O Felix Culpa

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I hope these notes make sense to someone other than myself. This is a matter to which I have given a great deal of thought over the past few days, weeks, months, and years. And as always, I submit them respectfully to correction lest they be theologically incorrect and lead anyone astray--please correct their excesses.

Oh happy fault/guilt that wrought for us such a savior.

Let's start with a premise that I think will be acceptable to most Catholics--God is not stupid and He knew what He was about in the act of creation. All three persons participated as is evident from Genesis 1 and John 1--"the spirit moved upon the face of the waters," and "nothing that is was made without Him [the Word]." Father, Son and Spirit were all present at the act of creation and in the whole of creation.

So, God is not stupid and God knows all things. Thus, when he breathed life into humankind, when He made humanity an order of creation different from all other creation by making humanity self-aware, already was set in motion all of the events that would lead to His incarnation. That is at the moment God gave us the will and the mind to reject us, He understood and foresaw how we would use that gift.

I am overwhelmed by the love it would take to give a gift that would ultimately lead to the giver's rejection. Think about it--who among us could give a gift that would lead our children to despise us (I mean deliberately)? Who could give a valuable and important thing knowing that it would lead to rejection and hatred?

And yet, at the beginning, when God breathed His spirit into us, He knew already the end to which it would lead. He gave us the gift of free will precisely so that He could reveal to us the vastness of his all-encompassing love. He gave us a gift that gave us the power to reject Him entirely. He gave us a gift that gave us the power to kill Him when He came to us to ask us to return to Him.

The gift of self-awareness/free-will is inextricably bound up with the gift of Jesus Christ. The moment it was issued Jesus was taken in bondage until He would assume our form and break all chains forever. Our free will held God captive through the centuries. Our rejection of love increased His love until the time came when one woman did not reject Him.

I've often wondered how many times God knocked before Mary finally answered. The Bible does not tell us how many said no. Obviously, we don't know that anyone did. And yet through the lengthy captivity and especially in the 200 year silence between the testaments am I to assume that God simply fell silent, not speaking to His people? How many women did He send an Angel to, offering them the chance to be Mother to the Entire creation? How many said no?

Sheer speculation. But what is not speculation is that God gave us free will knowing what we could and would do with it. At the fall, we received Jesus Christ as our slave (although we did not know it.) God himself became nothing to serve His own creation. If that is not love, what is?

I think about this and I think that God knew what would happen and committed Himself to giving everything to ungrateful humanity. His love was so vast that he could endure the rejection of ages culminating in His own experience of Death. There really are no words to articulate the feeling this inspires within me. I can say nothing that makes any sense of the overwhelming realization of how much God cared for me and for humanity.

God loved us so much that He made us what we are despite what He knew would result. That happy fault gave us God Himself, whom we rejected and killed, and who, after all of that continued to love us.

Talk about Amazing Grace!

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If God sent an angel to ask a virgin to be the mother of His Son, and she said yes, would it be necessary for her to have been immaculately conceived? What if she said no?

Would God have caused a woman to be immaculately conceived so that she would commit her first sin by saying no to the angel? Would her sin then be a new cause of human fallenness, unrelated to Adam and Eve?

Dear Tom,

The way I had it explained to me (by a Dominican, I might add) was that the echo of Mary's yes resounded backward and forward through time that the Yes and the Immaculate Conception were of the same order of time outside of time, and therefore God could have asked any number of people before Mary and always received a No.

Then another question--if she was really being asked, that implies that "No" was a possible answer. Is no, in that case, a sin?

But honestly, these things are well beyond me. God works in eternity and when we've solved the whole question of what God knows in eternity as opposed to predestination--which I don't think is satisfactorily clear--you will then have your answer. Honestly, I don't have a clue--but I do think that there was an awfully long silence. And who knows how He was working in Old Testament times?





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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on May 19, 2005 6:55 AM.

Truly Frightening Answers to the Meme was the previous entry in this blog.

Becoming Who We Are is the next entry in this blog.

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