Free Will - Hell and Mortal Sin


#1

One of the criteria for a sin being mortal involves having full consent - IE one isn’t forced into doing something by, say, blackmail, being held at gunpoint, etc.

How then, is this not a double standard? Couldn’t Hell be considered to having taken a person’s free will away?

If a person held at gunpoint is not responsible for their actions, couldn’t it be said that a person held at “Hell-point” isn’t quite free, either?


#2

Edit - it occurs to me that I misread your question. If you mean their free will while on earth, then since when are actual, objective consequences of one’s action considered to limit free will?

Does the possibility of pregnancy limit one’s free will in sexual relations? Does the possibility of getting fat limit one’s free will in visiting the bakery every morning?


#3

Ah but you mistake the ends and the source.
Being held at gunpoint might lead you to do something contrary to God’s commands.
Having a “fear of hell” is a blessing provided by God to motivate you towards his commands. “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. But in a sense you are right that “hell point” contributes to our decision making process. And in the sense that it leads us to do something good can be thought of as grace operating within our free will, not as forcing us to act.


#4

[FuzzyBunny116;2665902]One of the criteria for a sin being mortal involves having full consent - IE one isn’t forced into doing something by, say, blackmail, being held at gunpoint, etc.

How then, is this not a double standard? Couldn’t Hell be considered to having taken a person’s free will away?
**

Not at all because everyone chooses to go to hell. God simply gives them what they asked. Hell is the separation from God and if we inherently know what is good and bad (Romans 2:14-16)
yet go to our grave choosing not to follow God, then He’s not going to force His will on us.

[quote]If a person held at gunpoint is not responsible for their actions, couldn’t it be said that a person held at “Hell-point” isn’t quite free, either?

Yes and no. True freedom isn’t cohersed and if a persons conversion is cohersed then they haven’t been given true feedom. Or if I was told by some who are holding my family hostage, to break into my place of employment to steal something, so that my entire family won’t be murdered would mean I wouldn’t be culpable for stealing nor burglary; because of the law of the law of double effect. My actions of stealing and burglary are wrong but the more important effect of my actions saves my family.

However to say that any action I commit under cohersion means I’m not culpable is wrong too. If I’m held at gun point and given a gun to kill and told to kill my family or be killed, I am certainly culpable to some degree for their death; I could choose death instead.
[/quote]


#5

I’ve got to think a lot about these posts and sort them out, but you brought something else that bugs me, and perhaps belongs in the same sphere as this question. If grace leads to freedom by “freeing us” from sin, then why didn’t God give Man that “increased freedom” by giving us enough grace to easily resist the Fall (and any other sin for that matter)

If grace gives freedom, then why weren’t we given more?


#6

We don’t need more. We receive grace completely. It just so happens that we don’t recognize it.

The well-known Catholic apologist and spiritual writer, Leo J. Trese in his book “The Faith Explained” explains it like this.

*I think one of our biggest surprises on Judgment Day will be to discover how little we have to do with our own salvation. We shall be amazed to learn how continually and completely God’s grace has surrounded us and accompanied us all through life. Once in a while we can say, “God’s grace surely was with me”, but on judgment day we shall se that for every grace that we have recognized that there have been a hundred or ten thousand other, more hidden, graces of which we have been totally unconscious. *


#7

Couldn’t Hell be that cohersion though? If a person does something good or does not commit evil for fear of Hell, isn’t that cohersion? If someone held at gunpoint did something good (or bad) because they were held at gunpoint, we would call that cohersion.


#8

What I mean is: why weren’t we given more grace, perhaps comparable to The Blessed Virgin’s grace? The common explanation for the existence of evil within the Catholic Church is that human beings were given free will to reject or accept God. If grace increases human free will by not allowing ourselves to be tempted by evil, then why weren’t we given this even “freer” will, and thus never have commited the Fall, and be even more free.


#9

Everyone is given sufficient grace to avoid Hell.

Anyone who goes there goes there only by their choice.

God is Love. Love does not demand its own way as the scriptures tell us in Romans.

God loves us so much that if He gives His only Son Jesus who comes here to dies for us–and we still choose to reject that love and don’t want any part of it then God because he is all loving

Respects and honors our ability to choose

And Lets us go to Hell!

That is what Free Will is all about!


#10

Let me see if I can explain this better using the Catechism

“The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to ‘the slavery of sin’."

If the easier it is to do good, the more free one is, then why is God’s allowing us to choose evil a freedom?


#11

FuzzyBunny116;2668221]Couldn’t Hell be that cohersion though? If a person does something good or does not commit evil for fear of Hell, isn’t that cohersion?

Actually I would say no because in order for a person to commit evil one has to be free to freely commit that evil that’s why God allowed Adam and Eve to choose from the tree of life or evil; unfortunately they chose evil as we do in our same nature.
And if a person avoids doing good just for the sake of avoiding punishment their action isn’t a perfectly contrite act, therefore they aren’t actually doing a good that leads them to heaven.

All people are born into sin, and our concupiscience leads us to a tendency toward evil. One mistake many make is the false premise that people are inherently good. You’ve heard the saying–why do the good die young? Socrates said who says they are good? He was correct.

If someone held at gunpoint did something good (or bad) because they were held at gunpoint, we would call that cohersion.

Yes, because they were not free to choose for themselves. God had to make us free in order for us to be truly human. And in Catholic theology, for a person to be in mortal sin, he/she has to freely choose to disobey God and die in that state of deliberate disobedience.


#12

Yes, well said. :thumbsup:


#13

AMEN!!!


#14

The quote from the Catechism you’ve given (without referencing the section) doesn’t say good is easier to do over evil. It says "The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes."
Doing good is generally much more difficult, doing evil is generally much easier because of our fallen nature. By allowing us to choose evil over good allows us to be geniune. An autamoton can’t choose, it does what it is programed to do, we are not autamotons therefore we have to be allowed to choose evil over good.
Doing good is a stuggle because of our inclination toward sin; why God allows us to struggle in doing good?
That’s a mystery for sure. Perhaps we humans are so caught up in ourselves that we can’t see what is “good” until we truly strive and struggle to find it.


#15

God and the angels aren’t automatons, but they do not commit evil (save the angels’ fall) because of all the grace they have. Why can’t we have grace like that?


#16

Hang in there and if you get to heaven you will!
This question you ask is something with which you and I will have to ask God someday. It is as is said in Mass "the mystery of faith."
God does distribute His grace more to some and we just don’t know why. Just remember, God takes some of the most horrible events and makes good out of them. Jesus’ death on the cross was the most horrible sacrilege that ever happened; yet God took it and made it good! :slight_smile: Great questions you ask.


#17

I will have faith, but I’m sure theres an answer to all this.:frowning:


#18

The OP doesn’t make sense. People are held at “Hell-point” not to commit a sin, but abstain from that sin–and yet, even at Hell-point people commit mortal sins–that is the ultimate act of will. You choose sin in the face of eternal damnation! :eek:


#19

I don’t buy this. People (most people) who we all know and love, sin, by definition of the church (miss mass, self pleasure, fornicate, drunkedness, birth control), all well under the firm belief (mistaken or otherwise) they are going to heaven when they die.

This concept I so often read in these forums, that people choose hell is simply utterly ridiculous. If it were true, wouldn’t we find people sawing off thier own limbs for the fun of it?

I understand what the intent is (I think). But nobody, simply nobody, chooses hell (the fire and brimstone hell).

If hell is as C.S. Lewis speaks of in The Great Divorce, it may be another matter. But the hell we are most often taught exists, nobody of sane mind would choose.

We (Catholics) are ambiguous in what we say in terms of mortal sin and hell. IMO


#20

I just mean that if someone puts a gun to our head and says to commit X grave sin, it is not mortal because we did not have our free will. And if a gun to our head is enough to “negate” this free will, how much more is hell affecting our free will?


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