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 Post subject: The Saints in Heaven seeing us on earth...
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 3:31 pm 
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Hello,

Having a pleasant discussion with a protestant friend this morning as he was inquiring about the Catholic faith. He told me he has trouble with believing our beloved in heaven can see all of the miseries here on earth. Since they (saints) in the beautiful wonders of heaven. The only biblical defense I could think of (it was early this morn :) ) as proof is the Transfiguration. Can anyone help me to give a few more examples?

Regards,

Jim

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 Post subject: Re: The Saints in Heaven seeing us on earth...
PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:08 am 
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You have fallen into his trap of sola scriptura i.e. trying to prove revelation from scripture only

Revelation is Scripture, Tradition and Magisterium.

Having said that Luke 16 says:

25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ 27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ 29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ 30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ 31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’

Also: Hebrews 12:1 the idea that people in heaven might be able to look down and see us: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses. . . .” The “witnesses” are the heroes of faith listed in Hebrews 11.

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 Post subject: Re: The Saints in Heaven seeing us on earth...
PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:56 pm 
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Gotcha. I didn't realize I had fallen into a trap (sola scripture) in this case. I usually can spot these. So with that being said, can you give me any more reason that I can explain how we know the Saints hear us in heaven? If not, I'll take what you have shown and run with it. His point (which I've heard once before) was that those who make it to heaven which is so wonderful could not possibly see us suffering on earth.

Peace,

Jim

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 Post subject: Re: The Saints in Heaven seeing us on earth...
PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:48 pm 
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Full disclosure, I'm not Catholic. With that said, I wonder if it would be better to reframe your question around providing a biblical defense for the Communion of the Saints. That strikes me as very easy to defend. Now, if God is the God of the living, and if the Church is not overcome by death, then are we to say that death has somehow separated the Body of Christ?!? Death is now more powerful than the Living Christ? Please.

Further, I'd distinguish between a positive defense of the Communion of the Saints and defending against objections to the doctrine. I don't think you've fallen into sola scriptura -- there's nothing wrong with asking for a Scriptural defense of a particular position, particularly if you are trying to meet someone where they are. But perhaps you've made a mistake in allowing yourself, and your friend, to think that his question, answered or not, serves as a defeater for the doctrine. You know your friend better than we do, but my question to you would be, if you gave him a real answer to his specific question, would he suddenly embrace your position as true? I doubt it. Isn't it more likely that his objection is really based on his disbelief in the whole idea of the saints praying for us than vice versa? That is, does he reject the Catholic view here because of his question, or does his question flow from his rejection of the Catholic view? I bet it's the latter. And if it is, then any answer you give him will either be met with willful ignorance or else he'll just move the goalposts. Either way, you might be wasting your time with the specific question he's asking, and thus my original suggestion.

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 Post subject: Re: The Saints in Heaven seeing us on earth...
PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:39 pm 
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Thanks for the disclosure!
I use the term "friend" here lightly. This is someone I see from time to time (his business works on my car) and we have found it interesting to talk faiths over the last year or 2. It's very light and at least I understand their may be no conversions here. I always know that this type of person will try to "save me" before it's over. I also know he has training in this regards as most southern Baptists do. I'm sure his question flows from his rejection of the Catholic view as well. What brought us to this point is he wanted to know about Catholics and Mary and praying to her and such.

My job as an amateur apologist is to plant seeds. I try to "use words only if necessary". So to speak. He knows I now defend God's existence with science type people I work with. I think God may have given me a promotion; as it was defending the faith, to now defending His existence, etc. Learning as I go.

I definitely like going from the "Communion of Saints" angle.

Thanks,
Jim

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 Post subject: Re: The Saints in Heaven seeing us on earth...
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:41 pm 
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Jim wrote:
Hello,

Having a pleasant discussion with a protestant friend this morning as he was inquiring about the Catholic faith. He told me he has trouble with believing our beloved in heaven can see all of the miseries here on earth. Since they (saints) in the beautiful wonders of heaven. The only biblical defense I could think of (it was early this morn :) ) as proof is the Transfiguration. Can anyone help me to give a few more examples?

Regards,

Jim


In Rev. 6:9, the martyrs under the altar in heaven knew that their persecutors on Earth had yet to meet their justice. How specific the knowledge of the souls in heaven posses is not knowable, but they at least know enough to know when someone on Earth as met their maker yet or not.

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 Post subject: Re: The Saints in Heaven seeing us on earth...
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 5:30 pm 
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For what it is worth, a Southern Baptist with any sort of training at all isn't going to be impressed by any of the Scriptural arguments that have been presented here. At most, Luke 16 tells us that the dead know who is not yet among them. The rich man knows his brothers are not dead (and even that could be questioned), and we have no indication that Abraham's knowledge of the lives of Lazarus and the rich man come from direct observation. As Lazarus is with him, the much more obvious inference (or at least the one that requires the fewest unique assumptions) is that the two spoke of the lives they lived.

Hebrews 12:1 doesn't suggest that the witness might notice what we are doing. That makes far too much of the word "witness." Their testimony is of what they did, not of what we are doing. And therefore, we have a great number of testimonies to encourage us during difficult times.

Rev 6:9, again, only show at most that they know that justice has not yet been fully meted out. My own view is their complaint is rooted in their not yet having received their resurrection bodies. That doesn't mean that they necessarily have any direct knowledge of what is happening on earth.

-----------------------

To be clear, none of this means that Abraham did not have observational knowledge of the life of Lazarus, that the witnesses of Hebrews 11 might not see us, or that the martyrs of Rev 6:9 do not know what is happening with their persecutors. I am just saying that we don't have enough information to make those claims in and of themselves. We just can't let ourselves be conspiracy theorists who are willing to connect any dots we like in order to substantiate some preexisting idea. And this is why I recommended arguing from the Communion of the Saints. That strikes me as a much stronger way to go about it if you are trying to find a biblical basis for the doctrine in question. At a bare minimum, coming at it that way insulates you from the charge that your theology is motivating your exegesis and allows you to turn that same argument on those who would deny it. For while the Communion of the Saints by itself doesn't necessarily mean that the dead in Christ know of what is going on in our lives, it definitely is very fitting and flows from what is obviously true -- that the dead in Christ are still in Christ and are still a member of the same body we are and are still active in the ministry, which seems at a very minimum to imply a ministry of intercession. So if someone is going to deny that they can and do intercede for us, the question becomes, what is the biblical basis for that denial in the face of the biblical warrant for adopting the foundational views?

fakeedit: shouldn't this be in the apologetics forum?

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 Post subject: Re: The Saints in Heaven seeing us on earth...
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:50 pm 
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Thanks again for the points "Adept". I really appreciate and understand the clarity you make. I shall start studying the Communion of Saints more in depth and take it from that realm. Since I have gotten this question a few times before, I need to find a few simple answers and then be prepared to go deeper. I especially like the idea of turning it around and asking what is the biblical basis to "deny" the saints intercession for us to which the answer is obvious. They of course will still say what I mentioned at the beginning: that if heaven is so wonderful, why would they be able to see our misery and be saddened.

My personal points to him where the following:
I would imagine that folks in heaven can see and know so much more, that the "misery" here on earth may not look as bad from their beautiful vantage point.

And as has been stated, why wouldn't they want to help their loved ones here on earth?

I would imagine Stephen Ray would know quite a bit about how to "splain" these things in a simple manner to say the least! 8-)

Thanks so much,
Jim

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 Post subject: Re: The Saints in Heaven seeing us on earth...
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:37 pm 
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Here is a line from one of Steve's blogs... it adds to what you were saying concerning we are all one body. Getting closer anyway... :wave

Christ only has one Body, not multiple (1Cor 12:12); Death cannot separate us from Christ (Rom 8:37-38); and we, in Christ, are commanded to pray for one another (1Tim2:1-4), therefore those members of the Church in Heaven are praying for us, and presenting our prayers before the Throne of God (Rev 5:8).

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 Post subject: Re: The Saints in Heaven seeing us on earth...
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:23 pm 
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Well, in looking at Stephen Ray's Blogs, I was directed to the familiar "Catholic Answers" website. There, I have so far, found the best indirect answers I may spell out to this "friend". I think this is pretty close to provide some answers. This would be in addition to the kind help I received in this thread to which many thanks are given. I may have to shorten it or I may just send it to him to paruse. Anyone have any thoughts? I'd love to see them.

In His Peace,
Jim

https://www.osv.com/Article/TabId/493/A ... aints.aspx

The perfected saints, having a share in God’s own nature, have a share in His perfect love. They love those of us still on earth as God loves us. They want to help us; they want to see us reach heaven as well. So they have the desire to assist us in any way they can.
Veneration vs. Adoration
Since ancient times, the Catholic Church has recognized the infinite difference between veneration and adoration (or what today we would call worship). Adoration is the act of giving ourselves to God as the One to whom we owe everything, an act of absolute submission to Him. He alone, then, is to be adored, to be worshiped, in this sense.
Veneration, on the other hand, is a much lesser thing: the paying of appropriate honor to a creature of God who deserves such honor. When we venerate the saints, then, we’re not adoring them as if they are the source of our existence, or worshiping them in the modern sense of that word. We’re simply honoring them.
The perfected saints also have a share in God’s perfect knowledge. They are able, through His grace, to know what’s taking place on earth. God allows them to see and hear what He sees and hears, so they can hear the requests we may make of them.
The perfected saints have a share in God’s perfect, supernatural power. They are able, through His grace, to act on our behalf, to intervene in earthly affairs, just as He does. They don’t just pray for us; they can act on our behalf in other ways as well.
Scripture tells us, “The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful” (Jas 5:16). If that’s true of righteous people still on earth, think how powerful and effective is the prayer of the saints in heaven, who have been perfected in righteousness!
By His death and resurrection, Jesus Christ has conquered death. Death does not have the power to separate those who are in Christ from one another; in Him, they maintain a deep communion, whether they are in heaven, on earth or in the purgatorial process on their way to heaven.
For this reason, we on earth can help those in purgatory through our prayers and sacrifices. And those in heaven can help us on earth through their prayers and other interventions. As members of one Body, the Body of Christ, we are able to share the spiritual goods that we have through mutual prayer and assistance.
Some may ask why God would be willing to share this power. Why would He want in the first place to grant intercessory roles to the saints, the angels and even those of us still on earth?
The answer is simple: It reflects His desire, as St. Paul says, that we “attain to … mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ” (Eph 4:13), who is himself the great Intercessor. The intercession of the saints is simply one way in which Christ’s body, with its members “joined and held together … builds itself up in love” (Eph 4:16). When we help one another, we display the love of God in which we share.
Some Christians think we shouldn’t ask the saints for help because God would somehow be displeased if we went to them for help rather than going directly to Him. But the truth is that all Christians ask other Christians on earth to pray for them and to help them in other ways. Yet when we do that, we don’t worry about not going to God directly for help.
Why not? Because we understand the principle that it pleases God to have His children helping one another. That’s why He commands us in Scripture to “pray for one another” (Jas 5:16).
Veneration of the Saints
Showing honor is a natural human response to the goodness, even the greatness, of another human being. We honor the founders and other leaders of our country from throughout history. We name cities after them, write books about them, make statues of them to erect in public places. We paint pictures of them to display in schools and government buildings. We speak reverently and gratefully of them on patriotic holidays.
We do similar things for great scientists, great leaders of social movements, great artists and musicians. Why? Because it’s a matter of justice to recognize their gifts and contributions to us. Justice means giving to each his due, and we recognize that we owe much to these great human beings, and we want to say so in different ways.
In all these ways, we are venerating these great men and women — we are giving them honor. And so we shouldn’t be surprised that the Catholic Church venerates the great heroes of the Faith, who over the centuries have embodied in an extraordinary manner the way of life to which we’re called as Christians. Now that these men and women have been perfected by God and are saints standing face to face with Him in heaven, we have even more reason to venerate them.
Some may object that if we venerate the saints God will be jealous, because we should give honor to Him alone. But He is a God of justice, so it is His will that honor be given where honor is due. Scripture tells us, “Pay … honor to whom honor is due” (Rom 13:7).
Are we somehow denying God the honor that is due Him when we honor His saints? By no means! They are His perfected handiwork, His masterpiece (see Eph 2:10). When we praise the craftsmanship, all the accolades go to the Craftsman.
Meanwhile, as the old saying goes, “Imitation is the sincerest form of praise.” And so the Church urges us to imitate the saints, to follow their example of holiness. In the end, that’s the best way to honor them.
Paul Thigpen, Ph.D., is the editor of TAN Books, an imprint of Saint Benedict Press, and a past editor of The Catholic Answer.

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 Post subject: Re: The Saints in Heaven seeing us on earth...
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 5:15 pm 
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Can't heaven still be a wonderful place if the saints can see us and our sorrows? I'm thinking they know so much more that it is petty what they see on earth? Hmmmm.

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 Post subject: Re: The Saints in Heaven seeing us on earth...
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:44 am 
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Jim wrote:
Can't heaven still be a wonderful place if the saints can see us and our sorrows? I'm thinking they know so much more that it is petty what they see on earth? Hmmmm.


The only reason to know is so that they can pray for us. They know the will of God and they pray for that. Praying for the will of God in our life would be a source of joy.

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 Post subject: Re: The Saints in Heaven seeing us on earth...
PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:08 am 
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Jim wrote:
Can't heaven still be a wonderful place if the saints can see us and our sorrows? I'm thinking they know so much more that it is petty what they see on earth? Hmmmm.

Of course it is a wonderful place. The saints see God. If someone claims that anything can detract from that, then I say they don't understand what they are saying or have reduced God to something other than the greatest good.

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