Monday, October 27, 2014

On Lucifer: Why did God create an angel with free will who may soon oppose Him?

QUESTION: If God created everything, why would he create an angel who had free will, and soon would oppose God when, stated, nothing in this universe clearly has nothing against Him? Why couldn't he just wipe Lucifer off the face of reality?

REPLY


The Catechism of the Catholic Church already provides an answer:
309 If God the Father almighty, the Creator of the ordered and good world, cares for all his creatures, why does evil exist? To this question, as pressing as it is unavoidable and as painful as it is mysterious, no quick answer will suffice. Only Christian faith as a whole constitutes the answer to this question: the goodness of creation, the drama of sin and the patient love of God who comes to meet man by his covenants, the redemptive Incarnation of his Son, his gift of the Spirit, his gathering of the Church, the power of the sacraments and his call to a blessed life to which free creatures are invited to consent in advance, but from which, by a terrible mystery, they can also turn away in advance. There is not a single aspect of the Christian message that is not in part an answer to the question of evil.
 310 But why did God not create a world so perfect that no evil could exist in it? With infinite power God could always create something better.174 But with infinite wisdom and goodness God freely willed to create a world "in a state of journeying" towards its ultimate perfection. In God's plan this process of becoming involves the appearance of certain beings and the disappearance of others, the existence of the more perfect alongside the less perfect, both constructive and destructive forces of nature. With physical good there exists also physical evil as long as creation has not reached perfection.175
 311 Angels and men, as intelligent and free creatures, have to journey toward their ultimate destinies by their free choice and preferential love. They can therefore go astray. Indeed, they have sinned. Thus has moral evil, incommensurably more harmful than physical evil, entered the world. God is in no way, directly or indirectly, the cause of moral evil.176 He permits it, however, because he respects the freedom of his creatures and, mysteriously, knows how to derive good from it.
A. Love and Free Will

According to the Baltimore Catechism, "God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven." And this holds for both angels and men.

Now, love requires free will.  A programmer can make a robot say "I love you" as many times as he likes or whenever stimulus is presented, e.g. the robot is hugged or kissed.  But would a programmer be happy with this kind of love?  No.  The same is true with a man and a girl that he treats as an object for his gratification, a sex toy, as the lyrics of the Barbie Girl song tells us:
I'm a Barbie girl, in the Barbie world
Life in plastic, it's fantastic!
You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere
Imagination, life is your creation
I'm a blond bimbo girl, in a fantasy world
Dress me up, make it tight, I'm your dolly
You're my doll, rock'n'roll, feel the glamour in pink,
Kiss me here, touch me there, hanky panky...
You can touch, you can play, if you say: "I'm always yours"
Make me walk, make me talk, do whatever you please
I can act like a star, I can beg on my knees
Come jump in, bimbo friend, let us do it again,
Hit the town, fool around, let's go party
Oh, I'm having so much fun!
Well Barbie, we're just getting started
Oh, I love you Ken!
Notice that there is some kind of programming going on here:

if (you.say = "I'm always yours.")
then{
    you.touch(me);
    you.play(me);
    me.say("I am having so much fun!");  
    me.say("I love you, Ken!");
    }

This would be an unsatisfying kind of love.

True loves requires free will, and the happiness of a wedding is greater the freer the love given.  As the rite of the Catholic marriage illustrates:
The priest then invites them to give their consent. Instead of a simple "yes" in reply to the question of the celebrant demanded by the old ritual, a more complete formula is preferred; a formula that has been in use from medieval times in English speaking countries, namely, "I, N. take you, N. as my lawful wife (husband), and I promise you fidelity in riches and in poverty, in sickness and in health, in loving you and honouring you for all the days of my life".
The priest then invokes the blessing of God on their consent, saying: "May the Lord ratify the consent given by you before the whole Church, and may He be pleased to shower upon you His blessings".
B. Free will and punishment of Angels

The Catechism teaches us that the Angels are were made good, and even Lucifer himself was originally light-bearer, as his name suggests.  But to earn heaven, angels must also make a choice to either love God or not.  But unlike humans whose intellect knows things by proceeding from one truth to another through reason, the angels understand truth intuitively.  As Aquinas would say:
So, likewise, the lower, namely, the human, intellects obtain their perfection in the knowledge of truth by a kind of movement and discursive intellectual operation; that is to say, as they advance from one known thing to another. But, if from the knowledge of a known principle they were straightway to perceive as known all its consequent conclusions, then there would be no discursive process at all. Such is the condition of the angels, because in the truths which they know naturally, they at once behold all things whatsoever that can be known in them. (Summa Theologica)
Thus, when they are given the choice whether to love God or not, they already intuitively know the consequences of their choice.  For a sin to be mortal, three things are necessary according to the Catechism: grave matter, full knowledge, and deliberate consent.  The choice to love God or not is a grave matter for the angels because such choice is only given once.  The angels has perfect knowledge of the consequences of their choice, so they have full knowledge.  The choice is not forced upon them but asked freely.  Thus, their refusal to love God is a mortal sin that warrants eternal punishment in Hell, and the greatest punishment is to know that someone loves you, yet you spurned His love, and you can't anymore see Him forever.  If you think this is not terrible, just look at the people who committed suicide because they cannot anymore be with their loved one forever.

God could have killed all the angels who refused to love Him, but God allowed them to be until the right time in order to create a greater good out of the evil, though the evil remains as evil and will never ever become good.  As Eru (God) told Melkor, the Evil One (Lucifer archetype) served by Sauron himself in Silmarillion:
And thou, Melkor, shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined. 
Lucifer and his angels were banished to earth.  The book of Isaiah tells us:
How you have fallen from the heavens, O Morning Star,* son of the dawn! How you have been cut down to the earth, you who conquered nations!i 13 In your heart you said: “I will scale the heavens; Above the stars of God* I will set up my throne; I will take my seat on the Mount of Assembly, on the heights of Zaphon.j 14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will be like the Most High!”k 15 No! Down to Sheol you will be brought to the depths of the pit!l 16 (Is 14:12-15)
God allowed the fallen angel, Satan, in the form of a serpent, to tempt the First Man and Woman in the Garden, and in doing so made their choice to love God (by not eating the forbidden fruit) more meritorious.  But Adam and Eve failed the test, and sin entered into the world, and with sin, death. But over these evils, God wrought the greatest event in history: God became man in the person of Jesus Christ.  As we read in the Exsultet during the Easter Vigil:
O love, O charity beyond all telling, to ransom a slave you gave away your Son! O truly necessary sin of Adam, destroyed completely by the Death of Christ! O happy fault that earned for us so great, so glorious a Redeemer!
Ultimately, during Christ Second Coming, the dead shall rise again and will be judged either worthy of heaven or hell.  And the fallen angels will be finally sent to hell forever.  As Christ said:
Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 k For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ 44 * Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ 45 He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ 46 l And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Mt 25:41-46)

C. Conclusions

God created angels with free will so that they can freely love him.  God allowed the fall of the angels in order to make man's choice to love Him more meritorious.  God allowed the man to sin and die in order to redeem man by becoming man himself through Christ.  Christ established the Catholic Church to save man from sin through the Sacraments.  When Christ comes again, he will judge the righteous to enter heaven and the evil-doers to go to Hell together with Lucifer and his angels.
Angels and Demons: What Do We Really Know about Them?
Angels and Demons: What Do We Really Know about Them?
St. Michael the Archangel
St. Michael the Archangel
The Problem of Evil: A Reader
The Problem of Evil: A Reader
Baltimore Catechism Four
Baltimore Catechism Four
Barbie The Princess & the Popstar 2-in-1 Transforming Tori Doll
Barbie The Princess & the Popstar 2-in-1 Transforming Tori Doll
Happy Together: The Catholic Blueprint for a Loving Marriage
Happy Together: The Catholic Blueprint for a Loving Marriage
On Free Choice of the Will
On Free Choice of the Will
Free Will (Hackett Readings in Philosophy)
Free Will (Hackett Readings in Philosophy)
The Silmarillion
The Silmarillion
The Easter Proclamation: ( Exsultet )
The Easter Proclamation: ( Exsultet )
The Divine Comedy: Inferno; Purgatorio; Paradiso (Everyman's Library)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

On homosexuality: how can love be a sin? A reply to Boy Abunda


In Bottomline with Boy Abunda, Abunda talked about his homosexuality and the Catholic Church:
"I am not devout, in the traditional way of defining 'devout,'" he clarified. "I am a Catholic and I am proud to be Catholic." "I do not agree to all the teachings of the Church, and one of them is saying that, 'We're okay with homosexuality, but the moment you practice, the moment you have sex, it is a sin.'" Explaining his take on the matter, Abunda continued: "Sa aking pananaw, paano naman ako magmamahal bilang isang homosexual man if I don't express sexually my love with my partner? Isa 'yon sa mga disagreements. Doon kami hindi nagkakaintindihan." Asked directly if he believes, as per Catholic teachings, that his own lifestyle as a gay man is a sin, Abunda only said: "No. How can love be a sin?" (ABS-CBN)
I have two comments regarding Boy Abunda's definition of Catholicity and Love.

A. Catholic Doctrine and Heresy

To be a Catholic is to believe the Catholic teaching whole and entire. To believe all but not one or some teaching is to be a heretic.  As the Catechism teaches:
2089...Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same.
That is why heretics are defined by the truth that they deny.  For example, in the Apostle's Creed, if you deny that Jesus is the Son of God consubstantial with the Father, then you would be an Arian, similar to the Iglesia ni Cristo.  If you deny that Jesus really died and was buried, then you would be a Docetist.

Now, the Catholic Church teaches that homosexual intercourse is a sin because it goes against the Sixth Commandment: Thou shall not commit adultery.  As the Catechism says:
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved. 2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition. 2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
To deny that homosexual acts is not a sin is to deny the truth taught by the Catholic Church and is therefore a heresy.

B. Four Loves of the Greeks: How Can Love be a Sin?

Love is just a vague English that has come to mean many things.  But to make distinctions, the Greeks talk about four kinds of love:
  • Agápe (ἀγάπη agápē[1]) means "love: esp. brotherly love, charity; the love of God for man and of man for God."[2] 
  • Éros (ἔρως érōs) means "love, mostly of the sexual passion."[5] The Modern Greek word "erotas" means "intimate love." It can also apply to dating relationships as well as marriage. 
  • Philia (φιλία philía) means "affectionate regard, friendship," usually "between equals."[7] It is a dispassionate virtuous love, a concept developed by Aristotle.[8] 
  • Storge (στοργή storgē) means "love, affection" and "especially of parents and children"[9] It is natural affection, like that felt by parents for offspring.
Except for Agape, the other three loves can become disordered.
  • Storge. The love of the parent for his child in storge can become disordered if the parents wishes not to let the child go and live his own life, especially in marriage.  As Christ says: ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” (Mt 19:5-6)
  • Philia.  The love between friends can become disordered if we condone the sin of our friends or participate in their sinful acts, e.g. a government official excuses the crimes committed by his brothers in his Fraternity.
  • Eros. The sexual love of a man to a woman can become perverted by lust, leading to rape, fornication, adultery.  Homosexuality is also such perversion of eros.  As St. Paul writes: "Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, 27 and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity." (Rom 1:26-27)
Thus, love can be a sin.

That is why, our love must always have two facets: love of God and love of neighbor.  As Christ said:
“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and the first commandment. 39 k The second is like it:* You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 * l The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Mt 22:37-40)
St. John also wrote:
If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God* whom he has not seen.j 21 This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.k (1 Jn 4:20-21)
The converse is also true: if you love your brother, then you must also love God.  This then is the test if the homosexual love of Boy Abunda is true: if it is also consistent with our love for God.  But God has explicitly condomned homosexual acts in the Book of Leviticus:
If a man lies with a male as with a woman,k they have committed an abomination; the two of them shall be put to death; their bloodguilt is upon them. (Lv 20:13)
C. Mortal Sin and the Sacrament of Confession

Today, except in Islamic countries, we don't anymore kill those who engage in homosexual acts.  But the truth remains that this is a grave sin: the person may not die bodily, but his soul is already mortally dead and no amount of Holy Communion can restore it back to life, in the same way as food would not anymore avail a dead man.  As we say in Filipino, aanhin mo pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo (translation: of what use is grass if the horse is already dead).  And when a person under the state of mortal sin actually dies, he immediately goes to Hell.

To restore the soul back to life, the person must go to confession and like the prodigal son something like this:
Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.  (Lk 15:18-19) 
Actually, after confession, the person must say the Act of Contrition:
O my God! I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. (Baltimore Catechism)
And God will forgive the sinner and restore him back to his dignity as adopted child of God.

D. Conclusions

Love can be a sin if it does not satisfy two aspects: love of God and love of neighbor.  Boy Abunda may think that loving his neighbor through homosexual acts is true love.  But this love does not satisfy the other criterion that it must also be an expression of love for God.  To love God is to obey his laws, and God explicitly condemns homosexuality in the Book of Leviticus with a pain of death.  Homosexual acts are mortal sins because they cause death to the soul.  The only way for the soul to be revived to a new life is through the Sacrament of Confession.  But the person, after healing, must obey Christ's words: "From now on do not sin any more." (Jn 8:11
Homosexuality and the Catholic Church
Homosexuality and the Catholic Church
The History of Heresies and Their Refutation or The Triumph of the Church
The History of Heresies and Their Refutation or The Triumph of the Church
Homosexuality and American Psychiatry: The Politics of Diagnosis
Homosexuality and American Psychiatry: The Politics of Diagnosis
Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality: A New Clinical Approach
Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality: A New Clinical Approach
Truth about Homosexuality: The Cry of the Faithful
Truth about Homosexuality: The Cry of the Faithful
The Four Loves
The Four Loves
Four Talks on Love: Storge, Philia, Eros, Agape
Four Talks on Love: Storge, Philia, Eros, Agape
Baltimore Catechism  Four
Baltimore Catechism Four
The Gay Gospel?: How Pro-Gay Advocates Misread the Bible
The Gay Gospel?: How Pro-Gay Advocates Misread the Bible
Lord, Have Mercy: The Healing Power of Confession
Lord, Have Mercy: The Healing Power of Confession