To recap from the introduction to the Greater Ages in Abstraction, we reiterate more precisely, the theory to this entire book is that there is a spiritual blueprint for the ages of salvation history if God is to redeem man to his fullest potential before the end of history. Toward that end, we will begin by standing outside the doorway of time and consider, why is God creating, and for what end? We consider, what characteristics of a world would almost "have to be" or "appropriately be" according to God's benevolence and revelatory desires, amongst other things.
To begin, we must obviously ask, WHY does God create? This mystery follows from all starting Catholic, dogma, which we now inspect. And this means that we must first look at God Himself.
God's Nature as a Family of Love
God is infinite love within Himself. An infinite family of love. The Father is Eternal Love and Wisdom that proceeds from noone. The Father’s love is so unbounded and infinite that He desires to give it away, for what is love except the desire to give something to another? This infinite longing led God from all eternity to empty out of Himself into an Infinite Reservoir, the Son. Hence, the Son “proceeds” from the Father. Because the Son receives all from the Father, He is truly God, like the Father, and yet, a distinct Person. The Father then fully gives His Divine Essence, all that it is, to the Son, all Wisdom and Infinite Love. The Son then fully receives this Infinite Being and offers Himself back. And then, this love shared between the Father and the Son eternally becomes the Holy Spirit, another Divine Person, a reservoir of Memory. The Spirit, then, by way of implication, since it IS the very Infinite Love between Father and Son, “proceeds” from the Father and the Son. This infinite, wholly loving and totally self-knowing, giving and receptive Love within God, a family, as it were, is what we call the Triune God, the Trinity. This is the central mystery of God, and of all existence.
The Purpose of any Creation
This love is infinitely satiating and wholly complete within itself. Nothing is lacking in it. However, even within Himself, the Triune God’s love overflows and therefore desires to share its beauty with creatures. Hence, if God created life outside of Himself, God would create to share the life, knowledge and love of the Trinity with creatures who have intellect and will.
The First [Angelic] Creation cannot be Redeemed
God desires to share the love, life and knowledge of the Trinity first with purely spiritual beings with intellect and will. What does God share with the angelic beings? Obviously, as we know from dogma, God shares the love and knowledge of the Trinity as it is. However, let us conjecture even more: extrapolating from some suggestions of mystics, we can imagine God sharing some substantial part of the mystery of the material world that will fall and the necessary ages that it passes through if the world is to be redeemed to the fullest potential before its end. For, we will see from the primary thesis of this book that, in a fallen material world, certain natures or aspects of the Creation would always exist in God’s desire to best communicate Revelation to the world and to Redeem it. The mystery of how God must guide the history of the material creatures created in His Image in the process of its Redemption is a very likely reality that God, at least partially, imparted to the purely spiritual beings, especially in view of, first, the Catechism's comments on the fall of the angels, and secondly, Jesus' revelation to St. Faustina, which echoes this.
Essentially, the CCC says that the inability for mercy to be shown the fallen angels is not so much that there are limits to the mercy of God, as that the nature of their choice was so radically depraved and evil, that it renders it "unforgivable in nature." But since part of the meaning of love of God, the purpose of a creature, is to know God, it would seem to imply that part of the unforgivable nature of the angels' sin is that they had likely been given the fullness of the understanding God and His Mystery short only of the Beatific Vision, so that, seeing as their knowledge of God, and therefore intimacy with Him, was so great, it rendered a rejection practically incurable.
And, again, with St. Faustina, this seems corroborated: in her famous Divine Mercy Diary, St. Faustina was pondering why God offered no salvation to the angels, and Christ told her, "Because they KNEW so much!" Toward that end, we have a sensible argument that God DID reveal to the angels the mystery of His Plan and necessary stages of revelation and intervention in a presumed forward-coming material world that happened to fall, and that, therefore, because the mystery of such is the most profound thing that God can give to a creature's intellect outside of the Beatific Vision itself, it necessarily implies that the spiritual beings that reject this truth cannot be forgiven.
We can also, I believe, look a little further into the idea that if God made these purely spiritual beings with rationality and showed them the fullness of pre-Beatific Knowledge and Love, why a consequent rejection is unforgivable.
Firstly, we reiterate the radical and depraved insult to God of throwing away all that can be pondered short of seeing God face to face.
Secondly, because of the spiritual being's nature, their first completely free choice is also their last. More specifically, the purely spiritual creature, being uninhibited by the necessity of material steps and development of a physical creature, is able to, all at once, comprehend the totality of the mystery. For this reason, it makes only one free choice, a singular, eternally irrevocable choice. Therefore, in the moment the angel makes the choice, it is forever binding. Subsequently, since repentance is impossible, there is no redemption for the angel that falls.
Finally, God cannot suffer for angels according to their nature, as if, as He has done for us, He might "pay for their sins with His own suffering," for their nature is already pure spirit, like God's. Hence, since the Trinity is already pure spirit in its Divine sense, and cannot suffer in this nature, an atonement of appropriate order cannot be made for the angels.
Based on all three of these problems, the angels, therefore, cannot be redeemed.
The Second [Material] Creation
The purpose of the material creation and its associated creatures made in the Image and Likeness of God--that is, creatures with intellect and will, but with physical bodies also--is likewise to share the love, life and knowledge of the Trinity [truth, grace] with them.
However, God's love is so radically unbounded and reckless, that it actually desires to have a chance at showing mercy to a creature. Now, He never desires, even as a means to end, the wrongdoing of the creature, but under the assumption that it SHOULD happen, contrary to His Will, He foresees and longs to show the additional love in forgiving the creature, for this is a manifestation of greater love to the creature than if it never fell, which, again, is not even desired as a means to end, but that SHOULD it happen, it affords God the opportunity for the greater good of mercy.
In addition, if it were even possible in all worlds, God would actually desire, as a greater good to be drawn from evil, that He might actually suffer for the creature, to pay its debt that it could never repay.
Now, toward this end, we have seen that the fallen angelic creatures cannot be shown mercy and redeemed. However, the great advantage of the material creation is that if the creatures fall, they are redeemable. Firstly, this is because the creatures will not, presumably, be fully culpable when they fall, in that they will not have the fullness of knowledge that the angelic creatures necessarily had. Secondly, the material creatures' wills will be mutable, that is, they will be able to repent of sin. And the third reason they are redeemable, which leads into the next section, is that whereas God cannot suffer in His Divine Nature without an Incarnation, He has foreseen from all eternity that He can acquire a material nature and suffer within it.
This will become necessary to satiate justice for the following reason. If a material creature chooses to offend God by turning away from Him as the ultimate source of beatitude and toward some created essence or set of such essences for ultimate fulfillment, this necessarily insults God to an immeasurable degree, since, when a creature says to God, "I would rather have a fleeting set of created, finite, superficial goods instead of your immeasurable love," it is necessarily saying to God that these mere brute goods are preferable and above God, who is contrarily immeasurable love and beauty, as, for example, a husband who would prefer a football to his wife, which would imply that inanimate objects and temporary materialistic goals are superior to a woman with intellect and will, who is called to give and receive love in unending bliss and who is, hence, priceless.
For this reason, no material creature, if it commits such offense, can atone or make up for it, since the gap of the insult is immeasurable, in contrast to the creature, who will always only be finite. Hence, only an immeasurable suffering of pain from the insult will suffice. And yet, only God could do this, since only God is immeasurable. Hence, we have the requirement, in the way of justice, for God to acquire a material nature and suffer within it.
This, in fact, will actually glorify God even greater than in the purely spiritual creation, in that in acquiring such material nature and suffering within it, it enables Him to love the creatures to a greater degree than if they never fell, namely, to suffer for them and to forgive them. In addition, if God restores some of these creatures to His friendship and gives them to ability to suffer for and forgive fellow creatures, then, in addition, the creatures are also loving God and one another to a greater degree than if they never fell. In this way, a fallen but redeemed material Creation is actually "a more beautiful world", than one in which in which no evil and suffering enters in.
This gives us the great advantage of the material creation, which is that given an initial fall, God shall be able to mysteriously draw good from the evil, not that the evil is desired, either as an end or a means to end, but that, in merely foreseeing it and allowing it, God knows that He can draw greater goods from it.
As a final note, God will suffer for the material creatures by joining His divine essence to a created material body and soul. This will be known as the Incarnation.
The Creation would reveal spiritual mysteries and contain physical natures that are gifts
Now, God does not create arbitrarily. He creates with purpose. In fact, He creates so as to teach us about Himself through the nature of things. Hence, if God made a material world, He would not only infuse the creation with natural beauty but with signs of spiritual phenomenon and mystery. There are many examples, countless, even. For example, light and darkness point to spiritual realities, the light of goodness and wisdom and the darkness of wrongdoing and ignorance. Feeding physically symbolizes feeding on spiritual life and truth from God. Human sexuality mirrors the destiny of the just, to marry God forever. The human family images the Trinity, in that just as the Son proceeds from the Father, and the love between them becomes another Person, the Holy Spirit, so woman proceeds from man, via the allegorical "rib", and from the love of man and woman comes another person, a child. The parables many times illustrate how natural phenomenon image deeper spiritual realities and situations. We will return to these considerations when we look at the necessity of the Prefiguring Covenant.
The Base Characteristics of Righteousness and Wickedness would be the Same in Principle in any Created Material World
Before we progress into the conjectured history of any arbitrary material world that happens to fall, we need to discuss what the natures of justice and the fall would be in any such world.
To begin, the lies of the fall would have to be the following principles, namely, the opposite of the Catechism's summary of life's purpose. More specifically, we have just seen above that in any world God creates, His desire is ultimately to share the Divine Love and Knowledge with them. Hence, the creatures are ultimately made to KNOW and LOVE God. Toward that end, the catechism rightly asserts in all ages, that the end of all existence for us is the following:
- To know, love, and serve God in this life (faith and good will, or Baptismal disposition)
- To be happy with God forever in the next life (to Marry God)
So then, the Fall is the clearly the opposite of these principles:
- Anti-Baptismal Desire: no faith, no repentance: believe what wish, and do what you wish.
- Anti-Marital Desire toward God: superficial materialism--the creatures seeking their supreme fulfillment not in the Eternal marriage to the Creator in the next life but in the spiritual fornication with the creation in this life, or, the passionate and perverse ambition that seeks its ultimate satisfaction in self-made material glory and utopia utterly fashioned independent of God's help and love.
From this, we observe that when the creatures, according to the fallen nature, seek the creation as its own reward, or any components within it, as if such mere physical things can fulfill man by themselves, they are seeking an impossibility, since only God Himself can ultimately fulfill the human longing.
In the next essay, we will talk about the requirement of a Prefiguring Covenant prior to the Incarnation.