1 For what purpose are we here on earth?
We are here on earth in order to know and to love God, to do good according to his will, and to go someday to heaven. [1-3, 358]
To be a human being means to come from God and to go to God. Our origin goes back farther than our parents. We come from God, in whom all the happiness of heaven and earth is at home, and we are expected in his everlasting, infinite blessedness. Meanwhile we live on this earth.
Sometimes we feel that our Creator is near; often we feel nothing at all. So that we might find the way home, God sent us his Son, who freed us from sin, delivers us from all evil, and leads us unerringly into true life.
- He is“the way, and the truth, and the life”
- [God] desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1 Tim 2:4
- You cannot imagine at all how much you interest God; he is interested in you as if there were no one else on earth.
JULIEN GREEN(1900-1998, French writer)
- One must know man and human things in order to love them. One must love God and divine things in order to know them.
BLAISE PASCAL,(1623-1662, French mathematician and philosopher)
- God is love.
1 Jn 4:16b
2 Why did God create us?
God created us out of free and unselfish love. [1-3]
When a man loves, his heart overflows. He would like to share his joy with others. He gets this from his Creator. Although God is a mystery, we can still think about him in a human way and say: Out of the “surplus” of his love he created us. He wanted to share his endless joy with us, who are creaturesof his love.The measure of love is love without measure.ST. FRANCIS OF SALES(1567-1622, distinguished bishop, brilliant spiritual guide, founder of a religious community, and Doctor of the Church)CHAPTER ONE Man Is Receptive to God
3 Why do we seek God?
God has placed in our hearts a longing to seek and find him. St. Augustine says, “You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” We call this longing for God RELIGION . [27-30]
What is Religion?
It is natural for man to seek God. All of our striving for truth and happiness is ultimately a search forthe one who supports us absolutely, satisfies us absolutely, and employs us absolutely in his service.A person is not completely himself until he has found God. “Anyone who seeks truth seeks God,whether or not he realizes it” (St. Edith Stein).5, 281-285
- The noblest power of man is reason. The highest goal of reason is the knowledge of God. ST. ALBERT THE GREAT(ca. 1200-1280, Dominican priest, scientist, and scholar, Doctor of the Church, and one of the greatest theologians of the Church)
- They [men] should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him. Yet he is not far from each one of us, for “In him we live and move and have our being.”Acts 17:27-28a
4 Can we know the existence of God by our reason?
Yes. Human reason can know God with certainty. [31-36, 44-47]The world cannot have its origin and its destination within itself. In everything that exists, there is more than we see. The order, the beauty, and the development of the world point beyond themselves toward God. Every man is receptive to what is true, good, and beautiful. He hears within himself the voice of conscience, which urges him to what is good and warns him against what is evil. Anyone who follows this path reasonably finds God.So it happens that men in such matters easily persuade themselves that what they would not like to be true is false or at least doubtful.POPE PIUS XII Encyclical Humani generis
Man’s unique grandeur is ultimately based on his capacity to know the truth. And human beings desire to know the truth.Yet truth can only be attained in freedom. This is the case with all truth, as is clear from the history of science; but it is eminently the case with those truths in which man himself, man as such, is at stake, the truths of the spirit, the truths about good and evil, about the great goals and horizons of life, about our relationship with God. These truths cannot be attained without profound consequences for the way we live our lives.POPE BENEDICT XVI,January 9, 2006
5 Why do people deny that God exists, if they can know him by reason?
To know the invisible God is a great challenge for the human mind. Many are scared off by it.Another reason why some do not want to know God is because they would then have to change their life. Anyone who says that the question about God is meaningless because it cannot be answered is making things too easy for himself. [37-38]357
6 Can we grasp God at all in concepts? Is it possible to speak about him meaningfully?
Although we men are limited and the infinite greatness of God never fits into finite humanconcepts, we can nevertheless speak rightly about God. [39-43, 48]In order to express something about God, we use imperfect images and limited notions. And so everything we say about God is subject to the reservation that our language is not equal to God’s greatness. Therefore we must constantly purify and improve our speech about God.