Explaining hell
#11
(07-24-2017, 07:34 AM)JosefSilouan Wrote:
(07-23-2017, 11:35 PM)MaryLover Wrote:
(07-23-2017, 04:43 AM)JosefSilouan Wrote: I found this Podcast about the subject very helpful:

The Art of Catholic - "The Question of Hell with Dr. Michael Healy"

Thank you, this has been very helpful. There are a few things I disagree with on this, but overall, very useful.

What did you disagree with? I think pretty much everything Dr. Healy says is doctrinally sound. However, I listened to it a pretty long time ago, so I might have missed something.
Well doctrine-wise, in Dr. Healy addressing of Von Balthasar's material, he fails to affirm the fact that both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition clearly state the Judas Iscariot is in hell. (By the way, can someone tell me the Fathers and Doctors of the Church were unanimous on the damnation of the following?: Ananias and Sapphira, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, Onan or any other person that I'm missing) Also, he didn't affirm that fact that the majority of souls will reject salvation, although that could just be because the topic wasn't directly brought up.
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#12
(07-24-2017, 11:18 AM)MaryLover Wrote:
(07-24-2017, 07:34 AM)JosefSilouan Wrote:
(07-23-2017, 11:35 PM)MaryLover Wrote:
(07-23-2017, 04:43 AM)JosefSilouan Wrote: I found this Podcast about the subject very helpful:

The Art of Catholic - "The Question of Hell with Dr. Michael Healy"

Thank you, this has been very helpful. There are a few things I disagree with on this, but overall, very useful.

What did you disagree with? I think pretty much everything Dr. Healy says is doctrinally sound. However, I listened to it a pretty long time ago, so I might have missed something.
Well doctrine-wise, in Dr. Healy addressing of Von Balthasar's material, he fails to affirm the fact that both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition clearly state the Judas Iscariot is in hell. (By the way, can someone tell me the Fathers and Doctors of the Church were unanimous on the damnation of the following?: Ananias and Sapphira, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, Onan or any other person that I'm missing) Also, he didn't affirm that fact that the majority of souls will reject salvation, although that could just be because the topic wasn't directly brought up.

Van Balthasar's material is not heretical per se, as long as you affirm that there are some people in hell (which even Balthasar did never explicitly deny). And Dr. Healy affirmed that there are people in hell, if I remember correctly.

Concerning Judas: it is extremely likely that Judas is in hell, but it doesn't state so explicitly in Scripture or Magisterial Teaching. Everything that is not Scripture or Magisterial Teaching could be fallible - at least in theory.

That "the majority of souls will reject salvation" is not a Catholic dogma. It may be the opinion of many saints and fathers, but there are many saints and father who tought otherwise (St. Gregory of Nyssa, for example).

Btw., I would strongly suggest you read Balthasar's original book, even if you disagree with everything he says. How can you debate his book and his arguments effectively if you don't know them? (Or have you read it already? In this case, ignore this suggestion :) )
"Cor Jesu Rex Et Centrum Omnium Cordium, miserére nobis "

“To pray is to shed blood.” - Silouan the Athonite
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#13
(07-24-2017, 11:04 AM)MaryLover Wrote: Can someone please explain or provide information on invincible ignorance, someone brought that up on my thread, and I don't know that 100%. I'm pretty sure someone in invincible ignorance needs to be completely faithful to the natural moral law, what is required for a person with invincible ignorance to be saved?

We use two term in theology when speaking of the absence of knowledge : Nescience and Ignorance.

Nescience is the simple lack of knowledge. Your average fifth grader is probably knows nothing of nuclear physics, but there is no reason he would, so he simply lacks that knowledge. 

Ignorance is the lack of knowledge that one should have. It can either be vincible or invincible (able to be overcome with some reasonable effort here and now, or unable to be overcome here and now). Because it is knowledge that should exist, there is a moral character to the lack of it. One can be at fault for this lack of knowledge, but it is important to note that it is a lack of knowledge. 

It is not something, but the absence of something. That is essential in understanding it. Because it is a lack of something, it cannot do anything, but can prevent or worsen a person's fault for acting. We cannot say one is saved because of ignornance, but rather that because one was ignorant of some thing, he was not at morally responsible for something.

That said, invincible ignorance takes away the fault for some action, because one was not acting and intending evil (e.g. a man opening a door that he did not know was attached to a string that fired a gun killing a man in the room was invincibly ignorant of the consequence of his opening of the door, so not at fault for the death of the man).

One cannot, however, be invincibly ignorant of the primary precepts of the Natural Law, nor of the basic tenants of natural religion (e.g. the existence of God, need to worship him in some way, He is a rewarder of good and punisher of evil, etc.).

Thus an Atheist is not in invincible but vincible ignorance. So also a homosexual, adulterer, thief, liar, fraud or any other sinner whose actions are against the primary principles of Natural Law cannot be in invincible ignorance, but has an ignorance or blindness which is vincible and thus his own fault. He will be punished because he should have known better and could have known better, but at some point chose not to.

Further one has to have at least a minimum amount of Supernatural Faith, because our end is supernatural, and not merely natural -- our natural acts will not reach God, only natural acts elevated by supernatural Faith and Charity. God allows every man the opportunity for this at some point, such that it is his own fault if he rejects God's grace. One must also have Faith in something, so there is at least a minimum amount of revelation one has to accept. Precisely what that is is widely debated, some assert the basic mysteries of the Christian Faith (since it's establishment) others a supernatural Charity along with supernatural Faith in the principles of natural religion.

Because the whole complexity of the Catholic Faith relies on revelation and many explanations and conclusions that require years of Catechism, sermons, and instruction to even begin to understand in some depth, clearly there can be a degree of inculpable and invincible ignorance here. For example, it's quite possible for someone to be saved despite never knowing of (but never rejecting) the Immaculate Conception. It is impossible for anyone to be saved who rejects the existence of God, or explicitly rejects any dogma of the Faith as such.

The general reply of theologians to the "noble savage" is usually similar to that of St. Thomas : a man who is an infidel, but who diligently tries to keep the Natural Law, accepts the principles of natural religion and puts no other obstacles in the way would be given some special private revelation and the choice to accept the most basic tenants of the Christian Faith or a missionary to provide him sufficient doctrine and Baptism. In the case of the former, he would be given sufficient grace to have enough Faith that he could then Hope in God's salvation, detest his sins with a perfect contrition and Love God with Charity above all other things. He could choose to ignore this grace, but then would be guilty for his refusal. 

Catholic teaching requires we accept the possibility of the salvation of a soul by this extraordinary means without Sacramental Baptism, but does not require we accept that it happens frequently. In fact the very conditions for it make it probably extremely rare.
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#14
(07-24-2017, 01:10 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote:
(07-24-2017, 11:04 AM)MaryLover Wrote: Can someone please explain or provide information on invincible ignorance, someone brought that up on my thread, and I don't know that 100%. I'm pretty sure someone in invincible ignorance needs to be completely faithful to the natural moral law, what is required for a person with invincible ignorance to be saved?

We use two term in theology when speaking of the absence of knowledge : Nescience and Ignorance.

Nescience is the simple lack of knowledge. Your average fifth grader is probably knows nothing of nuclear physics, but there is no reason he would, so he simply lacks that knowledge. 

Ignorance is the lack of knowledge that one should have. It can either be vincible or invincible (able to be overcome with some reasonable effort here and now, or unable to be overcome here and now). Because it is knowledge that should exist, there is a moral character to the lack of it. One can be at fault for this lack of knowledge, but it is important to note that it is a lack of knowledge. 

It is not something, but the absence of something. That is essential in understanding it. Because it is a lack of something, it cannot do anything, but can prevent or worsen a person's fault for acting. We cannot say one is saved because of ignornance, but rather that because one was ignorant of some thing, he was not at morally responsible for something.

That said, invincible ignorance takes away the fault for some action, because one was not acting and intending evil (e.g. a man opening a door that he did not know was attached to a string that fired a gun killing a man in the room was invincibly ignorant of the consequence of his opening of the door, so not at fault for the death of the man).

One cannot, however, be invincibly ignorant of the primary precepts of the Natural Law, nor of the basic tenants of natural religion (e.g. the existence of God, need to worship him in some way, He is a rewarder of good and punisher of evil, etc.).

Thus an Atheist is not in invincible but vincible ignorance. So also a homosexual, adulterer, thief, liar, fraud or any other sinner whose actions are against the primary principles of Natural Law cannot be in invincible ignorance, but has an ignorance or blindness which is vincible and thus his own fault. He will be punished because he should have known better and could have known better, but at some point chose not to.

Further one has to have at least a minimum amount of Supernatural Faith, because our end is supernatural, and not merely natural -- our natural acts will not reach God, only natural acts elevated by supernatural Faith and Charity. God allows every man the opportunity for this at some point, such that it is his own fault if he rejects God's grace. One must also have Faith in something, so there is at least a minimum amount of revelation one has to accept. Precisely what that is is widely debated, some assert the basic mysteries of the Christian Faith (since it's establishment) others a supernatural Charity along with supernatural Faith in the principles of natural religion.

Because the whole complexity of the Catholic Faith relies on revelation and many explanations and conclusions that require years of Catechism, sermons, and instruction to even begin to understand in some depth, clearly there can be a degree of inculpable and invincible ignorance here. For example, it's quite possible for someone to be saved despite never knowing of (but never rejecting) the Immaculate Conception. It is impossible for anyone to be saved who rejects the existence of God, or explicitly rejects any dogma of the Faith as such.

The general reply of theologians to the "noble savage" is usually similar to that of St. Thomas : a man who is an infidel, but who diligently tries to keep the Natural Law, accepts the principles of natural religion and puts no other obstacles in the way would be given some special private revelation and the choice to accept the most basic tenants of the Christian Faith or a missionary to provide him sufficient doctrine and Baptism. In the case of the former, he would be given sufficient grace to have enough Faith that he could then Hope in God's salvation, detest his sins with a perfect contrition and Love God with Charity above all other things. He could choose to ignore this grace, but then would be guilty for his refusal. 

Catholic teaching requires we accept the possibility of the salvation of a soul by this extraordinary means without Sacramental Baptism, but does not require we accept that it happens frequently. In fact the very conditions for it make it probably extremely rare.
Thanks, this was really informative.
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#15
Okay, I have another question, this comes from the same person who is arguing that hell isn't eternal. He's complaining about there being no free will in eternity, with those in Heaven, it's easy to explain why they would have no free will because they have fulfilled their end of union with God. With the damned, it's another matter, the universalist's is complaining that is unfair for God to take away the free will of damned and thus deprive them of their only way out. How do I respond to that? Would it be correct to argue that the damned, sort of break their own free will when they damn themselves?
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#16
(07-24-2017, 01:10 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: One cannot, however, be invincibly ignorant of the primary precepts of the Natural Law, nor of the basic tenants of natural religion (e.g. the existence of God, need to worship him in some way, He is a rewarder of good and punisher of evil, etc.).

Thus an Atheist is not in invincible but vincible ignorance. 

I would tend to disagree. Just because the existence of God can in principle be known by reason does not mean everyone has the necessary information and intelligence to come to this conclusion.

A 12 year old boy who grew up in a atheist Communist country, who got told since his birth that God does not exist, can hardly know about His existence without the help of supernatural grace.

Not even to mention people stuck in New Ageism.
"Cor Jesu Rex Et Centrum Omnium Cordium, miserére nobis "

“To pray is to shed blood.” - Silouan the Athonite
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#17
(07-25-2017, 01:23 AM)JosefSilouan Wrote:
(07-24-2017, 01:10 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: One cannot, however, be invincibly ignorant of the primary precepts of the Natural Law, nor of the basic tenants of natural religion (e.g. the existence of God, need to worship him in some way, He is a rewarder of good and punisher of evil, etc.).

Thus an Atheist is not in invincible but vincible ignorance. 

I would tend to disagree. Just because the existence of God can in principle be known by reason does not mean everyone has the necessary information and intelligence to come to this conclusion.

A 12 year old boy who grew up in a atheist Communist country, who got told since his birth that God does not exist, can hardly know about His existence without the help of supernatural grace.

Not even to mention people stuck in New Ageism.

It sounds nice to suggest such, but to suggest that one could saved without knowing the existence of God is metaphysically impossible.

The reason is rooted in basic philosophic principles. 

1. A free, rational agent always acts for an end.
2. An agent acts according to his nature.
3. Whatever is received is received according to the mode of the receiver.
4. Whoever desires an end, desires the means to that end.
5. The cause is always greater than the effect.
6. Nothing is desired except what is apprehended.

First argument
God, Himself, is the only proper final end for man. The essence of heaven is union with God by knowledge and love. But (Principle 6) in order to seek after an end that end must be known. Thus, no man can seek God as his final end without first knowing Him (at least in some way). But existence is the very first thing essential thing we apprehend about a thing (we admit a thing exists before thinking of any qualities or attributes). So in order to reach his final end a man must at least know of the existence of God in order that he may know God and love Him.

Thus, one who does not know God in any way cannot seek him, and cannot be saved.

Second argument
God is man's supernatural end. But man is not a supernatural creature, but a natural, rational creature who is was elevated by God's grace to the supernatural and thus His end must be supernatural, not natural. But of himself, a man can only act according to his natural powers (Principle 2) and he can know only according to his natural faculties, unless elevated by some external power (Principle 3). Thus man by his own powers cannot reach an end beyond himself (Principle 5). So in order for a man to reach supernatural happiness (union with God), he must be elevated by some knowledge of his end, and be given some power which is supernatural by which his natural faculties are elevated to seek the end. But this power is grace, which is above man's ability to produce.

Thus, without grace, which comes only from God, a man cannot reach God.


Third argument
A man always acts for an end, and thus desires all the means to that end (Principles 1 and 4), so if a man seeks God as his final end, he will desire all the means by which to know and love God. But one who does not admit the existence of God cannot desire any means by which to know or love a thing which he believes not to exist. Thus, a man who does not admit the existence of God, cannot desire God, and thus cannot have God an his end, and cannot be saved.

----------------------------

We can get lost in the philosophical side of things, and think that when we say God can be know by reason it is only Aristotle or by some extremely complicated methodology that we can get to the "Philosopher's God". 

In fact, it's far more simple. A small child, looking around seeing nature will easily see that there is something far greater than him. He did not create the world which he sees, nor could any man have created it because it's greater than any person. That is enough to begin one's knowledge and desire on a natural level, which if continued would naturally lead to a basic knowledge of God as creator and remunerator.

Enter Original Sin, and indeed, most people would not follow this path, but that is part of our culpability for sin. God provides every soul sufficient grace to overcome our blindness, malice, weakness and concupiscence -- even infidels. He provides everyone of us the opportunity to reach our proper end, but will not force anyone.

God does not owe heaven to anyone. It is a free gift. But, in His Mercy, he gives everyone the chance to have it, and forces no one to choose it.

If your 12-year-old rasied in an atheistic place does not ever come to the knowledge of God and thus is not saved, it will be because he rejected the actual grace God sent by which he could have known and loved Him. If he accepts that grace, God will give more grace, even to the point of Sanctify Grace when the boy makes an act of Faith, Hope, Contrition and Charity. Even in the worst conditions God allows every soul to be saved, but not without knowing and loving Him.
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#18
(07-25-2017, 10:38 AM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: It sounds nice to suggest such, but to suggest that one could saved without knowing the existence of God is metaphysically impossible.

Baptised toddlers don't "know" about the existence of God and are saved nonetheless.

I agree with your arguments, if they imply that the Communist boy can know God implicitly, in the depths of the soul, choosing right actions over wrong actions, without explicitly talking about "God" or even "Creator".
"Cor Jesu Rex Et Centrum Omnium Cordium, miserére nobis "

“To pray is to shed blood.” - Silouan the Athonite
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#19
(07-25-2017, 11:07 AM)JosefSilouan Wrote:
(07-25-2017, 10:38 AM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: It sounds nice to suggest such, but to suggest that one could saved without knowing the existence of God is metaphysically impossible.

Baptised toddlers don't "know" about the existence of God and are saved nonetheless.

I agree with your arguments, if they imply that the Communist boy can know God implicitly, in the depths of the soul, choosing right actions over wrong actions, without explicitly talking about "God" or even "Creator".

In the case of the Baptized, though, we're talking about the infused supernatural virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity and Sanctifying Grace through the sacrament. A baptized infant that dies does so in the state of grace and is saved by his Faith (knowledge of God) and Charity (love of God).

In the case of the non-Baptized we're relying on some other means for supernatural Faith, Charity and Sanctifying Grace. The only means, aside from Baptism, is actual grace plus an act of the intellect and will, disposing for the infusion of those virtues by some extraordinary means. But for an unbaptized infant that's impossible, hence the serious necessity to baptize an infant ASAP.

Let's recall that there is no salvation except for those who have Sanctifying Grace. Grace -- gratia -- is, by definition, a free gift of God.

Unless your Communist boy has Faith, Hope, Charity and Sanctifying Grace, there's no way he can be saved. He would need some degree of explicit Faith, because one must have Faith in something.

Let's be careful also not to deny the important role actual grace plays here. Absent this, of course there's no chance for Dmitri. We do know, however, God will give him sufficient grace at least once at some point in his life, no matter his conditions. If he accepts this actual grace or series of graces, he will be led to sufficient Faith to be saved. If not, he will become personally responsible for his failure, and thus worthy of punishment.
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#20
(07-25-2017, 04:13 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote:
(07-25-2017, 11:07 AM)JosefSilouan Wrote:
(07-25-2017, 10:38 AM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: It sounds nice to suggest such, but to suggest that one could saved without knowing the existence of God is metaphysically impossible.

Baptised toddlers don't "know" about the existence of God and are saved nonetheless.

I agree with your arguments, if they imply that the Communist boy can know God implicitly, in the depths of the soul, choosing right actions over wrong actions, without explicitly talking about "God" or even "Creator".

In the case of the Baptized, though, we're talking about the infused supernatural virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity and Sanctifying Grace through the sacrament. A baptized infant that dies does so in the state of grace and is saved by his Faith (knowledge of God) and Charity (love of God).

In the case of the non-Baptized we're relying on some other means for supernatural Faith, Charity and Sanctifying Grace. The only means, aside from Baptism, is actual grace plus an act of the intellect and will, disposing for the infusion of those virtues by some extraordinary means. But for an unbaptized infant that's impossible, hence the serious necessity to baptize an infant ASAP.

Let's recall that there is no salvation except for those who have Sanctifying Grace. Grace -- gratia -- is, by definition, a free gift of God.

Unless your Communist boy has Faith, Hope, Charity and Sanctifying Grace, there's no way he can be saved. He would need some degree of explicit Faith, because one must have Faith in something.

Let's be careful also not to deny the important role actual grace plays here. Absent this, of course there's no chance for Dmitri. We do know, however, God will give him sufficient grace at least once at some point in his life, no matter his conditions. If he accepts this actual grace or series of graces, he will be led to sufficient Faith to be saved. If not, he will become personally responsible for his failure, and thus worthy of punishment.

If God's grace is really "free", why shouldn't he be able to give it to whomever he wants, whenever he wants?

Claiming that it is 'impossible' for unbaptized persons to receive justifying grace seems to limit the souvereignity of God.

We are bound by the sacraments. To deny it would be a dangerous heresy. But God isn't bound by them.
"Cor Jesu Rex Et Centrum Omnium Cordium, miserére nobis "

“To pray is to shed blood.” - Silouan the Athonite
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