Does God give every person an equal chance to be saved?


#1

I’m struggling with a concept here. I like to believe that God gives everyone an equal chance to be saved. But then at the same time it’s necessary to evangelize. Why would God give some people a better chance at salvation by enabling them to become a full-fledged member of the Church? How is this fair? Does it have to do with to whom much is given much will be expected? But I don’t want to get into the trap of thinking people are better off in their ignorance because they are accountable for less…evangelizing must help salvation rather than hinder it. I understand that I don’t need to worry because God’s wisdom, kindness and mercy couldn’t possible exceed my own seeing as how he created me but I still am anxious trying to understand this. :shrug:


#2

Yes! Because he is a just judge. He takes everything into account at judgment. If a person hasn’t had the benefit of hearing the gospel, He will know. If a person grew up in a devout home with the fullness of the truth, He is going to know that too. But salvation is all based on grace, based on the singular event of Jesus dying for our sins.

So since we are judged justly, I believe that means we all have an equal chance.


#3

I do not believe it can be expressed as “equal chance”. I am not comfortable thinking of salvation as a probability game that is random. No, we are all given an equal choice and assurances of all the graces necessary to accept salvation or to reject our salvation.

James


#4

I don’t think that everyone does.

Those who are born in a modern country (usa, eu, etc) where there is great wealth available, also grow up in a country where great sin abounds(harder for a rich man…). But they also, should they be saved, have the means to do great good.

SO it is just, greater opertunity givens a greater chance for good or for evil.

All, however, have the grace available to choose the good, so none are born in such a state that they MUST choose evil.


#5

I think this goes back to “The knowledge that God IS, is written on mens hearts” and “The law is also written on mens hearts” (Paraphrased) which goes on to say that those who live apart from the Law (the written law) are a law unto themselves, and will be judged apart from the (written) law.

The Church recognizes “invincible ignorance”, as well as ignorance of Christ and the Church. Everyone has an equal chance at Salvation, it’s just that knowledge of Christ and the Sacraments of the Church make things so much easier - and the blessings are greater. Consequently the responsibility falls on those with the True knowledge and the Blessings to go forth and teach all nations.

Apart from the Church, for example those in the hinterlands of South America (and elsewhere), have their own understanding of right and wrong (which are remarkably similar to the ten commandments) and so are judged accordingly.

Peace

John


#6

Invincible ignorance never obviates the natural law that is inscribed on every human heart.


#7

[quote=PraRFLEsEkHm]I think this goes back to “The knowledge that God IS, is written on mens hearts” and “The law is also written on mens hearts” (Paraphrased) which goes on to say that those who live apart from the Law (the written law) are a law unto themselves, and will be judged apart from the (written) law.

Apart from the Church, for example those in the hinterlands of South America (and elsewhere), have their own understanding of right and wrong (which are remarkably similar to the ten commandments) and so are judged accordingly.
[/quote]

I think I covered that, if not - please excuse me


#8

It would seem so. In the case of a “churchy” person, they know what is expected, having been given the knowledge/education of what’s required on their part to acheive salvation (not they they can earn it…but that’s a different discussion).

In the case of someone of an “un-churchy” person, someone who has not had the proper opportunity to be introduced to Christ, perhaps all that the Almighty expect of them is to believe that he does exist and nothing further. :shrug: We don’t know.

Like you asked, it would seem to be a matter of doing the best with what you’ve received.


#9

Can the Invincibly ignorant mortally sin?

If they die in a state of mortal sin where do they go?

The answer to the first question is yes.

The answer to the second question is Hell.

How are the invincibly ignorant who mortally sin restored to a state of grace?

I would GUESS that IF they are sorry for what they have done and ask for God’s forgiveness and repent that they would be forgiven and restored to a state of grace IF they would have seeked absolution IF they were not invincibly ignorant and did know to do that.

I’m sure God would know if they would have done that if they knew to do that.

Am I right or wrong about that for I don’t know–no one can know how God judges but we do know that God is Just.

Anyone care to speculate?


#10

Proverbs 16:33
The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision is from the Lord.

Isaiah 45:7
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."

IMHO, you foundation in understanding God is flawed. From were do you get the notion that God leaves things to chance?

How is this fair?

Was it fair for God to love Jacob and hate Esau before either one was born? (Romans 9:11-13)

Does it have to do with to whom much is given much will be expected?

Now you are hitting on something . . . . It starts with PRE and ends with DESTINATION.


#11

Man’s freewill to choose is not a doctrine found in the Bible . . .

John 1:13 Which were born (spiritually) not of blood, Nor of the “will” of the flesh, nor of the “will” of man, But of God

The word “will” in this verse is the word Thelema and it means determination. Man does not “determine” his salvation (which is the new birth) by his own will.

Paul says that the physical man is sensual and he cannot “accept Christ”.

I Corinthians 2:14 – the natural (psuchikos – physical, sensual man) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The word “receiveth” in this verse (I Cor. 2:14) is the Greek word dechomai. The word dech is the word ten, from which we get the word decade (ten years) and the word decalogue (ten words/ ten commandments). This word receiveth means to reach out willingly with the ten fingers (a figurative word of speech) and “accept” an offer that has been made. If a man could make the decision to “accept” Christ by some righteous ability that was in him, then he could take credit for the beginning of his salvation.

Ecclesiastes 7:20
There is no man righteous in the earth that keeps doing good and does not sin.

Psalms 39:5
verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity.


#12

I’m going to argue semantics with you. Although I am ignorate as to the meaning of invincibly, as you describe it, I do know the Scriptural significance of the word ignorant. Ignorance and stupidity are not the same. To be ignorant is to be unlearned. To be stupid is incapable to learn.

Psalms 73:22
Then I was stupid and ignorant; I was like a beast before You.

speaking of the beast . .

2 Peter 2:12
But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed

Stupid people can not hear the Word of the Lord.

Psalms 20:12
The hearing ear and the seeing eye, The LORD has made both of them.

Whereas stupidity has no redemptive qualities, ignorance does. The word disciple means, a learner.


#13

You call yourself Catholic while believing in predestiny?!

Better get educated on your faith bro:

SUMMARY OF CATHOLIC TEACHING

  1. God knows all things, including those who will be saved (THE ELECT). 2. God’s foreknowledge does not destroy, but includes, free will. 3. God desires all men to be saved. 4. Jesus died to redeem all men. 5. God provides sufficient grace for all men to be saved. 6. Man, in the exercise of his free will, can accept or reject grace. 7. Those who accept grace are saved, or born-again. 8. Those who are born-again can fall away or fall into sin. 9. Not everyone who is saved will persevere in grace. 10. Those who do persevere are God’s elect. 11. Those who do not persevere, or who never accepted grace, are the reprobate. 12. Since we can always reject God in this life, we have no absolute assurance that we will persevere. 13. We can have a moral assurance of salvation if we maintain faith and keep God’s commandments (1 John 2:1-6; 3:19-23; 5:1-3,13).

IMPORTANT DISTINCTIONS

  1. Predestination is not predetermination :

“Predestination is nothing else than the foreknowledge and foreordaining of those gracious gifts which make certain the salvation of all who are saved.” (St. Augustine, Persever 14:35)

Predestination is God’s decree of the happiness of the elect. God’s infallible foreknowledge (and thus predestination also) includes free will. God’s foreknowledge cannot force upon man unavoidable coercion, for the simple reason that it is at bottom nothing else than the eternal vision of the future historical actuality. God foresees the free activity of a man precisely as that individual is willing to shape it, predestination is not predetermination of the human will.

  1. Election is a consequence of God’s foreknowledge :

By definition, the ELECT are those whom God infallibly foresees will be saved (Rom 8:28-30). By this definition, it is impossible for the elect to be lost, precisely because God foreknows who will not be lost. But since election depends on God’s infallible foreknowledge, we simply have no way of knowing whether or not we are in that category – God knows with certainty His elect, but we do not. The elect are predestined in the sense that God knows them, and enables them by grace, to be saved. In a sense, ALL are predestined by grace operating through the cooperation of free will for heaven or hell - but its still OUR choice.

  1. Free will can resist and reject God’s grace :

“You stiff-necked people…you always resist the Holy Spirit” (Acts 7:51). The angels possessed grace and perfectly intact intellect, and yet many of them freely sinned and rejected God. Adam and Eve possessed grace and a perfectly intact nature, and yet they freely sinned. How much more so is it possible for the born-again Christian, who possesses grace but also a wounded nature and a darkened intellect, to sin also. Paul mentions sins which keep a man from the Kingdom of God: fornication, adultery, homosexuality, theft, greed, and so on (1 Cor 6:9-10).

When Jesus was expressly asked what one must do to gain eternal life, he answered, “keep the commandments,” and went on to list the moral commandments of the Decalogue (Matt 19:16-21). Revelation describes those whose lot is the burning pool of fire and sulfur, the second death: “cowards, the unfaithful, the depraved, murderers, the unchaste” and so on (Rev 21:8). Aren’t born-again Christians capable of these sins? And if they die in these sins, how can they possibly inherit heaven? If Adam and Eve could fall from grace, surely we can fall from grace as well. Surely we can harden our hearts and resist the Holy Spirit.

  1. We cannot confuse Election with being “Born Again” :

The set of those who are “born again” (in Catholic and historic Christian understanding those who have been regenerated “of water and Spirit” in the Sacrament of Baptism – John 3:3,5; Acts 2:38) is not necessarily co-extensive with the set of those who will persevere and gain eternal life. Born-again Christians can and (sadly) do fall away. Otherwise free will and (mortal) sin are merely fictitious for a Christian during this life of testing and pilgrimage. Otherwise all the language in Scripture of persevering to the end in order to be saved (cf. Matt 10:22; 24:13; Phil 2:12-13) makes no sense.

Bottom Line - we are all immortal but we ALL CHOOSE where we want to spend or eternity. God does not force us one way or the other.

James


#14

Rather than cut-n-paste a long list of data that I have no interest in reading. Your argument would be more effective if you stated, in your own words, what it is about Post #12 you disagree with.


#15

I’m not sure that the invincibly ignorant can meet the litmus test of “sufficient reflection” for a mortal sin. I guess it depends of what they are “invincibly ignorant”. :shrug:


#16

Are you saying that a person who is invincibly ignorant of the Catholic Church–but lives the best life he can following the natural law or another religion–and then committs murder–and is unrepentent-- and is murdered by another–that that person hasn’t mortally sinned or that that person will die in a state of grace and make it to Heaven?

I don’t believe that.

I believe that mortal sin is possible for those who don’t know Christ or the Catholic church.

I also believe that if a person dies in that state that they would go to Hell.

Am I wrong for believing that?


#17

Nope, that’s not what I’m saying.

I suppose it’s possible that someone could be brought up in an environment devoid of religion or morality and be “invincibly ignorant” of natural law and the Church. Very unlikely, but possible. Maybe they aren’t wound right; a sociopathic disorder. Killing someone, for them, isn’t any more of a sin than squashing an ant.

Another possibility is something like masturbation, a mortal sin by Catholic standards. This is much more likely, that someone is invincibly ignorant of the Church teaching in this area, masturbates and dies unrepentant for it and is in a state of mortal sin. Is this person damned to hell?

If you’re saying that mortal sin ***is possible ***for those outside the Church, I agree, but it’s not the default situation.


#18

The answer is, “No”.

What did it mean for Mary to be “full of grace”?

Grace being a free gift of God, does it not imply that Mary was less likely to sin and be damned than those of us who a) were born with original sin and b) possessed less grace than Mary?

Let me put it positively:

  1. Grace is a free gift of God.
  2. Grace increases the odds of salvation—the more you have, the more likely you will persevere to the end and be saved.
  3. Mary was “full of grace”.
  4. Mary was a person.
  5. Mary had a greater chance to be saved than people who had less grace.

Therefore, God does not give every person an equal chance to be saved.


#19

I understand your logic. But the real difference is in conviction to choose and exercise free will. We all have a thing called “free will” and assurances that God will never test anyone beyond their limits. Therefor God, working through free will insures fairness in how we are tested. The more one exposes themselves to environments were the near occasion of sin is elevated the more one willfully exposes themselves to “the test”. Therefor free will is objectively balanced in all of us and this is what makes our existence equal, fair and just. That is not to say that we all suffer equally though.

James


#20

St Paul taught alot about the consience. How it becomes our first judge, how we stand in it’s light becomes a determining factor in our all important disposition when we meet the Lord face to face.

JPII often called the conscience the sanctuary of God where God speaks to the human heart. A person who spends a lifetime obedient to the light of a conscience formed in the love of Truth will have spent a lifetime loving God and be well disposed to God’s judgement.

I use this analogy. ( I think it is theologically acceptable)

Some folks enter the world with a quarter (25cents). They are raised in the light and love of God.

Some folks enter the world with a penny. Their world for the most part is dark and without hope. The love and light of God has had little chance of shaping who they are.

The person who has 25 cents who perhaps has even come to possess 5 more may seem to be a good example of a saved soul. And is. This person will seem morally speaking, to be heads and shoulders above folks who only possess say, two cents.

But, if the person who has only two cents entered the world with just a penny, who loved God more?


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