It is true that God didn’t have to redeem the human race in the precise way He chose. I remember Fr. Peter Gee stressing the fact that, “Even the smallest amount of our Lord’s Blood, such as what was shed at the Circumcision, would have been enough to redeem the world.” God can do as He wishes. He could destroy the entire universe in the blink of an eye.
Why, then, did God choose that particular way to redeem us? For that matter, why did God do anything? Why did God make it so that children come into the world as babies and have to grown and learn? And why did God make it so that a man’s life ends similarly to how it began (the elderly become helpless and sometimes senile)? Why are there similarities between many animals? For instance, why do most animals in the world have two eyes and not three or five or twelve? Why did God choose seven Sacraments that correspond to our natural life? (Baptism = Birth / Confirmation = Maturity / etc.) Why did God make it so that we have to consume food each day? And breathe each minute? And sleep each night?
The “why” questions have no end.
So what’s the answer?
All I can tell you is, once you’re a parent, you begin to understand. You begin to understand why and how God is our Father and we are His children. That’s all I can say. Parents out there will understand. And when this happens, the “why” questions start to fade away.
Scott Hahn makes a similar point in an article:
God fathers well. He fathers us; He makes us what we can’t make ourselves. We aren’t saved by works of the law — that’s what we do ourselves — but we are saved by a living faith that imparts to us the life of Christ, and not merely His legal righteousness. We are saved by the life of Christ living in us as children of God, sharing divine sonship. The sacraments were scandalous for me. I couldn’t believe what they meant. And then I came to see that baptism corresponds to the natural birth; that the Eucharist corresponds to the Father’s sacrifice to provide a family meal, to feed and so constitute His own beloved household. Across the board the Catholic faith can be understood as God’s family in every way. God has given the garage mechanic, the cleaning lady, the newspaper boy, the raw materials to understand His loving revelation. You don’t need a PhD in theology, you don’t even need courses in theology per se, although I recommend them highly. God has given us a family on earth as a kind of curriculum, so that we might understand what the whole plan of salvation entails, and that is what the Catholic faith enshrines.
BY THE WAY, talking about the “why” questions reminds me of a quote by St. Thomas Aquinas. He basically said something to the effect of, “Spend your time figuring out how to deal with reality. Don’t spend your time wondering why reality is the way it is.” In another place, St. Thomas Aquinas wrote something like the following. I’m paraphrasing, because it’s been like 15 years since I read his words:
Everyone knows that we required a Creator. The perfect order of the universe makes this clear to each person: old, young, intelligent, simple. We all realize we came from somewhere. But it’s no use for anybody to say, “Oh, well. I don’t know where I came from, but I’m not going to take the time to investigate. I shall continue to live without any purpose or meaning in my life.” This simply won’t do. It’s irrational and unacceptable. We all have an obligation to find out the one thing that ultimately matters: the one thing worth knowing. That is, namely, the meaning of life: where we came from, and what happens to us when we die.
This made a lot of sense to me. It’s odd that a person in the Middle Ages knew what we don’t. We’re supposed to be so much smarter than people back in the dark ages. We have technology, modern medicine, and so forth.
And yet, I cannot help but wonder if we’re the dummies. After all, even Christians in the Middle Ages knew whether somebody is a man or a woman. Today, even basic facts like these are called into question. I recently read a story about places in California where it’s illegal to keep boys out of the girls’ bathroom (and vice versa) because some children haven’t decided (or don’t know) know what gender they are.