Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

God does not play dice with the universe. - Albert Einstein

The Bible gives us reason to believe that God (presumably, God the Father) chose the time of Jesus' arrival on Earth.

My Question:

  • According to Catholic Tradition - Was Jesus' experience on Earth scripted? Or did human actors shape it?

Specifically:

  • According to Catholic Tradition - Were the people who came into contact with Jesus acting of their own free will? Or did God "move" them to act in a certain way to fulfill prophecies and lay the foundation for the Gospels?

For reference, a similar question was asked about Judas Iscariot.

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

First Answering

Q. According to Catholic Tradition - Was Jesus' experience on Earth scripted?
No it wasn't, but it followed a known 'script'.

Q. Or did human actors shape it?
Yes they did.

Q. Specifically: According to Catholic Tradition - Were the people who came into contact with Jesus acting of their own free will?
Yes they were.

Q. Specifically: Or did God "move" them to act in a certain way to fulfill prophecies and lay the foundation for the Gospels?
God moved - but did not force - those acting in accordance to his will, but not those acting contrary to his will. In the latter, the way it is described is 'he allowed' them to act they way they did. In both cases, the actors remain[ed] free.

[T]here is no predetermination by the Divine of what the human will freely chooses; it is not because God foreknows (having foredecreed) a certain free act that that act takes place, but God foreknows it in the first instance because as a matter of fact it is going to take place[.] - Please see below.


[Attempted] Explanation Second

Starting with 'why is man free?'

cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1743
"God willed that man should be left in the hand of his own counsel (cf. Sir 15:14), so that he might of his own accord seek his creator and freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to him" (GS 17 § 1).

From Free Will | New Advent please note that:

(2) Theology studies the questions of the existence, nature and attributes of God, and His relations with man. The reconciliation of God's fore-knowledge and universal providential government of the world with the contingency of human action, as well as the harmonizing of the efficacy of supernatural grace with the free natural power of the creature, has been amongst the most arduous labours of the theological student from the days of St. Augustine down to the present time.

The Jesuit school — with whom probably a majority of independent theologians agree, say:

God knows in the scientia media what Peter would do if in given circumstances he were to receive a certain aid, and this before any absolute decree to give that aid is supposed. Thus there is no predetermination by the Divine of what the human will freely chooses; it is not because God foreknows (having foredecreed) a certain free act that that act takes place, but God foreknows it in the first instance because as a matter of fact it is going to take place; He knows it as a hypothetical objective fact before it becomes an object of the scientia visionis — or rather this is how, in order to safeguard human liberty, we must conceive Him as knowing it. It was thus, for example, that Christ knew what would have been the results of His ministry among the people of Tyre and Sidon. But one must be careful to avoid implying that God's knowledge is in any way dependent on creatures, as if He had, so to speak, to await the actual event in time before knowing infallibly what a free creature may choose to do. From eternity He knows, but does not predetermine the creature's choice. And if it be asked how we can conceive this knowledge to exist antecedently to and independently of some act of the Divine will, on which all things contingent depend, we can only say that the objective truth expressed by the hypothetical facts in question is somehow reflected in the Divine Essence, which is the mirror of all truth, and that in knowing Himself God knows these things also. Whichever way we turn we are bound ultimately to encounter a mystery, and, when there is a question of choosing between a theory which refers the mystery to God Himself and one which only saves the truth of human freedom by making free-will itself a mystery, most theologians naturally prefer the former alternative. - cf. The Nature and Attributes of God | New Advent


PS The Navarre Bible New Testament Compact Edition note on Mk 14:12-21 (RSVCE) is:

Jesus' initiative in giving instructions for preparation of the Passover (vv. 13-16) and, particularly, the mysterious warning in v.21 show how intricately God's plan and human actions connect up: "Jesus' violent death was not the result of chance in an unfortunate coincidence of circumstances, but is part of the mystery of God's plan, as St. Peter explains to the Jews of Jerusalem in his first sermon on Pentecost: 'This Jesus [was] delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God' (Acts 2:23 (RSVCE)). This biblical language does not mean that those who handed him over were mere passive players in a scenario written in advance by God" (CCC, 599).

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.