Divine causality and human free choice : Domingo Báñez and the Controversy de Auxiliis
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This dissertation considers the mystery of the relationship between human free choice and God by focusing on the Controversy de Auxiliis (1582-1607) and the thought of Domingo Báñez, O.P. (1528-1604) in particular. The dissertation comprises four chapters and a conclusion preceded by a preface and brief historical introduction. The preface introduces the issue to be explored and the motivations for exploring it before providing a general synopsis of the dissertation that is more detailed than the present abstract. The historical summary that follows introduces a theological debate that has become widely unfamiliar to contemporary theology, even while conceptually, that debate remains perennial. The four-chapter body that follows may be divided into two general parts: Broadly, chapters One and Two exposit Báñez’s thought, while chapters Three and Four critique it. Chapter One explores Báñez’s positive account of physical premotion, human freedom and sin. Chapter Two examines Báñez’s critique of Luis de Molina S.J.’s alternative proposal, in conjunction with some contemporary sources from both sides of the debate (Molina was Báñez’s principal adversary in the Controversy de Auxiliis). Báñez’s line of critique in Chapter Two is found to be cogent. Chapter Three investigates Molina’s critique of Báñez and finds it too to be cogent, even though Molina’s positive account was found to be problematic in Chapter Two. Chapter Four begins by exploring Bernard Lonergan S.J.’s work on divine causality and human free choice. Lonergan attempts to provide a fresh historical reading of Aquinas that is unencumbered by the presuppositions of the Controversy de Auxiliis. The first part of Chapter Four explains Lonergan’s critique of Báñez and finds it convincing, while the second part of the chapter finds Lonergan’s interpretation of Aquinas problematic from a theoretical standpoint. Chapter Four then offers a constructive critique of Lonergan’s interpretation before advancing an alternative way to think about God’s causation of human free choices. In closing, this dissertation argues that God creates human free choices, but that in creating a human free choice, God, or God’s creative will, is not an antecedent condition that determines choice. Rather, God creates the entire reality of a human free choice—both what it is and that it is—and in so doing, part of the reality God creates just is that choice’s being up to its human agent.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: Electronic version restricted until 4th June 2020
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations
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