News:

At the end of our life, we shall all be judged by charity. —St. John of the Cross

Main Menu

Does God antecedently will that everyone be celibate?

Started by Thom, November 22, 2019, 03:14:01 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 4 Guests are viewing this topic.

Thom

It would seem that He does. For St. Paul says: "I wish that all men were as I am." (1 Cor 7:7) with respect to celibacy. Therefore it would seem that God consequently wills some to marry because e.g. they would not be able to carry the burden of celibacy, but prior to any consideration of particular circumstances of a man, it would be better for him to be celibate for achieving salvation. This would seemingly imply that there is no positive vocation for marriage but that it is only the negative in the sense that one should take the path of marriage if he is not able to carry the burden of celibacy. Do you think this is the correct way to view marriage?

Geremia

#1
No, God doesn't will that everyone not marry.

Quote from: 1 Cor. 7:7For I would that all men were even as myself [celibate]. But every one hath his proper gift from God: one after this manner, and another after that.
Quote from: Mt. 19:10He that can [potest] take [celibacy], let him take it.
He doesn't say everyone must take it. Celibacy is a counsel, not a precept.

Also, His creation of Eve would be contrary to His will if He wills everyone not marry.

Thom

#2
Here I present the case for the affirmative in the form of an article. Please, attack my opinion if I have erred somewhere. Maybe the more interesting question to look at would be: Do there exist conditions, upon which one is obliged to take virginity? If so, what are the necessary and sufficient conditions?


Question: Does God antecedently will that everyone be a virgin?

Objection 1
: It would seem that God does not will antecedently that everyone be a virgin. For, if He willed so, then he would not create Eve. But He did create Eve.

Objection 2: Further, God says in [Genesis 1:28]: >> God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every creature that crawls upon the earth." << Obviously, God wills propagation of humankind, and this would seem contrary to the proposition that God antecedently wills that everyone be a virgin.

Objection 3: Further, St. Paul says: "For I would that all men were even as myself. But every one hath his proper gift from God: one after this manner, and another after that." So it seems that marriage is a gift of God, and this seems to be contrary to the statement that God antecedently wills that everyone be a virgin (because then it would not be fitting to speak of marriage as a gift).

Objection 4: Further, if God antecedently wills that everyone be celibate then it would seem that everyone is bound to take virginity. But not everyone is bound to take virginity (for it is a counsel, not a precept). Therefore, it seems that God does not antecedently will that everyone be a virgin.

Objection 5: Further, if God antecedently wills that everyone be a virgin, then it would seem that it is not fitting to have matrimony as a sacrament. But matrimony is a sacrament.

Objection 6: Further, if God antecedently wills that everyone be a virgin then it would seem that marriage should be forbidden. But it seems absurd that we should say that marriage should be forbidden.



On the contrary
: St. Thomas, in his commentary on the Corinthians says:
Quote"Or it can be said, and this is better, that he wished all men to be continent in his antecedent will: God desires all men to be saved (1 Tim 2:4), but not by his consequent will, by which God wills to save certain persons, namely the predestined and to damn others, namely, the reprobate: I have loved Jacob, but I have hated Esau (Mal 1:2ff). Now the antecedent will is concerned with that which considered absolutely is better, as all men to be saved or continent; but the consequent will is concerned with that which is better considering circumstances of persons and events, and according to this, God wills to damn some and the Apostle wishes some to be united in marriage."


I respond
:

First, we shall clearly say what does it mean to say: 'to will antecedently/consequently'. Secondly, we will enumerate different states of human nature. Thirdly, we will describe our state and draw a conclusion.

Aquinas says: " ...antecedent will is concerned with that which considered absolutely is better...", and "...consequent will is concerned with that which is better considering circumstances of persons and events...".

We can say that when we speak about willing antecedently we need to have two things: 1) the person which wills, 2) object (which of course, has its definite nature) for which something is willed antecedently. This is in line with what Aquinas said (" ...antecedent will is concerned with that which considered absolutely is better...") because his statement includes the only person which antecedently wills and nature for which something is willed.

We can say that when we speak about willing consequently we need to have three things: 1) the person which wills, 2) object for which something is willed consequently, 3) consideration upon which the person wills something consequently. This is in line with what Aquinas said ("...consequent will is concerned with that which is better considering circumstances of persons and events..."), he introduces the third element, ie. some definite consideration, by saying "...considering circumstances of persons and events...".

Let us give an illustration. Let's say I have matches in my house, and their position in my house is on my dining table. Let's say you ask me: Where do you will your matches to be positioned? I will respond: "On my dining table. That is their place". This is my antecedent will concerning the position of my matches. Let's say you again ask me the same question, but with additional circumstances, namely, that someone's kid is coming into my house. My respond then will be: "I will that matches are positioned on top of my bookshelves, because, upon considering the circumstances, I want matches to be somewhere where the kid can not reach them."


Secondly, we distinguish various states of human nature.

There are five states of human nature:
(1) The state of pure nature.
(2) The state of integral nature.
(3) The state of original justice or of innocence.
(4) The state of fallen nature.
(5) The state of repaired nature.

Thirdly, we describe a state in which humanity is now and bring the conclusion.


We are in the state where we still suffer wounds brought to us by sin (or better, they are penalties of sin). Wounds are in the powers, a) in the spiritual powers, which are: a1) intellect - ignorance, a2) will - malice; b) in the sensitive appetites, which are: b1) concupiscible - concupiscence, b2) irascible - infirmity.

Due to the wound of concupiscence, when one engages in the conjugal act one losses reason. Therefore, to every conjugal act, there is attached an evil of loss of reason (this is evil of punishment, not of the evil of sin). (Side note: this is why Aquinas in his Summa says that there are some goods which are needed to excuse conjugal act)

As we said, in willing antecedently, there are two things needed: 1) the person willing 2) some definite nature for which something is willed.

Since there is an evil attached to every conjugal act, we can say that God antecedently wills that no man (in the state of nature in which he suffers from concupiscence) engages in the conjugal act.

Reply to Objection 1 & 2: These objections consider the different state of nature. While mankind did not suffer the punishment of concupiscence, God did not will antecedently that everyone be a virgin.

Reply to Objection 3: This passage is just to say that to some the gift of continence was given while to others was not (but rather some other gift was given to them).

Reply to Objection 4: Let us distinguish two statements. The first one (  = not everyone is obliged to be a virgin; ¬∀) and the second one ( = everyone is not obliged to be a virgin ∀¬). The difference between the two statements is the same one as is in the order of negation and a universal quantifier (the first one is ¬∀ and the second one is ∀¬). We accept the first statement, while the second one we do not. We hold that everyone who is guided by the Holy Spirit to virginity is obliged to follow inspiration which is given to him. Further, it does not follow that if something is antecedently better for one, that one is obliged to pursue that line of action.

Reply to Objection 5: Matrimony serves to excuse the performance of the conjugal act (see: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/5049.htm).

Reply to Objection 6: It does not follow that if something is antecedently better for someone, that it is sinful to do otherwise.

Geremia

#3
Quote from: Thom on January 07, 2020, 04:21:03 PMObjection 6: Further, if God antecedently wills that everyone be a virgin then it would seem that marriage should be forbidden. But it seems absurd that we should say that marriage should be forbidden.
Instead of saying it is absurd, you should quote 1 Tim. 4:1,3, that "Forbidding to marry" (v. 3) is "giving heed to spirits of error and doctrines of devils" (v. 1).

Quote from: Thom on January 07, 2020, 04:21:03 PMLet us give an illustration. Let's say I have matches in my house, and their position in my house is on my dining table. Let's say you ask me: Where do you will your matches to be positioned? I will respond: "On my dining table. That is their place".
I wonder if it would be better to say: "Unless some abnormal circumstance intervenes [what God in his ∞ knowledge foresees], I want them on my dining table. That is their proper place."

Quote from: Thom on January 07, 2020, 04:21:03 PM(2) The state of integral nature.
(3) The state of original justice or of innocence.
How do these two states differ?

Quote from: Thom on January 07, 2020, 04:21:03 PMDue to the wound of concupiscence, when one engages in the conjugal act one losses reason. Therefore, to every conjugal act, there is attached an evil of loss of reason
Do you mean to say the loss/diminution of the use of reason? Although Summa suppl. q. 49 a. 1 (= Super Sent. lib. 4 d. 31 q. 1 a. 1) on marriage blessings excusing marital act does say:
Quote from: St. Thomasthere is a loss (jactura = loss or diminution) of reason incidental to the union of man and woman, both because the reason is carried away entirely on account of the vehemence of the pleasure, so that it is unable to understand anything at the same time, as the Philosopher says (Ethic. vii, 11);
By the way, Ethic. vii, 11 (discussion of pleasure in the context of continence/incontinence) also discusses why intellectual pleasures are more pleasurable than carnal ones. He says, following Aristotle: "intellectual pleasures are really better, stating that such pleasures lack an opposite pain, which they drive out; they have consequently no excess to render them vicious".

Quote from: Thom on January 07, 2020, 04:21:03 PMWhile mankind did not suffer the punishment of concupiscence, God did not will antecedently that everyone be a virgin.
Before the Fall, Adam and Eve lived like angels. Most Fathers believe they only consummated their marriage after the Fall (cf. I q. 98 a. 2, in which St. Thomas cites St. Gregory of Nyssa's interesting "minority opinion" of De hom. opif. 17).

Quote from: Thom on January 07, 2020, 04:21:03 PMWe hold that everyone who is guided by the Holy Spirit to virginity is obliged to follow inspiration which is given to him. Further, it does not follow that if something is antecedently better for one, that one is obliged to pursue that line of action.
These two sentences don't seem compatible with each other.

Thom

1. I agree with your first point, that it would be better if I quoted 1 Tim 4:1,3. I, of course, agree that it is heretical to say: 'Marriage is (principally) forbidden'.

2. It seems to me that it would not peculiarly better to say: "Unless some abnormal circumstance intervenes [what God in his ∞ knowledge foresees], I want them on my dining table. That is their proper place." (If by 'abnormal circumstance' you mean all those circumstances in which one would not desire to have matches on the dining table, then that part of the sentence is not informative. But if you have a predetermined meaning of 'abnormal circumstances' then I concede that the sentence would be more informative).


a) The purpose of (oral or written) propositions is to be a sing of the product of operation (of the mind) called judgment.
b) So we can say that the proposition is better if it more suitably fulfills the purpose of representing a judgment made by the mind.
c) But the judgment made here is about the relationship between my will and an object and not between my will and an object in some circumstances (and your part of the statement is good in so far as it points out that the judgment made here is about the relationship between my will and an object).

Would you prefer that I give you a jewel or a piece of bread? I would rather answer it: "A jewel." than "Unless some abnormal circumstance intervenes, I want a jewel." Antecedent will is about what is better simpliciter, and a consequent will is about what is better secundum quid.

If I failed to see the point you were making, feel free to clarify.


4. Yes. I mean exactly the 'loss of reason' mentioned by Aquinas in the text you quoted. As for why 'intellectual pleasures are more pleasurable than carnal ones', Aquinas explained it perfectly.

5. The reason why God (seemingly) does antecedently will that everyone be a virgin, is because in the conjugal act there would be an evil of 'loss of reason' (which is not due to some special consideration, but which is due to the very state of human nature). Only upon consideration of some goods, which are sufficient to excuse this 'loss of reason', one can say he wills him to enter in the conjugal act.

However, if Adam and Eve did have a conjugal act (before sin), they would not suffer 'loss of reason' because they were created in the state of integral nature.

6. Moral obligation is a complex matter, dependent not only upon what is better for one unqualifiedly but on the disposition of the person,... The point which I was trying to convey is the following. Let us denote by A, a set of all people who are (considering their circumstances) obliged to virginity. My point was that A is non-empty. Because, surely, we must agree, that if God said to someone to become a virgin, that disobeying would be sinful. However, It seems to me that everyone who sees (determinately and certainly) virginity as a more perfect way of life, and he does not have any impediments, that he would sin if he would not take it. (Since this is a separate question, we can open a new topic and practice some disputation if you disagree with my opinion xD).



Geremia

#5
Quote from: Thom on January 08, 2020, 03:40:24 PMAntecedent will is about what is better simpliciter, and a consequent will is about what is better secundum quid.
What exactly is the "quid" in this case? The circumstances that make the "better simpliciter" not the better good for a particular person?

Quote from: Thom on January 08, 2020, 03:40:24 PMloss of reason
Every human activity, eating for example, is really distinct from brute animals' similar activities because all our activities are informed by reason, so I fail to see how there is a complete loss of reason. I think this doesn't affect St. Thomas's argument, though, because the "nutritive power" isn't as stained by original sin like the generative power is (cf. I-II q. 83 a. 4 "Whether certain powers of the soul are specially infected [by original sin], viz. the generative power, the concupiscible part, and the sense of touch?" and I-II q. 17 a. 9).

These sentences seemed contradictory:
Quote from: Thom on January 07, 2020, 04:21:03 PMeveryone who is guided by the Holy Spirit to virginity is obliged to follow inspiration which is given to him.
Wouldn't this be what the Holy Spirit antecedently wills?
Quote from: Thom on January 07, 2020, 04:21:03 PMFurther, it does not follow that if something is antecedently better for one, that one is obliged to pursue that line of action.
Doesn't God antecedently will what is better for each of us?

Quote from: Thom on January 08, 2020, 03:40:24 PM3. See pages 150 and 151 (and footnote 51)
Oh, it's Cajetan division, from Comm. in Ia2æ. 109, 2.
thanks


Geremia

cf. also p. 78 (DjVu p. 113) of Vermeersch's De religiosis institutis et personis; he shows that not all are called proximately or even remotely to profess the evangelical counsels

Geremia

Scholastic Disputation from the
 2015 Summer Program of the Albertus Magnus Center for Scholastic Studies
 23 July 2015
 Norcia, Italy
 Magisterial Response of fr. Thomas Crean, op.
 Transcribed and Edited by Christopher Owens
 (Download PDF)
Q1. Whether it is expedient to marry in the Age of Unleavened Bread.
I answer that, absolutely speaking, that is to say, just considering the terms of the question and not the particular circumstances in which the question can arise for a particular person, it is not expedient. This answer is given to us in the first place by St. Paul in the first letter to the Corinthians where he asserts that the unmarried is concerned with the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; the married with the concerns of the spouse.1 And it is also implied by his wish which is formulated under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that all should be as he is, i.e., continent.2 This teaching is confirmed by the Council of Trent, defining that it is more blessed to remain in celibacy.3 The theological reasoning of St. Thomas is that our end, our goal, is the perfection of charity, and that the specific cares and pleasures of marriage have a tendency to retard our pursuit of this goal.4 Finally, we have the counsel of Christ in the NT which implies also the promise of the grace to follow the counsel of celibacy.5
Nevertheless, for a given individual, it can be expedient to marry, in particular if he foresees that he will be subject to concupiscence to a degree that would endanger his salvation. St. Paul confirms this in his statement that it is better to marry than to burn.6 There could also be other reasons why it could be expedient for him to marry, for example, if some great good of a spiritual nature would result for a multitude, for example, woman who foresees that she would convert her pagan husband who is a very powerful man, such as a king, or some other man of great power.
Now, turning to the particular arguments that were put forward by the two sides. The argument that it is expedient to marry. First of all, it was stated that there was a precept given to the human race to be fruitful and multiply, therefore it is expedient to marry. I answer that this precept was given to the human race in general, but not to each individual, and that the good of temporal life which is achieved by this precept is less than the good of eternal life, and therefore this precept does not refute the expedience of celibacy, which is adopted for eternal life, especially as we can be confident that, in fact, only a minority would choose celibacy and therefore the temporal good of human procreation will not be impeded by those who follow the way of celibacy.
The second argument was that grace builds on nature and does not destroy it. I concede this point, but add that the natural law of fruitfulness is not destroyed by the counsel of celibacy, especially as we can foresee that only a minority will pursue the latter.
The next argument is that sacraments provide grace and are the ordinary means of salvation, and therefore, as marriage has been raised to a sacrament it is expedient for this way of salvation to be pursued. I answer that the other sacraments provide grace abundantly sufficient for salvation, and that per se they are received more fruitfully by those who have a resolve of celibacy for the kingdom of heaven.
The next argument was that St. Paul says that those who cannot contain themselves should marry, and that is a result of original sin. All are unable to contain themselves, therefore all should marry. I deny the minor premise, since through grace given in the sacraments other than marriage it is possible to be continent.
And the final argument given for the expedience of marrage was that Christ accepted the words of the disciples, saying it is not expedient for a man to marry.7 I answer that he neither acquiesces in or rejects that statement of the disciples, but rather proposes the counsel of celibacy for those who can receive it. Likewise the argument connected with that, was that Christ is one we should imitate and he leaves us the example of spousal fidelity to the Church, therefore we should imitate him by marrying and being faithful to our spouses. I answer that his example is an example of a spiritual union with the Church, one which is therefore more precisely imitated by spiritual union with Christ, consequent on a vow of celibacy.
Now turning to the arguments on the other side, that it is not expedient to marry. The first was that it is better not to be encumbered since time is short, according to St. Paul, the appointed time is growing very short.8 I agree.
The second argument was that it is better to order oneself to permanent things rather than transitory things and this is done more by celibacy than marriage. I agree with the proviso that one should order oneself to permanent things only insofar as this is compatible with ones' duty to transitory things.
The third argument was that the unmarried is more free to think of spiritual things.9 I concede this argument.
The fourth argument was that the Jews traveling to the Promised Land are a prefigurement of the Christians traveling to the Promised Land of Heaven, and that they were unencumbered and therfore so we should be. I agree that the Jews were a prefigurement of us traveling to the Promised Land of Heaven. I am not aware of Scripture, though, speaking of them particularly as being unencumbered. They were told to take the silver and gold out of Egypt,10 and they also, if I remember correcdy, had flocks and herds in the desert to support them. So I am not sure that the alegorical argument works.
And the last argument for non-expediency was that in the Old Testament the mode of propogation of the People of God was carnal by human procreation, and in the New Testament it is spiritual by baptism in water and the Holy Spirit. I agree that the NT is more spiritual than the OT, as evidenced by the comparison of these two means of increasing the People of God, and I agree that celibacy is more spiritual than marriage and in that sense there is a fittingness for celibacy in the NT. Nevertheless, I would add that it was not simply by procreation that the People of God was increased in the OT, but also, it had to be followed by circumcision, and by some other unknown rite for female children, and I would also add, as was said in the objections, that even in the NT the People of God, which is increased by Baptism, the people to be baptized normally come about through procreation, though they can also come about as adult catechumens, by conversion.
Right, now to look at some of the objections that were put forward in the 5 minute periods that have not been covered by what has already been said. One of them was the general counsel of celibacy is presumptuous, it presupposes that we know that the end is near, and that the elect have already been filled up. So there is no need for continuing procreation. I say that this is a frivolous argument, because we can know for a fact that most people will not follow the counsel of celibacy, but this does not prevent it from being, absolutely speaking, expedient, and also the People of God can be increased by conversions of adults.
It was said that St. Paul gives only a counsel and not a command to celibacy. I agree, but, as it was an inspired counsel, it therefore carries expediency with it as a consequence.
It was said that there will be no marriage in heaven, and therefore it is on earth that marriage is expedient. I say that this does not follow, it simply shows on earth that marriage happens, not that it is on earth that marriage is expedient.
And finally, it was said that the more perfect state gives the exemplar for the whole species. It is more perfect for a man to be celibate, and this gives an exemplar for the whole species. It was objected to this that this was pelagian, as implying that nature could be made perfect by ones own efforts. I answer that this does not follow, because there was nothing that was said about it being by ones own efforts.

Endnotes
1 Cf. 1 Cor. 7:32-34.
2 Cf. 1 Cor. 7:8.
3 Cf. Session XXIV of the Council of Trent, Nov. 11, 1563 (DS 1810).
4 Cf. ST Ila-IIae q. 186, a. 4.
5 Cf Mt. 19:11, 12.
6 Cf. 1 Cor. 7:9.
7 Cf. Mt. 19:10-12.
8 Cf. 1 Cor. 7:29.
9 Cf. 1 Cor. 7:34.
10 Cf Ex. 3:22; 12:35.

Geremia

Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., Last Writings p. 106 (PDF_OCR p. 117), ch. 9 on chastity, claims that
Quote from: Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.Only as a consequence of original sin is virginity to be preferred to matrimony (S.T. II-II, q. 152, a. 4 [Whether virginity is more excellent than marriage?]; and definition of the Council of Trent, sess. 24, can. 10 against Calvin and Luther).
Yet St. Thomas doesn't discuss in that article the pre-lapsarian state.