Hans Urs Von Balthasar: Predestination

“When God’s universal plan for the world, for its creation as for its redemption, thus definitively moves into view, it becomes impossible to interpret the doctrine of election in the Old and New Covenants, with their clear preference for one individual vis-à-vis others, other than as a moment within this universal plan. . . . Israel is called for the sake of the Gentiles, and this call of Israel becomes a model for the call (‘calling out,’ ecclesia) of the Church, which takes place for the sake of the world, and thus also for every personal call within the Church, which without exception demonstrates this same ecclesial figure of meaning: to be called for the sake of those who (for the time being) are not called. This biblical-patristic and modern understanding leaves behind once and for all every theology of individual predestination (the most consistent form of which was the theology of double predestination), according to which the one chosen is chosen primarily for his own sake, so much so that he must stand amazed and trembling before the mystery of others not-being-chosen (perhaps even being rejected)—whether these others be many or few. . . . We can and must formulate this very simply: everyone who is called in a biblical sense is called for the sake of those who [for the time being] are not called.”


Hans Urs von Balthasar, “Vocation,” trans. Michelle K. Borras, Communio: international Catholic review 37, no. 1 (Spring 2010): 113 (111-128).

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