Double or Nothing


Gottschalk (804-869):

I believe and confess that God, omnipotently and unchangeably, has graciously foreknown and predestined holy angels and elect men to eternal life, but that He like manner (pariter) has, by his most just judgment, predestined head of all the demons, with all his apostate angels and also with reprobate men, who are his members, on account of their foreknown particular future evil deeds, to merited eternal death: this the Lord Himself affirms in His Gospel: “The prince of this world is already judged” (John 14:11).

Augustine, beautifully explaining these words to the people (Augustine on John, tract. 95), has spoken as follows: “That is, he has been irrevocably destined to the judgment of eternal fire.” Likewise concerning the reprobate, the same is true: “Who then believeth not is already judged” (John 3:18), that is (as the aforesaid author explains), (tract. xii), already is damned: “Not that judgment now is manifest, but that judgment is already wrought.” Likewise explaining these words of John the Baptist: man has received” (John 3:32), he speaks in this wise (tract. xiv): is a certain people prepared to wrath by God, damned with the Devil.” “Those dead scorners, predestinated to eternal death.” Again (tract. xlviii): “Why did the Lord say to the Jews: (John 10:26), “Ye believe not because ye are not of my sheep” (John 10:26), unless he saw that they were predestinated to everlasting destruction and not to life eternal by the price of his own blood.” Also, explaining these words of the Lord (ibid): “My sheep hear my voice and I know hem and they follow me and I give to them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand: My Father who gave them to me is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29), and he says this: “What can the wolf do? What can the thief and robber do? They destroy none, except those predestined to destruction.” Speaking in like manner concerning the two worlds (tract. lxxxvii) he says: “The whole world is the church, and the whole world hates the church; the world, therefore, hates the world, the hostile that which is reconciled, the damned that which is saved, the polluted that which is cleansed.” Likewise (tract. cx) he says: “There is a world concerning which the Apostle says: ‘that we should be condemned with this world’ (1 Cor 11:32). For that world that the Lord does not pray, for he certainly cannot ignore that for which it is predestinated.” Likewise (tract cvii): “Judas the betrayer of Christ is called the son of perdition as the one predestinated to be the betrayer.” Likewise in Enchiridion (cap. 100): “To their damnation whom he has justly predestinated to punishment.” Likewise in the book On Mana’s Perfection in Righteousness he says (cap. 13): This good, which is required, there is not anyone who does it, not even one; but this refers to that class of men who have been predestinated to destruction: indeed, upon those the foreknowledge of God looks down and pronounces sentence.” Likewise in the books de Civitate Dei (lib. xxii, c. 24): ” Which is given to those who have been predestinated to death.” Likewise blessed Gregory the Pope (Moral. lib. xxxiv, c.2): “Leviathan with all his members has been cut off for eternal torment.” Likewise holy Fulgentius in the third book Concerning the Truth of Predestination and Grace (lib. iii, c. 5) says: “God has prepared punishment for those sinners (at least) who have been justly predestinated to the suffering of punishment.” And blessed Fulgentius has composed one whole book for his friend Monimus concerning this tantamount question, that is: Concerning the Predestination of the Reprobate to Destruction, (lib. i).

Whence also holy Isodore says (Sentent. 2. cap. 6): “Predestination is double (gemina) whether of election to peace, or of reprobation to death.” The same thing, therefore, (with others) I believe and confess, though whatever may happen, with those who are the elect of God and true Catholics, according as I am helped by divine inspiration, encouragement and provision. Amen.

False, indeed, is the witness, who in speaking of any aspect of those things, corrupts them either superficially or with respect to their essential sense. [source]


  1. irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert · September 22, 2013

    In between all of this, is God’s tensions in His Word (in time), “God from all eternity, did, by his unchangeable counsel, ordain whatsoever in time should come to pass: yet so as thereby no violence is offered to the wills of the reasonable creatures, and neither the liberty nor the contingency of the second causes is taken away, but established.” (Irish Articles, 3, Of God’s Eternal Decree and Predestination).

    • jm · September 22, 2013

      I have to read those Irish Articles one day…

      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert · September 22, 2013

        Some would say, these, with the Anglican Article XVII (of the Thirty-nine Articles), are the finest creedal statement in English! I tend to agree, but then I am an Anglican. The Article XVII dates from 1553, and the fact that only slight verbal changes were made in 1563 and 1571 bare the essential unanimity among the Reformers, both Lutheran and Calvinistic in the Continental Reformation. Myself, I don’t see logic alone here, the Reformers evidently saw that mere logic was faulty in dealing with the Divine purpose, the foundation being “the everlasting purpose of God,” itself. Which is itself always a “mystery” of God! ‘This is the Divine side, and shows that redemption is in pursuance of God’s eternal purpose.’ (to quote James Denney from Romans 8: 28). But the Irish Articles 1615 do go a bit further here, as per no doubt Archbishop James Ussher, in the first paragraph…

        “yet so as thereby no violence is offered to the wills of the reasonable creatures, and neither the liberty nor the contingency of the second causes is taken away, but established.”

      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert · September 22, 2013

        I also like reading Luther himself on the doctrine of Election and Predestination, I tend to see Luther as closer to Calvin, than Melanchthon, and note surely both the election of grace, and the reprobate (those left in their own reprobation and rejection of God). The second is not just the mere logic of God to the first, however. Note again the Infralapsarian.

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