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Augustine’s Doctrine of Predestination: The Contours

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Chapter Summary

The first and main section of this chapter outlines the contours of Augustine's four works against the so-called Semi-Pelagians in terms of the logic they articulate concerning the relation between divine grace and human free choice. Augustine's argument is most often assessed in terms of the question of whether it is possible for the human being to resist grace, by choosing between consent and refusal in response to it. After offering a biblical defence of free choice at the beginning of De gratia Augustine goes on to argue that this should in no way imply that no place is left for grace. In the light of this symmetrical treatment of the good and the evil human will, unqualified speech of grace ex nihilo ceases to be possible. Despite its ultimately mysterious origin, evil becomes an explicable result of divine judgment, and the problem of evil is effectively dissolved.

Keywords: Augustine; divine grace; free choice; Semi-Pelagians



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