Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Jesuits And The Calvinists

Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Jesus did not say, “Without me you can do only a few things,” nor “Without me you scarcely can do even little things,” but rather Without me you can do nothing (John 15:5).
On the one hand, there are the Calvinists who so emphasize the divine causality as to diminish free will. Indeed, their doctrine of double-predestination makes man to be nothing more than a donkey, ridden either by Satan into hell or by God into heaven.
On the other hand, the classical Jesuits (like St. Robert Bellarmine and Fr. Francisco Suárez) generally struggle to give sufficient acknowledgment to the role of divine providence. Certainly, the Jesuits are not semi-Pelagian heretics, yet their writings often tend to lean toward an over-emphasis of the human will and a de-emphasizing of God’s causal powers. Both the Jesuits and the Calvinists see man and God as competing forces in a battle over who is the “cause” of any given action. This is their fundamental flaw. 
The problem of Divine Causality and Free Will
Some people speak of a problem of “grace and free will” – the Church’s answer to this dilemma of how grace and free will co-exist was largely formulated by St. Augustine, the “Doctor of Grace.” However, in the Scholastic period, the discussion entered a new phase – one which is far more profound. The real question is not so much about the relationship between grace and free will, but rather: How God can be the cause of all things (including the freedom of the human will) while man is still a truly free agent?
Link (here) to New Theological Movement

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