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Why were Elijah and Enoch more favored than John the Baptist or any other humans
Question from Marlene on 6/23/2002:

Why did Elijah and Enoch not die? Wouldn't it have made more sense if John the Baptist was taken out of this earth without dying since he was born without original sin? Enoch and Elijah were born with original sin, yet they seem to be treated more special than John the Baptist. What was so special about Elijah and Enoch that God spared them from having to die? Were they more holy than Moses and all the other prophets. Why didn't God spare Abraham or Moses from death since they seem to have been greater prophets? Also, wouldn't it have made more sense for John the Baptist to usher in the coming of the Lord in the final days since he prepared the coming of the Lord when He came the first time? Finally, can't Elijah now be in heaven enjoying the Beautific vision and still come bodily down to earth in the end times to usher in the coming of Christ - afterall, this would not be impossible since God can do anything.

Answer by Fr. John Echert on 6/23/2002:

Both in the order of grace and nature, God does not distribute His blessings equally and it is not always based upon the merit of an individual. For instance, why is one child born with the potential ability of an athlete, and another is born crippled or blind? Not due to any merit on their part, but in His Providence, God distributes to each as He chooses, either by His active will or His passive will—what He allows. So, too, with such matters are favors granted to various saints. Why are the bodies of some saints incorruptible after death, and others not? Why were Elijah and Enoch preserved from death, and not Abraham? They have different roles to play in God’s plan, and it is not simply who is most deserving. After all, the most innocent of all was Christ, who died on the cross. So when a righteous person dies in Christ, it is a participation in that death, and so is a noble thing.

Again, as to Elijah and Enoch, nothing precludes them coming down from heaven; however, once a person experience the direct vision of God and the happiness that goes with it, to be removed from that vision, even for a moment, would be a torment. For that reason, while they may be in a heavenly type existence, I do not believe that they are in the fullness that awaits us in eternity.

Thanks, Marlene

Father Echert


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