Conversation with a knowledgable apologist


I do not know what point you are trying to make.
Maybe there is something in the specific framework of 1000 years;
but I’m sure it is to give up hope that we only live here a short time;
with all the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune as Shakespeare put it.
But I do not think there are accidents in Providence; while at the same
time I’m not a fatalist.
But there may be some significance to many calculating the time since
Adam and Eve at about 6,000 years. Fr. Pacwa put it that we are judged
according to the knowledge we have. And the Church teaches that while
there is no salvation apart from Jesus Christ; and that He lives in reality
through the Church; that the merits of Jesus Christ saves those in God’s Grace;
who by God’s Grace lived a life of objective from God’s point of view,
a life seeking God (being led by The Father to Christ); and loving neighbor as one’s self in their circumstances. Jesus Christ said that those who sin with lack of knowledge will receive less stripes though they deserve more; but to whom much
is given, much is required. My point is this, Israel awaits the Messiah. Striving to see
others from God’s point of view, completely impartial — how have the Jews been treated by supposed Christians for almost 2,000 years? How much of a stumbling block is there? Be that as it is; in Israel the year since Adam is 5778. Now, using
a thousand years is one day formula; that puts us at about 12:40 p.m. on Good Friday. I wonder at what time did Jesus Christ say of those without knowledge and still able to receive the Grace of God, ‘forgive them, they know not what they do.’
And I wonder if this is related to Leo xiii’s 100 years private revelation of a new
spring time for The Church?
It seems to me that many are waking up to the difference of sincere devout Christian
leaders & those in the hedgerows and highways, also; who show compassion in word and action — as compared to the extreme
polemics that are often mean spirited to justify heinous things practically kept quiet in the media as compared to the magnitude of the brutality. But many remain almost oblivious, and reluctant to receive witness to the happenings. There still remains a lot of peer pressure.
But there seems to be a new realization growing that God did reveal Himself; and that there must be objective moral good.


So let me take a stab at your problem then, focusing first on the problem of evil.

  • If God is all loving, then He should will that no evil befall His children.
  • If God is all powerful, then He should be able to stop any evil from befalling His children.
  • The existence of such things as tornadoes and volcanoes cause death and suffering, and therefore an all loving and all powerful God would will and have the ability to prevent these things
  • Therefore, if God exists at all, He cannot be both all loving and all powerful.

The problem with that syllogism is that you’ve defined death and suffering as inherently evil. Simply put, that is not the case. But the false equivocation of discomfort and/or suffering as being an evil in modern society is a widespread error anyway.

Everyone dies. Everyone gets injured. Everyone mourns or feels sadness when they lose something or someone that they value. Death, if we forget the mode or timing, is not evil, it is merely a fact of life. Pain is merely a fact of life. Mourning is the expression of loss of people we love, it is simply a fact of life.

We can validate this by assuming the answer to the question of God’s existence is no. If there is no God, can you still objectively try to label forces of nature as evil events? Nope. They’re just reactions to natural law doing as they do. They are simply facts of life, with all the consequences that follow. So by what logic do you re-label these events as intrinsic evils simply because God exists?

That’s my question to you: what about God’s omnipotence and omnibenevolence renders natural events intrinsic evils (and therefore creates the so-called “problem of evil” in the first place)?


Thank you. Despite the depth of your approach I picked the crucials. If you remember, Christ had to come after us as we walked away to Emmaus. What I was saying there was He had to call us back. What had happened on Good Friday was ordinary until Jesus made it extra-ordinary. We had been resigned to remaining on this side until he gave us a clear glimpse of eternity. You are right about wondering if there is something specific in 1000 year framework. St Peter was inspired to repeat it in his epistles. Creation is still in progress, if 1000 years is a day and we reckon we only have done 6000 years having an equivalent of six days. Our Creator has yet to rest? John 5:17


In practice, in some cases, this may be true. But I think the traditional Christian concept of love, using your analogy, would be the love of parents toward their child. Ideally (I think using ideals here is necessary to elevate this analogy to the height of God’s nature) a child is born because of the love of his parents. The child is in this world as a representation of the husband’s and wife’s love for each other. The parents chose to extend their love to another human being despite the challenges that go along with his upbringing, loving him no matter how many mistakes he makes, etc. This concept of love is more in keeping with the love of God the Father towards his children. Love being the greatest virtue (I suppose a common concise definition is loving another for their own sake, recognizing their being made in the image of God) should naturally flow from a higher to lower authority. So I would conclude that the theological virtue of love, as the Christian ideal, flows from parent to child. Granted, this relationship may change as people age (i.e., a child will perhaps one day care for an ailing parent despite the hardships), but in concept, and as an ideal, it is more proper to understand love in this manner.


I would suggest calling into Catholic Answers when they air the show. I would recommend speaking to Patrick Madrid or Jimmy Akin.

But since it’s a radio show, time is limited and there isn’t a whole lot of back-and-forth. But you would at least be speaking to a qualified apologist. Just make sure you are specific with your question and to the point.


Any priest or monk can discuss apologetics with you genuinely. Their textbook knowledge will blow you away and every one I have met is as well read and studied as Bishop Barron. I would begin with your local parish. Most priests have e-mail addresses listed on their parish website. Start there and ask.


I am Catholic and I do believe in all of the Churches teachings. I have spoken with priests and PhD holders in theology and scripture and I still can’t come to terms with hell being forever. I can’t reason it out and I’ve never been satisfied with an answer. I have 3 children and if, by some miraculous event, God told me that my third child would be in hell someday, would I want my child to have even been born only to spend eternity suffering. And according to the saints, this is not just deprivation from God, but physical/spiritual torturous torments. Would it be better to not be born at all than to end up in hell for all of eternity? Since God knows our whole lives, He must know who is going to choose Him and not choose Him, though we still have free will to choose. I would be pained beyond belief if one of my children chose that. I can’t reason it out . I’m not trying to derail the OPs thread here. This is just my struggle with the existence of hell.


I agree with you. If Love and Mercy are the greatest attributes of God, then eternal punishment/torture seem like His attributes of love and mercy would be contradicted by this “justice”.

Again, it’s something I have struggled with for a long time.


Thank you.
I’m so glad she asked this question; and I felt the need to give a non expert answer.
I sense within a greater joy of trusting in Providence.
"But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” - John 5:17
Yes, we will find out about the ‘Day of Rest,’ and the eighth Day of Resurrection; a new creation in God’s Time.


I think your struggle is an understandable human reaction to hell and what it means. Here is how I have rationalized it, and I believe this is in line with Catholic teaching:

  1. True love is not coercive. True love necessarily requires choice. Our free will allows us to choose love. This is the only way we can truly know it. Free will also allows us to choose not to love. Notice that the ball is entirely in our court.

  2. Just because God knows certain things will happen it does not mean he wills them to happen. Once created, we are in the driver’s seat. We get to make choices. God permits those choices. He permits us to choose to separate ourselves from Him. He does not will that we separate ourselves from Him. An analogy: As a parent, I might allow my children to play at a playground. Rather than placing them in a bubble or hovering over them I tell them to be careful and I allow them to move around freely. As a parent, I know there is a strong possibility they will fall and get hurt, but I allow them to play anyway. When they do fall and cut themselves as the result of not being careful, have I willed that such a thing happened or did I permit it? God permits us to act accordingly to our free will. Sometimes we make bad choices.

  3. God did not create hell. Lucifer and his followers chose to separate themselves from God even knowing that it would mean that they would be cast out of heaven. This is a choice that they made based on free will. The consequence was a place separate from the love of God ie. hell and they knew it.

  4. Similarly, God does not will that people go to hell. Free will means that we can choose to abide in Him and His love. Free will also means that we can choose to separate ourselves from God. When we make that choice we choose hell. Again, we are in the driver’s seat.


I agree

If you knew, beforehand, that your child would fall and break his or her neck, would you not stop them or would you continue to let them play, knowing they would break their neck? I’m not saying you willed it or permitted it. God in His omniscience, knows what will happen.

As for your third and fourth argument, I know these. But an angel with a perfect intellect who purposely chooses to reject and be apart from God seems different than a person who commits a mortal sin. If “Joe” and “Sally” both commit mortal sins but they can repent of mortal sins and be forgiven and “Joe” didnt repent yet of his, but dies, we believe he goes to hell. Joe has no perfect intellect and has been weakened and wounded by original sin but his punishment would
still be hell because he didn’t repent as timely as “Sally”?


This intervention would be a violation of free will. God is perfection itself. If he creates free will he creates it perfectly. He would have no reason to intervene. To intervene against free will is to act in a way that is coercive. God would be more akin to a slave master than to love itself.

To continue the analogy, am I a bad or evil parent because I allowed my child to go play even though I had reason to believe he would eventually get hurt in the process? Even if he falls off the slide and breaks something or ends up seriously injured from hitting his head on a rock (all risks of playing outside) am I bad or evil because I permitted him to go play?

Joe and Sally have free will and the ability to choose to abid in the love of God or separate themselves from that love. Once you die, and thus can no longer make that choice, If you chose to separate yourself from God’s love you must accept that consequence. That consequence is hell ie the absence of God’s love.

Free will gives us personal responsibilities for our actions and their consequences. You cannot hedge against that.


And yet God intervenes in our life all the time. There are numerous accounts of God intervening in the lives of Saints to rescue them from death. Is this a violation of free will?

If you knew that tomorrow there was going to be a terrible disaster at the park , would you still send your child to that park on that day? Or would you say, no I don’t want to impede my child’s free will. I mean you personally.

So even if the choice you made (the mortal sin and not asking for forgiveness right away) was temporary (meaning temporarily unrepented of) would the consequence still be hell?

If somebody didn’t repent of a mortal sin and died but in his heart, he would’ve the next day , does he still go to Hell?


We have a tendency to anthropomorphize God. What is the nature of that intervention? Did God change his mind or was this the happy consequence of them abiding in God’s love and therefore being the beneficiary of the graces God promises those who abide in Him?

You are asking God to act as humans do: to repent of His decision to give us free will and intervene on a case by case basis. God does not work this way. He does not make mistakes. Free will is the perfect creation of God. He will not intervene.

As a human, sure, I’d intervene to save my child. However, we must acknowledge that we are neither perfect nor do we love perfectly. To love perfectly would be to permit us to make a choice no matter the consequence.

This has not been revealed to us, so we cannot say for sure. Nevertheless, it seems that it would be consistent with His omnibenevolence and His omniscience to forgive because they were contrite in their hearts.


What’s the hourly rate of pay?


Why do innocent children suffer? The same reason innocent adults suffer. Jesus suffered! Suffering is like a black cloud that rains on the good and evil indiscriminately. If suffering only occurs to evil doers, then God would be corrupting our free will.
God loves us so much he did not make us slaves.
When Adam and Eve were thrown out of paradise, God said women would suffer in childbirth, we would have to work by the sweat of our brow and we would die. All pain, all suffering comes from original sin. We reinforce that with our own sins. Finally suffering doesn’t have to be bad it can be redemptive if we accept is and unit with Jesus’ suffering.


You lose one hour per hour and convince nobody. The normal going rate for Internet debates. :rofl::wink:


Well, in that case… I’m going shopping on Amazon :nerd_face:


I like to take baby-steps in order to stay on course. I can also see the difficulties of establishing a common ground on which the discussion can take place. Our difference pertaining to “benevolence” is good example of this difficulty. If we cannot agree on the meaning of such a basic premise, how can we have a conversation at all?

As opposed to the classical philosophers (a very vague concept) I reject that existence is “good”, or better than nonexistence? Good for whom? To call something “good” is a value-judgment. A value-judgment presupposes a “valuer” and a “value-system”.

Also I don’t accept the Thomistic concept of “essence”, because it cannot be “pinpointed”. I am aware of the definition: “what it is”, but that does not help to give us the specifics in any actual instance. What is the essence of a “dog”?

I see another basic problem. In your definition “goodness” is inseparable from God’s existence. And that brings up the age-old Euthyphro dilemma. Does God choose to do “good”, because it is “good” - separate from God? That would make God’s goodness contingent upon some “goodness”. Or is “goodness” something that is simply what God decides to do? That would make “goodness” a “whim” of God. The dilemma is unsolvable.

Even before the “first” sentence is put down on paper, there seem to be huge differences in our understanding. I am not optimistic, but let’s try to go on.

The first problem is that the nomenclature of the classic philosophers is problematic. When we talk about “good” or “benevolent”, their definition is unacceptable.


You certainly don’t talk like a Catholic…

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