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Chapter 2: The Existence of God and Divine Revelation INTRODUCTION TO CATHOLICISM.

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1 Chapter 2: The Existence of God and Divine Revelation INTRODUCTION TO CATHOLICISM

2 ANTICIPATORY SET Mini-lecture on the roles of religion, philosophy, and science. 1. Knowing God Through Reason (pp. 28–33)

3 BASIC QUESTIONS  Why does religion exist?  Can a person know that God exists through reason? KEY IDEAS  By God’s design, the human person is naturally a religious creature who has a thirst for God.  It is possible to know that God exists through the power of reason alone, as, for example, St. Thomas Aquinas has shown in his “Five Ways.” 1. Knowing God Through Reason (pp. 28–33)

4 FOCUS QUESTIONS By what two ways has God spoken directly to the world in human history? He has spoken (1) through the patriarchs and prophets of the Old Testament and (2) through Christ and the Church he established. What is God’s written Revelation? It is the Bible, which is called Sacred Scripture and the Word of God. 1. Knowing God Through Reason (pp. 28–33)

5 FOCUS QUESTIONS Why is the Bible the Word of God? God the Holy Spirit inspired the Sacred Authors in order to communicate his message. What is the Deposit of Faith? It is the totality of God’s Revelation to his people. Its sources are Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition as interpreted by the teaching authority of the Church. 1. Knowing God Through Reason (pp. 28–33)

6 FOCUS QUESTIONS What gifts has God given to human beings in their nature? Human beings have the power of reason, free will, and an immortal soul. Why did God make people? God made people to know, love, and serve him in this world and to enjoy eternal life with him in the next world. 1. Knowing God Through Reason (pp. 28–33)

7 FOCUS QUESTIONS What does God give every person so he or she will seek him? God gives everyone a desire for himself “written on the heart.” What are some ultimate questions about existence about which every person thinks? Who or what made me? Why am I here? What is the meaning of life? What happens after death? How did the world come into being? Why is there good and evil, and how can I know the difference? Why do I desire to love, to be loved, and to be happy? 1. Knowing God Through Reason (pp. 28–33)

8 FOCUS QUESTIONS Can reason alone answer ultimate questions about life? No. There is something (someone) greater than what people can experience with their senses. According to St. Augustine, what is the reason a person’s heart is restless? He or she has not yet found God. He wrote, “Our heart is restless until it rests in you.” Why is it correct to call a human person a “religious being”? Human beings have always sought and worshiped a higher power, whether the one true God or false gods. 1. Knowing God Through Reason (pp. 28–33)

9 FOCUS QUESTIONS Who was St. Thomas Aquinas? A Dominican priest who lived in the late Middle Ages; he was one of the greatest philosophers and theologians in Christian history. What did St. Thomas Aquinas demonstrate about the existence of God? Human reason can deduce convincingly that God exists from a consideration of creation and the nature of the human person. To what do the beauty and order in the world point? They point to an intelligent Creator who brought everything into existence and keeps it in existence. 1. Knowing God Through Reason (pp. 28–33)

10 GUIDED EXERCISE Work with a partner to complete the following table about the “Five Ways.” 1. Knowing God Through Reason (pp. 28–33)

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12 FOCUS QUESTION According to the Catechism, no. 31, are the “Five Ways” scientific in nature? No; they are “converging and convincing arguments,” which allow people to attain certainty about the truth of God’s existence. 1. Knowing God Through Reason (pp. 28–33)

13 FOCUS QUESTION What question does the “big bang” theory raise? What caused the big bang? What answer do you think St. Thomas Aquinas would give to the question, “What caused the big bang?” If the big bang was the beginning, it must have been caused and set in motion by a First Cause and First Mover, which are philosophical approximations of God. 1. Knowing God Through Reason (pp. 28–33)

14 FOCUS QUESTIONS What are the two points of departure that allow people to discover the existence of God through reason? The physical world and the human person are the points of departure. What two elementary and observable laws of physics did St. Thomas Aquinas use to build his proofs of the existence of God? (1) An object in motion must be set in motion by something else. (2) Matter cannot be created out of nothing. 1. Knowing God Through Reason (pp. 28–33)

15 FOCUS QUESTIONS Does a human creator create out of nothing? No; he or she always gives new form to existing materials. What is an infinite regress? It is an impossible chain of cause and effect going back forever, without beginning. 1. Knowing God Through Reason (pp. 28–33)

16 FOCUS QUESTIONS Why is an infinite regress impossible when it comes to generation? If a dog is generated by two dogs (parents) and those parents by yet more parents, there has to be a point at which at least one (first) dog came into existence by some means other than two dogs (parents). What is the prevailing theory in science today about the origin of the universe? The universe began with a “big bang,” a cosmic explosion that sent matter flying in all directions. Over billions of years, this matter cooled and coalesced to form galaxies, stars, and planets. Extension: The “big bang” hypothesis was first proposed by the physicist and Catholic priest Georges Lemaitre in Knowing God Through Reason (pp. 28–33)

17 GUIDED EXERCISE Work with a partner to formulate and answer three Focus Questions about St. Thomas Aquinas. 1. Knowing God Through Reason (pp. 28–33)

18 CLOSURE Write a paragraph explaining the argument for the existence of God he or she finds the most convincing. 1. Knowing God Through Reason (pp. 28–33)

19 HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT  Study Questions 1–3 (p. 51)  Practical Exercises 2, 5 (p. 52)  Workbook Questions 1–8  Read “What Divine Revelation Is” through “Establishing the Canon” (pp. 33–39) 1. Knowing God Through Reason (pp. 28–33)

20 ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT Free write for five minutes exploring a concept in this lesson you found difficult to understand. 1. Knowing God Through Reason (pp. 28–33)

21 ANTICIPATORY SET Discuss the following question:  Since the existence of God can be known through reason alone, why did God choose to reveal himself to people directly? 2. Tradition and Scripture (pp. 33–39)

22 BASIC QUESTIONS  What is Divine Revelation?  What is salvation history?  What is Sacred Tradition?  What is Sacred Scripture?  How was the canon of the Bible determined? KEY IDEAS  Divine Revelation is that which God has directly “unveiled” to his people.  Salvation history is the Revelation of God through his words and deeds from the Fall of Adam and Eve through the Advent of Christ.  Sacred Tradition is a source of Revelation; it forms the basis of Sacred Scripture.  Sacred Scripture is a source of Revelation; it was inspired by God; written by human authors; and accepted as canonical by the Church.  The early Church determined the canon of the New Testament based on whether each writing was Apostolic in origin, orthodox in doctrine, always considered by the Church to be inspired by the Holy Spirit, and widely used in the Church’s liturgy. 2. Tradition and Scripture (pp. 33–39)

23 FOCUS QUESTIONS What is an atheist? This person denies the existence of God. What is an agnostic? This person believes God’s existence cannot be determined with certainty or simply does not care about God’s existence. Why are atheism and agnosticism not reasonable points of view? God’s existence can be known through human reason. 2. Tradition and Scripture (pp. 33–39)

24 FOCUS QUESTIONS What is natural revelation? One can have limited knowledge of God through observing creation and the human person. What is Divine Revelation? By various means, God communicates some share of himself and his will to his people, specifically truths that cannot be known without having been revealed. What is the origin of the word revelation? It comes from the Latin revelare, meaning “to unveil.” 2. Tradition and Scripture (pp. 33–39)

25 FOCUS QUESTIONS What does canon mean literally? The Greek kanon means “a straight rod or bar” or “correct measure.” What are the protocanonical and deuterocanonical books of Sacred Scripture? The protocanonical, or “first canon,” books were those always and everywhere accepted as canonical. The deuterocanonical, or “second canon,” books were accepted as canonical after some initial doubts. 2. Tradition and Scripture (pp. 33–39)

26 FOCUS QUESTIONS Why do most Protestant Bibles have a different canon of the Old Testament than Catholic Bibles? The Protestant reformers generally removed the deuterocanonical books. What are the two meanings of apocrypha? (1) Most Protestants use this term to refer to the deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament. (2) These books, which have existed since the earliest days of the Church, are not inspired by God the Holy Spirit and are thus excluded from Sacred Scripture. 2. Tradition and Scripture (pp. 33–39)

27 GUIDED EXERCISE Think/Pair/Share based on the section “Salvation History” (p. 33) and using the following question:  What is salvation history? 2. Tradition and Scripture (pp. 33–39)

28 FOCUS QUESTIONS What is a prophet? This person is called by God or speaks on God’s behalf and announces his message. What was the basic message of the Old Testament prophets? They offered messages of hope and called for Israel to repent or face divine retribution; they promised a Messiah who would establish a New Covenant. What is the difference between the major and minor prophets? The length of their books is the only difference, not their relative importance. 2. Tradition and Scripture (pp. 33–39)

29 FOCUS QUESTIONS What is the Deposit of Faith? It is the entirety of all that God revealed, preserved, and communicated to every generation until the end of time. What are the two sources of the Deposit of Faith? Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture are its sources. 2. Tradition and Scripture (pp. 33–39)

30 FOCUS QUESTIONS What is the relationship between the Church and Divine Revelation? God entrusted his Revelation to the Church, which preserves and communicates his Revelation to all people in every age. What is the relationship between Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture? Sacred Scripture follows Sacred Tradition in time and is an equal source of the Deposit of Faith. How is the Old Testament a product of Sacred Tradition? Many of the books of the Old Testament were likely not written at the times the events or prophecies they describe unfolded; rather, they probably existed for some time in oral tradition, passed down from generation to generation. 2. Tradition and Scripture (pp. 33–39)

31 FOCUS QUESTIONS How is the New Testament a product of Sacred Tradition? The first books of the New Testament, written as early as twenty years after the Resurrection of Christ, existed first as the preaching of the Apostles to the newly formed communities of the Church before they were committed to writing. Where can Sacred Tradition be found? It can be found in the writings of the early Church Fathers, the practice and belief of the early Church, and the content of what the Church has taught throughout her history. What one thing binds together Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture? The mystery of Christ binds them together. 2. Tradition and Scripture (pp. 33–39)

32 FOCUS QUESTIONS What keeps the Church from erring when she teaches about what God has revealed in Sacred Tradition? The Holy Spirit guides the Church in her teaching and keeps her from all error. What is the teaching office of the Church called? It is called the Magisterium. 2. Tradition and Scripture (pp. 33–39)

33 GUIDED EXERCISE Work with a partner to develop a bulleted list of apologetical arguments based on the sidebar “Scripture Alone? A Fundamental Difference” (p. 36), pointing out why Sola Scriptura is an irrational doctrine. 2. Tradition and Scripture (pp. 33–39)

34 FOCUS QUESTIONS What does Sola Scriptura mean? “Scripture alone”; Sacred Tradition has no authority in Divine Revelation, and Scripture is the sole authority that should be used to guide the doctrinal teachings and practices in the Church. When did the doctrine of Sola Scriptura arise? It arose shortly before the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century. 2. Tradition and Scripture (pp. 33–39)

35 FOCUS QUESTIONS What is the origin of the word inspire? It is derived from the Latin inspirare, meaning “to breathe in.” What does it mean to say the Bible is inspired? God the Holy Spirit “breathed into” the Sacred Authors, which prompted them to write what he wished them to write. Who are the authors of Sacred Scripture? God the Holy Spirit is the principal author, and the human writers are likewise true authors, working as his instruments. 2. Tradition and Scripture (pp. 33–39)

36 FOCUS QUESTIONS Is the Bible a dictation or recitation from God? No; God did not dictate the Scriptures word for word; rather, the Sacred Authors wrote precisely what God wanted to reveal at a given time and communicated the truths necessary for salvation. Why is the Bible inerrant? God the Holy Spirit is the author of every part of Scripture, and he can neither deceive nor be deceived. 2. Tradition and Scripture (pp. 33–39)

37 GUIDED EXERCISE Work with a partner to complete the following table about the Sacred Scriptures. 2. Tradition and Scripture (pp. 33–39)

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39 FOCUS QUESTIONS What is the origin of the word tradition? It comes from the Latin tradere, meaning “to hand on.” How was Christianity handed on in the first generation after Christ’s Ascension? The teachings of Christ were communicated by word of mouth from eyewitnesses to believers and from community to community. What problem did the early Church face with respect to sacred writings? There were many writings in circulation; some were authentic, some were false, and some were accurate but not inspired by God. 2. Tradition and Scripture (pp. 33–39)

40 FOCUS QUESTIONS Who decided which books were inspired by the Holy Spirit? The Pope and bishops of the early Church decided this. Extension: The universal tradition of the Church had used, for the most part, one canon that was decided by the end of the fourth century. The canon of Scripture was defined formally at the Ecumenical Council of Trent in the sixteenth century. What is the canon of Scripture? It is the list of books the early Church decided were inspired by God the Holy Spirit. 2. Tradition and Scripture (pp. 33–39)

41 HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT  Study Questions 4–8, 10 (p. 51)  Practical Exercises 1, 4 (p. 52)  Workbook Questions 9–31  Read “The Magisterium” through “Conclusion” (pp. 39–46) 2. Tradition and Scripture (pp. 33–39)

42 CLOSURE Write a paragraph summarizing the content of this lesson. Write two sentences for each of the Basic Questions. 2. Tradition and Scripture (pp. 33–39)

43 ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT Work with a partner to complete Practical Exercise Tradition and Scripture (pp. 33–39)

44 ANTICIPATORY SET Incorporate the miracle of the multiplication of loaves and fishes (cf. Mt 14:13–21) into the Opening Prayer, and then discuss the meaning of this Gospel passage. 3. The Interpretation of Scripture and the Response of Faith (pp. 39–46)

45 BASIC QUESTIONS  What is the Magisterium?  How can Sacred Scripture be interpreted properly?  What is the status of Revelation?  What is the response of faith to Revelation? KEY IDEAS  The Magisterium is the official teaching authority that Christ gave to the Apostles; it has been handed on through the Pope and the bishops in union with him to preserve, teach, and apply Divine Revelation in every age.  Scripture can be interpreted according to its literal and spiritual (allegorical, moral, and anagogical) senses.  Public Revelation closed with the death of the last Apostle, although the Church can deepen her understanding of the Deposit of Faith; people can believe in private revelations approved by the Church, but these add nothing to the Faith.  The proper human response to what God has revealed is faith, and the submission of the intellect and will. 3. The Interpretation of Scripture and the Response of Faith (pp. 39–46)

46 FOCUS QUESTION How can it be known that Christ established a Church and intended St. Peter to be her visible head on earth? According to St. Matthew’s Gospel, Christ gave Simon a new name— Peter, which means rock—and said to him, “On this rock I will build my church… [W]hatever you [Peter] bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 3. The Interpretation of Scripture and the Response of Faith (pp. 39–46)

47 FOCUS QUESTIONS What is the source of the Old Testament canon? The Septuagint is a Greek translation of the Scriptures made in the third century BC. (Since this was before Christ, this translation is of the Old Testament only.) What criteria did the early Church use to determine if a writing about Christ was canonical? Was the book apostolic, written by an Apostle or an associate of the Apostles; orthodox, faithfully teaching the truth that had been handed on by the Apostles; inspired by God the Holy Spirit through its human author; and liturgical, broadly accepted and commonly used in liturgical worship? 3. The Interpretation of Scripture and the Response of Faith (pp. 39–46)

48 FOCUS QUESTIONS Are all apocryphal books heretical? No. While some are heretical, others were not inspired but are still valuable for their accurate information. Extension: The Didache, for which this textbook series is named, is a very early and instructive account of first- century Christian belief and practice; however, since it does not meet the criteria for canonicity, it was not included in the Bible. 3. The Interpretation of Scripture and the Response of Faith (pp. 39–46)

49 FOCUS QUESTIONS How can it be known that Christ sent people out to preach in his name and gave them this authority? St. Matthew’s Gospel records that, just before Christ’s Ascension, he commanded his closest followers, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19). How did St. Peter exercise his primacy in the early Church? Two examples out of many include St. Peter addressing the crowds on the day of Pentecost and the fact that St. Paul and the Apostles turned to St. Peter to resolve a question pertaining to doctrine and practice. 3. The Interpretation of Scripture and the Response of Faith (pp. 39–46)

50 FOCUS QUESTIONS How is the teaching authority of the Church continued today? The Magisterium is exercised through the Pope and the bishops united with him, who received their authority from St. Peter and the Twelve Apostles. According to the Catechism, no. 85, who has the task of interpreting the Word of God? The bishops have this task in communion with the successor of St. Peter, the Bishop of Rome. 3. The Interpretation of Scripture and the Response of Faith (pp. 39–46)

51 GUIDED EXERCISE Think/Pair/Share using the following prompt:  Many people in the modern world—even some Christians—demand that the Church change her doctrines to “adapt to modern times.” For example, many people have petitioned bishops to ordain women as priests, allow the use of contraception, and permit same-sex couples to receive the Sacrament of Matrimony.  Why are these things not possible for the Church to do? 3. The Interpretation of Scripture and the Response of Faith (pp. 39–46)

52 FOCUS QUESTIONS What are some literary genres found in Scripture? Scripture includes history, stories, poems, genealogies, parables, letters, prayers, and hymns. What is an example of an Old Testament passage that is understood beyond what its human author intended? Isaiah prophesied, “The virgin shall be with child, and bear a son” (7:14, New American Bible). What more is known about Isaiah 7:14 (p. 42) in light of the New Testament? It was fulfilled ultimately by the conception of Christ in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. 3. The Interpretation of Scripture and the Response of Faith (pp. 39–46)

53 GUIDED EXERCISE Discuss Matthew 14:13–21 according to the various senses of Scripture (cf. Anticipatory Set, p. 39). Not all passages of Scripture can be interpreted easily in the spiritual sense. 3. The Interpretation of Scripture and the Response of Faith (pp. 39–46)

54 FOCUS QUESTION What questions ought to be asked to interpret a passage of Scripture properly? (1) What did God want to reveal for people’s salvation? (2) How is this interpreted in the context of the language and culture in which the Sacred Author lived? (3) How is this interpreted in light of the unified whole of Scripture, with Christ at the center? (4) How does this fit within the living Tradition of the Church and her Magisterium? (5) How does this relate to the coherence of the truths of faith in Scripture? 3. The Interpretation of Scripture and the Response of Faith (pp. 39–46)

55 FOCUS QUESTIONS By what two senses of Scripture does the Church interpret it? She uses the literal and the spiritual senses. What is the literal sense proper? This is the precise meaning the author intended. 3. The Interpretation of Scripture and the Response of Faith (pp. 39–46)

56 FOCUS QUESTIONS What is the moral sense of Scripture? The words and events in Scripture instruct people how to act justly and morally. Extension: For example, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mk 12:17). This establishes a responsibility to both civil authority and God’s authority, with God having primacy. What is the anagogical sense of Scripture? The words of Scripture illumine the eternal significance of certain events and realities as pointing or leading people to their true homeland in Heaven. Extension: For example, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, / nor the heart of man conceived, / what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor 2:9) points to Heaven as exceeding even the greatest human imaginings. 3. The Interpretation of Scripture and the Response of Faith (pp. 39–46)

57 FOCUS QUESTIONS What is the literal sense improper? It is the author’s use of a figure of speech that should be understood as the author intended. What is the spiritual sense of Scripture? It is the complete or full sense of what the Holy Spirit wants to convey. 3. The Interpretation of Scripture and the Response of Faith (pp. 39–46)

58 What is the spiritual sense of this passage from the Book of Genesis: “I will put enmity...” (p. 44)? It means that the Blessed Virgin Mary, a descendant of Eve, would have a child, Jesus Christ, who would deliver a fatal wound to the Devil. How many spiritual senses are there? There are three: allegorical, moral, and anagogical. 3. The Interpretation of Scripture and the Response of Faith (pp. 39–46)

59 FOCUS QUESTIONS What is the allegorical sense of Scripture? Also called the typological sense, people and events in the text have their own proper meanings but also stand for later people or events. Extension: For example, the Passover lamb foreshadows Jesus the Lamb of God; the manna God gave to the Israelites foreshadows the Eucharist. What did St. Augustine mean when he said of the two Testaments, “The New is hidden in the Old, and the Old is made manifest in the New”? He was referring to the many examples of Old Testament types that foreshadow their New Testament antitypes. 3. The Interpretation of Scripture and the Response of Faith (pp. 39–46)

60 FOCUS QUESTIONS Is Divine Revelation complete? Yes; there will be no future public revelations until the end of time. In what sense is Divine Revelation ongoing? The Church, through her theological reflections and the judgments of her Magisterium, continues to grow in her understanding of the doctrines contained in the Deposit of Faith. In this, she is guided by the Holy Spirit and his gift of wisdom. 3. The Interpretation of Scripture and the Response of Faith (pp. 39–46)

61 FOCUS QUESTIONS What are private revelations? These events are of a miraculous nature when God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, an angel, or a saint appears to an individual or group of people, often to relate a message. What does it mean to say the Church approves a private revelation? On occasion, the bishop declares that a private revelation expresses nothing contrary to the Faith; in this case, each person is free to believe it or not. 3. The Interpretation of Scripture and the Response of Faith (pp. 39–46)

62 FOCUS QUESTIONS What is the proper response to Divine Revelation? Faith is the proper response. What is faith? Faith is the submission of the will and intellect to God, which enables a person to accept all that God has revealed. On what authority does a person make the submission of faith? He or she does so on the authority of God and the Church he founded and sustains. 3. The Interpretation of Scripture and the Response of Faith (pp. 39–46)

63 FOCUS QUESTIONS Is faith contrary to reason? No; although some articles of faith go beyond the power of reason to reach or to understand, faith is supported by reason. What supports does reason give to faith? The miracles and Resurrection of Christ are reasonable to believe and support the divine nature of Christ. Christ’s fulfillment of the Old Testament supports the truth of Scripture. The profound beauty of the doctrines of the Church; her saints; and her many signs of sanctity, fruitfulness, and permanence support the truth of the Church. What did St. Thomas Aquinas mean when he taught, “Grace builds on nature”? Grace does not work against or in spite of human reason; rather, it lifts a person up in faith to build on what reason already knows. 3. The Interpretation of Scripture and the Response of Faith (pp. 39–46)

64 GUIDED EXERCISE Free write on three dimensions of the act of faith:  How is faith an act of the will?  How is faith an act of the intellect?  How is faith a body of knowledge?  Briefly share responses. 3. The Interpretation of Scripture and the Response of Faith (pp. 39–46)

65 HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT  Study Questions 9, 11–15 (p. 51)  Practical Exercise 3 (p. 52)  Workbook Questions 32–43 3. The Interpretation of Scripture and the Response of Faith (pp. 39–46)

66 CLOSURE Write a paragraph summarizing the content of this lesson. Write two sentences for each of the Basic Questions. 3. The Interpretation of Scripture and the Response of Faith (pp. 39–46)

67 ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT Write a paragraph summarizing the theme of this chapter: the existence of God and Divine Revelation. 3. The Interpretation of Scripture and the Response of Faith (pp. 39–46)

68 THE END


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