Of God and His Creatures

Of Predestination, Reprobation, and Divine Election

SINCE it has been shown that by the action of God some are guided to their last end with the aid of grace, while others, bereft of that same aid of grace, fall away from their last end; and at the same time all things that are done by God are from eternity foreseen and ordained by His wisdom, as has also been shown, it needs must be that the aforesaid distinction of men has been from eternity ordained of God. Inasmuch therefore as He has from eternity pre-ordained some to be guided to the last end, He is said to have 'predestined' them. Hence the Apostle says: Who hath predestined us to the adoption of sons, according to the purpose of his will (Eph. i, 5). But those to whom from eternity He has arranged not to give grace,* He is said to have 'reprobated,' or 'hated,' according to the text: I have loved Jacob, and hated Esau (Malach. i, 2). In point of this distinction, inasmuch as some He has reprobated and some He has predestined, we speak of the divine 'election,' of which it is said: He hath elected us in him before the constitution of the world (Eph. i, 4). Thus it appears that predestination and election and reprobation is a part of divine providence, according as by the said providence men are guided to their last end. And it may be shown that predestination and election do not induce necessity, by the same arguments whereby it was shown that divine providence does not take away contingency from creation (Chap. LXXII).

But that predestination and election have no cause in any human merits may be shown, not only by the fact that the grace of God, an effect of predestination, is not preceded by any merits, but precedes all merit, but also by this further fact, that the divine will and providence is the first cause of all things that are made. Nothing can be cause of the will and providence of God; although of the effects of providence, and of the effects of predestination, one effect may be cause of another.* For who hath first given to him, and recompense shall be made him? For if him and by him and in him are all things: to him be glory forever, Amen (Rom. xi, 35, 36).

3.163 : That God is Cause of Sin to no Man
4.1 : Preface