Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 1:
They do, for if man were not free he could not be responsible for his conduct, and could neither merit commendation by good actions nor condemnation by evil actions.
It is a necessary corollary from all that has been said already. If man be not free, he cannot be expected to keep laws, and should not be punished for breaking them. There can be no obligation to observe a law when it is not possible to keep it. This is the judgment of every normal mind. The judicial and punitive application of human legislation is outrageous if men are not responsible for their conduct. The theorists who talk of determinism never dream of applying their doctrine in practice.Again consciousness affords sufficient proof for every normal man. We are not only conscious before acting that there are various courses open to us, but we are conscious that we may desist from a course of action already adopted, and after acting, are conscious of self-approbation or self-reproach, realizing that we were not compelled to act that way.Finally, the possession of reason or intelligence cannot be without freedom of will. Granted a reasoning faculty which can apprehend finite things under different aspects, freewill follows. For example, the acquiring of another man's money may be considered as involving the moral evil of obtaining it by theft, or as yielding one's own goods in exchange for the sake of possessing cash. The object itself allows a man to concentrate upon one aspect or the other, proposing motives to himself for a good or an evil choice.
We admit that environment and heredity can weaken will power, and that lunacy can deprive a man of self-control altogether. But these are not normal cases, and God will make every allowance as regards salvation. He will blame men only for those things for which they are actually responsible, and in the degree in which they are responsible. Granted weakening factors, God knows that responsibility is lessened. A born imbecile will never be punished for sins which he is incapable of committing. But the question of how everything will be adjusted does not affect the fact that the human will is normally and of its very nature endowed with freedom.
No. God's knowledge does not make us so act. An astronomer may be able to say, "There will be an eclipse of the sun." When the eclipse comes, no one says that it had to come because the astronomer said it would. The astronomer's knowledge was caused by the fact that it would come; the eclipse was not caused by the fact that he foresaw it.
One has to exist before one can be consulted, and then it is rather late to consult us concerning that which has already occurred. We therefore had no choice in this particular matter. Nor could we reasonably wish to have a choice. If a thing will necessarily be to my harm, I would reasonably wish to have an opportunity of declining it. But if you wish to send me $1,000, you need not consult me. You may say that life entails a great risk. It does. But there is no danger if we take certain means which are within the power of all. God has placed us all upon this earth, and we know that if we obey our conscience we cannot go wrong. And no one can force us not to obey our conscience. If men force us against our will to do things which conscience forbids, we are not guilty as long as we sincerely refrain from willing that the thing should happen.
It is necessary in so far as God has decided that we should be here. It is not absolutely necessary for any being to exist except God. All other beings depend upon God's will. But God has willed that we should have our opportunity to praise, love, and serve Him in this life, and be happy with Him forever in the next. Surely a great destiny. The secret of life is summed up in three words - I come from God; I must live for God; and I shall go back to God.
I do. A personal God exists. Intelligent human beings exist. Those human beings owe all they have to the personal God who made them, and, being intelligent, are able to recognize the fact. Reason demands that they do so, and render a suitable, practical acknowledgment of the fact to God.
It must be expressed in the duties of religion, which will imply reverence for God's Person, and obedience to such instructions as He pleases to issue in our regard.