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To: kosta50; annalex; Kolokotronis
You are looking at it backwards. Its not that they can't make the decision, its that God knew they would not want to make the decision

That's not what you said. I am quoting from your post #22: "As to those who are saved, while they certainly willed it, it was God who gave them the will".

The only conclusion one can draw from this is that those who are not saved is because God did not give them the will. This conclusion is consistent with the notion that all the credit goes to God for everything, but it flies in the face of your earlier statement that "God desires all men to be saved, and gives all men the means to be saved."

The Apostle clearly teaches that all the credit for whatever good we do rests with God. "Or what hast thou that thou hast not received? And if thou hast received, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?" (1 Corinthians 4.7) This necessarily includes the possession of good will, which the Angles at the Nativity state gives peace: "Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will." (St. Luke 2.14). And this is "the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, [to] keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." (Philipians 4.7).

It is very clear in the teaching of the Apostle that we do not have good will upon our own, but only from God. St. Paul teaches: "... with fear and trembling work out your salvation. For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will." (Philipians 2.12-13) And again speaking of the powers of the unassisted human will: "For I do not that good which I will; but the evil which I hate, that I do." (Romans 7.15). And again: "For to will, is present with me; but to accomplish that which is good, I find not. For the good which I will, I do not; but the evil which I will not, that I do." (Romans 7.18-19)

This is why St. John says the work of our theosis is not from ourselves or our natual physical ability, but from God. "But as many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name. Who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (St. John 1.12-13)

Good will is from God. If it were from ourselves, then God would not be the author of our salvation, and Pelagius and Co. would be right. I think this point is sufficiently established. And I think we both agree that it is a free response of man, under the impulse of grace, to accept the invitation of God.

Now what of those without good will, since they seem to so greatly trouble you? "For many are called, but few are chosen." (St. Matthew 22.14). You really seem disturbed by the state of fallen man, since what you are questioning is the result of man's actions. God didn't make man to sin, man did that on his own. That some are saved is because God showed mercy upon them, and gave them the will to be good. That some are lost is because men in this world lean to wickedness, and their natural urge is more to sin than to eternal life. The life of the reprobate is meant as a lesson to the elect to elict them to give thanks for their salvation. "For the scripture saith to Pharao: To this purpose have I raised thee, that I may shew my power in thee, and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth." (Romans 9.17) And again, "What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath, fitted for destruction, That he might shew the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he hath prepared unto glory?" (Romans 9.22-23)

Christ really died for all men, and by His dying for their sins, He gave them the opportunity of life eternal. That some insist upon continuing in sin is because of their hardness and perversity, not because God did not die for their sin. God did what was sufficient for their salvation, and if they wanted to be saved, they would have. Does not God implore "... let every man of you return from his evil way, and make ye your ways and your doings good. And they said: We have no hopes: for we will go after our own thoughts, and we will do every one according to the perverseness of his evil heart." (Jeremiah 18.11-12)

The reprobate are not lost because God did not give them good will. They are reprobate and lost because that is what they wished for themselves, and God simply allowed it as being expedient for the greater good of others upon whom He had mercy.

Judas was given the same good things and opportunities as the other Apostles, but he was lost because he wanted things his way, rather than working to make things God's way. God let him have what he wanted.

It is within man's power to know God. "For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; his eternal power also, and divinity: so that they are inexcusable." (Romans 1.20). Knowing God, man should do what is right. But the wicked prefer to ignore and deny God and chase after the pleasures of sense. "And as they liked not to have God in their knowledge, God delivered them up to a reprobate sense, to do those things which are not convenient." (Romans 1.28)

But the only reason they want or don't want to be saved, according to you statment in bold above, is because God either gives or deprives them of the will to want to be saved.

God does not deprive people of good will. They reject it. "Many are called, but few are chosen." They are not elect because they do not want to be. They want the lusts of the flesh and the fate of hell. They say it openly. They want to flee God and immerse themselves in themself, obsessing over their own satisfaction. "Whose end is destruction; whose God is their belly; and whose glory is in their shame; who mind earthly things." (Philipians 3.19)

This is also where we who have faith come into the picture. Man is not the master of his first thoughts. Man cannot bring himself to the delight of knowing Jesus. But we can by sharing our faith and hope with them. The grace of faith for the ungodly is not some distant unobtainable gift God is withholding from them. No, it is a treasure we have that we are not sharing. "Faith then cometh by hearing" (Romans 10.17). And to drive the point home, St. Paul urgently reminds us: "How then shall they call on him, in whom they have not believed? Or how shall they believe him, of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear, without a preacher?" (Romans 10.14) When you sit back in an easy chair and lament, "Aye, if only those poor sinners were shown mercy", or "If only those poor sinners would repent" you are accusing God of lacking the desire to give them the good things they need. But it is not God who is lacking, but us, who have the truth. God never says, "Hey, you kick back and take it easy, I'll be back in a little while once I've introduced myself to everyone in the world and give them a little grace."

The ordinary conduit for the grace of faith, from which all other graces come and follow, is us. "Brethren, the will of my heart, indeed, and my prayer to God, is for them unto salvation." (Romans 10.1) "Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." (St. Matthew 28.19)

You accuse us of proposing that God is witholding good things from them when really He did what is necessary by dying for their sins, and commissioning us to spread the good news to them. If the failure is to be located anywhere, it is to be seen when we look into the mirror.

God doesn't have "foreknowledge," as He does not exist in time.

God's foreknowledge is spoken of from our perspective within time. He knows our life's end before we have begun to kick the womb of our mother.

They are not lost. They are led to believe they are. Yet God allows their deception.

Again we agree, especially with the last sentence you write. God allows their deception. Meaning He does not have mercy upon them, but allows them to carry out their life of dissolution. And not only does he allow their deception, but he allows it precisely because it provides a good for others and even themselves. "For this cause God delivered them up to shameful affections ... men with men working that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error." (Romans 1.26-28). How many, for example, have recoiled in horror in the past 30 years from casual sexual sins against the 6th and 9th commandments because of the plague of AIDS visited upon the ungodly? And how many recalcitrant and hardened sodomites have been saved on their deathbed in this time of a overwhelming plague of sodomite impurity, when, recalling the God whom they so long despised, realized in extremis through the ministry of the Church that He alone could deliver them from their afflictions? The AIDS plague has worked marvels in bringing sodomites to God, when they saw the world flee from them in sickness, but the ministers of Christ rush to their side in death.

That's pretty much saying He created Judas so that he may fail!

He did, just as He made a world in which Blessed Mary is perfect.

However, Judas could not have been created with the knowledge that he will fail, or else he failed not because of his free will but because God ordained it so.

But of course. Freedom is everywhere, but foreknowledge rests only with God outside of time, because salvation does not come about but by the movement of the human will in freedom, and the human will would not be free if it knew in advance the actions it was to take. Judas was destined to reprobation by the inscrutible decree of God in his eternal plan. But Judas in his free will made the wicked choices to bring this about without any prompting from God. God merely allowed Judas to pursue what he wished, so that God's plan might be accomplished.

Predestination is not the predetermination of free acts, but the foreknowledge of results. God makes Blessed Mary good with the foreknowledge that by her freely chosen fiat she will become His Mother and bring the Lord Jesus to us. And He makes Judas knowing he will act wicked with the foreknowledge that his freely chosen damnation will bring about the salvation of the world. He chooses to make them knowing their freely willed acts will work towards the unfolding of His divine plan.

Infants who die are a perfect example that not everyone is given a chance to choose and use free will. They are either saved or damned by no choice of their own.

Infants are saved by baptism without any action upon their part. But that they are lost without it is not revealed to us. St. Mark tells us that belief and baptism are necessary for salvation, but that unbelief alone is sufficient for damnation. The lack of baptism in one who could not seek it is not a damnable fault. We do not know whether unbaptized infants are given the opportunity to exercise their will to chose for or against God in a single act, as were the Angels. God has revealed nothing more than that He desires their salvation, and has provided Baptism to accomplish it ordinarily. Sufficient means are available for them, and as to the justice of the fate or the fate itself of those infants deprived of grace by the careless wickedness of others, He tells us nothing.

I find that strange, because all indications are that Judas repented.

What indications? Both the Bible and the Liturgy of the Church state his damnation. "... it were better for him, if that man had not been born." (St. Matthew 26.24) - somethign quite impossible to be true if Judas is saved. And again speaking of Judas, "Those whom thou gavest me have I kept; and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition, that the scripture may be fulfilled." (St. John 17.12). And the Psalmist also prophesies Judas' condemnation in the verses quoted by St. Peter in Acts 1.20: "When he is judged, may he go out condemned; and may his prayer be turned to sin. May his days be few: and his bishopric let another take." (Psalm 108.7-8) And on Holy Thursday and Good Friday, the Church prays: "O God, from whom Judas received the punishment of his sin and the thief the reward of his confession: grant us the effect of thy mercy; that as our Lord Jesus Christ, at the time of His passion, bestowed on both different rewards according to their merits; so having destroyed the old man in us, He may give us grace to rise again with Him." (Collect of Mass)

May they be blotted out of the book of life.

This is an expression of human desire for divine justice, not the actual actions of God, as described in St. John's vision of heaven. As far as its application to Christ during His passion, it is the sentence of His judgement against His persecutors, and its meaning is that the wicked will not be found in the book of life because of their deeds against Him. It has a special application to the Jewish people, in that it is an expression of the taking away of the covenant from them because of their perverse wickedness, and the granting of it to others. I.e., the faithless Jews, who were promised salvation through the covenants of Abraham and Moses are now losing that promise because of their deicide, and the promise is being given to others.

30 posted on 05/14/2007 10:22:12 PM PDT by Andrew Byler
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To: Andrew Byler

Thank you for this excellent post.

31 posted on 05/17/2007 7:21:50 PM PDT by annalex
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