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Problem of Evil

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#241    David Henson

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:07 PM

View Postredhen, on 05 February 2013 - 03:35 PM, said:

Natural evil includes things like earthquakes, cancer, the ebola virus, carnivores, and all kinds of other horrors that are not caused by humans. . . . So, if originally the world had no pain, suffering and death, and in the future there will be a new earth with no pain, suffering and death; this shows that God could in fact create a world with no pain, suffering and death if He wanted to. So I ask you why is our present world such a nightmare of suffering given an all loving God?

Let's go over the facts according to the Bible. God created man perfect, without sin. The word perfect indicates a limited state, like when a baby is born it is, in its parents eyes, perfect. It is chubby, bald, toothless with a slight drooling problem on occasion much like my current state, which seems far from perfect, but I digress. The baby is perfect as it was meant to be by a specific standard with an opportunity for growth and improvement. The same with Adam in Jehovah's eyes. That is why God rested on the seventh day. Not because he was tired, nor even that his work elsewhere was halted, but that with regards to man and earth which he created for man, it was perfect. They still had to fill the earth and subdue it.

Thousands of years after Adam's creation and the 7th day of rest, King David said that day continued, and still thousands of years later the apostle Paul quoted him and reminded us that it remained in his day. Now, thousands of years after that I tell you that the 7th day of rest continues to this day. What this means is that that day in which God set aside for mankind to fill and subdue the earth as was his purpose for man, was temporarily extended due to the fact that Adam rejected God's sovereignty by disobedience.

The Earth, though, he had given Adam. Much like a father gives his son a house but under the stipulation that his son not destroy it or it will be taken from him and given to another who will respect it. The father can't condone the destructive nature of the son and so removes himself to an extent. Up to the point that he and others may see the issue settled.

The issue that Satan raised in deceiving Eve was witnessed by the angels who cried out in joy upon the finished work of creation. So in fairness God allowed the issue to be explored. Had Satan lied?  Does man need God’s protection and guidance or can he do it on his own without destruction?

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#242    simplybill

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:38 PM

From Frank Merton:
"In a perfect world where there is no suffering, and therefore I presume no pain, how will we know when we've stubbed our toe?  Will an angel accompany us everywhere we go to prevent such things?"

   Great question! I personally believe that pain and suffering are two different things. In my own life, I've had most of my personal growth in times of physical and emotional pain. Suffering, on the other hand, occurs when I wallow in self-pity and anger towards God for seemingly treating me like a child.
   This will be controversial, but I personally believe there may indeed be pain in Paradise, though without suffering. Pain is not evil in and of itself.

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#243    Mystic Crusader

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:53 PM

View Postsimplybill, on 05 February 2013 - 04:38 PM, said:

From Frank Merton:
"In a perfect world where there is no suffering, and therefore I presume no pain, how will we know when we've stubbed our toe?  Will an angel accompany us everywhere we go to prevent such things?"

   Great question! I personally believe that pain and suffering are two different things. In my own life, I've had most of my personal growth in times of physical and emotional pain. Suffering, on the other hand, occurs when I wallow in self-pity and anger towards God for seemingly treating me like a child.
   This will be controversial, but I personally believe there may indeed be pain in Paradise, though without suffering. Pain is not evil in and of itself.

It all depends on the nature of the pain, is it natural or inflicted by some mad sadist?

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#244    Frank Merton

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:59 PM

Suffering takes all sort of forms -- pain, nausea, hunger, suffocation and so on as well as emotional pain -- grief, fear, worry, frustration, revulsion.

Saying that existence is possible without these things is to not be realistic.


#245    David Henson

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 05:07 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 05 February 2013 - 04:59 PM, said:

Suffering takes all sort of forms -- pain, nausea, hunger, suffocation and so on as well as emotional pain -- grief, fear, worry, frustration, revulsion.

Desire. Dukkha.

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Saying that existence is possible without these things is to not be realistic.

Would it be realistic to say that in the future there is the possibility that suffering caused by death, sickness, aging, and injury will be a thing of the past?

Edited by David Henson, 05 February 2013 - 05:08 PM.

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#246    Frank Merton

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 05:13 PM

View PostDavid Henson, on 05 February 2013 - 05:07 PM, said:

Desire. Dukkha.
Would it be realistic to say that in the future there is the possibility that suffering caused by death, sickness, aging, and injury will be a thing of the past?
Quite so; I think mankind is headed toward such a future as we progressively eliminate sickness and injury and eventually figure out aging and death.

I deliberately left "desire" off the list so as to avoid getting into Buddhist teaching here, but I do agree with the old man that desire is probably the main cause of suffering.


#247    David Henson

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 05:37 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 05 February 2013 - 05:13 PM, said:

Quite so; I think mankind is headed toward such a future as we progressively eliminate sickness and injury and eventually figure out aging and death.

So, when you say "Saying that existence is possible without these things is to not be realistic" you mean they are not realistic from a God but they are through science and technology?

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I deliberately left "desire" off the list so as to avoid getting into Buddhist teaching here, but I do agree with the old man that desire is probably the main cause of suffering.

Why avoid getting into Buddhsit teaching here?

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#248    Frank Merton

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 05:44 PM

View PostDavid Henson, on 05 February 2013 - 05:37 PM, said:

So, when you say "Saying that existence is possible without these things is to not be realistic" you mean they are not realistic from a God but they are through science and technology?
Existence is not possible without pain and frustration and so on.  Sickness and death seem removable.  If there is a God then anything is possible; I don't think human technology is quite that competent.

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Why avoid getting into Buddhsit teaching here?
I'm a Buddhist in that I think the man made more sense than anyone else I know of, but I'm not a "believer" and while I'm happy to talk about it I don't want to preach.


#249    simplybill

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 06:18 PM

View PostHavocWing, on 05 February 2013 - 04:53 PM, said:

It all depends on the nature of the pain, is it natural or inflicted by some mad sadist?

Now, I realize you may see God as the "mad sadist" who inflicts pain on people just for his own pleasure. I've spent some time thinking about this myself, because it seems as though pain is often unnecessary and gratuitious. For instance, why are good, faithful Christians imprisoned and tortured for their faith in God, as happens on a daily basis around the world? If put in that position, would I remain faithful, or would I immediately cave, curse God, and beg for mercy from my tormentors? And I've always believed, knowing my own weak nature, that yes, I would immediately cave, curse God, and beg for mercy.

And then I read the stories of people who spend years in hellish prisons, imprisoned for their faith in God,  and upon their release proclaim the goodness of God. How is that even possible?

This is an  excerpt from Richard Wurmbrand's "In God's Underground":

   "The prison years did not seem too long for me, for I discovered, alone in my cell, that beyond belief and love there is delight in God: a deep and extraordinary ecstasy of happiness that is like nothing in this world. And when I came out of jail I was like someone who comes down from a mountaintop where he has seen for miles around the peace and beauty of the countryside, and now returns to the plain."

He was in prison for 14 years. He didn't view God as a heartless, distant diety inflicting pain on his creation, but as a benevolent, caring Father.

Edited by simplybill, 05 February 2013 - 06:27 PM.

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Richard Wurmbrand in Reaching Toward the Heights.

#250    redhen

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 06:18 PM

View PostDavid Henson, on 05 February 2013 - 04:07 PM, said:

Let's go over the facts according to the Bible. God created man perfect, without sin.

If you believe that the earth is only a few thousand years old, your argument has some merit. If however you believe in macro-evolution, then you are faced with the fact of pain, suffering and death existing before Adam and Eve. The warrant for this argument being the fossil record.


#251    manbearpigg

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 06:51 PM

View Postredhen, on 05 February 2013 - 06:18 PM, said:

If you believe that the earth is only a few thousand years old, your argument has some merit. If however you believe in macro-evolution, then you are faced with the fact of pain, suffering and death existing before Adam and Eve. The warrant for this argument being the fossil record.

Don't forget cave wall paintings and the first evidence of cuneiform (i believe the oldest of paintings are over 25,000 years old) how old do the young-earth creationist believe the earth to be? anyone know?


#252    manbearpigg

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:13 PM

View PostDavid Henson, on 05 February 2013 - 05:16 AM, said:

Before we get started lets define evil according to the Bible. The Hebrew word for evil is ra. In a basic sense it means something that results in pain, sorrow or distress. It can, depending upon the context, also be translated as bad, gloomy, ugly, calamitous, malignant, ungenerous and envious.  (Genesis 2:9; 40:7; 41:3; Exodus 33:4; Deuteronomy 6:22; 28:35; Proverbs 23:6; 28:22). The Greek word for evil is kakos. It is something that is morally bad and destructive. Bad, hurtful, injurious, wrong.


An illustration, if you will. A young child is told by his parents not to play in the street. To do so would be bad (Hebrew ra) because it could result in something bad (Hebrew ra). There are two possibilities if the child disobeys. Both of them are bad (Hebrew ra). Either the child gets hurt or the child gets punished. To the child the rule or the punishment may also seem bad or evil.



In the sense of punishment the Hebrew ra can and often is translated as calamitous. For example, at Isaiah 45:7. The KJV translates ra there as "evil." God created evil. A more accurate translation is calamitous. God created the punishment of the flood, and the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.

Definitions are always welcome!


That God is omni anything is more of a theological assumption (and not a very accurate one) than it is a biblical fact, especially in the context that it is often given. Consider what it means to be omnivorous, for example. It has practical limitations, it doesn’t mean eating everything. God, for example, is most certainly not omnipresent. His position is fixed in heaven. He can go anywhere he likes, but his position is fixed. That he is omniscient isn’t entirely true in that although he can get to know anything he needs to know he doesn’t know everything. For example, he didn’t know what Cain had done, or what Adam and Eve had done, he had to ask. He sent angels to get to know if the complaints he was receiving from Sodom and Gomorrah were true. Is God omnipotent? God can’t lie. God can’t sin. It could be argued that he could do these things if he wanted to, but the fact is that his sense of  justice prevents these things. Similar to when a person says I couldn’t kill another person. Is he Omni benevolent? He hates some things.

Again, i am using rhetoric against a massive population of self-proclaimed Christians that believe that theological fallacy of an Omni-all Abrahamic God. Just following the footsteps of Socrates and Plato. Yes biblical stories confirm that God Jehovah is not all powerful loving or knowing.

However, he has proven time and time again in the bible to be able to LIE (sacrifice of Isaac, 40 years wandering in a desert etc, death to all those who oppose certain penta-laws, etc.) if you say that those were just test and didnt really mean it than i guess i can say the same for all my lies as well.

Okay. Just for clarification evil is calamity through justice, as explained above and sin means simply to miss the mark. If the Bible is explaining that a marksman, a thrower of stones or spears, misses his mark the word used is sin. So to sin against ones boss is to show up late for work, to sin against your neighbor is to do something that he expects you not to do. The same as to sin against God. If God says not to kill, then to kill is a sin against God.

Those are, again, great definitions. Some I do not agree with, especially the last part. You say to go against God's will is a sin but biblical stories prove otherwise that many have gone against the will of God and was actually praised or blessed for some obscure reason. (David steals bread from the altar, Elisha? slaughters children with female bears, Hosea marries a harlot) all things that were supposedly denied by God in the scriptures but was justifiable when it seemed fit to do so.

That isn’t a logical conclusion given the facts.

It is only if you believe in that all-purpose Abrahamic God with no faults. (Where were you during this whole debate?)


What is evil is subjective, yes. We may perceive God’s workings evil. Good is also subjective, but good can exist without evil. Adam didn’t have to sin, he could have remained faithful and so not have died. Jesus demonstrated this by not sinning. It is promised that, just as God intended when he created man, man will live forever in peace upon the earth. We can fathom God’s actions. Through study of his word.

I believe we are in agreement here. Good CAN exist without evil if an almighty wills it.

Well, he did create heaven, but there is evil in heaven as well. Disobedient angels. There will be a new heavens and a new earth, meaning without sin.

i believe this is irrelevant to the OP. nice observation though.

The earth was created for man, and man will live forever upon it.
again I believe this is irrelevant. please clarify if you meant to tie it to some other point that i might have missed.


Acts 24:15: and I have hope toward God, which hope these [men] themselves also entertain, that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.

The Bible promises everyone will have the opportunity to make an informed decision. That is why it says that some will be resurrected to life everlasting and some to judgment. That is why Satan is released for 1000 years after the resurrection.

I believe this comes down to canonical differences. From your choice of diction and theology, I'm going to assume Jehovah's Witness or Seventh Day? If not please let me know otherwise.

In answer, I would say, with all due respect, you have much to learn.

I appreciate the respect but I still find the last bit a little condescending since you pertain more knowledge in a specific field of a specific sect of Christianity. In the subject of biblical canons you far out-know me but only in the specific field of your sect. In general knowledge of theology and biblical creeds, I don;t think you can say you know more than another person just by reading a few posts. Agreed?

Sorry for the lentitudinous replies, I was busy for a bit!


#253    David Henson

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:14 PM

View Postmanbearpigg, on 05 February 2013 - 06:51 PM, said:

Don't forget cave wall paintings and the first evidence of cuneiform (i believe the oldest of paintings are over 25,000 years old) how old do the young-earth creationist believe the earth to be? anyone know?

6,000 years old, which isn't Biblically supported (See my post Genesis Chapter 1) However, I would dispute the historical dating of mankind being older than 6,000 years. Adam was, according to accurate Bible chronology, created in 4026 B.C.E.

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#254    manbearpigg

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:17 PM

View PostDavid Henson, on 05 February 2013 - 07:14 PM, said:

6,000 years old, which isn't Biblically supported (See my post Genesis Chapter 1) However, I would dispute the historical dating of mankind being older than 6,000 years. Adam was, according to accurate Bible chronology, created in 4026 B.C.E.

So how does your system of belief uhh... justify  the fossil, written, carbon dating records that link man over 5,000 years?


#255    David Henson

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:19 PM

View Postmanbearpigg, on 05 February 2013 - 07:13 PM, said:

I appreciate the respect but I still find the last bit a little condescending since you pertain more knowledge in a specific field of a specific sect of Christianity. In the subject of biblical canons you far out-know me but only in the specific field of your sect. In general knowledge of theology and biblical creeds, I don;t think you can say you know more than another person just by reading a few posts. Agreed?

Well, I was referring to the specific subject in the O.P. Your suppositions were not in line with the Bible specifically. I probably know less about theology and biblical creeds than anyone here. The Bible itself, however, is another matter.

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