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Wesker

St. Justin Martyr Speaks

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St. Justin Martyr on the logical consequences of predestination: 

 

But lest some suppose, from what has been said by us, that we say that whatever happens, happens by a fatal necessity, because it is foretold as known beforehand, this too we explain. We have learned from the prophets, and we hold it to be true, that punishments, and chastisements, and good rewards, are rendered according to the merit of each man’s actions. Since if it be not so, but all things happen by fate, neither is anything at all in our own power. For if it be fated that this man, e.g., be good, and this other evil, neither is the former meritorious nor the latter to be blamed. And again, unless the human race have the power of avoiding evil and choosing good by free choice, they are not accountable for their actions, of whatever kind they be. But that it is by free choice they both walk uprightly and stumble, we thus demonstrate. We see the same man making a transition to opposite things. Now, if it had been fated that he were to be either good or bad, he could never have been capable of both the opposites, nor of so many transitions. But not even would some be good and others bad, since we thus make fate the cause of evil, and exhibit her as acting in opposition to herself; or that which has been already stated would seem to be true, that neither virtue nor vice is anything, but that things are only reckoned good or evil by opinion; which, as the true word shows, is the greatest impiety and wickedness. But this we assert is inevitable fate, that they who choose the good have worthy rewards, and they who choose the opposite have their merited awards. For not like other things, as trees and quadrupeds, which cannot act by choice, did God make man: for neither would he be worthy of reward or praise did he not of himself choose the good, but were created for this end; nor, if he were evil, would he be worthy of punishment, not being evil of himself, but being able to be nothing else than what he was made.

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Eh, even without classical Calvinist determinism I'm not entirely satisfied with this reasoning. It seems too obvious. Usually it seems the truth on controversial issues is counter-intuitive.

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Thank you for the quote. This will help in a current discussion I'm having with someone. Related quotes:

 

Epiphanius: (310-403) ‘if ye be willing and obedient’; “whence, it is plainly manifest and indubitable, that God had granted to man free-will, so that it is in his power to do the good, or choose the evil. For if it be predestined that one man be good and another man evil, then the first is not deserving of praise or the other to be blamed. Against Heresies 16 Isaiah

 

Hippolytus: (225 AD) For if man did not possess the power to will and not to will, why should a law be established? …And that by Himself in person He might prove that God made nothing evil, and that man possesses the capacity of self-determination, inasmuch as he is able to will and not to will, and is endued with power to do both. Against all Heresies Book 10, Chapter 29

 

 

Eusebius of Caesarea: (263-339) For the Creator of all implanted in every soul this natural law as a helper and defender in its actions; and while by His law He showed it the right way, by the self-determined freedom bestowed on it He declared the choice of the better course to be deserving of praise and approbation, and of greater honours and rewards for its good deeds, because it performed them not under compulsion but by its own independent decision, though it had the power of choosing the opposite: so that, on the other hand, that soul which chose the worst acts was deserving of blame and punishment, as having ‘proprio motu’ transgressed the law of nature, and given birth to a source and fount of wickedness, and used itself basely not from any external necessity but of free determination and judgement. ‘The chooser then is answerable, God is not to blame.’  For God made neither nature nor yet the substance of the soul evil: since a good Being may not create anything but what is good. Everything, then, that is according to nature is good: and every rational soul possesses by nature the good gift of free-will, which has been given for choosing what is good.  But when it acts wickedly, it is not nature that should be blamed: since evil comes to it not by nature but against nature, being a matter of choice but not an effect of nature. For when one who had power to choose the good, instead of choosing this, voluntarily rejected the better part and claimed the worse, what room for excuse could be left to him after becoming the cause of his own disease, and disregarding the innate law which was, as it were, his preserver and healer?  Praeparatio Evangelica.  Book 6, Chapter 6

Edited by God-Sent

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