A Bite in de Lubac’s theory on Nature and Grace? Part 4

Back to de Lubac. The dogmatic requirement here is that grace is a gift that is unowed to the existing person, qua simply human. This is a requirement of the faith. Challenge it and we are no longer theologians. (No longer Catholic theologians, that is.) Why not? Because theology does not prove the mysteries of faith; it embraces them. It may prove the preambles of faith, but not the mysteries. These are its starting point. Therefore, all theologians must hold that grace is unowed to the existing person, qua simply human.

What does it mean to be “unowed”? It means that it is the opposite of what is owed. Now, that is owed to a creature which is required so that its (the creature’s) existence is intelligible, meaningful, wisely brought about.

Principled theology, as it developed through time, calls such a requirement “debitum naturae,” a thing due to a nature. This requirement is hypothetical. It rests on the existence of the nature, in this case the human person. But as we also confess – and can prove rationally – the world is created freely. God need not have created man. So, the requirement in debitum naturae runs thus: IF there is to be a man (freely created), THEN such and such are required so that he be wisely made.


2 thoughts on “A Bite in de Lubac’s theory on Nature and Grace? Part 4

  1. All creation is essentially a gift by God whether nature (creation as such) or supernature (such as supernaturale per accidens, or the preternatural.) The main distinction (that word itself is foreign to most modern theologians like De Lubac) is the gift of creation which establishes certain laws (or substances to use a more precise metaphysical term, again foreign to most mods,) proper and essential for the quiddity (is-ness) of the “1st gift”, and the ordering or calling (as Pius XII said in paragraph 26 of Humani Generis,) which would be the elevation of gift 1 to a more elicited gift 2 needed for creation, with a disposition to be elevated towards God Himself in the beatific vision, not having it in itself. I often use the concept of drivers in computer technology as the elicited gift. This isn’t perfect but is does illustrate the difference between the creation proper (computer) and the gift of the supernatural (the driver needed for the computer to recognize certain hardware etc, which the computer has by its creation to receive “naturally” but is not part of its essential being.

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