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Thread: An Appraisal of Faith as an Instrumental Cause of Justification.

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    An Appraisal of Faith as an Instrumental Cause of Justification.

    Introduction.

    A short appraisal of the Reformed doctrine of justification by faith as the alone instrument is given in part below using the correctly defined notions of principle and secondary causes. Two examples are presented as part of a method to discuss some inherent problems with the notion of faith as an instrument. The first example of the poet writing the poem shows the sound and well formed causes of the poem. The second example presents the causes of the great exchange as taught by Reformed theologians and the Westminster confession. A discussion is then presented to define what a sound cause and a well formed cause is, to then provide the means by which the Reformed teaching on the instrumentality of faith in justification can be correclty evaluated. The causally sound and well formed example of the poet writing the peom is then used as a basis to expose the causation problems in the Reformed teaching of the great exchange as taught in the Reformed Confessions of faith.

    Definitions

    Cause – that which positively influences the being of another. For example, the sun causes the sun burn on the man. The sun is the cause of the being of the sun burn.

    Principle Causes

    Principal causes - efficient causes which by their own proper power operate to produce an effect proportionate to the nature of the agent are called principle causes. The effect is produced by the cause or is principally moved by the proper power of the agent, not by a motion received from another cause. Principle cause is divided as -

    Prime Principal cause – God acting as first principle cause. For example, God as the prime cause, causes creatures as secondary causes to cause. God as the prime cause, causes man to exist as a secondary cause.

    Secondary Principal cause - the secondary principle cause is moved materially (or applied to the actual exercise of its own power) by the prime cause (God). Such as a man is moved by God to carve a statue. God is the prime cause and the man is the principle, secondary cause.

    Secondary Causes

    Efficient cause – Acting cause given which the effect must be, and without which the effect cannot be or acting cause necessarily and primarily of an effect. The efficient cause as the fluid move of the chisel, causes the effect of the new shape in the marble statue.

    Instrumental cause - the proper and formal reason why something is an instrumental cause consists in that it operates as moved by a principal agent, forasmuch as the whole power and reason of operating is received after the manner of a fluid entity from a principal cause. Instrumental cause, has being-moved as the precise cause of the instrument acting. Thereby the effect of the instrumental cause is not conformed to the instrument, but to the principle agent. Consequently, the instrumental cause always only ever has a transient causation when the fluid entity that moves the instrument to move as it is moved by the principle cause which acts upon the instrument. For example, the chisel is moved by the mason to carve wood. The chisel as moved by the mason is the instrumental cause of the carved statue.

    Formal Cause – an act intrinsically determining and specifying a material cause. For example, the form of David is placed into the marble stone, to form a statue of David.

    Material cause - A passive concurrence upon which act depends, whether as regards be or as regards be-informing; which concurrence consists in passion inferred by an agent, but as it is in the potency and from the potency. (Phys lect 5, n 601). For example, the stone as the material cause receives the form of David.

    Final Cause - That on account of which something is done. For example, the statue is made for money.

    Effect – that which is positively influenced regarding the being of the thing. For example, the statue of David as a substance is the effect of the formal, final, efficient and material causes.

    Union of the Causes

    The above causes are united to produce an effect. The union of the above causes may best be shown through an example of the mason and the statue. God as the prime principle cause, moves the mason as the secondary principle cause, to efficiently move the instrumental cause of the chisel, which places the formal cause of the form of David into the stone as the material cause for the final cause as the money attained. The effect is the statue of David. All the causes must work together to produce the effect. If the effect exits, then all of the causes must also exist at some time to produce the effect. Each cause has its own specific role to play among the other causes. If one or more causes are missing, or one or more causes do not cause 1) proportionately in accord with its causal power to influence another, or 2) cause in relationally to the other causes, there insufficient reason to account for the effect. The natural power within each cause to influence another and the organic union of the causes are two features of the causes that will allow as to correctly appraise the Reformed notion of faith as the alone instrument of justification.


    Example 1. The Poet writes the Poem with a Pen.

    For example, the pen as the instrument is moved by the poet as the principle cause, to write the poem. The motion of the pen caused by the poet is the fluid entity acting on the pen for the pen to act subordinate to the movement of the poet. The poem written is then not conformed to the pen, but to the poet as the author of the poem. Both the poet and the poem continue to exist as poet and poem after the pen has ceased to act as an instrument. The pen only acts as an instrument whilst the poet acts to write the poem.

    In summary - The causes are divided below to indicate the function of each cause and the organic relationships between the causes.

    Principle causes

    Prime Principle cause - God as prime mover, or prime cause.

    Secondary Principle cause – Poet who writes the poem.

    Secondary causes

    Efficient cause – the fluid move in the pen from the poet. The fluid move is extrinsic to the poet, but intrinsic to the pen.

    Instrumental cause – pen itself as a substance when the poet uses the pen as an instrument to write the poem. The pen as a thing moved by the primary and secondary principle causes to write the poem. The pen as an instrument of the poet is extrinsic to (outside) the poet.

    Formal Cause – The form of poem received by the ink as written on the page.

    Material cause – the ink and page which receive the form of poem.

    Final Cause – the final end of the poem, such as beauty, goodness, money, etc.

    Effect – The poem as a thing caused by the principle, efficient, instrumental, formal, material and final causes.

    Causation is summarised as - God as prime principle cause moves the poet as the secondary principle cause, and the poet efficiently moves the pen as an instrument to cause the form of the poem in the matter of the ink and paper to produce the effect of the written poem.

    Example 2. God justifies the Sinner by the Instrument of Faith alone.

    We now apply the same understanding of the causes and effect to a reformed understanding of justification by faith as the alone instrument. According to the Reformed doctrine, the process of reconciliation occurs as a great exchange of sin and righteousness, as summarised by Professor Richard Lints from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

    At the heart of the Protestant consensus about the Gospel for the last 500 years is claim that our sins are imputed to Christ, and Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us. This is “double imputation”. Others have called it the “Great Exchange”. Christ has died in our place, and in exchange we have been given new life in Christ. Scratch below the surface though and an interesting question emerges. Is there a transfer of righteousness – from one bank account to another in this process? This is to ask, what gets “exchanged” in the Great Exchange?

    The exchange is an exchange of verdicts rather than an exchange of moral character. Christ is “declared a sinner” at the cross. He is not actually a sinner nor is there any transfer of our sins to him. Whatever else one might want to say about Christ’s moral character, he has remained steadfastly faithful to his Father in heaven and was obedient to the point of death. Christ receives the verdict of death because he stands “in our place” at the cross. This is the meaning of the “imputation of sin”. So by contrast, we are “declared righteous” not because we are actually righteous or faithful, but because we stand in Christ’s place before God. The imputation of Christ’s righteousness is not to participate in one of God’s essential attributes but rather to be the beneficiaries of Christ’s messianic work.

    There is no “transfer” of righteousness in salvation but rather a declaration that sinners are all that Christ is – not that sinners actually are all that Christ is.
    According to Luther, Calvin and the Westminster confession of faith, Christ acts as a penal substitute, to cause propitiation of sin. The Father 1) imputes men's sins to Christ at the cross and 2) imputes Christ's righteousness to men through the instrument of faith alone. The double imputation is performed within the context of a courtroom scene.

    Section XI of the Westminster Confession of faith states -

    1. Those whom God effectually calleth, He also freely justifieth: not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; nor by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them, they receiving and resting on Him and His righteousness by faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God.

    2. Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and His righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification: yet is it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love.

    3. Christ, by His obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are thus justified, and did make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to His Father’s justice in their behalf. Yet, in as much as He was given by the Father for them; and His obedience and satisfaction accepted in their stead; and both, freely, not for any thing in them; their justification is only of free grace; that both the exact justice, and rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners.

    4. God did, from all eternity, decree to justify all the elect, and Christ did, in the fulness of time, die for their sins, and rise for their justification: nevertheless, they are not justified, until the Holy Spirit doth, in due time, actually apply Christ unto them.
    In summary -

    The summary given below includes the causes given in example (1) above to provide an ease of comparison. (1) indicates the causes of the poem in example 1. (2) indicates the causes involved in the Reformed teaching on justification by faith alone. The causes for (2) are derived from the quotes presented above from Reformed theologians and the Westminster confession of faith.

    Principle Causes

    Prime Principle cause - (1) God as prime mover, or prime cause.

    (2) God as the prime cause is the Christian Trinity, or more particularly the action of 1) The Father who imputes Christ with sin and the sinner with righteousness. 2) Christ as the penal substitute cause of faith and righteousness. 3) The Holy Spirit within men to cause the habit and act of faith. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three prime principle causes in the great exchange.

    Secondary Principle cause – (1) Poet who writes the poem.

    (2) man is the secondary cause moved by the Holy Spirit to make the act of faith.

    Secondary Causes

    Efficient cause – (1) The fluid movement in the pen from the poet. The fluid move is extrinsic to the poet, but intrinsic to the pen.

    (2i) The action of grace as the gift given by God to provide man with the habit of faith.

    (2ii) The action of grace as the gift given by God to move man to make the act of faith.

    Instrumental cause – (1) The pen itself as a substance when the poet uses the pen as an instrument to write the poem. The pen as a thing moved by the primary and secondary principle causes to write the poem. The pen as an instrument of the poet is extrinsic to (outside) the poet.

    (2) Faith as an instrument.

    Formal Cause – (1) The form of poem received by the ink as written on the page.

    (2i) The form of sin legally imputed to Christ.

    (2ii) The form of Christ's righteousness legally imputed to the sinners account.

    Material cause – (1) The ink and page which receive the form of poem.

    (2i) Christ, or Christ’s account, which receives the legal imputation of men’s sins.
    (2ii) The sinner, or the sinner’s account, which receives the legal imputation of Christ’s righteousness.

    Final Cause – (1) The final end of the poem, such as beauty, goodness, money, etc.

    (2i) The glory of God as a motivation for the great exchange.
    (2ii) The glorification of men as a motivation for the great exchange.

    Effect – (1) The poem as a thing caused by the principle, efficient, instrumental, formal, material and final causes.

    (2) The beatitude of the elect in heaven as the end product of the great exchange.

    Causation is summarised as - God as the prime principle cause acts to cause the secondary principles causes, efficient, instrumental, formal, material, and final causes, and produce the effect of the great exchange. Because the principle and secondary causes are convoluted, the complete summary of the interaction of the causes will be exposed gradually in the thread below.

    An Appraisal of Faith as an Instrument of Justification using the above two examples.

    From the nature of causation, which dictates that 1) each cause has a proportionate power to influence another, and 2) each cause has an organic interrelationship with the other principle and secondary causes, we have a measure to determine if an act, or habit is correctly attributed to be a cause, and not something other than the attributed cause. For example, as with the poet writing the poem -

    1) Natural Power According to Species of Causation - if we attributed a cause to the table as the formal cause, we could determine from the power of the table as a cause, that the table could not cause the form of the poem. The causal power of the table is not formal, but extrinsically efficient to provide support for the paper and pen. The table is then not a formal cause, but an efficient cause of the poem. The nature of the power of each species of cause is known by the effect of each species of cause. A disproportionate effect of a cause indicates a falsely attributed cause of the effect.

    2) Causal Relationship - if we attributed the pen as the principle cause, we could analyse the relationship of the pen to the other causes to determine that the pen is not a principle cause, but an instrumental cause. If a cause has a not well formed relationship(s) to other causes, the cause is falsely attributed.

    The above two-part method will be employed to examine faith as an instrumental cause of justification. If a cause fails either part 1 or part 2 of the method given above, the attribution of the cause is then concluded to be false. If false, the effect of the cause(s) is insufficiently accounted for. Consequently, if a cause is falsely attributed, the entire process, of say the poet writing the poem through the attributed causes does not account for the poem. Similarly, if cause(s) are falsely attributed in the theory of the great exchange, the theory does not account for justification of the sinner. Yet contrarily, because the causes of the poet writing the poem in example 1 satisfy 1) a proportionate causal power, and 2) have the correct causal relationships, the causes of the poem are all individually sound and together are well formed as an organic whole. The soundness and well-formed union of the causes in example 1 are then the benchmark example of how the causes act individually and in union with other causes.

    The notion of faith as an instrument of justification involves many aspects as detailed above. A thorough appraisal of faith as an instrument would include an analysis of faith as the instrumental cause in relation to all the other principle and secondary causes presented above. Consequently, only a partial appraisal of the Reformed doctrine of justification by the instrumentality of faith alone is given in the OP, beginning with faith as both an act and habit. Further dscussion on other aspects of the great exchange theory will be presented as the thread unfolds.

    Faith as an Act - is an act of the man (Gen 15:6, Rom 4:3), who believes in act what God has revealed. The act of faith is an act given to men by grace and the Holy Spirit as a transient act and cause of justification that passes after the act is completed. The act of faith is an efficient cause, intrinsic (from the inside) to the man who makes the act of faith.

    The act of faith is now compared to the efficient cause of the motion of the pen in example 1. The efficient cause as the motion of the pen is caused by God and the poet as the principle causes, along with the pen as the instrumental cause. The pen motion is intrinsic to the pen acting as the instrument cause when moved by the principle causes. The motion of the pen as the efficient cause is both sound and well formed with the other principle and secondary causes.

    1) Natural Power According to Species of Causation - Faith as an act has the power to move the man to give assent to the truths revealed by God under the direction of the will. The assent is made from both the intellect and the will, because the truths revealed are not evident to the man who has faith, but are known to be true without sufficient understandable proof of the divine truths to bind the intellect. The act of faith, made with the motion of the will infers faith is made along with an act of love. Faith acting with love unites the intellect and will of man to the true and good as known and loved by God. To make an act of faith, man is then united to God, by knowing and loving what God knows and loves. For example, when man believes God is a Trinity and loves God as a Trinity, man knows and loves God as God knows Himself and loves Himself as a Trinity.

    The act of faith, made with love is the act by which 1) man correctly orders his knowledge about the greatest truths and 2) correspondingly correctly orders man’s loves, to that of God first, love of himself second, and thirdly, love of his neighbour as himself for the love of God. The effect of the act of faith made with the assent of the will as an act of love is to unite man’s intellect and will to that of God as the prime truth and prime good. The power of the act of faith made in union with love is proportionate to the effect of the acts of faith and love, which is the conformity of man’s intellect and will to that of God.

    If however, faith is an instrument of justification as the Reformers taught, then faith must act to cause the Father to impute Christ’s righteousness to the sinners account as an act of alien or extrinsic, legally imputed righteousness performed within a court room scene. For faith to act as an instrument, the act of faith must cause both the Father, and the Son to act as principle causes, caused to act through faith acting as an instrumental cause. Yet, as an instrumental cause only has the power to cause a proportionate effect, like the pen as an instrument causes the poem, the Reformed notion of faith as an instrument has a power disproportionate to instrumental cause. For instrumental cause cannot have an effect on the principle cause, but only the principle cause can have an effect on the instrumental cause. The disproportionate power of faith as an instrumental cause infers the Reformed notion of faith as an instrument is unsound, and thereby false.

    2) Causal Relationship - Just as the motion of the pen is an act (efficient cause) of the pen as an instrument, the act (efficient cause) of faith requires another cause other than the act of faith as the instrumental cause. For just as the act of the pen's motion is not the same cause as a pen (as an instrument), then so too, the act of faith cannot be both simultaneously the efficient (moving) and instrumental (moved thing) cause. For if the act of faith is both an efficient and instrumental cause, faith is then 1) the act of faith as an efficient cause (like the motion of the pen), 2) faith as the instrument (thing like the pen) moved efficiently by the act of faith (like the motion of the pen), 3) faith as a thing (like the pen) which can be moved by faith efficiently as an act.

    Points 1, 2 and 3 are mutually exclusive of each other, for no cause can be both simultaneously its own efficient and instrumental cause. For the species of causes are all diverse, and mutually exclude each cause from acting as another cause. For example, the formal cause is never the material cause, and the efficient cause is never the final cause. Similarly, the efficient cause as the fluid motion of the instrument is never the instrumental cause. Consequently, the notion of faith as an instrument is incompatible with faith as an act. Faith as an instrument is therefore false according to a false attribution of instrumental causation, contrary to the act faith as an efficient cause of justification.

    Faith as a Habit - A similar evaluation of faith as a habit may be made to show the habit of faith is only a disposition in the intellect to allow the human intellect to act easily to make the act of faith. Both the act and habit of faith do not 1) have the proportionate power as an instrument, nor 2) correspond well with the Reformed notion of faith as an instrument in relation to the Father and the Son acting as principle causes. Consequently, the habit of faith also concludes to the false attribution of faith as an instrument.

    Further discussion on other aspects of faith as an instrument will be presented below.

    JM

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Moderated By: Sparko

    John you are really pushing it here again. Your posts are way too long and complex for anyone to really respond to. The OP should be simple and only contain a few points of discussion, not an entire thesis. We have warned you about this before, many, many times.

    I will let this thread go because Ecclesiology is a more in depth area and not that busy. But don't do it again. Keep your opening posts short and with only a few points of discussion.

    I don't know why you can't obey our clear instructions. We have explained it to you over and over again.

    If it gets out of hand again, you could be permabanned. I don't want that to happen.

    ***If you wish to take issue with this notice DO NOT do so in this thread.***
    Contact the forum moderator or an administrator in Private Message or email instead. If you feel you must publicly complain or whine, please take it to the Padded Room unless told otherwise.


  3. Amen Obsidian amen'd this post.
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    Thankyou for the advice. Admittedly the OP is complex, but I have tried to reduce the problems down to the role of faith as an instrument in contrast to that of a pen used by the poet. There is much to consider, but the extra information is given to solidify the argument in the context of what the Reformers taught and the definitions of the causes.

    Thanks again for keeping the thread open.

    We may yet have some good discussion on this critical theme of justification. I may be able to simplify the argument if anyone is willing to engage the problems posed.

    JM
    Last edited by JohnMartin; 06-29-2017 at 12:29 PM.

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    basically, John, try to keep your OP posts to about three paragraphs and one or two discussion points. Don't just post your blog entries here which is what it seems you are doing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    basically, John, try to keep your OP posts to about three paragraphs and one or two discussion points. Don't just post your blog entries here which is what it seems you are doing.
    I have posted blog entries at Tweb in the past. But the current OP is a fairly well modifed version of another idea I had some time ago. I thought I'd make the OP quite thorough to allow the reader to see a systematic approach to the problem. Sometimes a short OP can avoid much that is important in a problem.

    Again, thanks for your charitable decision as I put in about 4-5 hours of work to make the OP argument. I think it will bear some good fruit.

    JM
    Last edited by JohnMartin; 06-29-2017 at 01:07 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    basically, John, try to keep your OP posts to about three paragraphs and one or two discussion points. Don't just post your blog entries here which is what it seems you are doing.
    I concur. Trying to read, understand, and then post a reply to the OP is more effort than I want to put into this topic.
    "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

    My time to be on TWeb is unpredictable. It may take a few days for me to see your post and respond.

  8. Amen Obsidian, Sparko amen'd this post.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post
    I concur. Trying to read, understand, and then post a reply to the OP is more effort than I want to put into this topic.
    Faith as an act is the efficient cause of justification. Faith as a habit is the dispositive cause of justification. Faith as an act and as a habit are related whereby the habit disposes the intellect to habitually believe revealed truths, whereas the act of faith is the act of the intellect with the assistance of the habit of faith to believe the revealed truths in act. The act and habit of faith are two manners of having faith within the human intellect. Both the act and the habit are gifts from God, infused by God into man with grace.

    The Reformers taught faith is an instrumental cause of justification. But as faith is both an act and a habit, neither can be an instrument. For the act is the efficient cause which moves man to believe, like the efficient move of the pen. The move as efficient cause is not the pen as the instrumental cause. The habit is a dispositive cause of the intellect as a power, like that of a pen as a power that is well disposed to be moved by the man. The habit of faith allows the man to be well disposed to be moved by God to make the act of faith. But neither the habit, nor the man acting are instruments which are causes associated with the act of faith. The man is a supposit, and not an instrument, who makes the act of faith. Neither faith as an act, nor as a habit is an instrumental cause, for the act and the habit have operations that are outside the species of instrumental causation.

    Furthermore, faith as an act and a habit is not an instrument due to the relationships of faith to the principle causes as taught in the great exchange. Faith is said to cause the Father as a prime principle cause to impute Christ’s righteousness to the sinners account. Faith as an instrument, then causes the Father as the prime principle cause to act. But such a causation is not well formed with the notion of an instrument as that which is caused by the principle causes, such as the poet who writes the poem, rather than the instrument which is moved by the principle cause (Holy Spirit) and which moves the principle cause (Father) to act.

    The contrast between the Reformers understanding of faith and that of St Thomas is shown below by outlaying the causes.

    In summary -

    The summary given below includes the causes given in examples (1) and (2) above to provide an ease of comparison.

    (1) indicates the causes of the poem in example 1.

    (2) indicates the causes involved in the Reformed teaching on justification by faith alone.

    (3) indicates the causes as taught by Thomas Aquinas.

    Principle Causes

    Prime Principle cause - (1) God as prime mover, or prime cause.

    (2) God as the prime principle cause is the Christian Trinity, or more particularly the action of 1) The Father who imputes Christ with sin and the sinner with righteousness. 2) Christ as the penal substitute cause of faith and righteousness. 3) The Holy Spirit within men to cause the habit and act of faith. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three prime principle causes in the great exchange.
    (3) God as the prime principle cause is the Christian Trinity. The Father as principle sends the Son. The Son is the meritorious cause of grace. The Father and Son as principle send the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit as prime principle cause, causes grace, the virtues of faith, hope, love, prudence, justice, temperance, fortitude, and the gifts - wisdom, knowledge, counsel, understanding, fear of the Lord, piety, and fortitude. Any imputation of righteousness occurs simultaneously with the infusion of sanctifying grace, the infused virtues and the gifts.
    Secondary Principle cause – (1) Poet who writes the poem.

    (2) man is the secondary principle cause moved by the Holy Spirit to have the habit of faith and make the act of faith.
    (3) Man, as a supposit is the secondary principle cause moved by the Holy Spirit to have the habit of faith and to make the act of faith.

    Secondary Causes

    Efficient cause – (1) The fluid movement in the pen from the poet. The fluid move is extrinsic to the poet, but intrinsic to the pen.

    (2i) The action of grace as the gift given by God to provide man with the habit of faith.

    (2ii) The action of grace as the gift given by God to move man to make the act of faith.
    (3) The habit and action of grace as the gift given by God to move man to make the act of faith, with the habit of faith.

    Instrumental cause – (1) The pen itself as a substance when the poet uses the pen as an instrument to write the poem. The pen as a thing moved by the primary and secondary principle causes to write the poem. The pen as an instrument of the poet is extrinsic to (outside) the poet.

    (2) Faith as an instrument.
    (3) Faith is not an instrument. There are no instrumental causes of justification attributed to any of the virtues or gifts. The seven sacraments are instrumental, secondary causes of grace, whereby God acts form the divine power to cause the sacrament to cause grace through the correct application of matter and form by the priest. The instrumentality of the sacraments is from God as the prime principle cause, and the priest as the secondary principle cause, which causes grace to be infused into the recipient as the effect of the sacrament. Sacramental causation is sound and well-formed and does not require an instrumental cause to cause a principle cause to act.

    According to the Summa of St Thomas -

    We must therefore say otherwise, that an efficient cause is twofold, principal and instrumental. The principal cause works by the power of its form, to which form the effect is likened; just as fire by its own heat makes something hot. In this way none but God can cause grace: since grace is nothing else than a participated likeness of the Divine Nature, according to 2 Peter 1:4: "He hath given us most great and precious promises; that we may be [Vulgate: 'you may be made'] partakers of the Divine Nature." But the instrumental cause works not by the power of its form, but only by the motion whereby it is moved by the principal agent: so that the effect is not likened to the instrument but to the principal agent: for instance, the couch is not like the axe, but like the art which is in the craftsman's mind. And it is thus that the sacraments of the New Law cause grace: for they are instituted by God to be employed for the purpose of conferring grace. Hence Augustine says (Contra Faust. xix): "All these things," viz. pertaining to the sacraments, "are done and pass away, but the power," viz. of God, "which works by them, remains ever." Now that is, properly speaking, an instrument by which someone works: wherefore it is written (Titus 3:5): "He saved us by the laver of regeneration."
    Formal Cause – (1) The form of poem received by the ink as written on the page.

    (2i) The form of sin legally imputed to Christ.

    (2ii) The form of Christ's righteousness legally imputed to the sinners account.
    (3) form of sanctifying grace, the infused virtues and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

    Material cause – (1) The ink and page which receive the form of poem.

    (2i) Christ, or Christ’s account, which receives the legal imputation of men’s sins.
    (2ii) The sinner, or the sinner’s account, which receives the legal imputation of Christ’s righteousness.
    (3) Man, who receives the infused virtues and the gifts.

    Final Cause – (1) The final end of the poem, such as beauty, goodness, money, etc.

    (2i) The glory of God as a motivation for the great exchange.
    (2ii) The glorification of men as a motivation for the great exchange.
    (3) The glory of God and the beatitude of the elect.

    Effect – (1) The poem as a thing caused by the principle, efficient, instrumental, formal, material and final causes.

    (2) The beatitude of the elect in heaven as the end product of the great exchange.
    (3) The Christianisation of man, along with the ability of man to merit eternal life. The glory of God and the beatitude of the elect.

    The Thomistic understanding of justification by faith is to have God as the prime principle cause acting to infuse the Christian life of grace into man. Once grace is received, man can live the Christian life and merit eternal life by free acts performed with grace. The infusion of grace, the theological and cardinal virtues and the gifts of the Holy Spirit order man's intellect, will and sensitive powers of concupiscence and irascible appetites towards God who is the supernatural Trinity, as the final, ultimate end of the man's moral life.

    The union of the divine acts of imputing justification and infusing grace as an act of justification are both performed simultaneously by God as the prime principle cause. The action of God as the prime principle cause does not require that faith act as an instrument to cause God to do anything. The Thomistic understanding of faith as a cause, only causes the intellect to give assent to divinely revealed truths and thereby unite man’s intellect to God according to revealed truth understood. The union of man with God through the infused virtues does not require any infused virtue to act as an instrument, but only as either a dispositive cause in a power, as a habit, or as an efficient cause to enact the power, as through actual grace God gives to man.

    The infused theolgical virtues direct man's intellect and will towards God as the object of the powers. The intellect has the habit of faith to know God as God knows himself. The will has the habit of charity to love God as He loves himself, and hope to desire God as a desired difficult good to be obtained. The theolgical virtues act to direct man's powers of intellect and will towards God as the object of the acts of faith, hope and love. As the object of the powers is God as supernatural, then the powers are raised to act in a supernatural manner to direct man to his supernatural ultimate end, as the Trinity in heaven.

    All the causes within the Thomistic understanding of justification are sound and well formed.

    JM

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    tWebber Obsidian's Avatar
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    Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Obsidian View Post
    Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.
    Yes the Reformers created some unsolvable problems within their soteriology inventions.

    If faith is both an act and an instrumental cause of justification, faith must act in accord with the nature of an instrument and act with the prime principle and secondary principle causes to produce an effect as a thing, analogous to the poem. Faith then must cause justification as a fluid motion towards the end, or term of the acts of the prime and secondary principle causes, like the poet acts with the pen to write the poem. Faith is then both a fluid act and an instrument, which acts for a time when the act of faith is made, but causes justification to remain, like the poem that remains after the pen is no longer used to write the poem. Consequent to the reformed notion of faith as an instrument, justification must always remain even after the act of faith has stopped, just as the poem remains after the motion of the pen has stopped. The permanence of justification is consistent with Chapter XI of the Westminster confessions statement, that justification cannot be lost -

    IV. God did, from all eternity, decree to justify all the elect,[11] and Christ did, in the fullness of time, die for their sins, and rise again for their justification:[12] nevertheless, they are not justified, until the Holy Spirit does, in due time, actually apply Christ unto them.[13]

    V. God does continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified;[14] and although they can never fall from the state of justification,[15] yet they may, by their sins, fall under God's fatherly displeasure, and not have the light of His countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.[16]
    But is the notion of justification by the instrumentality of faith alone biblical as propounded by the Westminster confession? If so, then we should see scriptures teach the permanence of justification after one act of faith, like the permanence of the poem after the act of the pen. Or stated in another way, if faith is the alone instrument of justification, then the bible must teach eternal security. If, however, there are scriptures that show justification can be lost after the act of faith is made, the notion of faith as the alone instrument becomes problematic.

    We can compare the Reformed notion of faith as an instrument and the consequent permanence of justification with the parable of the ten virgins. In Matt 25, all ten virgins had faith to meet the bride groom, but only five were able to enter into the wedding banquet (Matt 25:1-13). The five virgins who were excluded from the banquet had faith but lost their justification. The parable of the ten virgins is strong evidence against the permanence of justification by faith alone. Many other passages can be brought forward to demonstrate eternal security is false, such as 1) Matt 10:22 where Christians are saved by endurance to the end. 2) In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Paul says he may become a castaway (adokimos), which is used in 2 Timothy 3:8 and in Romans 1:28 for those who commit sin. 3) Galatians 5:19-21 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 details sin lists that exclude one from the kingdom. Such lists assume faith, but infer many virtues are required to be practiced other than faith alone to enter the kingdom. If the virtues are not practiced Christians will sin and fall away from salvation. 4) Christians who have known the way of righteousness can return to the mire of sin in 2 Peter 2:20-22 and thereby suffer a loss of righteousness. 5) The many warning, and hope based passages in Hebrews concerning Christians falling away and perseverance (Heb 2:1–4, 3:7–4:13, 6:4-6, 10:19–39 et al).


    The Reformed formulation of faith as an instrument, must also include the notion of the author of justification. For justification must be attributed to the Holy Spirit as the prime principle cause and man as the secondary principle cause and not faith as an instrument. For just as the poem is attributed to the poet and not the pen, which is only under a fluid motion of the poet, so likewise, justification cannot be attributed to faith, but to both the Holy Spirit and man as the principle authors of faith as an instrument. The reformed theologians may agree with this analysis and say, yes man is attributed justification through faith as an instrument, just as I say. But the problem here is man acts as principle cause of justification, just as the poet acts as principle cause of the poem. If man is the principle cause of justification, then justification becomes in principle, a humanly caused act. Justification is then not simply only the work of the Trinity, but the work of the Trinity and man, both acting as principle cause. Justification is then never a completed work of the Trinity, but a work of the Trinity made with the work of man.

    To attribute principle causation to men in justification infers Reformed Christianity cannot make any claim to justification as the work of the Trinity alone. Faith is said to be a gift of God, and justification by faith is, according to Chapter XI of the Westminster confession, an act of ‘faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God’.

    I. Those whom God effectually calls, He also freely justifies;[1] not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ's sake alone; nor by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them,[2] they receiving and resting on Him and His righteousness by faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God.[3]
    But the Reformed understanding requires man be the secondary principle cause of faith, and thereby man makes the act of faith of himself, contrary to the Westminster confession and the scriptures. Just as the poet is attributed the poem, for the poem is from the poet, so too justification must also be attributed to man, for man acts to cause justification through the instrument of faith. The problem of attribution of justification to man is not easily answered. Although the Reformed confessions state faith and justification is the work of God as a gift, logically from the nature of instrumental causation, faith and justification are gifts of God along with the work of man as the two principle causes of faith.

    JM

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnMartin View Post
    Faith as an act is the efficient cause of justification. Faith as a habit is the dispositive cause of justification. Faith as an act and as a habit are related whereby the habit disposes the intellect to habitually believe revealed truths, whereas the act of faith is the act of the intellect with the assistance of the habit of faith to believe the revealed truths in act. The act and habit of faith are two manners of having faith within the human intellect. Both the act and the habit are gifts from God, infused by God into man with grace.

    The Reformers taught faith is an instrumental cause of justification. But as faith is both an act and a habit, neither can be an instrument. For the act is the efficient cause which moves man to believe, like the efficient move of the pen. The move as efficient cause is not the pen as the instrumental cause. The habit is a dispositive cause of the intellect as a power, like that of a pen as a power that is well disposed to be moved by the man. The habit of faith allows the man to be well disposed to be moved by God to make the act of faith. But neither the habit, nor the man acting are instruments which are causes associated with the act of faith. The man is a supposit, and not an instrument, who makes the act of faith. Neither faith as an act, nor as a habit is an instrumental cause, for the act and the habit have operations that are outside the species of instrumental causation.

    Furthermore, faith as an act and a habit is not an instrument due to the relationships of faith to the principle causes as taught in the great exchange. Faith is said to cause the Father as a prime principle cause to impute Christ’s righteousness to the sinners account. Faith as an instrument, then causes the Father as the prime principle cause to act. But such a causation is not well formed with the notion of an instrument as that which is caused by the principle causes, such as the poet who writes the poem, rather than the instrument which is moved by the principle cause (Holy Spirit) and which moves the principle cause (Father) to act.

    The contrast between the Reformers understanding of faith and that of St Thomas is shown below by outlaying the causes.

    In summary -

    The summary given below includes the causes given in examples (1) and (2) above to provide an ease of comparison.

    (1) indicates the causes of the poem in example 1.

    (2) indicates the causes involved in the Reformed teaching on justification by faith alone.

    (3) indicates the causes as taught by Thomas Aquinas.

    Principle Causes



    (3) God as the prime principle cause is the Christian Trinity. The Father as principle sends the Son. The Son is the meritorious cause of grace. The Father and Son as principle send the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit as prime principle cause, causes grace, the virtues of faith, hope, love, prudence, justice, temperance, fortitude, and the gifts - wisdom, knowledge, counsel, understanding, fear of the Lord, piety, and fortitude. Any imputation of righteousness occurs simultaneously with the infusion of sanctifying grace, the infused virtues and the gifts.

    (3) Man, as a supposit is the secondary principle cause moved by the Holy Spirit to have the habit of faith and to make the act of faith.

    Secondary Causes



    (3) The habit and action of grace as the gift given by God to move man to make the act of faith, with the habit of faith.



    (3) Faith is not an instrument. There are no instrumental causes of justification attributed to any of the virtues or gifts. The seven sacraments are instrumental, secondary causes of grace, whereby God acts form the divine power to cause the sacrament to cause grace through the correct application of matter and form by the priest. The instrumentality of the sacraments is from God as the prime principle cause, and the priest as the secondary principle cause, which causes grace to be infused into the recipient as the effect of the sacrament. Sacramental causation is sound and well-formed and does not require an instrumental cause to cause a principle cause to act.

    According to the Summa of St Thomas -





    (3) form of sanctifying grace, the infused virtues and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.



    (3) Man, who receives the infused virtues and the gifts.



    (3) The glory of God and the beatitude of the elect.



    (3) The Christianisation of man, along with the ability of man to merit eternal life. The glory of God and the beatitude of the elect.

    The Thomistic understanding of justification by faith is to have God as the prime principle cause acting to infuse the Christian life of grace into man. Once grace is received, man can live the Christian life and merit eternal life by free acts performed with grace. The infusion of grace, the theological and cardinal virtues and the gifts of the Holy Spirit order man's intellect, will and sensitive powers of concupiscence and irascible appetites towards God who is the supernatural Trinity, as the final, ultimate end of the man's moral life.

    The union of the divine acts of imputing justification and infusing grace as an act of justification are both performed simultaneously by God as the prime principle cause. The action of God as the prime principle cause does not require that faith act as an instrument to cause God to do anything. The Thomistic understanding of faith as a cause, only causes the intellect to give assent to divinely revealed truths and thereby unite man’s intellect to God according to revealed truth understood. The union of man with God through the infused virtues does not require any infused virtue to act as an instrument, but only as either a dispositive cause in a power, as a habit, or as an efficient cause to enact the power, as through actual grace God gives to man.

    The infused theolgical virtues direct man's intellect and will towards God as the object of the powers. The intellect has the habit of faith to know God as God knows himself. The will has the habit of charity to love God as He loves himself, and hope to desire God as a desired difficult good to be obtained. The theolgical virtues act to direct man's powers of intellect and will towards God as the object of the acts of faith, hope and love. As the object of the powers is God as supernatural, then the powers are raised to act in a supernatural manner to direct man to his supernatural ultimate end, as the Trinity in heaven.

    All the causes within the Thomistic understanding of justification are sound and well formed.

    JM
    wait. so when TM said your OP was too long and complex to respond to, you just post additional stuff to make it worse? You really don't get this do you John? His post wasn't an invitation to post MORE stuff. It was a plea to simplify your OP.

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