Tuesday, July 25, 2006 Part IV, Auriole’s Reaction to Scotus: Ozment on Theories of Salvation in the Middle Ages
Peter Auriole, O.F.M. (ca. 1280-1322) was strongly opposed to Scotus’ view of salvation and his emphasis on the covenant. Auriole, though working from the basic Thomistic position of the importance of the created habit of grace, took St. Thomas’ position to its extreme, and argued that the reason for God’s acceptance of an individual lay “‘in re,’ in the very nature of the one accepted and saved” (The Age of Reason, p. 36). In contrast to Scotus’ axiom that created beings have nothing intrinsic in them to make God accept them, Auriole’s claim was, “Caritas est ratio acceptationis ex natura rei et de necessitate,” i.e., “Love is the cause of divine acceptance by its very nature and of necessity” (Ibid., p. 36). According to Auriole, salvation is not a mere matter of covenants, but involves like attracting like (Ibid., pp. 36-37). Again, contra Scotus, for Auriole, whether from the point of view God’s ordained power (the execution of God’s will in time) or God’s absolute power (God’s will eternally considered), “acts of love intrinsically won divine acceptance” (Ibid., p. 37). As mentioned previously, Auriole’s view is considered an exaggerated and distorted take on Thomas’ position. Similarly, Ockham’s position was an extreme restatement of Scotus—a topic we shall engage in the next post. posted by Cynthia Nielsen at 7:06 AM
Wednesday, July 26, 2006 Part V, Ockham: Ozment on Theories of Salvation in the Middle Ages
In contrast with Auriole, for Ockham there is “no necessary relationship between salvation and grace-induced habits of love” (The Age of Reason, p. 37). This view is reflected in Ockham’s statement, “Quidquid Deus producit mediantibus causis secundis potest immediate sine illis producere et conservare,” i.e., “whatever God can produce by means of secondary causes, he can directly produce and preserve without them.” Just as God in his potentia absoluta was able to cause intuitive knowledge in the human mind of something that does not exist, he can also save people without infused habits of grace (Ibid., p. 37). Ockham is said to have gone overboard in his desire to stress the radical contingency of creation, as well as all things ecclesiastical—churches, sacraments etc. As Ozment points out, Ockham founded his teaching on two traditional sources.
- First, he appealed to Augustine’s view of the church on earth as permixta, that is made up of both believers and unbelievers. Here what counts is not present grace, but ultimately the gift of perseverance which is given to the elect only (see, City of God, bk. 1, ch. 35).
- Secondly, Ockham based his teaching on the distinction between the potentia absoluta Dei and the potentia ordinata Dei, the absolute and ordained power of God. posted by Cynthia Nielsen at 10:26 AM