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Question 267:

Why did God send his ONLY son to be killed by normal people? Did Jesus create hell and heaven? If a Christian kills many innocent people, will Jesus forgive him? 

Answer: 

 

Your question consists of three different questions: 

  1. Why did God decide to become in Jesus Christ a mortal human being and allow this innocent human being to be killed, even cruelly killed, by the punishment of crucifixion?
  2. Did Jesus create heaven and hell? What does catholic teaching say about heaven and hell?
  3. Does Jesus forgive a Christian believer, even if he or she has killed many innocent people?

 

As to (1), please read the texts of the website: Topic 2, part III and IV.¸ Question and Answer 265; 249; 97; 12; 

When we look at Jesus of Nazareth, the absolutely innocent servant of God, crucified by human beings as a criminal, the question of divine providence becomes acute. Very succinctly we may say about God’s overall plan: “First, there is the divine initiative. God is the alpha and the omega. Everything comes from God and returns to God. This is what we mean when we call God Creator. Second, there is the human response to the divine initiative, which can be either positive (a gracious response) or negative (a sinful response). Third, there is the divine response to the human response. This means that God has created a world in which God has freely chosen to respect the dignity and integrity of our human freedom even when it leads to destructive action. In a word, God has created a world in which God as Creator truly depends on our free human response to the divine initiative in order to give shape to the world in which we live. It makes a profound difference to God what we do! We can either, build the earth and thus realize the divine intention through gradual transformation or we can destroy the earth and so accomplish the divine intention through cataclysmic destruction. The point is: the options are real but, in either case, ultimately the divine intention will be achieved. In fact, the divine intention is already being achieved here and now through us. The future shape of God’s kingdom depends on whether we choose to be co-creators with God of that future or not.  

“The cross is where we see this providential pattern most fully realized. In my view (writes Fr. Michael L. Cook, SJ) the Father did not send his Son into the world to die on the cross. Only a monstrous God would do such a thing. The Father sent his son to proclaim the depth of the Father’s love and the realization of this love in a kingdom of transforming grace. The human response to this divine initiative was twofold. On the part of Jesus, it was to remain faithful (obedient) to the mission given him even unto death. On the part of his enemies, it was to reject the divine initiative and crucify God’s beloved Son. Thus, it was not God who created the cross but human beings. In this way, the cross is first a symbol of human sinfulness and only as such can it be seen as a continuing offer of divine love. The divine response to Jesus’ fidelity and to the tragedy of the human rejection was to raise Jesus from the dead. The Father’s embrace of his beloved Son in the power of the Spirit at the moment of his rejection and abandonment means that God remains faithful in love despite our human sinfulness. But it also means that we live from that day to this under the sign of the cross — a sign of human tragedy.” (Michael L. Cook, J, Responses to 101 Questions about Jesus. Bombay: St. Paul’s, 1995. Pp. 80-81) 

As to (2)

On the Church’s teaching on heaven and hell, please refer to theme number 13: Death, Judgment, Eternal Life, II: The Christian view. See also Question and answer nr. 123; 183; 25; 141

As to (3)

Yes, Jesus Christ is willing to forgive the sinner, whatever sin he or she may have committed. However: true repentance is the condition. This means conversion of heart, a turning away from evil and a radical determination to make a new start. In speaking of the Sacrament of Penance we stress the firm intention of making amends for the wrong he or she has done. We use the word ‘confession’ to describe the individual’s own personal confession of his or her sins. We also use the term ‘Sacrament of Reconciliation’, to show that God reconciles us to himself. 

 

For further information see: Topic 3: Cross, Sin, Redemption, II: Christian Perspective 1 (ii) and Questions and Answers nr. 193; 192; 241; 257

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