By Blogger Dr. Karin Heller
In our last session of class you mentioned the word “predestined.” If people are not predestined and everyone has a chance to accept God into their lives, why does it seem as though some people are just destined for “bad”? When a child is born does God know if they will or will not go to heaven or hell? Or will he only determine that at the final judgment?
I have a very close friend who has had a rough life, she has made some very bad decisions, and she believes that she is “doomed” to live a life of misery. She believes her misery on earth will only end when she dies, she has contemplated suicide plenty of times but has never followed through with her plan. I have talked her out of committing suicide three times. At times I feel bad, I feel as though I simply talk her “into” living a life she does not want to live.
You’ve already given an answer to your own question. As a Christian, you are called to do what Christ did, i.e. “talking people into living a life they did not want to live!” That’s what Christ did all the time! Most of them just wanted a better life or a new life here on earth, not THE LIFE Jesus is offering! And why was that so? Because one reaches THE LIFE Jesus is offering through HARDSHIPS in this world! In the case of people who do not want to live this life, the big question is always to know what they truly want. Some of them express in this way their need for help. Therefore, continue to hang in there. Perhaps your Christian vocation is not to give up on life in spite of darkness. God may simply ask you to be “light in the darkness”, like it or not. God never gives up and you should be in the image of God who never gives up on life, because God IS LIFE!
The biblical God, according to Catholic doctrine, does not issue a decree which states that this one goes to hell while that one goes to heaven. God created ALL MEN capable of living with God and sharing in HIS LIFE. He did not predestine some to go to hell and others to heaven. If some go to hell, it was their choice, not God’s choice! God does not force upon us either heaven or hell! Would heaven really be heaven, if it is forced upon us? There are parents who force upon their kids a Californian easy way of life style where kids have all that makes them happy and nevertheless, these kids are still longing for happiness! Happiness that is forced on us doesn’t work!
God wants ALL of us to become in his image and likeness by walking with him through thick and thin. Through this walk we have to figure out if we truly want to belong to God or not. Your friend has to figure this out, too! Does she want to walk with God in good times and in bad times or not? According to Christian belief death does not simply end all of our miseries. That’s what some people want to believe! And what if death is an even greater misery than this life here on earth? Death is not to say “it’s over!” As a Christian, you have to bear witness to this truth. Therefore, continue to talk her into life, which is a form of love! That’s the way God, too, loves … it is the only love that has the power to overcome death of ever. This love is the key to TRUE and EVERLASTING happiness. If one receives this kind of love on earth it will open for him/her a road to heaven, if one refuses it, he/she will walk on a road leading to hell.
Dr. Karin Heller is a professor on the theology faculty at Whitworth University.Her blog, Table Talk with Dr. Karin Heller, features her responses to questions that students have asked her over the years. Check back each week to see new posts, and if you have a question leave it in the comment section below.