Category Archives: Faith

Are most people going to hell?

My thoughts for what they are worth.

Concerning the fall of Adam and Eve, the Church doctrine is correct. Their fall is our fall, too. We are a community and our community of man gave us a bad start. Concupiscence draws us to choose our own wants above God. That seems to me to be the challenge of the law of the old Covenant: Love God before your wants.

I think the question, "Are most people going to hell?" according to the old law would be yes. With Christ, we have a chance to be washed clean. To Christ, however, is given the judgement. That authority is important. God does things economically, perfectly. Christ judges in the final judgement, because I think the angels lack the capacity to judge, the apostles lack the capacity to judge. It requires I think to judge perfectly, with perfect justice, the infinite wisdom of God and God also fully man is our judge.

All the influences in your life from the simplest of choices and now add all the influences in your environment throughout your lifespan and now add all the influences on in all the generations that led up to you and all the people who impacted you.  Now add the judgement in love, your heart and the depth of it. Who else could judge but God? How are justice and mercy brought together? This is the mystery behind hell.

It is not in our capacity to answer this question. Our role is much simpler: to love God, love our neighbor and love ourself in that order. Even that simple role is impossible, I believe, for fallen man without constant divine help. That God keeps us all in existence, atheist and theist alike is a testimony to his love.

This problem of hell, of justice and mercy, I see it spoken to directly by Jesus in the NT. He is the very same Jesus Who will be our Judge:

Quote:
And again I say to you: It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. 25 And when they had heard this, the disciples wondered very much, saying: Who then can be saved?

26 And Jesus beholding, said to them: With men this is impossible: but with God all things are possible.

Scripture tells us God is Love; we should strive to cooperate with Him and trust in Him and the divine Mercy He has given us freely when we do not deserve it.

We must trust, because we, ourselves, lack the capacity for perfect judgement and lack the wisdom for mercy so great to understand ll depth the infinite holiness that is His Son, Who was allowed to be mocked, beaten, tortured, and crucified for us, while bearing all our sins..

This is about no small mystery.

The recourse I have to this concern is to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet every day at 3 pm and remember the Passion of Christ.

"Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, of your dearly beloved Son in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.

For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world."

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Speculation on Darwin and Eden

I have a speculation about Original Sin and Darwinism.

It seems to me that Man, Adam, was given power over creation to name it and be custodian of it. When he sinned, he paid the price, his generations paid the price and all things under his dominion paid the price. The Lion no longer laid down with the lamb and the soil had to be worked.

This sounds like the advent of Darwinism to me. Put aside chronology for a moment, if we assume Eden was of the earth but not in time like after the fall. Darwinism is like the chaos and sadness of sin: ME Centered: How do I struggle to survive. Darwinism is the world we live in, which is a fallen world. Christ came to redeem us. He acted in ways that surprise us who are enmeshed within the Darwinian process: Instead of fight or flight, Christ preached turn the other cheek and showed humility when he was spat upon. Instead of conquering for survival; Christ freely laid down His life. What could be more in opposition to Darwinism?

Christ who was like us in all things except sin, repudiated by His life I believe the idea inherent in darwinism, which is me first. God is Spirit and Love and Truth while Darwinian evolution is struggle and chaos and disease and death and the strong survive.

I don’t know where the garden of eden was within reality, but the affront to God affected us and maybe the past as well, as Christ redeemed those who had sinned in the past, e.g. Mary and opening the gates of Heaven as mediator for all men for all time as well as the future by reconciling us to God, so it is mete that the fall affected all reality under Adam’s dominion, past and future until Christ reigns in glory in a new world.

It’s just a speculation, but for my mind it seems to fit.

 
 
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Because Adam and Eve were not originally of a fallen nature and had an unfettered free will and still sinned against an infinitely good God. This was the original sin against an infinite being far beyond time and space and one can infer that in giving man dominion over creation when man fell, creation fell–all of it–and still all of creation, which fell for all space and all time, past present and future, can not make up for a sin against the eternal Creator, who is infinitely good. Only Jesus could suffice.

This is the spiritual dynamic that undergirds the me first nature of this fallen world that seems imprinted on reality. Why we recoil when we see for example the bear eat its own young and all the harshness of natural selection and in our heart we think: It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

According to the CCC, Adam’s sin is not simply a story. A later literary style than Exodus is no theological objection; the Holy Spirit Who guides the authors may teach in many styles and reveal certain truths at certain times. It’s always been this way in salvation history; it is not inconsistent that it was written at a later date, for the same infinite Holy Spirit guides the Church also and chooses how and when to reveal wisdom and truth.  Jesus came to Earth in the fullness of time.  I believe this is called providence. 

From the CCC:
390 The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents.

This is not hebraic theology. Man (The whole of creation?) falls from that first sin and that one sinner and mankind (the whole of creation?) being redeemed by the One Redeemer Who by necessity was God Himself to reconcile the sin against God.

Romans 5

19 For as by the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners; so also by the obedience of one, many shall be made just.

 
 

Isaiah 15-19 An affirmation of Christianity

Isaiah 13:15 KJB

Quote:
Every one that is found shall be thrust through
Isaiah is a problematic passage for many it seems and atheists and skeptics have pointed to the Old Testament and this passage in particular as contradicting the idea that God is Love.  I agree that it is a difficult passage.  The problem comes in interpreting the passage and I think in understanding what the Bible is: a divinely inspired collection of books describing God’s wisdom and salvific plan.  Read through this lens I have come to see this Old Testament verse replete with horrors as a proof of God’s love.  On one hand atheists point to religion as wish fulfillment on the next they point to this passage as explicitly denying the primary wish that God is love.  Which is it?  It cannot be both.  Religion cannot be wish fulfillment and then deny the wish.  The contradiction rests on the skeptics here. 
 
A deeper look into the metaphysics in the Bible shows that it accurately depicts the world and as a loving God would, warns through the authors of a world distorted by evil.  This is no wish fulfillment text but the warning, grave warning, of a loving Father to all His people who will listen to Him.
 
For my part, I reject none of the Old Testament. Jesus did not, so I will not either, nor is it fair to say this passage is evil. Skeptics and those who attack the Bible (at least from a google search) bring out 15-18 but leave out who 15-18 is aimed at:

Quote:
11 And I will visit the evils of the world, and against the wicked for their iniquity: and I will make the pride of infidels to cease, and will bring down the arrogancy of the mighty. 12 A man shall be more precious than gold, yea a man than the finest of gold. 13 For this I will trouble the heaven: and the earth shall be moved out of her place, for the indignation of the Lord of hosts, and for the day of his tierce wrath. 14 And they shall be as a doe fleeing away, and as a sheep: and there shall be none to gather them together: every man shall turn to his own people, and every one shall flee to his own land.
Isaiah 13:15-18 KJB
Quote:
Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined [unto them] shall fall by the sword.
Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished. Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and [as for] gold, they shall not delight in it. Their] bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children.
Does anyone deny that the fruits of wickedness are visited on the children of the wicked?
Have you seen the children raised in Madrassas? The ones who slice off the necks of helpless victims?
The innocent children who are starving around the globe because of wicked tyrants?

Skeptics and atheists condemn God’s wrath and ridicule the Bible as being an innacurate portrait of a Loving God, but would not a Loving God use the Bible to warn you of His providential wrath against sinners? and the wages of sin born on the backs of the innocent, like the children of Darfur? 

 
 

 
Would these massive evils exist if we all followed the Good News?  Imagine.  Take a moment and imagine a human world immersed in a people who follow the beatitudes, who respect the inherent dignity of all human beings exemplified by Christ who sacrificed Himself for each and everyone of us.  Evil evaporated by love.  Food distibutred to the world, children raised in loving homes, medicine distributed across the globe, all the benefits of a loving civilization brought by a humanity following the Good News.  Take a long moment and imagine all humanity following the beatitudes in their hearts and in their lives.
 
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall posses the land.
Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill. 
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 
I stand behind the Bible. It does not exhort its readers to jihad or to lie. The Bible in Isaiah is not exhorting YOU to kill, but is honestly telling you the reality, God’s reality of the effects of the wicked who have free will on this world and the results are a part of His wrath, because He being Omnipotent, could break the free will of the evil, but He allows it. How odd that a passage that reflects the reality of our times could be satanically twisted as fodder for skeptics, when in fact it is a merciful warning we desperately need and a proof that the Bible is not some wishfulfillment, but a stark assesment of reality.  As Christians, God has warned us of the difficulties of a reality distorted by sin and so forewarned we should use our prudence to work to lessen the disorder (sin) in the world and promote authentic love.

The Bible is truth; God’s world is harsh. Someone tell the skeptics and the next time someone tells you about how cruel the Old Testament is: Open up a newspaper.

God warns you it is bad and not to be wicked in no uncertain terms, warns you exactly what happens. Don’t be surprised when you read the Old Testament. Don’t deny its truth. We are the Church militant and these warnings in the Old Testament need to be heeded. Darfur is the result; the Taliban is the result. God permits the evils of the wicked.

I praise God that He inspired Isaiah to warn us the results of wickedness.

Christ did not refute the OT and neither does reality.

The passage speaks of God’s wrath against sin; unlike the Koran this passage is not a moral call of its followers to kill. It is an exegesis on God’s wrath Who Alone is Good as exemplified by His warning to you in the OT. A warning that rings more true today than ever.  Please, don’t ignore it. 

 
I thought about that Isaiah passage and when I studied it I was blown away at the mercy–yes mercy of God who acknowleges the terrible suffering and devastation of sin and acknowleges his permissive will as reality groans under the weight of sin and innocents suffer for others free will rejection of God’s love. Could we worship a God who pretends that the ugliness of reality does not exist? I don’t want a God of my own wish fulfillment. That He, the Father, warned us in the OT, that He acknowleges this world and how sin kindles wrath leaves with me an important message on the terrible damage of sin, the frightening damage of sin, the proper fear of the Lord, to offend such a Holy God, Who gave us everything Who sustains our very existence by His will, our Father through Jesus.

An eye for an eye

An eye for an eye was a secular temporal law and never meant as a personal injunction for an individual conscience, for vengeance belongs solely to the Lord and to forbear or to use it. This was a law for the Israelites to follow: an eye for an eye, a physical law underpinning a universal truth underneath it about fairness and Justice, for did not Jesus say that you will not be released until you have paid every last penny? The context is different in both cases, but the universal truth underlying it is the same.

The mathematical laws were not made to be applied to a book containing the wisdom of God revealed throuigh human authors.

I’m still seeking for answers. Not everything I read in the OT makes me comfortable, but I do find if I put some effort and prayer into it there is an agreement between the old and the new.

Would the Master, Jesus, who so clearly loves us say this:
Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. Matthew 5
For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled. "

if he were a trickster? He told us our yes to mean yes, so He is pointing out some serious truths in the OT that are important for us to follow Him better.

I thought about that Isaiah passage and when I studied it I was blown away at the mercy–yes mercy of God who acknowleges the terrible suffering and devastation of sin and acknowleges his permissive will as reality groans under the weight of sin and innocents suffer for others free will rejection of God’s love. Could we worship a God who pretends that the ugliness of reality does not exist? I don’t want a God of my own wish fulfillment. That He, the Father, warned us in the OT, that He acknowleges this world and how sin kindles wrath leaves with me an important message on the terrible damage of sin, the frightening damage of sin, the proper fear of the Lord, to offend such a Holy God, Who gave us everything Who sustains our very existence by His will, our Father through Jesus.

This world looks a lot more like the OT than the NT if you look at it. Maybe the OT has something to offer us is what I am thinking. Not as a Koran like dogmatic formula, but as books of divinely inspired wisdom.

God bless us on our searches. 

Affirming the Old Testament

Rejection of the Old Testament puts one in a difficult position with communion with the Catholic Church. My friendly advice would be not to reject the Old Testament out of hand but study it via Catholic theology and texts until you can come to some accord with it. The New Testament does not deny the Old Testament. The New Testament affirms the Old Testament.

Quote:
1 John 2
7 Dearly beloved, I write not a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you have heard.

Quote:
Matthew 5

17 Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

Quote:
2 Matthew 5

18 For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled.

Quote:
Luke 2

22 And after the days of her purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord:

Quote:
14 Luke 2

27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when his parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law,

Quote:
2 Timothy 3

16 All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice,

The Church affirms the Old Testament in its entirety:
http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p1s1c2a3.htm#128

Quote:
The unity of the Old and New Testaments

128 The Church, as early as apostolic times,104 and then constantly in her Tradition, has illuminated the unity of the divine plan in the two Testaments through typology, which discerns in God’s works of the Old Covenant prefigurations of what he accomplished in the fullness of time in the person of his incarnate Son.

129 Christians therefore read the Old Testament in the light of Christ crucified and risen. Such typological reading discloses the inexhaustible content of the Old Testament; but it must not make us forget that the Old Testament retains its own intrinsic value as Revelation reaffirmed by our Lord himself.105 Besides, the New Testament has to be read in the light of the Old. Early Christian catechesis made constant use of the Old Testament.106 As an old saying put it, the New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New.107

130 Typology indicates the dynamic movement toward the fulfillment of the divine plan when "God [will] be everything to everyone."108 Nor do the calling of the patriarchs and the exodus from Egypt, for example, lose their own value in God’s plan, from the mere fact that they were intermediate stages.

You may notice here how the context of the Old Testament–format if you will that the context rests in–allows for Christ’s salvific plan to be seen as the culmination. This would not be the same without the divinely inspired authors and the readers all working with God as opposed to an authoritarian and immutable rule sheet. God, perfect and immutable, condescends in scripture to teach us who are most imperfect and mutable, and in the mystery of the Incarnation, to join us for love.

Viewed this way, it is easy to see that scripture does not give rise to violence based on its own words. These messages are of course absent from the Koran due to its format (as well as its rejection of the Son). as the Koran is a solitary work by its own adherents’ admission

Thoughts on Genesis

The following Biblical passages have been proposed as a type of proof that the Author of Genesis was recounting Creation in a literal sense.  I wanted to use this objection to help clarify my own thoughts on reading the Bible, a book that offers us a glimpse of the wisdom of God, the ultimate and fathomless deep:
 
Exodus 20:
8 "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
 
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2 Peter 3
3First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4They will say, "Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." 5But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.
 
 
 
 
These are consistent with a poetical interpretation of Genesis. In Exodus, the point here is to have a day of rest, not that it be on the literal day. This is seen that we now worship on Sunday, commemorating the Risen Lord Jesus’ ressurection and conquest over death and sin. Praise God.

In Exodus, God was acting as temporal Ruler of the nation of Israel politically. Israel was the chosen nation, so the OT Exodus is written to codify rules specifically for them. The heart of the law remains in force, but the discipline is no longer applicable for a different nation and different culture. Indeed, Jesus said to go out and baptize all nations!

It follows then, that Exodus is a specific rule for a specific people that uses the moral poetical and absolute law laid down in Genesis that there be a time of rest. The Church determines that time for the sheep of Christ.

Therefore, I think we can dismiss reading Exodus as a rebut to a poetical reading of Genesis, though be as poetical as you like there was an Adam, or else how could Jesus be the new Adam?

I’d beware of prooftexting. It runs the risk of treating the Bible as less than what it is, the wisdom of God, a deep thing indeed.

*****
Peter, the first Pope, is and was infallible in matters of faith and morals. He was not a scientist. At one time he was a fisherman as you no doubt know. Peter talks as the leader of his Church, the Catholic Church and admonishes them not to scoff at the promises of Christ to have faith He affirms that God made the heavens and earth, but he is not laying down a scientific proof of how it happened, merely reiterating the poetry itself as the best description of the event of creation. It’s not like he or the Genesis author had access to carbon dating when they described the inspirations of the Holy Spirit.

As far as the Flood, again Peter reminds them of the truth of the Flood and the washing away of wickedness which is an allusion to true baptism and a call to faith and away from sin: repent. From a pastoral, not a scientific statement, it is a perfect sermon. This is a call the scoffers cannot hear, so they risk being unaware of the transformative and real power of God, both now and in the promises of Christ and in the past events of creation and the flood. Notice Peter is not reinterpreting the flood to suit his agenda or trying to refine what happened back then, he simply reiterates the poetic imagery of wickedness washed away as a warning and an invitation.

At least that’s the best I understand it. YMMV.

 
For a much deeper and spiritually insightful take on Christian thought in the modern age, try Faith and Reason.
 
 

Bread of Life

 
"
[51] I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh."

It is God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity Who says this. Holy God.

And the following words are not in contradiction as they are so often misinterpreted to be, rather they reinforce the promise and Christ’s recognition that some would not accept this promise, for the spirit working in you gives you the grace to accept this miraculous promise:

"
[63] It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life."

Looking at Christ’s word’s as only symbolic is failing to see Christ’s promise for eternal life; the followers who left were looking at his words not with eyes filled with the spirit–which acknowlege that such a promise from God is quite a real promise, but with eyes that saw only the flesh in his words.

Christ emphasizes that we rely on God to grant us the grace to accept this incredible, incredible promise from the Saviour:

[64] But there are some of you that do not believe." For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him.
[65] And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father."