Note: The below article, The Cause of Predestination, is from the *synthesis* section of the Book Predestination by Fr. R. Garrigou-Langrange, O.P. 1939. pp. 194-205
What is the cause of the predestination and of the election whereby God chose certain persons in preference to others for the purpose of bringing them to eternal life?
The liberty of the divine election in the Old Testament comes to our mind. Seth was elected, and not Cain; then Noe, also Sem in preference to Ismael, and finally Jacob (Isreal) was chosen. How does the case stand now as regards each of the elect?
We saw from the definitions of the Church in the councils of Cartage (418) and Orange (529), directed against the Pelagians and Semipelagaisn, the cause of predestination cannot be the naturally good works of certain persons which are foreseen by God, or the naturally good beginning of the will in performing a salutary act (initium salutis), or the perseverance in good works until death without a special grace.
According to the same definitions of the councils of Orange and Trent, which refer to the special grace of final perseverance, it is also beyond doubt that the cause of predestination to glory cannot be because God foresees that certain persons without a special grace would retain their supernatural merits until death: “If anyone saith that one justified is able to persevered without the special help of God in the justice received or that with this help is not able; let him be anathema.” St. Thomas, moreover, proves inadmissible the opinion of those who say that God chose these particular persons in preference to others because He foreknew that they would make good use of the grace received (at least at the moment of death), just as the king gives a fine horse to a rider because he foresees the good use he will make of it. St. Thomas points out that this opinion cannot be admitted; for we cannot eliminate from our salutary acts a part of the good as not coming from the primary cause that is the source of all good; therefore, the good use of grace in the elect is itself an effect of predestination, and cannot, therefore, be its cause of motive. Furthermore, St. Thomas even says, “Whatsoever is in man disposing him towards salvation, is all included under the effect of predestination,” and therefore this includes even the free determination of his salutary acts.