Will Everyone Be Saved? Our Hope and Faith

saved

The answer to the question, “Will everyone be saved?”, would appear to be simply a matter of fact, yes or no. But, is it? The answer could be simply a matter of fact if the answer were a definitive component of the supernatural revelation received by the Church. The question would then be solely within the context of the supernatural virtue of faith.

However, from the perspective of man, it is not primarily within the context of the supernatural virtue of faith, let alone solely so. From our human perspective, the question is primarily within the context of the supernatural virtue of hope by which each individual possesses hope for his personal salvation. The theme of this essay is that the virtue of hope, to be personal, and thereby coordinate with the personal virtue of humility, must extend itself to hope for everyone.

The Two Perspectives: Hope and Faith

Of the two divergent views on the question, “Will Everyone Be Saved?”, Bishop Robert Barron favors the perspective of hope, while Taylor Marshall and Timothy Gordon favor the perspective of faith. From the perspective of hope, Barron claims that it is permissible both to pray and to hope that everyone is saved, but it is possible some will not. From the perspective of faith, Marshall and Gordon claim that it has been revealed to the Church that not everyone will be saved. Their perspective precludes prayer and hopes to the contrary.

The Perspective of Hope

Bishop Barron notes the frequency with which Jesus talks of hell. He also notes two fundamental truths of the faith, namely, that God is love and that men have free will. The former is revealed in the fact that God has raised man’s destiny to the beatific vision. The latter, free will, requires the possibility of hell. Barron notes that hell is not a place but the chosen condition of one’s existence due to the finality of one’s rejection of God and his mercy. God sends no one to a place called hell. Hell is the final rejection of God. Hell is not only the self-imposed exile from personal beatitude but the exiling of oneself into the utter misery of solitary loneliness. Barron proposes that we must admit the possibility of choosing hell, but we may hope and pray that no one makes that final choice.

What is Our Hope Regarding Salvation?

An examination of our hope demonstrates that the virtue of humility requires us to hope for the salvation of everyone, in order for us to hope for our personal salvation.

This is evident in the Old Testament:

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you may be revered. (Psalms 130:3-4)

Truly the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
to deliver their soul from death,
and to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and shield.
Our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you. (Psalm 33: 18-22)

Throughout the New Testament, our Lord tells us unless we forgive everyone, we will not be forgiven. Analogously, unless we hope for the salvation of everyone, we cannot hope for our own salvation:

 [Jesus said:] “When [the unforgiving servant’s] fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’” (Matthew 18:31-33)

Each of us must love his neighbor as himself. The New Testament story of the Good Samaritan is Jesus’ answer to the lawyer’s question, “And who is my neighbor?” The story implies our identification with the Samaritan. The Jewish victim is the recipient of the Samaritan’s neighborly love (Luke 10:25-37). Jesus’ Jewish audience, however, would identify with the Jewish victim. Thus, the audience would interpret the story to answer the question, “And who is neighbor to me?” The prejudice of his Jewish audience would prompt, “To hell with the Samaritan!”

The lawyer’s reply to Jesus’ question at the end of the story was, “The one who showed him mercy.” The lawyer could not even utter the word Samaritan in a complimentary context. We are being taught not to condemn anyone to hell, but to see hope for the salvation of everyone, even our enemies, as inseparable from our personal hope for salvation.

What is Our Prayer Regarding the Salvation of Others?

… [F]orgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us …” (Lord’s Prayer)

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen. (Hail Mary)

O My Jesus, forgive us our sins and save us from the fires of Hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are in most need of Thy mercy. (Fatima Prayer)

Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world. (Divine Mercy Chaplet)

To exclude oneself from the hope of salvation is the sin of despair. To pray while including oneself and excluding others from the hope of salvation is to pray in accord with the Pharisee, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people” (Luke 18:11).

The Perspective of Faith

One could infer that not everyone will be saved from every mention of judgment by Jesus in the New Testament. This inference could be readily made from Jesus’ analogy of the sheep and the goats in the final judgment of men:

“Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:41-46)

Indeed, one could argue that these words of Jesus cannot be understood to be simply a warning of the possibility of hell for humans.

Marshal and Gordon cite the vision of human souls in hell in the ecclesiastically approved private revelation at Fatima as a reiteration of the fact within apostolic revelation that not everyone will be saved. However, they fail to mention the Fatima prayer, quoted above, asking Jesus to “lead all souls to heaven”.

Faith’s Mode of Knowledge of the Supernatural

Of the three cardinal virtues of faith, hope, and charity, only charity will persist after our life on earth. However, even our experience of charity after death, will not be what it is in this life. In this life, we possess these three supernatural virtues, but our experience of them is only in a natural mode. This is particularly evident with respect to Faith. Through the gift of the virtue of faith, we know the truth of supernatural things, but our knowledge of the supernatural is in the mode of natural human knowledge. This was poignantly noted by Blaise Pascal:

As Jesus Christ remained unknown among men, so His truth remains among common opinions without external difference. Thus the Eucharist among ordinary bread. (Pensées 789)

The natural mode of our experience of the virtue of hope was the basis of a question posed by professors of the University of Paris in their attempt to entrap an illiterate teenager at her trial in 1431. If Joan of Arc answered no, she would be admitting that her “voices” and her mission were demonic. If Joan answered yes, she would be judged guilty of the sin of presumption against the virtue of hope, by claiming to have supernatural knowledge of the supernatural state of her soul.

Asked if she knows she is in God’s grace, she answered: “If I am not, may God put me there; and if I am, may God so keep me.” (The Trial of Joan of Arc 52)

The Catechism cites Joan’s answer as an excellent exercise of the virtue of hope and notes that our mode of knowledge of the faith is natural, not supernatural (CCC 2005).

Conclusion: Jesus and the Church as Our Models

Jesus expressed his hope for the salvation of everyone by voluntarily dying on the cross and making his sacrifice for us sinners immediately present to us in the Mass. His verbal expression while on the cross was, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” St. Paul reiterates this hope of salvation for everyone:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

The Church is our source of revelation, albeit in the mode of natural knowledge. She names many saints in heaven and honors a myriad of saints anonymously. However, she names no one as in hell. In imitating Jesus and the Church, we must forgive everyone and not assign anyone, even anonymously, to hell, lest we too be so assigned. The virtues of humility and hope require our hoping that everyone be saved. The virtue of faith does not restrict the virtues of humility and hope, thereby the faith permits and encourages hope and prayer, in accord with Jesus’ desire, that everyone be saved.

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23 thoughts on “Will Everyone Be Saved? Our Hope and Faith”

  1. Bill Bannon – This will be my last comment. The bible I used referring me to the passage in Mark was he Bible on the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops web site. Mark’s Gospel is also part of the Bible, as I am sure you are aware. If you had read my post carefully, you know that I do not know whether hell is jam packed full or not. I stated one may hope even if the hope is unlikely and explained what I meant by “hope” in that regard. That is very different then saying hell is empty. As to criminals, with one of Jesus’ last breaths, he forgave a criminal. God is outside of time. God can take all the “time” he wants as He is the good shepherd that seeks out the lost. Sr, Faustina writes of God calling to the soul in the moment of death, and if in free will the soul responds, God’s grace will guide them. Sr, Faustina, like Bishop Barron makes it clear that God will not interfere in the free will of the soul. As I said before, a person who has made a habit of rejecting God will be poorly equipt to answer God’s call. I am less concerned about criminals – many who are those to whom little in the way of love and good family were ever given to them. Only God knows what chance they had in life, what mental illness they struggle with, what harm was done by maternal drug use, their own addictions, lack of guidance etc. Those are factors only God, whose ways are not our ways, can figure out. Many of the Saints that were harmed by others, from St. Stephen to St. Maria Goretti forgave those that were killing them. There are people I worry could be headed for hell. They may never break a law, but use others all their lives in pursuit of their own selfish wants. They will be faced with this truth when they die. They may ask for mercy like the woman who sinned much, and will love much because of the forgiveness given, or unable to face they were wrong, will continue their selfish life in hell. I am a firm believer in purgatory and this important teaching should not be lost in the discussion. Blessings.

  2. There’s one verse in the Bible that should put this debate to rest John 3:16 God so loved the world that He Sent His only begotten son into the world that whoever would believe in him should not perish. Now my question is parish from what?

  3. Dear Bill, You don’t seem to have read either of my comments. You certainly didn’t answer my question about the Church’s prayers. I will ask you another question: Has it struck you how much this matter has divided believers? It has even caused us to set in opposition faith and hope, two theological virtues which are meant to unit us to God. I am sure that you know enough Greek to know the Greek word for “the Divider.” I refuse to play his game. Someone in this blog mentioned the little shepherds at Fatima. If I remember correctly, after their vision of hell, they did not engage in discussions about its reality or who was going there. Instead, they suffered and prayed and offered sacrifices for those souls most in need. I suggest we do the same. I will certainly be praying for you that you may be saved. God bless you.
    P.S. I will ask your Guardian Angel to remind you of what I wrote in my first comment. It is always good to remember what we are asking for when we say “Thy will be done.”
    Over and out.

    1. Christ’s words have precedence over your interpretation of a prayer which interpretation is contradicted by St. Thomas Aquinas in a long paragraph i quote in this thread. You are running from Luke 13:24 which is Christ talking and you are running toward prayers which require interpretation…because there you can hold on to your view. You can’t hold on to your view if you face Christ’s words.

  4. “God wills all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth.” In the Our Father, we say, “Thy will be done.” If we don’t believe that it is permissible to hope that God’s will shall be done and that all men will be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, then we shouldn’t say the Our Father. The Church is praying that all people will be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. That is the basis of our hope. To say that those who hope this don’t believe in hell is very short sighted. Ask Bishop Barron if he believes in the devil. The fallen angels are in hell. The Church is not praying for them, but for those whom Jesus has redeemed.

    1. Anne Marie,
      Christ said in Luke 13:24 “ many will seek to enter on that day and they will not be able.”. He also tried to tell you that Judas perished by making his every word about Judas inappropriate for a person destined for glory. Aquinas said God’s willing all men to be saved is antecedent willing and then he said, “ the antecedent will of God does not always take place”. See one of my posts where I give you the cite location in the Summa Theologica.

    2. Dear Bill, the problem with this whole discussion is that we are asking the wrong question. We have no right to ask if everyone will be saved. That is interfering in the relationship between God and the individual soul. Are you in the state of grace? We can’t know and it is none of my business to know. It is my business to pray for you, and that is what the Church does. The correct question is “Can we hope that every human being will be saved?” I have read a great many theological discussions, and I have found that biblical quotes can be used to support totally opposite positions. I choose to follow the guidance of “lex orandi, lex credendi.” How does the Church pray about this? Are there any official prayers in which the Church says that some human beings will be damned?

    3. Bill Bannon – Even those who strive to enter by the narrow way will need the mercy of God. We all are sinners and none deserve salvation.

      But he was pierced for our offenses,
      crushed for our sins;
      upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole,
      by his stripes we were healed.

      We cannot earn our salvation. At what point does a sinner’s sins outweigh God’s mercy? My Bible references Mark 10: 25-27 as a footnote to the verse in Luke. Mark 10:27 is this: Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.”

      I had a good friend with terminal cancer. I “hoped” for a miracle cure, though I knew it was unlikely. I hoped because I know God can perform miracles. If I had said I had no hope of a miracle, I would have been denying God’s ability to perform miracles. In a similar way, Jesus’s death and resurrection was sufficient to save all. No sin is too horrific not to be covered by Jesus’s saving act. If I have no hope for the salvation of all, I am in a sense denying that Jesus’ saving act could save all. However, this mercy needs to be accepted in free will. How many turn away? I don’t know. A life long habit of turning away from God, not striving for the narrow gate, would make accepting God’s mercy more difficult, I would think. That all will be saved seems unlikely but with God all things are possible. God has not revealed any statistics – few, many, none – who knows? We would know if we needed to.

      Many have implied that to hope for the salvation of all means that there is no need to evangelize – which is silly when one realizes few are evangelizing with as much vigor and success as Bishop Barron. Why? Because living the Catholic faith is the most joyous, beautiful way to live – to live the truth. A life trying to live the teachings of Jesus prepares us to say yes to God’s mercy. I would want that for all though admit it is unlikely.

  5. This is some of the worst Biblical exegesis I’ve ever seen. The author doesn’t understand most of the passages he quotes. For instance, the parable of the unforgiving servant does NOT tell us that everyone must be forgiven, regardless of circumstances. All of the servants in the parable, including the unforgiving one, represent CONTRITE, i.e., repentant sinners. And in the parallel passage in Luke , it is explicitly stated that REPENTANT offenders must be forgiven. Furthermore, the question is how many times a brother, i.e., a fellow believer, must be forgiven. The author needs to get his nose out of his theology books and do a better job of studying Scripture.

    1. Anne Marie,
      Christ told you Luke 13:24 that “ many will seek to enter on that day and they will not be able”. He said that explicitly and He said it to each of us. Ignoring His actual words is a hallmark of this new school of empty hell. I have a minor in theology after 8 years of Jesuit schools. I know exactly the tricks that theologians can do with Christ’s words. Luke 13:24 was said by Christ for a reason…because human nature runs full speed from the idea of hell. Hell is not real to anyone ( Pew says 74% of Catholics approve of cohabitation )….that is where these theologians have led the sensus fidelium. Christ also spoke in totally dire terms about Judas FOR A REASON. Because hell is very real if a person with a name is there. “ Those whom thou gave me I guarded and not one of them perished except the son of perdition.”. Christ was using past tense prophecy….its as good as done. Isaiah uses it in the 53rd chapter about Christ..” he WAS pierced for our offenses, CRUSHED for our sins.” St. Justin Martyr said past tense prophecy cannot be changed. Christ used it of Judas PERISHED prior to Judas pointing Him out to the Jews at Gethsemane.
      So Christ explicitly told you Judas perished and explicitly told you many will seek to enter and will not be able. Can theologians finesse around it? Sure…that’s why we have 74% of Catholic affirming cohabitation. The tail follows the head sooner or later.

    2. Jeanne,
      I’ve seen many footnotes that are faulty. The number one Catholic biblical scholar for decades was Fr. Raymond Brown whose “ Birth of the Messiah” held that there was no massacre of the innocents; no flight into Egypt; and Mary never said the magnificat. He was the top man and if you followed in his tendencies, you were ok. Use your mind. If Christ told people in Luke that many will seek to enter on that day but will not be able, He would have been deceptive if He left out your caveat. And why should anyone on earth worry about dying in adultery as some have by heart attack…if you and your footnote writer have somehow found another period after death in which he may be saved. Madness. Tens of thousands of criminals throughout history have died in the act of attempted murder against law enforcement and you and your footnote writer have all not some…all those men entering eternal glory. It makes no sense at all. Heaven has become the default destination instead of the pearl of great price and a gift of the Holy Spirit, fear of the Lord, is totally unnecessary. Why would you have fear of the Lord if He not only wills the salvation of all antecedently but also wills it consequent to all bad final choices by each human. Fear of the Lord is pointless in your scenario which scenario Aquinas explicitly denied.

  6. This debate is so tiring. Barron, von Balthasar, etc don’t/didn’t believe in hell. If they did, they would have simply stated that they did and left it at that.
    Jesus came to die on the Cross so we could make it to Heaven to be with Him forever, but He knew that many would not make it to Heaven because they would of their own free will reject Him, and His Church.
    In the Old Testament, people could be saved by following the Jewish religion of the time, following the 10 Commandments, and believing that the Savior would come into the world one day.
    When God sent the Flood, He did it because mankind has become so evil he had to destroy it, except for Noah and his family. Are we to believe that all those evil people were somehow exempted from the just punishment for their sins?
    The problem these days is that people want to go to Heaven without doing what is necessary to get there, and thinking that somehow they are going to be an exception to the rule. They don’t want to think of their relatives and friends going to hell but rather than pray and work for their conversion, they try to soothe their consciences by pretending that hell doesn’t exist, or that God is so merciful that He won’t permit them to end up there.
    There are many stories of people who did go to hell and were permitted to return to warn others, see “The Dogma of Hell” by Fr. F.X. Schouppe, published by Tan Books. This was originally published (in the modern day anyway) under the title “Hell plus How to Avoid Hell” by Schouppe and Thomas A. Nelson., Tan Books obviously. Granted these are stories that are not dogmaticly defined,
    and are acceptable on human faith, but they certainly illustrate that he’ll does have people in it. Or maybe the children of Fatima didn’t actually see Hell, and the Church, which has approved Fatima, has been lying to us all these years?
    It’s simple folks. Real Catholics believe that hell exists, and that there are people there, and that they will be there forever. Christ said so, the Bible says so, the Church says so. Anyone who says differently is not Catholic, period.

  7. Thank you for this article. I have been trying to explain this – not nearly so well as you – in defense of Bishop Barron. I am happy to now have a link to post! I realize all have good intensions but there has been harm done to the Bishop through misunderstanding. Added to this is the fear in these uncertain times and the dividing into particular “camps” – attempts to label people as “modernist” – which is a far cry from Bishop Barron for anyone that is familiar with his body of work. (I noted in a recent YouTube, Dr. Taylor admitted he had never seen Bishop Barren’s “Catholicism” series.) Causing such division pleases Satan, not God. Damaging a good man’s name is not pleasing to God and is against the Commandments.
    Jesus asks us to live by he Greatest Commandments – love God and neighbor. To simple follow “rules” because one is afraid of hell is self serving – worried about ones own fate – and not loving God with heart, mind and soul or true concern for ones neighbor.
    God has not made known to us many things in the next life including number or percent of people in hell. Therefore, we must not need to know. It is enough to know hell exist and one can go there.

    1. Jeanne,
      It’s universalism sneaking in the back door and is not modernism because its as old as the otherwise usually great theologian of the early Church, Origen. You wrote: “ God has not made known to us many things in the next life including number or percent of people in hell.”. Well by your own words , Luke 13:24 should be important to you. It’s Christ saying, “many will seek to enter on that day and will not be able.”
      So by your own logic, Christ felt it was important to tell you that many will perish ( not most…many). Bishop Barron makes zero sense in light of Christ in Luke 13:24.

  8. As Saint Thomas says antecedently God wills all men to be saved, not consequently. Just as He wills all men come to the knowledge of the truth antecedently not (as is obvious) consequently.

  9. Catholics really need to get back to offering community and catechism to Everyone regardless of status and income. . It’s a terrible message to state that “only those who have the money (or can get the money)” to attend private diocesan schools will be saved… That is what’s happening.

  10. Jesus said that Judas – the “son of perdition” was lost. He also said it would be better for Judas if he had never been born. How can we hope that “all will be saved” (and accordingly that Judas is in heaven) without effectively negating the very words of Our Lord? We do not presume to know with certainty that any particular individual is in hell, but based on Jesus’ words, we have a pretty good idea about Judas’ fate.

  11. Dear Bob, you stated in your write up that; However, she names no one as in hell. In imitating Jesus and the Church, we must forgive everyone and not assign anyone, even anonymously, to hell, lest we too be so assigned. My question to you is, can we be nicer than God? Should we forgive people like Antiochus epiphanes, Mussolini, Stalin and Adolf Hitler who murdered millions and millions of people? You might want to take a look at these scriptures that mention the unrighteous, or unrepented that will go to hell. Deuteronomy 32:22, Psalms 9:17, Psalms 55:15, proverbs 5:5, Proverbs 9:18, Matthew 5:22, Matthew 10:28, Matthew 23:33, and so many other scriptures. In fact Jesus Christ talk more about hell then he did Heaven while he was here on this Earth. I don’t know who your God is,, but it sure doesn’t sound like he’s the God of the Bible… you’re right about one thing however, we should be imitating the Lord Jesus Christ by warning others to stay away from hell by coming to our Lord Jesus Christ in repentance.
    Just something to think about.

  12. Adam had 930 years to repent and the Church had a feast day for him…and Eve…Dec.24 in the old calender. He has zero relevance to Judas, Jezebel and Herod…zero. Christ told you Judas perished by past tense prophecy…in John 17:12. If you use your mind to circumvent what Christ told you several different ways…then…good luck.

    Here is why you and Bishop Barron should read St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Book I, Question 19, article 6/reply to objection one:

    “ In the same way God antecedently wills all men to be saved, but consequently wills some to be damned, as His justice exacts. Nor do we will simply, what we will antecedently, but rather we will it in a qualified manner; for the will is directed to things as they are in themselves, and in themselves they exist under particular qualifications. Hence we will a thing simply inasmuch as we will it when all particular circumstances are considered; and this is what is meant by willing consequently. Thus it may be said that a just judge wills simply the hanging of a murderer, but in a qualified manner he would will him to live, to wit, inasmuch as he is a man. Such a qualified will may be called a willingness rather than an absolute will. Thus it is clear that whatever God simply wills takes place; although what He wills antecedently may not take place.“

  13. Christ in Luke 13:24
    “ Many will seek to enter on that day and will not be able to”.
    Vulgate has “non poterunt” not be able.
    You do not have to hope for the salvation of all if Christ Himself said many will not enter. Von Balthasar and Karl Rahner cannot delete one phrase of Christ…not one. Common sense. Throughout history tens of thousands of pirates/ criminals/ cartel people have been killed while trying to kill law enforcement…like Pablo Escobar. It is against common sense to believe they are all in purgatory then Heaven as saints …through insanity or defective but exculpatory bad deciding scenarios.
    Jesus tried to tell us that Judas is in hell most forcefully in John during his prayer to his Father, “ those whom thou gavest me I guarded and not one of them perished except the son of perdition that the scriptures might be fulfilled”. Jesus used past tense and Judas had not pointed Him out yet to the Jews at Gethsemane. Past tense revelation is non conditional according to Justin Martyr…it must happen…it’s as good as though it already happened….unlike future tense prophecy as when Jonah said Nineveh would be destroyed in three days…they repented…they were spared. Christ knew Judas would repent as to the silver but with mistrust and only repent partly ( Damascene and
    Aquinas). The Church doesn’t declare it because it was obvious to the premodern times of secularism nor is there a big movement to call Judas as in glory. If that happens a future Pope will have to declare Judas in hell which is where he is. Read every word Christ said about him. Hell is not really real to you if you think Judas is not there. Jezebel and Herod of Acts 12 are also there…in both cases, God kills them and has wildlife devour them. Ananias and Sapphira of Acts 5 are killed by God but are decently buried so there is hope for them.

    1. What is your judgment of Adam, who committed the most serious human sin ever? Unlike angels, humans by nature have the ability to repent and, through the grace of God, are treated by him accordingly. Adam acted with complete knowledge and voluntariness, unlike every one of his offspring who has the excuse, “Thou knowest in the state of innocency Adam fell, and what should poor Jack Falstaff do in the days of villany?”

    2. The distinction between past and future is a distinction made by a person subject to mutability about that which is subject to mutability. God is not subject to mutability. That does not preclude our expressing God’s knowledge and will analogically using the grammar of our mutable condition. Also, notice St. Thomas qualifies his statement with “as His justice exacts”, which is beyond our ken in the particular. That the state of a particular soul is beyond our ken is the principle upon which the prosecution relied in its attempt to entrap St. Joan.

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