THE 17th century Europe witnessed a grim struggle among the leading philosophers-theologians on the problem of reconciling God’s omniscience as well as omnipotence with man’s freedom. Simply stated: people asked how can God who knows everything and is all-powerful allow evil, and not prevent men and women from sinning?
On one side were the Jesuits led by the Portuguese theologian, Fr. Luis de Molina, who said God has mediate knowledge (scientia media) of what humans think and do. Siding with him were other Jesuits, notably Fr. Robert Bellarmine and Fr. Francisco Suarez.
Opposing the Jesuits were the Dominican scholars led by Fr. Domingo Banez. Relying on St. Thomas’ metaphysics, these Dominicans claimed that God’s knowledge and power precede all human actions, thoughts included.
So bad was the theological battle between the Jesuits, who branded the Dominicans as Calvinistic heretics, and the Dominicans who condemned the Jesuits as Pelagianist heretics.
So, the pope had to intervene. First, Pope Clement VIII told the Dominicans and the Jesuits not to condemn each other to hell. Secondly, like a good and wise father, the pope told his fighting sons to keep their pens dry and their mouths shut.
After all, St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans 8:18-30 speaks of predestination, including God’s knowing everything beforehand in eternity, and salvation for men and women endowed with freedom, applies to humankind in general. Nevertheless, each and every one of us still has to work out our salvation personally and willfully in cooperation with God’s grace.
After all, God’s will/plan is for our salvation. Today, the Dominicans and the Jesuits compete in many fields, but most of all in the formation of the youth and salvation of souls.