, refer to what does not exist. But whatever the destination of it may mean, predestination can refer to something which does not exist, because predestination contains the notion of antecedence.

On the third point: there are two kinds of preparation. There is the preparation of a passive agent to undergo passion. This is in the thing prepared. But there is also an agent's preparation for action. This is in the active agent. Predestination is a preparation in this second sense, in which an agent is said to prepare himself mentally for action when he preconceives the idea of doing something. In this sense of the word, God has prepared himself from all eternity by predestination, preconceiving the idea of ordaining some to eternal life.

On the fourth point: grace is not included in the definition of predestination as part of its essence. It is included as the effect which predestination implies as a cause, and as the object of its action. It does not then follow that predestination is temporal.

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