Better to Never be Born?


#1

“It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”

Could this statement be any clearer? So, I hear countless times that God wants what is best for us. My question: Why did God create Judas Iscariot?

I also find it weird that Jesus has pretty much told us Judas is going to Hell even though Scripture says the Devil was inside him when he actually handed Jesus over… :confused:

Thanks!!
ClemtheCatholic

Note: I’m kind of muddled about the concept of Hell right now. Please forgive me if I end up asking many more questions in this thread! :blush:


#2

I am copying some of what I wrote in another thread that I think relates a little...

Those in Hell reject God to be there. Those in Hell said no with their actions, with their word, with their mind and perhaps even at the gate of heaven, still turned from it.

Rejection also happened when God made Man was on the earth (described in John 6).

God does not reject people -

It is impossible for the perfect Love to reject that which he loves perfectly. Imperfection starts with humans as it did after perfect creation. The Love was so powerful and perfect, it's natural course was to deliver Free Will to it's creation, as the only way to love perfectly is to do so freely.

And that's all perfect Love wants in return, is a freely chosen love.

Jesus to say that it would be better for a Man not to be born, is absolutely Jesus knowing the future result of the Man's soul (that being that Judas rejected God). It is not a statement about Judas' parents' action, being the conception of him.

In Paul's Letter to Timothy he states clearly Jesus came and died for 'All'. Also then certifying the knowledge that the ball is in Man's court to reject or accept that gift.

We can grow deeper in that knowledge (aka relationship) with God through grace. Grace's delivery is in high speed through the frequent and proper use of the sacraments as instituted by Christ.


#3

Just give pause, that even if it is very likely Judas went to hell, neither of our last 2 Popes were willing to dogmatize the idea:Even when Jesus says of Judas, the traitor, "It would be better for that man if he had never been born" (Mt 26:24), **His words do not allude for certain to eternal damnation*. (Bl. John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, 186)

The mystery of the choice remains, all the more since Jesus pronounces a very severe judgement on [Judas]: "Woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed!" (Mt 26: 24). What is more, it darkens the mystery around his eternal fate, knowing that Judas "repented and brought back the 30 pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, "I have sinned in betraying innocent blood'" (Mt 27: 3-4). Even though he went to hang himself (cf. Mt 27: 5), it is not up to us to judge his gesture, substituting ourselves for the infinitely merciful and just God. (Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, Oct. 18, 2006)That being said, if Judas did indeed go to hell, and we ask why did God create him? The same could be asked of anyone who goes to hell, for God would have foreknown their fate. This is a mystery, especially when we get into the "why" of God's actions. But ultimately God gave man *true free will, which is a necessary component of being able to love, for love without freedom is not love. And in freedom of will, one is able to choose against God.


#4

Good point, I should have used better terminology toward my point more on the side of the statement was not a point about Judas' parent's actions and resulting conception.

I wish you could edit your stuff at later times when you realize there could be confusion.


#5

[quote="ffg, post:4, topic:315738"]
Good point, I should have used better terminology toward my point more on the side of the statement was not a point about Judas' parent's actions and resulting conception.

I wish you could edit your stuff at later times when you realize there could be confusion.

[/quote]

I think your point about freely chosen love is the correct point!


#6

St. Thomas Aquinas in his personal commentary on Matthew says this…

It were better for him, if that man had not been born. From these words an occasion of error follows. For certain men say that to one who does not exist, no punishment is inflicted; thus they say that it is simply better not to have existed, which is contrary to the Apostle’s words (Rom. 9). 17 Hence, according to Jerome, it ought to be said that He is speaking according to the common manner of speech, meaning there is less harm, that is to say, he feels greater torment than if he had not been born. And what is said in Ecclesiasticus 4, 2 seems to allude to this: “I praised the dead rather than the living” (Eccle. 4, 2). And this is opposed to Augustine in his book De Libero Abitrio. What is nothing cannot be chosen. Likewise, what we choose is closer to happiness. But what is not, is not nearer to happiness. Therefore, what is to be said? Can it be that someone choose not to be, rather than to be punished? Therefore, it ought to be said that to be can be taken in two ways: either in itself, or by comparison with something else. In itself, I say that it is not something chooseable, as Augustine says; but in comparison with something else it is chooseable, as Jerome says. Because this is not something in nature, but according to the apprehension in the soul it is taken as something, for example, not to sit. But a choice is taken of that which is apprehended: wherefore, to lack an evil is taken to be something good. When, therefore, one chooses something not in itself but as exclusive of evil, one chooses in this way, as the Philosopher says. By this, the answer to the second objection is evident. He says, therefore, that, that which withdraws more from evil, is taken as something nearer to happiness; hence, to a feverish man to be without the fever seems to be something good, because he seems to be without miseries; hence, it is better not to be than to be subject to miseries.

Fr. William Most says this…

In verse 24 Jesus says that the Son of Man is going, as it was written of Him. Thus He shows full awareness of the prophecies of His passion. Isaiah 53 would be specially in mind, plus Psalm 22 and Zechariah 12:10-11. Jesus adds that it would be better for the traitor never to have been born. Is this a revelation of the damnation of Judas? It could be Semitic exaggeration, so we are not sure, but it seems possible when we consider other instances of great exaggeration, such as Is 13:9-10 on fall of Babylon and Is 34:4 on punishment of Edom and Ezek 32:7-8 on judgment on Egypt.

In verse 25 we have Matthew’s way of reporting the identification of the traitor. Was this the same thing as that in John 13:215-26 and Luke 22:21, or was it a confirmation Judas asked for. More likely the second.

Cornelius a Lapide says this…

For “far better is it not to exist at all, than to exist in evil. The punishment is foretold, that him whom shame had not conquered, the denunciation of punishment might correct,” says S. Jerome. He threatens him with the woe of damnation. For far better is it not to be, than to exist only to be endlessly miserable, as I have shown on Eccles. iv. 2, 3. Wisely does S. Jerome say (Epist. ad Furiam), “It is not their beginning which is inquired about in Christians, but their ending. Paul began badly but ended well. Judas’ beginning was commended, but his end was to be condemned as a traitor.”

Goeth. “By this word,” says Victor of Antioch, “Christ showeth that His death is like rather to a departure or passing away, than to real death. He signifies, likewise, by it that He went voluntarily to death.” Moreover, the betrayal of Judas was an act of infinite sacrilege, perpetrated directly against the very Person of Christ and God. Thus it was true deicide. Wherefore it is exceedingly probable that Judas abides in the deepest pit of Gehenna, near to Lucifer, and is there grievously tormented. And this seems to be indicated by the word woe, which Christ here pronounces upon him above the rest of the reprobates. Blessed Francis Borgia was wont, in meditation, in the depth of his humility, to place himself at the feet of Judas, that is to say, in the lowest pit of hell, exclaiming that there was no other place fit for him, neither in Heaven, nor in earth, nor under the earth, as the due reward of his sins.


#7

Thanks for all the replies, guys! :) I just have a few questions...:

(1) If it's simply down to choice, wouldn't we say the chances are that the vast majority of humans are in Heaven? Aren't you/we saying that everyone in Hell chose it with full knowledge and they decided to put it before God? I mean, I can tell you right now that I really don't want to go to Hell and I'm scared just thinking about the possibility. But then does that simply mean that if I do my best to follow the Church I'm guaranteed to end up in Heaven?
(2) Do the people in Hell wish they could have a second chance?
(3) Do the people in Hell wish they were not in Hell?
(4) Do the people in Hell wish they were in Heaven?
(5) Do the people in Hell really suffer? Or do they simply live rather like it is on Earth without ever being able to experience the wonderfulness of being with God?

Thanks again. :)


#8

[quote="ClemtheCatholic, post:7, topic:315738"]
Thanks for all the replies, guys! :) I just have a few questions...:

(1) If it's simply down to choice, wouldn't we say the chances are that the vast majority of humans are in Heaven? Aren't you/we saying that everyone in Hell chose it with full knowledge and they decided to put it before God? I mean, I can tell you right now that I really don't want to go to Hell and I'm scared just thinking about the possibility. But then does that simply mean that if I do my best to follow the Church I'm guaranteed to end up in Heaven?
(2) Do the people in Hell wish they could have a second chance?
(3) Do the people in Hell wish they were not in Hell?
(4) Do the people in Hell wish they were in Heaven?
(5) Do the people in Hell really suffer? Or do they simply live rather like it is on Earth without ever being able to experience the wonderfulness of being with God?

Thanks again. :)

[/quote]

  1. I don't think it's quite that cut and dry. A person may want to go to heaven but refuse to give up their sin or they will want heaven but they refuse to admit that requires submission to the Lord. Yes, do your best! Pray, hope, and don't worry, said St. Padre Pio.

  2. Yes, they really suffer. I'm don't believe the Church has any explicit descriptions, other than some private revelations. I have heard sermons with parable-like analogies, like it is the greatest thirst never quenched.


#9

[quote="ClemtheCatholic, post:7, topic:315738"]
Thanks for all the replies, guys! :) I just have a few questions...:

(1) If it's simply down to choice, wouldn't we say the chances are that the vast majority of humans are in Heaven? Aren't you/we saying that everyone in Hell chose it with full knowledge and they decided to put it before God? I mean, I can tell you right now that I really don't want to go to Hell and I'm scared just thinking about the possibility. But then does that simply mean that if I do my best to follow the Church I'm guaranteed to end up in Heaven?
(2) Do the people in Hell wish they could have a second chance?
(3) Do the people in Hell wish they were not in Hell?
(4) Do the people in Hell wish they were in Heaven?
(5) Do the people in Hell really suffer? Or do they simply live rather like it is on Earth without ever being able to experience the wonderfulness of being with God?

Thanks again. :)

[/quote]

Obviously, not having been to Hell, much of this is speculation -

For your first point, in a very simplistic manner, I think of it like a job interview. I can only do so much, the rest is out of my hands and I'm not owed anything.

I beat myself up sometimes over what I didn't say in an interview. Rather than focus on what we can't control, just keep working on the things we can control.

In heaven's case, our hearts intent (freely chosen love). If our heart is in the right place and we are following Jesus' instruction, our actions will follow suit.

I just think it is so great that we live now in a time after God came to earth to teach us The Way and give us his Church. What a blessing to be able to put logic to faith with history. Imagine the faith needed of the Apostles, or even the OT folks who listened to Moses and such. My faith is nothing to those guys.

Remember God won't reject you, and He will not let you go easily. So if your heart is in it for Him, He will be well pleased.

For your other points, I would walk down this path of logic. point 5) Hell hurts, yes, we've read about the visions of some saints and in revelation of the earth opening to see the pit. Not a pleasing sight of gnashing and wailing.

So if Hell is painful, who would want to be there forever (points 2,3,4)? This is probably a good time to remember that one of Satan's many names is the 'father of lies'. Those who reject God in time, *could die forever for a lie.

*'could' because we can't limit God's Mercy, but I wouldn't suggest testing it.


#10

A vague description from a Council:

‎"Also, the souls of those who have incurred no stain of sin whatsoever after baptism, as well as souls who after incurring the stain of sin have been cleansed whether in their bodies or outside their bodies, as was stated above, are straightaway received into heaven and clearly behold the triune God as he is, yet one person more perfectly than another according to the difference of their merits. But the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go down straightaway to hell to be punished, but with unequal pains." - The Holy Ecumenical Council of Florence, Session 6 (July 6, 1439)


#11

[quote="Zekariya, post:10, topic:315738"]
A vague description from a Council:

‎"Also, the souls of those who have incurred no stain of sin whatsoever after baptism, as well as souls who after incurring the stain of sin have been cleansed whether in their bodies or outside their bodies, as was stated above, are straightaway received into heaven and clearly behold the triune God as he is, yet one person more perfectly than another according to the difference of their merits. But the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go down straightaway to hell to be punished, but with unequal pains." - The Holy Ecumenical Council of Florence, Session 6 (July 6, 1439)

[/quote]

It limits the mercy of God to think those who didn't have a chance to be baptized are in hell.

I don't think for one moment my miscarriage baby is anywhere but with his maker.


#12

Hey guys, I really appreciate all your answers, but my questions 2-4 are still bothering me… :frowning:


#13

[quote="ClemtheCatholic, post:1, topic:315738"]
"It would have been better for that man if he had not been born."

Could this statement be any clearer? So, I hear countless times that God wants what is best for us. My question: Why did God create Judas Iscariot?

I also find it weird that Jesus has pretty much told us Judas is going to Hell even though Scripture says the Devil was inside him when he actually handed Jesus over... :confused:

Thanks!!
ClemtheCatholic

Note: I'm kind of muddled about the concept of Hell right now. Please forgive me if I end up asking many more questions in this thread! :blush:

[/quote]

.
Do we really think Judas is going to hell?

He identified Jesus and took money for doing so, which isn't a mortal sin I don't think (Is it? But anyway, it was all part of God/Jesus's plan) and then he was truly sorry for it afterwards and repented.

That sounds like all the makings of one who would be forgiven.

.


#14

[quote="ffg, post:11, topic:315738"]
It limits the mercy of God to think those who didn't have a chance to be baptized are in hell.

I don't think for one moment my miscarriage baby is anywhere but with his maker.

[/quote]

:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
:clapping::clapping::clapping::clapping::clapping:

God's love and mercy are infinite. Holy is His Name....
Blessed are the innocents...


#15

[quote="ClemtheCatholic, post:12, topic:315738"]
Hey guys, I really appreciate all your answers, but my questions 2-4 are still bothering me... :(

[/quote]

St. Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 7 March 1274) answers that the damned never have any good will, that they hate God, and the thought of Heaven torments them. They indirectly repent their wickedness because of the punishment involved.

S. th. Supplement q. 98 a. 1
:

On the contrary, An obstinate will can never be inclined except to evil. Now men who are damned will be obstinate even as the demons [Cf. I, 64, 2]. Further, as the will of the damned is in relation to evil, so is the will of the blessed in regard to good. But the blessed never have an evil will. Neither therefore have the damned any good will.

S. th. Supplement q. 98 a. 5:

On the other hand, some of His effects are displeasing to the will in so far as they are opposed to any one: and accordingly a person may hate God not in Himself, but by reason of His effects. Therefore the damned, perceiving God in His punishment, which is the effect of His justice, hate Him, even as they hate the punishment inflicted on them [Cf. 90, 3, ad 2; II-II, 34, 1].

S. th. Supplement q. 98 a. 9:

After the judgment day, however, they will be altogether deprived of seeing the blessed: nor will this lessen their punishment, but will increase it; because they will bear in remembrance the glory of the blessed which they saw at or before the judgment: and this will torment them. Moreover they will be tormented by finding themselves deemed unworthy even to see the glory which the saints merit to have.


S. th. Supplement q. 98 a. 2
:

The damned will wickedness, but shun punishment: and thus indirectly they repent of wickedness committed.


#16

But don't the damned only hate God after they have been cast into eternal damnation?

Is Hell really the best thing God could come up with to deal with those who chose something other than Him? Do those in Hell which God would put an end to their misery? Are those in Hell unhappy? Do those in Hell wish they had not been born?

Am I completely confused here? Does everyone in Hell clearly put it before God and then continue to do so throughout eternity?


#17

Those who are condemned to Hell due to unrepented mortal sin had hatred for God in this life by definition. St. Anthony Mary Claret says those in Hell have never any relief nor rest for all eternity. According to St. Thomas Aquinas answers the damned would rather not be and do not even think of God.

S. th. Supplement q. 98 a. 3:

On the contrary, It is written (Apocalypse 9:6): "In those days men . . . shall desire to die, and death shall fly from them."

Further, the unhappiness of the damned surpasses all unhappiness of this world. Now in order to escape the unhappiness of this world, it is desirable to some to die, wherefore it is written (Sirach 41:3-4): "O death, thy sentence is welcome to the man that is in need and to him whose strength faileth; who is in a decrepit age, and that is in care about all things, and to the distrustful that loseth wisdom [Vulgate: 'patience']." Much more, therefore, is "not to be" desirable to the damned according to their deliberate reason.

newadvent.org/summa/5098.htm#article8"]S. th Supplement q. 98 a. 8:

On the contrary, Man's most perfect thoughts are those which are about God: whereas the damned will be in a state of the greatest imperfection. Therefore they will not think of God.

St. Catherine of Genoa thought that compared to the dreadfulness of sin even Hell seemed merciful and that while the duration of the punishment is infinite God could have made it more painful than it is. These reflections can be found from the The Life and Doctrine of Saint Catherine of Genoa, Chapters XXII and VI respectively.

Chapter XXII:

When I beheld that vision in which I saw the magnitude of the stain of even one least sin against God, I know not why I did not die. I said: ‘I no longer marvel that hell is so horrible, since it was made for sin; for even hell (as I have seen it) I do not believe to be really proportionate to the dreadfulness of sin; on the contrary, it seems to me that even in hell God is very merciful, since I have beheld the terrible stain caused by but one venial sin. And what, in comparison to that, would be a mortal sin? And then so many mortal sins? Surely, if any one could behold all this, even if he were immortal, anguish would once more make him mortal. Even that slight and solitary vision which I beheld, and which lasted but an instant, if it had continued but a little longer would have destroyed my body had it been made of adamant.

Chapter VI:

The punishment of the damned is not, it is true, infinite in degree, for the all lovely goodness of God shines even into hell. He who dies in mortal sin merits infinite woe for an infinite duration; but the mercy of God has made the time only infinite, and mitigated the intensity of the pain. In justice he might have inflicted much greater punishment than he has done.


#18

According to St. Thomas Aquinas answers the damned would rather not be and do not even think of God.

S. th. Supplement q. 98 a. 3:
Quote:
On the contrary, It is written (Apocalypse 9:6): "In those days men . . . shall desire to die, and death shall fly from them."

Further, the unhappiness of the damned surpasses all unhappiness of this world. Now in order to escape the unhappiness of this world, it is desirable to some to die, wherefore it is written (Sirach 41:3-4): "O death, thy sentence is welcome to the man that is in need and to him whose strength faileth; who is in a decrepit age, and that is in care about all things, and to the distrustful that loseth wisdom [Vulgate: 'patience']." Much more, therefore, is "not to be" desirable to the damned according to their deliberate reason.

So, if I'm understanding this correctly, there are some in Hell who wish they did not exist?


#19

It is always better to not be born than to go to hell.

Infinite suffering > not existing - measuring suffering

mortal sin > not existing - in terms of evil


#20

[quote="ClemtheCatholic, post:18, topic:315738"]
So, if I'm understanding this correctly, there are some in Hell who wish they did not exist?

[/quote]

St. Thomas concludes (q. 98 a.3) it is possible in the context of being relieved from the grief.

I answer that, Not to be may be considered in two ways. First, in itself, and thus it can nowise be desirable, since it has no aspect of good, but is pure privation of good. Secondly, it may be considered as a relief from a painful life or from some unhappiness: and thus "not to be" takes on the aspect of good, since "to lack an evil is a kind of good" as the Philosopher says (Ethic. v, 1). In this way it is better for the damned not to be than to be unhappy. Hence it is said (Matthew 26:24): "It were better for him, if that man had not been born," and (Jeremiah 20:14): "Cursed be the day wherein I was born," where a gloss of Jerome observes: "It is better not to be than to be evilly." In this sense the damned can prefer "not to be" according to their deliberate reason [Cf. I, 5, 2, ad 3].


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