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Moral Good, the Beatific Vision, and God’s Kingdom

Writings by Germain Grisez and Peter Ryan, S.J.


Edited By Peter J. Weigel

For close to half a century, the work of Germain Grisez has been highly influential, and his writings continue to receive considerable attention from philosophers and theologians of diverse viewpoints. His co-author for this work is the professor and noted moral theologian Fr. Peter Ryan, S.J., currently the executive director of the Secretariat of Doctrine and Canonical Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). These two eminent scholars explore fundamental questions about Christian eschatology, moral theory, the purpose of human life, and the promise of human fulfilment. The authors examine Christian teaching on the final destiny of persons, investigating the meaning of God’s kingdom, the hope of the beatific vision, and the centrality of moral goodness and divine grace in one’s final end. This work is an ideal source for students, scholars, ministers and lay persons interested in basic questions of Christian theology, the philosophy of religion, ethical theory, and Catholic doctrine.
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Natural Law, God, Religion, and Human Fulfillment



This paper deals with matters that deserve book-length treatment. Since I do not expect to write that book, the paper is only a sketch for a work I hope others will undertake.1

Part one deals with the basic precepts of natural law, which are the primary principles of practical reason.2 Part two explains how those principles manifest God and give rise to religion. Part three treats the relationship between religion and moral life. Part four considers relevant aspects of the biblical worldview, and criticizes St. Thomas Aquinas’s account of ultimate human fulfillment.

I: The Basic Precepts of Natural Law

In thinking we can act or not, or do this or that, it seems to be up to us which option we shall choose: I must opt for one of the available possibilities, but only my choice will determine which. In choosing, we have the experience of doing so freely.

Determinists regard this experience as misleading or illusory, but since it is not obviously so, the burden rests on them to show that we should accept their view. In trying to do that, they must do more than call our attention to facts and present us with purely logical analyses, for neither facts nor logical analyses by themselves, nor both together, can establish the truth of determinism. Thus, determinists regularly try to show that their view offers the most reasonable account of all the relevant facts and...

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