Hermeneutics of the Doctrine of Election in Aquinas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


The doctrine of divine election evokes the image of an unjust God,
who chooses and rejects people randomly. The theories of universal
salvation and of conditional election counter this image but offer a
way out that is too easy. Moreover Thomas Aquinas rejects both theories.
The common picture of divine election, as illustrated by various
sixteenth and seventeenth theologians like Báñez, Molina, Bellarmine
and the Calvinists is to view God as first knowing all possible
individuals and then selecting some of them while bypassing
others. This picture is indebted to a Scotist metaphysics of the priority
of possibles and of haecceities. In this paper it is argued that
Aquinas has a different perspective. Instead of the top-down view,
presented in the common picture, he has a bottom-up approach in
which talking about the eternal election of concrete persons presupposes
that these persons are considered in their present and future
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSan Tommaso e la Salvezza
EditorsSerge-Thomas Bonino, Guido Mazzotta
Place of PublicationRome
PublisherUrbaniana University Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)978-88-401-9036-5
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventSessione Plenaria XIX Pontifica Academia Sancti Thomae Aquinatis - Palazzo del Sant'Uffizio, Holy See (Vatican City)
Duration: 14 Jun 201915 Jun 2019

Publication series

NameDoctor Communis
PublisherUrbaniana University Press


ConferenceSessione Plenaria XIX Pontifica Academia Sancti Thomae Aquinatis
Country/TerritoryHoly See (Vatican City)


  • Thomas Aquinas
  • middle knowledge
  • election


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