'God Cannot Be God Without Man,' Pope Francis Says

’God Cannot Be God Without Man,’ Pope Francis Says

A controversial comment made by Pope Francis on Wednesday that “God cannot be God without man” has sparked a fiery debate among theologians and other believers.

Speaking on the theme “God’s paternity, wellspring of our hope,” Pope Francis made the comments while trying to explain to a group of pilgrims and other faithful travelers that Scripture shows that it isn’t in God’s nature to leave man alone.

“Dear brothers and sisters, we are never alone. We may be distant, hostile, we may even profess ourselves to be ‘without God’. But the Gospel of Jesus Christ shows us that God cannot stay without us,” the pope said, according to a summary of his comments provided by the Holy See Press Office.

“He will never be a God ‘without man’; it is He Who cannot stay without us, and this is a great mystery! God cannot be God without man: the great mystery is this!” he said.

He went on to explain that it is because of God’s fatherly love for man that the faithful should have hope in God always.

“And this certainty is the wellspring of our hope, which we find conserved in all the invocations of Our Father. When we are in need of help, Jesus does not tell us to resign ourselves and close ourselves up, but instead to turn to the Father and to ask Him trustfully,” said Francis.

“All our needs, from the most evident and everyday, such as food, health and work, up to those such as being forgiven and kept from temptation, are not the reflection of our solitude: there is instead a Father who always looks upon us with love, and Who certainly does not abandon us,” he explained.

John Paul Meenan, professor of theology at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, a Catholic college in Eastern Ontario, told LifeSiteNews, however, that he is concerned with the statement that “God cannot be God without man.”

He said it could be taken to support a modernist falsehood known as “process theology” which argues that “God perfects Himself by creation or grows with creation.”

Another theologian who chose not to be identified in the report said: “Because of The Incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ, it is true that God remains eternally joined to mankind through the human nature of Jesus Christ, Second of the Three Divine Persons of The Most Blessed Trinity.”

The theologian noted, however, that God has no “actual need” of man.

“God has absolutely no actual need of mankind, our relationship with God being entirely dependent on that gratuitous superabundance of the infinite Divine Love of The Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” the theologian said.


Rome Reports: romereports.com/2017/06/07/pope-at-general-audience-god-cannot-be-god-without-us

Well…I’m not a Theologian by any means…I guess it might be how one interprets what Pope Francis said…personally it works for me…God created us out of his infinite love for us…and because he wants us to love him in return…so I’m really glad he needs me to love him so I can spend eternity in his presence…ok…that’s my simple way of thinking what he means…so I have no problem with it…and don’t wish to get into some theological debate telling me that I’m wrong…God bless Pope Francis:)

Apparently Pope Francis has studied Jewish theology. This idea that G-d needs man is reminiscent of Jewish teaching that G-d has forged a legal, social, and moral contract with humanity such that G-d does His share and we do ours in making the world a better place to live for all. G-d is intertwined in our destiny and truly cares that we fulfill our share of the bargain for our own sake. This reveals the great love that G-d has for His whole creation and particularly His human creation, whose purpose on earth is to care for others, including not only our fellow human, but animals, plants, Mother Earth. I am surprised that Christians would question Pope Francis’ wise words, being that Christianity believes the L-rd Himself took human form for the salvation of mankind.

The OP has an obvious agenda to discredit any and all that Pope Francis says, or is reported as saying. Take a look at what JPSCU has as his “religion”.

That’s true, but we also hold that God is complete in Himself and doesn’t strictly need anything.

I certainly don’t think the Pope meant to speak against that truth, any more than did the Biblical writers who spoke of God yearning after us like a husband or seeking to gather us like a mother hen with her chicks, but one has to be careful to understand his words in line with what we already know rather than as a departure.

I see this statement as saying something like"God can’t lie." It’s not a case of our limiting what God can do, but a case of saying"this is not part of God’s nature." It is part of who God is to love us and have a relationship with us.

What was God before man?

Good point. Anyone care to answer?

The Biblical passage you cited is absolutely true. Not sure how this proves anything although it was nice to be reminded of the passage.

Still God, of course. But not yet the Bridegroom without His Bride.

They anthropomorphize God and His relationship to us, and could be taken to mean that He needs us and is harmed or lacking in something when we turn away.

This to me comes close to saying God was not complete before man.

True Catholic theology would say that God always was, God already was Perfect, God always was complete, God did not lack. And God did not “need” man to be any of those things. Furthermore some would say the relationship if the Trinity to each other, was the “bridegroom, bride” bond.

The pope is not a theologian. I don’t think he claims to be. That probably fell at the foot of his predecessor.

At times When he speaks, I’m reminded of my great uncle. A wise, moral, patriarch, that sometimes left you shaking your head at thanksgiving…

We are using human language to express the Divine so we use what we can but human words, language, is a gift to us from God and therefore while words might not express in totality they do reach upwards. Yearning is an apt word.

Geez, the topic title had my eyes popping, but the comments make sense in context.

Context. It’s all about the context. I see no problem with the Pope’s comments. It was the headline out of context which seemed like it could be problematic.

Also, the idea of a covenant between God and man, where man often stumbles but God still always keeps His part, is also an important part of Catholic teaching.

To me, the answer is simple. Jesus, as the second person of the Blessed Trinity is man. I quite honestly can not fathom God before man.

I don’t see what the controversy in Pope Francis’ comments. Of course God cannot be without man. God has a human nature and his name is Jesus Christ.


I don’t think we should treat the Pope’s comment as having anything to do with God in His essence. This is an affirmation of God’s covenant with man and, if man can be likened to a wandering spouse, looking at God’s actions as someone who will never give up on His spouse and will always try to woo humanity back to Him.

If this statement were made by anyone else, I wonder how many people would be rushing to explain how it can be possible.

Process theology is certainly heresy, but I don’t read that in Pope Francis’ remarks at all.

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