Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Daily CCC: On Free Will and the Problem of Evil

CCC  § 319 God created the world to show forth and communicate his glory. That his creatures should share in his truth, goodness and beauty — this is the glory for which God created them.
How wonderful it is to exist, with purpose and value to life itself, and in living it. I can only understand in an imperfect way how God created us, out of His love, even though I can not create anything for Him. I can only make things with what He gave (and should always do them A.M.D.G.). I could not imagine living in a world like this:
The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”-Albert Camus.
But existence in a free world should not be act of rebellion! Freedom is a call to participation in the Divine Friendship.
CCC § 323  Divine providence works also through the actions of creatures. To human beings God grants the ability to cooperate freely with his plans.
God wishes for us to come to Him, hence He created us here on Earth and gave us the ability to work throughout our lives towards Him, so that at our deaths we may join Him in eternal life. He does not force anyone towards Him, for He created us out of love. In that love, He is able to direct us towards goodness. Forcing us towards Him would be awful, and as it's not good for us, God gave us free will. The problem of evil comes up here, and I will return to this in a moment.

In another way, freedom is delivered by the Cross, as the Sacrifice of Christ opened the gates of Heaven, and also through the Sacraments, which bring us closer to Him. It is liberation from the bonds of slavery to sin (moral evil, done against God, and physical evil, which stems from original sin). The Crucifixion was the greatest moral evil ever, as it was the rejection and murder of God's Only-Begotten Son, made necessary by the sins of all mankind.
CCC § 324 The fact that God permits physical and even moral evil is a mystery that God illuminates by his Son Jesus Christ who died and rose to vanquish evil. Faith gives us the certainty that God would not permit an evil if he did not cause a good to come from that very evil, by ways that we shall fully know only in eternal life.
Only because God is perfect, and goodness itself, can evil be permitted to exist. And only because of God's infinite goodness and love can it be vanquished, and the ever-abundant grace be offered freely as a gift for humans to be cleansed of it. 

St Catherine of Siena says this: 
"Everything comes from love, all is ordained for the salvation of man, God does nothing without this goal in mind."
Remember, in the prayer that our Lord gave us, we ask, "Thy Will be done," not "my will." I think that men who wrangle with evil, and fail to accept that the Christian message contains the full answer to evil, should take another look at this. We want a perfect world. But only God is perfect by essence. If the world was perfect by its nature, then there would be no point. God might as well just place everyone in Heaven to begin with. This reality is what makes the story of the saints so powerful. They picked up the Cross, and knew that God was always there for them, even in the times of intense pain and suffering.

If only Camus could have read this; La Peste would be very different if he had.
CCC § 314 We firmly believe that God is master of the world and of its history. But the ways of his providence are often unknown to us. Only at the end, when our partial knowledge ceases, when we see God "face to face", will we fully know the ways by which — even through the dramas of evil and sin — God has guided his creation to that definitive sabbath rest for which he created heaven and earth.

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