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1.36 Is it the Will of God that people die?

Evil and suffering

There was no death in God’s original plan. Death only became part of human life as a result of the sin committed by the first human beings. By committing this original sin they rejected God. Yet God still wants us to live forever. But living forever on this earth, with all its misery and suffering, would not be wonderful at all! Jesus came to earth, died on the cross, and was brought to life again by God to undo the consequence of that first sin.

Thanks to Jesus we can live forever in heaven after our death. We can get to heaven by following Jesus, and by living in a loving relationship with God and our fellow human beings.

> Read more in the book

Death is not what God wants for us. It came into the world with sin. We all die, but through Jesus’ Resurrection, we can live forever.

The Wisdom of the Church

If God is omnipotent and provident, why then does evil exist?

To this question, as painful and mysterious as it is, only the whole of Christian faith can constitute a response. God is not in any way - directly or indirectly - the cause of evil. He illuminates the mystery of evil in his Son Jesus Christ who died and rose in order to vanquish that great moral evil, human sin, which is at the root of all other evils'. [CCCC 57]

Why does God permit evil?

Faith gives us the certainty that God would not permit evil if he did not cause a good to come from that very evil. This was realized in a wondrous way by God in the death and resurrection of Christ. In fact, from the greatest of all moral evils (the murder of his Son) he has brought forth the greatest of all goods (the glorification of Christ and our redemption. [CCCC 58]

What does it mean to die in Christ Jesus?

Dying in Christ Jesus means to die in the state of God's grace without any mortal sin. A believer in Christ, following his example, is thus able to transform his own death into an act of obedience and love for the Father. “This saying is sure: if we have died with him, we will also live with him” (2 Timothy 2:11). [CCCC 206]

How does Christ help us at our death, if we trust in him?

Christ comes to meet us and leads us into eternal life. “Not death, but God will take me” (St. Thérèse of Lisieux).   

In view of Jesus’ suffering and death, death itself can become easier. In an act of trust and love for the Father, we can say Yes, as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane. such an attitude is called “spiritual sacrifice”: the dying person unites himself with Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. someone who dies this way, trusting in God and at peace with men, and thus without serious sin, is on the way to communion with the risen Christ. Our dying makes us fall no farther than into his hands. A person who dies does not travel to nowhere but rather goes home into the love of God, who created him. [Youcat 155]

This is what the Church Fathers say

For God has not only made us out of nothing; but He gave us freely, by the Grace of the Word, a life in correspondence with God. But men, having rejected things eternal, and by the counsel of the devil, turned to the things of corruption, became the cause of their own corruption in death.  [St. Athanasius, Treatise on the Incarnation of the Word, Chap. 5 (MG 25, 104)]