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The Profession of Faith

81

Providence and secondary causes

306

God is the sovereign master of his plan. But to carry it out

he also makes use of his creatures’ cooperation. This use is not a

sign of weakness, but rather a token of almighty God’s greatness

and goodness. For God grants his creatures not only their existence,

but also the dignity of acting on their own, of being causes and

principles for each other, and thus of cooperating in the accom-

plishment of his plan.

307

To human beings God even gives the power of freely

sharing in his providence by entrusting themwith the responsibil­

ity of “subduing” the earth and having dominion over it.

168

God

thus enables men to be intelligent and free causes in order to

complete the work of creation, to perfect its harmony for their own

good and that of their neighbors. Though often unconscious col-

laborators with God’s will, they can also enter deliberately into the

divine plan by their actions, their prayers, and their sufferings.

169

They then fully become “God’s fellow workers” and co-workers

for his kingdom.

170

308

The truth that God is at work in all the actions of his

creatures is inseparable from faith in God the Creator. God is the

first cause who operates in and through secondary causes: “For

God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good

pleasure.”

171

Far from diminishing the creature’s dignity, this truth

enhances it. Drawn from nothingness by God’s power, wisdom,

and goodness, it can do nothing if it is cut off from its origin, for

“without a Creator the creature vanishes.”

172

Still less can a crea-

ture attain its ultimate end without the help of God’s grace.

173

Providence and the scandal of evil

309

If God the Father almighty, the Creator of the ordered and

good world, cares for all his creatures, why does evil exist? To this

question, as pressing as it is unavoidable and as painful as it is

mysterious, no quick answer will suffice. Only Christian faith as a

whole constitutes the answer to this question: the goodness of

168 Cf.

Gen

1:26-28.

169 Cf.

Col

1:24.

170

1 Cor

3:9;

1 Thess

3:2;

Col

4:11.

171

Phil

2:13; cf.

1 Cor

12:6.

172

GS

36 § 3.

173 Cf.

Mt

19:26;

Jn

15:5; 14:13.

1884

1951

106, 373

1954

2427

2738

618, 1505

970

164, 385

2850