Human Will and Divine Choice
Augustine's doctrine of grace is modified by his reading of the apostle Paul in the 390s, when he realizes it can be difficult to will the good we want to will. The psychological order of salvation fits a four‐stage schema, in which we cannot wholeheartedly will or love the good until we reach the stage under grace. Where faith and merit fit in this schema is unclear until the treatise To Simplicianus, when Augustine concludes that the difference between the saved and the damned is ultimately due to divine election. For it is God who chooses to give unmerited grace to some sinners rather than others by means of a “suitable call,” an external word or admonition that God knows will unfailingly elicit the will's delight and free assent to believe. This attempt to reconcile grace and free will, illustrated by Augustine's own conversion narrative, will prove insufficient.
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