Thursday, April 14, 2016

Salvation in the perspective of the Catechism of the Catholic Church

1.     The human person desires God. The human person wants to be in intimacy with God. This is a source of happiness (see #27 and #45). This intimacy with God, however, is not fulfilled. It may be forgotten, overlooked or even rejected and refused. Still the human person continues to seek for God (#29-30). In fact the human person has the reasoning capacity to go to God and know God.
2.     Historically obstacles have occurred to prevent the human from going to God. In spite of the reasoning capacity of the human person there are limits imposed by perception and imagination (#37). One major obstacle (which is historical) is “original sin”. There is a disorder in the desire of the human person, that somehow the human person prefers the self over God. The human person is marked by this disorder.
3.     A section of the CCC is about original sin (see #396-409). We need not go into all the details here. We can mention a few points relevant to the notion of salvation. First of all, original sin is a result of a historical transmission. Adam and Eve disobeyed God and the human inherited this disobedience. The human is born with it; hence it is “original”. Human nature is corrupted by the first sin of Adam and Eve. So now the human is subject to ignorance, suffering and death. The human is inclined to sin and do evil. The human is captured by sin. This explains why the human is faced with obstacles in going to God.
4.     Secondly, although original sin is an obstacle to our communion with God, somehow it is also willed by God. God did not initiate the sin of Adam and Eve. But God did not prevent sinning from happening. In fact. God permits sin to happen to draw forth something good. What is that good? Thanks to sin the human has gained Christ (see #412).
5.     If we pause for a while, before we move to the notion of salvation, what we see here is the place of Christ. Christ is understood as a redeemer and savior precisely because the human is trapped in sin. The reason for Christ’s coming is to redeem humanity from that captivity. Hence the reason of being and the role of Christ is understood in terms of saving humanity. We can see why, for the CCC, sin has a positive effect. It is due to the human as having sinned that there is Christ. Again, thanks to sin the human has gained Christ.
6.     Now we can move to the notion of salvation. Although the human is with sin—and we see this with original sin—God does not abandon the human. After the sinning of Adam and Eve, God has lept the promise of salvation (see #55). The plan of God is to save humanity and God has done this in Jesus Christ. What is necessary then is faith. To be saved from the hold of sin and to have eternal life in God, the human needs faith in Jesus Christ. Faith is a necessity for salvation (see #161). Without this faith there is no chance of salvation. Without faith the human cannot please God and cannot be justified before God. Consequently, it is faith that will allow the human to obtain eternal life.
7.     Keep in mind that this is faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the definite and unique savior. There is nobody else who can come between the human and God. There is nobody else who can save us (see #432).
8.     Faith is necessary. But there is something more needed for salvation. Salvation comes from Jesus Christ who is head of the Church. If salvation occurs, the Church must have a place, a role. The Church is a necessity for salvation. Jesus asserted the necessity of faith and being in the Church. How does one be in the Church? The answer is through baptism. Note then the three elements for salvation: faith, baptism and Church (see #846).
9.     There are persons to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed. But they refuse baptism and incorporation in the Church. They cannot be saved. There are persons who, although in the Church, refuse to stay in the Church. They resist the Church. They cannot be saved (see #846; #1257).
10.            But then there are persons who do not know Christ. They do not know the Church. It is not their fault to be ignorant of these. Now, if they sincerely seek for God they may be saved. God can take the initiative to save them. Be that as it may, the Church is still obliged to evangelize people (#848).
11.            Of course salvation is still in the hands of God. The Church is not savior (see #169). However, people must still be part of the Church. It is the Church that transmits the faith. The Church offers the Word of God, the grace of the sacraments and the example of holiness (see #2030).
12.            Note then the necessary “ingredients” for salvation. One final point can be mentioned. Yes, the human has “fallen” and is trapped by the hold of sin. God keeps the promise of salvation and God will still give eternal life. But the human person must seek for that salvation which is done in faith and in being part of the Church (see #55).

13.            There we have it. Do we agree or disagree? 

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