4. Augustine and Free Will
This will be my final response to Mike Garner's comment to my post. I honestly thought I was finished but I think God wants me to do one more. I may do another one outside of this series about who killed Jesus but right now, I'm being pushed this way.
Mike graciously suggested that I read A Treatise on the Predestination. He is correct that it is very well worth the read. I've done a cursory read although haven't had much time to digest it.
Interestingly, in our latest comments, he suggested that I was reading my own opinion into John 6:45. "Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me. "
First of all, I will admit that when I read scripture that I look at it with a jaundiced view...that God loves you and He wants you to love Him back. That's not in one line of the Bible, it screams out at me throughout the whole of Scripture.
Secondly, upon reading Augustine's book upon Mike's recommendation, I stumbled onto this in chapter 14:
And yet in a certain sense the Father teaches all men to come to His Son. For it was not in vain that it was written in the prophets, "And they shall all be teachable of God." And when He too had premised this testimony, He added, "Every man, therefore, who has heard of the Father, and has learned, cometh to me."
I didn't read this until tonight but apparently, if Mike disagrees with me, he also disagrees with Austine's writings that he recommended to me.
I also think Mike (and all Calvinists) will disagree with Augustine in regards to his thoughts on Free Will (which makes me wonder why they would refer to themselves as Augustinians). He wrote a whole treatise on it titled On Grace and Free Will.
I have only read the first few chapters and skimmed the rest of it (but I'm sure it's also definitely worth the read). Augustine writes this in Chapter 2:
Now He has revealed to us, through His Holy Scriptures, that there is in a man a free choice of will. But how He has revealed this I do not recount in human language, but in divine. There is, to begin with, the fact that God's precepts themselves would be of no use to a man unless he had free choice of will, so that by performing them he might obtain the promised rewards.
The only difference between what I was saying and what he's saying is that he says it better than I do (and I erroneously preached the Semipelagian heresy...thanks again, Mike for catching that).
So, according to Augustine (and me):
Man has free will.
God loves us. All of us. He wants us to love him back freely and the whole of scripture does not make sense without free will.
I honestly don't think there's anything more I can write about this. When I started last week, my plan was to write about something completely different but God pushed me in this direction and I didn't understand it at the time.
I want to thank Mike Garner for this as it's helped me have a much better understanding of the subject. It's also given me a better understanding of the Catholic Church's teaching of Free Will of which I honestly only had a vague understanding.
I really hope that all who read this will be drawn closer to Him. I am not looking for division because that's not what He wants.
He wants us to love Him back.
May the Grace and the Love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all who read this post.