The essay deals with the post-Tridentine debate on nature, Grace, the natural and the supernatural, focusing on the works of Bellarmine and Suárez as well as on Caravaggio’s iconic synthesis in his masterpiece, The Calling of Saint Matthew. Bellarmine’s view is that the supernatural is already present within the natural from the time of creation. Sin breaks, therefore, the relationship with God, but without de- nying to nature an essential capability to receive Him again. Supported by the controversial De auxiliis and contrasted with Báñez’s idea of a true ‘physical pre-determination’, Suárez (De concursu et efficaci auxilio Dei ad actus liberi arbitrii necessario, 1599) writes of a necessary dependence of the free will upon God. He claims that God’s causal determination in Grace coincides with self-determination on the part of the human free will. In order to perform supernatural acts, the help of Grace is needed, at the least, as God’s «cooperation». Suárez explains this with the concepts of ‘sufficient aid’ and ‘effective aid’. With the latter, especially, he avoids falling into Báñez’s idea of a ‘physical pre-determination’, considering, instead, ‘effective aid’ as an ‘action or performance of man’, which is, in fact, the very exercise of freedom. The mystery and the circularity of the relationship between freedom and the supernatural, thus, are perfectly portrayed by a structural ambiguity of Caravaggio’s scene, which stages the Jesuit’s choice of nature as capable of the supernatural and, at the same time, of thinking of the supernatural as virtually introjected in the natural.

Rethinking Natural and Supernatural. Bellarmine, Suárez and Caravaggio's "Calling"

Costantino Esposito
2020

Abstract

The essay deals with the post-Tridentine debate on nature, Grace, the natural and the supernatural, focusing on the works of Bellarmine and Suárez as well as on Caravaggio’s iconic synthesis in his masterpiece, The Calling of Saint Matthew. Bellarmine’s view is that the supernatural is already present within the natural from the time of creation. Sin breaks, therefore, the relationship with God, but without de- nying to nature an essential capability to receive Him again. Supported by the controversial De auxiliis and contrasted with Báñez’s idea of a true ‘physical pre-determination’, Suárez (De concursu et efficaci auxilio Dei ad actus liberi arbitrii necessario, 1599) writes of a necessary dependence of the free will upon God. He claims that God’s causal determination in Grace coincides with self-determination on the part of the human free will. In order to perform supernatural acts, the help of Grace is needed, at the least, as God’s «cooperation». Suárez explains this with the concepts of ‘sufficient aid’ and ‘effective aid’. With the latter, especially, he avoids falling into Báñez’s idea of a ‘physical pre-determination’, considering, instead, ‘effective aid’ as an ‘action or performance of man’, which is, in fact, the very exercise of freedom. The mystery and the circularity of the relationship between freedom and the supernatural, thus, are perfectly portrayed by a structural ambiguity of Caravaggio’s scene, which stages the Jesuit’s choice of nature as capable of the supernatural and, at the same time, of thinking of the supernatural as virtually introjected in the natural.
978-989-26-1888-3
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11586/306060
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