Your donation helps provide answers and spread the gospel. GIVE NOW! Matching gift doubles your donation.

Is God’s love unconditional? I think not


#61

Just finding ways to discredit Pope Francis. :roll_eyes:


#62

just found this in my book of Saints famous quotations…Tradition?

God cannot but hate sin, which is his enemy and diametrically opposed to his will; and therefore, in hating sin, he necessarily hates the sinner who is united with his sin.

St. Alphonsus Liguori


#63

It isn’t nice to assign untoward motives to me.


#64

Do you know what you are doing with Scripture that is in direct opposition to how Catholics read and live Scripture


#65

This is not how anyone catholic should be applying Scripture. We never abuse Scripture by using it to validate our points unless we are fundamentalist

I challenge you to validate how any bonefide accredited catholic apologist would do what you claim


#66

Is it not? Do you accept that allowing us to experience the consequences of our choice is loving?

Some reject His love. He does not stop loving them.

Clearly you are misunderstanding what you are reading.

If His love was not constant, how would this be possible?

I agree. I am sorry that you have not understood the Bible.

There are conditions on our behavior, not on His love.

Romans 2 makes it clear that there will be different consequences for those who choose to reject Him.


#67

Luke 14:26. Perhaps you can elaborate?

Could you point me to that Scripture that say he no longer loves them? Many of his people rejected him and his prophets, but I have not come across any that say he stopped loving them. Sometimes he says he regretted creating them but that is different from being “out of love”.

One has to be careful here. “Hate” used biblically conveys different meanings depending on context as I have mentioned previously. We often say God hates the sin but not the sinner. When people do not remain in his love, it does not necessarily mean God stopped loving. It most probably mean that people choose to walk away from his love, God’s love is still there, but people chose a different path. And those deviant paths have consequences.

Unfortunately, you have not demonstrated that God lost his love 100% for any of us that has strayed. If there is no longer any love, then by logic, there is no use for repentance. If there is no longer any love, anything I do, including repentance will not result in the happy ending of the Prodigal Son. Or the return of the adulterous Israel. The logical conclusion for the prodigal son is that the father’s love remains, whether he came back or not. No, it doesn’t turn to hatred if he didn’t come back but perhaps regret and sorrow. Since repentance is always available to all of us, and God accepts ALL that repents (rejoicing in heaven), you have to admit that God retained his love for us. Otherwise that would make a scandal of epic proportion for God to admit to heaven those that he no longer loves.

Our God is a God of Love. He is never out/empty of Love. 1 Cor 13:8 Love never ends. Together with the nature of a changeless God, you cannot make God to a Being that changed from a God that previously loved to one that no longer loves. That would be an affront to his omniscience. Hence if there is a conflict between what you perceive to be a loveless God to one that conflicts with what we know to be the nature of God, your perception must be in error then.


#68

I’m sorry but you don’t. You make vague out of context proof texts of scripture. Catholic apologists and the Magisterium never take scripture out of context.

Scripture is always interpreted through Christ firstly.
And the bible is read as a whole integrated Word from 1st book to last. This is fundamental (pun intended) to your misunderstanding.

You are also confusing God’s love with the various human responses to it. Yes people choose hell, and at the same time God’s love is unconditional.


#69

If God’s unconditional sustaining love ceased, his fallen creatures would vaporize into nothingness. The fact that we continue on is proof of God’s love.
In the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, God even “becomes sin” so as to conquer it.

That is as unconditional as it gets.


#70

OK, Thank you for the serious, passionate replies. I appreciate that we have all argued for our positions out of sincerity. I believe this is good theological exchange…”iron sharpens iron”.

I am surprised that the consensus is 100% opposite of my position. I had expected maybe 50-50. I am glad I found the St. Alphonsus Liguori or I would really feel lonely.

You repetition that God is love is of course very powerful. If God loves the people in Hell then it must be type of love that is completely outside the bounds of any type of love that humans can understand or perhaps because there is only one hell not many hells…
Tell me, are you still asking why hell exists? Ask that question no longer, but ask why there’s only one hell - St. John Chrysostom.

Perhaps, as has been pointed out, Biblical translations can be tricky. What does “hate” mean, and does it mean the same thing in every instance? I think that is a factor in our disagreement.

I have not denied that repentance is available. I have not denied the Christ died for us out of his unsearchable love. I have not denied God’s unlimited love, only that he attaches conditions to his love.

Pardon me for being blunt but in my humble opinion a few replies have been “preachy” or “arbitrarily critical” and that is your right and there is nothing wrong with it, I do the same sometimes. I claim that you are arbitrary and you claim I am, so we are at an impasse.

I have been asking for a specific De Fide quotes to support your position and have not received it. No hard feelings. I do understand your thinking better and learned some things and I don’t doubt your sincerity and I respect your putting up with someone like me who you consider to very wrong. God bless you.


#71

By virtue of the incarnation, the Lord is joined to every man, says John Paul II (sorry I forgot the reference). He joined by power and essence, and to the elect in his presence by grace. When you read the old testament and see the contrast of sin and the holy, keep in mind the incarnation did not take place, which the prince of peace brought peace to the disorder of flesh from the heavens (“For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus” 1 Tim 2:5) and the letter had to be fulfilled in the New Testament.

Those in mortal sin, are not included in his presence but still joined in love by power and essence. The Father is satisfied with the remission of sin done by the Son. “You take away the sins of the world. Have mercy on us” “look not on our sins but in the faith of your church” Only the Son does what is pleasing. And in the Son, we find the meditator who is joined to every man regardless of blame.


#72

There is no impasse. God reveals himself. The Church is the vehicle for God’s revelation.

The enduring and unconditional love of God is so essential as to be difficult to encapsulate in an internet post. It is simply essential to who God is and who God reveals himself to be. It’s what the Trinity is. It’s why God became flesh. It’s God’s self identity. God is love. God is unchanging and unmoveable. Human beings not so much.

Now if you want to ask if human beings experience God’s love perfectly, you have a real discussion. But your disputing of God’s essential love conflicts with essential Christian principles as revealed in scripture and the whole of revelation, summed up in the life of Christ.

As I understand your point of view, you would like to emphasize the potential loss of God’s love for those who reject him. And you would like to motivate people with the fear that God’s love is not everlasting. Fear is a motivator, but it is not the best motivation. So if your intent is to strike fear into people, you are expressing a truth but not the whole truth. The Gospel is “good news” not bad news. Christ came to free the captives.

Bear with me here for this emphasis on the good, it is foundational for our apologetics:
The bad that you are talking about only makes sense in light of the good. And if you distort the bad without relation to good, your message is distorted and your apologetics cannot be effective. You simply can’t distort who God is and convey the Gospel.

Loss of love only makes sense in relation to the love that is lost. And in God we have an infinitely good lover. This is why hell is so bad. Hell is so bad because, and only because, God’s love is infinitely good.

If you’ve ever been lonely you know this is true. We are lonely because we know how good it is to be loved, and we experience a painful void when we know love is out there, but we are missing it. Likewise our relationship with God can be so good because God is eternally faithful and loving. And when we choose to reject him the agony is hell.

It’s no accident that our visions of hell are given to us by saints…holy ones who’s hearts are filled with the love of God. Because they are aware of the essence of God’s love, their eyes are opened to what the lack of it is like.

It’s also no accident that saints can be scrupulous. The love of God has given them an awareness of their own deficiencies in light of that love, and they have a healthy fear of the loss of that good.

If you want to alert people to the reality of hell, you have to do it in Catholic perspective. And that is to know who God is first. To know how God identifies himself. To know how the Church expresses God’s love.

Fear for it’s own sake doesn’t liberate people. And that I think is Pope Francis’ point (and he is spot on, no surprise).


#73

You have spent time and energy of your multiple replies and I read them 3 times and I appreciate your response. Sorry I cannot see your side as obvious. Seems like it’s just taken for granted. If you are right there should be plenty, mucho, a lot, a plethoria of DE FIDE statements to prove it and I don’t see any.

Thank you mucho, God Bless


#74

Hi ericc,

I would love to discuss this. I have a special place in my heart for it. Let me know I’ll be available.


#75

There is the Word of God. If that isn’t de fide enough for you, I’m not sure what is.

“God is love.” -1 John 4.

If God is love, then it is his nature to love. God is one and God is simple, there cannot be parts or divisions in him. So if God is love, he is wholly love, and there can be no contradiction within him. When scripture speaks of God “hating,” this is analogous language used to describe how much God is opposed to sin. But if God truly hated sinners in the sense in which you mean, he’d not have sent his only Son to die for us. If God is not love, he’d not have created all things, for he needed nothing beyond himself, but he brought all things into being, since to love is to will the good of another, and to exist is better than not to exist.

The Church doesn’t issue a de fide statement on everything. And it certainly doesn’t on the things that between scripture and common sense we can figure out.

-Fr ACEGC


#76

Thank you for you kind and gracious reply.

“God is love” is of course an incredibly and undeniable and powerful truth. By that you mean that God loves everybody all the time unconditionally because he cannot hate.

It sounds wonderful and I would have believed that myself if I had not encountered the following words of God himself. God said the following words. These words are from God himself…

The Most High himself hates sinners, and upon the wicked he takes vengeance. Sirach 12:7

The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked, hates those who love violence Ps 11:5

Plus…

“God cannot but hate sin, which is his enemy and diametrically opposed to his will; and therefore, in hating sin, he necessarily hates the sinner who is united with his sin”.- St. Alphonsus Liguori.

I checked the Church to verify that God loves everybody all the time unconditionally. I looked and looked and could not find that, not even once, not a single time DE FIDE.

Since it is not DE FIDE then it is a matter of opinion. I take the path that says God established a special category of people he hates. It is not necessarily mortal sinners because many people commit mortal sins and repent. The New Testament is much stricter the Old Testament because we have the life of Jesus himself, His death and resurrection and we have the Gospels which make us much more culpable.

If God loves this special category it is only in the sense he lets them live and lets it rain upon them, that’s all.

St. Alphonsus Liguori.is my new favorite Saint!

God Bless You


#77

Yes, that is what I mean when I say it is obvious.

I understand that you do not “see” them, as you appear to be wearing some kind of blinders. You did not answer my question as to whether you thought the Bible was a Catholic source.

De Fide statements are made to clarify areas of confusion in doctrine. The only confusion that God’s love is unconditional is in your head and heart.

I don’t think he believes the Bible is really the word of God.

You are confused that hate is the opposite of love. This is not the case. It is out of love that God hates sin. It is out of love that He judges wickedness.

God loves everyone He creates, and He allows people to choose sin and wickedness, which separate us from his love.

This is not true. Catholics consider the bible to be the inspired and inerrant Word of God. Nothing in it is a matter of our opinion.

Clearly God hates sin, because it separates people from His love. But it is out of love that He has allowed us to make this choice.

No, each soul has a choice:

Matthew 5:45
45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.

The rain falls on both the righteous and the wicked. Every soul is given sufficient grace to be saved. Life is there for all who choose it, for He predestines none to hell.


#78

Chris, no one disagrees that there are conditions on God’s favor and on spending eternity in Heaven. We argue only that that is different from there being conditions on God’s love.

The Catholic Church does not believe in or teach predestination to damnation. Jesus died out of love for everyone, and God wills the salvation of everyone. He likely won’tv get it, because he also wills our freedom to reject Him, but it would be the ideal outcome. Unlike Calvinists, we don’t believe that there are humans created just to show off God’s wrath against sin, humans for whom Jesus did not die and whose eternal company God does not will. For me, at least, if there is no such category of people (and thanks be to God that there is not), then there is no one God does not love.

By Catholic teaching (based, as you note, on Scripture and Tradition), our contrition for sin and the impulse to repent are themselves graces from God. Even when we are in a state of mortal sin and presently unrepentant, God is still urging us to return to Him. We may have turned away from His love, but that love has not ceased. He wants us back. I don’t see how that can be understood to mean that He doesn’t, on some level, still love us. He certainly doesn’t love what we’re doing and he may well punish it or at least leave us to the consequences of our actions, but those aren’t the same thing. Remember that the Christian understanding of love doesn’t mean “affection” or “approval,” but “willing the ultimate good of the beloved.”

What, ultimately, do you see as the practical difference between your position and ours? What is different in a world where God stops loving the sinner compared to a world where He continues to love the sinner? You state that it makes a huge theological difference. What difference?


#79

I agree with you, especially this part. If we want to say God loves them by letting them live and letting it rain on them, I can accept that.

That is really an excellent question and the heart of the matter. I have undertaken a study of this question.

God Bless.


#80

Chris,

One thing i learned way back from a spiritual director, is that “God doesn’t end relationships; we do”. That to me is proof of His “unconditional love”.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.