explain the difference between a miracle where God interferes with free will
and when God just allows something evil to happen because of choice. I keep
thinking about the lady who threw her innocent children into the bay in San
Francisco. Please explain this to me.
ets begin to answer your
question with an example that might at first seem completely unrelated to
your actual question.
of Multiple Events
Imagine an insect climbing up
the trunk of a tree. Eventually it will get to a place where two branches
join, and it will have to choose which branch to follow. As it climbs higher
and higher, it will encounter more and more branches and more and more decisions
about which path to follow. Now, at the end of its climb it could find itself
anywhere in the tree. And whether it ends up on one side of the tree or the
other all depends on the succession of choices it made along the
Now, in all actuality there may
not be any meaningful importance as to where an insect ends up in a tree,
but this example gives us a simple image about the ultimate consequence of
Now, to start to address the
intent of your question, we can think of God as being able to assess the
events of the world an infinite number of choices in advance.
And, in all of this, we can trust that Gods intent is, well, something
along the lines of what Christ Himself told us: The gates of the netherworld
shall not prevail (Matthew 16:18).
This means that however God chooses
to intervene in this world, He does it for an infinitely well-calculated
reason. He might work a miracle to produce immediate effects to counteract
evil or to support the good. And yet He mightto our eyesdo nothing
immediate, waiting for future events to follow. Or He might send us
tribulations on top of
tribulations, letting evil
afflict us. Whatever God chooses to do, He does it for the greatest good
of all things. And, in all of this, God nurtures the growth of saints by
pouring down His graces with special liberality on those souls who have the
will to accept and use those graces to do His will.
Response to Uncertainty
Therefore, our task in life is
not to become anxious about what is happening around
us and not to get angry at God because we dont
like what is happening around us. The Christian response to uncertainty is
to trust completely in God. Those of us dedicated
to living a holy life focus on doing anything it takesthrough
sacrifice, obedience, and prayerto
purify ourselves and to become in this world effective
instruments of Gods will, so that, through the ultimate consequences
of our obedience to His will, the gates of the
netherworld shall not prevail.