Chapter 6 – God, the Father AlmightyPosted: February 9, 2012
“I am God the Almighty. Walk in my presence . . . ” (Gen 17:1)
“For us there is one God: the Father, from whom all things come and for whom we live; and one Lord, Jesus Christ. . . ” (1 Cor 8:6)
255. The central focus of religious Faith is God, “the first and the last” (Is 44:6). All important, then, is how we perceive and “picture” God. From the Mosaic Covenant at Mount Sinai, Christians inherit a very positive image of God. “The Lord, the Lord, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity” (Ex 34:6). The Psalmist sings “Praise the Lord, for he is good. . . . Great is our Lord and mighty in power” (Ps 147:1,5; cf. Rv 15:3-4). Today more than ever an accurate personal understanding of God is urgently needed.
256. The Christian Creed, of course, presents a Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The three Divine Persons structure the Creed and this whole Catechism: the Father in this Part 1, with the Son, whose moral teaching is taken up in Part 2, and the Holy Spirit in Part 3. Like the Creed, we begin immediately with God the Father, to whom Christ our Lord taught us to pray (cf. Lk 11:2).
257. One thing noticeable about Filipinos is how spontaneously they relate to God. A typical example of this is the following excerpt from the Tagalog Pasion.*
|O Dios sa Kalangitan,Hari ng Sangkalupaan,
Dios na walang kapantay,
Mabait, lubhang maalam
At puno ng karunungan.
|O God in heavenKing of the universe,
God without equal,
And full of knowledge.
|Ikaw ang Amang tibobosNa nangungulilang lubos,
Amang di matapus-tapos,
Sa taong lupa’t alabok.
|Thou art the Absolute Father[Who art] completely alone
Merciful and adoptive
Towards earthen men.
258. Nor is this God-relatedness only a thing of the past. Even now, wherever you see a new housing development going up, a chapel is sure to rise. There seems to be no limit to the number of different religious groups throughout the land. Among Filipinos, it is taken for granted that God is central to their community life and welfare, as well as family and individual interests.
259. But who is this God so central to life? How is He served and worshipped? Some who contribute to building a church or chapel are rarely seen afterwards in Church worship or activities. The old phrase “Kasal, Binyag, Libing Christians” describes not only these generally absentee believers. It also points out the common fact that so many Filipinos have never been properly catechized in their Christian Faith. Many complain “I never understood what we were doing.” For such Christians, who is this God that is so taken for granted that He is often seemingly ignored?
260. The Creed is presumed to be the official source for clarifying who God is, and how we are related to Him. But the reality is often quite different. When Filipinos are catechized in the authentic Christian image of God and of His worship, they are usually surprised to discover so many of their Filipino cultural values within the basic Christian catechesis. For example, children’s respect and “utang na loob” to their parents exemplify our common human gratitude to our heavenly Father. “Bahala na,” understood positively, relates the Filipino to God’s providential care. “Malasakit” pictures well God’s unrelenting care for man, his creature. Even our value of “kagandahang-loob” expresses God’s perfect interior goodness that ever seeks to bring out the best in us.
261. The opening line of the Creed presents us with three descriptions of God: God is the Father, the Almighty, and the Creator of heaven and earth. In this chapter we shall focus on the first two, Father and Almighty, leaving the detailed treatment of “Creator” for Chapter 7. But three preliminary points must first be made.
I. PRELIMINARY POINTS
262. The first point is the power of these descriptions to lift us out of ourselves and focus our eyes on God, and what He has done for us through history. There is no false religious sentiment about what we do for God, or on our obligations. The Creed liberates us from such self-centeredness by directing all our attention to the ONE GOD who is Love. As a prayer, the Creed teaches us to believe, to trust, to ground ourselves not in what we feel, we do, we want, or we are, but rather in what God is, God does, God wills, and God offers in us and for us.
263. The second preliminary observation concerns the proper identity of God described by these terms. It is true that the Creed responds to the general, universal human need for God. “As the deer longs for the running waters, so my soul longs for you, O God. Athirst is my soul for God, the living God” (Ps 42:2-3). Throughout history, men and women have related to God as they have experienced Him in the beauty and goodness of nature and in their own history (cf. Rom 1:20).
264. Old Testament. Moreover God has specially revealed Himself in salvation history to the Israelites as recorded in the Old Testament. There is but One God who is to be loved (Dt 6:4-5), who reveals His Name — “I Am” — (cf. Ex 3:14), who is Truth (2 Sm 7:28) and Love (cf. Hos 11:1; CCC 200-21). To believe in such a God affects our whole life tremendously. It means realizing the majestic grandeur of God (cf. Jb 36:26), living within the action of His grace (cf. Ps 116:12), with complete confidence in His Providence, recognizing the unity and dignity of every person (cf. Gn 1:26), and the task of caring for all creation (cf. CCC 222-27).
265. But the God of the Creed, while firmly based on this Old Testament revelation, is specifically the God revealed in the concrete experiences of Easter and Pentecost, the God revealed by Jesus Christ. He is the God experienced by the disciples of the Risen Christ, in the Spirit. “Father” in the Creed means first and foremost “Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and only in view of that, Father of all men.
266. Identifying the Creed’s “Father” thus expresses the biblical portrayal of Jesus’ unique relation to the Father. When Philip asked Jesus: “Show us the Father and that will be enough for us,” Jesus replied: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. . . . Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?. . . it is the Father who lives in me accomplishing His works” (Jn 14:9-10). This brings us to the third preliminary point, namely, the Trinity as the specific “Christian” image of God.
267. Blessed Trinity/Grace. The God revealed by Jesus Christ is, of course, the Blessed Trinity, the central Mystery of the Christian Faith and of our Christian life. “No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, ever at the Father’s side, who has revealed Him” (Jn 1:18). Jesus, the Incarnate Son, reveals to us the Eternal Father, and his own unity with the Father (cf. Jn 10:30). Together with the Father, the Risen Christ sends their Holy Spirit, “a spirit of adoption through which we cry, Abba, ‘Father!’ The Spirit itself gives witness with our spirit that we are children of God . . . heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ” (Rom 8:15-17; cf. CCC 232-67).
268. This Trinitarian image of God is present to us from the very inception of our Christian life. We were baptized in the name of Father, Son, and Spirit (cf. CCC 249). Baptism is a continuing reality in our lives through which we are called to share their divine life of love even now on earth through Grace, in the obscurity of faith, and after death in the eternal light of heaven (cf. CCC 265). Meanwhile our every prayer as Catholics is begun with the Sign of the Cross: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (CCC 232). And our community Eucharistic celebrations begin with a greeting such as: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all” (2 Cor 13:13). In brief, our whole Christian life is marked by the Trinity.
269. With this general background on God in Old Testament and Christian perspectives, we can now begin to study the meaning of the Creed’s “Father” and “Almighty.”
II. GOD AS OUR FATHER
270. How is it possible, proper, and true to call God our “Father?” Five basic reasons can be given why God is our Father.
271. First, the most obvious reason is because He created us. “Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, . . . Who gives breath to its people and spirit to those who walk on it: I, the Lord, have called you . . . I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you” (Is 42:5-6).
As Christians, we know further that “we are truly [God’s] handiwork, created in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:10).
272. Second, God is our Father because He provides for our needs. The Psalmist acclaims: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Ps 23:1). He sent us Jesus, “the Good Shepherd,” who taught: “If God clothes in such splendor the grass of the field . . . how much more will he provide for you, O weak in faith!” (Lk 12:28)
273. Third, God is our Father because He has redeemed us. “You, Lord, are our Father, our Redeemer you are named forever” (Is 63:16). This redemption is a further sign of our Father’s love. “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him may not die, but may have eternal life” (Jn 3:16).
God’s Indwelling Spirit
274. Fourth, as our Father, God sends His Spirit to share His divine life with us. “If we love one another, God dwells in us, and His love is brought to perfection in us. The way we know we remain in Him and He in us is that He has given us of His Spirit” (1 Jn 4:12-13).
275. Lastly, as with Jesus himself, God as our Father grounds our own self-identity. For we are all essentially children of God, destined for life eternal with Him. “Abba, Father” captures in a word that unique relationship to God enjoyed by Jesus Christ. In this relationship Jesus invites all of us to share. To be a Christian, then, means to acknowledge that all persons are called to be adopted sons/daughters of the Father, in Christ Jesus. Thus filial love of God our Father calls for loving service of our fellowmen.
Our Motherly Father
276. These reasons why God is “Father” are certainly not affirming that God is sexual, that is, masculine rather than feminine. God’s fullness of life embraces both the paternal and maternal dimensions of love, and infinitely more! Isaiah describes how God promises “as a mother comforts her son, so will I comfort you” (Is 66:13). Christ described his desire to gather Jerusalem’s children together as “a mother bird gathers her young under her wings” (Mt 23:37).
But to really appreciate that God is truly our Father, we have to go back to the biblical narrative of the great events of salvation history.
III. GOD REVEALED AS “FATHER” IN SCRIPTURE
A. Yahweh in the Old Testament
277. The Old Testament presents the inspired story of God forming His own people by establishing a special relationship with them. This covenant was a call to fuller life and salvation. First God called Abraham out of his homeland and promised him: “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you” (Gn 12:1-2). Through Abraham, God promised: “all the nations of the earth shall find blessing __ all this because you obeyed my command” (Gn 22:18). Thus God showed Himself to be a personal God, eager to endow his people with land, material possessions and countless descendants.
278. The call of Moses gives an even sharper picture of God as liberating His people. Out of the burning bush the Lord said: “I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry of complaint against their slave drivers. . . . Come now, I will send you to Pharaoh to lead my people out of Egypt” (Ex 3:7,10). God showed Himself “Father” to the Israelites by choosing them “to be a people peculiarly His own.” This was not because they were the largest of all nations, but solely because He “set His heart” on them and loved them (cf. Dt 7:6-8). For their part, the Israelites were to observe God’s commandments, the “Ten Words,” to guide them toward fuller freedom as His children (cf. Ex 20:1-17).
279. The subsequent history of the Israelites showed the same infidelities which we ourselves experience today in our relationship with God. Yet, despite their stubborn unfaithfulness, God remained faithful. He established a covenant with David and promised him: “I will raise up your heir after you. . . I will be a father to him and he shall be a son to me” (2 Sm 7:12,14). After the Exile, God promised through the prophets a New and Eternal Covenant: “I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (cf. Jer 31:31-34).
This is the image of God given us in the Old Testament and described in the Fourth Eucharistic Prayer:
Father, we acknowledge your greatness.
All your actions show your wisdom and love . . .
Even when we disobeyed you and lost your friendship
You did not abandon us to the power of death,
but helped us all to seek and find you.
Again and again you offered a covenant to us,
And through the prophets taught us to hope for salvation.
This is the image of God that Jesus came to bring to fulfillment.
B. Jesus’ “Abba” Relationship
280. Jesus’ relation to the Father is unique. The Old Testament commonly referred to “the God of our Fathers.” It names God as “Father” only in eleven places, and never in direct address. But Jesus constantly speaks of God as Father (over 170 times in the New Testament). This is especially true at crucial points in our Lord’s life __ his Baptism, his Transfiguration, his Last Supper with his apostles, and especially in his Passion and Death. In each of these critical moments, Jesus experienced this special relation to God, his “Abba.” He lived as Son of his Father by his filial love, obedience, and complete dedication to his Father’s will. Jesus also realized that this experience was unique to him: “No one knows the Father but the Son __ and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal Him” (Mt 11:27).
281. Jesus taught that God is the Father of all, and instructed his disciples to pray to God as “Our Father” (Mt 6:9). In this he revolutionized the idea and image of God. For Jesus, the Father was not an authoritarian paternalistic God, but a God incredibly committed to us, His adopted children. He rains down the Just One, Immanuel, God-with-us. He is a forgiving Father who runs out to greet His prodigal repentant son (cf. Lk 15:20). He is a Father who cannot be bribed, or cajoled, or fooled in any way. But his love for us goes beyond all bounds. He even sends His only begotten Son to die on the Cross to bring salvation and new life to us all.
282. Proclaiming God as Father, as Ama, Tatay, is to realize God’s place in our own self-identity. Our deepest self is to be His adopted son or daughter. We recognize the tremendous utang na loob we owe God our Father who sustains us every moment of our lives. But we also come to realize our responsibility to order our lives according to God’s loving will. His Fatherly love desires only our utmost good. God’s will is that we grow into the fullness of our capacities, unto our perfect happiness. Thus we are most our true selves, most creative, when we obey His will. Trusting completely in His Fatherly Providence frees us from all depressing fear, through an authentic, positive “bahala na” attitude.
283. God the Father is described as “Almighty,” the only divine attribute cited in the Creed. Its importance can be explained under three specific qualities. We believe God’s power is: 1) universal; 2) loving; and 3) a mystery (cf. CCC 268).
284. Universal. God the Father’s power is universal because He is PANTOKRATOR, the Creator and ruler of all things, infinitely beyond any human father we experience on earth (cf. CCC 268). This stops us from falling into any false sentimentalism regarding God our loving Father. We believe: “He rules and compasses all things, for the heights of the heavens and the depths of the abysses and the limits of the world are in His Hand” (St. Theophilus of Antioch).
285. So in the Old Testament we read of Yahweh Sabaoth, “Lord of Hosts,” and El Shaddai, “Lord of the mountain,” who showed His power particularly in the Exodus liberation. “With strong hand and outstretched arm you brought your people Israel out of Egypt amid signs and wonders and great terror” (Jer 32:21). In the New Testament God’s power is revealed in Christ’s “signs” or miracles, and especially in his Resurrection (cf. CCC 269).
286. God’s almighty power is manifested as universal in that He is both utterly beyond us (transcendent), and yet more intimately within us (immanent) than we are to ourselves. His utter transcendence is expressed by Isaiah the prophet: “As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts” (Is 55:8-9). But the same prophet sees this transcendence in God’s holiness: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts!” (Is 6:3) This we repeat in the Sanctus of every Mass.
This same quality of holiness brings out God’s universal immanent presence. So the Sanctus continues Isaiah’s text: “All the earth is filled with his glory!” (Is 6:3).
287. Loving. Now since we all expect God to be all-powerful, almighty, we might miss what is most striking about the divine power in the Bible. For as with the idea of “Father,” the Bible actually revolutionizes the notion of God as ‘almighty.’ The biblical ‘almighty’ is not some impersonal, arbitrary, self-seeking force, imposing terror on all creatures. Rather, the Father’s almighty power is the re-creating personal energy of non-violent Love.
288. This “loving power” of the Father, His “kagandahang-loob,” is revealed especially in Christ our Lord, present among us in the Spirit. God keeps us as His “segullah” __ the apple of His eye. His almighty love is forever yearning to do more for us, in the spirit of “malasakit,” as Christ pictured for all in his parable of the Good Shepherd (cf. Jn 10:11; CCC 270).
289. A Mystery. Yet proclaiming God as Father Almighty does not blind the Christian to all the evil in the world. Sin and the suffering of countless people are much too real to make light of, or explain away by some flimsy excuse. Thus the ever-persistent question: If God is really all-powerful, why can’t He wipe out all evil? Our Christian Faith does not give us any easy “answer” to this mystery. But it does offer us some basic truths to fortify us against meaningless, despairing suffering (cf. CCC 309).
290. Mystery of God’s Powerlessness. God’s power is “mystery” because it so often appears as powerlessness. This is most sharply manifested in the Passion and Death of Christ. With St. Paul we “proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called. . . Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength” (1 Cor 1:23-25). Thus, God’s “powerlessness” calls forth the exclamation:
May you know. . . the immeasurable scope of his power in us who believe. It is like the strength he showed in raising christ from the dead and seating him at his right hand in heaven, high above every principality, power virtue, and domination, and every name that can be given in this age or in the age to come. He has put all things under Christ’s feet and has made him, thus exalted, head of the Church” (Eph 1:19-22; cf. CCC 272).
Moreover, we firmly believe that “God, who raised up the Lord, will raise us also by His power” (1 Cor 6:14).
291. Mystery of Evil. In approaching this mystery of evil, we first affirm our unshakeable belief that God our Father is concerned precisely with each and every one of us, here and now, in all our troubles and sufferings. Second, our Faith tells us that evil originated in the Fall of the first persons, and not from any defect in God or his creative power. Third, by picturing the Fall of Adam as a dramatic event, the Bible situates moral evil in the mystery of freedom, not in the limitations of all creatures. Sin is the result not of our being “tao lamang” — only a limited human person! — but of our free choice of evil (cf. CCC 311).
292. The broader mystery of all suffering and evil in the world, physical as well as moral, has to be viewed in terms of our interrelated “world-in-process.” We realize the world is developing through an evolutionary process which involves our own free self-development in society. The only power that prevents the evils of the world from becoming intolerable and totally devastating, is God’s.
God the Father has entered into this process by sending His Son on His redemptive mission, and sending the Holy Spirit to continue Christ’s work on earth. He continues to take upon himself the sin and suffering of the world, and thus transforms what would be the cause of ultimate despair into a source of hope, now and for eternal life.
293. Our Christian faith thus offers us spiritual strength to face “the human condition” rather than any intellectual “solution.” The evil in the world is not some “problem” to be solved, but a “mystery” to be faced. Three “faces” of evil __ fate, sin and death __ can never be answered by any rationalistic “head knowledge.” What alone is effective is a vibrant spiritual life of believing, hoping and loving God, our Father Almighty, through Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior, in their indwelling Holy Spirit.
So we can point to the Old Testament narration of Joseph (cf. Gn 45:8; 50:20), and Christ’s Paschal Mystery in the New Testament, to show how God can draw good from evil. Since we rely on His infinite loving power and mercy. “we know that God makes all things work for good, for those who love God” (Rom 8:28; cf. CCC 312-14).
294. When we proclaim in the Creed the truth that God is Father and Almighty, we commit ourselves to a certain vision and style of life. The conviction that God is our Almighty Father provides the basis not only for all meaning in life, but also for our moral action and behavior, and our total prayer life. God is proclaimed as the ground for all our most precious values: how we want to think and act, be and pray.
295. Moral Life. The first Commandment gives us a perfect example of this connection between believing in God our almighty Father, and acting accordingly. First, the truth: “I, the Lord am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery” (Ex 20:2; Dt 5:6). Then the action: “You shall not have other gods besides me”(Ex 20:3).
Our utang na loob before God our Father means rejecting all other “gods” __ whether they be wealth and possessions, reputation before men, or worldly power and success (cf. Mt 4:1-11). It means rejecting the split-level type of life of the Christian who gives lip service to the Lord one day a week (or less!) and acts no better than a pagan the rest of the time. Believing in God our almighty Father demands a real conversion of heart which alone can motivate the radical change in life-style that constitutes authentic Christian life.
296. The social dimension of this authentic life-style rejects all exclusivism __ caring only for our own family, barkada, group or region. For this denies that we are all brothers and sisters under God, our heavenly Father. Christian Faith calls for social maturity that recognizes our responsibilities in the community. Pakikisama must be balanced by bayanihan.
297. Prayer Life. The place of God as Father almighty is central to all Christian prayer. In the Eucharistic Celebration we begin with confessing our sins to “almighty God.” In the Gloria we worship, give thanks and praise the “almighty God and Father.” This is the worship “in Spirit and in truth” (Jn 4:24) that Christ proclaimed. This is the way our utang before God is expressed in prayer and worship.
PCP II has challenged Filipino Catholics to root out all superstitious practices and belief in occult powers and spirits. Christ came to liberate us from such fears and idolatries. They not only enslave us, but open our faith to ridicule before others.
298. Our private devotions must be grounded in the authentic liturgical prayer of the Church, for there is only ONE GOD and “Him alone shall you adore” (Mt 4:10; Dt 6:13). The Church’s prayer insures that our private devotions are not completely taken up with constant petitions, but include the essential dimensions of adoration, thanksgiving and praise. Finally, sincere personal conviction that God is truly our almighty Father may be the best safeguard against “empty ritualism.” Instead of focusing on the external rituals, or on superficial emotional sentimentalism, strong attachment to our almighty Father inspires authentic spiritual movements of the heart (cf. NCDP 103, 167, 327, 430).
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
299. How do most Filipinos relate to God?
In general, most Christian Filipinos think of God as their all-powerful Father who is the Lord of all.
This image conforms well with many traditional Filipino cultural values.
300. How does the Creed describe God?
The Creed affirms God as Almighty Father, Creator of all things, with the divine Son-made-man Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, thus presenting the Holy Trinity.
301. What is the special value of the Creed’s first assertion?
By proclaiming belief in “God, the Father Almighty,” the Creed lifts us out of ourselves and centers us on the ONE God who is LOVE, and not on our meager selves.
302. How does God enter into our lives?
God enters our lives in our experiencing:
• our own inner search for meaning and happiness;
• the beauty and goodness of nature and our family, friends and neighbors around us;
• our Filipino history and culture; and especially,
• God’s public Revelation in salvation history as recorded in the Old and New Testaments, and climaxed in Jesus Christ.
“From the greatness and the beauty of created things their original author, by analogy, is seen” (Wis 13:5).
“Since the creation of the world, invisible realities: God’s eternal power and divinity, have become visible, recognized through the things he has made” (Rom 1:20).
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims His handiwork” (Ps 19:2).
303. What are some of the Bible’s most basic faith affirmations about God?
Scripture affirms: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord alone!” (Dt 6:4), and “I am the Lord your God. . . you shall have no other gods besides me” (Ex 20:2-3; Dt 5: 6-7). The one God is a saving God. “This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and him whom you have sent, Jesus Christ” (Jn 17:3).
Church teaching summarizes a description of God as follows:
There is one true and living God, Creator and Lord of heaven and earth, almighty, eternal, immeasurable, incomprehensible, infinite in intellect and will and in every perfection . . . one unique spiritual substance, entirely simple and unchangeable . . . really and essentially distinct from the world, most blessed in and of Himself, and inexpressibly exalted above all things that exist or can be conceived other than Himself (Vat. I, DS 3001, ND 327).
304. How did God reveal Himself in salvation history?
First, through the Covenant He made with the Israelites through Moses, Yahweh revealed Himself as the One God who is Truth and Love.
Second, through his personal knowledge and intimacy, Jesus, the only begotten Son, taught us that God is our Father.
Moreover, the Father and Christ are present to us by sending their Spirit into our hearts.
305. How do we exercise this “Trinitarian” relationship?
Our constant and continual relation to the Blessed Trinity:
• started with our Baptism in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit;
• continues in every Christian prayer begun with the “Sign of the Cross,” marked by our “Glory be. . .” and
• is strengthened in our Eucharist/thanksgiving to the Father, through memory of His Son’s Passion, Death and Resurrection, made present through the power of the Holy Spirt.
306. Why do Christians affirm that God is “Father”?
The Creed affirms God is Father because Jesus taught us to relate to God as “Our Father” (Mt 6:9). Jesus’ own experience of God as “Abba” (Father), was the basis for his teaching. “No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, ever at the Father’s side, who has revealed Him” (Jn 1:18).
307. What does the name “Father” tell us of God?
“Father” tells us that God is personal, close to us, not an impersonal force, distant and far off. He cares for us even with motherly love (cf. Is 66:13; 49:15; Hos 11). God the Father therefore is not a patriarchal or paternalistic authoritarian God. Rather He is a God who welcomes and celebrates the return of every son or daughter who was dead and has come back to life, who was lost and is found (cf. Lk 15:24, 32).
308. What does “almighty” tell us of God?
“Almighty” affirms God as all-powerful, first as Creator, able “to do all things” (cf. Jb 42:2) and Ruler of all things (Pantokrator), secondly as Love shown in Christ’s Cross and Resurrection, subjecting all other powers to the ultimate sustaining presence of His love.
“Ah Lord God, you have made heaven and earth by your great might, with your outstretched arm; nothing is impossible to you” (Jer 32:17).
“As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts” (Is 55:9).
309. If God is “Father” and “Almighty”, why does He allow so much evil and suffering?
First, much evil in the world, especially physical evil, results from the kind of limited universe in which we live.
Second, moral evil and much of human suffering come from man’s abuse of his freedom in sin.
Third, much courage, generosity, forgiveness, hope and sacrifice arise from the world’s sufferings and evils.
Finally, Christ’s Paschal Mystery shows how God draws out of the depths of evil the victory of the Risen Christ and his transforming love.
“Through Christ and in Christ, light is thrown on the riddle of suffering and death, which apart from his gospel, overwhelms us” (GS 22).
“We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him” (Rom 8:28).
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