This chapter highlights the implications of Aquinas’s and Calvin’s readings of Romans 1–3 for their respective interpretations of father Abraham. Important for their interpretations of Romans 4 is whether justification enables the believer to participate in Christ’s justice according to the believer’s own mode of existence (Aquinas), or whether God’s forgiveness of sins and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness should be contrasted with the possession of the quality of justness (Calvin). The difference between these two interpretive moves means that Calvin draws a strong contrast between justification by faith and merit, as well as between justification by faith and by works, while Aquinas affirms justification by faith without drawing the contrast with merit and works. Informing Calvin’s criticisms against merit is his interpretation of meritorious acts in competitive-causal terms, with human willing occurring in autonomous terms, separate from God’s causal activity.
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