"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - Jerome

Thursday, August 26, 2004

So Where does Augustine fall?

[Read my posts on Augustine on Free Choice and Grace first]

Question: Can freedom resist Grace?
Augustine writes on pg 13 - "Deliver also those who do not as yet pray, that they may call upon you and you may set them free." is this Compulsion? Effectual calling? Then on pg 141 - "I had no answer to make to you when you said to me 'arise, you who are asleep, rise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light." Was this delayed and resisted grace? Must we cooperate with grace?

Q: What is the Relationship of Grace and Free Choice?
138 - AUGUSTINE QUOTES LUKE 15:32 "who was dead and is alive again, was lost and is found."

I see the idea of freedom of choice introduced as a solution to the problem of evil. Grace is used in relation to Providence and Salvation. Thus there are two possible solutions to the relation of freedom of choice and grace:

1. Submission of will to Grace. Uncompulsed surrender
Grace may not necessarily move a "free will," but we are still chosen and pursued even if we do not surrender to the Pursuer. Grace may be emphasised as power here, as an outlet to plug our faculty of the will into, leaving the driving and directing of the will to us to follow or not follow God with that power. We are the riders on the back of Grace, able to direct its power. Grace fills the fuel tank of our engine of the will.

2. The parable of the Lost Sheep. Compulsed surrender.
We are sheep that wander off by our own free choice. We may rightly say it was our own free choice to wander, to sin, but our freedom to sin does not mean we have the freedom to find our way back. We have lost ourselves. But it takes someone else to "find" us. The coin was found by the widow, not by itself. The sheep is found by the shepard, it does not "find" itself. We are brought back by the Grace of the Shepard. The Shepard does not come nearer to the sheep who come nearest to Him, they are too stupid to know how. Found Sheep are found by the power and willing of the Shepard, not the sheep.

Augustine's Answer (?):
Pelagius described us as riders on the back of a horse of grace, an Uncompulsed surrender and submission to God's will. Augustine called this heresy and [I think rightly] deduced that this reduced Christianity to a morality religion. I think Augustine would shy away from saying election is "compulsed" but it certainly is orcestrated through Providence, Power, Revelation, and Faculty as to make the role of "free choice" seem more like bondage to ignorance than the true Liberty of a Christian Augustine finds with the gift of a "new will." But then again, I could be wrong.

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