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“…and men, as intelligent and free creatures, have to journey
towards 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. He permits it, however, because
he respects the freedom of his creatures and, mysteriously, knows
how to derive good from it:
For almighty God…, because he is supremely good, would
never allow any evil whatsoever to exist in his works if he were not
so all-powerful and good as to cause good to emerge from evil
itself. (St. Augustine)
-CCC 311
Why Is There Suffering?
Why doesn’t God stop the suffering in the world?
•If God is all-powerful, then he could stop it.
•If God is all-knowing, then he knows when bad or
suffering is going to happen.
•If God is all-loving, then he would want to stop it.
We will examine two main themes:
1. God is love:
•Love meaning: to will the good for another.
•God is love because he is the source of all goodness.
2. When humans fail to love as God does, the result is
disorder, destruction and suffering.
•Selfishness is the opposite of love
•Selfishness means: seeking things for oneself in a
way that ignores the good of others and causes
•God is Good and God creates only good.
•Creation is good because it comes out of God’s own
•Human beings are capable of imitating God’s creative
giving and generosity.
•Human beings are made in the “image” of God
•Reflections of God’s way of loving
•3 truths:
1. We were created good.
2. We were created to be in relationship
with God and other people.
3. We were created free.
•Human Dignity:
•The human person’s basic goodness.
•We were created to share in God’s own life.
•Nothing a person does can take away his or her inherent
•Human beings were created to be in relationship:
1. With other people:
•God created us to be partners and helpers to one
•Family is the basic unit of society
•Each of us is made to be united with all other people in
the world through “love.”
2. With Creation:
•Creation is a gift from God
•We do not own creation as something to do
with as we please.
•We are called to care for creation, to maintain it the
way God intended it from the beginning.
3. With God:
•We were created to be close to God.
•We remain empty and incomplete until we establish
that closeness with God.
Free Will and Original Sin
Free Will:
•The ability to freely choose what to do.
•Without free will we would not be able to love.
•Love is always a feely given gift.
•God does not stop people from doing things that cause
suffering for themselves and others because free will is the
ultimate good.
•If we are free to choose the good, we are also free to
choose against the good; to choose evil.
Original Sin:
•First people (Adam and Eve) freely chose to go against
God in the hope of being like God: desiring the knowledge
of all things.
•Being disobedient to God results in their separation from:
1. Themselves/their own goodness:
•They experience embarrassment now
•Self-conscience about their bodies and how they
are perceived by each other.
•The experience blame and secrets and hurt between
2. God:
•They hide now from God, not recognizing him.
•They no longer walk with him, talk with him and see
him as he is.
3. Creation:
•Fear the animals that can now harm them.
•Now have to work for their food; growing it
themselves. Hard, laborious work.
•Subject to natural disasters, sickness and suffering and
As a consequence, all human beings inherit this “Original Sin.”
•The tendency to betray our relationship with God, each
other and creation by:
1. Choosing to do nothing when we should:
•Sins of Omission.
2. Choosing to do things we know we should
not do:
•Sins of Commission.
•These are both considered our Personal Sins.
•God does not stop loving us because of our sinfulness.
•God continues to work to restore creation’s original
•Referred to as: Grace
•We are all called to cooperate in restoring this original
goodness through right thinking and right action.
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