Hell by definition is a preference for some lower good in place of God. At least, that is one way I have heard it stated.
How are human beings expected to choose God above all other goods when God is often abstract, distant, and not with much consolation? For example, take sexual pleasure. Sexual desire is a universal human desire, and it can be a strong one. Though God created sex and its pleasure, it is obviously distorted – and easily so – thanks to the desires we have.
Traditionally theology marks any non-marital, life-giving sexual activity as mortally sinful. It can cut you off from God. But the desire is often so strong, the pleasure is so intense.
God seems so distant in such a case, for we do not achieve the same kind of pleasure in such an immediate way. This is not to say we were not meant for God (In Heaven, we may in fact experience God as our supreme good and purpose). But here on earth, that is often hard to discern.
So stated another way, why are we made to desire so many things that often put as at odds with God? How are we expected to readily choose God above other goods when these lesser goods are so much more easily connected to human fulfillment (sex relating to desire for sexual intimacy, etc.)
Hell is the total absence of good.
God is near to us.
Self sacrifice unites us to the Passion of Our Lord.
Feelings and pleasure are not the be all end all to existence. It’s worthless without the love of God.
When we choose God, we choose perfect love.
You make it sound so complicate.
Master your passions, follow Christ.
It’s the Gospel message.
That is not the way God originally made man. This desire is called concupiscence and is a consequence of original sin. When Adam fell he redefined what it meant to be human so we tend to let the passions rule reason, but that is not what God wanted for us.
“Yet certain temporal consequences of sin remain in the baptized, such as suffering, illness, death, and such frailties inherent in life as weaknesses of character, and so on, as well as an inclination to sin that Tradition calls concupiscence, or metaphorically, “the tinder for sin” (fomes peccati); since concupiscence "is left for us to wrestle with, it cannot harm those who do not consent but manfully resist it by the grace of Jesus Christ.” CCC 1264
How are we expected to readily choose God above other goods when these lesser goods are so much more easily connected to human fulfillment (sex relating to desire for sexual intimacy, etc.)
Simply put, by imitating Christ. He left us the example of how to live and we must put that into practice. Granted we don’t always succeed but Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.”
Life is a MINEFIELD, if you blindly go thru
life you will get HURT. Christ gave us clear
commands to help us NAVIGATE this jour-
ney. Love God and Love your fellow Christ-
ians, then love your neighbor, enemies.
However, there are PITS in this minefield,
too, these are BAD HABITS that will trap
you and force you to ruin, both financially
and physically, not to mention socially!!
Christ has given us THE CHURCH to
help us out of these pits, that is, the
AND one another, the spiritual among
us MUST help those who are trapped in
addictions OUT of the pit, therefore we
“leave no one behind”. Gal. 6:1
But even here you prove the point. You say “self sacrifice” and “master your passions.” So the idea is that, to choose God, the highest good, we have to make efforts to limit the human desires we have been given. And what makes it all the more difficult is precisely the pleasure we know we get from these desires; whereas understanding God as our ultimate Good is more of an abstract idea.
We’re here to learn to ultimately become jaded with the lesser things, as we also, with grace, come to know God better and better. As we realize that something is missing, that full satisfaction and happiness can’t be found in created things, good as they may be, we begin to seek God more.
Anyway, Adam essentially abandoned and lost the knowledge of God for humanity, thinking he might find greater fulfillment elsewhere, apart from God. God, meanwhile, grants us time here in this exile from Him to learn that Adam was wrong, so that with the help of grace we might learn that ‘apart from Him we can do nothing’, to paraphrase John 15:5, including finding true complete happiness and satisfaction which comes to the extent that we run, like Prodigals, back home to the father who’s been waiting all along, even as this happiness won’t be totally realized until the next life when we see Him “face to face”. Lesser things are often not so much bad or prohibited as much as they are simply inadequate in the end-and therefore more or less harmful to the degree that they keep us separated from God.
In the end it’s a matter of the human will. Our justice is complete to the extent that our wills are aligned with God’s, meaning we’re no longer willing to commit sin while knowing or thinking that it may well be wrong, just in case it might still bring greater happiness somehow. Put another way, our justice is complete as we come to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. This is a process, a work of God’s in us, and fortunately one that He patiently accomplishes in us, as we increasingly cooperate with Him, sometimes in fits and starts.
God is not abstract. He is REAL.
These things you want to elevate as equal to Godly things are temporary, fleeting, and ultimately pass away.
One can have self control, no?
I like butter. Should I eat butter only?
Does that make me a person who follows their heart, or a person who doesn’t care a fig for her health & life?
We are made for the next life, not this one.
Concupiscence isn’t a punishment by God it’s a consequence of sin. Say for example a mother tells her son, “don’t touch that frying pan you’ll get burned”, but the son touches the pan anyway and gets burned. The mother didn’t punish the son with a second degree burn it was a result of touching the frying pan. It’s the same with concupiscence. When our first parents became mortal we, as their descendants, are all born into a humanity redefined by original sin.
Ive wondered about this before, it almost like seems like man is hardwired to sin, its MUCH easier to give into sin and take pleasure from it than it is to restrain. I think that really should be the opposite
Then I guess the question could be: Will God take these inclinations to sin into account when he judges our actions? For example, mortal sin is not actually MORTAL unless someone commits the act with knowledge and consent. But if we are born with concupiscence, then we are born with an inclination to sin.
Then again, also note that the Catholic teaching is NOT that we are born sinners. We do not have a corrupted nature. The Fall lowered our nature in the sense that we no longer have what God wanted us to have – grace of friendship with him – but that was not owed to human nature in the first place.
One explanation I’ve read that talks about how, in fact, Original SIn means inclination to sin is that, since we are born with a God-shaped hole in our hearts, without actually having friendship with God we naturally look for other means to fulfill this end for which we are meant. In this case, we are not so much born with an inclination to sin but with an inclination to form an inclination to sin.