Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Scotus on Predestination Ia

Ordinatio I d. 41 q. unica n. 40-51 [VI 332-36]:

It can be said otherwise that there is no reason for predestination [praedestinationis nulla est ratio] from the part of the predestined, in some way prior to that predestination. Nevertheless there is something prior to reprobation, not indeed on account of which God effectively reprobates insofar as this is an action of God (just as was argued in the preceding opinion, because "then God would be passive"), but on account of which that action so terminates to this object and not to that.

The first is proved, because one ordinately willing the end and those things which are to the end, first wills the end than something of beings to the end, and account of that end wills other things. Therefore when in the total process by which beatifiable creatures are led to the perfect end, the ultimate end is perfect beatitude, God - willing something of that order to somone - first wills an end for this beatifiable creature, and quasi posterior wills other things for him, which are in the order of those which pertain to that end. But grace, faith, merit, and the good use of free choice, all those are to that end (although certain of them more remotely, others more closely). Therefore God first wills the beatitude of that one than something of these other things. And first he wills for him whatsoever of those which he foresees him to have in the future [habiturum], therefore on account of none of them foreseen does he will beatitude to him.

The second is proved, because damnation does not seem good unless because it is just, for - according to Augustine Super Genesim IX - "God is not first an avenger before someone is a sinner" (for it seems cruel to punish someone with no fault pre-existing in him); therefore similarly, God does not first will to punish than he sees someone to be a sinner. Therefore the first act of the divine will, concerning Judas, is not to will to damn Judas inasmuch as Judas is offered in pure nature (because then he would seem to will to damn without fault), but it seems that it is necessary that Judas be offerred to the divine will under the aspect of a sinner before God wills to damn him. Therefore reprobation has a reason from the side of the object, namely the final sin foreseen.

This is confirmed by the authority of Augustine in the book De praedestinatione sanctorum and is in the text [of Peter Lombard's Sentences].

Against that. Peter and Judas are equal in nature [naturalibus], willed by God in the being of existence [esse exsistentiae], in that instant in which they are offered to the divine will in natural and equal existence: God - according to you [sc. Scotus] - first wills beatitude for Peter; I ask then what does he will for Judas? If damnation, I have what is argued, namely, "he reprobates without any reason", - if beatitude, therefore he predestines Judas.

[Scotus's response] It can be said that in that instant he wills nothing for Judas. There is only there the negation of the willing for glory. And likewise, as if in the second instant of nature, when he wills grace to Peter, still there is no positive act of the divine will concerning Judas, but only a negative one. In the third instant, when he wills to permit Pter to be of the mass of perdition or worthy of perdition (and this either on account of original sin or on account of actual sin), then he wills to permit Judas in a similar manner to be a son of perdition. And here is the first positive act - indeed uniform - around Peter and Judas, but from that act that is true, "Judas will be finally a sinner", with those negations posited, namely that he does not will to give him either grace or glory. Therefore in the fourth instant Judas is offered to the divine will as a sinning finally, and then he wills justly to punish and reprobate Judas.

Nor is it a cause for wonder that a similar process is not posited for predestination and reprobation, because all good things are attributed to God principally, evil however to us. And so it is fitting for God's goodness to "predestine without reason" but "to will to damn" does not seem immediately able to be attributed to him [God] with respect to the object as known in its pure nature, but only with respect to the object as known in final mortal sin.

That response can be confirmed similarly: let us posit two people, equally graced from the part of themselves, of which I love one and not the other. And him whom I love, I preorder to some good through which he may be able to please me; him however whom I do not love, I do not preorder to such good. If so it would be that in my power it would be [possible] to permit them to be able to offend, I might be able to will to permit each to offend - and from which I do not will to lead him to that through which it would be possible to please me, I foreknow his offense to be perpetual (and so I rightly punish him); I foreknow the offense of the other to which I will [him to be able to please me] that it is about be to remitted or commuted.

But against that it is objected:
Because God certitudinally does not foresee Judas to be evil, accoridng to that way - for the permission of some act and the certitude of permission do not make certitude about that act, because it is necessary to have some effective cause. Therefore from this alone that God foreknows himself to will to permitt Judas to sin, he is not certain that Judas will sin; or we can speak about a good or evil angel (which were not in original sin): from this alone I say it does not seem that he knows that Lucifer will sin, and from this it seems that Lucifer is not offerred to him as a sinner.

Furthermore, what is that "to will to permit Lucifer to sin"? If this is some positive act of the will with respect to sin, therefore it seems that he wills him to sin. If there is not a positive act with respect to the act of sin but with repsect to the act of permission, then it will be a reflex act - and then we will have to ask about that permission, whose act it is. If it is a positive act of the will, therefore it seems still that God would have a positive act with repsect to the sin which he permits.

[Scotus's response] The first of those is solved by this that God foreknows himself to be about to cooperate with Lucifer to the substance of that act which will be sin (he foreknows this, because he wills to cooperate with him, if it is a sin of commission), or he foreknows himself not to be about to cooperate to some act if he does not will it (and this, if that first act is a sin of omission); and by knowing himself to be about to cooperate to such substance of the act (not with the required circumstances), or not to be about to cooperate with him for a negative act (and consequently, which he omits), he knows that one to be about to sin: so that he knows "this one about to sin" no only because he knows himself to be about to permit this, but because he knows himself to be about to cooperate with this one for the substance of the act not to the circumstances [? circumstantionati], and consequently that one will commit it - or not to be about to cooperate with him for a negative act, and consequently that one will omit it.

The second argument seeks a difficulty touching on the divine will which we do not discuss here but elsewhere.


Lee Faber said...

Unfortunately, the latin here is pretty rough; I did the best I could in the time I have.

Shane said...

Lee, thanks for this. I've been thinking about scotus on justification and this adds a helpful dimension to my (as yet dim) understanding of his position!

Daniel said...

Hi, after reading Cardinal’s Dulles fascinating article “the population of hell,” And the possibility that all might be saved. I have been looking high and low for Scotus’ opinions on hell.

Did Scotus believe that it was possible for all to be saved?

Did he hold that indeed some will go to hell for always?

This is less important, but, did he take a stab as to how many would go to hell? Did he say most would be saved or condemned?

This is a fabulous website and I have bookmarked it, I believe Scotus was the greatest theologian of the church. I don’t think is hyperbole. That is why I am curious as to his position on the issue.

This the link to Cardinal Dulle's article