Praying for evil?

NO.
How much more clearly can this be said?

NO

Alright, so it is, but that does not make our points any less valid. You do not pray for evil, and you do not tell God how to convert someone.

EDIT: I posted before I saw your most recent response.

Still no. The ends do not justify the means. Using sin to fight sin is not right, nor will it work.

People can’t be angels, so…:shrug:

I’m done responding to your threads. I am interested in helping others learn about the Faith, but you reveal your hand here - you want to play games of “gotcha,” and I have no time for that. If you were interested in real proof, you’d listen to the countless citations, common sense, and wisdom of other posters, rather than ask increasingly far-fetched questions.

I’ll wait for a real conversation. Peace.

But, again, what of the languages and other examples that seem to suggest that God does use evil to fight evil, again, if we consider the languages an evil in the sense that they deprive of some good?

Except the creation of languages was not evil.

Leviticus 19:14…

But…

2 Kings 2:24!

Folks, these things are just not as simple as they might appear. Understanding Biblical curses is a big project. Maybe there’s more to the discussion…

Argh! It’s just a title, meaning that he spoke so brilliantly on heavenly things!

I only used it to make a point that what is generally considered some pretty weighty argumentation was being dismissed off-hand as if it were the Average Joe’sJane’s mere opinion. :shrug:

Also, I made this point so that those who would dismiss me as not being well-read would perhaps be careful in jumping to such conclusions in future…

At any rate, that’s fine if you do not wish to engage in what I believe to be very worthy and serious discussion of matters of this type. I feel sorry for you and those who would give up so easily. Surely these kinds of subjects have come to the minds of others here in the past and surely they are not only of importance to me. Surely, at least, in the more abstract sense, they have come into the minds of folks though, perhaps, relating to different more specific topics…?

If you define “evil” as does Aquinas, how can you say this?

If not, could you please elaborate on how you define evil and why you disagree with such a respected scholar?

Exactly! Thank you.

Sometimes I just think that some people are a) not well-catechized enough to know there is a difference or b) too scared to acknowledge statements that, on their surface may seem completely to go against something they thought they’d always been taught. I think it would od all of us well to correct both of these as soon as possible, especially in the morally-relativistic, sinfully depraved and logically deprived culture in which we today live.

Just my opinion though…

I’m not disagreeing with Aquinas. I’m disagreeing with you. If God is good, then what God did was not evil and you’re misunderstanding it as such. Those people were punished for their pride, and I’m getting that from Haydock’s Commentary, which is one of the most respected Biblical commentaries there are. If you like, here’s their full explanation:

Come ye, &c. As men seemed bent on taking heaven by storm, like the ancient giants, God turns their expressions, as it were, against themselves, and shews them an example of humility, let us go down. He acts the part of a judge, and therefore will examine all with the utmost diligence, as he denotes by these expressions; being really incapable of moving from place to place, on account of his immensity. H. — He seems nearer to men, by the effects or punishments which he inflicted. The address which he here makes is directed, not to the angels, but to the other co-equal powers of the Blessed Trinity. M.

As God is good and fair, this punishment for humanity’s arrogance is just.

AGain, I think you may be confusing what I am calling “moral” evil with what I am calling “temporal” evil, for our intents and purposes here perhaps to prevent even more confusion.

God cannot ultimately do evil in the sense that He cannot do things that are morally wrong. I agree with you here. (Maybe we could even call this type of evil “Evil” with a capital E.)

However, it could be argued that God can and, in fact, does do temporal evil for the greater Good (temporal and, ultimately moral).

For, evil, little e, is sometimes, one could argue, used to facilitate the greater Good, capital G, but, of course, Evil, big E, can never be used to do so. It is just impossible, unless I am missing something.

Maybe, indeed, we might even call temporal/little-e-evil “bad stuff that happens”.

I don’t know. I’m just trying to bring out distinctions that, again, as much as folks here may protest, I just don’t think a lot of folks get and are indeed getting here.

Maybe someone else could do a better job of explaining what I’m trying to get at here?

I would note that Aquinas’ views on evil are, like virtually all of his views, exceedingly complex. It’s really a vast oversimplification to say, “he defined evil as lack of good.”

And again, God does not, cannot, do evil, of any greatness, severity, or for the greater good. You are mistaking what exactly God does when he makes good out of evil and saying God uses evil.

God cannot. It is against his very nature, his very essence.

Say someone is falsely accused and convicted of a crime they did not commit. The brother of the victim becomes a defense attorney who offers pro bono representation to those who need it most and/or cannot afford it. God did not put someone in jail on false premises. Rather, God used it to inspire the brother to do good in the face of very clear wrong.

I would argue, apples and oranges. God never directly, I would argue, intervened here in the way that I would argue He did with the confusion of languages, at least so far as it is told in the Genesis account.

If you say that God can absolutely NOT do any evil according to any definition whatsoever, how do you account for the Babel episode as told in Genesis? Who confused the languages? And, if you do not consider this an evil, at least in some sense, what do you consider it and why?

Except one is authentic Catholic teaching (CCC 312) and the other is a misunderstanding of it. Apples to oranges has nothing to do with it.

As for my account, I don’t know exactly why God specifically decided to change languages. What I can say, and showed you from Haydock’s Commentary, that mortal men were trying to forcibly bridge the gap between themselves and Heaven for their own convenience. And God punished them as a result of their pride. Instead of futilely building bridges towards Heaven, they now had to build them towards each other. And they did.

But it doesn’t matter what I think. As I said, I don’t know exactly why. And for this discussion, I don’t need to. We are discussing whether or not God’s punishment of the people building the Tower was evil, and I’ve demonstrated that God can commit no evil. The Catholic Church teaches that God can do no evil but makes good in light of evil situations. We were also discussing whether or not it is permissible to pray for evil on others, which I also demonstrated that it’s not. Can we agree on that?

Not so quickly, no.

Perhaps the reason you’re saying “you don’t know” why God changed our languages is that you are trying to find a way around God participating in evil (even with a small e). Again, not trying to put words in your mouth and maybe I genuinely misread you, but, please, at least consider this possibility.

As for various understandings of this passage, perhaps I am engaging in indivdiual interpretation, but, the way I’ve always seen it is that God, as a measure to prevent us from becoming too proud (as we were already becoming with the Tower), He divided our languages so that we would not be able pretty much to do anything we put our minds to and, thus, not only become too prideful but also perhaps no longer rely on Him. So, indeed, I really don’t know if I even see it as a direct punishment, but more like a stopgap measure, if you will. To me, this interpretation actually makes the most sense out of the text we have.

I will still argue that, as a privation of some good, the loss of a common language does constitute a “temporal” as I have been having it, evil (small e, as in, “bad stuff happening”, not a moral Evil).

And, is it true, does the Catholic Church say that God can really do no evil at all? I believe She says that He can do no absolute or, if you will, moral evil, but, as I udnerstand it, he can deprive men of some good in order to facilitate a greater good. (Again, we can take the Babel example here.)

As far as you having demonstrated that we should not pray for evil on others as correction and/or punishment, I would argue that you have yet convincingly to demonstrate that. yes, we are to love our enemies (and presumably, even God’s, as He does the same for them), but, in loving them, in desiring to see them liberated from sin of some kind, can we not pray that some evil befall them as punishment/correction in that loving spirit?

No. I mean I don’t. I don’t try to presume the motives of God. I can make too many mistakes.

As for various understandings of this passage, perhaps I am engaging in indivdiual interpretation, but, the way I’ve always seen it is that God, as a measure to prevent us from becoming too proud (as we were already becoming with the Tower), He divided our languages so that we would not be able pretty much to do anything we put our minds to and, thus, not only become too prideful but also perhaps no longer rely on Him. So, indeed, I really don’t know if I even see it as a direct punishment, but more like a stopgap measure, if you will. To me, this interpretation actually makes the most sense out of the text we have.

We manage to collaborate with scientific problems. I would disagree that our inability to cooperate is due to a language barrier. We can learn languages. What separates us are personal agendas.

I will still argue that, as a privation of some good, the loss of a common language does constitute a “temporal” as I have been having it, evil (small e, as in, “bad stuff happening”, not a moral Evil).

And, is it true, does the Catholic Church say that God can really do no evil at all? I believe She says that He can do no absolute or, if you will, moral evil, but, as I udnerstand it, he can deprive men of some good in order to facilitate a greater good. (Again, we can take the Babel example here.)

And no matter how you press this point, the word ‘evil’ is used. Yes, the Church teaches that God can do no evil at all. God allows evil to happen, God makes good out of evil situations, but he does not cause it. Refer to the Catechism.

As far as you having demonstrated that we should not pray for evil on others as correction and/or punishment, I would argue that you have yet convincingly to demonstrate that. yes, we are to love our enemies (and presumably, even God’s, as He does the same for them), but, in loving them, in desiring to see them liberated from sin of some kind, can we not pray that some evil befall them as punishment/correction in that loving spirit?

So what makes you think the punishment you pray for would work? What right do you have to make such suggestions to God? You may pray for the conversion of a sinner, of course. You may pray for their heart to be turned to God, of course. But only God knows people’s hearts. Only He knows what can turn them towards Him. You have no right to ask God for a punishment of your fellow man of any sort. No one does.

I apologize if I sound a little terse. It’s rather late here. I want to make a few points clear.

Saying God can use evil, is like saying a human can create his own universe, or that I’m using my sixth finger on my right hand to scratch my head (for the record, I don’t have one). We can’t. It’s against our nature. God is good. Pure good (CCC 385). There is no room in Him for evil. Evil is an absence of good–the key word being absence. If there is no good in evil, which there is not, then it is impossible to make good of it. It is against what evil is and what good is. What God does, like I said, is that He makes good of the consequences of evil. The sinner is given chances to repent. The victim is given chances to rise. This is unlike evil, which cannot be made of the consequences of good.

Does this make sense?

Thank you for posting the Haydock commentary, and your other comments as well.

The people were building and making idols out of their talents, and it wasn’t God that they were reaching.

The Lord wasn’t given the glory for what they were doing.

I’m not saying we can’t collaborate, as we obviously do, but it is made more difficult with language barriers and certainly no one person can learn every language and, so, therefore, he is prohibited from communicating with absolutely everyone in the world as before, at least of a literal understanding of the Genesis account is to be understood.

As far as knowing man’s hearts and praying for their punishment, I never said I’d be specific or even ask for punishment definitely for a particular person. What I imagine is praying that, it it is the only thing that will convert a man, punishment or, as I say, evil also for correction should be meeted out to him/her. In this type of prayer, I’m not presuming/assuming anything; I’m being very general. Even so, I am still wondering if even this is permissible, as, again, I can’t think of any examples of exemplary biblical or any other known Christian figures doing this. As I say, it’s usually if not always the other way around; our exemplars pray for God’s Mercy and a let-up to His Wrath (possibly even ifthat Wrath would be productive?). I am here thinking of the Old Testament example of Moses praying and interceding on behalf of his stiff-necked/obstinate people, that God would not utterly destroy them.

As far as God doing evil, I think that I’ve tried to explain it as best I can and I’m just not getting anywhere with some folks on here. To those who understand what I am saying, perhaps you can do better in explaining it to others. For those who do understand what I’m saying, do you understand my own understanding to be validly Catholic and possibly even in conformity with the Church’s true teaching over the years? It is my understanding that there has been at least some support for it in the past.

And, as far as the harshness, no worries. I completely understand. I’m sure I get a little that way when it’s late as well.

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