Do good, avoid evil


#1

We know that God is infinite goodness, but it is difficult for me to see this. I fail to see how he would create a being that he knows will suffer for all time.
He made us with passions inclining us to evil, and even though we can only choose what seems to us good, even though it may be evil, most of us may end up in hell (many are called, few chosen).
This is a constant problem for me. I know we are not saved by our works, we need grace. But what should we do?
Perhaps admit we do not understand and try to do good, avoid evil and hope for the best.


#2

God made us just a little lower than the angels, and endowed us with goodness–we are made in His image! Yes, our will is fallen, but we have a choice. Everyone of us has all we need to be saints, if we choose to open ourselves to God’s will.
Every one of us.
I would suggest the way of spiritual childhood and mercy: St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Faustina. Perhaps the book In Sinu Jesu. Immerse yourself in God’s love and trust in His mercy. He does the work in us–we only need to let Him.


#3

God created nothing with the intent of it being or becoming evil. The passions man was bestowed by God inclined us to do good not evil, free will changed that.

Disclaimer – I am expressing my opinion and not looking for validaiton or argument, so I limit my input to a single post per thread. Send me a PM, and I will be happy to continue the discussion without monopolizing this fine venue.


#4

We cannot see this .

Infinite goodness is beyond all in creation , and beyond the intellect of creatures to understand .


#5

We’re not forced to sin; we don’t have “sin natures” as some Protestants maintain. So we struggle, striving to do what’s right, orienting ourselves towards the righteousness that we should be hungering and thirsting for, with God’s help: 'Apart from Me you can do nothing" John 15:5.

It’s meant to be a struggle, a good struggle, our own justice depending on it. It’s a journey towards perfection as the Church teaches, and God’s on our side throughout this journey. It’s a matter of doing the best we can with whatever we’re given in terms of time, opportunity, knowledge, and grace; reference the Parable of the Talents. Then God will judge how well we did, but always with mercy and kindness and love. And this is the criteria the Church teaches that He’ll use, quoting St John of the Cross, from the Catechism:
"At the evening of life we shall be judged on our love."

Do we really have an excuse not to fulfill that obligation, to the best we can?


#6

Hell is not pure evil. Those in hell suffer relatively due to demerits as those in heaven receive glory relatively due to merits.

Summa Theologica, Supplement
69 Matters concerning the resurrection, and first of the place where souls are after death.
7 Should so many places be distinguished?
Reply to Objection 9.
It is impossible for evil to be pure and without the admixture of good, just as the supreme good is without any admixture of evil. Consequently those who are to be conveyed to beatitude which is a supreme good must be cleansed of all evil. Wherefore there must needs be a place where such persons are cleansed if they go hence without being perfectly clean. But those who will be thrust into hell will not be free from all good: and consequently the comparison fails, since those who are in hell can receive the reward of their goods, in so far as their past goods avail for the mitigation of their punishment.

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/5069.htm


#7

We just need to imitate Christ and his saints. Like the Didache says: do as much as you can. Prayer and meditation definitely help.


#8

When I was in my early YA years (probably 14 or so), I was taught by my Bible study teacher (I was not Catholic but a Protestant) in a Bible study class. I asked the teacher, “How can God talk to thousands of people at one time?” And the teacher smiled at me, and said:

"I’ll tell you a story of a little girl. She asked me the same question. I said to her, “Do you know how big the sun is when you look at the sky?” The little girl said it was a size of a cookie, according to her understanding. And I told her, “Well, the sun is actually bigger than you think. It’s actually really big that you cannot understand. Like the sun, God is greater than what we think of Him, and He is capable of anything.”

“So, what I can tell you is this: God’s majesty is difficult to understand because He is greater than what we think of Him. When you can’t understand Him, have belief that He is far greater than our thoughts, and He can do anything to help you and to be with you.”

I think I abide to her lesson about not understanding God’s greatness- it’s something that popped up in my mind when I saw this.


#9

Thanks for all the sound replies, which are much appreciated.

Limoncello4021,

I am reminded of Rom 3:23.

‘all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God.’

It is not correct to claim

‘Everyone of us has all we need to be saints.’

To be saints we need grace which is a unearned gift from God.

FOG,

You wrote ‘The passions man was bestowed by God inclined us to do good not evil, free will changed that.’ This confuses me, but I accept your wish not to enter into dispute.

Rob2

You wrote’ Infinite goodness is beyond all in creation , and beyond the intellect of creatures to understand’. This is sound and is the answer to all my problems, even if it is not very satisfactory.

FHansen,

As usual your posts are sound and encouraging.

We essentially agree: ‘to the best we can’.

Vico,

I had never thought that in hell here was some good. I had believed there was only punishment, and all the good of a soul was ignored, due to (possibly) one mortal sin. Thank you for a wonderful insight that shows goodness, even in hell.

D_D,

Thanks for a solid post. The Didache has good advice, as you point out:

‘For if you are able to bear the entire yoke of the Lord, you will be perfect; but if you are not able to do this, do what you are able.’

Pulchraesamicamea

You wrote ‘He can do anything to help you and to be with you.’ I hope he will do enough to get me into heaven.


#10

I think the issue you are having is an issue of anthropology. God did make us to be good. As the creation account in Genesis tells us, that God created man in his image, and when he did so he declared this creation to be good. So when you say that God made us with passions inclining to evil, I would say that this is not in harmony with what the creation account says about us. That being said, mankind, though created good, willingly disobeyed God, and by doing so, we introduced sin and death into our nature. Romans 5 seems to confirm this. That being said, the free gift of God’s grace came to us through the life and death of one man, Christ. Through this one man, God tells us in Romans 8 that all things will be restored and redeemed from the sin and death that man brought down upon himself. Your question is what should we do then in this light? We repent, we place our faith in Christ knowing that until the fullness of time we will still be subject to sin, however, we will also be conformed to the likeness of Christ by walking in the Holy Spirit, and we proclaim Christ crucified to the world who needs to hear it.


#11

Why would he create us even though many would suffer hell? Because many will also be in heaven with him forever. So all in all, he created us because he loves us!


#12

Ultimately, we know what we should do. We know what God wants.
It is our choice to do God’s will or to do something else.


#13

Well, yes, obviously we need God’s grace. I figured in my reply that you knew that, as you do. Your original post sounds more Jansenist than not, however. We are fallen, but God’s mercy and love are there for the taking. Trust in this.


#14

Hodos , thanks

I agree with the writer of 1 Tim that everything created by God is good (1 Tim 4:4), but we were all born with original sin, hence our passions incline us to evil.

You wrote ‘all things will be restored and redeemed from the sin and death that man brought down upon himself’. Do you hold in universalism? I believe Catholics can go as far as Hans Urs von Balthasar that we can hope that all may be saved, we cannot claim all will be saved.

You advise us to repent and place our trust in Christ. I agree, but I prefer to say we place our trust in God.

LittleFlower378,

Some are saved, some suffer for all eternity in hell. It seems difficult for me to see how God would create souls who will suffer for all time.


#15

We all know what God wants us today.
We have been given a free choice.
It is up to do what we know God wants us to do.
But some of us choose to do the opposite.


#16

No, I do not believe in universalism. That said, when I say “all things” what I mean is that creation will be judged, some to eternal life, some to eternal damnation, and creation will be restored to what it was intended to be.

I make no distinction between Christ and God because Christ is truly God, and it is through Christ that we have been redeemed.


#17

Hodos
You wrote ‘I make no distinction between Christ and God because Christ is truly God, and it is through Christ that we have been redeemed.’

Your belief is contrary to Catholic teaching. The three persons of the Trinity are really distinct and equal in all things. We see in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

252 The Church uses (I) the term "substance" (rendered also at times by "essence" or "nature") to designate the divine being in its unity, (II) the term "person" or "hypostasis" to designate the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the real distinction among them, and (III) the term "relation" to designate the fact that their distinction lies in the relationship of each to the others.

[254](javascript:openWindow(‘cr/254.htm’):wink: The divine persons are really distinct from one another . "God is one but not solitary."86 “Father”, “Son”, “Holy Spirit” are not simply names designating modalities of the divine being, for they are really distinct from one another: "He is not the Father who is the Son, nor is the Son he who is the Father, nor is the Holy Spirit he who is the Father or the Son."87 They are distinct from one another in their relations of origin: "It is the Father who generates, the Son who is begotten, and the Holy Spirit who proceeds."88 The divine Unity is Triune.

I do not really understand this, but the key point is that the persons of the trinity are distinct.


#18

No it isn’t. I said I believe that Christ is truly God (which you agree with), and that he is our redeemer (which you also agree with). You assumed that when I said I make no distinction between Christ and God, that I confused the second person of the trinity with one of the other persons of the trinity. I said nothing of the sort. I said that Christ is truly God (He is). Therefore when you tried to make a distinction between Christ and God, you made a false distinction that the Bible does not make. This is different than the Biblical distinction between the individuals of the Father (who is frequently, but not solely referred to as God) and the Son (who is normatively referred to as the Son, but is sometimes referred to as God although this is not his normative name when referencing the distinct individuals of the trinity).


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