Louis Le Blanc on Predestination and Election Theses 30-37
Theses Theologicae [...] (London, 1683), pgs. 131-32
30. Hence, many of the scholastics, as we have seen, are accustomed to understand by the word “predestination” only the preparation of grace and to distinguish it from the decree of election by which glory is destined to certain people while passing over others. Thus, election is a decree about the end, but predestination is a decree about the means. But the Reformed never restrict the word of predestination in this way. Instead, they regularly mean by it, both the decree of the giving of glory as an end, and the decree of the conferring of the helps and gifts of grace so that by these efficacious and necessary means one might be led to that end. And you hardly even see among them the word election restricted to the decree concerning the communication of glory. But not a few of them seem to restrict predestination to the decree about the giving of faith, and they think the term better fits with grace than glory, which meaning is unusual among the Roman Schools. Among the latter—if you omit Jansen and his disciples—very rarely is the word predestination taken to denote anything other than the positive side [i.e., not reprobation]. And hardly ever is it made to include the decree concerning the destruction of certain people. On the other hand, predestination is a middle term among many of the Reformed Doctors, by which the decree of God is in general designated, a decree by which human beings are ordained either to life or death. Concerning this decree, thus, they constitute two species [of predestination], namely, election and reprobation.
31. Additionally, it is clear from what was said above that neither the doctors of the Roman church, nor of the Reformed church agree among themselves about the effects of election or predestination when it is understood as the “positive/good side.” And indeed, just as it was noted by us before, there is a variety and discrepancy of opinion over this issue both in the Roman and Reformed schools. Likewise, or nearly likewise, one will find on both sides a diversity of judgments and opinions on this subject. For just as not a few doctors of the Reformed schools number creation itself and the permission of the fall among the effects of predestination for those [predestined] to salvation, so some theologians in the Catholic church also do the same as Estius noted before, Alphonsus Mendoza, and others mentioned above. See Domingo Báñez in primam Thom. Q. 23 on the second article, second doubt. And just as many doctors in the Roman school deny and reject that aforementioned view, so also a great part of the doctors of the Reformed school deny and reject the same.
32. Just as theologians in both the Roman church and Reformed church variously philosophize about the effects of election and predestination, so among both groups their judgments vary—there being not a small difference of opinion concerning the object of predestination and election, that is, as it is asked for what reason and in what respect is man the object of God’s predestination. And nearly the same distinction of views which is found in the Reformed schools can be found also in the Roman Catholic schools. This is able to be gleaned from what has been previously mentioned above.
33. Indeed, it is important to observe that just as there are some among the Reformed who think that the object of predestination is simply man creatable, but not man considered as already created and fallen, and think that there is no antecedent prevision of the creation and fall of the person who is chosen by the decree of predestination, so not a few in the Roman church also hold that same view—all those, namely, who think that the creation of the predestined and the permission of their fall into sin have a place among the effects of predestination, and who insist that the creation itself advanced the decree of predestination, and is a means subordinate to that end in God’s predestination in order to attain that end. Concerning which number, beyond Scotus, Phigius, Naclantus, Catharinum, as we taught above, there is William Estius, Alphonsus Mendoza, and the Dominican Báñez, from whose doctrine, in the place cited above, man as a mere possibility is the object in God’s predestination. And just as there are many in the Roman school who back away from this view, so also a great part of the doctors in the Reformed school also disapprove of and condemn that view. And finally, just as there are many among the Reformed who make the object of predestination fallen mankind, so also there are many in the Roman schools who commonly hold to this view.
34. But now, if anyone looks for the importance of that question about the object and effects of predestination, I respond that there is a lot of logomachy. For those who disagree on these things do not define predestination the same way. Some want, by the term, it to embrace many divine decrees, but others only want it to embrace a few. Indeed, the former deny this and want the act of divine providence to be included in predestination, but the latter affirm it. For, those who make creatable or possible man the object of predestination so enlarge the definition of election and predestination that that divine decree about the creation of man and the permission his fall is brought into it. Indeed some, like Alphonsus Mendoza, introduce in a certain way all of providence back into predestination. Given this, it is necessary that creation be its effect, and man, as he is at this point considered “to be created” by God, is not rightly made its object.
35. But those who think that fallen and sinful man is in the divine foreknowledge the object of predestination, and consequently deny that the creation of man and permission of sin ought to be numbered among the effects of predestination, define the term in such a way that it does not embrace the divine decree about the creation of man, the permission of his fall, but that decree is presupposed by it, as something prior, according to our mode of conceiving things. But wherever there is no agreement about the definition of a thing, there is bound to be much logomachy and contention over words.
36. But in this matter and in many others, this rule ought to be followed, namely that when we give some meaning of expressions, we follow, if it can be done, the scripture use, or at least we should accept no other uses than those which are accustomed to be commonly accepted in the Christian schools. Therefore, seeing that predestination is accustomed to be distinguished from common providence in the schools, and commonly the gifts of grace are assigned to the former, but the gifts of nature to the latter, creation seems less suitably to be placed among the effects of predestination, and consequently man not-yet-made by God is established as its object, but simply creatable. They enlarge the word “predestination” too much who bring in to it the decree itself of creating man, and of permitting his fall.
37. But if anyone searches deeper, asking whence it is that some theologians thus restrict the word of predestination while others extend its meaning, I respond: it stems from the fact that some attribute more, and some less, acts and effects of divine providence to the end intended by God in the predestination of certain people, which end is the illumination of the divine mercy in their salvation. For, on this point, theologians seem to agree that all the acts and effects of God’s providence have been brought back to the predestination and reprobation of men, which acts and effects as such are assigned for both the manifestation of divine mercy and of justice among certain people, either in their eternal salvation or just punishment. But some deny that to be the end intended by God in the creation of man, others, however, affirm it. For the latter, the eternal decree of God concerning the creation of man begins the decree of predestination, and makes up a part of it. But this is not so with the former group with whom we more probably agree. Indeed, the creation of man does not seem to be assigned as such and directly to the manifestation of divine mercy or justice, but rather to the illustration of the divine power, goodness, and wisdom.
 If I understand this correctly, because Mendoza brings all which would (ordinarily) fall under providence into “predestination,” then creation itself is a part of predestination. And if creation itself is a part of predestination, then it is an effect of predestination. And if it is an effect, then the creation of man is likewise an effect. And if man is an effect of predestination, he can’t, as such, also be the object of predestination.