Now things turn interesting. Each person, according to this understanding, is either a subhuman or superhuman, but he does not know which. Moreover, he cannot reason his way to the answer. Suppose, glory or glories, that God appears before him and tells him, “You are saved.” If the person is in fact damned, then there is no consideration due to him at all, including any imperative for God to tell him the truth. Perhaps, God is lying to him in order to use him for the welfare of the saints more effectively.

Moreover, being unsure of whether one is saved or damned is trouble, too. Again, hell is actually infinite evil, and heaven is only potentially infinite good. Any finite probability of the former skews life toward abject pessimism and despair. Is it worth to be born to be subjected even to a possibility of hell, no matter how small?

But despair is self-fulfilling prophesy. Thinking oneself hell-bound causes despair which causes sloth in regard to oneself, envy in regard to the “saved,” hatred of God for creating him like this (how can a Quasimodo of a creature love its Creator?), and thereby slouching further into one’s own personal hell. (There is no other.) This strengthens one’s conviction that he is, in fact, damned, and intensifies the despair. One starts wondering whether he should kill himself before he is confirmed in evil which is obviously cheating at life and itself punishable by hellfire. And down the drain one goes.

If reason alone is helpless here, then perhaps reason graced with faith is not. But what is faith? Here I consider the articles of faith, i.e., “We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, …” to be only a constituent of something more important, namely, trust of God that “he has you” in all possible worlds and will assuredly guide you toward your last end regardless of the circumstances. A person might contemplate the idea that God the Son dies no less than three times for his sake: before creation to be uplifted in the intellect, upon being conceived for the sake of power, and upon crucifixion in the will to receive charity. The Father did not spare His Son; what else wouldn’t God do for your sake?

One might think, “I am a world in myself. Why would God create one world (the universe which is finite and has an aspect of infinitude only to the extent that humans are infinite, anyway) only to destroy another, me or other humans?”

God’s solicitude is precisely the infinite cause that counters and prevents the infinitely evil effect of hell.

The trust toward God is not rational, based on any calculation of its reasonableness, but childlike, extended just because it’s the thing to do.

We have it then, that faith is a self-fulfilling prophesy, too. It generates and preserves the other two theological virtues of hope and charity, just as its lack destroys them. It brings rightly-understood confidence, not to be confused with presumption that one is saved regardless of his actions. It nurtures the love of other people, insofar as one’s unshakable belief that God is supremely good indeed, leads him to a stronger (i.e., more ambitious) conclusion that no “price” needs to be paid for “success”; and in fact, every human being is a sheep, essentially good. There are no monsters among the humankind to destroy.

One confirms himself in goodness starting his journey, causally, from the beginnings of faith. The fact that God is so in control that He saves everyone or at least you in any set of circumstances (the latter is sufficient) yields the phenomenon of faith which in any person grows upon itself and causes him actually to be saved. God saves a person by nurturing faith; that person saves himself by having the consequences of faith overtake his soul.

It is true at the same time that God’s providence is unique for every human being and would be unique for any human being in differing circumstances or worlds.

Salvation then is by “God alone” as the force that checks any positive feedback toward spiritual self-destruction in humans; by “faith alone” understood as God’s initial instrument of or means to doing just that; and by “man alone” as the ultimate master of oneself making his own choices and whose happiness is within.


0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *