This is a continuation of the last post with the same topic but II.
The cosmological argument by St. Thomas Aquinas has God as the First Cause. Everything that exists has a cause. However, there must have been at some time a cause prior to all other causes. This Prime Mover or First Cause is necessary to explain existence. This First Cause is God. Of course, proofs of God’s existence have their share of proponents and opponents. The proofs do not definitively prove the existence of God because they can be argued. Even the greatest truth can be masked behind a veil of innocent ignorance or blindness of pride. It is faith that provides the bedrock for belief in God and the cornerstone for ultimate happiness. Nevertheless, proofs can help show that Christianity is a rational religion.
The organization of the human body is incredible. It tells me that God is the Master Creator, Supreme Builder, and Unrivalled Artist. Cells come together to form tissues. Tissues working together to carry out a specialized function form an organ. Organs work together to form a system. A human being has various systems impressively working together to keep him alive. Order just cannot come from disorder. The complexities of an organ like the brain marvels neurosurgeons. There are many things yet to be discovered about the organ and many not thoroughly understood. There are mysteries. In trying to solve all mysteries, scientists err. Some assumptions implicit in their explanations is very questionable. But they proceed from there to draw conclusions. Nothing is wrong in the fact that we are not able to understand or explain all things. This is acceptable because we are mortals limited in time, space, and knowledge. Therefore it is rational to accept a mystery. It is not necessarily a sign a weakness.
Happenings in the world get people doubting God’s existence. Believing that God is good, they do not understand how he could allow so much evil. God gave man freedom and man is free to choose his actions. The consequences of his actions are however not his to choose. Evil exists because we abuse our freedom. If God takes away our freedom then man becomes like robot acting without intelligence and open for manipulation. There would be no joy to feel; no happiness in living because we would not know what living is about. God made us in His image and likeness therefore that is not the case. Our God-given freedom enables us to choose and be responsible. There is no reason to blame God for the existence of evil. To have that beautiful world we dream of, we have to give more thought to our actions and choose more carefully. Our actions are responsible for the state of the world. In not denying us our freedom, God permits us to choose. We should choose wisely. We are not being as reflective as we should.
Peter Kreeft said:
Evil is not a thing, an entity, or a being. All beings are either the Creator or creatures created by the Creator. But everything God created is good, according to Genesis. We naturally tend to picture evil as a thing—a black cloud, or a dangerous storm, or a grimacing face, or dirt. But these pictures mislead us. If God is the Creator of all things and evil is a thing, then God is the Creator of evil, and he is to blame for its existence. No, evil is not a thing but a wrong choice, or the damage done by a wrong choice. Evil is no more a positive thing than blindness is. But it is just as real. It is not a thing, but it is not an illusion… If the origin of evil is free will, and God is the origin of free will, isn’t God then the origin of evil? Only as parents are the origin of the misdeeds their children commit by being the origin of their children. The all-powerful God gave us a share in his power to choose freely. Would we prefer he had not and had made us robots rather than human beings?2
God did not create us and abandon us. He has revealed himself to us through Jesus Christ. If we were created then our Creator knows more. His laws are not just meant to restrict us. They are meant to bring out the best in us. God’s commandments do not impede our happiness. They are guide to true happiness and fulfillment.
If everyone who speaks about matters relating to faith were to be correct then there would be a faith crisis. Confusion would reign in the Christian world. So who is right? Whose shall we listen to? God is right; we should listen to him. And God in the person of Jesus Christ chose to found his church upon a man. This was not a man taking the authority upon himself to start what he calls a church, this was the God-Man founding his church upon Peter. Jesus told Peter, “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Mt. 16:18-19). Scott Hahn explains:
When Jesus speaks of the ‘keys of the Kingdom’, he is referring to an important Old Testament passage, Isaiah 22:20-22, where Hezekiah, the royal heir to David’s throne and King of Israel in Isaiah’s day, replaced his old Prime Minister, Shebna, with a new one named Eliakim. Everyone could tell which one of the royal cabinet members was the new Prime Minister since he was given the ‘keys of the kingdom’. By entrusting to Peter the ‘keys of the Kingdom’, Jesus established the office and primacy to be handed on to his successor; thus it has been handed down throughout the ages.3
Before he ascended he told Peter, the leader of the church to feed his sheep. We are to listen to Peter particularly when it comes to faith and morals. In listening to Peter we listen to Christ. Peter still speaks today through his successor. The church Christ founded is apostolic and in matters of faith we can to turn to her for direction. You do not turn to a musician when you are sick but to a doctor. Having been through the school of medicine, a doctor is qualified to handle health issues. It will be considered folly to prefer the service of a musician to a doctor when one is sick. A musician has no authority in the field of medicine. One would go for the services of a civil engineer and not a nutritionist when there is a construction to be made. In matters of faith, it is the church that is authorized to teach. The church can give insights in the interpretation of God’s Word although I believe that under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, one can interpret scriptures. It is the church’s duty to teach and guide the faithful. If you do not want to be led astray in matters of faith then turn to the church. Be wary of dissenting views. Seek the actual teachings of the church for these days members of the church who are influenced by the world we live in can give the wrong teaching even when they do not mean to do so. It is easy to give one’s personal views and misinterpret the bible just as it is easy to interpret the bible so that it suits one’s belief and expectation. This is usually done by people who have not really reflected upon the bible. Generally, we must be careful whom we listen to in matters of faith. There are groups of people who have found a means of livelihood exploiting people’s vulnerability. Promising heaven and earth they milk their victims of their resources.
This write-up continues in the next post.
- Peter Kreeft: http://catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0019.html
- Scott and Kimberly Hahn, Rome Sweet Home, 1993, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, USA