Splendor of Truth - What We Believe



Who created the world? (CCC 290-294)

Creation is a work of the Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Spirit. He made all things from nothing, bring life and order to the nothingness.

Why did God create the world? Was he obligated to do so? (CCC 293-295)

God was not obligated to create the world in any sense, nor did He do it to increase His glory or own inner happiness. Instead, He freely created the world out of love. St. Thomas Aquinas says, “Creatures came into existence when the key of love opened his hand.”  Fulton Sheen, when asked why God created the world, responds, “Love overflowed.” He is perfectly complete within Himself, for we remember that perfect Love exists amongst the Persons of the Trinity. Therefore, creating us does not add anything to His glory or happiness. Instead, He creates to show and manifest His glory, which is love. Like a married couple who love with one other, they want to create offspring in order to share this love with others. Similarly, the Lord wants not to keep His love to Himself, but to share and give it away.

If God is all-powerful and all-loving, why is there evil in the world? (CCC 309-314)

This is a question that no human being fails to ask at some point in his or her life. The answer is not short, and in fact, “There is not a single aspect of the Christian message that is not in part an answer to the question of evil” (CCC 309). We will not try to give a complete answer to the mystery of evil (for to do so is impossible), but only try to state some key truths that help us understand better. First, God in no way causes evil. All evil in the world, physical and moral, is a result of our sins. From this, we necessarily ask ourselves next why He allows us to sin. The simple answer is that true love must be a free choice. He desires a loving friendship with us, not robotic obedience. In other words, He must give us the choice to love Him. A choice implies another option – the option to choose against Him, which is sin and is the cause of evil. God’s will leads to perfect happiness, peace and order. When we choose against it, we face the consequences. It is only when we have the option of choosing against Him, choosing against all those things that seem so good, that choosing Him despite them is so fulfilling. The Lord understands that our participation in our own salvation, by choosing Him despite pain and difficulties, actually makes salvation that much better. Imagine being given an NBA championship ring for winning an NBA championship, but you didn’t do anything to get there. Someone called you, you came, there was a big ceremony, lots of people to congratulate you and take your picture, and now you will always be known as winning a championship. How much satisfaction will you get from that? Compare this to a life’s worth of work – practicing, lifting weights, working out, enduring pain and hardship – that eventually leads to the championship. What is more satisfactory? In short, we must be given a choice to love if it is to be true love. If there is no choice, there is no love, only robotic obedience.

God respects this choice so much that He refuses to violate our free will – so much so that we can freely choose eternity in hell. However, though He allows us to exercise our free will to bring about evil, He only does so because is able to bring good out of it. This is the amazing part – His power is so great that He can take every single one of our evil acts and bring a better good out of it than if we had never committed it. However, He can only do this if we allow Him to work in us. In essence, He allows evil to exist for a time because He knows that His love and power are such that the end result will be greater than the original. If this were not true, He would not allow evil to exist. The most obvious example of this truth is the death of His own Son. Through the greatest and most evil act of man, the murder of God’s own Son, He has brought forth the greatest good – the salvation of man.

Are Catholics allowed to believe in evolution? (Humani generis, Pius XII)

There are three truths that have been promulgated by the Church in regards to the creation of man.

1. The human soul is not a product of evolution. The human was soul was created out of nothing directly by God. This can be known by philosophy, reason and divine revelation.

2.  As for the evolution of the body, the Church permits reasonable and cautious discussion to take place by men experienced in the fields of science and theology.  Pope Pius XII states, “Some however, rashly transgress this liberty of discussion, when they act as if the origin of the body from pre-existing and living matter were already completely certain and proved…as if there were nothing in the sources of divine revelation which demands the greatest moderation and caution in this question” (Humani generis, 36). This document can be found at: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xii/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_12081950_humani-generis_en.html

3.  All humans descended from one couple, Adam and Eve. Polygenism is not a matter of discussion – it is false. Polygenism is a theory that can mean two things. It can mean that “Adam” signifies multiple first parents or that there were other men created besides Adam that did not inherit original sin from him. Both are false.

Do angels really exist, and if so, what is their purpose? (CCC 328-336)

Yes, angels do exist. They are messengers and servants of God and man. They are purely spiritual beings, with no material bodies. They, like humans, have intelligence and free will. Their splendor is above all in the visible world, including man. However, they humble themselves to serve man. Their primary purpose is to serve and adore God. Their secondary purpose is to serve and aid man in the attainment of his salvation.

Does everyone have their own guardian angel?

Yes, each person has a personal guardian angel. The task of your guardian angel is to help you achieve salvation. Your guardian angel will not leave you until you have reached heaven, even remaining with you in Purgatory.

If God is really perfect, why did He need to rest on the seventh day?

God did not actually need to rest. There are multiple meanings to the Sabbath rest; we shall focus on one. The Lord gave us the Sabbath as a foreshadowing of our eternal destiny. While on earth we work out our salvation, but earth is not our final end. We were created to have perfect “rest” and fulfillment in Heaven by our unity with the Blessed Trinity. We must, however, endure a time of testing in which we work out our salvation. God gives us the Sabbath as His first promise and revelation of Heaven and our eternal destiny.

What do we mean when we say man was created in the “image and likeness” of God? Does this mean we are just like Him? (CCC 356-361)

It is possible to write an entire book in answer to this question so we will only dwell on a few basic principles here. On the most basic level, to be made in the image and likeness of God refers to our spiritual nature, namely our intellect and will. Our intellect allows us to know God, and our will allows us to love him. This makes us distinct from every other created being (except angels, who also have these capacities). Second, God is a Trinity of three Persons who are in an eternal relationship. Being created in His image indicates that we are also called to relationships – we are not meant to be alone. As well, we are capable of entering into a relationship with God, not only with one another. Rocks do not have this capability. God, by making us in His image, has given us the capability to share in His very life.

Do we have a soul? If so, is it immortal? (CCC 362-368)

Yes, we have a soul and it is immortal, which means our soul will exist forever. The immortality of our souls is natural property. The basic faculties of our soul are intelligence and will. These two powers of our soul are what distinguish us from the rest of the created, material world.

Do animals have souls?

Animals do have souls, but their souls are not immortal, and they do not have intelligence or will. Their souls cease to exist upon their death.

Why did God create us male and female? Does this have a significant meaning? (CCC 371-373)

Yes. First, it shows us that we are not meant to be alone. To be a person means having someone else to love. It means we need one another to complete ourselves. Only the union of two can make a whole and produce new life. We are unique in that we are called to know ourselves and others and to give ourselves away as a gift first to God and second to man, in imitation of God, who gives Himself to us as a gift.  Human beings, having been created male and female and given the capacity to create new life in this union, model God with the ability to know and possess ourselves. Our loving one another and creating new life (both physical and spiritual) is one of the primary ways in which we live in the image and likeness of God.

Is one gender superior to the other? (CCC 369-373)

Each gender, male and female, possesses equal dignity; neither gender is superior or better than the other. However, each gender is also different and each one has an important role to play. Each role is distinct, beautiful and equally necessary. Each person better understands their identity when they discover who and what they were created to be. Males are meant to represent the Father, who is the giver and provider. They were created first and are meant to be the head of the family. The female is to receive the life and nurture it within her body in order to bring forth the life to the world. In the bodies of man and woman we can see the different and complimentary roles each is meant to play. These roles are revealed by the body, but they are also manifested in deeper, emotional, and spiritual levels. Only together can man and woman fulfill their two-fold vocation – to love another and bring forth life from this love. Each gender is essential. A man cannot be a man unless he has a woman with to whom to be a man. A woman cannot be a woman without a man with whom to be a woman.

What was the condition of man before the Fall? (CCC 374-379)

Before the Fall, man lived in a state of original holiness and justice, in which he was in friendship with God and in harmony with the world around him. Adam and Eve possessed supernatural grace (the virtues of faith, hope and charity), the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the four preternatural gifts (harmony between body and soul, infused knowledge, loving obedience to the will of God, and freedom from suffering and death). The preternatural gifts are gifts that are more than what man is due according to his nature. In other words, they were extra “perks.” Man was in union with God, and he had perfect self-mastery, being unsusceptible to temptations of the flesh, greed, or self-assertion.




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