The following question was submitted: “Since God knows the future, why does He create souls that he knows will spend eternity in Hell?” This is part two of the response. Below are exact quotes from Saint Francis DeSales. Next week we will look at Father Most’s synthesis of the Saint’s teaching.
275. The teaching of St. Francis himself: We shall read his views from three passages of his Treatise on the Love of God, and then, collect the principal points.
1) Treatise 3.5: St. Francis is speaking about the gift of final perseverance: 4 "First he willed, with a genuine will that even after the sin of Adam all should be saved, but in a way and with means suited to the condition of our nature; that is, He willed the salvation of all who would give consent to the graces and favours which He would prepare, offer, and distribute for this purpose. Now among those favours, He willed that the call be first, and that it be so tempered to our freedom that we at our good pleasure could accept or reject it. And to those whom He foresaw would accept, He willed to give the sacred movements of repentance; and to those who would follow those movements, He decreed to give holy love; and to those who would have love He planned to give the means needed to persevere; and to those who would use these divine helps, He decreed to give final perseverance and the glorious happiness of His eternal love....Without doubt, God prepared heaven only for those whom He foresaw would be His... But it is in our power to be His: for although the gift of being God’s belongs to God, yet this is a gift which God denies to no one, but offers to all, and gives to those who freely consent to receive it.”
2) Treatise 4.6: In this chapter St. Francis is concerned principally with explaining that we owe it to God that we are able to love God: 5 "So tell me, miserable man, what you have done, in all these things, of which you could boast? You have consented, I know it well: the movement of your will freely followed the movement of heavenly grace. But all that-what else is it but to receive the divine working and not to resist? And what do you have in this that you have not received? Yes, even, poor man, you have even received the acceptance of which you boast, and the consent, which you brag about... Is it not the part of most insane impiety to think that you gave effective and holy activity to the divine inspiration because you did not take it away by resisting? We can hinder the efficacy of inspiration, but we cannot give efficacy to it....”
3) Treatise 4.5: In this chapter St. Francis vigorously insists that the sole cause of the lack of love is in us: 6 ”Just as it would be the part of impious boldness to attribute to the powers of our will the works of holy love that the Holy Spirit does in us and with us, so also it would be the part of impious boldness to wish to attribute the lack of love in an ungrateful man to the lack of heavenly help and grace. For the Holy Spirit cries out everywhere, on the contrary, that our destruction comes from us . . . that divine Goodness wills that no one perish, but wills that all come to the knowledge of the truth: He wills that all men be saved. ”
Notes (As Fr. Most Records Them):
4 Treatise on the Love of God 3.5
5 Ibid., 4.6
6 Ibid., 4.5