ELEISON COMMENTS DCCCXCII (Sept. 17th, 2022) : IS GOD SELFISH ?
A reader writes in with an objection to the goodness of God which he knows to be false, but which nevertheless perturbs him, and to which he has for a long time found no answer that satisfies him. Here is the problem –
1 To command somebody, “Love me, or I will blow out your brains,” is both selfish, because it is self-centred; and ridiculous, because threats cannot produce true love.
2 But God says just that when He says to His human creatures, “If you do not love Me, you will go to Hell.”
3 Therefore (it is Satan that speaks) God is both selfish and ridiculous.
In order to answer this objection to the love of God, let us see firstly what is the truth about what God says to His human creatures when, by Himself creating their immortal souls and infusing them into the material bodies put together by their two human parents, He brings human beings into existence : “My dear child, by giving you life and free-will, I mean you so to make use of your life on earth that when you die you will have deserved to share My eternal bliss with Me in My Heaven. But I will not force you to come to My Heaven, because if I forced you I would make you into a robot, and robots cannot enjoy My Heaven. I will leave you entirely free not to come to My Heaven if you do not want to do so. Choosing Hell will be entirely your own decision.
Now it is true that powerful influences such as the world, the flesh and the Devil will do their best to make you prefer Hell to Heaven, and it is true that a majority of men to whom I give life, end up by preferring Hell to Heaven, but in every case that will have been their own free choice, and I will no more have forced them to choose Hell than I force anybody to choose Heaven. And note that the more evil have been the influences they will have resisted in order to prefer My Heaven, the more glorious and happy that Heaven will be for them. So the evil has a purpose, and while I do not want it, I do want to allow it, precisely so that I can make it serve the eternal bliss of those who refuse evil.
And if you object to Me that in the modern world the confusion and the evil are overwhelming and are too strong for many souls to resist, I reply to you that whenever the evil really does become too much, as in the time of Noah (who still resisted it), I can intervene, as I did with the Flood. In fact the Flood saved for eternity many souls that would otherwise have given way to the corruption, so it was a great act of My Mercy. In the 21st century, just wait for Me to give you a great Warning, announced notably by the four girls of Garabandal in Spain in the 1960’s. It will give a great help from all the confusion towards salvation through Jesus Christ, but only if souls themselves freely choose that they want to be saved.
Now let us apply these truths to the three propositions of the original objection above –
1 To say to anybody “Love me or I will kill you”, is selfish if he who says it says it primarily himself to be loved. But God in Himself is in utter and unchanging bliss. Only externally to Himself does He gain anything by souls sharing His bliss. That bliss He wants for them primarily for their sake, not for Himself.
Nor is God ridiculous. Of course He wants no forced love. He leaves us entirely free to love Him, or not.
2 It is true that if we do not love God as we should, so that we die in a state of mortal sin, then we will have deserved Hell. But once in Hell, a large part of the torture will be to see with the utmost clarity just how easily I could have saved my soul, with all the help and graces that God gave me in my life on earth. But freely I chose not to want His help, and so what I am suffering now is entirely my own fault.
3 So God is not at all saying, “Love Me, or I will blow your brains out.” He is neither selfish nor ridiculous.
Love, if not freely given, is amiss.
God wants us free to choose, or not, His Bliss.