July 2021 – Why do Catholics say that they aren’t sure if they’re going to heaven?

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  • #12803
    Avatar photoDan Marcum

    1 John 5:13 says that we can know we have eternal life, so why are Catholics unsure?

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    • #12972
      Avatar photoRobert Wilson

      Answers from our SPSE Catholic Apologetics Facebook page:

      Catholics can have a level of certitude, but it isn’t absolute. No Protestant I know actually believes in complete assurance either. That fellow they THOUGHT was saved but then sinned … well, he wasn’t *really* saved to begin with. Are you sure you are now sinless and ready for heaven?
      Michael C

      We’ll you would have to explain why from chapter 1 and up to chapter 5 there are 25 ‘if’s’:
      1:8 If we say…
      2:1 if we sin…
      2:3 If we keep his commandments
      2:4 If someone says…
      2:5 if you keep his word
      2:6 If someone says…
      2:15 If someone loves the world…
      2:19 if they had been one of ours…
      3:20 if our conscience reproaches us…
      That’s a lot of ‘If’s?
      If you examine this chapter carefully you cannot come to the easy conclusion that you imply in regards to 5:13…
      Jose R

      The Greek word for knowledge in 1 John 5:13 does not necessarily equate to absolute certainty. We use the verb know the same way in English. For example, I may say I know I am going to get an A on my exam tomorrow. Does that mean I have metaphysical certainty of this? Not at all. What I mean and what the verb know can be used to indicate is that I have confidence that I will get an A on my test tomorrow because I have studied the material thoroughly and I know it well.
      Gary G

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