Catechism of the Catholic Church

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