There is a specific chapter in the book of Deuteronomy where Moses prepares, proclaims, and instructs Israel to obey God. The Shema or Law of God is what Moses specifically directs Israel to faithfully adhere. After the miraculous events of God’s sovereign power witnessed by the Israelites, one would hope Israel would not hesitate to obey God’s commands. Through this discourse Moses offers Israel reassuring words that if Israel faithfully seeks God, they will find Him, and He will never leave them.
But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul., When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and obey his voice, for the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not fail you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers which he swore to them.
Moses’ counsel to Israel is directly aimed at their past incredulous state of mind, heart, and soul. As quickly as Israel affirmed God’s authority and power, they were quick to despise and reject Him. This scenario should resonate with many of us who have fallen into the sin of incredulity. What is interesting about Moses’ discourse with Israel is that its basic theme is applicable today. God gave us His only begotten Son so that we might know God our Father more intimately through His Son Jesus Christ. In the lead up to the Ten Commandments in the fifth chapter of Deuteronomy, Moses wants to make sure that Israel understands the true happiness is discovered and revealed in love faithfully directed toward God the Father of heaven and earth.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church emphasizes this important catechetical point as follows:
Desire for true happiness frees man from his immoderate attachment to the goods of this world so that he can find his fulfillment in the vision and beatitude of God. “The promise [of seeing God] surpasses all beatitude. . . In Scripture, to see is to possess. . . Whoever sees God has obtained all the goods of which he can conceive.
Incredulity and the Creed
The act of incredulity refers to someone who is unwilling to give credence or adherence to a belief system. Refusal to adhere to any belief system may involve circumstances such as fear, distrust or worse yet, hate of something or someone. Speaking strictly from a kerygma-credal position, the incredulous person generally views any form of Christian doctrine as an impediment to their own developed understanding of personal happiness. In this scenario God and everything He has revealed is perceived to be a nuisance to one’s understanding of freedom and joy. The thought that God is an impediment to personal happiness is not a new phenomenon in society since this particular mind set stems from the advent of the original sin and free will. A fascinating characteristic about the gift of free will is that we as children of God are given the daily opportunity to either accept God or reject Him. When we have difficulty rejecting Him, we tend to develop reasoned ideologies and beliefs that contradict the teachings of Jesus Christ the Son of God and His Church or simply put a rejection of the Creed.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines the Creed as the synthesis of the Christian faith invoking a profession of faith that Christians assent to by way of the following pronouncement “I believe.” St. Paul affirms the relevance of the Creed when he appeals to the faithful to not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Is the aim, Heaven?
It is important to ask the following question: If the aim of the Catholic Church is to lead everyone to heaven, and if the way to accomplish this aim is through a faithful adherence to the teachings of Jesus Christ through the Catholic Church He established, then what is the aim of these individuals who refuse to believe and adhere to Christ? If heaven is not the aim for these individuals, then what is?
Whether one advocates that the Church change her doctrinal position on contraception, the sacrament of holy matrimony, homosexual unions, the liberal distribution of the Holy Eucharist to individuals and groups outside of the Church or publicly known to be in a state of mortal sin, the question still remains; how do these positions bring someone to heaven?
St. Paul faithfully brings this question of the aim of heaven into context where he reminds us:
that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.