Are we worthy of God's love?

Obviously we are not proper objects of His love-- we are finite, His love is infinite and can only find a proper object in Himself (an aspect of Trinity). But are we worthy of it at all?

What I mean is, did God, when He made us of nothing, impute an objective, real worth to our souls? Something that can’t be taken away, because God won’t take it away, and no one else has the power to do so, not even time? And so, when He loves us, it is because He has made us worthy to be loved?

Or are we unworthy of His love? Are we not objectively worthy, but only sort of being loved by God for pity’s sake.

Is it some middle ground, that we are born unworthy but through sanctifying grace we become objectively worthy (although again He loves us the whole time)?

I am not doubting that we are loved by God. Either way, we are. I am just wondering if it’s a worth that he has made us with, or if it is the case that we are unworthy of His love and He loves us anyway?

I kind of hope it’s the former… I don’t know. It’s kind of depressing to me to think that we’re really just worthless. Would God have made us if we were worthless? Doesn’t He think it’s important to make us worthy of His love? I don’t like the thought that I’m worthless and just kind of pitied, but that God made me worthwhile… right…?

I don’t mean worthy in a legal way, as though we had rights to a thing-- or at least, if we do, those very rights were established freely by God Himself.

Just wondering. Especially great if you have any citations.
Thanks.
Peace.:slight_smile:

Growing up Protestant, I was taught/believed/whatever that we did not have any worth outside of a relationship with Jesus. Yes, Jesus loves everyone, but only “saves” those who call on Him as savior. But that leaves it open to say that there are people who God hates and would never save. But in becoming Catholic, and in the years since, I’ve come to see how wrong that is. God loves us because He made us in His image. Are we worthy? Not while we cling to sin. We must confess our sins, and all that. I could go on and on about this, but won’t at this point. I think that there is probably plenty of people out there who could explain this better than me. But I will say this, God hates it when I sin because that puts up a barrier between us. But He won’t ever stop loving me. It is that love that calls us into a right relationship with Him. The one person who made things right was/is Jesus. He showed His love by becoming one of us, born into this world just like anyone else. He lived and died to pay the penalty for our sins. That was the one big showing of His everlasting love. He wasn’t born into a rich family with all the trappings of the rich. He was born in a barn and lived among the ones who lived in, or near, poverty. So, we can’t say, “How can he love me, I have nothing to give.” He only asks us for what we can give. Our response should be, “He loves me so much that I want to do everything I do to be for him.”

I hope some of this makes sense. Sometimes when I try to explain things I get myself confused. :shrug:

Where did you get this idea that we are finite? Are we not to live forever with God in heaven - or - conversely reside with the devil forever in hell?
Forever sounds like “infinite” to me…:shrug:

What I mean is, did God, when He made us of nothing, impute an objective, real worth to our souls? Something that can’t be taken away, because God won’t take it away, and no one else has the power to do so, not even time? And so, when He loves us, it is because He has made us worthy to be loved?

Why would God make something that was unworthy of his Love? I cannot think of an answer to this question - therefore - we must be worthy, as God’s creation, of his Love.

Or are we unworthy of His love? Are we not objectively worthy, but only sort of being loved by God for pity’s sake.

Not at all…you seem to have this turned around. God Loves us deeply, completely and profoundly - not for pity, but because - God IS love.
Many humans on the other hand tend to try to love God only as a last resort - to avoid hell rather than to run to His arms.

Is it some middle ground, that we are born unworthy but through sanctifying grace we become objectively worthy (although again He loves us the whole time)?

We are born innocent - but with the stain of original sin. We become unworthy only as that stain causes us to act contrary to God and to withhold our love from him.

I am not doubting that we are loved by God. Either way, we are. I am just wondering if it’s a worth that he has made us with, or if it is the case that we are unworthy of His love and He loves us anyway?

We have worth - or why send Jesus to redeem us?

I kind of hope it’s the former… I don’t know. It’s kind of depressing to me to think that we’re really just worthless. Would God have made us if we were worthless? Doesn’t He think it’s important to make us worthy of His love? I don’t like the thought that I’m worthless and just kind of pitied, but that God made me worthwhile… right…?

You are worthwhile…God Loves you - now - Love God in return by loving neighbor as yourself.

Peace
James

God is not obliged to love us, but He does love us because He is Love.

He made Creation “very good,” and we are part of Creation.

We were made in God’s image and likeness. We lost some of that in the Fall, but we didn’t lose all of it. He delights in us and longs for us, even when we sin. He wants us to return to Him and sin no more. He died and rose for us.

Do we deserve having so much of God’s love? Maybe not.

Do we have it anyway? Definitely.

When a parent looks upon his little child, there is love. Love is spontaneous. The person just loves what it sees.

When God looks upon us, there is love because he is our parent. He loves his children just as we experience our love for our children. The parent doesn’t ask the question as to why he loves his chldren, he just does. He never looks for a reason to love them, but just loves them because they are a part of him, his extension, and sees them as beautiful.

Our Father in heaven is no different in that respect. He is a true parent and loves us as his children.

May God bless and keep you. May God’s face shine on you. May God be kind to you and give you peace.

Psa 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

I guess it depends what you mean by “proper object.” When we love something, we do so because it brings us fulfillment somehow. God, however, can only reach “fulfillment” in intra-Trinitiarian love. (Note that God does not actually lack anything, nor does He ever go from an incomplete state to a state of fulfillment.)

However, we can also love in a different way, when our object is another person: by desiring that person’s happiness. God does love us, truly and properly, in that sense.

The short answer is, yes He did, absolutely. In fact, he endows (“imputes” sounds too legalistic to me) an intrinsic worth to every creature He creates, simply by giving it the gift of being. He endows a special dignity to His spiritual creatures (angels and men) that makes them in His image. In fact, angels and man are always in the image of God, even if they are condemned. (According to the Fathers, they do, however, lose the “likeness.”)

We can do nothing to earn God’s love, at least not on our own. His love is perfectly gratuitous. However, we can, in a way, deserve His love using the very gifts He has given us. Those who have the state of grace enjoy the indwelling of the Holy Trinity. That indwelling makes them really pleasing to God, even sons of God: the Easter Fathers call this condition “theosis” (divinization). So through grace–which is nothing else than God Himself dwelling in us–we can be pleasing to God.

We are only born “unworthy” because we are born in an unfortunate state: that is, deprived of the grace that God always intended us to have. But even just inasmuch as we exist, we are beloved by God. I suppose this could be characterized as the middle ground between Pelagianism (we can be worthy of God’s love without grace) and the typical view of Protestantism (we can never be worthy of God’s love, even with grace). But I think it is the position that makes the most sense.

I recommend reading the Decree on Justification from the Council of Trent, or (perhaps even better) the corresponding section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (nn. 1987-2029). Actually that passage is full of relevant Scriptural citations.

Thank you all for the responses. They seem to unanimously support the idea that we have intrinsic worth (although it seems a little vague as to whether or not that worth can disappear. That is to say, has the devil still intrinsic worth, or does he not? Even here I wager that he does, that although he has rejected God’s love for all time, he is still worthy of it because God has made him and such a quality renders him worthy of love)

James, you asked about my finite idea. You make a good point. But to respond to where I got it, it was Theology for Beginners by Frank Sheed. I’ll post the excerpt:
“What does He love with His infinite loving power? Almost instinctively we answer “Man.” And this, thank God, is true. But for the reason we have already seen, it cannot be the main truth. Finite creatures are no adequate object for infinite love-- we cannot comprehend it, we cannot return it: and, once again, we need not have existed.” Then he launched in about the Trinity.

Again, thanks for the many replies to my question, and the excerpt of the Psalms, Trent, and the CCC.

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