Sunday, October 19, 2008

Two brief notes:

1.Could there be growth in heaven?

I believe so.

Growth does not necessarily imply that anything is (grievously) lacking in the saved soul. That is to say, if a soul enjoys the beatific vision, it lacks nothing of what it ought to have; but this does not mean that it cannot grow even holier, even closer to God. Some might say that this logically implies that some souls are "worse off" than others, and this would imply that there is evil in heaven. But in the equation of the Union between the Infinite and the finite, the finite are by definition infinitely "lacking"--yet it is a "lacking" which is itself glorified, for Christ himself glorifies finitude. The difference between the infinite God and the finite saints glorifies God, so also does the continual--infinite!--progress of the Heavenly Liturgy toward God glorify God. Thus I believe that Heaven is not a static, but is rather a "progressive" place.

2. On drawing lines.

The intellect cannot but help to draw lines, to distinguish, and this is no less true in the domain of human action. The moral line is neither wholly straight nor is it fuzzy or indeterminate. Beginning with the law of God and progressing through considerations of virtues, circumstances, and codifications, we find that the justice or injustice of "lines" has nothing to do with whether a line is "man-made" (for such "lines," as are found in canon and civil law, are prudentially necessary, even if they are sometimes artificially strict) or whether a line withholds reaction to an imperfect behavior (for human beings are often unready for, and would be harmed by, immediately imposed perfection). The justice of a "rule" lies solely and simply in whether it can be demonstrated, within its prudential context, to serve human dignity in its immediate state and ultimate goal.


Matt of CG said...

I disagree with you on the idea of growth in Heaven. Heaven is God. Heaven is a place and a being infinite. Only perfection can exist with Him. I believe He currently allows the passage of time to be perceived by His saints and angels for our sake, until the end of the world, when there will no longer be use for the passage of time. The desire to progress in proximity to God while in Him in Heaven, even to a state of equality, is a desire the first angel had.

Without the passage of time being necessary, neither is our concupisense necessary. In Heaven we will no longer have need of free will precisely because He is perfect. What progression would be necessary when perfection is attained?

Matthew 20:20-23, Mark 10:35-40

I like to think, being seated at the right hand of Father, Jesus Christ has the privelage of being above time with his Father and beneath it simultaneously until time itself ceases to be of use.

I surmised this from a blurb of Fr. Juan Carlos Aguirre. He said to me with a sly smile, "We will have no free will in Heaven, there will be no need for it."

Jeff said...

Right back at you there Matt.

I should have included a caveat that any kind of progress would not be a temporal progress as we imagine it.

Lucifer did not desire to progress in proximity to God; he desired to supplant God. Very different things. One is love. The other is murder.

I would wager that Fr. Juan and I agree on fundamentals, but I would vehemently disagree with the statement that we will have no free will in heaven. God is freedom itself; the ultimate font of freedom; freedom bursting out of freedom. The soul united with God will not sin, not because of the lack of free will, but because of the superabundance of it.

Sin is only possible when you mix the combination of finitude and free will; and moreover it represents the loss of freedom. When one is plugged into infinite freedom, sin no longer becomes a possibility, not because heaven has shackles, but because the shackles of sin have no place in Absolute Freedom.

As far as progress is concerned, progress does not logically imply either imperfection or concupiscence. It only implies the infinite chasm between the love of the saved soul and the love of God himself. The saved soul is perfect--made through and through--yet rests in God infinitely as less than God. The is perfectly satisfied, yes, but that does not mean that her continual song of praise does not yield growth.

The union between the soul and God does not absorb the soul into oblivion. Belief that the saints can hear our prayers implies that God sustains the individuality of his beloved. As long as they are individual, they are finite; and as long as they stand as finite before infinite, growth is a possibility.

Matt of CG said...

"The union between the soul and God does not absorb the soul into oblivion..."

While being in Heaven, being in perfection, would you care not to be absorbed into oblivion?

"...Belief that the saints can hear our prayers implies that God sustains the individuality of his beloved..."

The saints will only need to hear our prayers until the Omega comes, after which, Heaven and earth will pass away.(Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31) The dialogue between we who are lacking (sinners) and those who are fulfilled (saints) ,as it stands now, will no longer be necessary.

While being in Heaven, while being in perfection, would you care if your own sense individuality became irrelevant?

"...As long as they are individual, they are finite; and as long as they stand as finite before infinite, growth is a possibility."

Our Lord Jesus Christ is an individual, is he not both finite and infinite, 'as if, breaking against the shore, a single wave contained—was—the entire ocean.?'

As an individual, is He not content to be seated at the right hand of the Father?


(I'm going to be quasi-facetious now. I'm sorry, I couldn't resist.)

I mean c'mon, man! Can you see Jesus Christ sitting in His chair trying to skooch closer to his Father while He isn't looking as if there is a distance that needed narrowing?

The angels can't grow any more than they can change their own names!

Perfection is perfection is perfection. Accept it.

Anonymous said...
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Matt of CG said...

Yes, it's true, I am a fool. Of all the things I would "pretend to know", I only know one thing for certain..."Jesus loves me."

It's funny how talk of the unseen and unknown distracted me from the actual Truth that Lives.

Jeff said...

Anonymous--Please remember charity. I am not benefited by an ally who is rude. Moreover I firmly disagree with a number of statements in your post.