How sacrilegious is this on Christmas Eve?


#1

I want to know why, if earthly things are disparaged, God bothered to create them.

And if you answer that when He created them, they were good, I want to know why God didn’t give Adam and Eve a chance to see their mistake instead of punishing unborn generations of innocents for the sin of Adam and Eve.

And if you answer that God’s reasons are inscrutable, I want to know why we assert that He wants us to know Him if He does not intend to tell us what we really want to understand – such as what I have asked.

And if you respond that God will give me my heart’s desire if only I would ask Him, I want to know why I still don’t understand why He did ANYTHING and why I worry sometimes that He is a human creation.

Why did God create the entire universe? For US on this speck of rock in a smallish galaxy? For what reason? Was He lonely? How could God possibly be lonely? Why did He do anything at all? Why am I getting dizzy by thinking about the “size” of the universe? Why can’t my mind grasp the idea of God’s being the cause of everything that is? I used to be able to think about God as being the First Cause without finding a problem. I stopped there and didn’t get tempted to try to comprehend what that meant. I am doing that now, though, and I cannot comprehend what it means to be the Uncreated Creator. How blithely I used the term and read about the idea and thought about it and accepted it as rational. While it is rational, I think, I cannot comprehend it. My mind cannot understand the idea of anything existing in reality that was not created. I am up against the limits of my ability to even think, and I see that whatever it is that I do think is built into my being as part of my creatureliness and there is nothing I can do to increase the realm in which my “instrumentation” can “perceive” reality or make “sense” of it. “Making sense” is another interesting concept. Anything that “makes sense” to us is simply something for which our intellectual apparatus has receptors. We are designed to have those receptors, and we cannot receive data or information from many levels that are conceivably possible.

When I was young and didn’t even know the concept of “God” existed, I used to sometimes lie in bed before falling asleep and think of the vastness of space. I used to close my eyes and “travel” to the stars and continue traveling, noticing that there was never an end – there was no boundary at all. No boundary. I cannot understand that. I cannot understand the concept of God anymore.

How sacrilegious is this on Christmas Eve?


#2

It seems you are shadow-boxing with a theology that is far from Catholic.

"earthly things are disparaged, God bothered to create them."

Earthly things are not disparaged. Sin is.

why God didn’t give Adam and Eve a chance to see their mistake instead of punishing unborn generations of innocents for the sin of Adam and Eve.

It seems you think of God’s gifts differently than the Catholic Church. Adam and Eve were created with three kinds of gifts:

  1. Natural
  2. Preternatural (e.g., lack of suffering, freedom from death)
  3. Supernatural (e.g. sanctifying grace)

When they sinned, they lost 2 & 3 as their punishment. God still loved them and allowed them to have wonderful and good natural gifts. It just without the others, gift #1 is less wonderful than when gift #1 was combined with the other two.

That we, their progeny did not inherit what they lost is not unjust. If my Dad were to win a million dollars than blow it on sinful indulgence, is it an act of injustice to me that I did not inherit more from my Dad? That’s absurd, right? I am not owed any inheritance, and I ought not to gripe about receiving some inheritance.

The gifts were never yours to begin with, so why whine about it? It seems liek we ought to be thankful for gift number 1 given to us at birth.

Furthermore, we all have the opportunity to receive the other gifts back too, because of Jesus Christ. Yet, although God does not require our deservedness, he does require our participation in the receipt of these gifts.

I think whining about the lack of MORE gifts from God is rather ridiculous. Although given the present age of “me, me, me” it seems common.

Why did God create the entire universe? For US on this speck of rock in a smallish galaxy? For what reason?

So that we can live with Him and love Him forever. He knows how cool that will be, even if we don’t realize it ourselves. Again, the covenant relationship with God requires our participation even if we don’t deserve the convenantal reward.

Science points to creation. See more here:

**The improbability of man’s random spontaneous generation **

Sir Francis Bacon asserted “***A little science estranges a man from God; a lot of science brings him back.***” This has certainly been my experience. Over the years, I’ve had conversations with atheists who have asserted to me that the evidence of science proves there is no God. What follows are excerpts from some of those conversations.

More… itsjustdave1988.blogspot.com/2005/12/improbability-of-mans-random.html


#3

Hi, Dave,

What I was reacting to was this, from ccel.org/ccel/kempis/imitation.THREE.49.html:

MY CHILD, when you feel the desire for everlasting happiness poured out upon you from above, and when you long to depart out of the tabernacle of the body that you may contemplate My glory without threat of change, open wide your heart and receive this holy inspiration with all eagerness. Give deepest thanks to the heavenly Goodness which deals with you so understandingly, visits you so mercifully, stirs you so fervently, and sustains you so powerfully lest under your own weight you sink down to earthly things. For you obtain this not by your own thought or effort, but simply by the condescension of heavenly grace and divine regard. And the purpose of it is that you may advance in virtue and in greater humility, that you may prepare yourself for future 179 trials, that you may strive to cling to Me with all the affection of your heart, and may serve Me with a fervent will.


Dave,

Also, I was voicing some other questions (which you didn’t address) that have started interfering with my heretofore “simple” faith.


#4

[quote=ThisOne]Hi, Dave,

What I was reacting to was this, from ccel.org/ccel/kempis/imitation.THREE.49.html:

MY CHILD, when you feel the desire for everlasting happiness poured out upon you from above, and when you long to depart out of the tabernacle of the body that you may contemplate My glory without threat of change, open wide your heart and receive this holy inspiration with all eagerness. Give deepest thanks to the heavenly Goodness which deals with you so understandingly, visits you so mercifully, stirs you so fervently, and sustains you so powerfully lest under your own weight you sink down to earthly things. For you obtain this not by your own thought or effort, but simply by the condescension of heavenly grace and divine regard. And the purpose of it is that you may advance in virtue and in greater humility, that you may prepare yourself for future 179 trials, that you may strive to cling to Me with all the affection of your heart, and may serve Me with a fervent will.


Dave,

Also, I was voicing some other questions (which you didn’t address) that have started interfering with my heretofore “simple” faith.
[/quote]

Wow… you were reacting to Thomas a’Kempis? Odd reaction. What do you think Thomas a’Kempis was asserting? What was his connotation with regard to “earthly things” do you suppose?

As for your other questions, it is difficult to respond to a buckshot of questions. It’s more productive to address one thing at a time.

How about original sin, since that seems to be your first issue. Do you understand that an un-owed gift not received is well within the principles of justice? Original Sin is really the lack of Original Justice, which was not owed to Adam or his progeny.


#5

[quote=itsjustdave1988]Wow… you were reacting to Thomas a’Kempis? Odd reaction. What do you think Thomas a’Kempis was asserting? What was his connotation with regard to “earthly things” do you suppose?

As for your other questions, it is difficult to respond to a buckshot of questions. It’s more productive to address one thing at a time.

How about original sin, since that seems to be your first issue. Do you understand that an un-owed gift not received is well within the principles of justice? Original Sin is really the lack of Original Justice, which was not owed to Adam or his progeny.
[/quote]

I hope someone will address my questions as they are written and for what they are on their face without (1) characterizing me as outside the Catholic Church, (2) making offensive comments about my thought not being in union with the Catholic Church, (3) offering gratuitous insults about my reaction to a particular text at a particular time, or (4) using a remarkably un-Catholic condescending tone.


#6

ThisOne, I support your inquiry. I too, have questions about the nature of God and the purpose of creating humans.

I don’t consider doubt and wonder to be sacraligious regardless of the day of the year. I don’t have any answersfor you, sorry. But, I would like to say that there is not a human among us that sits at the right hand of God and has been “gifted” with the authority to judge those who have questions and doubts. Nor is there a human who has been “gifted” with the right to lambast anyone who questions and has doubts. Your desire to share your doubts and ask your questions is just as valid as anyone else’s desire for answers.


#7

Thank you, Coyote. I’m an adult convert (1982), so I suppose there are some questions that didn’t get expressed in the process of entering the Church. The questions I asked tonight were the least of my questions back in 1982. In fact, I was so overwhelmed by the “call” that such questions never even occurred to me. I am glad to hear that you share an interest in them.

In a sense, I think I know the answers to them all, but I at least wanted to finally ask someone else and not continue to suppose that I know what the Church says. Twenty-two years ago, even if I had these questions, I would not have had the nerve to be so frank about my own struggles. Today, I am convinced that it’s impossible for me not to believe (for reasons that are both within and beyond my control), so these questions do not threaten my sense of being Catholic.


#8

[quote=ThisOne]I hope someone will address my questions as they are written and for what they are on their face without (1) characterizing me as outside the Catholic Church, (2) making offensive comments about my thought not being in union with the Catholic Church, (3) offering gratuitous insults about my reaction to a particular text at a particular time, or (4) using a remarkably un-Catholic condescending tone.
[/quote]

I must vouch for Dave (itsjustdave) as he is an excellent asset to this board whom I am unaware of him ever being condescending, offensive, or gratuitously insulting. I believe you are reading into his response things that simply are not there or at least certainly not intended to be. If you will allow some give-and-take in the discussion, I believe you will find his insights edifying.


#9

ThisOne,

Just attempting to dialogue. I didn’t intend any offense.


#10

I let it go the first time, but when the same tone appeared in his second response, I decided to say something.

Perhaps the second possibility you offer is the case; certainly, it is not the first. The words are there and their meaning is unmistakable. Perhaps he thought I was not Catholic. However, that assumption and the tone that ensued are both unwarranted, whether I was Catholic or not.

Thank you for your post, Scott.


#11

[quote=Scott Waddell]I must vouch for Dave (itsjustdave) as he is an excellent asset to this board whom I am unaware of him ever being condescending, offensive, or gratuitously insulting. I believe you are reading into his response things that simply are not there or at least certainly not intended to be. If you will allow some give-and-take in the discussion, I believe you will find his insights edifying.
[/quote]

Thanks Scott. I think I need to be more thoughtful about what I type and how it might be understood.


#12

[quote=itsjustdave1988]ThisOne,

Just attempting to dialogue. I didn’t intend any offense.
[/quote]

Thanks, Dave. I might be a little too sensitive, too.

I need to learn also to not just blab the thoughts as they occur to me and to be more understanding of what a reader might likely infer from my words, particularly if I’m “new” in a thread and may be totally unknown to others.

Now, where were we? :smiley:


#13

No problema…:thumbsup:

What do you think of the understanding of Original Sin being more of a lack of something, than anything else. It is a lack of Original Justice. It is not my own original thinking, but what I’ve read in Fr. Leo Trese’s book, The Faith Explained.

When one thinks in terms of Divine gifts, it becomes easier to understand that we aren’t deserving of them from birth anyways. Yet God still wants us to have them, and has given us a convenant in which we can.


#14

Also, I think what Thomas a’ Kempis means by “earthly things,” by the context, refers to human actions apart from grace. He’s speaking of a Christian who falls from grace and returns to his former self.

Catholicism believes that nature is made good and continues to be good. Yet, without the supernatural catalyst called “grace” our engines are likely to soon burn out and we fall into sinfulness.


#15

[quote=itsjustdave1988]No problema…:thumbsup:

What do you think of the understanding of Original Sin being more of a lack of something, than anything else. It is a lack of Original Justice. It is not my own original thinking, but what I’ve read in Fr. Leo Trese’s book, The Faith Explained.

When one thinks in terms of Divine gifts, it becomes easier to understand that we aren’t deserving of them from birth anyways. Yet God still wants us to have them, and has given us a convenant in which we can.
[/quote]

I suppose I could deal with this question better if I knew the answers to my other questions. For example, all I could say now is that any “lack” in us (and I’m not sure what you mean by “Original Justice”) is given to us by our Creator, with His evident full knowledge of what would happen. If He created us with a “lack,” then He chose to do so and I cannot see where WE are to blame. I can see where I am to blame when I sin in my own life, but God gives ME more than a second chance, doesn’t He? Why didn’t he afford Adam and Eve the same thing He affords me?


#16

[quote=ThisOne]Hi, Dave,

What I was reacting to was this, from ccel.org/ccel/kempis/imitation.THREE.49.html:

MY CHILD, when you feel the desire for everlasting happiness poured out upon you from above, and when you long to depart out of the tabernacle of the body that you may contemplate My glory without threat of change, open wide your heart and receive this holy inspiration with all eagerness. Give deepest thanks to the heavenly Goodness which deals with you so understandingly, visits you so mercifully, stirs you so fervently, and sustains you so powerfully lest under your own weight you sink down to earthly things. For you obtain this not by your own thought or effort, but simply by the condescension of heavenly grace and divine regard. And the purpose of it is that you may advance in virtue and in greater humility, that you may prepare yourself for future 179 trials, that you may strive to cling to Me with all the affection of your heart, and may serve Me with a fervent will.


Dave,

Also, I was voicing some other questions (which you didn’t address) that have started interfering with my heretofore “simple” faith.
[/quote]

This One:

Do you have a siritual director? If so, is he reading and discussing this with you?

I wouldn’t tackle Thomas a’ Kempis without the aid of a spiritual director who was EXTREMELY familiar with Thomas a’ Kempis. his writings and the monastic lifestyle and who (preferably) lives that lifestuyle himself.

Otherwise, you’ll be confused as you are now, and you’ll get back answers from people who don’t understand how spiritually challenging Thomas a’ Kempis can be.

Might I suggest that you do all of us both a favor? Take a break from Thomas a’ Kempis (I know, He was also my father’s favorite and he made me read him while I was a young man, too) and look at these for a while:

The Wisdom of the Desert - Sayings from the Verba Seniorum
nd.edu/Departments/Maritain/etext/wd.htm

Thomas Merton’s Edition of sayings from the Verba Seniorum:

Wisdom of the Desert
Thomas Merton
amazon.com/gp/product/0811201023/104-0130387-4168749?v=glance&n=283155 Amazon
shambhala.com/html/catalog/items/isbn/1-59030-039-4.cfm Shambala Publications
christdesert.us/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=WOTD&Category_Code=TH Monestery GiftShop
Review in Slowreads -
slowreads.com/ReviewMertonWisdomDesert.htm

Thomas a’ Kempis is tough reading. Most of the time, he’s in a realm that we’ll be only when we die. The Desert Fathers lived in the same realm, but are more accessable, because they dealt with daily life. I also know that there are a lot of brothers on this forum (make friends with some of the Eastern Orthodox and the Eastern Rite Cathlics) who can discuss their spirituality with you without misleading you.

After you’ve done that, I think you’ll be able to tackle Thomas a’ Kempis with the aid of a Spiritual Director.

But under NO circumstances should you just read his meditations on your own.

I really do hope this helps, and please forgive any of us who’ve said things we shouldn’t have.

In Christ, Michael


#17

Michael and Dave,

I was looking at the threads of Imitation of Christ on this site and read that and went off on a harangue! Of course I know what he meant. Frankly, I don’t know why I fixated on that – maybe it was a prelude to the other questions I asked… As I said later on, I think I know the answers to all the questions I asked, but at the time, I was just giving voice to a niggling thing inside me that demanded to come out. Sometimes there is this nagging question of “Why’d He bother doing all this?”

Early in my development I started reading Rahner, St. Francis de Sales, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, Meister Eckhard, Evelyn Underhill, and others, so I am well-acquainted with the literature on a level that is sometimes referred to as “difficult.” I even lived with nuns for two years in a community for lay working women seeking a deeper relationship with God for two years after I entered the Church. I advanced rapidly in private prayer but had psychological problems that I am only now addressing, and as I discover my real self, I am discovering that there are questions left over from my time of conversion that I just didn’t bother with because I was so “taken away” by the experience of having found Christ.

The book that actually launched me into the Church was Fulton Sheen’s Life of Christ, which I picked up after a house fire in which my whole life was turned upside down.

But, I digress. I’ve read Merton, too, and I am sorry that I gave in without thinking to what was bubbling up in my mind – it really didn’t reflect what I know until I got to the latter questions that I asked. Those still are bothering me.


#18

“uncreated Creator” is a definition…something
human beings can “say” about God.

I am more at home with the word eternal.
He Who was, and is and will be.

For 50 years I asked the question:
What are we doing here to *begin *with?

The understanding that I finally arrived at
is: I don’t know. But the startling fact is…
here I am! Good grief.

And, if this makes sense: I looked for the
purpose of life and then I realized … took me 50 years :o ]
the question is *not *What am I doing here? but what is
God’s purpose for me, since I’m here.

I often think, on Christmas Eve, that the things
that people think about…instead of the things
associated with the great feast of Christmas…
are the things that Christ came to answer by being
the Answer to the sometimes unarticulated
questions of the human heart.

So, no, I don’t think thinking of these things, on
Christmas Eve, is sacreligous, rather a tribute
to Christ, in a way.

Merry Christmas,

reen12

{As to the stars in the sky, I think that God put
them there as a gift… of beauty and wonder.]


#19

–I want to know why, if earthly things are disparaged, God bothered to create them.–

Because He loves them and their potential. He is love and it is love’s nature to be fruitful, to create.

—And if you answer that when He created them, they were good, I want to know why God didn’t give Adam and Eve a chance to see their mistake instead of punishing unborn generations of innocents for the sin of Adam and Eve.–

Actually He did. That’s why Christ came. Its not a mere punishing. They were given knowledge of good and evil and thus in that knowledge they were given the oppertunity to know evil and thus also know good. Its not merely some tragic mistake. God built creation with the intention of Christ. We actually become greater as we repent, seek forgiveness and learn to love perfectly. Nothing happens that God does not allow and God allowed sin to enter the world because, just like we see in the cruxifiction, what appears horrible and terrible can be transformed into something great and miraculus.

–And if you answer that God’s reasons are inscrutable, I want to know why we assert that He wants us to know Him if He does not intend to tell us what we really want to understand – such as what I have asked.–

In order to understand Him, you have to know the right questions and gain a completely different perspective of the world. What you don’t understand is God. To know Him brings an understanding that I would say cannot even be completely contained in words, as I’ve found that many words in the bible I’ve read a million times will suddenly reach me much later in life to their meaning that I never grasped. And when I’ve tried to explain it to others I eventually discover that it is worded as perfectly as it can be in that passage. One must have Christ’s light to see it, and His light is not one you merely have or do not have. But one that draws closer and closer to you as you develop spiritually.

–And if you respond that God will give me my heart’s desire if only I would ask Him, I want to know why I still don’t understand why He did ANYTHING and why I worry sometimes that He is a human creation.–

God will give you what is good for you. Your heart’s desire may not be good for you. You must conform your heart to His.

As for Him being a creation of humanity, I will say that we do tend to impose our own image of what He is onto Him. In that way, this false image of God is man’s creation, but Yawheh (which means “I am what I am”, “I am” or “Is, was and will be.” depending on how you want to translate the Hebrew) is. Many times when we read “God is love” we impose our own false view of what love is rather than to take that as meaning that when we know God, then we know love and not the other way around. And God’s greatest sign of love is His death on the Cross. Think of it as symbolism. He is teaching us His nature through the events so as to teach us how to be the the best versions of ourselves possible. And we do not through making our own goal of what we want ourselves to become, but following the path of what He wants us to become, thus being that which He intended from the first moment He thought us up.


#20

–Why did God create the entire universe? For US on this speck of rock in a smallish galaxy? For what reason? Was He lonely? How could God possibly be lonely? Why did He do anything at all? –

The galaxies really speak to me on God’s nature. I had a meditation of this last year. Everything works in the world through a constant movement. Gravity works because of movement. Stars rotate in the galaxy, planets rotate around the sun. And what I saw this as is like a finger print of God. That the three persons of the Trinity constantly are in motion, giving themselves to one another completely so that they are one unit. It is this constant and complete self donation, this motion that defines love. And as God shows us with the sexual act, the greatest act where we give ourselves completely to one another (completely selflessly if we are within God’s will) that our expression of love brings forth a fruit, new life.

It is the nature of love to create. Its not because He is lonely or because we complete Him or serve any need He has. But merely because He loves us. He created us as images of Him, beings with the capacity to completely give ourselves over and to spread His image everywhere, this image of love. Everything else in this world is a reflection and expression of that which we are to follow in our wills. Thus we first give ourselves first completely to our creator and He empties Himself into us and our purpose is to spread His love everywhere, His type of love, His definition of love, Him everywhere. That is how evanglization should work. Not through mere lecturing and preaching but really its only giving people God. If they can’t receive Him directly than the best we can do is hand Him over in loving acts toward them. They may take it as something from us and not understand that it is God we give to them, even if just a taste, but when that love, when God enters their hearts through us, it softens their hearts and helps them on the road to become the best version of themselves possible just as God is doing that work within us as well.

As for your inability to grasp God’s infiniteness, you also say you have difficulty grasping the infinite space of our galaxy. I will say this much. It is rather a more difficult task and is only easy because of our experience and lives to really grasp something that is but at one time wasn’t. We can’t remember not existing, we only know that people existed before us. But we also know that there was a type of evolution. For those creationists, we know there was a beginning, but even evolution has a beginning because at one point you get down to the microscopic level. One has three options of belief (unless the individual does not think about it) 1. That material has always existed but in a different form, in a very simplistic form. Perhaps it was just gas componants or just electrons, neutrons and protons. That for an infinite amount of time that they were something so simple and so seperate that they just existed as is and then one day found each other and randomly created without the force of will or anything the roots and the stem to what has now become. Regardless, you still have to go to infinity of existance. 2. That at one time nothing existed. This makes the most since in the respect that if nothing existed than nothing would exist and nothing would keep existing. But then we come to the realization that we exist and we know for a fact that something does not come from nothing. If nothingness always existed than nothingness would have always been. So unless you want to violate the laws of science or at least suspend the rules, than you’ve got nothing. 3. That something great has always existed, something that just Is. That it isn’t nothingness, but somethingness. We call this thing God. And if in this thing’s very nature came a nature that begot new life, it makes since. The only difficulty in grasping it is the question “How long did he wait to create and what was He doing before then?” Why did He wait? But again that is giving him the attributes of one that Had a beginning. And it really is easier to grasp that nothingness existed at one time to and want to create God to make sense of somethingness, but that doesn’t follow as well. But if we can grasp an infinite time of nothingness, why can’t we grasp infinity for God?

I can only say this much. Logically it works out, but imagining it is a whole other ballgame. I guarentee that if we were like God in the way that we were infinite and had no beginning, the concept would not be difficult to grasp, but this is not a quality we share with God in our experience or being and so thus we cannot relate to this reality but merely have faith in it.


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