Why not a direct experience of Jesus's death and resurrection?

Instead of a sacramental experience through the mass, why couldn’t/wouldn’t God use his power over time and space to bring either your consciousness or your whole being back in time to experience the passion and resurrection first hand? If participating in a mass did this, in my opinion the Catholic church would have no competitors. It would certainly be a superior way of transmitting knowledge to merely inspiring a book.

Well, it would kinda defeat the purpose of free will. I mean, we would still have free will, but the choice would be so flippin’ obvious that no rational person could choose otherwise.

But I think you misunderstand the purpose of Eucharist. It is how our body and soul are nourished. It is better than what the Apostles experienced. What you suggest would be a step backwards.

And it did not inspire a book. It inspired a Church. The book came a few centuries later (and it came from the Church).

Did St. Thomas lose his free will when he stuck his hand in Jesus’s wounds? If he did, it apparently didn’t keep him from sainthood. If he didn’t, we probably shouldn’t worry about that either.

Better than what the apostles got? How? Were they not nourished?

Better than merely inspiring a church too.

Yes, and no. Thomas had said that he would not believe unless he placed his hand into Jesus’ wounds. When Jesus appeared to him and offered this, Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!.” We have no record of Thomas taking Jesus up on his offer, but the text strongly suggests that Thomas never actually placed his hands into the wounds, so he believed according to a lesser standard of evidence than he had initially required. But, remember Jesus’s words to Thomas:

Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed [John 20:26]

This is the standard to which we aspire. Seeing and believing is easy. We do it all the time. It does not require faith.

One could argue that Thomas and the other apostles lacked complete free will because of their experiences (complete free will means we have an equal opportunity to accept or reject something). But this is typical - God always accompanies new revelation with some miracle which attests to it. But this is the non-ordinary (extraordinary) way of proclaiming his truth. It happens, but it is not ordinary.

Better than what the apostles got? How? Were they not nourished?

Not by their experiences of Jesus’ Passion and Resurrection. Of course, they received Eucharist at the last supper, and were nourished, as we are today. But, had they not experienced anything else, they would not be spiritually deprived.

Better than merely inspiring a church too.

Better in what way? If you mean, “more convincing,” then I agree. Heck, why not simply create humans with an instinct to know and love Jesus, and an inability to do otherwise? Lots of animals have instincts which they are, apparently, simply born knowing about. What you describe is unnecessarily complex. God could simply “program us” to accept him (which would include EVERYBODY, not just those who have the opportunity to receive Eucharist).

That would be even MORE convincing (heck, no convincing is even needed). But it would not be free will.

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