Catholic theodicy is a defense of the Catholic conception of God in the light of the problem of evil, problem of hell, argument from free will, and other arguments against the existence of God.
Providence and evil
State of journey to predestined perfection
God did not create a perfect world where evil could not exist at all because he has not yet made the world so perfect that evil cannot exist at all, but created the world in a "state of journeying" to its predestined perfection, since God can always create a more perfect world.
Good and evil allowed to abide together
God's plan of perfecting the world involves physical and moral good, and so, physical and moral evil as well: "the appearance of certain beings and the disappearance of others, the existence of the more perfect alongside the less perfect, both constructive and destructive forces of nature." Hence, while it may seem like God is powerless in the face of evil, or that the world itself is evil, God created a world that's good, contingent, interdependent, and ordered, whereby nothing is self-sufficient but everything is diverse and reflects God's goodness.
Taking everything into account so as to draw out of evil a greater good
God's plan of perfecting the world both takes into account all the good and evil in it and draws out of evil a greater good, as evidenced by the paschal mystery: by sinning we have murdered Jesus, yet by his self-sacrifice Jesus has redeemed us.
Goodness and sin
God did not prevent Adam from sinning or original sin from affecting all mankind for the same reasons why he did not prevent some of his angels from rebelling and falling out of heaven.
No coercion to love
God created men and angels so that they could enjoy the beatific vision, and so that men could enjoy deification, by freely loving him, and so, he respects their free-will, knowing that they can choose to not love him. As a spouse may not force the other to marry,, so neither does God force men or angels to love him, but treats them with parental tenderness. God's desire for free love is shown by the Immaculate Conception of Mary, since Mary, like Eve, was created free of original sin; yet, unlike Eve, Mary chose to never sin throughout her whole life.
Predestined gifts of Jesus
God predestined Jesus and created the world through him, since, through his baptism and his resurrection, God predestined to restore sanctifying grace and grant deification to mankind, through baptism, after Adam had lost sanctifying grace and immortality; and predestined to definitively end death, suffering, and sin through the resurrection of the dead.
Radical redemption, radical possibility
Since God's redemption of mankind is radical - baptism taking away original sin, the general resurrection ending death, martyrdom, the evangelical counsels, etc. - so too is the possibility of mortal sin and damnation radical.
Mercy and hell
In the context of eternal life
Since life with God is eternal in heaven, and some people choose to self-exclude from eternal life, so hell - the state of self-exclusion from life with God - is eternal.
In the context of the beatific vision and deification
Since God created man to enjoy the beatific vision and deification, so the damned suffer from the self-deprivation of ever seeing God.
- CCC 1047
- CCC 310
- CCC 310
- CCC 272
- CCC 285
- CCC 338-343
- CCC 311
- CCC 600
- CCC 312
- CCC 221
- CCC 311
- CCC 1861
- CCC 1628
- CCC 239
- CCC 492
- CCC 721
- CCC 602
- CCC 291
- CCC 412
- CCC 402
- CCC 1008
- CCC 646
- CCC 655
- CCC 64
- CCC 915
- CCC 1434
- CCC 1973
- Catechism Compendium 213: How can one reconcile the existence of hell with the infinite goodness of God?
- CCC 1035
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