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Donald Sullivan wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • How can a Catholic defend God choosing to create the human population, knowing in advance that many would:
    • sin
    • suffer terrible pain, or
    • only live for a few minutes?

If a modern day scientist took embryos (some, healthy, some sick, and some deformed, etc.) and raised them, that scientist would be prosecuted and jailed, for knowingly producing such human beings.

Donald

  { How can a Catholic defend God choosing to create the human populace, knowing many would sin? }

Eric replied:

Dear Donald,

My apologies; I neglected to do a Reply All and include my colleagues.

I am not sure what you mean. People intentionally have children all the time, knowing that they will sin, suffer pain, or only live for a few minutes (I have heard some moving stories from parents whose children lived only a few minutes or hours). I am unaware of any law against this.

Whether a scientist raises them is immaterial. Unless your point is really what if a scientist intentionally causes a deformity by experimentation. But God is not a cruel scientist who deliberately inflicts evils on innocent human beings; evils are caused by man (and man's enemies, the demons), not God; by Adam's fall and by sin, which God sent his Son to heal us from and redeem us from the effects of sin and evil.

God is in the process of rescuing us from sin — if we let him. The full effects of redemption will not be worked out until the End of the Age, though, when our race and our world will be re-created in righteousness, which brings me to my next point.

I'd point out that you appear to be only looking to this life. Human souls are immortal and everyone who suffers and dies, however quickly, will be resurrected and live forever according to what they have done in the body. For those who choose God and suffer, that suffering is nothing in comparison with the eternal happiness and glory they will gain in their perfected bodies. The worse pain in this life is a drop in the bucket of happiness of eternal life — 10,000 years from now, only the good effects of your suffering will matter.

Suffering has a redemptive characteristic as well; it conforms us to the image of God the Son who suffered on our behalf on the Cross out of love. Suffering is an opportunity for us to show love to one another, which is what is really important.

The upshot is that Jesus is the solution to the problem of evil created by Satan and man's sin and one day all will be re-created in righteousness and eternal happiness for those who love God; for those who reject God, they, too, will have their wish to embrace sin and evil, although it will not be a happy end. Suffering is not the ultimate evil; committing sin and remaining unrepentant until death is. Suffering will end; the effects of committing sin, if we remain unrepentant until death, last eternally. In a sense, this life is a trial to see whether we embrace God or embrace sin. In whatever state we die in, will be the state that we will remain in for all eternity. So to focus on suffering is really the wrong issue.

I hope some my colleagues will also comment on this.

Eric

Donald replied:

Eric,

You missed the point. The only thing God cannot do is sin or do something that he knows will result in great sin. Well, creating humans that he knew in advance, would sin, so He is aiding and supporting the sin. There is no way around it!

  • Right?

Donald

Paul replied:

Donald,

It sounds like you might be saying God cannot be defended for creating human beings, since we all eventually suffer and die. With all respect, this is a strange statement. To create us out of nothing — to potentially live an eternity of complete happiness — is too wonderful to put into words. All we have to do is give our will over to God and this becomes a reality. The suffering we experience in this very short life will be seen from eternity, as St. Teresa once said, like spending a night in a cheap hotel.

So, thanks be to God for our existence, our life, our faith, and the eternal happiness that Christ won for us by His sacrifice, blotting out our sins. Now all we have to do is say yes to God and cooperate with Him each day by accepting the grace (divine life) offered to us through His Church.

Suffering, in the meantime, can be seen as justice for our sins and medicine for its effects.

Peace,

Paul

Eric replied:

Donald,

I'm not sure I agree that God cannot do something that He knows will result in great sin. If that were true, He would be unable to create free moral agents, which would be a defect, not a perfection.

It's like inventing a gun. A gun can be used for evil, or it can be used for good. The manufacturer of the gun is not responsible for how it is used even though they foresee that it could (or would) be used for evil. If you don't like guns, substitute whatever: Fire, knives, trucks, fertilizer, drugs, etc.

As moral agents, we are responsible for our own sin. God is not. That is why God is not sinning when He creates a creature that can sin.

Eric

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