Saturday, May 03, 2014

Part 2 - St. Augustine on Free Will and Foreknowledge

Mr. Hoffstetter responded to my previous posting in the Catholic Debate Forum (use linked text to see the original).  Since there would be too much for a combox response, I'm posting Barry's reply and then my response to it will follow (Barry's posting is shown with yellow background):

    On 5/3/2014 12:52 AM, Scott Windsor, Sr. wrote:
    > Dear Barry,
    > Thank you so much for recommending St. Augustine on this topic! This is
    > really wonderful stuff!
    >
    > http://cathapol.blogspot.com/2014/05/st-augustine-on-free-will-and.html

You citing this as though it in anyway contradicts anything I'm saying simply shows that you do not have a clue as to what Augustine is saying.

    > sw: (Yes, I've read it before - just thanking you for bringing it to our
    > attention again).
 
Here is another quote directly from Augustine. Maybe St. Ferde will  break it down for us and show what's wrong with it?

The following is taken from Augustine's The Enchiridion on Faith, Hope and Love:
Chapter 98. Predestination to Eternal Life is Wholly of God's Free Grace.

    And, moreover, who will be so foolish and blasphemous as to say that God
    cannot change the evil wills of men, whichever, whenever, and
    wheresoever He chooses, and direct them to what is good? But when He
    does this He does it of mercy; when He does it not, it is of justice
    that He does it not for "He has mercy on whom He will have mercy, and
    whom He will He hardens." And when the apostle said this, he was
    illustrating the grace of God, in connection with which he had just
    spoken of the twins in the womb of Rebecca, "who being not yet born,
    neither having done any good or evil that the purpose of God according
    to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calls, it was
    said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger." And in reference to
    this matter he quotes another prophetic testimony: "Jacob have I loved,
    but Esau have I hated." But perceiving how what he had said might affect
    those who could not penetrate by their understanding the depth of this
    grace: "What shall we say then?" he says: "Is there unrighteousness with
    God? God forbid." For it seems unjust that, in the absence of any merit
    or demerit, from good or evil works, God should love the one and hate
    the other. Now, if the apostle had wished us to understand that there
    were future good works of the one, and evil works of the other, which of
    course God foreknew, he would never have said, "not of works," but, "of
    future works," and in that way would have solved the difficulty, or
    rather there would then have been no difficulty to solve. As it is,
    however, after answering, "God forbid;" that is, God forbid that there
    should be unrighteousness with God; he goes on to prove that there is no
    unrighteousness in God's doing this, and says: "For He says to Moses, I
    will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on
    whom I will have compassion." Now, who but a fool would think that God
    was unrighteous, either in inflicting penal justice on those who had
    earned it, or in extending mercy to the unworthy? Then he draws his
    conclusion: "So then it is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs,
    but of God that shows mercy." Thus both the twins were born children of
    wrath, not on account of any works of their own, but because they were
    bound in the fetters of that original condemnation which came through
    Adam. But He who said, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy,"
    loved Jacob of His undeserved grace, and hated Esau of His deserved
    judgment. And as this judgment was due to both, the former learned from
    the case of the latter that the fact of the same punishment not falling
    upon himself gave him no room to glory in any merit of his own, but only
    in the riches of the divine grace; because "it is not of him that wills,
    nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy." And indeed the whole
    face, and, if I may use the expression, every lineament of the
    countenance of Scripture conveys by a very profound analogy this
    wholesome warning to every one who looks carefully into it, that he who
    glories should glory in the Lord.

--
N.E. Barry Hofstetter

Opinions in private email do not reflect those of any institution with
which I am affiliated

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And now my response to Barry:


    On 5/3/2014 12:52 AM, Scott Windsor, Sr. wrote:
    >> Dear Barry,
    >> Thank you so much for recommending St. Augustine on this topic! This is
    >> really wonderful stuff!
    >>
    >> http://cathapol.blogspot.com/2014/05/st-augustine-on-free-will-and.html
    >
    > BH: You citing this as though it in anyway contradicts anything I'm saying
    > simply shows that you do not have a clue as to what Augustine is saying.

sw: You saying that about what I cited shows you either didn't read it, or enjoy reading St. Augustine out of context.  Keep in mind, Barry, which church calls him both Saint and Doctor.

    >> sw: (Yes, I've read it before - just thanking you for bringing it to our
    >> attention again).
    >
    > BH: Here is another quote directly from Augustine. Maybe St. Ferde will
    > break it down for us and show what's wrong with it?

sw: Wow, "St. Ferde!"  Congratulations Ferde!  Of course we all strive for sainthood, it's nice to see Barry has recognized this in you.  :-)

    > BH: The following is taken from Augustine's The Enchiridion on Faith, Hope
    > and Love:
    > Chapter 98. Predestination to Eternal Life is Wholly of God's Free Grace.

sw:  I'll not requote the citation again, but would add that it's not really "Chapter 98" but "98" refers to a paragraph numbering and this passage is actually found within Chapter 25 which includes paragraphs 98 and 99 from the overall document.  http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/augustine_enchiridion_02_trans.htm#C25

sw: Now, what we see here is that Barry chooses (again) to make his point out of the context of the whole document.  If we read just a few paragraphs further down we see that what St. Augustine is teaching is that condemnation is "just" for all men due to Adam's fall.  We all have lost the first gift of immortality which was for Adam and Eve to receive, but through Free Will, they lost that gift and lost it for all of us - as we are born into that fallen nature.  God allowed for man's Free Will to go on unchecked until the time of Noah - at which time He "rebooted" mankind.  Still, the promise of the redemption of mankind was made to Adam and Eve.

sw: While mankind was "rebooted" with Noah, man's Free Will was continued to be allowed by God, and is immediately evident in the acts of even Noah's sons.  It would also not be long after Noah's time that man would build the "Tower of Babel" where God again confounds the Free Will of men - dividing them into what would become different nations.  Still, the promise of redemption is with us and going according to God's Will for mankind.  With that in mind, let us read a few paragraphs down from where Barry snipped his quote:
106. Human nature lost the former kind of immortality through the misuse of free will. It is to receive the latter through grace--though it was to have obtained it through merit, if it had not sinned. Not even then, however, could there have been any merit without grace. For although sin had its origin in free will alone, still free will would not have been sufficient to maintain justice, save as divine aid had been afforded man, in the gift of participation in the immutable good. Thus, for example, the power to die when he wills it is in a man's own hands--since there is no one who could not kill himself by not eating (not to mention other means). But the bare will is not sufficient for maintaining life, if the aids of food and other means of preservation are lacking.
Similarly, man in paradise was capable of self-destruction by abandoning justice by an act of will; yet if the life of justice was to be maintained, his will alone would not have sufficed, unless He who made him had given him aid. But, after the Fall, God's mercy was even more abundant, for then the will itself had to be freed from the bondage in which sin and death are the masters.  (Emphasis added)
Source:  Enchiridion on Faith, Hope and Charity, Chapter 28, Paragraph 106, St. Augustine.
sw: One can see how, if St. Augustine is taken out of context, a Calvinistic interpretation can be made - which is why I encourage people to READ THE CONTEXT.  In virtually every situation where the Calvinist claims victory, context defeats him, and so is the case again here.

AMDG,
Scott<<<
--
Accendat in nobis Dominus ignem sui amoris, et flammam aeternae caritatis. Amen.


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      This message originated in the CatholicDebateForum on Yahoogroups.
      All rights reserved on messages posted to this forum, however
      permission is granted to copy messages to other forums, providing
      this footer remains attached to the message.
      To visit this group on the web, go to:
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