Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are continuing our dive into the ocean of truth. We’ve been going through the doctrine of God in Christian thought and tonight we’re going to be continuing our look at the doctrine of predestination. Our path has been guided by the Summa Theologica of the Medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas. This can be read for free at newadvent.org. Tonight, we will be discussing if the predestined are elected by God.
Aquinas tells us that one reason we will an end is because we believe we have the ability or at least will have the ability to bring about an end. If you will to start going to school, it is because you believe you have the ability to finish school. If you will to marry, it is because (Or at least it should be!) you have the ability to love the person you have pledged your life to for better or for worse. (Sadly, too many couples have it be only for better.)
Thus, for some, according to Aquinas, God predestines their salvation. This is an act of election and love. It is love insofar as God wills this good to someone for their betterment. It is election insofar as it is this particular love that God happens to love.
Aquinas brings out an interesting idea on how the love of God differs in election for God in contrast to us. For us, we elect to love some people instead of others after all. I am married to one woman and in marrying that one woman, I said I would not marry other women and give a unique kind of love exclusively to her that I do not give to anyone else. Parents love their children more than they love the children of others. Friends have a unique bond of love between them that they do not give to the ordinary man on the street. Over this past month for instance, I have found out just how much some friends are supportive and I am incredibly grateful for that.
For us, the will to love does not cause good. It is because we see some good in someone instead that we are inspired to love that someone. We believe that there is something in that person that is worthy of the kind of love that we wish to give them. Based on a prior good, we offer love.
The reverse is true in the case of God. It is his will to love them that is the cause of goodness in them. God does not love us firstly because we are good. He loves us firstly because HE is good. Thus, love precedes election and election then precedes predestination. Let us remember that many times in the Bible, we are told that God does things for his name’s sake.
The love of God is not like the love we ourselves have. We love because of goods in people. God loves because of the good that is in Him. We ought to seek to mirror this love as much as possible however. The more we truly love someone, the more we will shape them into the image of God.
We shall continue tomorrow.