Does God intervene?

I am grateful to all in CAF, who have respectfully entered into discussion with me, even when my queries were a bit confused. At present I am concerned about grace vs. free will.

I read that St Paul, like the Jews of his time, believed there was one God who controls major world events, but does not interfere necessarily in every minor event. Do Catholics believe the same?

God wants me to go to heaven, he is all powerful, yet does he let me be damned for all eternity? Does God look on and say you have free will, I will not interfere, but I will give you grace and a guardian angel and after that it is up to you.

To me a merciful all-powerful creator allowing me to go to hell seems difficult to grasp.
If God is loving and all powerful how can anyone suffer in torments for ever?

Please help.

It is a logical impossibility to create fully functional beings that also can’t have free will.

Ergo sure God can intervene but you (or I mean many in general) think God should do X to “save” us in proving Himself.

Let’s look at satan and the demons and that bible verse about them knowing the truth. They still choose to do what they do.

So the assumption of arrogance is if God does X I will be good because I will know.

Will you? Would you? Really?

I would think we are given adequate knowledge/evidence along the way but why, quite literally why would God intervene if you would choose as satan did??

So while to some God may appear or send an angel etc… they actually “needed” such to be good, maybe.

But to those He does not perhaps it is often overlooked that with knowledge that person would still choose to do whatever.

Now to say “why make me capable of choosing?”

Well if not you are a puppet period. If He wanted a universe filled with little toys He could have made such toys, but He wants actual beings to exist and to be with Him.

It is I theorize the only thing He could never do is to make a truly independent being incapable of rejecting Him, for then you would not be a friend, but a slave.

God is all loving and merciful…and he bestows upon us every grace and intervention needed for us to know Him, love Him, and serve Him in this life so that we may be with Him for eternity in the next.

However, he let’s us choose. Why?

God is love, we know this. He desires us to know Him and love Him. Love is a choice, and act of the will. We cannot love Him, truly, if we are forced to. That is not love, it is robotics. We must choose to love in order for it to be love. So…we have the choice. He created us with a free will so that we can love! The ability to truly love is a supreme gift surpassing all others – but it is also a responsibility. We can choose not to love him. We can choose eternal separation from Him.

The possibility of hell allows the possibility of Love. They go hand-in-hand. God loves us to the point where he will respect our decision to not love him back. He won’t make us.

Hell is not a place he “sends” us. It is a place we choose to go, by our own volition.


Thanks for your reply, the first received.

It is possible to have ‘fully functional beings that also can’t have free will’, for example mice.

You wrote ”It is I theorize the only thing He could never do is to make a truly independent being incapable of rejecting Him, for then you would not be a friend, but a slave” There are many things God cannot do, for example make a square circle, but do you limit him?
The angels and souls in heaven cannot reject God, their wills are fixed. Aristotle claimed that for friendship there must be equality.

I note God wants all to be saved, can he achieve his wish?

who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.
1 Tim 2:4, NAB)


We are not given a free choice, we are commanded to love God, as one reads in the Shema (Sh’ma Yisrael), Deu 6:4,5 (NAB, “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone! Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole strength”.
We are reminded of this in the Gospels (Mk 12:30, Mt 22:37, Lk 10:27).

To say love me or roast in hell for all eternity is not really a free choice.

It seems like an easy choice.

Let it go. It’s a very complex issue that is full of pitfalls and temptations to despair. Trust that it works out… remember the Cross.

I can’t see how you can possibly know this.
So I’ll ask: How can you possibly think you know this as a certainty?

Many don’t want God to intervene to prove himself; they just want God to intervene because they want and need help. Desperately.

Um…just because Satan and Demons make certain choices, it doesn’t mean others will or would. Many would make more choices that God wants them to if he intervened. We hear the stories all the time about people who have something happen to them that they think God did, and they change their lives.
So then…perhaps God can do more of that, yes?

People aren’t asking to be puppets with no free will.
They are merely asking for God to intervene.
Big difference.

If you were assured salvation and to be in heaven forever with God…I don’t think many religious people would consider that being a slave.

As it is now, many already feel the slave mentality…but they are not %100 assured of salvation. At least with the other scenario, they know for sure what the end result will be. And that knowledge would go a long way.


Yet as many a animal may attack a weak creature human or animla, one may decide to nuture it, help it etc.

Your dogs/cats etc I pressume always follow orders directly?

My cat loves to run up and check what food can be had. Even if it is one of her favorites, since she isn’t starving she can randomky run up see it is milk or tuna and be not in the mood… idk…

S to fixed will in heaven, I am a believer it is tbe grandest trust/choice proven and undoubtable.

There is a difference between can’t and won’t.

Once in that level it is for sure you won’t but that does not mean one “can’t”.

I could live for all eternity and never eat broccoli (idk first random thought) it may be true of a group of a million people we could live on earth and never ever eat broccoli. That does not mean we technically “can’t”

No, it means we don’t and won’t.

Religion and philosophy etc is often riddled with quasi disagreements with synonyms near indistinguishable but they mean so much to people :shrug:

So can’t or won’t in this context always has the exact same result and near have the same meaning. But what I ask is the purpose of us being tested if not to “prove” and “earn” something?

He could have easily just made us in a state of heavenly constraint.

This is the simple thought, but if He wants for a lack of a better word a “true friend” it must be that we prove we won’t whike never being constrained to can’t.

People never endingly question “why”. I find it simple, what is worth more??? Is it worth more that I can’t be bad to you? Or that I won’t?

In a human sense think about the worth of a friend. If your friend were say bigger, stronger, smarter etc than you and WON’T ever hurt you in any way, that friend is worth much.

If your friend is a cripple and simple and might hurt you but CAN’T, what level do you value that at?

Truly to me the first friend would be the truest form of friendship and trust

Which is also where our friendship comes in in reverse. To trust God despite His power. He seeks those who do not fear Him above all. Not because He can’t hurt you, but because you trust He Won’t.

Only in a relationship of mutual trust can Love be true.

I think some may be missing the point… No, helping someone who begs for it is not constraining the petitioner’s free will.

But it WOULD quite often be constraining SOMEONE ELSE’S free will - namely, the free will of the one hurting you. God tilts, nudges, suggests, asks, but other than laying out His commands clearly, he rarely MAKES anything happen, because that is to take away his gift.

We find it no big deal when a machine performs its purpose. It has no choice. When a person does as we ask, it means something.

In that sense, no, mice are NOT ‘fully functional beings’ as they lack both sentience and free will. They are fully constrained by their own natures.

Well, even if I am right, I suppose it couldn’t be proven any more than your take on things. If either or any could undeniably be proven we would have what? Probably at least 90% of the world’s population operating under the same religious beliefs?

Many don’t want God to intervene to prove himself; they just want God to intervene because they want and need help. Desperately.

Humans :shrug: they do think they know what they want or need. As an example I like to use, my son is not allowed over his friends house. He thinks it is partially bc they dont watch the kids enough, he can try to work around that or think I am being mean/wrong.

They are heroin addicts… so yeah he is not old enough or ready to be told the answer. Though he thinks himself ready.

Um…just because Satan and Demons make certain choices, it doesn’t mean others will or would. Many would make more choices that God wants them to if he intervened. We hear the stories all the time about people who have something happen to them that they think God did, and they change their lives.
So then…perhaps God can do more of that, yes?

The first point I absolutely agree. Which is why some people don’t choose what satan did :smiley:

And I am reminded of a joke. A man is swimming and he prays and says God get me through this I will donate all my money and become a monk, he is halfway “God I will donate most of my money and help the poor”. He gets close to shore and “God help me I will donate my next paycheck”. As he hits the shore “God, thanks I might do something later” and later he says “yeah I totally swam that by myself becasue I am awesome”.

Perhaps the next time he needs a hand swimming it won’t be there?

People aren’t asking to be puppets with no free will.
They are merely asking for God to intervene.
Big difference


On their terms, as a child thinks their parent should. Do we always intervene or grant our children’s desires? And when we don’t are we evil? Or are we doing what is best?

If you were assured salvation and to be in heaven forever with God…I don’t think many religious people would consider that being a slave.

See my post before I saw yours about the value of a friend. The “slave” as I called it is worthless. These people seek in essence to be worthless and handed what they want in return for nothing.

As it is now, many already feel the slave mentality…but they are not %100 assured of salvation. At least with the other scenario, they know for sure what the end result will be. And that knowledge would go a long way.


Again to my other post

But let me get this ultra human…

Leader 1 says “later we may have to do X”

His people jump up out of respect and have it done perfectly for the sake of their leader

Leader 2 says “Do X NOW!!” And we make excuses and undermine jerk man.

But sometimes when you have a great leader and a crew of 10. 9 of you jump to. You do without the leader ever giving an order.

However 1 must be treated like leader 1 is lesder 2.

I had leaders like this in the military. Ever seen starship troopers? When they insult the lieutenant? The other member punches them?

I had a Sgt. Like that, if you had a guy Sgt… is a jerk the response was “No, you suck clearly so watch your mouth”

Despite one being so good to his people, so skilled at his job, and so near as perfect as an imperfect human could be there were always the few who were incapable of processing it properly.

So I say in a similar way, is it God who makes the slave? Or is it them who decides that He who is good is bad?

Another one I have stated is a renter who was for years up to 6 months behind on rent. Landlord was a doctor who probono took care of the renter’s dying mother. Years later upon eviction after years of falling behind tbe landlord offered this: “pay next month on time and I will let you stay and cut your debt in half”. The renter then lazily paid 2 weeks later and the landlord evicted.

The renter thinks the landlord is a mean sneak who renigged on their deal…

I see this as a great examole on how one’s opinion of God can be quite flawed.

Also think of it like this in terms of a relationship.

You start dating and you do 100% efforts. Then as time goes by and you get narried many do 90, 80 and sometines alll the way down to 0% effort.

God says a bit in reverse and how I see marriage.

You give a certain amount in dating sure, but upon marriage it is literally supposed to be 100%, your whole being always striving for the other

God gave us… well everything including you know, our very existence. He offers in our marriage to Him heaven. Where He gives us 100% awesome.

When people seek to be given over to an inability to reject God, we are asking to be relieved of our part of the marriage. We ask God to give His 100% and do our 100% for us.

We are on faith now, and akin to dating we are allowed some doubt how you might buy your wife a car but not your gf… bc you know if you break up.

But then we are asking to be firced into buying the car, not out of love, but because God has our checkbook. Unacceptable IMO.

As God in marriage will give us 100% for eternity. If you want to be deserving of such a great spouse then simply you must be willing to give 100% too.

It is absolutely a choice to obey a command or not. Issuing a directive is not the same as forcing someone to follow that directive.

To say love me or roast in hell for all eternity is not really a free choice.

It sure is! How many times have you made the wrong choice, even just today? How many times have I? These decisions take us further away from God. If it were not really a free choice, we would be saints already. We choose poorly…the fact of our poor choices is evidence of our ability to choose.

At the same time, God does not say, “Love me or roast in hell.” He says, “Move toward me. You are also free to move away.” He is desperate that we fall in love with Him. When we choose not to love, the de facto consequence is moving in the opposite direction. It is kind of like saying, “excersize and eat right or you will live poorly and die early.” How is that really a choice? Yet people make it every day…in droves. Living poorly and dying early is not some punishment or sentence we are threatened with. It’s just what happens when we make the wrong choice.

Yes, and perhaps marriages fail because the ceremony wasn’t (as may have been expected) a magic formula that made effort easy and failure impossible? As I see it, being ‘stuck together’ means you should make it as good as you can, not let it get unpleasant.

The promise you make on wedding day doesn’t mean you don’t fail… We have to make the same promise every day. We have to be reminded.

A relationship with God is like being married to someone who never, ever wavers, never forgets the promise, never becomes something other than He was when He ‘courted’ us… The Bible is full of this analogy, God as a lover.

But how well would we do if we never faltered on our promise, and yet the other constantly broke their side? Could we stay with them?

But God stays with us…

Yet, if we could choose to ratify that one time marriage promise and make the spouse into a slave that could literally never break that promise… How much could their love mean? Even an animal, who must obey its own nature, its love means less than that of a human being… An animal can’t suddenly choose to reject us. That’s part of their appeal. But it doesn’t get down to the soul the way the love of a human being does. A human being with the free will to reject us at any time.

Also the exactness of hell is not infallible teaching so look at the eastern version…

Hell is heaven without God. Not so torturous on the surface.

But to use my marriage example, in wither case you get a to live in a mansion and have a yacht etc.

But in one case your spouse gives you 100%

In the other your spouse leaves you unattended in everyway.

Sure we would think the latter doing better than someone happily married in the 3rd world for example.

But how many people would give up all the riches to find the right person to be happy with after 5 or 10 years in a loveless marriage?

So is hell as we often think? Or does God in a sense say He will give what He gets?

If you won’t bring 100% to the marriage then neither will He. And therefore your existence will be the hell of a loveless marriage while others are perpetually courted with maximum affection by God.

People don’t understand what Hell is. It has also been described as a cold wasteland. ‘Flames’ are a metaphor. Hell is not a place, but a state of mine. ‘Loneliness is Hell.’ Well, yes, actually, it is. It’s a freely chosen, miserable state. Hell is merely the absence of all good… Therefore the absence of GOD. Those who do not choose Him cannot endure him, and He forces no one to choose Him.

The torment of Hell is making your choice and hating it, but hating the other choice more, it’s the regret of knowing it was entirely your fault but there’s no going back. It’s the sour grapes mentality coupled with still knowing it was a mistake, it’s living with your choice, knowing it’s your fault but blaming God instead… It’s every wrong and terrible thing we have and do to ourselves on earth, but forever, unending.

That knowledge is torment. But a soul that rejects God would literally burn to nothing in His presence, and so cannot come before Him. Every soul is eternal… So in letting the soul exist outside His presence, which is all that Hell is - the absence of God - He is honoring free will, and not rescinding His gift of existence.

This would be deism, I think, not theism.

I agree.
At least…if one is merciful and loving…give a person in hell a chance to make their way out. Where is the mercy of not giving another chance?

Also…there are other Gods and religions that do not teach this, of course.
In their worlds and beliefs, their God does *not *send people into torment forever.

I think many would agree…*not enough *intervention to help many know/love him.

? What does that mean?

That’s the point. For many, if God does not intervene more, some feel forced to love him. And then, as you say, that is not love. Why does got limit his love? If he sees that some people need more intervention than others, why not give it?
Is he stingy with his love?
If giving a little more intervention with some means the difference between heaven or hell, why not give it?

That…makes no sense.
And how can it be respect when the result of not loving him is eternal hell?

Hmmm. Well, if people* choose* hell…perhaps hell is not a bad place after all? Because no one would knowingly choose a place that is burning torment forever–unless, of course, it’s better than choosing to love god. But I’d rather fake loving someone or pretend to love them or be forced to love them than choose to burn forever.

So if given the choice…perhaps hell is not as awful as it has been presented, and that is why people choose it. Perhaps hell to many is much better than loving this specific god.



God doesn’t threaten. He never ever says anything about “roasting in hell”.

Christ came to dispel such notions.

OP, I’ve read your threads, participated on some, and in general thought that you ask good questions. But honestly, it’s time for a Spiritual Director. There are people here who don’t even identify as Catholic (I presume) that are making your doubts worse and are decidedly unhelpful.

Make an appointment with a priest you feel you can communicate well with and ask if he would meet with you on occasion and recommend solid reading.

Catholic Answers is good for a lot of topics, but when you begin to have doubts…you need a person in real life to speak directly to those concerns without bringing their “opinions” into it.
Strive to find what the Church teaches, and God bless you.

Comparing the choice to eat broccoli…and the “choice” to love and believe in someone or something…is not apt.
A person can force themselves to eat broccoli even if they hate it and don’t believe it’s good for them…but that does not mean they will love the broccoli.
You can’t force yourself to love something or believe in something if you don’t. You can go thru the actions, like chewing and swallowing the broccoli, but that doesn’t mean you will love it.
Does God want people to just chew and swallow without believing and loving him?

I believe that is a dated and offensive term. The dictionary agrees with me on that one.

What about a God who is big and powerful…and then does hurt you even though you trust that he won’t?
Do you value that as much?


So…are you now saying that it *is *possible to have “fully functional beings that also can’t have free will”?

There’s nothing to prove regarding *my *“take”…I haven’t made any assertions or claims, except for expressing the feelings people have told me they have or that I’ve read about here or that are my own.

Huh? We are talking about people who want salvation and pray for help–desperately, as I noted–not about being able to play next door.
I suppose the people who post in the “prayers” section here, asking for everyone to pray for the health of a loved one…or pray for a job to come…or pray their spouse comes back to them…they don’t really know what they want or need?
If that is the case, they why pray for something specific?
And why ask others to pray?
If a person in Italy right now is praying that their child will be found under the rubble…why bother? If they don’t know what they want and need, they should just leave it to God, right? It’s God’s will that their child died in an earthquake and they should trust that is so?

Is that all it takes for God to let a person die next time? You talk about faith and trust…but it sure sounds like God gives up pretty easily on his peeps.

No, not always on their terms.
And yes, sometimes a parent does something terrible or wrong that* does* harm their child and it is *not *best. We see it every day around us, in the newspapers, and in history.

Your anecdote here doesn’t really address what I was saying…so I’m gonna just leave this one for now…

You keep comparing humans in charge–military leaders, landlords, parents–to God. But humans are not like God, according to what most religions teach:

God is special: God is all knowing, all powerful, more important, ominipotent, all-loving, everywhere. So your examples to try and compare don’t work on that level…and also on the level that we are talking about ETERNAL SALVATION here, not apartments or playing at friends’ homes.
The players are different, and so are the stakes.

I understand that you are trying to illustrate examples of human nature, but…it just doesn’t cut it, IMO.
The OP’s initial question is not talking about someone taking advantage or not understanding or appreciating a good God or a good leader…or not accepting that they, as humans, don’t always know what is best.

If I’m understanding correctly, the OP is talking about God intervening more for good people who are trying their best and are devoted to him, to help them get to heaven…and about showing more compassion about the go-to-hell-forever-and-that’s-it condemning.

Your renter who is evicted by his landlord can find another apartment with a new landlord and he may have learned his lesson to be on time after that.
But according to the HELL scenario, once you are there…you cannot get out.

And the OP, as well as many others, find if pretty difficult to understand that a merciful, all-powerful creator would do that to those he supposedly loves.


So again…I’ll ask you what I asked another poster.
How do you know what hell is? Have you been there? Have you seen it? Has someone sent you a postcard?
It’s very possible and probable that it doesn’t even exist.
So many are constantly worried about a terrible place they’ve heard about, been warned about, been threatened with, when…we have no proof it exists or that anyone has ever, ever been there.
Ya know?


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