“If Adam had been created upright (rectus ) and without defects (sine ullo uitio ), how could he possibly lack the gift of final perseverance? Augustine responds by saying that Adam was not lacking in this respect, but that he lost that gift when he fell from the state of grace in which God has created him. Moreover, the real difficulty arises as the logical consequence of the first statement, viz. : if Adam was perfect, how could he, in fact, lose his perfection, and sin against God?
“Analogously [to the angels], the first man, had he so willed could have remained in his original state of uprightness (rectitude) and bliss (beatitudo) without any defects or faults. Had he stood firm using his free will in accordance with God’s plan, instead of abusing the gift God had given, he too would have received, like the angels who did not rebel against God, eternal, perfect bliss and happiness of resting in God’s beneficent regard. Having freely abandoned God, Adam was condemned to be abandoned by God, together with his heirs who share in his sin.”
“Since the time of Adam’s fall and condemnation in which all men became obstricti, only Christ’s redemptive and gratuitous death is able to save those predestined, through God’s design, for salvation. This redemptive grace is great but at the same time different (magna, sed dis parem) from the gratia laeta …Mankind then requires not so much a laetior gratia as a potentior gratia, a more powerful grace than that given to Adam, namely the grace that comes only from the incarnate Son of God, Christ the Savior, through whom human beings are enabled to overcome the sinful desires of the flesh…the grace accorded to Adam was ultimately dependent on his own free will which having been perfectly created, was able to decide whether to remain in perfection and persevere in justice of abandon it. The grace accorded to Adam’s heirs through Christ, instead is more powerful (plus potest), not only because it gives man the possibility of doing good and persevering in it, but above all because it makes him desirous of that same good.”
“In Augustine’s eyes, divine grace is ‘one’, even though it operates on different levels (or regimes, temps), and is per se efficacious at any stage. Adam was left completely free in his decision for good or evil, and yet could not have desired and chosen good, nor persevered in it, except under the sovereign influence of God’s bountiful grace. On the other hand, the internal action exercised by Christ’s grace on Adam’s descendants, an action which has to be sought ‘plus loin,-et plus bas’, possesses the prodigious feature of providing fallen human nature with the capability of following righteousness in an unquestionable and unfailing manner. This does not mean that the human being remains passive before grace, but certainly, de facto, he remains a secondary co-operator, subordinate and subservient to the agency of grace…In other words, if primordial operative grace did preserve intact the human (and angelic) ability to obey or disobey the will of God, in Adam’s heirs, this ability would seem to be overshadowed from the beginning by the ‘Christic’ grace, the direct cause of mankind’s desire for good and of its perseverance in it.”
“The propensity for sin, or ‘metaphysical weakness’ (which does not entail any necessity for Adam to sin, but rather his ability to choose evil over good and virtue) was caused by the fact that, like all creatures, he was originally created ex nihilo.”
“There are two examples, above all, which illustrate the mystery of predestination: one is the case of infants and the other Christ the mediator. In both cases, merits play no part: they play no part in the case of baptized infants set apart through no merits of their own (nor in the case of unbaptized infants who are condemned at death, though obviously not because of demerit or actual sins). Neither does it play a part in the case of Christ, who being simultaneously God and man, could not be regarded as Mediator and Savior of humanity simply on account of his possible merits.”
“In considering the most illustrious instance of predestination and grace (praeclarissimum lumen praedestinationis et gratiae), Christ the Savior, the bishop of Hippo states that it is obviously not because of any precedent merits that his human nature obtained the privilege of being assumed into the oneness of person by the Logos, the Word co-eternal with the Father. The man born of the virgin had been predestined from all eternity by an absolutely gratuitous divine decree to be assumed by the Son of God from the very first moment of his existence. And it was precisely because divinity made the human nature of Jesus Christ (which was the same as ours) its own, that such nature received a perfect and unchangeable sanctity, a sanctity that has become the sources and paradigm of human sanctity ever since. Furthermore, Augustine continues, the fact that the humanity of Jesus Christ, the head of the body, was predestined to be taken up in the hypostatic union with the logos is clearly witnessed by Paul (cf. Rom 1, 1-4). And if Christ was gratuitously predestined to be our head, so we too are predestined to be his members without having to gain positions by means of our own merits.
“The actual meaning given by Paul to Rom 1,1-4 was not the same as that given by Augustine. The Apostle meant that Christ, the offspring of David according to the flesh, had been constituted according to the Spirit of holiness in the power of Sonship of God thanks to his resurrection from the dead. ‘Constituted’ is the most probable and accepted meaning of the Greek aorist όρισθεντος (= to mark out, to delimit as a boundary [ορος], to constitute), a term which in the Latin text used by Augustine has been translated with praedestinatus. Thus Paul does not speak of the man Jesus being predestined to become the Son of God by virtue of the assumption of his humanity by the Son of God himself.”
Ogliari, 166, Ftnt. 343
“Such grace, Augustine continues, is bestowed on men through Christ, the Adam nouissimus, in whom we are chosen and predestined to become members of his body, the Church, and to form, together with him as head, the Christus totus. Since Christ was predestined never to depart from God, so we, the members of his body, are predestined to remain in God (permanents cum Deo) and persevere in him.”
“For Augustine only the first Adam’s sinless nature can properly be called ‘human nature’. As we have seen, at the end of his life he categorically reaffirmed that, when referring to Adam’s heirs, the expression was only employed as a metaphor.” [Retractationes 1, 10, 3]