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Swamini Ramananda wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have many questions but I'll start with the following two:

  1. Assuming God is Omnipresent, how can He be in Heaven and not here? 

    If He is limitless, then I or anybody would limit Him so He has to be [here|everywhere].
    I find the Church's statements very confusing regarding this.

  2. How can one gain eternal Heaven, or Hell, by only doing very limited things in ones lifetime?

    It would not be fair to gain eternity by only performing a relatively short lifetime of deeds. Also, people who died a long time ago would have a longer eternity than those, like me, who had not been born.

    One can't gain eternity because eternity has to be in all [directions|times].
    If that were the case then I have to already be eternal.

I appreciate your answers because these questions can't seem to be answered by the Church. 

Thanks,

Love and Prayers,

Swamini Ramananda
OM Namo Narayanaya!
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

  { How is God Omnipresent and how can one gain eternal Heaven by doing a few deeds in this life? }

Eric replied:

Hi Swamini,

You said:
I have many questions but I'll start with the following two:

  1. Assuming God is Omnipresent, how can He be in Heaven and not here? 

    If He is limitless, then I or anybody would limit Him so He has to be [here|everywhere]. I find the Church's statements very confusing regarding this.
  • What makes you think He is not here? 

I'm not sure what you mean by "I or anybody would limit Him".

You said:

  1. How can one gain eternal Heaven, or Hell, by only doing very limited things in ones lifetime? 

    It would not be fair to gain eternity by only doing a relatively short lifetime of deeds. Also, people who died a long time ago would have a longer eternity than those, like me, who had not been born.

Actually, we gain eternity, through the grace of God, by faith.  We gain reward by our good works, and grow in righteousness, but faith in God is what is key in salvation.

The length of time one spends in eternity is immaterial to one's salvation; it's just a question of how long they wait for the Resurrection.   Everyone in the great beyond is basically awaiting resurrection anyway. 

  • Why does it fundamentally matter whether Adam, or any one else who was born before me, has been in eternity longer than I? (See below.)
  • Also, can you elaborate on why you think it is unfair that one's eternal destiny depends on one's behavior here during one's brief lifetime? 

There is a Scripture that says:

"He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much;..."

(Luke 16:10  KJV)

Someone who proves faithful in a short life is worthy to receive an eternal reward.  This life, in other words, is a brief test of one's fidelity to God.  If you die in a state of fidelity to God, that is by having faith and providing it by one's deeds, you will be saved.

You said:
One can't gain eternity because eternity has to be in all [directions|times].
If that were the case then I have to already be eternal.

When we speak of eternity in the sense of what the dead experience, we are not talking about the eternity God lives in.  For God, there is no time.  Everything happens simultaneously:

  • the fall of Adam
  • the death of His Son
  • the Protestant Reformation
  • the End Times, and
  • everything else is effectively present to Him. 

Not so with us; we have a sense of temporal causality, even when we died.  Our eternity goes only in one direction.  Some have given this reality the name aveternity, (having a beginning in time but continuing to exit forever), and it makes sense to do so.

Hope this helps,

Eric

Mary Ann replied:

Swamini —

Heaven, by Catholic definition, is the place or state  of being with God.

We gain Heaven by what we choose, not by what we do, though what we do expresses what we choose. God gives us this trial period in which we can choose Him through choosing His will. 
If we saw Him as He is, there would be no choice — we would not be able to keep from choosing Him! So He gives us a way to show our love.  When we choose Him, or His will, we are choosing something infinite.

Nobody deserves Heaven, but from the beginning it was planned as the [gift|destination] of all who choose God's will.  So by God's plan and grace, those who do His will, choose Him, and hence choose to be with Him, which is Heaven.

Eternity is not endless time.  It is no-time, and more of an eternal present moment. Our souls are spirits and capable of living without time and space but as complete corporeal beings we need time and space for fulfillment, so our Heaven will include a temporal-spatial component, a new Earth and Heaven, though it will be different from the time and space we know, which are relative anyway, as different as a flower is from a seed.

These questions are indeed answered by the Church:

  • from the Scriptures to St. Augustine
  • to St. Thomas to the Catechism.

I hope this helps,

Mary Ann

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