I’m not going to bother looking up chapter and verse right now, or trying to find an exact quote from George MacDonald (who had something to say on this subject), but there’s a passage of scripture that may seem to imply that it would be better for Judas not to exist (and since it came up on another thread recently, I’d like to share my understanding of it here.)
The English version reads “better for that man if he had not been born”–but the interesting thing is that Catholics (who believe life begins at conception) have never taken this to mean it would be better for Judas not to exist.
My father received the Catholic doctrine on the fate of Judas from his uncle (who was a Roman Catholic priest) a long time ago, and he passed that teaching on to me.
The Catholic doctrine is that no one knows whether Judas is in heaven or hell, because no one knows whether or not Judas has repented.
Catholics also believe that the souls of all aborted fetuses (who were never born) are better off than Judas, because none of them betrayed their Saviour the way he did, and none had to endure the pangs of conscience he did (or whatever post mortem punishment for sin he may have suffered, or still be suffering.)
It’s certain that life didn’t begin at birth for Our Lord’s cousin (John the Baptist.)
And the Angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God. And behold thy cousin, Elizabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren…And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb: and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. (Luke 1:35-36,41-44.)
And this supports the Catholic view that life begins at concepton.
George MacDonald basically said (and I’m paraphrasing from memory here) that because Judas was priveledged to be born when and where he was, and to sit at the Master’s feet, and ended up no better for it, he would have to somehow go back and start all over again.
Of course if Judas is still suffering in hell, and if there’s no hope for any better existence for him, I think it’s obvious it would have been better for him not to have come into existence at all–but I don’t believe that’s what this passage of scripture is saying, and reading it that way isn’t Catholic doctrine (whether you spell “catholic” with a capital or lower case “c”), or Orthodox doctrine (whether you spell “orthodox” with a captitol or a lower case “o”.)
Pax Et Bonum.