Can God or the saints feel emotions?


#1

I was walking to confession the other day, listening to the second movement of Henryk Gorecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs – the lyrics of which, in English, say, “No, Mother, do not weep. Most chaste Queen of Heaven, help me always. Hail Mary.” It was a poem found on the walls of a cell in Poland’s Gestapo headquarters.

Anyway, it dawned on me that perhaps *my sin *causes the Blessed Mother – or even Jesus Christ – to weep, or feel disappointment. This thought is particularly horrifying to me and I think it helps me in avoiding sin.

Being a “heady” type of person, I was wondering if I wasn’t committing some small heresy by thinking this. Is it proper to assume that God, or the saints, feel emotion, or cry, in the human sense?


#2

[quote=justbeinfrank]I was walking to confession the other day, listening to the second movement of Henryk Gorecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs – the lyrics of which, in English, say, “No, Mother, do not weep. Most chaste Queen of Heaven, help me always. Hail Mary.” It was a poem found on the walls of a cell in Poland’s Gestapo headquarters.

Anyway, it dawned on me that perhaps *my sin *causes the Blessed Mother – or even Jesus Christ – to weep, or feel disappointment. This thought is particularly horrifying to me and I think it helps me in avoiding sin.

Being a “heady” type of person, I was wondering if I wasn’t committing some small heresy by thinking this. Is it proper to assume that God, or the saints, feel emotion, or cry, in the human sense?
[/quote]

Emotions to God are not the same as they are to man. I don’t know if it would be a heresy to view them as being emotional. Maybe you could say that there is something similar to despair out of compassion for us sinners. I don’t know;


#3

Now, we do read in the Bible that God feels jealousy, anger, and sadness over His people’s sins, so I would think He and the saints experience emotions. I do agree as well with jimmy that it might not be the same way we experience emotions, but as for those then God goes thrugh them as well.


#4

Ah. But wait. I thought t…here were no tears in Heaven. Or hate…not for us, anyway.


#5

Well, we know that Jesus wept when his friend Lazarus died, and Jesus is God, and His Glorified Body is in Heaven. They may not feel emotions in the same way we do, but emotion seems to be a factor of the human soul, which is an Image of God.

I’d say it’s not heresy to apply emotions to God. The Holy Spirit, after all, is called God’s Love. It’s different than being “emotional”, I’d imagine.


#6

I don’t really think love is an emotion so much as a set of priorities that sometimes causes certain emotional sensations.

I think God’s experience must be much different than ours; He is outside time and I think He is unchanging and so experiences everything at once, so I’m tempted to guess He doesn’t feel emotion. But trying to understand God’s emotions (or His equilavent to them) is probably like trying to imagine a four-spacial-dimensional shape. Jesus seemed to feel fear in Gethsemane, but who knows what there was to that situation we do not understand.

What God feels is probably much more real than what we feel.
And as people our emotions are caused by biochemical stuff going on in our bodies… even “falling in love” can be partly attributed to pheremones and stuff like that.

In any case, whatever His experience, we know sin is not what he wants. I don’t know if it causes God emotional pain just like ours… but it displeases him in some way, and it did end up getting Him crucified…


#7

You have to remember that God is in the eternal present. There is no time for God. Yet emotions require time. (I was sad… now I’m happy… You can’t be both at once.) So my guess is that the Father does not have emotions in th way we think of them.

Jesus obviously does, though. Ghosty showed that.

And I bet the saints do have emotions. Why would God give up on his plan for us to be emotional beings just because we died?


#8

[quote=trumpet152]And I bet the saints do have emotions. Why would God give up on his plan for us to be emotional beings just because we died?
[/quote]

Not the mention the fact that Jesus tells us there will be JOY in heaven over the return of one lost sinner. Joy is definitely an emotion.


#9

shortest verse in the bible… .

John 11:34-36 (King James Version)
34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!

seems pretty emotional to me…

:slight_smile:

(( sorry to keep changing this message… lol ))


#10

There are no tears in Heaven, yet you can feel sorrowful for a loved one not in heaven?? That is what I have been taught. I think however, that while you realize it is a horrible thing that your loved one is in Hell or whatnot, the experience of the beatific vision is so grand, that it overpowers any other emotion possible.

dxu


#11

plus…

if the saints in heaven pray for us…

and offer up our prayers…

then surely they do this out of love for us…

for, God is love…

we will be made perfect, so our love will
be perfect love…

there are emotions that are not of God, those
we won’t feel…

again… just my opinion

:slight_smile:


#12

God is immutable and cannot change. To feel sorrow is to suggest change, which is not possible. The saints in heaven are in a state of permanent ecstacy in the beatific vision and cannot feel sorrow. The Old testament writers, and ourselves,too, perceived God from a human pespective, when they and we speak of His anger, sorrow etc.


#13

[quote=maklavan]God is immutable and cannot change. To feel sorrow is to suggest change, which is not possible. The saints in heaven are in a state of permanent ecstacy in the beatific vision and cannot feel sorrow. The Old testament writers, and ourselves,too, perceived God from a human pespective, when they and we speak of His anger, sorrow etc.
[/quote]

God is immutable and cannot change??? Well, since God is omnipotent, He can do anything that He chooses to do. He became man. That was a pretty big change, no? As a human God did change, from an infant, to a child, to a grown man, from life into death into eternal life. Sounds like God can change to me. God can do or feel whatever He wants. We can’t tell Him what He can and can not do.


#14

Their emotions are governed by their mind and will, where for us here on earth our mind and will are governed by our emotions.


#15

My guess is that even if pure spirits cannot feel emotion, after the resurrection, our bodies will facilitate emotion. However, considering purely spiritual beings, do Satan and his minions hate anyone? Are they prideful? Are they jealous?


#16

[quote=Catholic_Mike]I don’t really think love is an emotion so much as a set of priorities that sometimes causes certain emotional sensations.

I think God’s experience must be much different than ours; He is outside time and I think He is unchanging and so experiences everything at once, so I’m tempted to guess He doesn’t feel emotion. But trying to understand God’s emotions (or His equilavent to them) is probably like trying to imagine a four-spacial-dimensional shape. Jesus seemed to feel fear in Gethsemane, but who knows what there was to that situation we do not understand.

What God feels is probably much more real than what we feel.
And as people our emotions are caused by biochemical stuff going on in our bodies… even “falling in love” can be partly attributed to pheremones and stuff like that.

In any case, whatever His experience, we know sin is not what he wants. I don’t know if it causes God emotional pain just like ours… but it displeases him in some way, and it did end up getting Him crucified…
[/quote]

Jesus was human as well as being God. The emotions of Jesus the person can not be compared with God having emotions because it was Jesus’ human nature that gave Him this fear.


#17

[quote=jimmy]Emotions to God are not the same as they are to man. I don’t know if it would be a heresy to view them as being emotional. Maybe you could say that there is something similar to despair out of compassion for us sinners. I don’t know;
[/quote]

It would be a heresy, because it implies that the error of anthropomorphism is true. It is not true - for God is Spirit; not flesh, not man, not emotional

It would also be a denial of the changelessness of God. And of His Infinity - for it denies His Infinite Blessedness, which is Himself. ##


#18

[quote=dulcissima]God is immutable and cannot change??? Well, since God is omnipotent, He can do anything that He chooses to do. He became man. That was a pretty big change, no? As a human God did change, from an infant, to a child, to a grown man, from life into death into eternal life. Sounds like God can change to me. God can do or feel whatever He wants. We can’t tell Him what He can and can not do.
[/quote]

Second point first - we can’t say that God can do anything at all: first because it is untrue, & second, because to do so is a Nominalist position, rather than a Realist one. The trouble with Nominalism is that it goes by the names of things, by what they are called; not by the realities of what they are. So, rather than thinking about what is implied by talking about omnipotence, as Realist might, a Nominalist tends to look at the word omnipotence, more than at what it means to say that God is omnipotent. The results can be startling - a coherent view of the universe is not one of them, unfortunately. To say that God can change, is to say that God is finite - and that is heresy.

The names of things, are secondary to what they are & how they act - a dog’s doghood is unaltered, even if you call a dog a cheese, or say that it swims when it is running. Things are more important than what they are called. Dogdom remains doggy - even if renamed as cheesedom. The same is true of God & His attributes

First point - God was not changed by the Incarnation. There was a change, certainly - not in God, but in the relation to God of a created human nature. What changed in Christ is not the Divine Person & Nature, but the human nature which the Person had adopted and united with Himself. So that though the Divine Person wept, He did so by virtue of His created, changeable, passible human nature. It is because of this, that we can say “God wept, hungered, thirsted, was full of grief, suffered, died.” It is His human nature that made experience in time and space possible to God Incarnate. ##


#19

[quote=Gottle of Geer]## Second point first - we can’t say that God can do anything at all: first because it is untrue, & second, because to do so is a Nominalist position, rather than a Realist one. The trouble with Nominalism is that it goes by the names of things, by what they are called; not by the realities of what they are. So, rather than thinking about what is implied by talking about omnipotence, as Realist might, a Nominalist tends to look at the word omnipotence, more than at what it means to say that God is omnipotent. The results can be startling - a coherent view of the universe is not one of them, unfortunately. To say that God can change, is to say that God is finite - and that is heresy.

The names of things, are secondary to what they are & how they act - a dog’s doghood is unaltered, even if you call a dog a cheese, or say that it swims when it is running. Things are more important than what they are called. Dogdom remains doggy - even if renamed as cheesedom. The same is true of God & His attributes

First point - God was not changed by the Incarnation. There was a change, certainly - not in God, but in the relation to God of a created human nature. What changed in Christ is not the Divine Person & Nature, but the human nature which the Person had adopted and united with Himself. So that though the Divine Person wept, He did so by virtue of His created, changeable, passible human nature. It is because of this, that we can say “God wept, hungered, thirsted, was full of grief, suffered, died.” It is His human nature that made experience in time and space possible to God Incarnate. ##
[/quote]

Well put.

Please allow me to clarify what is meant by “we can’t say that God can do anything at all.”

God is omnipotent. He can do anything that is possible (this includes many human impossibilities). God can fly, heal, create, manipulate the universe as he pleases… (and the list goes on infinitely). But God cannot do the complete impossible. For instance, God cannot make a square triangle. God cannot create a God higher than Himself. And God cannot change. It’s not in his nature.


#20

[quote=snowman10]There are no tears in Heaven…
[/quote]

Meaning there is no suffering, not that those there can’t feel sadness. Blessed are they who mourn, and all of that. God and the saints in Heaven must feel emotions, although in a pure and perfect way. Otherwise, they would be less perfect than those of still on earth.

– Mark L. Chance.


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