Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Margim, Jan 17, 2006.
By the way, I was getting the idea that he had wars, genocide, etc. in mind.
Actually, when you put it that way, I have to dismiss my last suggestion. Suffering must matter to God... otherwise (from a Christian perspective) God would have not attempted identification with humanity through suffering himself.
God does indeed recognise suffering, and it does matter. The end game isnt all that matters... this world exists for a reason.
Perhaps then, the question is 'how' does God respond to suffering? Is it actually the role of the church to be the 'suffering alleviator' on Goid's behalf?
My old question: "If it's there for a reason, why stop it?"
The first thing to keep in mind is that the world that God sees can be very different from the world that we see. We see mostly just the world of men, the world of animals, and so forth. But God may have in view worlds astronomically vaster than that. There may be quintillions of angels that God needs to look after as well.
So it may very well be that if God had only the world of man to look after, that God would not allow any suffering to occur since it may very well be that it would be needless -- that happiness and fun can be had in unlimited measure without it.
While at the same time due to these quintillions of angels that God also loves, that God must allow men to at times suffer -- so the suffering may not actually be for our sake so much as it is for some angels' sake.
We don't need to see HOW this is so to see that it COULD be so. So merely raising this possibility is sufficient. BUT, I will proceed to give a THEORY as to HOW:
1 God wanted the angels -- both those who would end up becoming fallen and those would not fall -- to love God, in a love that arised from themselves (i.e. not forced upon them)
2 So, He gave the angels a test -- a test that would result in each individual angel either CHOOSING Love over their own self-interest or their own self-interest over love.
3 God offered each individual angel a choice: to accept a level of POWER that was right, in accordance with what was just, what was loving -- or a POWER that was a little bit more than was right, loving, and just. This "extra" POWER God offered to each was a power over others -- these others were us men (and you can include animals here too but I'll just ignore them)
4 God's offer of this extra power had to be a REAL offer and not just a FAKE one because God is both TRUTH and LOVE -- so God couldn't lie to them about it.
5 So SOME angels CHOSE the lesser amount of power -- the amount that was just, right, loving -- and these were admitted into heaven where they were rewarded with seeing God and being happy with him.
6 BUT, OTHER angels CHOSE instead the greater amount of power -- the amount that included some extra power that was NOT right, NOT consistence with love.
7 So God as explained above, had to give them this extra power.
8 So the human family got screwed over by this.
9 But God was still free to rescue the human family by having the good angels -- those that made the RIGHT, LOVING choice -- FIGHT the fallen ones
10 God was also free to become a member of the human family and help out that way (what Jesus did)
11 So, UNTIL this BATTLE between the good angels, Jesus, and the fallen angels is RESOLVED, there will be suffering caused by the fallen angels
12 To make it clear in case you missed it God has indeed the raw POWER to just annihilate the fallen angels and stop all the suffering but God has to be TRUE TO HIS WORD -- i.e. He MADE the offer and so has to keep His promise of this extra power even to these "villains"
13 Why did he make the test in the first place with the two offers?
14 Because the CHOICE between the two levels of power had to be offered for the good angels to truly LOVE God in a love arising from themselves (as opposed to forced on them)
15 But why did God create the angels whom He KNEW would screw up and fail the test and make the wrong choice in the first place? Why not just create the angels He KNEW in advance would pass the test?
16 Perhaps it is because God LOVES those angels He KNEW would fail the test also and God wants to EVENTUALLY rescue these fallen angels too -- so God created both children (angels) He KNEW would turn out well and those he KNEW would turn out bad, with the knowledge that eventually he would be able to turn them around
That results in everything being happy and shiny at the end though. Not a common belief system.
Common argument - to which I always answer that calling God good woyuld, than, be meaningless to our eyes, for such impervious entity could consider also good, for example, to ass-rape underaged girlscouts, and we still would have to call him good, under the idea of "we are too unaware of the ultimated goodness of his decisions".
That would work, but it's nature of merely semantic escapism shows at every turn.
It's more common than you think. For instance among early Christian leaders, several believed it -- such as Origen etc.
Also it actually does NOT necessarily result in everything being happy and shiny at some COMMON end point. What it does necessitate is it being happy and shiny at some INDIVIDUAL end point for each individual person (human or angel).
To see why this is so, suppose that God chooses to create a "batch" of angels and/or humans every so often -- and does this ad infinitum ... then it may be that there is ALWAYS SOMEONE who is suffering even though eventually that person will eventually join the party.
So on this view there will be limit to how many God creates ... He'll keep on creating ... it will be an ongoing process where as MORE are admitted to everlasting happiness MORE are created among whom some screw up and are eventually in turn admitted to happiness and so on and so on.
The mistake in this argument is that you presume that God could be otherwise, which is flatly untrue.
What God is now is the only thing God can be - there can be no alternate universe in which he is different. Whatever he says is good, he has always and will forever say is good - and it could not be different.
All I can say about this is that language is incomplete. You will always find semantic holes here if you look for them. Again, they are metaphors; approximations. At some points I speak in reference to View A as described by Hagen; at others in View B. Just as I would not use a hammer to screw in a screw, I would not use a screwdriver to hammer in a nail. By and large, I speak from View A, since that's what most people subscribe to fairly exclusively. Concepts do not exist in View A. In response to your confusion, you claimed that Reality is all that can be sensed/measured. I did not claim that at all. Your response to my statemtn appears to be a non-sequitar.
Real in some sense, yes. Real in terms of metaphor. But, naturally, you see words here. But there are not really words here. (From View A) all that is here are markings, arbitrary as any. That we identify and codify them is immaterial. And they can never fully and completely represent The Mind.
What, exactly, am I presuming about God? The premisse that "acts of evil may not be evil except in our perception" is the one I started from, but is not one that I laid out - it's the axiom given which tries to answer the paradox "loving god X world with suffering".
I didn't presume that God would be different from what it is (or you think he is), nor that he would actually endorse such acts. I am only showing that he could, whithout one iota of change - hence I just demonstrated that if that is the contour of his goodness, than the sentence "God is Good" does not quite have the meaning religious people hope for it.
As a Catholic Christian, I will vote yes that God is love and can be all powerful.
So god loves people, but at the same time he must remain all powerfull. Just like a bad father who claims that he loves his son, but then beats him up or abuses him psychologically, and the son now has to think that his father in reality does all that because he loves him.
Not hard to see how ussually it is those who had bad parents who end up forming weird religious theories, is it...
That is certanly not true. God loves people, but he is also a just God. People who sin cut their grace and love from God and its the sinner's choice to distance himself from God, not God himself since he did gave humanity free will.
Are those folks I should be familar with? I'm not much of a baseball fan, but I guess they are pitchers.
Of course god can be loving and all powerful. I know many think its a cop-out, but I still believe its a waste of time trying to figure out why an omnipotent being does one thing or another. We are just not intelligent enough to see the big picture, let alone comprehend it all.
So, in my book, silly question to start with.
No. Suffering can be part of our path to salvation, to prevent this would impose limits.
The analogy with the 'bad parent' does not apply with God, for many reasons but primarily because He cannot be bad (whether it is our perception or not is irrelevant).
We do not understand the motivations for bad things happening in life, but to me it is a logical error to imagine expulsion from the Garden of Eden to a place with no suffering. Ultimately all suffering stems from this.
I agree, but there is still worth in exploring our relationship with God.
Do you use capitals in your written essays? I find it quite awkward reading paragraphs with liberal use of caps - may I suggest you utilise the italic I button in your posts? Cheers.
Why does there have to be a reason for "bad things" happening? Sure if something unpleasant happens to you it will make you feel bad, but that doesnt mean that it has to have a reason for happening. For example if a child is born paraplegic do you actually think that it was born that way as part of god's plan? And if you do then you better never come to contact with any paraplegic since such a view definately wouldnt be to his/her liking at all :shakehead
Moreover some people suffer from depression. They tend to suffer more, since they have stabilised to a position where they do not normally view anything in pleasant ways. A depressive person will see suffering where others do not, and frequently where it doesnt exist at all. That is all part of the depressive person's defence mechanisms; if he views the world in general as a place of suffering then he can cope better with his own frequent suffering, since even if others appear happyhe can always explain their happyness as a product of stupidity/ignorance/good luck and other factors.
How is saying anything about God or salvation any different? Any statement we make imposes limits... it just depends on where one chooses to place them.
Why can God not be bad? Is this not also imposing limits? To say God cannot be bad is to assume that 'badness' therefore comes from somewhere 'not God'... is there another being with the capacity to create, then?
Why is it such a silly question and waste of time? Simply because we cannot reach an answer doesn't mean we will not learn something in the process. Surely the fact that scripture does not give definitive answers on such matters is an invitation for us to 'wrestle' with some of these difficult questions for ourselves...
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