Theology of Grace : God’s Life in us - The Authentic Life of our Human Spirit

Theology of Grace : God’s Life in us - The Authentic Life of our Human Spirit

Grace is God’s life in us, the authentic life of our human spirit or what our life is truly called to be. Without our participation in the life of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Trinity) through baptism, we cannot truly be Christian and without grace we cannot truly live a Christian life.

ECTS Credits: 6

Professor: Peter Lobo

Educational achievements

At the end of this course, students will have:

  • Excellent foundation for continuing their studies
  • Acquired experience and confidence in reading, comprehension and text analysis.
  • Students will be able to use it in other courses or projects.


Evaluation methods :

Students will be providing a written assignment (between 3 and 5 pages) by treating a subject to choose from those proposed.



1. Introduction

1.1 The Word Theology
1.2 The Term God
1.3 Christian Theology
1.4 Theologia, Doxologia, Martyria, Kerygma, Apologia 1.5 The Meaning of the Term Grace
1.6 Some Further Preliminary Considerations Concerning Grace
1.7 Grace that Makes Us Pleasing in the Eyes of God (Gratia gratum faciens): Habitual or Sanctifying Grace
1.8 Grace that is a Temporary or Passing Divine Help: Actual Grace 1.9 Charisms/Charismatic Gifts (Gratia gratis data)
1.10 Growth in Sanctifying Grace
1.11 Positions that Fail to Rightly Understand Grace
1.12 Conclusion

2. Division of the Course

Positive Section Speculative Section

3. Positive Section I : Grace in the Bible – The Experience of the People of God of the Gracious God

3.1 The Experience of the People of God of the Gracious God in the Old Testament – the Promise
3.1.1 OT Hebrew Terms for Grace Hen and Hesed – The Chief Hebrew Terms for Grace Other Related Hebrew Terms for Grace
3.1.2 Further Considerations on Grace in the OT
3.2 The Experience of the New People of God of the Gracious God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the New Testament – the Fulfilment
3.2.1 St. Paul: Convert, Theologian and Apostle of Grace – His Theology of Grace Reasons for Paul’s Unique Role in the Development of the NT Doctrine of Grace The Term Charis in Paul Paul’s Theology of Charis/Grace Grace: Loving Benevolence of the Father Offering Humans New Life in Christ and the Spirit Grace: New Life in the Risen Christ by Faith and Baptism Grace: New Life in the Indwelling, Sanctifying Spirit Grace: Historical i.e., Real Transformation of Humans and Real Liberation from Flesh
(Concupiscence), Law, Sin and Death a) Real Liberation   b) Real Transformation   c) Indwelling of the Blessed Trinity – Temple of God/Spirit Conclusion
3.2.2 St. John: Theology of Grace as New Life Zoe in John and its OT Background This Life in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit This Life in God This Life in Man Grace is Eternal Life Already Begun
3.2.3 Comparison between Paul and John
3.2.4 Grace in Luke’s Gospel and Acts of the Apostles
3.2.5 Grace in the Gospel of Matthew and Mark
3.2.6 Grace in St. Peter: “Partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet 1:4) – Classical Definition of Grace 3.2.7 General Conclusion to the NT Experience of and Teaching on Grace

4. Positive Section II : Grace in the Fathers of the Church – The Experience of Grace of the People of God in Patristic Times as Witnessed to by the Writings of the Fathers of the Church

4.1 Grace in the Greek Fathers
4.1.1 Divinization
4.1.2 Divinization is by the Sacraments (Baptism and Eucharist), Incarnation and Sanctifying Spirit
a) Divinization and the Sacraments
b) The Incarnation is the Principle of Divinization and Filial Adoption
(i) The Incarnation, Principle of Union, Assimilation and Restoration of the Image of God.
(ii) The Incarnation is the Principle of Adoptive Filiation. c) Divinization and the Sanctifying Spirit
4.1.3 A Scan of the Writings of Some Greek Fathers
4.2 Grace in the Latin Fathers
4.2.1 Background to Augustine’s Teaching on Grace 4.2.2. Summary of Augustine’s Teaching on Grace

5. Positive Section III : Grace in the Teaching of the Magisterium - The Experience of the Gracious God in Church Councils and Other Papal Teaching Elaborated Often in Response to Heterodox Opinions

5.1 Pelagianism and the XVI Council of Carthage (418) Confirmed by Pope Zosimus I (May 418)
5.1.1 Pelagius’ Teaching on Grace
5.1.2 Refutation and Condemnation of Pelagianism
5.2 Marseillism or Semi-Pelagianism and the II Council of Orange (529)
5.2.1 The Teaching of Marseillism or Semi-Pelagianism
5.2.2 Refutation of Marseillism by the II Council of Orange (529)
5.3 Martin Luther (†1546), the Reformation and the Council of Trent (1545 -1563)
5.3.1 Intellectual Influences on Luther’s Theology a) Augustinianism of the 14th to 16th Century b) Nominalism
c) Semi-Pelagianism
d) Mysticism
5.3.2 The Starting Suppositions of Luther’s Teaching
5.3.3 The Central Themes of Luther’s Teaching
5.3.4 A Brief Scan of the Lutheran-Catholic Controversy on Grace Leading up to the Council of Trent 5.3.5 The Teaching of the Council of Trent: The Decree on Justification, 13 January, 1547
a) Part One: First Justification (Chapters 1-9)
b) Part Two: Second Justification (Chapters 10-13)
c) Part Three: Justification Lost and Regained, and Supernatural Merit (Chapters 14-16)
5.4 Michael de Bay (Baius, 1513-1589) and Pius V’s Bull Ex Omnibus Afflictionibus (1 October, 1567)
5.5 Cornelius Jansen (1585-1638; Bishop of Ypres, Belgium, 1634-1638) and Innocent X’s Bull Cum Occasione (1653)
5.6 Pasquier Quesnel (Oratorian Priest, 1634-1719) and Clement XI’ s Bull Unigenitus Dei Filius (1713) 5.7 Later Developments

6. Speculative Section I: Theological Reflection on Grace – The Authentic Life of the Human Spirit

6.1 A Brief Note on Natural and Supernatural
6.2 The Natural Life of the Human Spirit: Knowing, Hoping and Willing/Loving
6.2.1 The Proper Object of Knowing, Hoping and Willing/Loving
6.2.2 The Natural Qualities/Virtues Necessary for Knowing, Hoping and Willing/Loving to be “Good”
6.3 Grace, Authentic Life of the Human Spirit
6.3.1 Grace, Authentic Life of the Human Spirit and Its Expression
6.3.2 Grace, the Authentic Life of the Human Spirit: Gratuitous Gift & Personal Possession Grace: God’s Gratuitous Gift Grace: My Personal Life
6.3.3 Grace: Authentic Life of the Human Spirit in Relation to God, Others & World in the Church Grace: Authentic Life of the Human Spirit in Relationship to God Grace: Authentic Life of the Human Spirit in Relationship to Others Grace: Authentic Life of the Human Spirit I Relationship to the World Grace: Authentic Life of the Human Spirit Lived in the Midst of the Church, God’s Redeemed

7. Speculative Section II: Theological Reflection on Grace – Sanctifying Grace and Actual Grace

7.1 Sanctifying Grace
7.1.1 Definition of Sanctifying Grace and Its Explanation 7.1.2 Necessity of Sanctifying Grace
7.1.3 Causes of Sanctifying Grace
7.1.4 Preparation for and Cooperation with Sanctifying Grace 7.1.5 Possession of Sanctifying Grace
7.1.6 Knowledge of the Possession of Sanctifying Grace
7.1.7 Effects of Sanctifying Grace: Justification (along with Theological and Moral Virtues, Seven-fold Gifts of the Holy Spirit and Divine Indwelling) and Supernatural Merit Justification and its Attendant Gifts Supernatural Merit
a) God’s Graciousness Grants Man’s Free Good Actions the Power to Merit b) The Term Merit
c) Can Man Merit Anything from God?
d) Danger of Misunderstanding & Misusing the Notion of Merit
e) What can be Merited
f) Division of the Types of Merit g) Conditions Necessary for Merit
7.1.8 Conclusion
7.2 Actual Grace
7.2.1 Divisions of Actual Grace
a) Operating/Stimulating Grace and Cooperating/Assisting Grace
b) Prevenient/Antecedent Grace and Concomitant/Subsequent Grace c) Sufficient Grace and Efficacious Grace
7.2.2 Necessity of Actual Grace 7.2.3 Conclusion
7.3 Division of Grace 7.4 Conclusion

8. Speculative Section III: Theological Reflection on Grace: Grace and the Moral/Spiritual Life

8.1 Grace and the New Law of Christ
8.2 Grace and the Virtues
8.3 Grace and the Seven-fold Gifts and the Fruits of the Holy Spirit
8.3.1 The theological virtue of faith is assisted by the gifts of understanding, knowledge and wisdom (even though wisdom chiefly aids the theological virtue of charity)
8.3.2 The theological virtue of hope is assisted by the gifts of courage (fortitude), fear of the Lord and might.
8.3.3 The theological virtue of charity is assisted by the gifts of wisdom and counsel to love God above all things for his own sake and to love one’s neighbour as oneself for the sake of God.
8.3.4 The moral (cardinal) virtue of prudence is assisted by the gift of counsel to judge rightly in a situation what should be done and what should be avoided in keeping with one’s state in life, one’s resources and also the needs of the situation.
8.3.5 The moral (cardinal) virtue of justice is aided by the gift of piety so that one can give to others (including God, even though never adequately) what is their due in strict (commutative) justice or in social (distributive) justice.
8.3.6 The moral (cardinal) virtue of temperance is facilitated by the gift of wisdom so that one able to decide wisely about matters dealing with food, drink, pleasure and the proper use of things.
8.3.7 The virtue (cardinal) of fortitude is assisted by the gift of courage (fortitude) to undertake what seems difficult and burdensome as demanded by one’s vocation I life.
8.4 Grace and the Sacraments: Sacramental Grace

9. Speculative Section IV: Theological Reflection on Grace – Grace-life in the Midst of the World

9.1 Grace-life and the Stewardship of Creation
9.2 Grace-life and Human (Life), Cultural, Socio-Economic, Political Issues

10. Speculative Section V: Theological Reflection on Grace – The Culmination of the Life of Grace

10.1 Grace, the Seed of Glory 10.2 Mary, Full of Grace

11. Speculative Section VI: Theological Reflection: Grace in Hinduism and Islam – Brief Remarks

11.1 Grace in Hinduism
11.1.1 Sanskrit Terms for ‘Grace’
11.1.2 ‘Grace’ in the Bhǎgvad Gīta-Bhǎkti Tradition
(i) The Pre-Bhǎgvad Gīta Tradition
(ii) The Bhǎgvad Gīta Tradition
11.1.3 Ramanuja’s (†1137) Conception of ‘Grace’ (Bhǎkti Tradition)
(i) Bhǎkti and Grace
(ii) Prāpǎtti and Grace
(iii) Two Schools of Spirituality
11.1.4 ‘Grace’ in the Sāiva Sĭddhāntā Tradition 11.1.5 An Appraisal of the Hindu Tradition of ‘Grace’
11.2 Grace in Islam
11.2.1 Īmān or Faith in Islam
11.2.2 Man in the Plan of God
11.2.3 The Experience of Grace in Sufi Mysticism

12. General Conclusion Topics for papers