Did Jesus have the ability to say "No" to the Father?


Evil is the lack of a good; goodness and being are the same really but differ only in idea, and therefore God is all because He is goodness. Evil was never part of God’s perfect plan because it is logically impossible that God—being goodness itself—could create evil. However, given that His creatures have abused their free will and evil exists in the world, He allows it by His permissive will, rather than directly willing it through His perfect will. And He will never allow an evil to occur if He cannot bring about a greater good through it.


Did anyone comment about the “Admirable Exchange”? It is the point of the Incarnation. (The language is slippery here and it is easy to slide into heresy, but we only have language, so here it goes.) Where Life is exchanged for Death it requires that there be a reversal of original sin. Original sin is a movement of the will of humanity in response to the sin of pride. I, personally, have often thought that the sin was not the eating of the fruit, but the decision by Adam and Eve that God was wrong.

If you notice the scene in Gethsamani, Jesus reverses the curse of Adam and Eve by asking the Father if the cup could pass from him, but instead of getting what he wants, he acquiesces to the will of the Father. This movement of the human will to obedience is the exact opposite of what happened when Satan succeeded in convincing Adam and Eve to be disobedient.

This makes Jesus the Way, the Truth, and the Life for humans. Our baptism into him, then leads us through this same exchange.

Without the ability to say “no”, there would be no exchange, no reversal of original sin, and we would not be saved.

So, this is an excellent question. It is really a practical issue of salvation. Great job.:grinning:


You have to look at this with this basic truth in mind: grace does not violate free will.
Not even the perfection of grace violates free will.

And then you have the issue of potency, or what we are calling the ability to do something, or “could have”. In perfect loving grace, the potency and freedom to do something are…perfected to the divine will.
We are confusing that perfection with a lack of potency and freedom, I think. But again, grace does not rob a person of the power to act or violate free will.

And as someone else said, you have the theoretical observations that we are debating here, and then you have the reality of the matter, or _the Incarnation of i_t, and that Incarnation of it is all that matters.
Subjecting the reality of the matter to the theoretical is not very fruitful.


No I didn’t. I quoted Hebrews demonstrating that Jesus is fully human. I said we in our sinful nature aren’t fully human.


And what if the first man with a human soul (as opposed to his blood relations which may not have made that leap) is the figure we call Adam, and original sin is when that first man disobeyed God, and its from this man’s descendants (and maybe even intermixing with the ones who hadn’t made the leap leading to greater genetic diversity) that all men and women with true human souls come from?


I agree on taking the Eden story figuratively, but your particular interpretation of the story is not the only one, and not one that is particularly compatible with Catholic teaching (as you recognize). “The Church allows us to acknowledge evolution and take the Adam and Eve story figuratively” does not inevitably lead to “The Church embraces WileyC1949’s reading of the story that leads him to deny Original Sin and various other doctrines.”

I agree with you that “Adam” could very well have been a hominid who, unlike those around him, became aware of himself and the world on a human level, and aware of God as well. But that wasn’t the “eating from the tree” moment. The Fall was not a Rise. In the Catholic view, whoever this “Adam” was, he did something, made some choice, after his coming to awareness, that broke his awesome relationship with God. And his descendants ever since have had to live with that broken relationship until God took the initiative to heal it through the Incarnation. That broken relationship is “the stain of Original Sin.” Not an inherited sin or guilt, but an inherited consequence, a lack of something we could all have had.

Mary’s Immaculate Conception means that she did not start with that lack; God healed it pre-emptively in her. So she had better control over her appetites than the rest of us — but that doesn’t mean she had no ability to sin. Concupiscence is the tendency to sin because we do not control our urges, not the ability to sin. Eve (whoever and whatever “Eve” might have been in evolutionary history) did not have concupiscence, but she still sinned. That Mary is also understood to have committed no actual sin by the grace of God is a separate gift, not a necessary consequence of being free from Original Sin. Like Adam or Eve, Mary could have sinned, but we believe that she always cooperated with the grace of God (and of course, the grace of God helped her in that cooperation — remember, we don’t believe in either “irresistible grace” or completely free will to be awesome without God’s grace, though the exact way in which the two factors interact is mysterious and has yet to be settled by the Church.

On your original question, I agree with most people here (and you, I think) that Jesus’ truly human will must have had the capacity to choose against God … but since Jesus’ human nature was perfectly united to the divine nature, and Jesus was truly God as well as truly human, it was not something that would ever have happened in fact. Jesus experienced hunger in the desert, and anguish over his coming death in the garden, and we have it recorded in revelation that he asked for the cup to pass if it were possible … but I don’t think there’s a practical possibility (even though his human will had the theoretical ability) that he would have said “No! My will be done!” and gone on about his life. Jesus also embodied the divine will, and the divine will does not change or oppose itself.


That would certainly explain why we act so much like monkeys! I wonder why it is so hard to believe God formed the first man Adam from the dust just like the Bible says. Is it that we do not like to believe God either? Shouldn’t our baptism take away the desire within us to disobey and challenge God?


What do you mean by ‘our sinful nature’?


Having both divine and human will is not possible.


If Adam was in fact a hominid, which could be defined as an animal not quite evolved to the state of humanness, then, as with all other animals, they do not share a “relationship” with God as that would require an intelligence and conscious thought. If this were the case then there was nothing to “break”. Consider this scenario: You place a raw steak on the floor in front of a highly intelligent dog and you tell him “Do not eat that steak!”. The dog knows that you do not want him not to touch it, but five minutes after you leave the room the odds are steak will be gone anyways. Did the dog “sin” by disobeying you, or was he just being a dog? He may have known that you did not want him to eat the steak but he couldn’t have know that doing so was an evil because he had no concept of evil. What exists is real, not what is coming tomorrow, and not principles of morality.

My relationship with God is very different that my mother’s or father’s, who, in their own way, were devout. If I do not inherit my father’s sins or any repercussions of my father’s sins then I am free to establish my own relationship with God. The relationship you describe seems to be more like that our spiritual soul might share with Him before we were conceived. But that relationship would have been based on awe rather than love because God could not create us already loving.

This is why I feel that the purpose of our physical existence is to learn to love, and it is the conscience (the knowledge of good and evil), and out free ability to act on it, which is our guide. Christ’s Incarnation, message, death and Resurrection most certainly give absolute credence to it.

If none of us have the “lack” as I described then I do feel that the concepts of the Immaculate Conception and Original Sin have to be reexamined. They could be true IF Adam and Eve were special specific creations. But if we are products of an evolutionary development then there was no literal “Garden of Eden”, no literal “Adam & Eve”, and no literal “Original Sin”.

I agree.


I suppose that certainly could be the case, but it still places the story itself into the category of “figurative”. Science tells us that while genetic markers can be traced to a “Scientific Adam”… the first male to have the genetic markers which are shared by all men today and “Mitochondrial Eve”…the first female to have the genetic markers shared by all women today…both lived in Africa but at time periods hundreds of years apart and in areas hundreds if not more than a thousand miles apart.


That’s just it… He did! Just as science says. Certainly the concept of life from lifelessness has never been proven but both the Bible and science cite the same source. One just calls it “the dust of the Earth” and the other calls it “primordial goo”. Please note that in Genesis 1 the Bible does NOT say that God instantly created plants and animal life. Rather it TWICE states that God charged the EARTH to produce plants and the EARTH to produce animal life. And note that the order of appearance of the various living things corresponds nicely with what science says was the evolutionary development.


Jesus seemed to think so when in the garden He said “Not my will but your will be done.”


Well, then He gave up His human will. This require a decision.


@WileyC1949, please stop spreading doctrinal error.


I would say it differently. Just because God incarnated, that doesn’t mean at ANYTIME His human will was in conflict with His Divine will. Jesus is NOT conflicted at any time between wills. He is perfectly obedient. The questions He asks in scripture, are for our benefit not His. He already knows the answer to every question He asks before He asks. Before He spoke in the beginning, and all that is came into existence, He knew the answer to everything from beginning to end… including everything about His passion and death… and in spite of all He did for us He knew few in humanity would take advantage of it as in He said few are saved. Obviously looking ahead in time to the end, that bit of information is particularly important for all humanity to know. Just as obvious, it appears few take Him at His word.


Mary was capable of sin, just as Eve was conceived immaculately.

Jesus, too, had the ability to sin. Satan’s temptation in the desert was only effective because Christ had the divine privilege to fulfill each offer. Satan had no power to grant those wishes, but convincing Christ to use his divinity for selfish ends would have been Satan’s ultimate accomplishment.

So, yes, you are correct that God the Son could disobey the Father. His obedience is that of supreme humility, not compulsion.


That is not true. In fact that is a heresy. T is a dogma of the faith the Jesus Christ had two wills, one Divine and one Human.


" out of dust thou art and unto primordial goo thou shall return?"


The father, the son, and the Holy Spirit are one. They cannot go against each other.

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