[Milton-L] Postlapsarian Liberty

maltzahn at uottawa.ca maltzahn at uottawa.ca
Sat Nov 26 15:36:05 EST 2005

Grateful as I am for such an explanation of what parents do with children,
and what God can't do with Satan, I don't accept the further claim that
"human suicides" necessarily perform a "rejection of God" that prevents
"all possibility of [grace] occurring," or amounts to "a rejection of the
possibility of grace."  Insofar as we can be confident about such matters,
I am confident that many such die in grace.

Can we be less prompt to view suicide as resulting only from despair?  For
my part, it seems that it may be an appropriate expression of human
dignity, often in circumstances of huge difficulty.

Nicholas von Maltzahn

> Re: [Milton-L] Poslapsarian LibertyA "homely" analogy here is helpful, I
> think: anyone who's ever been a parent knows that, even with out
> foreknowledge that the child will repent, we stand ready to forgive him or
> her before the fact of that repentance: the grace is "prevenient" because
> it comes before the child's actual recognition that he or she has
> transgressed, and *needs* to be forgiven. But that recognition and
> repentance ("true contrition") are as crucial to grace as the parents'
> agape (will to supply it), and though in a chronological sense the grace
> has already occurred before it is asked for, it must be asked for, to be
> received--that is, the obdurate child who refuses to acknowledge his or
> her error will remain "out of the parents' good graces" until and unless
> he or she admits the wrongdoing.
> God has forgiven Adam and Eve in this sense before the idea of
> disobedience, or contrition, ever occurs to them. Therefore, the grace is
> "prevenient," because it comes before their recognition that it's there to
> be had.
> But it must be *accepted* to be efficacious, and that is where the devils
> fail: God knows a priori that no "repentance" on the part of Satan and his
> cohorts will ever be entirely sincere, and so do they ("But say I could
> repent, and could obtain . . ."). Prevenient grace must have been there
> for them, too, at some point before the War in Heaven--but in their
> insurrection, which is their rejection of God, they destroy all
> possibility of its occuring--just as human suicides do. Their sin is not
> self-murder, but the rejection of the possibility of grace.
> I hope that helps to elucidate, rather than further complicating, the
> issue?
> Best to all,
> Carol Barton
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