Yesterday’s (Jan. 25) first reading, “When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way,he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them;
he did not carry it out.”
a. Why is “evil” used to describe an act of God?
b. If God is all knowing, knows the past, present, and future, why would he have to ‘repent’ and not carry out a threat? Wouldn’t he have known beforehand that the people, even with free will, would have turned from their evil ways and therefore the threat was not real?
Today’s Gospel (Jan. 26) states that the unforgivable sin is to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit.
a. Aren’t all sins forgivable provided that the sinner is contrite in repentance, and makes an act of penance?
b. What exactly defines blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? Words spoken in anger? E.g., I stub my toe and cry out to the heavens.
Today’s letter from Paul to Timothy. What was their relationship? Biological father and son? “Priestly” father to son? Uncle to nephew?
#1. The Old Testament frequently uses human imagery to describe the actions of God. (e.g. in Genesis, it says God “walked” in the garden with Adam). The use of such phrases is really more descriptive of how we experience God than anything. They are metaphors, not a literal description of a fickle and angry God.
Here is an article from Jimmy Akin on a different question, but one which has general applications to the general “wrath of God” difficulties:
[Who’s Holding Back Who’s Hand?](“Who’s Holding Back Who’s Hand?”)
Basically, the natural consequences of their behavior would be “wrath”. Yet, they repented and God showed them mercy. The wrath is not so much God’s literal anger as it is simply what naturally follows sin.
In a nutshell, the unforgivable sin is final impenitence (i.e. the refusal to renounce sin and accept God’s mercy). Since God doesn’t force Himself on us, He does not force forgiveness on that which we do not seek forgiveness for.
Great website. I set up to follow Jimmy on Facebook.
I often find myself fumbling when people talk about what God’s actions the OT. I find it difficult to articulate the anthropomorphication :)is that a word of God in the OT without appearing to dismiss that events in the OT are real.