More on Augustine

This is an excellent paper on Augustine’s project of the City of God by Perry.

19 Responses to More on Augustine

  1. Mike J. says:

    This is in the wrong place, but I saw no other place to put it (i.e. an email address).

    Perry,
    I have a number of friends who are evangelical protestants with strong Calvinist/Reformed leanings. Since I really like your style of rhetoric (hard hitting and precise) and I know your background involved Reformed thinking, I was wondering if I could ask a favor of you. Do you have any writings that document your travel to Orthodoxy or recommended reading lists that could help my friends move away from Geneva and towards something more in line with historic Christianity?

    If there is no other appropriate place for such a list, you could email me at mjaworsk#uiuc.edu (with an @ instead of # of course) or the email that’s included in the user-name (hotmail account). Either of those get to me but I check my school account more often.

  2. Jonathan,

    I agree that anything external to the will determining it either actually or counter-factually would amount to manipulation at the least if not a kind of compulsion for Cyril. The same cannot be said for the Scholastics by and large, let alone Augustine.

    I don’t think that Origen for example removes mutability or even the kind of mutability that Maximus has in mind. This is manifest in his view that the possibility of sin is retained in the eschaton. The same can be said for Gregory. Gregory borders on Universalism for the same reason because for him mutability per se implies the possibility of sin and the same goes for Augustine, which is why we are removed from time for Augustine. Nothing genuinely new occurs for Augustine in the eschaton. The same can be said for Aquinas-the objects of choice are reduced to a single option to rule out mutability.

    Furthermore, your account demotivates long standing differences in the respective theological traditions and why there are different eschatologies. We need an explanation that accounts for similarities as well as differences. In so far as your account posits an explanation it absorbs all of the differences and renders them superficial. This is one reason why your account is implausible.

    The relation of the gnomic will to the sinful mode of willing is that of genus to species. The sinful mode of willing is a type of the gnomic will. The plurality of objects of choice in the eschaton doesn’t confuse nature and person because the mode of willing is personal while the activity or faculty is always directed at the good. The line is essentially Socratic-people will what they take to be good even when willing it in an evil way. They are ignorant because in part of the distinction between real and apparent goods. The necessity of the plurality of options would only confuse person and nature only if one thought of personhood in terms of volition in the first place.

    The spatial imagery taken from Late Platonism of the many around the one is at the level of Nous or intellect. These are the henads or the “divine ideas” to put it in Latin lingo. Unlike the Augustinian take of identifying Nous with the One and therefore being forced to reconcile the plurality of the divine ideas with the absolute simplicity of the One, on Maximus’ view the “divine ideas” are external to the One and move “around it.” The logoi are essentially the rational principles or forms of objects and as such they are the divine predestinations or eternal intentions for objects. There is an asymmetrical dependence relation here. The logoi depend on the One but not the converse, whereas in the Augustinian tradition this isn’t so because they are identified with the One itself-they simply are the One. The spatial imagery is meant to give some cognitive access to the relation between the One and the logoi. The problem for Plotinus is twofold-first in accounting for how the One is productive in the first place and second how to think of the One as beyond being. Plotinus is struggling between seeing the One beyond being in terms of being beyond any type of qualified being and being beyond being per se. The reason why is that the metaphysical grid he is working with is that of essence, power and activity. If the logoi are the activities of the One then the One must have an ousia in order to maintain a consistent metaphysical outlook. If the One has an ousia or essence then it falls under the five general kinds of being, not to mention unity. This is why Late Platonists would speak of the One being beyond One or Unity as well. Maximus as well as others in the Byzantine tradition sever this dialectic and affirm (ironically enough) that God is beyond being per se, not just unqualified being or ens commune. In any case the spatial imagery is a model to understand the dependence relation in terms of causality. This is why I think it is a mistake to say that the East has an entitative deification while the West has a causal notion. The East has both-it is entitative because it is causal and causal because it is entitative: the relation is bi-conditional. The hobbled view of the West is apparent at just this point.

    Farrell isn’t confusing the object of choice with the faculty. He is only recognizing the necessary preconditions for the activity of the will. The same insight applies to a free creation. God could hardly be said to be free if he only had one option. The only way to make this amenable to creatures is to deny the imago dei and deification entail the kind of freedom that God enjoys and then one wonders why it is deification and why it is the image of God. If a plurality of options isn’t a necessary condition for the will to be intrinsically free then why is the idea that God had only one option in creation repulsive? Moreover, even if we were to say that the will is intrinsically free in potency without a plurality of options, this would not imply that the will was free when a plurality was actually lacking. Since Aquinas and Co. think that in the eschaton (as well as in Gethsemane) a plurality was lacking and necessarily so, it follows that neither Christ and the blessed are never actually free but only potentially so. What good is a power or faculty that could never be actualized and how is that freedom? In God the move was to make God as actus purus to remove potency at the expense of explaining how something fully active wasn’t already in act with respect to a single act (creation), where the other possible act was its antithesis (not creating). The difference couldn’t be cashed out in terms of one possibility eventually encompassing or being willed in the willing of the other since they are contraries (creating and not creating). The problem is that if God is simple, potentia or power has to be identified with ousia or essence. God always has the powers that he does, on the Eastern model because he is God, but this doesn’t entail the actualization of all of them. Per Barnes, there are some powers which are always activated (omnipotence, omniscience, etc.) whereas some are contingent. If God’s essence is identified with dunameis/energeia or power, then we have to either render God unactualized or exclude contingency so that God isn’t explained by something else. This is why Aquinas’ main arguments for simplicity in terms of identification are of the type that God cannot be caused or moved and therefore he can’t have the metaphysical part of potency. It is irrelevant whether Maximus draws the distinction between the objects of choice and the power of the will-he just views the plurality of the former as a necessary condition for the activity of the latter and to specify the necessary conditions for the activity of a thing is hardly to confuse it with them.

    I agree that on Aquinas’ take it is very difficult to see how person and nature are not confused since for libertarians, to be voluntary is to be free in the sense of having a plurality of options. Aquinas cuts off the alternative possibilities from libertarian freedom so he can say that the agents in the eschaton act voluntarily and freely without having alternative possibilities, because there no good ones available. Part of your problem is that you keep confusing compulsion-being moved contrary to an agent’s will, with determinism-an act being inevitable. For Compatibilists of just about any stripe, being determined doesn’t imply or entail that an act isn’t voluntarily done. An agent can be determined and not be compelled. So for Aquinas, he doesn’t think that he is confusing nature and person by removing alternative possibilities and making the agent subject to determination via God’s transcendent causality. The will is uncompelled by nature-it is intrinsically voluntary. The problem for Aquinas is giving a plausible account of volition that doesn’t amount to a kind of manipulation and how we can get a *free* volitional activity from volition itself. I don’t think he does either. I argue that alternative possibilities have to be present, not for the volition to take place, as this occurs even in actively or counter-factually determined agents, but for the volition to be free. To have the capacity (potentia/dunameis) of speaking entails the possibility to choose between speaking and not speaking. If there are ultimately no options, the faculty isn’t present. So it isn’t the non-exercise of the faculty or power but the impossibility of the power ever being instantiated in act or exercised that indicates the absence of the power.

    We agree with Origen as to the necessity of motion, but disagree with Origen as to the necessity of a specific kind of motion. Aquinas agrees with the necessity of motion as well but it is different from ours since it emasculates alternative possibilities. In that sense our account preserves more motion or activity in relation to the agent than Aquinas’ account does. For Aquinas though, the antecedent and the consequent are determined, that is, rendered inevitable-To choose the beatific vision for the blessed is necessary and it is necessary that they can’t choose otherwise than a choice for the beatific vision. They are determined even though they are not being moved to act contrary to their will-rather their will is set to select one and only one option. On our view we are fixed only to select only one kind of option, but since the class or kind has a plurality of members the creaturely activity of the agent isn’t stifled. Creaturely activity mirrors then very well divine activity-God is active in choosing between a plurality of good things and so are we. The fixity comes about in part because of a removal of ignorance between real and apparent goods. The same is true for Aquinas and Augustine, except for them, there is only one Good. So here again, creaturely freedom mirrors divine freedom-God wills ultimately one thing, himself and so creatures will ultimately one thing, God. This is why this view of heaven strikes most people as boring and monotonous and hell is interesting because you get to do all kinds of things. On our view we flip this on its head. It is heaven that is a place of creaturely activity because creaturely activity in its plurality isn’t opposed to God, rather it is grounded in God. Hell is the place where the options are eliminated by the agents, because they cannot will any of the options in such a way as to be pleasing or enjoyable to them. They cannot enjoy God because they have set their will in a disorded relation to the goods. They don’t want to will them as they are but only as they will them to be for themselves alone so that every choice for a divine activity is painful to them. And the only way out is through acesis which as we are reminded during the Advent season (not to mention Lent) isn’t pleasant either.

    Since creatures are intended to be what they are by an activity of God, they are intrinsically active which is why activity can’t be removed from creatures in the eschaton. The trick is to assimilate creaturely activity of their logoi with that of divine activity. (This is why the Eastern view of deification isn’t only entitative but also causal.) If the divine activity is singular and the creaturely activity plural, then either they will be eternally opposed or one will be subjugated or absorbed to the other. This is why I think that you deny activity or motion in the eschaton and why Maximus preserves it. If it is a confusion between the objects of will and the will itself to think that the objects have to be plural in number in order for the will to be what it is, namely a free will then it seems as if you are committed to the idea that the will can be free without alternative possibilities. Furthermore, you would be committed to the implausible idea that agents could be said to be free even though they never chose anything.

    I agree that freedom of the will is intrinsic to the will and its exercise is personal which is why acts have to be free in order to be considered personal acts. But this in no way helps you in adducing a free will from the notion of a will per se. If the will is instrinsically free and if alternative possibilities are not necessary for the will to be free in its exercise, I agree that you can get freedom from the idea of the will. But how will you get to the antecedent that the will is free in the first place? And what kind of freedom is it? It certainly isn’t the kind of freedom God has. Is a will that is determined or rendered inevitable in its actions free? I don’t think it is. You must. And how can you then differentiate cases of manipulation from cases of a determined will? An agent can be manipulated without being compelled. So if God is the grand manipulator and determiner of free agents, why not determine and manipulate them to always do good things?

    If the determination of Augustine, Scotus and Thomas would amount to compulsion for Cyril then how does it help to put Cyril in opposition to Augustine, Scotus and Aquinas? I think you are confusing Aquinas’ thesis that nothing acts on the will with efficient causation with the thesis that the will cannot be determined or its acts rendered inevitable. Aquinas rejects the first and accepts the second. There is more than one way an agent’s will can be determined-not just by efficient causation. God’s transcendental causality isn’t external to the will for the Scholastics nor contrary to it and hence it is a moved self mover for Aquinas. The will is moved to be a self mover and so God can determine it and its activity can still be said to be voluntary and free because alternative possibilities have been disposed of already. (BTW, the will isn’t what it is because it is rational for the Scholastics not to mention Augustine so talk of “a rational will” is anachronistic among other things. If the will is self moving, then it isn’t moved by reason without its consent and hence isn’t intrinsically rational.) On our view the will in its personal mode of operation can’t be determined at all.

    The Hybrid accounts definitely do loose something, namely free will. The natural faculty of the will is eclipsed because the actualization of the will in its personal mode is fixed because there are no options for which the will can choose differently. The personal mode of will is set not just in activity or motion but in motion towards one and only one thing. If the Cappadocian notion of power is to be retained then if the power of willing is not only intrinsically active towards one object then its personal employment has been fixed as well if not eliminated altogether. There is no contingency left because power has been identified with activity and activity relative to only one object. If the power of willing is to be free it has to be the case that it might not be active relative to some object, thereby implying alternative possibilities. If it is fixed in activity towards only one object, then the personal use of the power is rendered necessary and this signals that the categories of person and nature have been confused with person being reduced to that of nature. If the Good is a singular and simple object then to refrain from being active towards it would imply sin, which is exactly why Aquinas and Augustine say that refraining from the beatific vision is impossible. Even if it were the case that we determine our wills the action is only free because the act of determination is free and in order for the determination to be a free act it can’t remove the freedom by which it was established. This means that it is always open to an agent who sets his will to choose to retain the determination or reject it. In the eschaton, it is possible for an agent to determine themselves relative to some divine activity or good and then later to choose other than that divine activity or good since there is no end (because there is no beginning) to the number of Goods that God is. The fixing of the will by the agent doesn’t remove alternative possibilities and this is exactly where hybrid accounts go wrong. It is a mistake to think that determining your will in the Good implies eliminating choosing between options. This only follows if the Good is simple. So if fixing yourself in the Good implies giving up libertarian freedom, and if libertarian freedom is entailed by personhood, then fixing yourself in the Good implies a negation of personhood in which case, God isn’t three persons. Hybrid accounts in dropping off libertarian freedom at the door of heaven drop off personhood as well.

    Furthermore, hybrid accounts fail to preserve the view that the freedom we enjoy in a deified state is divine freedom. Divine freedom entails alternative possibilities and so determining oneself in the Good wouldn’t remove alternative possibilities as hybrid accounts do. And if determined agents, like those elected to Glory can be free without alternative possibilities relative to the end of glorification then the first half of the hybrid account is completely unmotivated. Why if God can determine you to will certain things doesn’t he start you out fixed in Goodness? I don’t think it is open to you to employ our view of the acquisition of virtue for two reasons. First because on the Catholic (as well as Protestant) view Adam and Even are created just and not potentially just. They already have the virtues from the get-go. Second, how was it possibly up to Mary given Catholic dogma to fix herself in virtue through habituation when this was done for her logically prior to and temporally simultaneous with her conception? If God can create Mary immaculately by preventing libido to ever take hold, why not do this for everyone? If you don’t think that Mary was fixed in the Good at and after her conception, then she must not have had the virtue of justice and neither would our first parents. This would make it possible to explain how it was possible for Adam and Even to fall but it would also open the door for Mary to sin as well. But if they both lacked the virtue of justice then the Catholic dogmas are mistaken. On the other hand, if they had original justice then how was it possible for Adam and Eve to sin and how is it impossible for Mary to sin? This is why appealing to our view of fixing oneself in the Good through the personal employment of the faculties in habituation is of no help to you. As a Catholic, I can’t see how it is possible for you to think that God can’t fix someone in the Good apart from their free volitional activity given the Catholic view of the creation of Adam/Eve in original justice and the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

    If you read Aquinas, he does employ the reasoning that alternative possibilities would entail the possibility of a second fall, which is why they must be ruled out since such a thing is impossible. And on what possible grounds could one conclude that the will is self determinately passive apart from any considerations of ADS? Not from the nature of the creature since it is by its very nature active. Secondly, there is every reason to preserve libertarian freedom in the eschaton. First because it is entailed by the imago dei. Second, because it is the freedom that Christ has in his humanity which means it is true of every human person. Third, because it is entailed by personhood. Fourth because it is entailed by moral responsibility. Since it is something natural to humans it is therefore good in itself and not a mere instrument or extrinsically good. If the will is already self determined libertarian freedom is the necessary condition for the initial self determination as well as its continuing in self determination. Again, since freedom is natural to us, as a means and its end are both intrinsically good and not merely extrinsically so.

    As to delayed Calvinism I think you are mistaken. At least in terms of secondary causes the will is determined to be what it is and given God’s transcendental causality it can be determined in its activity as well from a Catholic perspective. Your position still seems to me to result in a kind of delayed Calvinism, where agents are determined in the eschaton. I agree that Calvinists confuse nature and person and that is just my objection against your view which makes the willing of the beatific vision inevitable claims as well-it confuses nature and person. The hybrid views like the one you try to construct are delayed Calvinism for this reason. As I showed above, even the hybrid view won’t help you with respect to the problem of evil because God could have created everyone like Mary fixing them in the Good without their consent. Moreover, the hybrid view rests on a faulty inference that an agent determining themselves through habituation in the Good rules out alternative possibilities. It is a non-sequitor. Compatibilist freedom isn’t compatible with Christian theism at any point.

    If agents in the eschaton lack libertarian freedom then they have less freedom qualitatively than they had while on earth. They cannot choose otherwise. Just because the will is intrinsically volitional it doesn’t follow that it is intrinsically free. This is why your appeal to a will that is intrinsically volitional doesn’t secure the conclusion that it is the same will as had here on earth, namely a free will. You owe us an account of how the will can be free and not just a will. This is not because we view it as a real possibility that a will can be determined and still be free but because your tradition does.

    Since you concede that personhood and libertarian freedom are bi-conditionally related and that the Christian definition of personhood is something different than that, then either you are confused or you are working with another notion of personhood than I am. For if a necessary condition for personhood per se is libertarian freedom then it can’t be the case that the Christian notion of personhood as a species doesn’t have libertarian freedom as a necessary condition. So it is as I wrote earlier, you have a different conception of personhood which is part of the problem. It seems to me that you want both positions but I don’t see how you can put them together.

    Moreover, since God has libertarian freedom and we are made in his image I would think that the idea of libertarian freedom as entailed by personhood would have everything to do with a Christian definition of personhood. So there is a very good reason why Christians have and should agree with it. The genius of Maximus is that one can consistently be a libertarian from start to finish without all of the nasty side effects of Origenism. I am writing as if one could become free and unfree, *given a hybrid account* that is on that view what happens. I have argued that on a hybrid account you loose freedom-freedom is telescopic on that view (more here-less there). It is just because I maintain a Christian view of human nature that the hybrid account is mistaken-libertarian freedom is never lost. You agree that freedom is never lost, but like all Compatibilists you think that freedom is not libertarian but compatible with inevitability and determination. The problem is that you conflate determination with compulsion, which Compatibilists have traditionally not done, at least not for the last 2,000 years or so. (Stoics, Hobbes, Ayer) so the question is not whether you are human whether you will always have free will, but what does that freedom entailed by human nature consist in? So far you are defending a Compatibilist view, which is in fact just what Maximus was arguing against.

    Again, it isn’t open to you I think to argue that God could not have created everyone out as beatified because that would mean that they never would have personally exercised their free will. I think that if we mean by free will libertarian freedom I agree. But if you mean a compatibilist freedom that is surely false. If people in heaven can exercise their free will in a compatibilist sense and be morally responsible, why can’t God start them out that way? Here your defense that for God to do so would extinguish their personhood depends on an equivocation of “free will.” Sometimes you are using it in a compatibilist sense to defend the freedom of those participating in the inevitability in the beatific vision and then you use “free will” in a libertarian sense to defend against the problem of evil. I don’t think you are being consistent. Again, given the dogma of the Immaculate Conception was Mary fixed in original justice without ever having exercised her free will in a libertarian sense or no? The point is, that on the Catholic view it seems to me that you can have the good without every having personally employed the faculty. So again, why can’t God start everyone out like Mary? Was the desired good unrealized with her? As I noted before, you are confusing God determining the will in terms of efficient causation and God determining the will in terms of transcendental causality. For Aquinas, only the first and not the second would annihilate the will-for Scotus, neither would.

    Moral impeccability is a state of an agent. When one is morally impeccable the exercise of one’s will is not taken away. This doesn’t amount to compulsion for any position. So I don’t see why on your view why God can’t just create us that way. I agree that for Cyril such a view of God creating everyone (or anyone) morally impeccable would imply that freedom was lost, but given Catholic dogma I don’t see how you can accept Cyril’s view. Was Mary predetermined to exercise virtue or no?

    I agree that one has to be free in a libertarian sense to freely subject oneself to another for the subjection to be free. But that is not the question. The question is can you maintain a view that includes libertarian freedom at any level? You already exclude it in the eschaton and presumably in Christ as well. When you write

    “The point is that once you’ve done it, then it isn’t necessary for one to ever have the opportunity to make another decision at all.”

    I think you bite the bullet. It is a non-sequitor to think that once you have set yourself in the Good that it isn’t necessary for one to have the opportunity to make another decision at all as I showed above. In fact, I would say since making decisions is entailed by being a creature, let alone a person, this activity cannot be taken away except on pain of extinguishing the creature as such. The same I would argue is true for God. God never ceases from Good works because he never began them. Creaturely activity is not extinguished in habituation and fixity in the Good, rather it is perfected because it participates in God’s activities. (-how could it be passive?) Activity would only cease if the Good were simple, which it isn’t. If it were, God would never be personally active and creation would be an emanation. It is just at this point that you fall back into the Origenistic dialectic for you seem to implicitly identify the Gnomic will with libertarian freedom. First, it just doesn’t follow that a fixity in the Good implies an elimination of libertarian freedom. Second, creaturely activity can’t cease except on pain of extinguishing the creature. In any case, I don’t see why if you think that someone with Compatibilist freedom is free, you would think that the subjection would need to be done with libertarian freedom? If people who are compatibilistically free are truly free and *persons* why would their initial act of subjection need to be libertarianly free in order to count as a personal exercise of their faculties? You don’t think that they aren’t acting out of a personal exercise of their faculties in the eschaton, do you? Surely not! So if they are acting out of a personal exercise of their faculties with compatibilist freedom in the eschaton, why can’t they do so at the beginning? And if they can do so at the beginning then having libertarian freedom at the beginning is superfluous and is an explanatory dangler-it explains nothing. The principle of parsimony would move us to get rid of it altogether since it explains nothing. You can have a personal exercise of the faculties on your view with compatibilist freedom, so why posit libertarian freedom in the first place? If libertarian freedom is unnecessary and compatibilist freedom is sufficient to permit personal exercise of the will, then why didn’t God just create us all compatibilistically free such that we always did the good and never the evil?

    Lastly since you agree that unless one adopts a compatibilist gloss on freedom, that a voluntary act of itself is insufficient to amount to a free act, either you have to show how the initial act is free on top of being voluntary or you have to adopt a compatibilist view of freedom, in which case you fall victim to the problem of evil.

    As to the divine persons and the divine will, different from is not contrary to unless of course the Good is simple. If the Good in its activities is not simple, then I agree, but if not then no. It wasn’t contrary at any point for Christ to will to preserve his own life and it wasn’t contrary because it wasn’t indifferent because to will to preserve his own life was a good. If it was a good then it can’t be indifferent because that which is natural is good and not indifferent.

    The inevitability here pops up again in your thinking when you write,

    “Indeed, under most circumstances, all of these different (natural and not sinful) wills end up working toward the same end as the divine will”

    This is just the same old Thomistic line of God willing many different things in willing himself as an end. Again, this presupposes ADS. More to the point, the libertarianly free willings of Christ would end up working towards the same endS as the divine willS because the divine will willed the preservation of his life as well as willing he go to the Cross. I agree that Christ’s human volitional activity always comports with the divine wills but this is not because there is one inevitable end because there is not one divine will. Rather it is because many things are all willed by God that whatever Christ wills in his human libertarianly free will that it comports with the divine will.

    For a compatibilist the faculty is used in a fashion consistent with determinism. It is not that it goes unused, but that it is not used out of the deterministic nexus. Counter-factual controllers can permit the agent to be the source of their own acts without compromising their self determination. The possibilities for their self determinative acts have all been counter-factually narrowed down to single options in each instance. When you write that it is hard to see what the point of such a life would be, that is exactly my objection with respect to the problem of evil to your view of the eschaton. What is the beatific vision, at best, but a universal counter-factual case?

    “Here is not where I or Daniel miss the fundamental distinction. It is where you aren’t thinking consistently. First, the limit on the number of objects wouldn’t amount to compulsion, but it would amount to a necessary condition for rendering the act inevitable. The mere number of objects can limit the possible activity of the will without compulsion thereby implying inevitability. That is, you don’t need compulsion to get an inevitable act.”

    I agree that in counter-factual controller cases the person would not be free but that is because I am a libertarian. Thomas and Scotus aren’t and so they don’t view such persons as never exercising their free will. They think they are free if they can accomplish what they desire. Thomas would add the qualification that they are the source of their desires. In any case this is exactly what I think you as a compatibilist are committed to.

    Even if the saints chose not to refrain from the beatific vision, this wouldn’t preclude the possibility, for they could always revise that commitment, unless of course they gave up their freedom in the act of determining themselves. As I showed before, fixing yourself in the Good doesn’t imply giving up revising what good you fix yourself in. I think it was not only possible but ACTUAL that Christ refrained from obeying the Father in the Garden relative to the Cross. That is the whole point of Christ saying, “not my will” and likewise in John 6:38.

    Freedom of the will is not indifferent to the number of objects available since it is part of the imago dei and God is not simple. It would only be indifferent if God were simple, but he isn’t. Moreover, the opportunity to personally employ one’s faculties doesn’t entail the possibility of sin because the saints in heaven do that and it is impossible for them to sin. And how exactly is there freedom to cooperate if it isn’t possible to will something else? How is this not just a case of counter-factual control where all of the options for “cooperation” are narrowed down to one option? This is just another species of determinism. And I would say that the option of theosis IS available in this life, which is why it was offered to Adam and Even as well as to Mary. And if you look at your previous post I believe you did claim that it was intrinsic to the will to always be able to refrain from an act. By eliminating this from the will you eliminate the possibility of second order re-evaluation of the act in question.

    Again, it doesn’t follow that refraining from cooperation with the divine will implies sin so that the blessed can’t refrain. This only follows if deity is simple, which it isn’t. This is why refraining or choosing some other good isn’t excluded in the eschaton, which is why libertarian freedom isn’t excluded either. And there had better be libertarian freedom in the eschaton because Christ has it as a divine person employing his two natural faculties. And since all of humanity is united to Christ in his humanity, either you must deny that Christ is consubstantial with out humanity or you must affirm that the saints in the eschaton enjoy the same libertarian human freedom that Christ enjoys. Moreover, if refraining is not intrinsic to the will then I can’t see how freedom from external determination could be. If it isn’t up to the person to refrain and choose otherwise, on what possible basis could one say that a person is constituted by a lack of external determination? If I can externally eliminate and thus determine the person in such a way to eliminate the possibility of choosing otherwise (of which refraining is a species) then how is this not external determination?! You can’t have one without the other.

    My statement that a plurality of options is a necessary condition for libertarian free will is hardly vague nor is noting the fact that Compatibilism comes in a variety of flavors. It might help to familiarize yourself with Compatibilism. To be a Compatibilist “of sorts” means to agree with the minimal beliefs that Compatibilists share. In any case, libertarian freedom is a necessary condition for the existence of the will since that for a libertarian is just what is entailed by what it is to be a will. If it isn’t libertarianly free, then it isn’t a will. For Compatibilists on the other hand, an action can be voluntary and not be free. This is why you need to show how you get from the will being intrinsically volitional to it being free. Eliminating external efficient causality won’t do the trick. Moreover, libertarian freedom is necessary for the personal exercise of the will in virtue and since those fixed in the Good do not cease from personally willing virtuous things, they do not lack libertarian freedom either. If libertarian freedom is not necessary for the existence of the will, do you mean to imply that God could be free and have a will without libertarian freedom? If so, this would imply the absurd consequence that God could be free and have a will even if creation were necessary! The fact that God’s freedom and will are necessarily glossed in libertarian sense shows that a plurality of options is a necessary condition for a will to exist as well as its personal exercise.

    If composition entails mutability no personal self determination will remove that mutability and hence the possibility of sin since composition is entailed by their definition or form. Because the self determination of the angels is a self determination of composite beings and composition implies mutability, the self determination is never absolutely fixed. This implies that evil is always a possibility for the angels. This is why it is a mistake to locate the possibility of evil in composite or finite objects. The only way to get around it is to have it be the case that composite beings cease to be composite or that they cease to have access to a plurality of options or moments, which is exactly Augustine’s way out-they are rescued from time. The ever moving rest in Maximus is not a passive power in the sense that it is not active since then the creature would not be participating in the divine energies or activities. Mutability glossed as a thing ceasing to be what it is only needs to be precluded if we think of the Good as simple. If the Good were so, then mutability would entail the possibility of evil so that freedom is always a choice between good and evil. But since the Good is not mutability per se is not what entails the possibility of evil. Mutability is related to activity for contingent creatures first because they are personally mutable and second because there motion in the eschaton entails a type of mutability-a constant choosing of new things. Mutability and activity are related in a personal way such that an elimination of one signals a loss of personhood.

    How can what the saints do in the eschaton be glossed as “cooperation” if they cannot do otherwise? How are they free? What distinguishes their activity from that of a tree? Non-persons can be active but that doesn’t imply that they are persons or free. So I agree that they would be active in the beatific vision, but again, I don’t see how they wouldn’t just be conduits of God’s activity.

    A personal employment of the will doesn’t alter human nature. Nor does recognizing that the will is always directed intrinsically towards the Good imply that a plurality of options are unnecessary for the will to be exercised. This only follows on the assumption that the Good that the natural faculty is naturally directed towards is simple. The fact that the natural faculty is directed towards the Good doesn’t imply that alternative possibilities aren’t a necessary condition for the exercise of the will.

    When you write that freedom is a property of the natural faculty of the will, what kind of freedom do you have in mind? Is it the kind of freedom that God enjoys, namely libertarian freedom, or some other notion? If so, what other notion do you have in mind? And given that in God the natural faculty and the personal employment are fixed it seems as if it has to be libertarian freedom on pain of rendering creation necessary.

    Lastly, if evil is entirely unnecessary for the goodness of the whole to come about how is it possible for Adam who enjoyed original justice? And if it is possible for Adam why isn’t it possible for Mary? If it is possible for Mary, what is it that the blessed receive over and above divine justice than fixes them in the Good rendering them incapable of sinning?

  3. “Is the evil necessary for the goodness of the whole to exist or come about? If it is not then why have the evil at all? If it is, how is this not dualism?”

    It is entirely unnecessary, resulting only accidentally from the opportunity given to exercise virtue freely. But to the extent that it is permitted, it is turned to good ends (specifically, the salvation of other souls, or sometimes, the salvation of that same soul). Like all mutable goods, they are instrumentally and not inherently part of the plan.

  4. “Don’t you remember from my paper the distinction between the faculty of will, the mode of willing, and the object of the will? I got that from Farrell. All 3 of them must be distinct or the whole project crumbles, and the last one needs to be plural to have genuine free-choice.”

    It may be that “the whole project crumbles” then, as the inclusion of the object of the will was exactly what I can’t see how to work in. ISTM like multiple objects simply cannot be necessary for the will. They can be necessary for personal exercise of the will, but in that instance, they are necessary exactly once for self-determination. I will have to see this for myself then, but one could basically summarize my entire post above by saying that freedom is a property of the natural will, and that libertarian freedom is solely a prerequisite of the personal exercise of the will.

  5. “Voluntary for Maximus doesn’t mean what it does for say Aquinas. An action can be voluntary for Aquinas and still inevitable. This is why voluntary action for Aquinas does not of itself imply freedom, specifically libertarian freedom which entails alternative possibilities. So for Maximus, there had better be a plurality of options, they are a necessary condition for freedom.”

    How does that not confuse nature and person? Freedom from compulsion is characteristic of the faculty; it can’t be removed by circumstance (viz., the will is undetermined by nature). I could see where alternative possibilities have had to have been necessary for the faculty to have been used (exercised personally), but that doesn’t mean that those alternative possibilities have to persist in order for the faculty of the will to be free from compulsion. It’s the difference between the act of speaking and the faculty of speaking; you don’t have to be speaking to have the faculty of speaking.

    “This is why talk of voluntary subjection is question begging. For a human to voluntarily subject themselves to God on our view never removes from them alternative possibilities, whereas say for Aquinas or Augustine, it ultimately does. This is why the account you give in the previous reply is essentially Augustinian and Thomistic (and Origenistic as well) and not consistent with Maximus’ views. Christ in subjecting his human will to the Father in libertarian freedom never negates or terminates the possible use or power of that freedom.”

    I agree; the circumstances constrain the personal exercise of the faculty, but the faculty itself is neither constrained nor determined. Where my view differs from Origen is in the necessity of motion that Origen posits, which confuses nature with person (the exercise of will with the faculty of will). It would be one thing if someone had NEVER had the opportunity to personally exercise will, but that isn’t the case in the eschaton.

    “An appeal to a passive power of motion of the nature doesn’t by itself imply that any resulting activity is free-alternative possibilities have to be added to that to reach the conclusion that the action is free, which is why there have to be a plurality of options.”

    And there’s the problem. “Free action” is personal, something that is done naturally; freedom of the will is natural.

    “This is why the difference between Calvinism and Maximus’ position is not whether the human will (and ours as well) is voluntarily placed in subjection to the divine will. Any good Calvinist, Scotistic or Thomistic compatibilist would say the same thing because for them volition is not incompatible with determinism and consequently inevitable actions. No Calvinist that I ever read would speak of God’s determination of your actions in terms of compulsion. In fact denying compulsion just is what any compatibilist would say, going all the way back past Edwards, Hume and Hobbes to the Stoics and other Atomists. Compulsion implies an external motion contrary to the determined agent’s will. But for say a Calvinist, God’s determination of an agent’s act isn’t contrary to the agent’s will, it is the ground that makes the motion of the agent’s will even possible in the first place as well as what is sufficient to make it actual.”

    Of course, but that determination would be compulsion by St. Cyril’s definition, which would violate the person’s rational nature. For the will to be a rational will, nothing can determine it, God notwithstanding. It is self-moving, self-determining, and nothing can move it without its consent. If something else causes it to move, then it isn’t free. There may be preconditions for the movement, but never predeterminations.

    “Your account is essentially a hybrid account, where we have libertarian freedom in this life but we lose it in the next life. An important initial question is why do we need to loose libertarian freedom in the next life?”

    Because that isn’t losing anything. The natural will is still there; it is determined by nothing other than its own choice to be determined. “Use the Force, Luke… Let go, Luke.” 🙂

    “For Augustine and Aquinas it is because God is simple and to will anything other than God would be evil. A plurality of options then is dialectically defined as always being between a good and evil option. This is why a plurality as a necessary condition for libertarian freedom must be ruled out, because for Augustine and Aquinas, a plurality of options implies the possibility to do evil. Since it is not possible for there to be a second fall in heaven, libertarian freedom has to be excised and precluded in deification.”

    Even if that were true (and I actually don’t think that either of them use this rationale to exclude the possibility of sin in the eschaton), there can be adequate and independent grounds for a conclusion. One can conclude that the will is self-determinedly passive without needing to appeal to divine simplicity as a reason. For one thing, it just isn’t necessary; there’s no reason to preserve libertarian free will in the eschaton. There is no inherent good in it, no purpose if the will is already self-determined. Freely-willed virtue is inherently good, but libertarian freedom itself is only instrumental to that good end, whether it entails the possibility of sin or not.

    “This is essentially delayed Calvinism. Calvinists give the same essential argument but in respect to God’s sovereignty. If God is going to be sovereign, then there can’t be a divergence from the divine will. Since the divine will is singular and simple, alternative possibilities have to be ruled out. So in order to save God as the Good, humans have to be less good in terms of freedom, they have to be passive resulting in anthropological Apollinarianism.”

    But you’ve answered your own objection, in that Calvinists confuse nature and person just like Apollinarius did. It goes way beyond humans being “less good;” they aren’t even humans at all! But there’s no such difficulty with so-called “delayed Calvinism,” because the will (being natural) cannot become more or less good. It is what it determines itself to be, not what an externality determines it to be.

    “Here are some reasons for thinking that hybrid accounts should be rejected. It is counter intuitive that agents in a sinful state would have qualitatively more freedom than morally impeccable agents. If anything, deification should increase our freedom and not diminish it. Because divine freedom is libertarian, which entails alternative possibilities, it is at least plausible that deification includes libertarian freedom implying that the deified have libertarian freedom and that to a greater degree in heaven indicating that their subjection doesn’t remove it.”

    But they don’t have “qualitatively more freedom.” They have exactly the same freedom, i.e., their will is naturally self-moved and self-determining.

    “If personhood and libertarian freedom are biconditionally related as libertarians think, then to loose libertarian freedom in the eschaton is to cease to be a person.”

    Fine, but that definition of person has nothing to do with the Christian definition (nor even Maximus’s definition if Bathrellos is right), and I see no reason why Christians should agree with it. You’re talking as if you can become free and unfree, but by the Christian account, freedom is a property of nature and not person. Unless you stop being human, you always have free will.

    “And if agents can be considered free and morally responsible in heaven, then there seems to be no good reason why God could not have started them out with compatibilist freedom in the first place, making the first half of a hybrid account unnecessary.”

    That’s rather trivial: it’s because they never would have personally exercised free will. If you excise the first half, then you don’t obtain the good of the person ever having personally exercised virtue, which is exactly the point of creating free beings in the first place. Even if they start out with compatibilist freedom in terms of options, God can’t determine the will to move without annihilating it, so the desired good would go unrealized.

    “Your comments that for God to do so would amount to compulsion are mistaken. God creating us in a state of moral impeccability would not be contrary to our will since it would be logically, if not temporally prior to the existence of our will. Creating us in such a state would not amount to compulsion any more than God deciding to give us being without our consent. We aren’t compelled to exist. It is simply a category mistake. An act done in the absence of will is not equivalent to an act done contrary to a will-the latter amounts to an act of compulsion but not the former. God creating us in a perfect state would be a case of the former and not the latter which is why we wouldn’t be compelled to do good in such a circumstance. As I noted previously, determinism doesn’t imply compulsion so that God creating us in such a state would take away our volitional activity per se, it would only mean our choices were determined.”

    Sure, but impeccability is not the same thing as the personal exercise of virtue, and the latter has to be self-determined. If we are predetermined to exercise virtue, then we aren’t free, meaning that the desired good is not obtained. That would be “compulsion” in the Cyrillian sense, because the motion and determination is not self-motion and self-determination.

    “The principle you give, only goes through if we are speaking of libertarian freedom, where in order for the will to be intrinsically free it has to have alternative possibilities- that is, in order for the will to be free, what kind of will the agent has, has to be up to the agent and this implies that the agent can choose between different types of will, thereby implying alternative possibilities as a necessary condition for freedom. As you state it, subjection of the will in a voluntary act is insufficient to amount to a free act, unless you are a compatibilist, which I think you still are.”

    I don’t disagree with any of that. One has to, at some point, have made a truly free decision to to subject to another in order for the subjection to be free. The point is that once you’ve done it, then it isn’t necessary for one to ever have the opportunity to make another decision at all. It only takes one instantaneous moment of freedom, one nanosecond of self-determination, for one’s subjection to qualify as free.

    “To note that the reason why Christ could never sin and always chooses to obey the Father is because he is a divine person isn’t very helpful. First because the divine person employs a human will and we need an explanation of why the divine person cannot sin simpliciter.”

    A divine Person can’t sin because the Persons share one divine will, meaning that none of the divine Persons can ever will contrary to one another. Different from is not contrary to.

    “The reason why an incarnate divine person cannot sin even in their employment of a human will is because the employment of the respective natural faculty is fused with or been made identical in the hypostatic union with the natural end intrinsic to the natural faculty. More importantly, it is true that Christ always chooses to will what the Father has willed (the Father has willed lots of things though), but it doesn’t follow that the Son always chooses in his human will to do the *act* selected by the Father. The account in the Garden proves this beyond doubt not to mention John 6:38. The Father selects the act of going to the Cross and Christ initially chooses by his human will to preserve his life. Obedience to the Father doesn’t imply a singular and identical object of choice or act. This incidentally comports well with Virtue Theory in general, where Virtue Theorists argue that there is no one virtuous act in a given context.”

    At the time of Gethsemane, it wasn’t contrary to the divine will to preserve His own life, so it is indifferent (and natural) for Christ to will His own self-preservation, just as it was indifferent for Him to will not to be found in a certain building, even though he was eventually discovered. Indeed, under most circumstances, all of these different (natural and not sinful) wills end up working toward the same end as the divine will. Yet, recognizing that in the future it would be contrary to the divine will, He wills to subject His human will to that intent.

    “Any Good compatibilist will deny that God compels you to do what you do, but affirm that God can determine you to do what you do. At the very least it is possible that God can render your act inevitable counter-factually by blocking all of the other possibilities (including refraining) so that the only option to be actualized is the one he wills. Counter-factual blocking will render the act inevitable even without any active external compulsion or internal tinkering. Likewise, God could have started humans out with only one possible choice of action and blocked the possibility of refraining from choice and such a move would not imply compulsion, that is making the agent will contrary to their will.”

    So then the person never personally exercises free will at all, never makes any act of self-determination. The faculty goes unused. Hard to see what the purpose of such a life would be, so hard that it would seem entirely irrational and impossible for God (being that there is no good in it).

    “Here is not where I or Daniel miss the fundamental distinction. It is where you aren’t thinking consistently. First, the limit on the number of objects wouldn’t amount to compulsion, but it would amount to a necessary condition for rendering the act inevitable. The mere number of objects can limit the possible activity of the will without compulsion thereby implying inevitability. That is, you don’t need compulsion to get an inevitable act.”

    And if someone went through an entire life in that manner, if done without determination, then that person would never actually exercise his free will. It would be pointless and senseless, which strikes me as entirely impossible for a rational God, but as a hypothetical case, I suppose you could have a situation in which a person never actually had any opportunity to exercise free will.

    “Why if alternative possibilities aren’t necessary, didn’t God just skip all of the evil in the world and do it that way? And if you think that the agent can always will to refrain, can an agent refrain from the beatific vision? (Aquinas says no) Could Christ have refrained from obeying the Father in his human will? (Aquinas says no)”

    The saints can’t will to refrain from the beatific vision because they chose not to be able to do so. Christ can’t refrain from obeying the Father because He is the Logos (the metaphysical impossibility comes from the impossibility of Personhood, not from impossibility of nature).

    “The point of the plurality of the goods in the eschaton is to expand man’s freedom so that his situations aren’t limited. Since the goods are infinite in number, human freedom is expanded and not diminished in the eschaton. Moreover, it isn’t our circumstances per se that render our willings impure, but rather the personal employment of the will that does. Moral evil isn’t caused by external circumstances, which is a most unAugustinian thesis-evil is personal, not circumstantial. And the circumstances in Eden were as good as one could hope for and yet evil occurred. Our decision process wasn’t vulnerable to corruption then. Furthermore, since you think, inconsistently, that one can always refrain from the act of will, mutability isn’t entailed by and doesn’t entail corruption or its possibility. Refraining is a type of mutability in the will and since you think it is always possible either you have to say that it isn’t entailed by and entails corruption’s possibility in which case libertarian freedom can be disentangled from the possibility of evil or if you think it does entail the possibility of corruption, you must deny that the saints can always refrain from an act, in which case since refraining is intrinsic to the will, that they loose their will in the eschaton and Christ never had a human will in the incarnation.”

    Freedom of the will is indifferent to the number of objects of choice; it can’t be limited by situation. Yes, any opportunity to exercise will personally entails the possibility of sin for anyone who isn’t a divine person; the probability just goes up drastically by the contingent circumstances of fallen humanity., Freedom IS expanded in the eschaton, as we have a freedom that we never had before to cooperate in shining forth the divine glory eternally, an option that is entirely unavailable in life. I never claimed that people always have the freedom to refrain, only that if a person has no choices, then it must be because he exercised his freedom to make choices impossible. I entirely agree that if someone could change his mind and refrain from cooperation in the divine will, that would be mutability, so the saints in Heaven can’t (viz., there is no libertarian freedom in the eschaton, which deals strictly with the personal mode of exercise of the will, not the existence of the will per se). Refraining is not intrinsic to the will; freedom from external determination is.

    “It is true that the plurality of goods and libertarian freedom in the eschaton are two different things. But the former is a necessary condition for the latter. And you are quite right that it a plurality of options is not necessary for a will to choose, but a plurality of options is necessary for the will to choose FREELY. If you deny that, then you deny libertarian freedom and are in fact a Compatibilist of sorts.”

    That’s pretty vague, as I don’t know what it means to be a compatibilist “of sorts.” Libertarian freedom is a necessary precondition for the personal exercise of virtue, but it is not necessary for the existence of the will.

    “And the possibility of angelic sin can’t be entailed by being external to God, that is in being composite, otherwise it will always be possible for angels to sin or the angels must cease being composite.”

    No, it was entailed by their compositeness, their being rational beings, and their not having made a self-determination. Once that latter condition fails, then they are personally determined, and there isn’t anything left to libertarian freedom.

    “Origen didn’t get wrong the ongoing requirement for mutability or activity. What Origen got wrong was thinking that mutability or activity was opposed to Goodness entailed the possibility of defection from the Good. Maximus separates out the various kinds of mutability and activity so that it is possible to be mutable or active without the possibility of sin. Maximus is quite clear that the rest that the saints enjoy is an EVER MOVING rest. It is not a complete inactivity passivity.”

    I agree. It is not inactivity; it is “passive power,” subject to another will. The will is acting constantly, just as the divine will is acting constantly, on account of the previous choice to act constantly. Mutability (in the sense of something ceasing to be what it is in some respect) and activity are not related as far as I know.

    “The beatific vision strictly speaking would not be possible since the saints wouldn’t be doing anything but rather they would be conduits of God’s activity.”

    No, the saints constantly provide their cooperation with the divine will (viz., they always and forever will the same object), but that doesn’t render them inactive. That’s why the “problem passage” in Chapters on Knowledge isn’t really a problem at all.

    “If Maximus or Farrell thought such a thing, it would entail Manichean and Calvinist total depravity since in their personal employment of the will, Adam would have fundamentally altered the logos of his nature thereby overturning God’s irresistible will or predestination for human nature.”

    Exactly. Now flip it around; multiple choice is inessential for the natural exercise of will.

    But I will try to understand Farrell’s argument, if I can find it. Thus far, I am unconvinced. Bathrellos seems to be right.

  6. Daniel Jones says:

    “It’s the first Opuscula that Bathrellos quotes above, so somebody has misunderstood someone. Problem might be that Farrell’s definition of LFW confuses the object of choice with the faculty of choice; at least, that’s how it looks.”

    Don’t you remember from my paper the distinction between the faculty of will, the mode of willing, and the object of the will? I got that from Farrell. All 3 of them must be distinct or the whole project crumbles, and the last one needs to be plural to have genuine free-choice. Farrell doesn’t describe what Libertarian Free-will is since that is a term used in contemporary analytic philosophy, but what he describes as “genuine free choice” would be the same thing. ‘Free Choice’ isn’t an analystical philosophy book. We are just mapping LFW onto Maximus, for Perry’s hardwork in doing so we are gateful. Furthermore, we speak of alternate possibilites, with an analytical context in mind, which doesn’t necessarily imply objects opposed. When Farrell uses alternate it means objects in opposition, just so you know when you read the book.

    If I were you, I would purchase it from the website I gave you above. It’s worth the trouble. Besides, if I could have only one theology book with me, it would be that one. I didn’t believe it for myself until Perry convinced me to buy it.

    Photius

  7. OK, I am, at least, beginning to understand what the difficulty is.

    “Compatibilist freedom does not entail in the slightest compulsion. Nor does Calvinism.”

    Yeah, but that kind of determination by something outside the faculty itself would be still be compulsion by Cyril’s lights, no matter how it’s glossed. You wouldn’t be anything but an animal if that were true.

    “1) Maximus excludes deliberation and a **certain type** of mutability in the Eschaton in his book.”

    And this isn’t anything other than what Augustine, Aquinas, Origen, or Gregory of Nyssa removes in the eschaton, at least as I see it.

    “2) It seems that Bathrellos or you is getting the gnomic will wrong. It appears that you are equating the gnomic will with choice, which it is not. Everybody in the literature gets the gnomic will wrong except perhaps Louth, and maybe Thunberg. Lossky gets it wrong and so does Meyendorff. Although, it is Meyendorff who spent much time with Farrell explaining the gnomic will. So I suspect that he understood it correctly when Farrell wrote the book, since he was Farrell’s insight.”

    It’s not the gnomie but the prohaeresis that is the question here, although they are related. There are essentially two elements of prohaeresis: (a) that it is a deliberative mode of willing (this Farrell rightly says is inessential), and (b) that it depends on having multiple possible objects of willing (this is what Farrell argues is retained in the eschaton, and Bathrellos considers its necessity for the natural will impossible, in that it would confuse nature and person).

    “3) Farrell spends a huge amount of time in the book explaining the spatial imagery that is bought from Plotinus that Maximus’ uses to describe the creaturely movement in the Eschaton. Yet it takes on a different meaning than Plotinus.”

    I can’t speak to it, because I haven’t read it. Might be helpful if you could spell out the main lines, but I understand if that isn’t possible. Otherwise, like you said, I’ll just have to see it myself.

    “4) In the First Opuscula, Maximus emphasizes again and again that choice and motion are essential to pershoonhood and created being, and it is *NOT* lost in the Eschaton which is the whole point of ever-moving rest. So I flat out deny that you are reading Maximus correctly.”

    It’s the first Opuscula that Bathrellos quotes above, so somebody has misunderstood someone. Problem might be that Farrell’s definition of LFW confuses the object of choice with the faculty of choice; at least, that’s how it looks. Maximus draws that distinction pretty rigorously; Farrell may have blurred it. Like you say, though, I’d have to read it myself to find out. Perhaps I will eventually make that trip to Pepperdine’s library in Malibu to read Haugh and maybe I’ll get that one too!

  8. Perry Robinson says:

    Addendum

    Jonathan,

    Here is a question I have about your comments that evil contributes to the goodness of the whole world.

    Is the evil necessary for the goodness of the whole to exist or come about? If it is not then why have the evil at all? If it is, how is this not dualism?

  9. Perry Robinson says:

    Regarding the Prohaeritic will, Maximus doesn’t think that deliberation is entailed by free will. If he did, he would think that God would deliberate between Goods, which he doesn’t. Deliberation is at least in part characterizes the gnomic will for Maximus and since neither Christ nor the redeemed have a gnomic mode of willing, they do not deliberate, even though they can choose between multiple options. It is not possible to have libertarian freedom without alternative possibilities.

    Voluntary for Maximus doesn’t mean what it does for say Aquinas. An action can be voluntary for Aquinas and still inevitable. This is why voluntary action for Aquinas does not of itself imply freedom, specifically libertarian freedom which entails alternative possibilities. So for Maximus, there had better be a plurality of options, they are a necessary condition for freedom. This is why talk of voluntary subjection is question begging. For a human to voluntarily subject themselves to God on our view never removes from them alternative possibilities, whereas say for Aquinas or Augustine, it ultimately does. This is why the account you give in the previous reply is essentially Augustinian and Thomistic (and Origenistic as well) and not consistent with Maximus’ views. Christ in subjecting his human will to the Father in libertarian freedom never negates or terminates the possible use or power of that freedom. An appeal to a passive power of motion of the nature doesn’t by itself imply that any resulting activity is free-alternative possibilities have to be added to that to reach the conclusion that the action is free, which is why there have to be a plurality of options.

    This is why the difference between Calvinism and Maximus’ position is not whether the human will (and ours as well) is voluntarily placed in subjection to the divine will. Any good Calvinist, Scotistic or Thomistic compatibilist would say the same thing because for them volition is not incompatible with determinism and consequently inevitable actions. No Calvinist that I ever read would speak of God’s determination of your actions in terms of compulsion. In fact denying compulsion just is what any compatibilist would say, going all the way back past Edwards, Hume and Hobbes to the Stoics and other Atomists. Compulsion implies an external motion contrary to the determined agent’s will. But for say a Calvinist, God’s determination of an agent’s act isn’t contrary to the agent’s will, it is the ground that makes the motion of the agent’s will even possible in the first place as well as what is sufficient to make it actual.

    Your account is essentially a hybrid account, where we have libertarian freedom in this life but we lose it in the next life. An important initial question is why do we need to loose libertarian freedom in the next life? For Augustine and Aquinas it is because God is simple and to will anything other than God would be evil. A plurality of options then is dialectically defined as always being between a good and evil option. This is why a plurality as a necessary condition for libertarian freedom must be ruled out, because for Augustine and Aquinas, a plurality of options implies the possibility to do evil. Since it is not possible for there to be a second fall in heaven, libertarian freedom has to be excised and precluded in deification.

    This is essentially delayed Calvinism. Calvinists give the same essential argument but in respect to God’s sovereignty. If God is going to be sovereign, then there can’t be a divergence from the divine will. Since the divine will is singular and simple, alternative possibilities have to be ruled out. So in order to save God as the Good, humans have to be less good in terms of freedom, they have to be passive resulting in anthropological Apollinarianism.

    Here are some reasons for thinking that hybrid accounts should be rejected. It is counter intuitive that agents in a sinful state would have qualitatively more freedom than morally impeccable agents. If anything, deification should increase our freedom and not diminish it. Because divine freedom is libertarian, which entails alternative possibilities, it is at least plausible that deification includes libertarian freedom implying that the deified have libertarian freedom and that to a greater degree in heaven indicating that their subjection doesn’t remove it. If personhood and libertarian freedom are biconditionally related as libertarians think, then to loose libertarian freedom in the eschaton is to cease to be a person. And if agents can be considered free and morally responsible in heaven, then there seems to be no good reason why God could not have started them out with compatibilist freedom in the first place, making the first half of a hybrid account unnecessary. And if it is unnecessary, it makes God complicit in the existence of evil because God could have created a world in which evil wasn’t possible and agents were free and morally responsible. Your comments that for God to do so would amount to compulsion are mistaken. God creating us in a state of moral impeccability would not be contrary to our will since it would be logically, if not temporally prior to the existence of our will. Creating us in such a state would not amount to compulsion any more than God deciding to give us being without our consent. We aren’t compelled to exist. It is simply a category mistake. An act done in the absence of will is not equivalent to an act done contrary to a will-the latter amounts to an act of compulsion but not the former. God creating us in a perfect state would be a case of the former and not the latter which is why we wouldn’t be compelled to do good in such a circumstance. As I noted previously, determinism doesn’t imply compulsion so that God creating us in such a state would take away our volitional activity per se, it would only mean our choices were determined.

    Taking Edwards as representative of Calvinism for the moment, Edwards doesn’t think that one’s nature compels one’s actions, even though he thinks that it determines them. This is why your account isn’t fundamentally different from a Calvinist account. And your comments that if the will is subject to anything it can only be so by its own will are mistaken. First this doesn’t imply that its will to be in subjection in the consequent is a free will to be so in subjection, only that it is a volitional act-not all volitional acts are free. That is, willing to be in subjection doesn’t imply freely willing to be in subjection. Second, the entire statement is false since the will is subject to the conditions of its own existence and it did not will those conditions for the simple reason that it didn’t exist to will them. The principle you give, only goes through if we are speaking of libertarian freedom, where in order for the will to be intrinsically free it has to have alternative possibilities- that is, in order for the will to be free, what kind of will the agent has, has to be up to the agent and this implies that the agent can choose between different types of will, thereby implying alternative possibilities as a necessary condition for freedom. As you state it, subjection of the will in a voluntary act is insufficient to amount to a free act, unless you are a compatibilist, which I think you still are.

    To note that the reason why Christ could never sin and always chooses to obey the Father is because he is a divine person isn’t very helpful. First because the divine person employs a human will and we need an explanation of why the divine person cannot sin simpliciter. The reason why an incarnate divine person cannot sin even in their employment of a human will is because the employment of the respective natural faculty is fused with or been made identical in the hypostatic union with the natural end intrinsic to the natural faculty. More importantly, it is true that Christ always chooses to will what the Father has willed (the Father has willed lots of things though), but it doesn’t follow that the Son always chooses in his human will to do the *act* selected by the Father. The account in the Garden proves this beyond doubt not to mention John 6:38. The Father selects the act of going to the Cross and Christ initially chooses by his human will to preserve his life. Obedience to the Father doesn’t imply a singular and identical object of choice or act. This incidentally comports well with Virtue Theory in general, where Virtue Theorists argue that there is no one virtuous act in a given context.

    Here is not where I or Daniel miss the fundamental distinction. It is where you aren’t thinking consistently. First, the limit on the number of objects wouldn’t amount to compulsion, but it would amount to a necessary condition for rendering the act inevitable. The mere number of objects can limit the possible activity of the will without compulsion thereby implying inevitability. That is, you don’t need compulsion to get an inevitable act. Second, if the will can always will otherwise in terms of refraining from the choosing an object in a case where there is a singular object and that is what constitutes the freedom of the will, then you have admitted that alternative possibilities as a necessary condition for freedom since the refraining is an alternative. But this is exactly what Augustine and Thomas reject, which is why it is not possible in the eschaton for the blessed to not will or refrain from the beatific vision, which incidentally Thomas thinks that Christ had the beatific vision from conception to explain his inability to sin. In order to maintain that the will is therefore intrinsically free, you either have to now admit that libertarian freedom, which entails alternative possibilities exists in the eschaton or on your hybrid account, that since alternative possibilities, at least in terms of refraining, are always possible because they are intrinsic to the will and are excluded in the eschaton that we loose our will in the eschaton. That is, either you admit our position or you admit that we loose your will in the eschaton, a kind of eschatological Eutychianism or Apollinarianism. Which is it going to be?

    Any Good compatibilist will deny that God compels you to do what you do, but affirm that God can determine you to do what you do. At the very least it is possible that God can render your act inevitable counter-factually by blocking all of the other possibilities (including refraining) so that the only option to be actualized is the one he wills. Counter-factual blocking will render the act inevitable even without any active external compulsion or internal tinkering. Likewise, God could have started humans out with only one possible choice of action and blocked the possibility of refraining from choice and such a move would not imply compulsion, that is making the agent will contrary to their will. Why if alternative possibilities aren’t necessary, didn’t God just skip all of the evil in the world and do it that way? And if you think that the agent can always will to refrain, can an agent refrain from the beatific vision? (Aquinas says no) Could Christ have refrained from obeying the Father in his human will? (Aquinas says no)

    The point of the plurality of the goods in the eschaton is to expand man’s freedom so that his situations aren’t limited. Since the goods are infinite in number, human freedom is expanded and not diminished in the eschaton. Moreover, it isn’t our circumstances per se that render our willings impure, but rather the personal employment of the will that does. Moral evil isn’t caused by external circumstances, which is a most unAugustinian thesis-evil is personal, not circumstantial. And the circumstances in Eden were as good as one could hope for and yet evil occurred. Our decision process wasn’t vulnerable to corruption then. Furthermore, since you think, inconsistently, that one can always refrain from the act of will, mutability isn’t entailed by and doesn’t entail corruption or its possibility. Refraining is a type of mutability in the will and since you think it is always possible either you have to say that it isn’t entailed by and entails corruption’s possibility in which case libertarian freedom can be disentangled from the possibility of evil or if you think it does entail the possibility of corruption, you must deny that the saints can always refrain from an act, in which case since refraining is intrinsic to the will, that they loose their will in the eschaton and Christ never had a human will in the incarnation.
    It is true that the plurality of goods and libertarian freedom in the eschaton are two different things. But the former is a necessary condition for the latter. And you are quite right that it a plurality of options is not necessary for a will to choose, but a plurality of options is necessary for the will to choose FREELY. If you deny that, then you deny libertarian freedom and are in fact a Compatibilist of sorts. And the possibility of angelic sin can’t be entailed by being external to God, that is in being composite, otherwise it will always be possible for angels to sin or the angels must cease being composite. And the angelic sin was possible in part because they did in fact have multiple options, to sin and not to sin, either by refraining or by doing some positive good instead. Besides, the term “outside God” is rather vague.

    Origen didn’t get wrong the ongoing requirement for mutability or activity. What Origen got wrong was thinking that mutability or activity was opposed to Goodness entailed the possibility of defection from the Good. Maximus separates out the various kinds of mutability and activity so that it is possible to be mutable or active without the possibility of sin. Maximus is quite clear that the rest that the saints enjoy is an EVER MOVING rest. It is not a complete inactivity passivity. First because God is active and they are deified, which implies that they can’t be passive. Second, that activity is intrinsic to the creature. Third, that God’s activity is genuinely ours and genuinely his-one act-two agents and neither are passive just like in justification. Origen’s mistake was in thinking that our activity can’t be God’s also and in thinking that free activity always implied the possibility evil. (You can see here this implicit in Protestant views of justification where our activity in justification is always defective in some way so we have to be completely passive in order to be just, which is why justification has to be extrinsic to us.) If you were right, the passive power of the saints would never be activated, in which case, only God would be active and no one else. The beatific vision strictly speaking would not be possible since the saints wouldn’t be doing anything but rather they would be conduits of God’s activity.

    And Farrell doesn’t fall into the error of thinking that deliberative choice is essential to human nature. Farrell has an entire chapter where he denies that deliberation is essential to freedom. It is gnomic and hence accidential to human agents and doesn’t even fall under the category of nature at all, otherwise human nature would change “innumerable times.” If Maximus or Farrell thought such a thing, it would entail Manichean and Calvinist total depravity since in their personal employment of the will, Adam would have fundamentally altered the logos of his nature thereby overturning God’s irresistible will or predestination for human nature.

    I suggest you acquire in some way his book to see what he says. You should also pick up standard Compatibilist and Libertarian expositions. For Compatibilism see John Martin Fischer’s The Metaphysics of Free Will. For Libertarianism see Robert Kane’s The Significance of Free Will. For a quick survey of historical works, see Derek Pereboom’s, Free Will.

  10. Daniel Jones says:

    Jonathan, I will get back to you next week. As I will, be out of town this weekend.

    But to note, you are making some fundamental errors here with regard to libertarian free-will and compatibilism. Compatibilist freedom does not entail in the slightest compulsion. Nor does Calvinism.

    After briefly, reviewing Farrell’s book last night, you or Bathrellos are making errors that Farrell does not make. 1) Maximus excludes deliberation and a **certain type** of mutability in the Eschaton in his book. 2) It seems that Bathrellos or you is getting the gnomic will wrong. It appears that you are equating the gnomic will with choice, which it is not. Everybody in the literature gets the gnomic will wrong except perhaps Louth, and maybe Thunberg. Lossky gets it wrong and so does Meyendorff. Although, it is Meyendorff who spent much time with Farrell explaining the gnomic will. So I suspect that he understood it correctly when Farrell wrote the book, since he was Farrell’s insight. 3) Farrell spends a huge amount of time in the book explaining the spatial imagery that is bought from Plotinus that Maximus’ uses to describe the creaturely movement in the Eschaton. Yet it takes on a different meaning than Plotinus. 4) In the First Opuscula, Maximus emphasizes again and again that choice and motion are essential to pershoonhood and created being, and it is *NOT* lost in the Eschaton which is the whole point of ever-moving rest. So I flat out deny that you are reading Maximus correctly. 5) Again, after looking over these issues in Farrell’s book, Maximus is far more articulate and far more subtle than perhaps I’ve made him, and I think it is paramount that if you are going to understand him that you get Farrell’s book. I must say I’ve forgotten a lot of how detailed this all is in Maximus. I will try to do my best to explicate here, but I think, in the end, you need to see it for yourself. I know of a bookstore that has this book, but it is in Australia (this is where I got my book two years ago).

    http://www.seraphimsshop.com/catalogue/books/index.html

    Photius

  11. “What is a prohaeritic will ?”

    Proaeresis is deliberative choice, making a decision from among options.

    “Well if they are willing different things then the object of the will is plural, while still maintaining non-contradiction, which is exactly our point.”

    CAN BE plural, but it doesn’t NEED TO BE to distinguish the wills or for the will to exist in itself. You can have a “passive power” as Maximus calls it, a power that is *voluntarily* subjected to another.

    “Jonathan, if Bathrellos is right, and I don’t agree that he is, then we are eventually reduced to compatibilist freedom. Why not be Calvinists at that point? Ultimately our freedom is rooted in a freedom that can never do otherwise, as Shanley says.”

    The difference between Calvinists and Maximus is whether the will is voluntarily placed in subjection to another. As St. Cyril says, rational properties are not subject to compulsion. However, if the rational property *voluntarily* puts itself into subjection to another power, as the saints do in the eschaton (which is precisely how personal salvation takes place, personal election of the deified mode of willing), then that is not compulsion. In the Calvinist account, the will is compelled to sin by nature, but that is incoherent with the definition of the will in the first place. If the will is subject to anything, it can only be subject by its own will to do so. Cyril actually had the better read of this than Gregory Theologian; the reason that Christ always chooses to obey the Father is not that His will is deified (even though it is), but because He is one divine Person.

    Here’s where I think you’ve missed the distinction. You can’t have your will “reduced” by the objects of will before you, because the fact that the will is not subject to compulsion is a property of the faculty itself, not the external object of will. The independence of the will from compulsion can never be compromised by externalities; it inheres in the faculty itself. To say otherwise is to confuse person (mode of employment) with nature (the faculty itself).

    “We have never said that compatibilist freedom deprives man of a will. What we do say is that it renders the **action** **inevitable**. If I’m predestined to hell or heaven, in the end the choice does not belong to me where I end up.

    Why didn’t God just create man from the beginning in this state if AP is not necessary or essential?”

    Because it is the very definition of a will in the image of God not to be subject to compulsion. God can do whatever He wants to you, but He can’t make you will; your freedom in that regard is absolute AND PERMANENT, inhering in your nature. There’s never a case where action is inevitable, because one can always choose not to will the action, and the will is immune to compulsion. So God could not have simply created deified rational beings (viz., personal beings exercising the deified mode of willing) because He can’t compel a rational being to will (if He did, the person would be an animal, not a rational being).

    “This analysis also renders the imago dei in man false, since the freedom that God has (libertarian) is not the same that he gives to man in his image. Or the converse is true, both man and God have compatibilist freedom, and creation is necessary.”

    Man’s freedom is libertarian, but the situations in which he exercises his freedom are finite and limited, and our own fallen situation is such that we don’t exercise our wills in a pure way. Our decision process is vulnerable; we are beset by corruption and mutability all around us that involves other people’s errors in our decisions. [N.B., this gloss on Augustine’s idea of original sin is basically Ratzinger’s, and I think this is where he is ahead of many other commentatros.]

    “One a further note, I’ll be happy to look at Bathrellos’ book and see what his arguments are for rejecting a real plurality of goods in the Good.”

    He doesn’t reject a real plurality of goods in the Good; he rejects free choice in the eschaton, which are two entirely separate things. But it’s not even necessary for there to be a plurality of choices for a will to be able to choose, because the will’s freedom to choose itself is inherent in the will’s existence qua rational faculty. The angels can sin, not because they have multiple objects of contemplation, but merely by their virtue of existence outside God.

    The point of raising this is simply to observe that multiplicity of objects/mutability in the *eschaton* is a red herring. If anything, the ongoing requirement of mutability is exactly what Origen got wrong (the Origenist dialectic, as it were) and what is corrected by Maximus. It’s not necessary for wills to constantly be moving; they can rest (stasis) by subjection to the divine will (making their self-motive power a passive power). Cf. Augustine’s concept of peace, which is THE fulcrum for all subsequent Western ideas of the beatific vision. Indeed, it is precisely in seeing the simplicity in multiplicity, in observing the One Rational Principle in the multiple rational principles, in which peace consists.

    Quoth your paper on synergy: “We can see in this passage that Origen logically ties personhood to free-choice *and* *motion*….” Moore agrees with this; he doesn’t understand how stasis can be meaningfully free either, so he rejects Maximus as “fascistic.” Problem is that Farrell seems to have fallen into the same trap with the insistence on choice (a fallen mode of willing) as part of the natural will, which doesn’t make any more sense. Both Farrell and Origen have attached a quality to will (mutability in the latter case, choice in the former) that is non-essential.

  12. Daniel Jones says:

    One a further note, I’ll be happy to look at Bathrellos’ book and see what his arguments are for rejecting a real plurality of goods in the Good.

    Photius

  13. Daniel Jones says:

    Jonathan,

    What is a prohaeritic will ?

    “At the same time, Christ does will things according to his human will that are different from (but not contrary to) the divine will.”

    Well if they are willing different things then the object of the will is plural, while still maintaining non-contradiction, which is exactly our point.

    Jonathan, if Bathrellos is right, and I don’t agree that he is, then we are eventually reduced to compatibilist freedom. Why not be Calvinists at that point? Ultimately our freedom is rooted in a freedom that can never do otherwise, as Shanley says.

    We have never said that compatibilist freedom deprives man of a will. What we do say is that it renders the **action** **inevitable**. If I’m predestined to hell or heaven, in the end the choice does not belong to me where I end up.

    Why didn’t God just create man from the beginning in this state if AP is not necessary or essential?

    This analysis also renders the imago dei in man false, since the freedom that God has (libertarian) is not the same that he gives to man in his image. Or the converse is true, both man and God have compatibilist freedom, and creation is necessary.

    Photius

  14. Re: Augustine’s attribution of the possibility of sin to metaphysics rather than morality, ISTM that Augustine’s desire to bring all action, even evil action, under God’s providence. Contra the dualist/evil God dichotomy, I don’t think that Augustine is suggesting anything other than that God can turn even evil to good ends (which are apparent for those who see themselves in God’s eyes). He does ponder a bit in trying to make sin intelligible, but in the end, it seems that he realizes that voluntary sin is not, and indeed cannot be, intelligible in a metaphysical sense. At least, that is Wetzel’s conclusion in _Augustine in the Limits of Virtue_. Since you have _Augustine and His Critics_, take a look at Wetzel’s essay on Augustine’s predestination. That really gets across the idea that the whole idea of “predestination” in Augustine only makes sense in a self-reflective context.

    Given that is the case, I don’t even see why he would be flailing for a metaphysical explanation to remove the possibility of sin in the eschaton, so it seems implausible that he sees the elimination of mutability as anything other than the removal of a flaw that resulted from the fall. The reason for the fall itself was nothing other than Adam’s own choice, which no amount of perfection can thwart (or explain).

  15. “Since in my view, the blessed retain libertarian freedom throughout, mutability isn’t excluded because there is a real plurality in God, whereas for Augustine there is not.”

    Maximus denies mutability in the eschaton as well, so I don’t see how that impugns Augustine’s account. See D. Bathrellos, _Byzantine Christ_, p. 129: “In response to this, it must be said that Maximus seems to believe that ignorance and mutability are not essential parts of our nature, and do not define what humanity is. This allows him to claim that the saints will enjoy both immutability and fulness of knowledge eschatologically, although they will remain, of course, authentic human beings. Likewise, Maximus argues that deliberation, which is due to ignorance, will be dispensed with eschatologically, because the truth will have then become apparent. He also argues that proariresis belongs to the law of our nature *that* *is* *present* *now*: namely, the law of our nature as it stands under post-lapsarian sinfulness.” [emphasis original]

    Suffice it to say that he rejects Farrell’s position that prohaeritic will is a part of nature that is retained in the eschaton.

    Bathrellos notes that Maximus distinguishes the faculty of will from the object of willing, so that two wills can will the same object while still remaining distinctive. P. 119:
    “Let us look briefly at how Maximus elaborates this distinction. In his first dyothelite Opusclum, he argues that, although God at the saints may have the same object of willing, viz. the salvation of the world, their will is and will forever remain different. This is so because ‘the will of God is by nature saving, whereas the will of man is by nature saved.’ God created the world through his will, therfore if the saints had the same will as God, Maximus argued, they would be creators of the world too.”

    That’s why, when Christ at Gethsemane agrees *as* *man* to override His own natural desire to be saved in order to obey the Father (as St. Cyril affirmed), effectively choosing another good object, it doesn’t entail the human will being absorbed into the divine will. At the same time, Christ does will things according to his human will that are different from (but not contrary to) the divine will. The saints, similarly, by subjugating their wills to the divine will voluntarily do not deprive themselves of will simply because they have chosen a common object of willing.

    As far as self-contemplation, I don’t see why it is not actual union with God in that the soul really is an image of God and really is identifiable with God by participation, so that we are, in fact, knowing ourselves as we are known in perfect self-knowledge. The fact of our creation in the image of God suffices for actual union of God (something that, yes, the angels do not have).

  16. Perry Robinson says:

    Jonathan,

    Thanks for the book recommendation but I am not sure what exactly it will add to my analysis. I did distinguish between temporal existence and existing in a state of distention. I did so clearly in my argument that original sin per se wasn’t the principle of history since history occurs prior to and without original sin. I never argued, and in fact argued just the opposite that original sin consisted per se of mutability. I argued that mutability as entailed by any type of temporal succession is a necessary condition for the possibility of original sin so that just so long as there is succession in Augustine’s thinking there is a possibility of original sin. It is not possible therefore for original sin to occur if there is not any temporal succession. I think that this conclusion is wrong because it implies that there is something fundamentally wrong with creation and hence implies a subtle form of Manicheanism. It is no great secret that the Greeks and Augustine along with them have a continued problem with the existence of matter. Matter for them has no inherent quality or form and receives form from the forms which brings about bodies. Bodies therefore are not per se material but composites. Matter then is intrinsically many, unstable and ineffective. This is why there is no sufficient cause for original sin, only a deficient cause.

    I don’t think that the passage from de Trinitate is relevant since I never argued for the conclusion that Augustine is arguing against there. I never argued that Augustine’s view implies an obliteration of individual persons in the eschaton. And notice that Augustine doesn’t specify and himself seems unclear as to how it can be possible to be united to God in a real way. So this text isn’t doing any work for you.

    I find a real difference between Augustine, and even Gregory with Maximus. Maximus doesn’t locate the possibility of original sin or libido in the metaphysics of a contingent creation. It is not because we are plural and composite objects that it is possible for us to sin. And I would say that we transcend angelic existence first because we will judge the angels and because none of the angels ever became incarnate. We aren’t united to an angelic nature in the incarnation but deity itself. Moreover, humans don’t move from mortal existence in terms of original sin since original since is not per se what makes our existence mortal in terms of the possibility of mortality. The real advance that Maximus makes is in seeing the possibility of sin not in the fact that we are composite objects but in the fact that moral goodness entails libertarian freedom and for contingent beings they could not be morally good without an exercise of libertarian freedom. Thus they cannot start out being good or virtuous. It is a difference between appealing to metaphysics or a moral theory that divvies up Augustine and Maximus’ account.

    And original sin, which is nothing else than distension is what acts as a distinguishing criteria for membership in either city. Concupiscence in terms of distension, willing oneself as an end is sinful. Distension since it is original sin itself can’t have any sufficient cause in terms of nature-strictly speaking it is personal only while affecting the mode of existence of nature while leaving the nature itself in which the sinful hypostases subsists fundamentally unchanged.

    Exhaustible goods may be pointers to God but the divine light in the burning bush isn’t one of them and so isn’t a “sign” or at least not in the same sense that exhaustible goods are because God’s glory isn’t created and hence not exhaustible. I agree with Augustine that we are not fit given our sins to view divine things but vision per se, intellectual or otherwise isn’t the total problem. Certainly Adam saw God in some measure as did the angels prior to their fall. The lack that makes sin possible isn’t natural but personal, otherwise we fall into Manicheanism. And to say that the purpose of salvation history therefore is a serious of signs is just to agree with one of my fundamental points, that history for Augustine has no intrinsic value-it is as best of instrumental value only and in and of itself is a waste product, as Gilson noted.

    And it is exactly for the reason that Augustine gives in the citation that you gave which supports my analysis. For Augustine, mutability entails the possibility of sin. In the eschaton, mutability per se is excluded so that the possibility of sin can also be excluded. As you cited,

    “Therefore, in so far as we are changeable, in so far we stand apart from eternity. But life eternal is promised to us through the truth, from the clear knowledge of which, again, our faith stands as far apart as mortality does from eternity… From what, except from death, from corruptions from changeableness? Since truth remains immortal, incorrupt, unchangeable. But true immortality, true incorruptibility, true unchangeableness, is eternity itself.”

    Since in my view, the blessed retain libertarian freedom throughout, mutability isn’t excluded because there is a real plurality in God, whereas for Augustine there is not. Mutability on my view doesn’t entail the possibility of sin as it does for Augustine. For Augustine, it is just because we are many in terms of our will that we are capable of sinning. It is only be altering our will and eliminating alternative possibilities that we are fixed in the good. Theosis then becomes a kind of eschatological eutychianism or apollinarianism.

    It is really nice that Augustine doesn’t differ from Clement on the idea that virtue is the result of nature, purification and pedagogy but I never questioned that and nothing in my paper does so.

    If you are puzzled at viewing God as identical with Being, then you must be puzzeled by Augustine because that is exactly what Augustine teaches in de Trinitate 5.2. Augustine collapses Plotinus’ One with Nous and since the Nous is at the level of Being, God is being most properly said. God’s life then in a Boethian fashion is a singular illimitable present. It is a present which is infinitely stretched. Just because it is a present doesn’t make it any less temporal in my estimation. To be purely timeless is not to exist at a past, future or a present. It is just because God is being for Augustine that he exists in a present.

    Augustine is adamant that temporality in terms of a plurality of successively iterated moments is something that exists at creation but I never glossed God’s existence as temporal qua successive iteration either. Furthermore, on Augustine’s account we had better be taken up into God’s eternity otherwise we aren’t deified and we aren’t secured from the possibility of sin. As I noted in my paper, for Augustine we are saved from time and participate in God’s eternity.

    “In short, when the fullness of time came, He also came who was to deliver us from time. For being delivered from time, we shall come to that eternity where there is no time: there it is not said, When shall the hour come, for the day is everlasting, a day which is neither preceded by a yesterday, nor cut off by a morrow. But in this world days roll on, some are passing away, others come; none abides; and the moments in which we are speaking drive out one another in turn, nor stands the first syllable for the second to sound. Since we began to speak we are somewhat older, and without doubt I am just now older than I was in the morning; thus, nothing stands, nothing remains fixed in time. Therefore ought we to love Him by whom the times were made, that we may be delivered from time and be fixed in eternity, where there is no more changeableness of times.” On John’s Gospel, 31, 5.

    Christ’s humanity becoming eternal via the hypostatic union doesn’t imply that we don’t participate in God’s eternity but rather it is the basis for our eternity. God, for Augustine, doesn’t participate in his eternity since for Augustine, God simply is his own eternity. Participation here denotes a dependence relation and God depends on nothing. We do really participate in God’s eternity for Augustine which implies a derivative existence, but that doesn’t make it any less God’s eternity. The hypostatic union does include subsuming Christ’s humanity into the deity and this is only problematic if you are thinking of deity exclusively in terms of a simple divine essence, as you seem to be doing. And per Peter, we had better be the same thing that God is (via participation) otherwise there is no theosis and with no theosis, there is no salvation from annihilation. Nothing in the sermon from Leo touches my view above, though the problems for Augustine remain.

    I think Augustine is right in rejecting original sin as the principle of history and Erigena is wrong to do so. Revelation, as I wrote, is the principle of history for Augustine. The problem is for Augustine to extricate history from the possibility of original sin and he can’t do it. History therefore has an attenuated value, it is only instrumentally valuable for Augustine. It is the ladder one uses to get up to the next level but you kick it away when you are at the top. I never identified temporal succession with distention/original sin. I claimed that history entails original sin’s possibility.

    As to vision, if that is the only kind of union with the deity, then Jesus must only had that kind of union per his humanity, which renders Chalcedon Nestorian. A rather bad consequence I would think. I fail to see how any kind of vision can make a created object an uncreated object but perhaps you can explain that. Moreover, I never claimed that Augustine thinks that we become the divine essence but rather we are taken up into the singular present that is the divine life. I don’t see how that mounts to the claim that Augustine thinks that we become the divine essence. Though of course if God is only the divine essence, it is hard to see how we are made divine in any real sense.

    As to the Augustinian Tradition, it was not a major source for me either in terms of argument or documentation. I cite I believe two articles. In any case it is irrelevant that it is written primarily by philosophers. What matters is if its analysis is correct and its authors are competent in the thought of Augustine. (Who better to analyze the thought of a philosopher than philosophers?) And I can’t think of better sources in Augustine scholarship than Bonner or Markus, who were authors on whom I depended quite a bit. And Gilson’s work may be dated, but the little I use from him is still correct-truth matters-dates are secondary.

    If the holy angels in the eschaton exist in temporal succession then they must not participate in the divine life. And self knowledge isn’t sufficient to guarantee their permanence since they had self knowledge prior to the fall. If the vision is the vision of God, then the object of that vision can’t be the creature qua creature and so the object of contemplation is not that which is composite but that which is simple for Augustine, namely God.

    I think you are not clear on distension. I think you are confusing it with extension. Successive iteration or a plurality of moments is what makes original sin possible. Distension I take to refer to the person willing itself as an end, an expanding of the self in an inappropriate way. History even on your gloss though only has instrumental value. It still leaves history intrinsically valueless. Just because history was in part the matter that made my synergy possible it doesn’t follow that this conveys to history an intrinsic value. Moreover, what it signals is that with the cessation of history synergy ceases as well. This is why for Augustine, alternative possibilities have to be excluded.

    The very fact that Christ in the incarnation is material is in part the basis for Augustine’s thinking that the humanity of Christ has to be subjugated to the divine will. It is because it is inherently unstable that its activity must be suppressed, even in Christ. Here is the implicit monothelitism even in Augustine. You can find it in Anselm as well as Aquinas. Procreation under the employment of a sinful gnome does attempt to reach eternal existence and cloning even more so is a manifestation of libido. But procreation in and of itself is not implied by the will to power but rather by the divine will since it is natural and nothing natural is evil. For Maxims, like many other Fathers, the Incarnation is the goal or end of history and as such it isn’t proper to speak of it as a “contingent response to a contingent occurrence.” This is why Mary is said in the liturgies of the Church to be the “co-cause” of creation.

    For Augustine, temporal succession is abolished because we are taken out of time as Augustine says. Original sin has a deficient cause and not a sufficient cause which leaves it in principle a fluke in history. It has no explanation whatsoever. For Maximus though it seems to me that the possibility for original sin is moral and epistemological rather than specifically metaphysical. For Augustine, it is because we are composite that original sin is possible which is why our will has to be altered to exclude alternative possibilities. For Maximus it is because we exist in a temporary situation that it is possible. We are ignorant because we are contingent, but ignorance is temporary-it, unlike composition, is not intrinsic to our being. Again notice that on your account that which is plural must be subsumed under a unity. New experiences are immediately integrated into a unity. Plurality has no ultimate value on such a schema and hence individuals can’t either and neither can their choices.

    Contrary to your assertion Jonathan, not everyone needs a metaphysical instability to explain original sin. As I noted above, Maximus doesn’t. Sin isn’t possible for Adam because he is composite but because he hasn’t been integrated into the Good in freedom. And that hasn’t happened because he hasn’t exercised his freedom. And he can’t be compatibilistically free because that isn’t the kind of freedom God has and hasn’t given to him. I agree that absent recognition and a free disposition to love God, there isn’t going to be a fixity in the Good, but the antecedent conditions aren’t result of the metaphysics of created objects, that is, composition or plurality.

    Jonathan, if you find Augustine’s account is elegant, please explain to me why if it is acceptable for people to be good and compatibilistically free in the eschaton without any alternative possibilities, God doesn’t create the world that way from the beginning? If I don’t need alternative possibilities to be free and morally responsible, why not just create me fully good and skip all of the evil in the world?

    To say that the whole of anyone’s life is good is to say that evil contributes to the goodness of the world. And either it is the case that such goods can’t be gotten without evil, which implies dualism or they can’t in which case, such evils are unnecessary and God is complicit in the evil in the world. In either case God is complicit in the evil of the world.

  17. “I think what Perry means in Augustine excluding mutability in the eschaton is the lack of *temporal succession* because the redeemed are fixed on an absolutely simple object. This is what needs to be excluded for permanence and stability for Augustine.”

    Temporal succession isn’t the problem; angels are subject to temporal succession, yet they cannot sin (or in the case of fallen angels, cannot repent). That’s because their self-knowledge is such that any new experience is immediately integrated within the unity of their self-knowledge according to the measure that they have chosen (God for the holy angels, themselves for the fallen). That is not the case for fallen humanity; we do not have immediate knowledge of ourselves, making us “a little lower than the angels.” In our experience of distension, we experience life as past, present, and future rather than as an integrated unity. In that respect, the simplicity of the object of contemplation is relevant only as the measure by which all of one’s self, all of one’s experience, are brought together into a meaningful whole (the image of God’s own simplicity). It is likeness to God’s eternity, but finite (though unbounded) rather than infinite. So really, the object of contemplation is always a composite one (the self), but the question is whether it is contemplation of the self as image of God.

    “Temporal succession makes history possible, which in turn makes original sin possible. History has no intrinsic value. Only in the City of God where one is fixed on the divine essence–with loss of temporal succession–is one safe from original sin (and history).”

    I wouldn’t say that one is safe from history so much as one is safe from distension. One sees oneself as a whole; one’s memory, will, and intelligence are integrated with one’s past, present, and future. History thus has value, and in fact, it has precisely the same value that free choice has for the angels and for unfallen man. It is the instrument of self-creation, synergy in one’s own making.

    “It’s very difficult for me to at this point how this is not crypto-Manicheen (reference the article by Van Oort in Studia Patristica).”

    It would be, I think, if it weren’t for the Incarnation. That’s more or less the point; if Christ does not become man, the devil wins. Augustine’s instinct here doesn’t seem far off from Maximus’s. Von Balthasar in _Cosmic Liturgy_, p. 198: “‘Fear of death’ is the hidden thorn that drives us to try to make our nature eternal by procreation; from this source, however, only another victim of death can be produced. This is the tragedy that lies beneath every worldly care.” Where Augustine and Clement differ from Maximus is in the belief that the Incarnation was the way by which history was given meaning, a contingent response to a contingent occurrence.

    “The reason being, is Augustine has no principle to explain original sin where I think Maximus does.”

    In what sense? As Perry noted, mutability is only a necessary condition for original sin, not a sufficient one. Furthermore, this kind of mutability (viz., temporal succession) never is abolished; it is merely transferred to the angelic mode in which perfect self-knowledge integrates new experiences immediately into unity. The capacity for free moral choice is not removed by the vision of God; the reason for fixity in virtue in the eschaton is because the saved have been fused into virtue by the love of God (precisely the reason Origen gives for subsequent falls being impossible for the saved).

    “In fact, it seems that Augustine needs metaphysical instability to explain the fall or it really seems philosophically impossible for their to be a fall if Adam is in habitus grace.”

    Of course, but everybody needs metaphysical instability to explain original sin. Adam was given freedom for the same rationale as Maximus gives it to him: to freely love God. He chose otherwise. Again, the presence of God makes fixity in virtue possible, but absent recognition and a free disposition of love, it does not create such fixity.

    “And given Augustine’s view of compatibilist freedom, it seems that God’s hands are very very dirty for not making everybody perpetually good in the first place.”

    The elegance of Augustine’s account by my lights is that He DID make everybody perpetually good, but they don’t realize it! At every point, from God’s view, the whole of anyone’s life is coherent and good. It is, in fact, precisely the failure to see one’s life as coherent and good that is what condemns.

  18. Daniel Jones says:

    Jonathan,

    I think what Perry means in Augustine excluding mutability in the eschaton is the lack of *temporal succussion* because the redeemed are fixed on an absolutely simple object. This is what needs to be excluded for permanence and stability for Augustine. Temporal succession makes history possible, which in turn makes original sin possible. History has no intrinsic value. Only in the City of God where one is fixed on the divine essence–with loss of temporal succession–is one safe from original sin (and history). It’s very difficult for me to at this point how this is not crypto-Manicheen (reference the article by Van Oort in Studia Patristica). The reason being, is Augustine has no principle to explain original sin where I think Maximus does. In fact, it seems that Augustine needs metaphysical instability to explain the fall or it really seems philosophically impossible for their to be a fall if Adam is in habitus grace. And given Augustine’s view of compatibilist freedom, it seems that God’s hands are very very dirty for not making everybody perpetually good in the first place.

    Photius

  19. There are three essays on God and time in Augustine in the middle of _Augustine: Presbyter Factus Sum_ (Collectanea Augustiniana) that would be germane to your conclusions on original sin and time (and Augustine’s theology of time and eternity more generally). In particular, see Roland Teske’s “The Link between Faith and Time in St. Augustine.”

    It doesn’t appear that you have distinguished between bare temporal existence (which the angels also have, and which allowed Lucifer’s fall even though he was never clothed in flesh and never subject to original sin) and distension, the latter of which is the attempt to understand one’s temporal existence apart from reference to God (effectively granting oneself immortality apart from God). Thus, it is not mutability per se that is the essence of original sin, but rather a certain experience of that mutability (distension) without reference to the eternal, a failure of self-knowledge that is both cause and consequence of original sin (and Lucifer’s sin, to boot). That is the sort of “changeableness” to which Augustine refers: fixation on something other than the eternal. This is in contrast to those “fused” (lit., glued) into the person of Christ. From de Trin. IV.9.xii:
    “He might have said, and they are, not one thing, but one person, because the head and the body is one Christ; but in order to show His own Godhead consubstantial with the Father (for which reason He says in another place, ‘I and my Father are one’ ), in His own kind, that is, in the consubstantial parity of the same nature, He wills His own to be one, but in Himself; since they could not be so in themselves, separated as they are one from another by divers pleasures and desires and uncleannesses of sin; whence they are cleansed through the Mediator, that they may be one in Him, not only through the same nature in which all become from mortal men equal to the angels, but also through the same will most harmoniously conspiring to the same blessedness, and fused in some way by the fire of charity into one spirit.”

    With respect to distension and corruptibility, I find no substantial difference between the account given by St. Augustine and Gregory Nyssen or Maximus, for example. In all cases, we move from mortal existence (the result of original sin) to angelic existence, which does not in principle exclude the possibility of sin but does so contingently by the common love of God and the eternal (to which we are fixed in Christ). What distinguishes people in the city of God and the city of man is not original sin, but the cause and consequence of original sin: distension.

    Because we are mortals under original sin, however, we are incapable by our weakness of perceiving eternal goods directly, incapable of separating ourselves from our own mutable experiences. The purpose of mutable goods (and salvation history itself) therefore becomes to lead us through faith by that which we can understand to that which we will be able to understand, which is exactly the role of the Incarnation. Consequently, mutable goods act as signs or pointers to God, and thus have value insofar as they do so (vestigia Trinity), which is also what distinguishes them from the intrinsically valuable rational man made in the image of God. Note de Trin. IV.18.xxiv:
    “Since, then, we were not fit to take hold of things eternal, and since the foulness of sins weighed us down, which we had contracted by the love of temporal things, and which were implanted in us as it were naturally, from the root of mortality, it was needful that we should be cleansed. But cleansed we could not be, so as to be tempered together with things eternal, except it were through things temporal, wherewith we were already tempered together and held fast. For health is at the opposite extreme from disease; but the intermediate process of healing does not lead us to perfect health, unless it has some congruity with the disease. Things temporal that are useless merely deceive the sick; things temporal that are useful take up those that need healing, and pass them on healed, to things eternal. And the rational mind, as when cleansed it owes contemplation to things eternal; so, when needing cleansing, owes faith to things temporal. One even of those who were formerly esteemed wise men among the Greeks has said, The truth stands to faith in the same relation in which eternity stands to that which has a beginning [Plato, _Timaeus_ 29C]. And he is no doubt right in saying so. For what we call temporal, he describes as having had a beginning. And we also ourselves come under this kind, not only in respect to the body, but also in respect to the changeableness of the soul. For that is not properly called eternal which undergoes any degree of change. Therefore, in so far as we are changeable, in so far we stand apart from eternity. But life eternal is promised to us through the truth, from the clear knowledge of which, again, our faith stands as far apart as mortality does from eternity. We then now put faith in things done in time on our account, and by that faith itself we are cleansed; in order that when we have come to sight, as truth follows faith, so eternity may follow upon mortality. And therefore, since our faith will become truth, when we have attained to that which is promised to us who believe: and that which is promised us is eternal life; and the Truth (not that which shall come to be according as our faith shall be, but that truth which is always, because in it is eternity,–the Truth then) has said, ‘And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent:’ when our faith by seeing shall come to be truth, then eternity shall possess our now changed mortality. And until this shall take place, and in order that it may take place,–because we adapt the faith of belief to things which have a beginning, as in things eternal we hope for the truth of contemplation, lest the faith of mortal life should be at discord with the truth of eternal life,–the Truth itself, co-eternal with the Father, took a beginning from earth, when the Son of God so came as to become the Son of man, and to take to Himself our faith, that He might thereby lead us on to His own truth, who so undertook our mortality, as not to lose His own eternity. For truth stands to faith in the relation in which eternity stands to that which has a beginning. Therefore, we must needs so be cleansed, that we may come to have such a beginning as remains eternal, that we may not have one. beginning in faith, and another in truth. Neither could we pass to things eternal from the condition of having a beginning, unless we were transferred, by union of the eternal to ourselves through our own beginning, to His own eternity. Therefore our faith has, in some measure, now followed thither, whither He in whom we have believed has ascended; born, dead, risen again, taken up. Of these four things, we knew the first two in ourselves. For we know that men both have a beginning and die. But the remaining two, that is, to be raised, and to be taken up, we rightly hope will be in us, because we have believed them done in Him. Since, therefore, in Him that, too, which had a beginning has passed over to eternity, in ourselves also it will so pass over, when faith shall have arrived at truth. For to those who thus believe, in order that they might remain in the word of faith, and being thence led on to the truth, and through that to eternity, might be freed from death, He speaks thus: ‘If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.’ And as though they would ask, With what fruit? He proceeds to say, ‘And ye shall know the truth.’ And again, as though they would say, Of what good is truth to mortal men? ‘And the truth,’ He says, ‘shall make you free.’ From what, except from death, from corruptions from changeableness? Since truth remains immortal, incorrupt, unchangeable. But true immortality, true incorruptibility, true unchangeableness, is eternity itself.”

    Of course, the pagans cannot achieve this faith that would be necessary to make mutable goods useful, because they spurn the Wood of the Cross, the historical occurrence that gives meaning to history. In this, Augustine’s view is no different that Clement of Alexandria’s position that virtue is a result of nature, purification, and pedagogy, and indeed, neither does Augustine differ from St. Clement on the purpose of the Incarnation.

    Also, I am puzzled at the suggestion that by identifying God with Being, Augustine is making God’s own eternity merely an eternal temporal moment. Augustine is quite adamant that temporality is something that exists only after and within creation and that God’s own eternity is something entirely indescribable and imparticipable by humans, going so far as to say that He is “other, vastly other.” We don’t become eternal except in the way that Christ’s humanity became eternal, which obviously does not involve subsuming Christ’s humanity into the Godhead. “Union,” in the way Augustine uses it, isn’t any different that “union” in the context of “hypostatic union,” and that should be plain enough by the description of the Church that Augustine gives: “they are, not one thing, but one person, because the head and the body is one Christ.” Granted, given the contextual abuse that has been exercised by certain polemicist on Augustine’s statement that “To be is to be a person,” one could easily be duped into believing that they are the same thing in Augustine’s mind, but that is a reading that hardly stands up to historical scrutiny. Note incidentally that if Augustine is in error on this point, then so is St. Leo the Great (and Chalcedon itself for ratifying his position), as this Christological position comes straight from _Against a Sermon of the Arians_, which Leo quoted extensively in his Tome to Flavian.

    While I think your analysis is perceptive and mostly accurate, I believe it falls short in localizing original sin (rather than human choice and the divine response thereto) as the interpretive principle of history, in identifying temporality per se with distension (i.e., the kind of mutability from which we are saved), and in attributing to divine simplicity what Augustine himself says is impossible (i.e., actual union with, rather than vision by self-knowledge of, the divine essence).

    Just thought I’d give the _sed contra_ before people assumed that there were no other scholarly opinions out there. I expect to get chided accordingly for lack of experience, yada, yada, yada, but maybe people will actually pick up _Presbyter Factus Sum_ to judge for themselves whether I am correct. Certainly, I think that and the other volumes in _Collectanea Augustiniana_ are better sources for Augustinian scholarship than either _The Augustinian Tradition_ (which I believe was written entirely by philosophers rather than historians) and Gilson’s now-dated classic.

    Flame away.

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