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domingo, 23 de junio de 2019

Resignation


By José María Pemán -- Spanish poet (1897 - 1981)


Translated from the Spanish by Roberto Hope

Most blessed be You, oh Lord!
for Your kindness without bound
because out of love You place 
along with thistles of throes
roses of resignedness.

How sad my wandering is,
concealed, I carry in my bosom
of my repentance a groan
but carry in my lips a song
not to let my sadness show.

Only You, my God and Lord,
You, who hurts me out of love
You, who with an immense love
tries with so much greater pain 
those souls who You love the most

You alone will get to know 
that I only want to tell
my secret suffering about
to whom it can understand
and is able to console.

Most blessed be You, oh Lord!
for Your kindness without bound
because out of love You place 
along with thistles of throes
roses of resignedness.

The pain that should ever come
will be in good time well received
Let it come, since God so wishes.
What does seeing myself hurt matter
if God is the one who hurts me?

I do not complain, my Lord,
I know suffering pain is joy
if one suffers it for love,
an affliction is delight
if it's endured out of love.

I want to suffer, my Lord,
I want out of love to enjoy
the sweetness of the distress
make an altar of my life,
of love to make sacrifice.

To live without woes of love
is a sad and somber living
like the water of a river
which, finding no trees or flowers,
through a barren wasteland flows.

Life with artificial happiness
I do not envy you, no,
that the day my life were so
trembling of horror I'd say:

God has my life but forgotten!
Do not flee, passions and torments
with the frailness of a coward,
nor seek after loves not honest
which die just as do the flowers
in the sinkng of the nightfall.

Knowing how to suffer and making
the soul most robust and sturdy,
is what matters most to know:
the science of bearing pain
is the science of good living.

That is why, my God and Lord,
because it's for love You hurt me
because with an immense love
You try with much greater pain 
those souls that You love the most,
because suffering is healing
the wounds afflicting the heart
because I know You shall give me
consolation and resignedness
to the measure of my pain,
for Your goodness and your love,
since You will it and command it,
because all my pain is Yours...
Blessed be the hand, my Lord,
with which You have deigned to hurt me!

lunes, 17 de junio de 2019

 Sobre el infierno 

por James V. Schall, S.J. (1928-2019)

Tomado de: https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2019/02/25/on-hell/
 publicado ahí el lunes, 25 de febrero de 2019
Traducido del inglés por Roberto Hope

Generalmente hablando, el infierno no es un tema del que se guste hablar. Aun cuando no existiera, sigue siendo un tema vedado. Nadie piensa acabar ahí,  especialmente si sus pecados son de color rojo escarlata.

El efecto de la postura de que "nadie merece el infierno" es que hace parecer que nada de lo que hagamos, a nosotros mismos o a otros, hace al final de cuentas una diferencia en el universo. Todos reciben su premio eterno, si es que existe, sólo por ser quien es y no obstante sus creencias y actos.

Leemos en 2 Tesalonicenses que Jesús vendrá  "en medio de una llama de fuego, y tomará venganza de los que no conocen a Dios y de los que que no obedecen al Evangelio de nuestro Señor Jesús. Éstos sufrirán la pena de una ruina eterna, alejados de la presencia del Señor y de la gloria de su poder cuando venga en aquel día a ser glorificado en sus santos" Hablando de un pasaje contra cultural.

Aun cuando pocos parecen reflexionar sobre él, el infierno constituye realmente un buen tema en el cual pensar. Puede pensarse de él aun cuando alguien no acepte o no desee aceptar su realidad. [En mis libros 'The Politics of Heaven and Hell' (La Política del Cielo y el Infierno') y 'At the Limits of Political Philosophy' (En los Límites de la Filosofía Política) pueden hallarse capítulos sobre el infierno y la filosofía política]. Irónicamente, quizas, el infierno puede ser y es una realidad y una enseñanza muy positiva. Su origen no es exclusivamente judeo-cristiano, como lo sabe todo aquél que haya leído el último libro de La República de Platón.

Oímos de opiniones muy extendidas de teólogos sobre este tema, para muchos un tema preocupante. ¿No es Dios cruel con tan sólo mencionarlo? Sin embargo, es difícil leer el Nuevo Testamento (hay quienes lo siguen haciendo) sin acabar concluyendo que Cristo no tenía problema alguno con el infierno salvo por evitarnos llegar ahí. Él también quería salvar a toda persona. Pero sólo podía salvar a todo el que, por la forma en que vivía y por sus propias elecciones, no merecía  llegar ahí.

La sola cosa que ni el mismo Dios puede hacer es crear un ser racional libre y luego darse la vuelta y salvarlo independientemente de lo que éste elija. El mismo punto de vivir la vida interior de la Trinidad, a la cual somos invitados pero no coercionados, es que todo mundo debe llegar ahí por su propio gusto. Ninguna amistad con el hombre o con Dios es posible si es coercionada contra su voluntad. Si el hombre hubiera sido creado simplemente para vivir la vida interior de Dios sin que  tuviera que contribuir a ello, no podría encontrarse una razón para haber sido creado, en primer lugar.

Recuerdo haber leído en algún escrito de Hannah Arendt, que el segundo presidente de los Estados Unidos decía que la doctrina del infierno es la enseñanza cristiana (y platónica) más importante  para la política.

¿Por qué, podríamos preguntarnos, habría dicho Adams algo tan extravagante? Cuando vemos el escenario político de nuestros días, no parece ser tan extravagante. La base de todo orden civilizado ha sido minada por un voluntarismo sistemático que no sólo lo permite todo, excepto quizás la virtud, sino que ha insistido a cada paso en llamar al bien mal.

De hecho, muchos han insistido en cambiar el ser que Dios creó inicialmente, en su propia imagen (la del hombre), una imagen que rápidamente ha eliminado toda inteligibilidad dada al cuerpo o al alma del hombre.

Lo único que hay que agregar es que las colectividades no "pecan." No tienen almas inmortales. Los pecados se cometen solamente por personas individuales que son responsables de rechazar lo que ha sido revelado y lo que puede conocerse con la razón. ¿Estoy argumentando que los pensadores y los políticos individuales en cualquier país, incluyendo el nuestro, que ocasionan estas perversidades están comprendidos aquí? De hecho, sí.

Un parecer popular es que el infierno existe, pero que nadie está ahí. Al fin y al cabo, Dios se las ingenió para salvar a todos a pesar de su historial de pecado y sus actos perversos. Ya que Dios quiere que todos se salven, como lo quiere, debe concluirse que todos son salvados a pesar de ellos mismos. O quizás en la hora cero hasta a los peores pecadores se les dio la gracia para que se arrepintieran, y lo hicieron.

Podemos especular sobre estas opiniones. No son teóricamente imposibles. Pero el autor de Tesalonicenses 2 dijo que si rechazan las Buenas Nuevas, serían perdidos eternamente. La lógica de esta positura implicaría que, si son salvados, de alguna manera, implícita o explícitamente, aceptaron las Buenas Nuevas.

Antes mencioné que la del infierno es una doctrina positiva. ¿Cómo? Cada persona humana es tan importante que quienquiera que peque seriamente contra ella (ver los mandamientos), en cualquier momento o lugar, si no se arrepiente, es merecedor del infierno. Puesto de manera positiva, la realidad del infierno define lo que nuestra relación de unos con otros debe ser; algo noble, sí, algo sin pecado.

sábado, 1 de junio de 2019

Natural Law and Theology

 A Classical Perspective 


By Juan Antonio Widow 
Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez de Viña del Mar (Chile) 

Taken from: Cuestiones Fundamentales de Derecho Natural
Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara, Publisher
Translated from the Spanish by Roberto Hope


This essay is the paper presented by the author at the III Jornadas Hispánicas de Derecho Natural, held in Guadalajara, México on November 26-28, 2008.

1. Revelation and Nature

It is clear that natural law is not a proper object of the faith. Its condition of being natural is itself proof that we are not dealing with a revealed dogma, to which one can only access with the supernatural aid of theological faith. The truths related to natural law are not imposed on assent in the same way as, for instance, the truths of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord or of the forgiveness of sins are imposed. Which would lead us to hold that the topic of natural law is not a properly theological subject. To this exclusion should be arrived if it is considered that the foundation of theology is what God has revealed; that is, what constitutes the object of the faith, and that theological knowledge would have to confine itself to the formal and express contents of Revelation.

However, the matter is not that simple. It is not that Divine Revelation makes present to us a particular set of truths for us to believe, and that our knowledge, founded upon the faith, should confine itself strictly to that set of truths, without transcending their particularity. It is not a knowledge which should resolve itself only in the personal salvation of he who upholds it. While it is true that Revelation indicates what someone should do to save his soul and that, besides, God, through the Church, gives him the efficacious means for achieving that end, faith in Divine Revelation does not mainly consist of this; that is, it does not reduce itself to presenting particular solutions to solve particular problems.

Theological faith is knowledge. While being it knowledge of certain truths, these, as far as they are truths, are in essential communication with all other truths. If intellectual knowledge were to confine itself to recording the fact or the mere singular act, it would not be properly knowledge, it would be a frustrated kind of knowledge, like someone standing at the door without intending to go in. It would be a knowledge which, because of its sensitive nature, would inevitably degenerate into sentiment or into a strictly subjective phenomenon. Understanding attains its complete form when it opens itself to the universality of its object. This also applies to the knowledge of the faith. and not only to natural reason. In the object of the faith, the Divine Revelation, all truth is implicitly present. To make it explicit is the purpose of theology.

Intellectual knowledge is then, in itself, universal; that is, the perfection to which it naturally tends is to know everything to the extent possible. From its object are not excluded, consequently, any specific realities. However, there is an order in the intellectual knowledge which corresponds to its own essence. There are things the intelligibility of which is dependent on others; for which reason, what is pertinent is that knowledge have, as its main purpose, that which is the source of intelligibility for everything else. For the philosopher, these are the first causes: he is guided to his discovery by the principles of natural reason. In contrast, for the believer, placed in the same attitude of searching for perfect knowledge, that source is also the first causes but already identified with the God of Revelation. It is the faith the one that delivers the key. And in this way, if wisdom, the principles of which are those of natural reason, is the end and perfection of man, by an analogous and higher reason, it is also that knowledge of which the faith is the principle, in which what philosophy knows is known, accepting its concepts, its language, and its argumentations, but introducing itself in the divine intimacy of the first cause, as it is revealed by God Himself. Philosophy, in its principal form, which is metaphysics, and theology are the maximally universal sciences: they know everything in its principle. There is nothing, consequently, which can be excluded from this, which Thomas Aquinas calls the sacred doctrine. In his Summa theologiae, for example, he points out what are the means to mitigate sadness, and he mentions, among others, sleep and bathing; well, this is, materialiter, good psychological perception, but formaliter, is theology, since it touches the topic in what relates to the order by which man, redeemed creature, is disposed with respect to his Creator and Redeemer. 


2. The theological perspective's contribution to natural law.

Thus, both the notion and the reality of natural law have been studied, dealt with and taught by ancient theologians, not as a marginal question, object of some accidental impulse of curiosity as could have been the study of the crab's digestive system or that of the formulas of alchemy. In spite of this, as said before, we would not be able to reject these as entirely foreign topics, since the inquirer in metaphysics considers everything, even the fly that tickles his nose, inasmuch as it is a being, and the theologian also considers that fly inasmuch as it is a creature of God. This could be considered a justification, perhaps, for lovers of persnickety, which, this notwithstanding does not take truth away from what we have said. There will always be some difference between the study of the crab's digestion and of that which is naturally just in man's conduct; this difference lies in the transcendence and universality of the latter topic as compared to the former. It must be presumed, certainly, what is common to both, which is their partaking in the mystery of being. At least the latter and not the former is normally included as part of that set of topics which are covered in a work of universa theologia.

In this manner, then, it can be understood that there have been notable theologians which engaged themselves in the problems related to natural law and that they have addressed them not for reason of them being particular problems, but to the extent that they are part of that whole which is the object of theological sapience. As a source of authority, it behooves us to keep in mind the names of theologians who have dealt with the theoretical and practical problems of natural law: suffice it to mention Thomas Aquinas, Francisco de Vitoria, and Domingo Soto. Thomas, in whom we mainly put our attention in the course of this presentation, deals with questions referring to natural law in works of theology and with theological intention.

Theology has as its formal object, according to what the term expresses, God's being itself, and to that object, human understanding has access through faith; that is, by means of a supernatural assent to what God reveals. However, through Revelation, we know only some, not all, universal truths. They are those, the knowledge of which is necessary for men's eternal salvation. It is not necessary indeed, for the salvation of souls, that God reveal, for instance, the reason for a physical law or of what consists the difference, in essence, between angels and archangels. Now, it has been seen that divine truth is the source and principle of all truth. All truth can, for the same reason, be known inasmuch as it partakes of that source or principle, since, inasmuch as it is truth, it is participation in divine truth. This is why, its knowledge, while not formally of faith, can be a theological knowledge if its truth is recognized as divine truth to the extent it is participated by the creature. This may perhaps be not of immediate interest to homo viator, for whom what is most important are the truths which refer to eternal salvation, but it is to him to the extent he aspires to wisdom; that is, inasmuch as he is a theologian.

But it is necessary to be more precise. Among the truths that can be known through natural reason, it is in philosophical truths where a greater closeness exists to the truths of the faith, due to their universality and to the fact that their object is the first causes, which is to say, the divine truths themselves, even though they are not philosophically known as divine. The existence of a Revelation, though limited to the truths necessary for salvation, shows that divine truth can be revealed and that in such condition, in that of revealable divine truth, all truth is comprised. The divinely revealable and intelligible characters are merged into a single one. Thus, Thomas writes that "what is covered by the diverse philosophical sciences, the sacred doctrine, which is one, can consider under a single reason, that is, of being divinely revealable, so that the sacred doctrine be like an impression of the divine science, which, being one and simple, extends to everything" (Saint Thomas accustoms to say in two lines — sometimes uncomfortably to us, his disciples — and with perfect clarity, what one has tried to explain laboredly and awkwardly in several pages.)

Every revelation, as it is obvious, is ordered to the knowledge of those to whom it is revealed, it is a making known. If the communications medium is not knowable to the intended recipient of the revelation, then the latter simply does not exist. Faith is knowledge and as such resides in man's intelligence: there it is supernaturally infused in such a way that said intelligence is elevated and in that manner accesses the Truth, the knowledge of which exceeds man's natural capability. In no respect does the faith nullify or overwhelm natural intelligence; on the contrary, it is the created intelligence the one which is elevated to the knowledge of the increated Truth. Human intelligence attains its perfection this way, that is, supernaturally, but in accordance with its proper order or in accordance with its nature: it is its perfection as intelligence what is thusly achieved, which is to say, as far as it can attain its proper object, the knowledge of being.

Divine Revelation, consequently, to be revelation, it necessarily has to be given to men in human language; its object, divine truth, cannot manifest itself to us if not by means of notions, judgments, and analogies which are expressed by means of the same language of everyday communication, of the sciences and of philosophy; that is, by means of the language, the only natural bridge between the intelligence of humans which can penetrate the truth of things. If man cannot comprehend what is communicated to him, there is no revelation. Which certainly, as pertains to divine Revelation, it does not exclude mystery, since to comprehend is not the same as to understand. It must be insisted upon, that what is made known to the believer, he understands. An act of faith is an act of understanding since theological virtue is the supernatural partaking in the knowledge through which God is known.

The divine science, which is infused in man by grace, has an infinite reach inasmuch as it is divine, but inasmuch as it is partaken, it necessarily has its limits. If we pay attention to the most incomprehensible doctrines of Christian dogma, we can note that their incomprehensibility makes itself manifest to us precisely in the measure that we understand what understandable is in them. It is not casual that notions so deeply linked to philosophy, such as essence, nature, substance, hypostasis, person, will, etcetera, should have been developed and required in the history of thought precisely inasmuch as they can explain what understood can be of the trinitarian dogma or that of the Incarnation of the Word. It is necessary to understand what these terms mean, to penetrate the mystery. Without this understanding, the mystery is not manifested as a mystery. 

Cardinal Siri, when he was archbishop of Genoa in 1961, published a famous pastoral letter in which he taught that "the terms of language and of thought used in Revelation reflect an objective human philosophy and establish a value relationship in the former, since, if Revelation were to lack such value, it would not be able to serve to express divine things validly. In sum, the use of expressive terms in Revelation presumes a relationship between these, with their own value, and human thought, also with its own value. If it were not that way, if the terms used in Revelation were not to lead to an objective and true knowledge of divine things (even when only in an analogous sense), then God would have not revealed anything, Revelation would have not existed, we would not have attended but to the presentation of an interesting cartoon film without any consistency."

The object of the faith, consequently, is in itself perfectly intelligible, even when it not be perfectly quoad nos. That of faith is in us a knowledge secundum non visum, which is to say, necessarily obscure: it is the assenting to that which someone else, God, knows and reveals. We do not apprehend its object directly, we see it, Saint Paul says, "as in a mirror and in an enigma." But this object is intelligible, and not with any particular intelligibility since it always remits to the source of all intelligibility. This is why the certainty of this knowledge, in spite of the limitation the faith suffers regarding the way of knowing, indirect and obscure, is greater and more perfect than that of any evidence in the order of natural reason.

Because of this, theology, inasmuch as it is the science of divine truth, possesses, as we have seen, the universality which corresponds to the divine science; all truth is divine in its source or origin. This means that all knowledge of natural reason is eminently theological, and it can be converted to formally theological if it is considered under the light of divine truth. For this reason, theology is the perfection of natural or human sciences, since it knows the same as these but by virtue of a different formal motivating object or intellectual light, which allows it to know the natural realities more deeply, given that it knows them in their more proper being, inasmuch as they partake in God's being.

On the other hand, it is also necessary to take into account that some truths of the natural order are reaffirmed by divine Revelation. Those truths, without prejudice to their natural cognoscibility and to their being the object of common sciences, are also revealed. The reason why God reveals to men what they already know or can know is the imbecillitas (weakness, frailty) of human intellect. Revelation of these truths reaffirms a certainty which man's intelligence already has in a natural way, but which, due to his inveterate pusillanimity, he can become separated from them, or doubt them, or not know how to apply them to the practical order, or simply refuse to recognize them. Thus, the precepts of the Decalogue, for example, are all a matter of natural law, but their revelation to Moses on Mount Sinai give them a degree of certainty and a power which they lacked as mere precepts of the natural order. The situation to which man's imbecillitas can lead is pointed out very expressively by Saint Paul at the beginning of his letter to the Romans: "And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God handed them over to their undiscerning mind to do what is improper. They are filled with every form of wickedness, evil, greed, and malice; full of envy, murder, rivalry, treachery, and spite. They are gossips and scandalmongers and they hate God. They are insolent, haughty, boastful, ingenious in their wickedness, and rebellious toward their parents, they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless." This is a collection of epithets which provides a schematic exposition of the consequences of original sin.

There are, accordingly, three features of theology which are essential to it and which have to be taken into account in discussing its relationship with natural law. These are: the kind of language it uses, the universality of its object, and its certainty. In the first place, the language of theology cannot be other than that of philosophy, and not of just any so-called philosophical thought, but that of the philosophy of being, the philosophy of things, of what can be contemplated by intelligence; it is the language proper of human understanding. In the second place, the universality of its object is, precisely, the one expressed in such language: that object is not some particular message, some fact, or sign, or some kerygma, but the essences: that of God in the first place and then of those that can be or are participated in by the creatures. The universal is what is intelligible, and in this way, theology is connected with all human knowledge; for instance, with law, and with the philosophy of law. Universality is that which corresponds to what it is, the object of contemplation. And certainty is that which derives from the act of faith, which it has inasmuch as it is a participation in the certainty which is proper of the divine science itself. Even when it is a certainty in the knowledge of the principles ― the dogmas of faith ― and not of its conclusions, these receive, though in a derivative form, some of that supernatural light thanks to its union with the light of reason. In this fecund light is theology conceived.

Natural law has been expressly reaffirmed in many of its determinations, by Revelation, which has undoubtedly given to it, in the course of the history of Christendom, a recognition and a power that explain its practical validity for centuries. That validity has had as its efficient cause the fear of God. But besides, natural law has been a permanent object of study, in a way such that its reflexive knowledge has allowed to build up criteria and discover its applicability to new fields and circumstances. Now, such study has been developed to the extent that the topics of natural law have been accepted to be an inseparable part of wisdom, or of contemplation of the truth; that is, of the philosophy which has become fecund as theology.


3. The decadence of reason and its negative influence on natural law.

The same way as the theological perspective has given vitality to the study and the practical validity of natural law, its decadence has also influenced negatively on it. To the certainty which faith gives to understanding has followed a doubt, which initially has not been expressed as such, nor has it, probably, been conscious, but which has been manifested as a lack of confidence in intelligence itself in that it is a means of reaching theological conclusions. Following this is a change in the notion of faith itself and with it a reduction of its object to a strictly personal and private sphere. With this, what keeps calling itself theology is transferred to a field proper of autonomous subjectivity, that of sentiment or of personal enlightenment, in which faith ceases to be knowledge to transform itself into purely subjective security about the salvation of self.

All this, obviously, has decisive repercussions in what continues to be called natural law. The disappearance of faith in the order of intelligence of what is real, leads to seek a replacement for the certainty which it used to contribute, and it is thought to be found, for instance, in mathematical axioms. The disappearance of the universal essences, of human nature in its universal reality, gives rise to the inevitable individualism proper of the primacy of the purely subjective rights.

It is necessary, then, to note now, even if with the brevity demanded by this presentation, what has been the itinerary traveled by theology or by what has kept this name, and in what manner it has caused a change in the definition of natural law itself. The degradation of theology due to the reduction of its object to the singular events of a supposedly supernatural kind has its origin in the nominalism which, spreading through the schools of theology in universities since the middle of the fourteenth century, took root in the minds of many pious and well-instructed men. Among them were Peter D'Ailly and Gabriel Biel, men of universally recognized authority, on which works Martin Luther based himself for his lectures in Erfurt and in Wittenberg.

According to the principle that "what is real is only the singular," what is universal is reduced to the purely logical framework which our intelligence erects in the act of understanding. What is real is thus limited to that which the senses perceive and which the intellect would know by means of some intuition, the similarity of which with the sensitive perception induces to uphold its identification. William of Ockham himself, father of nominalism, claims: "the singular which is primarily perceived by the senses  he writes  is the same, and under the same reason, as what the intellect firstly understands in an intuitive way (...) Consequently  he insists  that same thing which is firstly perceived by the senses will be understood by the intellect and under the same reason." What intuition contributes ― the only properly cognoscitive act of the intellect — is organized by the mind by means of logical relationships of universality which lack all foundation or actual correlations.

This way, the great speculative theology suffers a noticeable detriment, and so, what is known as scholastic theology of the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries is, as it appears in Erasmus' Folly, the subtle play of multiple distinctions and abstractions which are processed in an intellect from which all kinds of contemplative activity has been amputated. 


Luther declares to belong to "Ockham's faction." Although sometimes he tones down this adhesion with references to Saint Augustine, it is clear that nominalism and its exclusion of the reality of the universal, marks his conception of the faith and of what could be understood as a theology. Reason cannot take part in the knowledge of what God reveals, since judging on that would be the same as making a judgment on God; it also lacks any faculty to determine what are the duties of a Christian. Reason is "blind, deaf, foolish, impious, and sacrilegious." Consequently, the relation of man with God cannot take place by means of knowledge; and what Luther calls faith does not correspond to theological faith nor can it be expressed in human language for that reason. What he understands by faith is an act of confidence, or rather, of internal security about the salvific result of the action which God carries out in an absolutely arbitrary manner on each of the elected.

Neither the faith nor the theology so conceived by the monk of Wittenberg can substantiate a natural law. This is ratified by the radical exclusion of works  that is, of moral conduct  as regards causes or conditions for salvation. If works are not determined by their moral character, then any norm of conduct lacks, because of this, its reason of being. When Luther explains what he understands by liberty for the Christian, he says that this consists of the complete independence from laws or precepts, including the commandments of the Decalogue. Any intent of justification of man which seeks its cause in objective moral or juridical justifications is not only rejected by doctor Martin but also branded as blasphemy. From Lutheran thinking, the notion of nature is not absent, but even making abstraction of the absolute uselessness of works, it is impossible that such nature, as it is conceived, and due to the intrinsic state of corruption in which original sin has left it, should constitute itself in a norm in some way. "For although God did not make sin,  he writes  yet He does not cease to form and multiply that nature, which from the Spirit being withdrawn, is vitiated by sin, just as if an artisan were to make statues out of rotten wood." Saint Paul, when he enumerated the vices which are the product of original sin, was referring to the fallen nature, but one which conserves its integrity and can, because of that, be redeemed and restored in its perfection; this is not the irremediably rotten nature to which Luther refers.

With Luther, each one's subjectivity gets consecrated as the source of determination of what is morally good or just: "these two formulas  he writes in De servo arbitrio  are true: 'good and just works do not ever make a man good and just, but a good and just man makes good works'. 'Bad works do not make a man wicked but a wicked man does bad works' which means that a person must always be first good and just before carrying out any good deed, and the good deeds will follow and come from a just and good person." With this, a primacy   a subjectivity which imposes itself  of power over reason is established, of force over what is objectively just. The invectives hurled by the reformer against the "murderous hordes" of German peasants and his call to the noblemen to crush them, is a concrete example of the outcome which can reach such primacy of power over reason.

It is known that Calvin does not modify the main theses of Luther; as him, he holds that salvation is through the faith and not through the works, that there is no free will in man, that predestination to hell or to Beatitude is an irrevocable divine predetermination, that the works of the elected are necessarily good and those of the ones destined for reprobation are necessarily bad, and so forth. In contrast to Calvin, in Lutheranism one could still find, nevertheless, some spirit of piety; this disappears in the reformer from Geneva, in whom the community or assembly of the elected is put ahead of personal piety. Apart from that, as could be seen in the organization which the reformer gave to Genevan society, there is for him no difference between such assembly of the saints or of the elected and civil society. To belong to such assembly gives persons security in their condition of elected, since there is an external confirmation of the condition of elected on the part of the rest. The society or church of the saints needs, as does any society, visible and concrete links, without which it cannot subsist. As all rites or liturgical actions have been excluded from the reformed religion, such links are certain common forms of morality, which are to be signified to the rest by means of conventional words, gestures, dress, etcetera, which, in the absence of other sacred signs acquire, however, the necessary character. In such manner, by means of the observance of such conventional forms, the saint acquires the conviction of his own salvation.

God, for the Calvinists, is a severe being, arbitrary, terrible, implacable. There can be no law that can have as its foundation God's arbitrariness. "(He) has decreed once and for all  he writes  in his eternal and immutable counsel, those He has willed to take for salvation and those he has willed to send to perdition." Before this terrible distance from God is man, whose nature is radically corrupted and who cannot even aspire, not even by grace, to an intimate union with God, partaking of divine life, as is taught by Catholic theology. "Children themselves  Calvin does not skimp on ways to inspire the horror proper of predestination  are included in this condemnation (...) Their nature is a seed of sin; for which reason it cannot be other than repugnant and abominable to God."

God's presence among the elected would seem to contradict that insurmountable distance of man from God, or at least that it remedies or mitigates it. Not so, however, it is not that God makes Himself present in the elected and sanctifies him by communicating His own life to him. God does not reveal Himself to man nor does He make Himself be loved by man. What makes itself present in the elected is his sole character of elected, but it is not God. Knowing himself to be elected is certainly a determining psychological factor which will stamp its own character on the saints and on the assembly which congregates them. In this interior conviction, which is the self reaffirmation of being saved, all personal relation of man with God is comprised. "God not only offers salvation  writes Calvin  but He also assigns such certitude, that the effect of the offering cannot be left in suspense or in doubt."

Human destinies are thus resolved at the same time in the remoteness of a God which does not know compassion for human misery, and in the immediate closeness of a subjectivity in which the presence of the divine cannot be distinguished from an interior state marked by the conviction of having been saved (reprobates are uncapable of any true conviction.) Because of this, that double cause is reduced to a single one, to the one which is immediate and subjective, to which the divine character is granted after it has acted. The determining factor is always that interior state of the subject, state which is reinforced and reaffirmed as it is manifested externally and coincides with those of the rest in the same exterior forms, the which would be the unequivocal signs of the sanctity of the members of the assembly,

For Calvinism, and for the postures that have derived from it, law is solely what the will of the elected determine to be such. This power of the elected is more defined than in Luther, for whom it was identified simply with the subjectivity of the Christian. In contrast, in Calvinism, such power is that of the assembly, in which it is exercised of course over its members, in the form of a collective will superior to the particular wills. This idea of the collective will  or general or sovereign, as it will be called afterwards  autonomous and free, has been the archetype of the ideologies upon which modern revolutions have been inspired.

In the social philosophy which developed, mainly in England, in the seventeenth century, the presence of a secularized Calvinism is clear. Clarification: the secularized qualifier is redundant, since, as we have seen, Calvinism in itself consists in the secularization of some of the most outstanding ideas of the Reformation. The multiple sects which have derived from Calvinism share, as a common trait, the constitution of an assembly of their members, the saints or elected, that is the exemplary form of the civil society. This assembly, the covenant, its sanctity guaranteed by the divine election, and presided by the eldest or of greatest dignity of the members, the presbiter, possesses a collective will which always represents in a trustworthy way the individual wills of the members. It is that will, that of the assenbly of saints, the one which rules the life of the community. There is no transcendent norm, not of the eternal law, not of natural law, not of reason. There being no transcendent norm, there being no naturally just, the principle of conduct has to be necessarily immanent, since it does not leave nor is it possible to leave the closed sphere of a subjectivity which extends itself collectively, It is not surprising that, in the absence of a theology in the proper sense of the term, geometry should appear as an exemplary cause in the determination of the law. To it resort, and with this purpose, Grotius and Hobbes.

There is a character in whose thought and in whose works, the currents that stem from nominalism and from the Reformation, secularized by Calvinism, are concentrated. We refer to John Locke. In him, a skepticism, natural consequence of these currents, elevated to the category of dogma and principle of morality, can be found. In his Letter Concerning Toleration, his explanation of the significance of such dogma can be found. It says "toleration is the chief characteristic mark of the true church. Whatever profession of faith we make,  he adds  to whatever outward worship we conform, if we are not fully satisfied in our own mind that the one is true and the other well pleasing unto God, such profession and such practice, far from being any furtherance, are indeed great obstacles to our salvation."

Tolerance constituted in principle cannot be applied, by the way, to those who are intolerant; that is, cohabitation with any creed or religion can be admitted on condition that it does not claim to be the only true one: this is why Locke rejects the possibility of admitting the Catholic Church in this cohabitation of religions. The matter is that he who professes a religion may believe that it is the only true one as long as he believes it only for himself. If he tries to have others share in his belief because his religion is the only true one, he is committing the worst of sins, which is that of intolerance. Truth is only for oneself. The practical and theoretical consequences of a complete subjectivism are evidenced here quite clearly. Thus, it turns out that tolerance is the object of the faith, which can also be expressed by saying that the faith is valid on condition that it has no object; in other words, there is no truth which one has to believe in just because it is true. In connection with the accusation of intolerance made of Catholics, Locke writes that: "These accusations would cease very soon if the law of tolerance would be framed so that it would require all churches to proclaim that tolerance is the foundation of their own liberty, and to teach that liberty of conscience is a natural right of man."

Here we have, in the words of Locke himself, the enunciation of the principle which all subsequent currents that accept the liberal qualifier for themselves draw from: liberty does not consist of free will — the existence of which would have to be denied — but of the absolute independence of man with respect to any principle transcending his sujectivity and in the name of which some  type of obedience could be demanded of him; this is the liberty of conscience which supposes — as can be seen already in Luther — that something is good and true because I judge it to be so, that is, because to me it is good and true but not because in itself it is so. If tolerance is the proper object of the faith — and only in that sense could the faith be considered to be common — it is because the faith in divine Revelation and in theology no longer exists. And if natural law boils down to liberty of conscience, it is also because it no longer exists.