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    The Divine Initiative

    Grace, World-Order, and Human Freedom in the Early Writings of Bernard Lonergan

    J. MICHAEL STEBBINS

    Bernard Lonergan spent much of his early career grappling with Thomas Aquinas's monumental effort at 'thinking out the Christian universe.' What he learned from Aquinas reinforced the basis of a theological paradigm whose main lines would remain intact throughout all of his subsequent work.

    The Divine Initiative explores Lonergan 's comprehensive position on the doctrines of grace and providence formulated in his early writings, paying particular attention to the unpublished treatise De ente supernaturali (On Supernatural Being) . J. Michael Stebbins 's investigation uncovers a theological synthesis of remarkable assimilative capacity. A key to Lonergan 's position is his sophisticated understanding of the structured but dynamic process that characterizes the order of the created universe. Lonergan considers grace a particular instance of God 's providential activity in human living and in the cosmos as a whole. On the strength of his inquiries into Aquinas's positions on the meaning of causal- ity, free will, sin, and divine transcendence, Lonergan explains why God's governance of all created activity is compatible with the contingence of created events in general and with human freedom in particular. Lonergan 's conclusions are made possible by his insist- ence that the elements of Thomist metaphys- ics are grounded in corresponding activities of human cognitional process.

  • I ~.

    The Divine Initiative

  • J. MICHAEL STEBBINS

    The Divine Initiative: Grace, World-Order, and Human Freedom in the Early Writings of Bernard Lonergan

    UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO PRESS

    Toronto Buffalo London

  • © J. Michael Stebbins 1995 Printed in Canada

    Printed on acid-free paper

    Lonergan Studies series

    Canadian Cataloguing in Publication Data

    Stebbins, J. Michael The divine initiative: grace, world-order and human freedom in the early writings of Bernard Lonergan

    (Lonergan studies) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-802(}{)464-4

    1. Lonergan, Bernard J.F. 2. Grace (Theology). J. Title. II. Series.

    Publication of this book was assisted by grants from The Lonergan Institute at Boston College and the Woodstock Theological Center.

    University of Toronto Press acknowledges the financial assistance to its publishing program of the Canada Council and the Ontario Arts Council.

  • Contents

    Abbreviations / xi

    Outline of De ente supernaturali / xiii

    Preface / xvii

    1 The Role of Understanding in Theological Speculation / 3 1 The Distinction between Dogma and Speculation / 3 2 The Two Operations of the Human Intellect / 5

    2. I The Introspective Method of Thomas Aquinas / 5 2.2 The Dynamism of Human Knowing: Wonder / 7 2.3 The First operation: Direct Understanding / 9 2.4 The Second Operation: Reflective Understanding / 13 2·5 The Development of Understanding / 17 2.6 The Transposition to the Metaphysical Context / 23

    3 Faith Seeking Understanding / 27 4 The Two Ways of Learning / 32

    2 The Principal Instance of Supernatural Being: The Created Communication of the Divine Nature / 35 1 The Created Communication of the Divine Nature / 35

    1.1 The Natural Analogy and Its Context / 35 1.1.1 Potency, Form, and Act as Components of Proportionate

    Being / 36 1.1.2 Created Being and Its Creator / 41 1.1.3 Nature as Proportionate Principle of Operations / 43

  • vi Contents

    1.2 The Application of the Analogy / 47 1.3 The Appropriateness of the Analogy / 51

    2 The Absolute Supernaturality of the Created Communication of the Divine Nature / 53 2.1 The Theorem of the Supernatural/54 2.2 Vertical Finality and the Communal Significance of Grace / 56 2.3 The Absolute Gratuity of Grace / 58

    2.3.1 Ripalda: Grace as Only Relatively Supernatural/59 2.3.2 Baius: The Denial of the Supernaturality of

    Grace / 61

    3 The Thirteenth-Century Breakthrough / 67 1 The Historical Exigence for the Theorem of the

    Supernatural / 67 I. I Key Features of the Early-Scholastic Notion of Grace / 69 1.2 Speculative Difficulties Regarding the Doctrine of Grace / 71

    1.2.1 The Definition of Grace / 71 1.2.2 The Distinction between Naturalia and

    Gratuita / 73 1.2.3 The Efficacy of Infant Baptism / 75 1.2.4 The Ground of Merit / 75 1.2.5 The Scope of Human Freedom / 76

    2 The Discovery of the Theorem of the Supernatural / 78 2. I Philip the Chancellor's Achievement / 78 2.2 The Transition / 80

    3 The Systematic Use of the Theorem by Thomas Aquinas / 83 3. I The Supernaturality of Grace / 83 3.2 The Theory of the Human Will / 84

    3.2.1 The Freedom of the Will / 84 3.2.2 The Will's Need for Healing Grace / 87

    3.3 Consolidating the Breakthrough / 89 3.3.1 Grace and Freedom / 89 3.3.2 The Twofold Gratuity of Grace / 90

    4 The Supernatural Transformation of Human Activity / 93 1 The Specification of Acts by Their Formal Objects / 95

    1.1 The Interrelation of Form, Operation, and Object / 96 1.1.1 Operation versus Movement /96 1.1.2 The Two Meanings of 'Operation' / 97 1.1.3 Object and Attainment /98 1.1.4 Formal Object Qy,od and Qy,o / 100 1.1.5 On Knowing the Substance of an Operation / 102

  • vii Contents

    1.2 Some Difficulties of Thomist Interpretation / 104 1.2.1 The Two Meanings of Actio / 104 1.2.2 The Theory of Vital Act / 107

    2 The Supernaturality of Virtuous Acts / 110 2. I Acts of the Theological Virtues / III

    2.1.1 The Supernaturality of the Formal Object Qp,od of Acts of Faith / III

    2.1.2 The Supernaturality of the Formal Object Qp,o of Acts of Faith / 113

    2.1.3 Acts of Hope / 117 2.2 A cts of the Moral Virtues / 11 7 2.3 Grades of Supernatural Acts / 120 2.4 The Rejection of Merely Entitative Supernaturality / 122

    3 The Speculative Intelligibility of Actual Grace / 126 3.r The Traditional Categories of Actual Grace / 127 3.2 Lonergan's Definition of Actual Grace / 129 3.3 The Adequacy of the Definition / 132

    3.3.1 The Question of Fact / 132 3.3.2 The Properties of Principal Supernatural Acts / 134

    3.4 Grace and Human Process / 138

    5 Obediential Potency and the Natural Desire to See God / 142 1 Obediential Potency / 143

    1. I Basic Metaphysical Issues / 143 1.1.1 End and Exigence / 143 1.1.2 Passive Potency / 144

    1.2 The Argument for the Thesis on Obediential Potency / 149 2 The Natural Desire to See God / 149

    2.1 The Human Intellect as an Obediential Potency / 150 2.1.1 Natural Desire / 150 2.1.2 The Natural Desire to See God Per Essentiam / 152 2.1.3 The Fulfilment of the Desire / 155 2.1.4 A Conclusion of Speculative Theology / 157 2.1.5 A Terminological Problem / 159

    2.2 Lonergan's Rejection of Essentialism and Conceptualism / 160 2.2.1 Cajetan and the Origins of the 'Two-Story

    Universe' / 161 2.2.2 Objections to the Natural Desire to See God / 163 2.2.3 The Error behind the Notion of the 'Two-Story

    Universe' / 170 2.2.4 Obediential Potency as Vertical Finality / 177 2.2.5 The Speculative Role of 'Pure Nature' / 178

  • viii Contents

    6 The Molinist and Bannezian Systems / 183 1 The Debate over the Efficacy of Grace / 183

    1.1 Framing the Issue / 185 1.2 Shared Assumptions / 186

    2 The Positions / 187 2.1 The Molinists / 187

    2.1.1 Freedom as Freedom from Necessity / 188 2.1.2 Simultaneous Divine Concourse / 188 2.1.3 The Definition of Actual Grace / 191 2.1.4 Scientia Media / 192

    2.2 The Bannezians / 194 2.2.1 Divine Concourse and Physical Pre motion / 194 2.2.2 The Definition of Actual Grace / 197 2.2.3 The Non-Necessitating Predetermination of the

    Will / 198 2.3 Related Approaches / 203

    2.3.1 The Semi-Bannezians / 203 2.3.2 The Suarezians / 204

    2.4 Mutual Recriminations / 205 2.4.1 The Bannezian Critique of Molinism / 205 2.4.2 The Molinist Critique of Bannezianism / 207 2.4.3 The Critiques of Semi-Bannezianism and

    Suarezianism / 210 2.4.4 The Futility of the Debate / 210

    7 A Theoretical Perspective on Divine Concourse / 212 1 Complications Caused by the Theory of Vital Act / 212

    I. I The Supernatural Elevation of Vital Potencies / 213 1.2 The Reception of Supernatural Acts / 214 1.3 The Production of Supernatural Acts / 217

    2 The Intelligibility of Divine Concourse / 219 2.1 The Analogy for Divine Concourse: Mediate Efficient

    Causality / 219 2.1.1 Instrumental Efficient Causality / 220 2.1.2 Efficient Causality as Influx / 221 2.1.3 Efficient Causality as a Real Relation / 224 2.1.4 The Immediacy of Divine Concourse / 227

    2.2 Grounds for Applying the Analogy of Mediate Efficient Causality to Divine Concourse / 229

    2.2.1 Divine Concourse as Augmenting the Perfection of the Agent / 230

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