As a I was child in the 1960’s, I was sent to religious instruction by my parents. We were Roman Catholic and CCD (Confraternity of Catholic Doctrine) was the program used to teach children church beliefs.
The Baltimore Catechism #2 (1960, Benziger Bros) talked about God as being infinitely perfect. We were made to “show forth his goodness and to share with us His everlasting happiness in Heaven.” The perfections of God include that He is self-existing, eternal, all-good, all-knowing, all-present, and almighty. Since God is all-good, He is infinitely lovable in Himself and is the source of all good. Since God is all-knowing, “He knows all things, past present, and future, even our most secret thoughts, words, and actions.”
I took the above description of God/Heaven to heart.
Even then, I wondered out loud how evil could exist, how bad things could happen to people if all Heaven wants for us is good. If Heaven’s creation (us) is perfect, how could evil have the upper hand in many cases. The Catechism goes on to say that Heaven is “all-wise, all holy, all-merciful, and all-just.” Apparently there are limits to this mercy and wisdom in creating flawed human beings. When the catechism says that we were created “to show forth His goodness and to share with us his everlasting happiness in Heaven,” I wondered how this could vary so much with the world I was seeing. While there is a lot of beauty and love in the world, there is also death, sickness, infirmity, scarcity and other traumatic expressions of hate and fear.
The Catechism says our first parents lost paradise because they sinned. It seemed stretch to believe that the action of one person could affect millions and billions of those who followed. That doesn’t seem fair; all should be judged, if judgment is necessary. The reason given is that Adam was given “free will” and the ability to chose against God. That could be considered a “flaw.” If Heaven knows the future, God had to know that the ability would be used. Since then all humanity has been away from Paradise, in weak bodies (compared to God) and in a place where we each have to prove ourselves worthy of re-entering Heaven. What kind of game is this? I did not see the loving, merciful nature of Heaven in this teaching. My own father treated me better than this.
My teachers pretty much said this is a) the teaching of the church and that b) the rest is a mystery and not knowable. I accepted it for a long time, but could never get rid of the feeling that I could know why this world is the way and it. I did believe that Heaven is perfect and that I could understand why things are the way they are. The text gives you some of the answers that were given me.0