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Caitlin Kennell Kim
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Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
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Our readers asked:

Does God Make Mistakes?

Ann Naffziger Answers:

For millennia, humans have looked upon suffering or evil in the world and asked this question. If God is perfect, then how come our world isn’t perfect? Why is there evil and pain in this world? Did God make a mistake(s) in creating an imperfect world? Does God still make mistakes? Our Catholic teaching answers a resounding “no” to these questions.

Various teachings from the ancient creeds, the early Church fathers, and the Catechism state the following:

“God is the fullness of Being and of all perfection … In God, power, essence, will, intellect, wisdom, and justice are all identical… God is master of the world and of its history. But the ways of his providence are often unknown to us…”

When we ponder the suffering present in this world, we return to the mystery of free will and the realization that we – humans – have to take responsibility for what we do that hurts one another. As the catechism states

“God is in no way, directly or indirectly, the cause of moral evil. He permits it, however, because he respects the freedom of his creatures, and mysteriously, knows how to derive good from it.”

As an example here, consider Jesus’ crucifixion. One might reasonably ask if God made a mistake in sending his only Son to this earth – an act that ended with Jesus being mocked, tortured, and brutally killed. But the Church would have us shift the question because we believe in God’s ultimate perfection. Looked at this way, we can see that God is able to write straight with crooked lines. Human sin, not a mistake on God’s part, led to Jesus’ death, and still God was able to bring new life out of death. “God in his almighty providence can bring a good from the consequences of an evil … caused by his creatures.” (CCC 312) It is not God who makes the mistakes, it is us, imperfect humans still journeying toward perfection in an imperfect world.

 
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The Author : Ann Naffziger
Ann Naffziger is a scripture instructor and spiritual director in the San Francisco Bay area. She has has written articles on spirituality and theology for various national magazines and edited several books on the Hebrew Scriptures.
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Mike

    when one is sorry or regret what they did, it is usally because of a mistake we made for doing so.

    Yes God can make mistakes. he is only “Human”, after all he created us in his image and likeness. therefore if we can make mistakes then He too can make mistakes.

    God’s biggest mistake He was the creation of Man. Gen. 6:6
    The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.

    the lession is this is God did not distroy all of mankind, instead he got rid of the biggest part of them and tried to make the best of what was left.

  • Rome Wesleyan-Church

    Great read glad I found yr site.
    We consider something successful when it ends with an outcome which we perceive as good or what we intended. So we think of a mistake as the opposite. In genesis 50:20 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” So even if we do make mistakes there our mistakes God never intended for sin to be in this world. That is on us.

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