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CATHOLICENCYCLOPEDIA:Predestination

Predestination
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Predestination(Latinpr,destinare),takeninitswidestmeaning,iseveryDivinedecree
bywhichGod,owingtoHisinfallibleprescienceofthefuture,hasappointedand
ordainedfrometernityalleventsoccurringintime,especiallythosewhichdirectly
proceedfrom,oratleastareinfluencedby,man'sfreewill.Itincludesallhistoricalfacts,
asforinstancetheappearanceofNapoleonorthefoundationoftheUnitedStates,and
particularlytheturningpointsinthehistoryofsupernaturalsalvation,asthemissionof
MosesandtheProphets,ortheelectionofMarytotheDivineMotherhood.Takeninthis
generalsense,predestinationclearlycoincideswithDivineProvidenceandwiththe
governmentoftheworld,whichdonotfallwithinthescopeofthisarticle(seeDIVINE
PROVIDENCE).
TheologyrestrictsthetermtothoseDivinedecreeswhichhavereferencetothe
supernaturalendofrationalbeings,especiallyofman.Consideringthatnotallmenreach
theirsupernaturalendinheaven,butthatmanyareeternallylostthroughtheirownfault,
theremustexistatwofoldpredestination:(a)onetoheavenforallthosewhodieinthe
stateofgrace(b)onetothepainsofhellforallthosewhodepartinsinorunderGod's
displeasure.However,accordingtopresentusagestowhichweshalladhereinthecourse
ofthearticle,itisbettertocallthelatterdecreetheDivine"reprobation",sothattheterm
predestinationisreservedfortheDivinedecreeofthehappinessoftheelect.
A

Thenotionofpredestinationcomprisestwoessentialelements:God'sinfallible
foreknowledge(prscientia),andHisimmutabledecree(decretum)ofeternalhappiness.
Thetheologianwho,followinginthefootstepsofthePelagians,wouldlimittheDivine
activitytotheeternalforeknowledgeandexcludetheDivinewill,wouldatoncefallinto
Deism,whichassertsthatGod,havingcreatedallthings,leavesmanandtheuniverseto
theirfateandrefrainsfromallactiveinterference.ThoughthepurelynaturalgiftsofGod,
asdescentfrompiousparents,goodeducation,andtheprovidentialguidanceofman's
externalcareer,mayalsobecalledeffectsofpredestination,still,strictlyspeaking,the
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termimpliesonlythoseblessingswhichlieinthesupernaturalsphere,assanctifying
grace,allactualgraces,andamongtheminparticularthosewhichcarrywiththemfinal
perseveranceandahappydeath.Sinceinrealityonlythosereachheavenwhodieinthe
stateofjustificationorsanctifyinggrace,alltheseandonlythesearenumberedamongthe
predestined,strictlysocalled.Fromthisitfollowsthatwemustreckonamongthemalso
allchildrenwhodieinbaptismalgrace,aswellasthoseadultswho,afteralifestained
withsin,areconvertedontheirdeathbeds.Thesameistrueofthenumerouspredestined
who,thoughoutsidethepaleofthetrueChurchofChrist,yetdepartfromthislifeinthe
stateofgraceascatechumens,Protestantsingoodfaith,schismatics,Jews,
Mahommedans,andpagans.ThosefortunateCatholicswhoatthecloseofalonglifeare
stillclothedintheirbaptismalinnocence,orwhoaftermanyrelapsesintomortalsin
perseveretilltheend,arenotindeedpredestinedmorefirmly,butaremoresignally
favouredthanthelastnamedcategoriesofpersons.
Butevenwhenman'ssupernaturalendaloneistakenintoconsideration,theterm
predestinationisnotalwaysusedbytheologiansinanunequivocalsense.Thisneednot
astonishus,seeingthatpredestinationmaycomprisewhollydiversethings.Iftakeninits
adequatemeaning(prdestinatioadquataorcompleta),thenpredestinationrefersto
bothgraceandgloryasawhole,includingnotonlytheelectiontogloryastheend,but
alsotheelectiontograceasthemeans,thevocationtothefaith,justification,andfinal
perseverance,withwhichahappydeathisinseparablyconnected.Thisisthemeaningof
St.Augustine'swords(Dedonopersever.,xxxv):"Prdestinationihilestaliudquam
prscientiaetprparatiobeneficiorum,quibuscertissimeliberantur[i.e.salvantur],
quicunqueliberantur"(Predestinationisnothingelsethantheforeknowledgeand
foreordainingofthosegraciousgiftswhichmakecertainthesalvationofallwhoare
saved).Butthetwoconceptsofgraceandglorymaybeseparatedandeachofthembe
madetheobjectofaspecialpredestination.Theresultisthesocalledinadequate
predestination(prdestinatioinadquataorincompleta),eithertogracealoneortoglory
alone.LikeSt.Paul,Augustine,too,speaksofanelectiontograceapartfromthecelestial
glory(loc.cit.,xix):"Prdestinatioestgratiprparatio,gratiaverojamipsadonatio."It
isevident,however,thatthis(inadequate)predestinationdoesnotexcludethepossibility
thatonechosentograce,faith,andjustificationgoesneverthelesstohell.Hencewemay
disregardit,sinceitisatbottomsimplyanothertermfortheuniversalityofGod'ssalvific
willandofthedistributionofgraceamongallmen(seeGRACE).Similarlyeternalelection
togloryalone,thatis,withoutregardtotheprecedingmeritsthroughgrace,mustbe
designatedas(inadequate)predestination.Thoughthepossibilityofthelatterisatonce
cleartothereflectingmind,yetitsactualityisstronglycontestedbythemajorityof
theologians,asweshallseefurtheron(undersect.III).Fromtheseexplanationsitisplain
thattherealdogmaofeternalelectionisexclusivelyconcernedwithadequate
predestination,whichembracesbothgraceandgloryandtheessenceofwhichSt.Thomas
(I,Q.xxiii,a.2)definesas:"Prparatiogratiinprsentietgloriinfuturo"(the
foreordinationofgraceinthepresentandofgloryinthefuture).
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InordertoemphasizehowmysteriousandunapproachableisDivineelection,theCouncil
ofTrentcallspredestination"hiddenmystery".Thatpredestinationisindeedasublime
mysteryappearsnotonlyfromthefactthatthedepthsoftheeternalcounselcannotbe
fathomed,itisevenexternallyvisibleintheinequalityoftheDivinechoice.Theunequal
standardbywhichbaptismalgraceisdistributedamonginfantsandefficaciousgraces
amongadultsishiddenfromourviewbyanimpenetrableveil.Couldwegainaglimpseat
thereasonsofthisinequality,weshouldatonceholdthekeytothesolutionofthe
mysteryitself.Whyisitthatthischildisbaptized,butnotthechildoftheneighbour?
WhyisitthatPetertheApostleroseagainafterhisfallandperseveredtillhisdeath,while
JudasIscariot,hisfellowApostle,hangedhimselfandthusfrustratedhissalvation?
Thoughcorrect,theanswerthatJudaswenttoperditionofhisownfreewill,whilePeter
faithfullycooperatedwiththegraceofconversionofferedhim,doesnotclearupthe
enigma.Forthequestionrecurs:WhydidnotGodgivetoJudasthesameefficacious,
infalliblysuccessfulgraceofconversionastoSt.Peter,whoseblasphemousdenialofthe
LordwasasinnolessgrievousthanthatofthetraitorJudas?Toalltheseandsimilar
questionstheonlyreasonablereplyisthewordofSt.Augustine(loc.cit.,21):
"InscrutabiliasuntjudiciaDei"(thejudgmentsofGodareinscrutable).
B

Thecounterpartofthepredestinationofthegoodisthereprobationofthewicked,orthe
eternaldecreeofGodtocastallmenintohellofwhomHeforesawthattheywoulddiein
thestateofsinashisenemies.ThisplanofDivinereprobationmaybeconceivedeitheras
absoluteandunconditionalorashypotheticalandconditional,accordingasweconsiderit
asdependenton,orindependentof,theinfallibleforeknowledgeofsin,therealreasonof
reprobation.Ifweunderstandeternalcondemnationtobeanabsoluteunconditional
decreeofGod,itstheologicalpossibilityisaffirmedordeniedaccordingasthequestion
whetheritinvolvesapositive,oronlyanegative,reprobationisansweredinthe
affirmativeorinthenegative.Theconceptualdifferencebetweenthetwokindsof
reprobationliesinthis,thatnegativereprobationmerelyimpliestheabsolutewillnotto
granttheblissofheavenwhilepositivereprobationmeanstheabsolutewilltocondemnto
hell.Inotherwords,thosewhoarereprobatedmerelynegativelyarenumberedamongthe
nonpredestinedfromalleternitythosewhoarereprobatedpositivelyaredirectly
predestinedtohellfromalleternityandhavebeencreatedforthisverypurpose.Itwas
CalvinwhoelaboratedtherepulsivedoctrinethatanabsoluteDivinedecreefromall
eternitypositivelypredestinedpartofmankindtohelland,inordertoobtainthisend
effectually,alsotosin.TheCatholicadvocatesofanunconditionalreprobationevadethe
chargeofheresyonlybyimposingatwofoldrestrictionontheirhypothesis:(a)thatthe
punishmentofhellcan,intime,beinflictedonlyonaccountofsin,andfromalleternity
canbedecreedonlyonaccountofforeseenmalice,whilesinitselfisnottoberegardedas
thesheereffectoftheabsoluteDivinewill,butonlyastheresultofGod'spermission(b)
thattheeternalplanofGodcanneverintendapositivereprobationtohell,butonlya
negativereprobation,thatistosay,anexclusionfromheaven.Theserestrictionsare
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evidentlydemandedbytheformulationoftheconceptitself,sincetheattributesofDivine
sanctityandjusticemustbekeptinviolate(seeGOD).Consequently,ifweconsiderthat
God'ssanctitywillneverallowHimtowillsinpositivelyeventhoughHeforeseesitin
Hispermissivedecreewithinfalliblecertainty,andthatHisjusticecanforeordain,andin
timeactuallyinflict,hellasapunishmentonlybyreasonofthesinforeseen,we
understandthedefinitionofeternalreprobationgivenbyPeterLombard(I.Sent.,dist.
40):"Estprscientiainiquitatisquorundametprparatiodamnationiseorundem"(itisthe
foreknowledgeofthewickednessofsomemenandtheforeordainingoftheirdamnation).
Cf.Scheeben,"MysteriendesChristentums"(2nded.,Freiburg,1898),98103.

TheCatholicdogma
Reservingthetheologicalcontroversiesforthenextsection,wedealhereonlywiththose
articlesoffaithrelatingtopredestinationandreprobation,thedenialofwhichwould
involveheresy.
Thepredestinationoftheelect

HewhowouldplacethereasonofpredestinationeitherinmanaloneorinGodalone
wouldinevitablybeledintohereticalconclusionsabouteternalelection.Intheonecase
theerrorconcernsthelastend,intheotherthemeanstothatend.Letitbenotedthatwe
donotspeakofthe"cause"ofpredestination,whichwouldbeeithertheefficientcause
(God),ortheinstrumentalcause(grace),orthefinalcause(God'shonour),ortheprimary
meritoriouscause,butofthereasonormotivewhichinducedGodfromalleternityto
electcertaindefiniteindividualstograceandglory.Theprincipalquestionthenis:Does
thenaturalmeritofmanexertperhapssomeinfluenceontheDivineelectiontograceand
glory?IfwerecallthedogmaoftheabsolutegratuityofChristiangrace,ouranswermust
beoutrightnegative(seeGRACE).TothefurtherquestionwhetherDivinepredestination
doesnotatleasttakeintoaccountthesupernaturalgoodworks,theChurchanswerswith
thedoctrinethatheavenisnotgiventotheelectbyapurelyarbitraryactofGod'swill,but
thatitisalsotherewardofthepersonalmeritsofthejustified(seeMERIT).Thosewho,
likethePelagians,seekthereasonforpredestinationonlyinman'snaturallygoodworks,
evidentlymisjudgethenatureoftheChristianheavenwhichisanabsolutelysupernatural
destiny.AsPelagianismputsthewholeeconomyofsalvationonapurelynaturalbasis,so
itregardspredestinationinparticularnotasaspecialgrace,muchlessasthesupreme
grace,butonlyasarewardfornaturalmerit.
TheSemipelagians,too,depreciatedthegratuityandthestrictlysupernaturalcharacterof
eternalhappinessbyascribingatleastthebeginningoffaith(initiumfidei)andfinal
perseverance(donumperseveranti)totheexertionofman'snaturalpowers,andnotto
theinitiativeofpreventinggrace.Thisisoneclassofheresieswhich,slightingGodand
Hisgrace,makesallsalvationdependonmanalone.Butnolessgravearetheerrorsinto
whichasecondgroupfallsbymakingGodaloneresponsibleforeverything,and
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abolishingthefreecooperationofthewillinobtainingeternalhappiness.Thisisdoneby
theadvocatesofhereticalPredestinarianism,embodiedinitspurestforminCalvinismand
Jansenism.ThosewhoseekthereasonofpredestinationsolelyintheabsoluteWillofGod
arelogicallyforcedtoadmitanirresistiblyefficaciousgrace(gratiairresistibilis),todeny
thefreedomofthewillwheninfluencedbygraceandwhollytorejectsupernaturalmerits
(asasecondaryreasonforeternalhappiness).Andsinceinthissystemeternaldamnation,
too,findsitsonlyexplanationintheDivinewill,itfurtherfollowsthatconcupiscenceacts
onthesinfulwillwithanirresistibleforce,thattherethewillisnotreallyfreetosin,and
thatdemeritscannotbethecauseofeternaldamnation.
BetweenthesetwoextremestheCatholicdogmaofpredestinationkeepsthegoldenmean,
becauseitregardseternalhappinessprimarilyastheworkofGodandHisgrace,but
secondarilyasthefruitandrewardofthemeritoriousactionsofthepredestined.The
processofpredestinationconsistsofthefollowingfivesteps:(a)thefirstgraceof
vocation,especiallyfaithasthebeginning,foundation,androotofjustification(b)a
numberofadditional,actualgracesforthesuccessfulaccomplishmentofjustification(c)
justificationitselfasthebeginningofthestateofgraceandlove(d)finalperseveranceor
atleastthegraceofahappydeath(e)lastly,theadmissiontoeternalbliss.Ifitisatruth
ofRevelationthattherearemanywho,followingthispath,seekandfindtheireternal
salvationwithinfalliblecertainty,thentheexistenceofDivinepredestinationisproved
(cf.Matthew25:34Revelation20:15).St.Paulsaysquiteexplicitly(Romans8:28sq.):
"weknowthattothemthatloveGod,allthingsworktogetheruntogood,tosuchas,
accordingtohispurpose,arecalledtobesaints.Forwhomheforeknew,healso
predestinatedtobemadeconformabletotheimageofhisSonthathemightbethefirst
bornamongstmanybrethren.Andwhomhepredestinated,themhealsocalled.And
whomhecalled,themhealsojustified.Andwhomhejustified,themhealsoglorified."
(Cf.Ephesians1:411)Besidestheeternal"foreknowledge"andforeordaining,the
Apostleherementionsthevariousstepsofpredestination:"vocation","justification",and
"glorification".ThisbeliefhasbeenfaithfullypreservedbyTraditionthroughallthe
centuries,especiallysincethetimeofAugustine.
Therearethreeotherqualitiesofpredestinationwhichmustbenoticed,becausetheyare
importantandinterestingfromthetheologicalstandpoint:itsimmutability,the
definitenessofthenumberofthepredestined,anditssubjectiveuncertainty.
(1)Thefirstquality,theimmutabilityoftheDivinedecree,isbasedbothontheinfallible
foreknowledgeofGodthatcertain,quitedeterminedindividualswillleavethislifeinthe
stateofgrace,andontheimmutablewillofGodtogivepreciselytothesemenandtono
otherseternalhappinessasarewardfortheirsupernaturalmerits.Consequently,thewhole
futuremembershipofheaven,downtoitsminutestdetails,withallthedifferentmeasures
ofgraceandthevariousdegreesofhappiness,hasbeenirrevocablyfixedfromalleternity.
Norcoulditbeotherwise.Forifitwerepossiblethatapredestinedindividualshouldafter
allbecastintohellorthatonenotpredestinedshouldintheendreachheaven,thenGod
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wouldhavebeenmistakeninhisforeknowledgeoffutureeventsHewouldnolongerbe
omniscient.HencetheGoodShepherdsaysofhissheep(John10:28):"AndIgivethem
lifeeverlastingandtheyshaltnotperishforever,andnomanshallpluckthemoutofmy
hand."Butwemustbewareofconceivingtheimmutabilityofpredestinationeitheras
fatalisticinthesenseoftheMahommedankismetorasaconvenientpretextforidle
resignationtoinexorablefate.God'sinfallibleforeknowledgecannotforceuponman
unavoidablecoercion,forthesimplereasonthatitisatbottomnothingelsethanthe
eternalvisionofthefuturehistoricalactuality.Godforeseesthefreeactivityofaman
preciselyasthatindividualiswillingtoshapeit.Whatevermaypromotetheworkofour
salvation,whetherourownprayersandgoodworks,ortheprayersofothersinourbehalf,
iseoipsoincludedintheinfallibleforeknowledgeofGodandconsequentlyinthescope
ofpredestination(cf.St.Thomas,I,Q.xxiii,a.8).Itisinsuchpracticalconsiderations
thattheasceticalmaxim(falselyascribedtoSt.Augustine)originated:"Sinones
prdestinatus,facutprdestineris"(ifyouarenotpredestined,soactthatyoumaybe
predestined).Stricttheology,itistrue,cannotapprovethisboldsaying,exceptinsofaras
theoriginaldecreeofpredestinationisconceivedasatfirstahypotheticaldecree,whichis
afterwardschangedtoanabsoluteandirrevocabledecreebytheprayers,goodworks,and
perseveranceofhimwhoispredestined,accordingtothewordsoftheApostle(2Peter
1:10):"Wherefore,brethren,labourthemore,thatbygoodworksyoumaymakesure
yourcallingandelection."
God'sunerringforeknowledgeandforeordainingisdesignatedintheBiblebythe
beautifulfigureofthe"BookofLife"(libervit,tobiblionteszoes).Thisbookoflifeisa
listwhichcontainsthenamesofalltheelectandadmitsneitheradditionsnorerasures.
FromtheOldTestament(cf.Exodus32:32Psalm68:29)thissymbolwastakenoverinto
theNewbyChristandHisApostlePaul(cf.Luke10:20Hebrews12:23),andenlarged
uponbytheEvangelistJohninhisApocalypse[cf.Apocalypse21:27:"Thereshallnot
enterintoitanythingdefiled...buttheythatarewritteninthebookoflifeoftheLamb"
(cf.Revelation13:820:15)].Thecorrectexplanationofthissymbolicbookisgivenby
St.Augustine(CityofGodXX.13):"PrscientiaDeiqunonpotestfalli,libervitest"
(theforeknowledgeofGod,whichcannoterr,isthebookoflife).However,asintimated
bytheBible,thereexistsasecond,morevoluminousbook,inwhichareenterednotonly
thenamesoftheelect,butalsothenamesofallthefaithfulonearth.Suchametaphorical
bookissupposedwhereverthepossibilityishintedatthataname,thoughentered,might
againbestrickenout[cf.Apocalypse3:5:"andIwillnotblotouthisnameoutofthebook
oflife"(cf.Exodus32:33)].ThenamewillbemercilesslycancelledwhenaChristian
sinksintoinfidelityorgodlessnessanddiesinhissin.Finallythereisathirdclassof
books,whereinthewickeddeedsandthecrimesofindividualsinnersarewritten,andby
whichthereprobatewillbejudgedonthelastdaytobecastintohell(cf.Revelation
20:12):"andthebookswereopened...andthedeadwerejudgedbythosethingswhich
werewritteninthebooksaccordingtotheirworks".Itwasthisgrandsymbolismof
DivineomniscienceandjusticethatinspiredthesoulstirringverseoftheDiesir
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accordingtowhichweshallallbejudgedoutofabook:"Liberscriptusproferetur:inquo
totumcontinetur".Regardingthebookoflife,cf.St.Thomas,I,Q.xxiv,a.13,and
HeinrichGutberlet,"Dogmat.Theologie",VIII(Mainz,1897),section453.
(2)Thesecondqualityofpredestination,thedefinitenessofthenumberoftheelect,
followsnaturallyfromthefirst.ForiftheeternalcounselofGodregardingthepredestined
isunchangeable,thenthenumberofthepredestinedmustlikewisebeunchangeableand
definite,subjectneithertoadditionsnortocancellations.Anythingindefiniteinthe
numberwouldeoipsoimplyalackofcertitudeinGod'sknowledgeandwoulddestroy
Hisomniscience.Furthermore,theverynatureofomnisciencedemandsthatnotonlythe
abstractnumberoftheelect,butalsotheindividualswiththeirnamesandtheirentire
careeronearth,shouldbepresentbeforetheDivinemindfromalleternity.Naturally,
humancuriosityiseagerfordefiniteinformationabouttheabsoluteaswellastherelative
numberoftheelect.Howhighshouldtheabsolutenumberbeestimated?Butitwouldbe
idleanduselesstoundertakecalculationsandtoguessatsoandsomanymillionsor
billionsofpredestined.St.Thomas(I,Q.xxiii,a.7)mentionstheopinionofsome
theologiansthatasmanymenwillbesavedastherearefallenangels,whileothersheld
thatthenumberofpredestinedwillequalthenumberofthefaithfulangels.
Lastly,therewereoptimistswho,combiningthesetwoopinionsintoathird,madethe
totalofmensavedequaltotheunnumberedmyriadsofberatedspirits.Butevengranted
thattheprincipleofourcalculationiscorrect,nomathematicianwouldbeabletofigure
outtheabsolutenumberonabasissovague,sincethenumberofangelsanddemonsisan
unknownquantitytous.Hence,"thebestanswer",rightlyremarksSt.Thomas,"istosay:
Godaloneknowsthenumberofhiselect".Byrelativenumberismeantthenumerical
relationbetweenthepredestinedandthereprobate.Willthemajorityofthehumanracebe
savedorwilltheybedamned?Willonehalfbedamnedtheotherhalfsaved?Inthis
questiontheopinionoftherigoristsisopposedtothemilderviewoftheoptimists.
PointingtoseveraltextsoftheBible(Matthew7:1422:14)andtosayingsofgreat
spiritualdoctors,therigoristsdefendasprobablethethesisthatnotonlymostChristians
butalsomostCatholicsaredoomedtoeternaldamnation.Almostrepulsiveinitstoneis
Massillon'ssermononthesmallnumberoftheelect.YetevenSt.Thomas(loc.cit.,a.7)
asserted:"Paucioressuntquisalvantur"(onlythesmallernumberofmenaresaved).And
afewyearsago,whentheJesuitP.Castelein("Lerigorisme,lenombredeslusetla
doctrinedusalut",2nded.,Brussels,1899)impugnedthistheorywithweightyarguments,
hewassharplyopposedbytheRedemptoristP.Godts("Depaucitatesalvandorumquid
docueruntsancti",3rded.,Brussels,1899).Thatthenumberoftheelectcannotbesovery
smallisevidentfromtheApocalypse(vii,9).Whenonehearstherigorists,oneistempted
torepeatDieringer'sbitterremark:"CanitbethattheChurchactuallyexistsinorderto
peoplehell?"ThetruthisthatneithertheonenortheothercanbeprovedfromScripture
orTradition(cf.HeinrichGutberlet,"Dogmat.Theologie",Mainz,1897,VIII,363sq.).
Butsupplementingthesetwosourcesbyargumentsdrawnfromreasonwemaysafely
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defendasprobabletheopinionthatthemajorityofChristians,especiallyofCatholics,will
besaved.IfweaddtothisrelativenumbertheoverwhelmingmajorityofnonChristians
(Jews,Mahommedans,heathens),thenGener*("Theol.dogmat.scholast.",Rome,1767,
II,242sq.)isprobablyrightwhenheassumesthesalvationofhalfofthehumanrace,lest
"itshouldbesaidtotheshameandoffenceoftheDivinemajestyandclemencythatthe
[future]KingdomofSatanislargerthantheKingdomofChrist"(cf.W.Schneider,"Das
andereLeben",9thed.,Paderborn,1908,476sq.).
(3)Thethirdqualityofpredestination,itssubjectiveuncertainty,isintimatelyconnected
withitsobjectiveimmutability.Weknownotwhetherwearereckonedamongthe
predestinedornot.Allwecansayis:Godaloneknowsit.WhentheReformers,
confoundingpredestinationwiththeabsolutecertaintyofsalvation,demandedofthe
Christiananunshakenfaithinhisownpredestinationifbewishedtobesaved,the
CouncilofTrentopposedtothispresumptuousbeliefthecanon(Sess.VI,can.xv):"S.q.
d.,hominemrenatumetjustificatumteneriexfideadcredendum,secertoesseinnumero
prdestinatorum,anathemasit"(ifanyoneshallsaythattheregeneratedandjustifiedman
isboundasamatteroffaithtobelievethatheissurelyofthenumberofthepredestined,
lethimbeanathema).Intruth,suchapresumptionisnotonlyirrational,butalso
unscriptural(cf.1Corinthians4:49:2710:12Philippians2:12).Onlyaprivate
revelation,suchaswasvouchsafedtothepenitentthiefonthecross,couldgiveusthe
certaintyoffaith:hencetheTridentineCouncilinsists(loc.cit.,cap.xii):"Namnisiex
specialirevelationescirinonpotest,quosDeussibielegerit"(forapartfromaspecial
revelation,itcannotbeknownwhomGodhaschosen).However,theChurchcondemns
onlythatblasphemouspresumptionwhichboastsofafaithlikecertaintyinmattersof
predestination.Tosaythatthereexistprobablesignsofpredestinationwhichexcludeall
excessiveanxietyisnotagainstherteaching.Thefollowingaresomeofthecriteriaset
downbythetheologians:purityofheart,pleasureinprayer,patienceinsuffering,frequent
receptionofthesacraments,loveofChristandHisChurch,devotiontotheMotherof
God,etc.
Thereprobationofthedamned

Anunconditionalandpositivepredestinationofthereprobatenotonlytohell,butalsoto
sin,wastaughtespeciallybyCalvin(Instit.,III,c.xxi,xxiii,xxiv).Hisfollowersin
Hollandsplitintotwosects,theSupralapsariansandtheInfralapsarians,thelatterof
whomregardedoriginalsinasthemotiveofpositivecondemnation,whiletheformer
(withCalvin)disregardedthisfactorandderivedtheDivinedecreeofreprobationfrom
God'sinscrutablewillalone.InfralapsarianismwasalsoheldbyJansenius(Degratia
Christi,l.X,c.ii,xisq.),whotaughtthatGodhadpreordainedfromthemassadamnata
ofmankindoneparttoeternalbliss,theothertoeternalpain,decreeingatthesametime
todenytothosepositivelydamnedthenecessarygracesbywhichtheymightbeconverted
andkeepthecommandmentsforthisreason,hesaid,Christdiedonlyforthepredestined
(cf.Denzinger,"Enchiridion",n.10926).Againstsuchblasphemousteachingsthe
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SecondSynodofOrangein529andagaintheCouncilofTrenthadpronouncedthe
ecclesiasticalanathema(cf.Denzinger,nn.200,827).Thiscondemnationwasperfectly
justified,becausetheheresyofPredestinarianism,indirectoppositiontotheclearesttexts
ofScripture,deniedtheuniversalityofGod'ssalvificwillaswellasofredemption
throughChrist(cf.Wisdom11:24sq.1Timothy2:1sq.),nullifiedGod'smercytowards
thehardenedsinner(Ezekiel33:11Romans2:42Peter3:9),didawaywiththefreedom
ofthewilltodogoodorevil,andhencewiththemeritofgoodactionsandtheguiltofthe
bad,andfinallydestroyedtheDivineattributesofwisdom,justice,veracity,goodness,and
sanctity.TheveryspiritoftheBibleshouldhavesufficedtodeterCalvinfromafalse
explanationofRom.,ix,andhissuccessorBezafromtheexegeticalmaltreatmentof1
Peter2:78.AfterweighingalltheBiblicaltextsbearingoneternalreprobation,amodern
Protestantexegetearrivesattheconclusion:"Thereisnoelectiontohellparalleltothe
electiontograce:onthecontrary,thejudgmentpronouncedontheimpenitentsupposes
humanguilt....ItisonlyafterChrist'ssalvationhasbeenrejectedthatreprobation
follows"("Realencyk.frprot.Theol.",XV,586,Leipzig,1904).AsregardstheFathers
oftheChurch,thereisonlySt.Augustinewhomightseemtocausedifficultiesinthe
prooffromTradition.AsamatteroffacthehasbeenclaimedbybothCalvinand
Janseniusasfavouringtheirviewofthequestion.Thisisnottheplacetoenterintoan
examinationofhisdoctrineonreprobationbutthathisworkscontainexpressionswhich,
tosaytheleast,mightbeinterpretedinthesenseofanegativereprobation,cannotbe
doubted.Probablytoningdownthesharperwordsofthemaster,his"bestpupil",St.
Prosper,inhisapologyagainstVincentofLerin(Resp.ad12obj.Vincent.),thus
explainedthespiritofAugustine:"Voluntateexierunt,voluntatececiderunt,etquia
prscitisuntcasuri,nonsuntprdestinatiessentautemprdestinati,siessentreversuriet
insanctitateremansuri,acperhocprdestinatioDeimultisestcausastandi,neminiest
causalabendi"(oftheirownwilltheywentoutoftheirownwilltheyfell,andbecause
theirfallwasforeknown,theywerenotpredestinedtheywouldhoweverbepredestinedif
theyweregoingtoreturnandpersevereinholinesshence,God'spredestinationisfor
manythecauseofperseverance,fornonethecauseoffallingaway).RegardingTradition
cf.Petavius,"DeDeo",X,7sq.Jacquinin"Revuedel'histoireecclsiastique",1904,266
sq.1906,269sq.725sq.
WemaynowbrieflysummarizethewholeCatholicdoctrine,whichisinharmonywith
ourreasonaswellasourmoralsentiments.Accordingtothedoctrinaldecisionsofgeneral
andparticularsynods,Godinfalliblyforeseesandimmutablypreordainsfrometernityall
futureevents(cf.Denzinger,n.1784),allfatalisticnecessity,however,beingbarredand
humanlibertyremainingintact(Denz.,n.607).Consequentlymanisfreewhetherhe
acceptsgraceanddoesgoodorwhetherherejectsitanddoesevil(Denz.,n.797).Justas
itisGod'strueandsincerewillthatallmen,nooneexcepted,shallobtaineternal
happiness,so,too,Christhasdiedforall(Denz.,n.794),notonlyforthepredestined
(Denz.,n.1096),orforthefaithful(Denz.,n.1294),thoughitistruethatinrealitynotall
availthemselvesofthebenefitsofredemption(Denz.,n.795).ThoughGodpreordained
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botheternalhappinessandthegoodworksoftheelect(Denz.,n.322),yet,ontheother
hand,Hepredestinednoonepositivelytohell,muchlesstosin(Denz.,nn.200,816).
Consequently,justasnooneissavedagainsthiswill(Denz.,n.1363),sothereprobate
perishsolelyonaccountoftheirwickedness(Denz.,nn.318,321).Godforesawthe
everlastingpainsoftheimpiousfromalleternity,andpreordainedthispunishmenton
accountoftheirsins(Denz.,n.322),thoughHedoesnotfailthereforetoholdoutthe
graceofconversiontosinners(Denz.,n.807),orpassoverthosewhoarenotpredestined
(Denz.,n.827).Aslongasthereprobateliveonearth,theymaybeaccountedtrue
ChristiansandmembersoftheChurch,justasontheotherhandthepredestinedmaybe
outsidethepaleofChristianityandoftheChurch(Denz.,nn.628,631).Withoutspecial
revelationnoonecanknowwithcertaintythathebelongstothenumberoftheelect
(Denz.,nn.805sq.,825sq.).

Theologicalcontroversies
OwingtotheinfallibledecisionslaiddownbytheChurch,everyorthodoxtheoryon
predestinationandreprobationmustkeepwithinthelimitsmarkedoutbythefollowing
theses:(a)Atleastintheorderofexecutionintime(inordineexecutionis)themeritorious
worksofthepredestinedarethepartialcauseoftheireternalhappiness(b)hellcannot
evenintheorderofintention(inordineintentionis)havebeenpositivelydecreedtothe
damned,eventhoughitisinflictedonthemintimeasthejustpunishmentoftheir
misdeeds(c)thereisabsolutelynopredestinationtosinasameanstoeternaldamnation.
Guidedbytheseprinciples,weshallbrieflysketchandexaminethreetheoriesputforward
byCatholictheologians.
Thetheoryofpredestinationanteprvisamerita

Thistheory,championedbyallThomistsandafewMolinists(asBellarmine,Francisco
Surez,FrancisdeLugo),assertsthatGod,byanabsolutedecreeandwithoutregardto
anyfuturesupernaturalmerits,predestinedfromalleternitycertainmentothegloryof
heaven,andthen,inconsequenceofthisdecree,decidedtogivethemallthegraces
necessaryforitsaccomplishment.Intheorderoftime,however,theDivinedecreeis
carriedoutinthereverseorder,thepredestinedreceivingfirstthegracespreappointedto
them,andlastlythegloryofheavenastherewardoftheirgoodworks.Twoqualities,
therefore,characterizethistheory:first,theabsolutenessoftheeternaldecree,andsecond,
thereversingoftherelationofgraceandgloryinthetwodifferentordersofeternal
intention(ordointentionis)andexecutionintime(ordoexecutionis).Forwhilegrace(and
merit),intheorderofeternalintention,isnothingelsethantheresultoreffectofglory
absolutelydecreed,yet,intheorderofexecution,itbecomesthereasonandpartialcause
ofeternalhappiness,asisrequiredbythedogmaofthemeritoriousnessofgoodworks
(seeMERIT).Again,celestialgloryisthethingwilledfirstintheorderofeternalintention
andthenismadethereasonormotiveforthegracesoffered,whileintheorderof
executionitmustbeconceivedastheresultoreffectofsupernaturalmerits.This
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concessionisimportant,sincewithoutitthetheorywouldbeintrinsicallyimpossibleand
theologicallyuntenable.
Butwhataboutthepositiveproof?ThetheorycanfinddecisiveevidenceinScriptureonly
onthesuppositionthatpredestinationtoheavenlygloryisunequivocallymentionedinthe
BibleastheDivinemotiveforthespecialgracesgrantedtotheelect.Now,althoughthere
areseveraltexts(e.g.Matthew24:22sq.Acts13:48,andothers)whichmightwithout
strainingbeinterpretedinthissense,yetthesepassageslosetheirimaginedforceinview
ofthefactthatotherexplanations,ofwhichthereisnolack,areeitherpossibleoreven
moreprobable.TheninthchapteroftheEpistletotheRomansinparticularisclaimedby
theadvocatesofabsolutepredestinationasthat"classical"passagewhereinSt.Paulseems
torepresenttheeternalhappinessoftheelectnotonlyastheworkofGod'spurestmercy,
butasanactofthemostarbitrarywill,sothatgrace,faith,justificationmustberegarded
assheereffectsofanabsolute,Divinedecree(cf.Romans9:18:"Thereforehehathmercy
onwhomhewillandwhomhewill,hehardeneth").Now,itisratherdaringtoquoteone
ofthemostdifficultandobscurepassagesoftheBibleasa"classicaltext"andthento
baseonitanargumentforboldspeculation.Tobemorespecific,itisimpossibletodraw
thedetailsofthepictureinwhichtheApostlecomparesGodtothepotterwhohath
"powerovertheclay,ofthesamelump,tomakeonevesseluntohonour,andanotherunto
dishonour"(Romans9:21),withoutfallingintotheCalvinisticblasphemythatGod
predestinedsomementohellandsinjustaspositivelyashepreelectedotherstoeternal
life.ItisnotevenadmissibletoreadintotheApostle'sthoughtanegativereprobationof
certainmen.FortheprimaryintentionoftheEpistletotheRomansistoinsistonthe
gratuityofthevocationtoChristianityandtorejecttheJewishpresumptionthatthe
possessionoftheMosaicLawandthecarnaldescentfromAbrahamgavetotheJewsan
essentialpreferenceovertheheathens.ButtheEpistlehasnothingtodowiththe
speculativequestionwhetherornotthefreevocationtogracemustbeconsideredasthe
necessaryresultofeternalpredestinationtocelestialglory[cf.Franzelin,"DeDeouno",
thes.lxv(Rome,1883)].
ItisjustasdifficulttofindinthewritingsoftheFathersasolidargumentforanabsolute
predestination.TheonlyonewhomightbecitedwithsomesemblanceoftruthisSt.
Augustine,whostands,however,almostaloneamonghispredecessorsandsuccessors.
Notevenhismostfaithfulpupils,ProsperandFulgentius,followedtheirmasterinallhis
exaggerations.Butaproblemsodeepandmysterious,whichdoesnotbelongtothe
substanceofFaithandwhich,tousetheexpressionofPopeCelestineI(d.432),is
concernedwithprofundioresdifficilioresquepartesincurrentiumqustionum(cf.Denz.,
n.142),cannotbedecidedonthesoleauthorityofAugustine.Moreover,thetrueopinion
oftheAfricandoctorisamatterofdisputeevenamongthebestauthorities,sothatall
partiesclaimhimfortheirconflictingviews[cf.O.Rottmanner,"DerAugustinismus"
(Munich,1892)Pflf,"ZurPrdestinationslehredeshl.Augustinus"in"Innsbrucker
Zeitschriftfrkath.Theologie",1893,483sq.].Astotheunsuccessfulattemptmadeby
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GonetandBilluarttoproveabsolutepredestinationanteprvisamerita"byanargument
fromreason",seePohle,"Dogmatik",II,4thed.,Paderborn,1909,443sq.
Thetheoryofthenegativereprobationofthedamned

Whatdetersusmoststronglyfromembracingthetheoryjustdiscussedisnotthefactthat
itcannotbedogmaticallyprovedfromScriptureorTradition,butthelogicalnecessityto
whichitbindsus,ofassociatinganabsolutepredestinationtoglory,withareprobation
justasabsolute,eventhoughitbebutnegative.Thewellmeanteffortsofsome
theologians(e.g.Billot)tomakeadistinctionbetweenthetwoconcepts,andsotoescape
theevilconsequencesofnegativereprobation,cannotconcealfromcloserinspectionthe
helplessnessofsuchlogicalartifices.Hencetheearlierpartisansofabsolutepredestination
neverdeniedthattheirtheorycompelledthemtoassumeforthewickedaparallel,
negativereprobationthatis,toassumethat,thoughnotpositivelypredestinedtohell,
yettheyareabsolutelypredestinednottogotoheaven(cf.above,I,B).Whileitwaseasy
fortheThomiststobringthisviewintologicalharmonywiththeirprmotiophysica,the
fewMolinistswereputtostraitstoharmonizenegativereprobationwiththeirscientia
media.InordertodisguisetheharshnessandcrueltyofsuchaDivinedecree,the
theologiansinventedmoreorlesspalliativeexpressions,sayingthatnegativereprobation
istheabsolutewillofGodto"passover"apriorithosenotpredestined,to"overlook"
them,"nottoelect"them,"bynomeanstoadmit"themintoheaven.OnlyGonethadthe
couragetocallthethingbyitsrightname:"exclusionfromheaven"(exclusioagloria).
Inanotherrespect,too,theadherentsofnegativereprobationdonotagreeamong
themselves,namely,astowhatisthemotiveofDivinereprobation.Therigorists(as
Alvarez,Estius,Sylvius)regardasthemotivethesovereignwillofGodwho,without
takingintoaccountpossiblesinsanddemerits,determinedaprioritokeepthosenot
predestinedoutofheaven,thoughHedidnotcreatethemforhell.
Asecondmilderopinion(e.g.deLemos,Gotti,Gonet),appealingtotheAugustinian
doctrineofthemassadamnata,findstheultimatereasonfortheexclusionfromheavenin
originalsin,inwhichGodcould,withoutbeingunjust,leaveasmanyasHesawfit.The
thirdandmildestopinion(asGoudin,Graveson,Billuart)derivesreprobationnotfroma
directexclusionfromheaven,butfromtheomissionofan"effectualelectiontoheaven"
theyrepresentGodashavingdecreedanteprvisameritatoleavethosenotpredestined
intheirsinfulweakness,withoutdenyingthemthenecessarysufficientgracesthusthey
wouldperishinfallibility(cf."InnsbruckerZeitschriftfrkath.Theologie",1879,203sq.).
Whateverviewonemaytakeregardingtheinternalprobabilityofnegativereprobation,it
cannotbeharmonizedwiththedogmaticallycertainuniversalityandsincerityofGod's
salvificwill.Fortheabsolutepredestinationoftheblessedisatthesametimetheabsolute
willofGod"nottoelect"aprioritherestofmankind(Suarez),orwhichcomestothe
same,"toexcludethemfromheaven"(Gonet),inotherwords,nottosavethem.While
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certainThomists(asBaez,Alvarez,Gonet)acceptthisconclusionsofarastodegrade
the"voluntassalvifica"toanineffectual"velleitas",whichconflictswithevidentdoctrines
ofrevelation,FranciscoSurezlaboursinthesweatofhisbrowtosafeguardthesincerity
ofGod'ssalvificwill,eventowardsthosewhoarereprobatednegatively.Butinvain.
Howcanthatwilltosavebecalledseriousandsincerewhichhasdecreedfromalleternity
themetaphysicalimpossibilityofsalvation?Hewhohasbeenreprobatednegatively,may
exhaustallhiseffortstoattainsalvation:itavail'shimnothing.Moreover,inorderto
realizeinfalliblyhisdecree,Godiscompelledtofrustratetheeternalwelfareofall
excludedapriorifromheaven,andtotakecarethattheydieintheirsins.Isthisthe
languageinwhichHolyWritspeakstous?Notherewemeetananxious,lovingfather,
whowillsnot"thatanyshouldperish,butthatallshouldreturntopenance"(2Peter3:9).
Lessiusrightlysaysthatitwouldbeindifferenttohimwhetherhewasnumberedamong
thosereprobatedpositivelyornegativelyfor,ineithercase,hiseternaldamnationwould
becertain.Thereasonforthisisthatinthepresenteconomyexclusionfromheaven
meansforadultspracticallythesamethingasdamnation.Amiddlestate,amerelynatural
happiness,doesnotexist.
Thetheoryofpredestinationpostprvisamerita

ThistheorydefendedbytheearlierScholastics(AlexanderofHales,AlbertusMagnus),as
wellasbythemajorityoftheMolinists,andwarmlyrecommendedbySt.FrancisdeSales
"asthetruerandmoreattractiveopinion",hasthisasitschiefdistinction,thatitisfree
fromthelogicalnecessityofupholdingnegativereprobation.Itdiffersfrompredestination
anteprvisameritaintwopoints:first,itrejectstheabsolutedecreeandassumesa
hypotheticalpredestinationtoglorysecondly,itdoesnotreversethesuccessionofgrace
andgloryinthetwoordersofeternalintentionandofexecutionintime,butmakesglory
dependonmeritineternityaswellasintheorderoftime.Thishypotheticaldecreereads
asfollows:Justasintimeeternalhappinessdependsonmeritasacondition,soIintended
heavenfromalleternityonlyforforeseenmerit.Itisonlybyreasonoftheinfallible
foreknowledgeofthesemeritsthatthehypotheticaldecreeischangedintoanabsolute:
Theseandnoothersshallbesaved.
ThisviewnotonlysafeguardstheuniversalityandsincerityofGod'ssalvificwill,but
coincidesadmirablywiththeteachingsofSt.Paul(cf.2Timothy4:8),whoknowsthat
there"islaidup"(repositaest,apokeitai)inheaven"acrownofjustice",which"thejust
judgewillrender"(reddet,apodosei)tohimonthedayofjudgment.Clearerstillisthe
inferencedrawnfromthesentenceoftheuniversalJudge(Matthew25:34sq.):"Come,ye
blessedofmyFather,possessyouthekingdompreparedforyoufromthefoundationof
theworld.ForIwashungry,andyougavemetoeat"etc.Asthe"possessing"ofthe
KingdomofHeavenintimeisherelinkedtotheworksofmercyasacondition,sothe
"preparation"oftheKingdomofHeavenineternity,thatis,predestinationtogloryis
conceivedasdependentontheforeknowledgethatgoodworkswillbeperformed.The
sameconclusionfollowsfromtheparallelsentenceofcondemnation(Matthew25:41sq.):
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"Departfromme,youcursed,intoeverlastingfirewhichwaspreparedforthedeviland
hisangels.ForIwashungry,andyougavemenottoeat"etc.Foritisevidentthatthe
"everlastingfireofhell"canonlyhavebeenintendedfromalleternityforsinanddemerit,
thatis,forneglectofChristiancharity,inthesamesenseinwhichitisinflictedintime.
Concludingapari,wemustsaythesameofeternalbliss.Thisexplanationissplendidly
confirmedbytheGreekFathers.Generallyspeaking,theGreeksarethechiefauthorities
forconditionalpredestinationdependentonforeseenmerits.TheLatins,too,areso
unanimousonthisquestionthatSt.Augustineispracticallytheonlyadversaryinthe
Occident.St.Hilary(InPs.lxiv,n.5)expresslydescribeseternalelectionasproceeding
from"thechoiceofmerit"(exmeritidelectu),andSt.Ambroseteachesinhisparaphrase
ofRom.,viii,29(Defide,V,vi,83):"Nonenimanteprdestinavitquamprscivit,sed
quorummeritaprscivit,eorumprmiaprdestinavit"(HedidnotpredestinebeforeHe
foreknew,butforthosewhosemeritsHeforesaw,Hepredestinedthereward).To
conclude:noonecanaccuseusofboldnessifweassertthatthetheoryherepresentedhas
afirmerbasisinScriptureandTraditionthantheoppositeopinion.

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CATHOLICENCYCLOPEDIA:Predestination

APAcitation.Pohle,J.(1911).Predestination.InTheCatholicEncyclopedia.NewYork:
RobertAppletonCompany.RetrievedJune6,2015fromNewAdvent:
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12378a.htm
MLAcitation.Pohle,Joseph."Predestination."TheCatholicEncyclopedia.Vol.12.New
York:RobertAppletonCompany,1911.6Jun.2015
<http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12378a.htm>.
Transcription.ThisarticlewastranscribedforNewAdventbyGaryA.Mros.
Ecclesiasticalapprobation.NihilObstat.June1,1911.RemyLafort,S.T.D.,Censor.
Imprimatur.+JohnCardinalFarley,ArchbishopofNewYork.
Contactinformation.TheeditorofNewAdventisKevinKnight.Myemailaddressis
webmasteratnewadvent.org.Regrettably,Ican'treplytoeveryletter,butIgreatly
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