Free Will & Predestination

Question:

Father,

After Mass we had a long (2 hour) discussion with our 17 year old over the scripture readings. He told us that he has been having a hard time understanding the theology on predestination. He can't understand why God would create some for Hell. When I told him that we all had free choice, he responded that according to what he has read, God is all knowing and already knows which of us will be going to hell. He wants to know why he would create some of us for Hell. He is an intellectual type that has a hard time accepting by blind faith. He said that he will read whatever you have to help him get beyond this. We went directly to the Catechism but couldn't find anything on predestination. Are we looking under the wrong term? God bless,

Answer:

It is often confusing when talking about predestination and God's foreknowledge. Yes, God knows who will be saved and who will be lost, but He does not cause anyone to go to Hell.

Example, if I was walking with my best friend, and we saw someone drop a $20, I know right now what my friend would do. I know this, because I know my friend. I know how he has acted in the past, and therefore know, with little doubt, how he will act here. My knowledge of this, does not cause him to return the money.

God predestines no one to go to Hell (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1037). It says that one must willfully turn away from God (mortal sin) and persist in mortal sin until the end in order to deserve punishment in Hell.

God does not want us to be puppets, so he gave us a free will....... we can accept God's love, or reject it.... the choice is ours.

Just as a parent sometimes knows that their child is going to make a mistake, sometimes, they have to step back and let the mistake happen. Not because there is a lack of love, but rather, because there is great love. God loves us so much, but He will not force us to love Him, but hopes that we all accept Him.

God Bless,

Fr. Ray