Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene

The Connection between Election and the Transformation of the World

Anselm, on the connection between the transformation of the physical world and the completion of the full number of those whom God foreordained to election:

We believe that the physical mass of the world is to be transformed for the better and that this will not occur until the number of elect men is filled up and the Blessed City completed. Moreover, [we believe that] upon completion of this city, the transformation will no longer be delayed. Hence, we can infer that from the beginning God planned to perfect both [this world’s physical nature and that city of rational natures] at the same time. Thus, the inferior nature, which did not sense God, would not be perfected before the superior nature, which ought to enjoy God. And in its own way the inferior nature, having been changed for the better, would “rejoice” in the perfecting of the superior nature. Indeed, every creature–each in its own way rejoicing eternally in its creator, itself, and is fellow-creatures–would rejoice over its own so glorious and so marvelous perfectedness. Thus, that which the will freely causes in rational nature, this the unsensing creature would also naturally display as a result of the governance of God. (Cur Deus Homo 1.18, translated by Jasper Hopkins and Herbert Richardson)

By E.J. Hutchinson

E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.