A thesis in predestination

Thesis: God, looking out over the whole of history and seeing those who will freely cooperate with grace and those who will not, chooses to create only the former.

The thesis can be taken either as articulating a mode of Universalism or as an objection to it. At least one student has come to me asking ‘Why did God just not do that?” Avoid all the problems of predestination and empty out Hell while we’re at it!

The Thomistic response, given for example by Sebastian Walshe, points to some value that the damned give to the whole. Just because it would be better for Joe if he were never born, it doesn’t follow that everyone else would be better off if he weren’t. One could turn this mere non-sequitur into an axiom: our lives are enriched by everyone, no matter what their eternal destiny. Even if one cuts himself off from the family, this is no reason to wish they had never been born.

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3 Comments

  1. August 31, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    You could also simply respond that there is no such fact as whether or not someone will freely cooperate with grace or not, considered apart from the entire world and all of its circumstances, including other people who exist.

  2. August 31, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    Ruminating on Predestination, Mystery and Laughter

    http://stephen-hand2010.blogspot.com/2010/05/ruminating-on-predestination-mystery.html?m=1

  3. David T said,

    September 1, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    I suppose Judas is the archetype (Matt. 26:24). Better for him to have never been born but not for us.


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