Homosexuality, free will, and God’s omniscience

Question:

Taking everything you have said into consideration, I believe that you claim that people are free-willed and thus are responsible for their actions. However, if we believe that God is omniscient, then he timelessly knows all things. Among these things, he must have known long before who would have become homosexuals and what they would have done regarding their homosexuality. If God knows this, then homosexuals cannot will themselves to choose to act how they are acting regarding their homosexuality. Therefore, homosexuals cannot be blamed responsible for their actions over their homosexuality, because whatever they do regarding it has already been determined – whether carry the cross or give in to temptation, via God’s omniscience. Au contraire, if we hold onto saying that people have free will, then we have to deny that God is omniscient, because, if the future depended on the actions of man, then he does not perfectly know the future. And this, as Catholics, we will vehemently deny. What do you think about this, sir?

Also, as the church disapproves of homosexuality, it is just modest that it should acquire sufficient information and justification to believe in the wrongness of homosexuality. I see that you quoted verses in the Pentateuchregarding homosexuality in your blog. But, I think that explanations for the nature of homosexuality’s existence will provide me better context in understanding why the Church sees it as wrong.

Response:

Regarding predestination and the omniscience of God, your thoughts are similar to that of Calvinism, a heresy condemned by the Church.  God’s omniscience means that he knows all possibilities in the chain of events, how they branch out and link to the decisions of others.  It’s like as if God sees the whole city map and you are there in your car choosing this way and that.  Some roads leads to a cliff and God warns you not to go there: these are the mortal sins–read theTen Commandments.  Some roads lead to happy picnic places: these are the roads to heaven–theSacraments, Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.  God wishes all men to be saved from eternal damnation.  “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (Jn 3:16)  Below is along quote from the Book of Ezekiel:
As for you, son of man, tell your countrymen: The virtue which a man has practiced will not save him on the day that he sins; neither will the wickedness that a man has done bring about his downfall on the day that he turns from his wickedness (nor can the virtuous man, when he sins, remain alive).Though I say to the virtuous man that he shall surely live, if he then presumes on his virtue and does wrong, none of his virtuous deeds shall be remembered; because of the wrong he has done, he shall die.
And though I say to the wicked man that he shall surely die, if he turns away from his sin and does what is right and just,
giving back pledges, restoring stolen goods, living by the statutes that bring life, and doing no wrong, he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of the sins he committed shall be held against him; he has done what is right and just, he shall surely live. Yet your countrymen say, “The way of the LORD is not fair!”; but it is their way that is not fair. (Ez 33:12-17)

There are some things that we have to trust God’s Word: if he says that homosexual acts deserve the punishment of death (mortal sin), then consider them as such.  We have to trust God’s Wisdom, because it is God who created us and he knows what is best for us.  Surely your most powerful computer comes with a manual.  If you don’t read the manual, you may destroy your computer by over voltage, water spill, and high temperature.  In the same way, God has provided us with a manual on how to live properly: the Bible and the Church.  We have Christ as our model.

In the Old Testament, God warned the Israelites to eat only fishes: crabs and shrimps are forbidden because they don’t have fins and scales and they crawl.  Now we know that they have too much cholesterol.  God also forbade Israelites from eating fat: fat is only offered to God as aburnt offering.  Now we know that fat is bad for our heart.  God also forbade those with leprosy to go near other men: those with leprosy must be quarantined until they are healed.  Now we know that quarantine of those with diseases works: germs are transmitted by contact or proximity (sneeze and cough).  If God’s wisdom is shown in the laws of clean and unclean animals, the laws of burnt offerings, and the laws of leprosy, then we should also trust God’s wisdom when he condemns homosexuality, bestiality, and sorcery in Leviticus.

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St. Ignatius of Loyola: Rules for Thinking, Judging, and Feeling with the Church

  1. With all judgment of our own put aside, we ought to keep our minds disposed and ready to be obedient in everything to the true Spouse of Christ our Lord, which is our Holy Mother, the hierarchical Church.
  2. We should praise confession to a priest, reception of the most Sacred Sacrament once a year, and much more once a month, and still more every week, always with the required and proper conditions. [even more daily reception of the Blessed Sacrament if it be appropriate].
  3. We should praise frequent attendance at Mass; also, chants, psalmody, and long prayers inside and outside the church; and further, the schedules setting the times for the Divine Office as a whole, for prayers of every kind, and for all the canonical hours.
  4. We should strongly praise religious institutes, virginity and continence, and marriage too, but not as highly as any of the former.
  5. We should praise the vows of religion, obedience, poverty, chastity, and vows to perform other works of supererogation which conduce to perfection. We should remember, too, that just as a vow is made in regard to matters which lead toward evangelical perfection, so vows ought not to be made with respect to matters that withdraw one from it, such as to enter business, to get married, and the like.
  6. We should praise relics of saints, by venerating the relics and praying to the saints. We should extol visits to stational churches, pilgrimages, indulgences for jubilees and crusades, and the lighting of candles in churches.
  7. We should praise precepts of fast and abstinence, for example, in Lent, on ember days, vigils, Fridays and Saturdays; also penances, not only interior but also exterior.
  8. We ought to praise the ornamentations and structures of churches; also images, and their veneration according to what they represent.
  9. Lastly, we should praise all the precepts of the Church, while keeping our mind ready to look for reasons for defending them and not for attacking them in any way.
  10. We ought to be more inclined to approve and praise the decrees, recommendations, and conduct of our superiors than to speak against them. For although some of these acts are not or were not praiseworthy, to speak against them either by preaching in public or by conversing among the ordinary people would cause more murmuring and scandal than profit. And through this the people would become angry at their officials, whether civil or spiritual. However, just as it does harm to speak evil about officials among the ordinary people while they are absent, so it can be profitable to speak of their bad conduct to persons who can bring about a remedy.
  11. We ought to praise both positive theology and scholastic theology. For just as it is more characteristic of the positive doctors, such as St. Jerome, St. Augustine, St. Gregory, and the rest to stir up our affections toward loving and serving God our Lord in all things, so it is more characteristic of the scholastic teachers, such as St. Thomas, St. Bonaventure, the Master of the Sentences, and so on to define and explain for our times the matters necessary for salvation, and also to refute and explain all the errors and fallacies. For the scholastic teachers, being more modern, can avail themselves of an authentic understanding of Sacred Scripture and the holy positive doctors. Further still they, being enlightened and clarified by divine influence, make profitable use of the councils, cannons, and decrees of our Holy Mother Church.
  12. We ought to be on our guard against comparing those of us who are still living with the blessed of the past. For no small error is made when one says, for example, “He knows more than St. Augustine,” or “He is another St. Francis, or even more,” or “He is another St. Paul in goodness, holiness, and the like.”
  13. To keep ourselves right in all things, we ought to hold fast to this principle: What I see as white, I will believe to be black if the hierarchical Church thus determines it. For we believe that between Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom, and the Church, his Spouse, there is the one same Spirit who governs and guides us for the salvation of our souls. For it is by the same Spirit and Lord of ours who gave the ten commandments that our holy Mother Church is guided and governed.
  14. It is granted that there is much truth in the statement that no one can be saved without being predestined and without having faith and grace. Nevertheless great caution is necessary in our manner of speaking and teaching about these matters.
  15. We ought not to fall into a habit of speaking much about predestination. But if somehow the topic is brought up on occasions, it should be treated in such a way that the ordinary people do not fall into error, as sometimes happens when they say: “It is already determined whether I shall be saved or damned, and this cannot now be changed by my doing good or evil.” Through this they grow listless and neglect the works which lead to good and to the spiritual advancement of their souls.
  16. In the same way we should notice with caution that by speaking much and emphatically about faith, without any distinction and explanation, we may give the people an occasion to grow listless and lazy in their works, wither before or after these persons have a faith which in informed by charity.
  17. Similarly, we ought not to speak so lengthily and emphatically about grace that we generate a poison harmful to freedom of the will. Hence one may speak about faith and grace as much as possible, with God’s help, for the greater praise of his Divine Majesty; but not in such ways or manners, especially in times as dangerous as our own, that works and free will are impaired or though worthless.
  18. It is granted that we should value above everything else the great service which is given to God because of pure love. Nevertheless we should also strongly praise fear of his Divine Majesty. For not only is filial fear something pious and very holy, but so also is servile fear. Even if it brings a person nothing better or more useful, it greatly aids him or her to rise from mortal sin; and once such a one has risen, one easily attains to filial fear, which is wholly acceptable and pleasing to God our Lord, since it is inseparably united with love of him.

Source: Catholic Rules of Orthodoxy