Reading Romans 11:11-12

Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!

Is there a theological base, from a Catholic perspective, that would allow for an answer to the following question?

God from an evil brought forth a greater good. What would have happened if Israel had accepted Jesus as their Lord? Would there have been an even greater good than the present one? Or in line with what we may read earlier, in Romans 9:13: "Just as it is written: 'Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.'"

  • @DavidStratton Changed the question to avoid speculation. Is it suitable now? Feb 1 '15 at 22:50
  • I think so. I reopened it and deleted now obsolete comments. Feb 1 '15 at 23:02
  • 1
    Still seems entirely speculative to me.
    – curiousdannii
    Feb 2 '15 at 0:38
  • @DavidStratton: Is there a rule here against speculate questions?
    – Geremia
    Feb 2 '15 at 1:09
  • 2
    @Geremia Yes. See the help page on questions to avoid asking - you are asking an open-ended, hypothetical question: “What if ______ happened?” Feb 2 '15 at 2:18

This question reminds me of the "felix culpa" ("happy fault [of Adam]")¹ question of whether Christ would have become incarnate had Adam not sinned. If Adam had not sinned, how could've God worked greater goods?

Similarly in the case of the fall of the Jews: If the Jews had not fallen, how could there be "the salvation of the Gentiles by means of the death of Christ, the rejection of the apostles, and the subsequent Jewish Diaspora…[or] [t]he shedding of Christ's blood, the apostles' preaching mission to the Gentiles after a largely unsuccessful Jewish mission, and the spread of the books and prophecies concerning the Christ",² great goods St. Thomas Aquinas lists in his Commentary on Romans³ §881?

St. Thomas Aquinas also states, in Commentary on Romans⁴ §884:

si Deus propter utilitatem totius mundi permisit Iudaeos delinquere et diminui, multo magis implebit ruinas eorum propter totius mundi utilitatem
[…if God, on account of the benefit (utilitatem) for the whole world permitted the Jews to be wanting and to diminish, much more will he fulfill their downfalls on account of the benefit for the whole world…]³


  1. St. Thomas writes: "in the blessing of the Paschal candle, we say: 'O happy fault, that merited such and so great a Redeemer!'"
  2. Boguslawski, Steven C. Thomas Aquinas on the Jews: Insights into His Commentary on Romans 9-11. Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press, 2008. p. 115fn74.
  3. Thomas, Fabian R Larcher, John Mortensen, and Enrique Alarcón. Commentary on the letter of Saint Paul to the Romans. Lander, Wyo.: Aquinas Institute for the Study of Sacred Doctrine, 2012. (Latin only version) ch. 11, lecture 2
  4. translation from Boguslawski p. 98, § "Fall of the Jews"
  • Geremia, I'm not sure I understand the answer. Could you simplify the english on the last citation please? (specially the part of «much more will he fulfill their downfalls on account of the benefit for the whole world») It's because I'm not sure if you really answer the point. Are you saying that if the Jews didn't fall, we wouldn't have been saved?(this is the second possibility/position in my question, that of just loving Jacob, but not Esau) Is this position based on something philosophical like this is the best of the possible worlds or on a theological basis? Feb 2 '15 at 11:28
  • Also, thanks for the interest in this question, Geremia Feb 2 '15 at 11:29
  • addendum: That last citation seems to go against my 1st citation of St. Pauls, where he writes that the inclusion of jews will bring greater riches... Feb 2 '15 at 11:35
  • @Anoldmaninthesea. The English translation I quoted above is that of Boguslawski. The Aquinas Institute's translation of §884 runs thus: "…if for the benefit of the whole world God permitted the Jews to do wrong and be diminished, much more will he repair their disaster for the benefit of the whole world." The phrase "implebit ruinas eorum" literally means "he will fill their ruins;" Boguslawski's transl. captures the meaning better. The phrase has negative connotations.
    – Geremia
    Apr 11 '17 at 18:33
  • @Anoldmaninthesea. Ps. 110:6, part of which St. Jerome translates as "implebit ruinas," has a negative sense. The Rheims transl. of 109:6 renders St. Jerome's Latin this way: "He shall judge among nations, he shall fill ruins ("implebit ruinas"): he shall crush the heads in the land of the many."
    – Geremia
    Apr 11 '17 at 18:34
Israel could not have accepted Christ as their King because it was not written that way.  

Yet Israel does accept Christ as their King, true Israel in the calling of all the disciples and all Who Loved him (Acts chapter 2) and the subsequent thousands that believed by their word even unto this very day.

They are God's New Creation. They accept Christ as their King as we are true Israel brought forth as a child of promise from God's a new heavens. (Rev.12)
This might help, from Acts 3:23

anyone who does not listen to him (Christ) will be completely cut off from among his people.

In conclusion there would be two groups: those who accept Christ who are the new creation, and those who do not accept Christ and are completely cut off.

  • This answer would be improved if you spelled out a bit more clearly the Catholic view on the New Israel, and maybe even provided a link to a source that may go into deeper detail. The question did ask for the Catholic perspective, which usually involves a bit of theology. I edited this for format. Please review to make sure you meaning was retained, and please improve the question by supporting it with sources that reflect what the question asked for. Thanks. Nov 27 '17 at 14:29

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