Classic Thomism on Free Will, Grace, Sin and Predestination


Hello all. This is my first post here in these forums, and look forward to conversing with the many different thoughts you all have here. (I am new to the idea of universalism, by the way, and am genuinely interested in its Biblical and metaphysical implications.)

What I want to do is present a sophicated understanding of Predestination, Grace, Free Will, Sin and God’s sovereignty from a classical Thomist perspective. I held this view for a long time, but am not so sure I hold it anymore (for various reasons). At any rate, I want to present something I wrote explaining the Thomist perspective to see what you guys think of it. Many people simply do not understand this teaching (which has been held by Thomistic theologians for the past 500+ years), and equate it with Calvinism (which it isn’t, at least in theory, due to the distinction between sufficient and efficacious grace.)

Another point I want to make before I present: this is what is known as “classical Thomism.” It’s proponents have been John of St. Thomas, Gonet, Bulliart, and, especially, the late Fr. Garrigou Lagrange (whose monumental work on Grace can be found here and read for free: That’s not to say it is what all people who claim to follow St. Thomas believe he taught on these subjects, however.

Here, then, is a large part of my chapter on the issues mentioned above. Please put comments in this thread if interested. … -free.html


Welcome Chris and thanks for posting! It sounds interesting, but unfortunately, that’s out of my depth. However, there are some people on the forum who I’m sure will be delighted to engage with it :slight_smile:



Welcome aboard. Happy convos!

I’d love to have a look at your blog as time permits. But in the meantime, and since it’s easier to discuss things posted here, would you be willing to summarize your blog post on these issues? I’d also be very interested in why you no longer hold to this view and what directing your thinking moved after rejecting Thomism.



I’ve corresponded with Chris recently by regular email, and invited him here. He’s considering universalism as a way of solving some problems raised by what he sees as an inconsistency in Thomistic metaphysics (not solved by Molinist propositions); I hope he’ll post the paper he sent me, as it’s quite interesting.

(If he does, I’ll post the reply I sent him. :smiley: The paper he sent me isn’t the same as the multi-chapter monograph he has linked to above, by the way, though it certainly covers the same topical territory.)

If I recall correctly, he originally posted his paper as a request for discussion on another Christian forum; I would be curious to see how that went, if he’s willing to provide a link there.


I did read through it and found that I have quite a number of difficulties with it (provided I’m understanding you correctly). I too tended to read this as Calvinistic - yet at the same time trying to retain Arminian theology (or libertarian free will -LFW). It’s quite long and so trying to cover point by point is difficult but if you don’t mind I’ll post up the points you use at the end for discussion: