VII. Pighius' Proofs

Now let us hear Pighius' proofs. In them he tries to show that salvation was ordained f6r all without distinction. Otherwise, he says, the Spirit speaks falsely when declaring that God is the Father of all. Malachi there (2.14) is dealing with marriage, many husbands at that time being unfaithful in deceiving their first wives with later polygamy. He recalls them to God as author and avenger of conjugal fidelity[1] Readers should note how much religion Pighius manifests in dealing with Scripture. He adds from the Psalm: [2] The Lord is good to all; and concludes that all without exception are destined to eternal life. If this be true, the kingdom of heaven is open to dogs and donkeys. For the prophet there does not praise the goodness of God proper to man only but includes all the words of God. And why should not Pighius fight on behalf of his brothers? There follows a third proof., According to Paul (Rom 10.12), there is no difference between Jew and Gentile. This I willingly accept; only let there be added what the same Paul teaches: the Gentiles were called to participation in the Gospel because they had been ordained to it in the eternal counsel of God (Rom 16.26). He cites also the passage from Ecclesiasticus: God hates nothing which He made.[3] As if we were not always saying that God hated nothing in us that is His, but only that degenerate nature which is rightly considered a deformity of the first creation. For the rest, the question of reprobation does not at all turn on this hinge, whether God hated anything which He made. For though God for secret reasons had decreed before the defection of Adam what He would do, yet we read in Scripture that nothing is condemned by Him except sin. It remains that God had just causes for reprobating part of mankind, though they are hidden from us; but He hates and condemns nothing in man except what is alien to His justice. He adds this from Paul - God included all under sin that He might have mercy on all (Rom 11.32; Gal 3.22). As if Paul here were discussing the number of men, and not rather simply praising the grace of God towards all who come to salvation! Certainly he intended nothing less than to extend the mercy of God to all. Rather he wishes to lay low all glorying in the flesh, so that we may know that no one will be saved except whom God saves by pure grace. Look then at the arguments by which Pighius shows that none are chosen from above to salvation in preference to others. Yet in the several titles of his chapters, he gives himself out for a not unskilled imitator of Euclid![4]

The passage from Solomon expresses well and clearly a third end for which God created all things for Himself- even the impious for the day of evil (Prov 16.4). This Pighius attacks thus. If we say God had respect to what would happen to each man, we must also admit that the discrimination between elect and reprobate was in the divine mind before the fall of man; hence it will follow that the reprobate are condemned not because they were ruined in Adam, but because before Adam's fall they were devoted to destruction. I reply that it is no wonder that Pighius should indiscriminately (to use his own word) confuse everything in the judgments of God, when he does not distinguish between causes proximate and remote. By looking round here and there, men do not find how they can transfer the blame for their destruction, because the proximate cause resides in themselves. For if they should complain that the wound is inflicted on them from another quarter, the internal sense of their mind will hold them bound to the conclusion that evil arose from the voluntary defection of the first man. I know the insolence of the carnal mind cannot be prevented from immediately protesting:[5] If God foreknew the fall of Adam and was willing to apply no remedy, we innocently perish from His eternal decree rather than render the just penalty of sin. And, supposing no such thing to be foreseen by God, none the less the same complaint against original sin remains. For impiety will object to God: Why did not Adam sin in solitude so as alone to bear the penalty? why did he involve us unmerited in participation in the same disaster? indeed by what right does God transfer to us the penalty of another's fault? But when all has been said, the internal feeling of the heart does not cease to urge on everyone the conviction that no one, even being his own judge, may be absolved. Nor truly can anyone contend against this. For as on account of the sin of one man a lethal wound was inflicted on all, so all men acknowledge God's judgment to be just. We cannot avoid concluding that the first origin of ruin is in Adam and that we individually find the proximate cause in ourselves. What can then prevent our faith adoring from afar with due humility the hidden counsel of God by which the fall of man was foreordained, and yet acknowledging what appears to be our own part, that the whole human race in the person of Adam is bound to the penalty of eternal death and therefore subject to death? Therefore Pighius has not shattered, as he thought, the splendid and fitting symmetry in which the causes proximate and remote agree with one another.

Readers must be warned that Pighius condemns equally two propositions: that God from the beginning, when the state of man was still intact, decreed what would be his future; and that He now elects from the mass of perdition whom He wills. He ridicules Augustine and those like him, that is all the godly, for imagining that, after He had foreseen the universal ruin[6] of the human race in the person of Adam, God destined some to life. and others to destruction. For since he takes it as agreed that the counsel of God concerning the creation of all men to salvation was antecedent to the fall of Adam, he does not doubt that this purpose remains fixed to this end. For otherwise God would not be consistent with Himself and His immutable purpose would be subverted by man's sin. He attacks this appearance of contradiction (as he calls it) in our doctrine. As God decreed in Himself before the creation of Adam what should happen to him and to his posterity, the destruction of the reprobate ought not now to be imputed to sin; because it would be absurd to make the effect antecedent to the cause. But I affirm both these propositions which Pighius disputes to be the truth. For what he holds out as disagreement between the two propositions is none at all. We say that man was created in such a condition that he is unable to complain to his creator. God foresaw the fall of Adam; He did not suffer him to fall but by His will. What place is there here for vacillation? Yet Pighius denies it, because the preconceived counsel concerning the salvation of all stands firm. As if there were no ready solution. Salvation was offered to all on the condition that they persisted in original innocence. For no sane person will allow that the decree of God that all should come to salvation was simple and absolute. For when placed in the way of salvation, it was sufficient for man's just condemnation that he voluntarily fell from it. But it could not be otherwise. What then? is he freed from a fault which lay wholly within his will? If Augustine had said that it was once purposed by God to save all, Pighius' argument might have had some validity in refuting his opinion. But when he records that Adam on being first created was so constituted the heir of life that his own abdication was not at all hidden from God and indeed was as it were included in His secret counsel, Augustine rightly and truly infers that the reprobate are so held and bound in universal guilt that, being left in death, they suffer a just judgment. I hold the same thing. As in Adam we are all to a man lost, those who perish, perish by God's just judgment; and at the same time I declare that anything that befell Adam was ordained by God.


[1] French adds: the better to show the enormity of their sin ... and so make them realise that they must show better fidelity and humanity to out another.

[2] Is the allusion to Ps 34.9?

[3] This appears in Wis 11.24.

[4] French omits this.

[5] French adds: for this blasphemy is very common.

[6] French has - the ruin of Adam.