The Judas Paradox
When I was a secondary school student at Wah Yan College, Kowloon, Hong Kong, receiving Roman Catholic training under the Irish Jesuits, I studies the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke (but not John), and, the independent thinker that I was, still am, I really wondered about Judas, and had, still have, a certain amount of compassion for him. Eventually, it concluded upon what I now call “The Judas Paradox”.
Before stating the paradox, let me first state the basic premises as presented to me by the Catechism:
1. God is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent, i.e. “He” is everywhere, all-knowing and almighty.
2. Jesus is God-incarnate, albeit in human form, and therefore should be all-knowing and almighty.
3. Jesus taught, still teaches, all-embracing love and forgiveness.
4. The Church taught, still teaches, that suicide is a mortal sin, and a mortal sinner is damned for all time, in Hell. The Church’s doctrine is that Judas is in Hell, and being burnt as we speak.
The #3/#4 combination constitutes a monumental paradox unto itself.
But let’s just talk about the Judas Paradox as presented below:
1. Since, in #2 above, Jesus is God-incarnate, He would have been all-knowing, and therefore should have foreseen what Judas would do beforehand.
2. Since, in #3 above, Jesus was/is all-loving, He would love everyone, including Judas.
3. Since, in #3 above, Jesus was/is all-forgiving, He would have forgiven Judas, and not condemned him to eternal hell-fire.
4. Since, in #2 above, Jesus was/is almighty, He could have stopped Judas in doing what he eventually did, thus saving his soul, and yet, He did not.
My resolution of this paradox is as follows:
1. The Gospel is “the word of God”, cast in stone, and all Christians revere every word of it. They would not accept changing a single word in it. Therefore, what transpired in the betrayal was God-ordained and meant to be.
2. Christianity could not have been what it is without Jesus dying on the cross. In fact the very symbol of the cross could not have existed otherwise.
3. In order for Jesus to die on the cross, as depicted in the Gospel, he would have needed someone to betray him, and this someone was Judas.
4. In the last supper, Jesus said that the one dipping his bread at the same time He did would be the one to betray him, and Judas did dip his bread at the same time Jesus did his. The conventional interpretation is that Judas unwittingly dipped his bread at the same time Jesus dipped his. My interpretation is that Jesus intentionally dipped his bread at the same time Judas dipped his, as an order for Judas to betray him, thus fulfilling the Gospel-to-be. And Judas was the only one of the 12 to understand Jesus on this score. He committed suicide because he could not bear the unforgiving condemnation from his peers.
Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)