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I gave up on Christianity 2

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I wanted to post the following article on the so-called problem of evil in light of the previous thread that had been started on this topic. Friends, there are answers to these difficult questions if we will take the time to put our nose in the book. I'm not saying this is true of the starter of the previous thread but many times people throw in the towel (so to speak) because they simply do not or have not spent time studying God's word (not just reading, but studying--there's a difference). So, with that in mind I hope the following article at least helps (you can read this article and many others at http://www.apologeticspress.org

 

The Problem of Evil

by Kyle Butt, M.A. and Dave Miller, Ph.D.

 

 

On February 12, 2009, in a debate with Kyle Butt, Dan Barker affirmed the proposition that the God of the Bible does not exist. Three minutes and 15 seconds into his opening speech, he stated that one reason he believes God does not exist is because “there are no good replies to the arguments against the existence of God, such as the problem of evil. All you have to do is walk into any children’s hospital and you know there is no God. Prayer doesn’t make any difference. Those people pray for their beloved children to live, and they die” (Butt and Barker, 2009). Barker suggested that “the problem of evil” is one of the strongest positive arguments against the existence of God.

 

What, precisely, is the so-called “problem of evil”? Atheists like Barker note that the Bible depicts God as all-loving as well as all-powerful. This observation is certainly correct (e.g., 1 John 4:8; Genesis 17:1; Job 42:2; Matthew 19:26). Yet everyone admits that evil exists in the world. For God to allow evil and suffering either implies that He is not all-loving, or if He is all-loving, He lacks the power to eliminate them. In either case, the God of the Bible would not exist. To phrase the “problem of evil” more precisely, the atheist contends that the biblical theist cannot consistently affirm all three of the following propositions:

 

God is omnipotent.

 

God is perfect in goodness.

 

Evil exists.

 

Again, the atheist insists that if God is omnipotent (as the Bible affirms), He is not perfect in goodness since He permits evil and suffering to run rampant in the world. If, on the other hand, He is perfect in goodness, He lacks omnipotence since His goodness would move Him to exercise His power to eliminate evil on the Earth. Since the Christian affirms all three of the propositions, the atheist claims that Christians are guilty of affirming a logical contradiction, making their position false. Supposedly, the “problem of evil” presents an insurmountable problem for the Christian theist.

 

In truth, however, the “problem of evil” is a problem for the atheist—not the Christian theist. First, atheistic philosophy cannot provide a definition of “evil.” There is no rational way that atheism can accurately label anything as “evil” or “good.” On February 12, 1998, William Provine, a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the distinguished Cornell University, delivered the keynote address at the second annual Darwin Day. In an abstract of that speech on the Darwin Day Web site, Dr. Provine asserted: “Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent” (Provine, 1998, emp. added). Provine’s ensuing message centered on his fifth statement regarding human free will. Prior to delving into the “meat” of his message, however, he noted: “The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them” (1998, emp. added). If there is no foundation upon which to base any ethical conclusions, then how could an atheist label any action or occurrence as “evil,” “bad,” or “wrong”?

 

Frederick Nietzsche understood atheistic philosophy so well that he suggested that the bulk of humanity has misunderstood concepts such as “evil” and “good.” In his work Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche wrote: “We believe that severity, violence, slavery, danger in the street and in the heart, secrecy, stoicism, tempter’s art and devilry of every kind—that everything wicked, terrible, tyrannical, predatory, and serpentine in man, serves as well for the elevation of the human species as its opposite” (2007, p. 35, emp. added). Nietzsche’s point simply was that what we might call morally “evil,” actually helps humans evolve higher thinking capacities, quicker reflexes, or greater problem-solving skills. Thus, if an “evil” occurrence helps humanity “evolve,” then there can be no legitimate grounds for labeling that occurrence as “evil.” In fact, according to atheistic evolution, anything that furthers the human species should be deemed as “good.”

 

As C.S. Lewis made his journey from atheism to theism, he realized that the “problem of evil” presented more of a problem for atheism than it did for theism. He stated:

 

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust...? Of course, I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too—for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my private fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist—in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless—I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality—namely my idea of justice—was full of sense. Consequently, atheism turns out to be too simple (Lewis, 1952, p. 45-46, italics in orig.).

 

Theistic apologist, William Lane Craig, has summarized the issue quite well:

 

I think that evil, paradoxically, actually proves the existence of God. My argument would go like this: If God does not exist then objective moral values do not exist. (2) Evil exists, (3) therefore objective moral values exist, that is to say, some things are really evil. Therefore, God exists. Thus, although evil and suffering at one level seem to call into question God’s existence, on a deeper more fundamental level, they actually prove God’s existence (n.d.).

 

Craig and Lewis are correct. If evil actually exists in the world, and some things are not the way they “should” be, then there must be a standard outside of the natural world that would give meaning to the terms “evil” and “good”—and the atheistic assumption proves false.

 

AN EMOTIONAL APPEAL

In addition to the fact that “evil” cannot even be discussed without reference to God, Barker rested the force of his statement on an emotional appeal. He said: “All you have to do is walk into any children’s hospital and you know there is no God.” Is it really the case that anyone who walks into a children’s hospital is immediately struck by the overwhelming force of atheism? No, it is not true. In fact, it is the farthest thing from the truth. Anticipating Barker’s tactics, one of us [KB] visited the children’s hospital in Columbia, South Carolina and met a lady who volunteered there. When asked why she volunteered, she pointed to a bullet hole in her skull. She said that it was a blessing she was still alive and she wanted to give something back since God had allowed her to live. When asked if many of the volunteers in the hospital were religious, she responded that many of them were from churches in the area, i.e., churches that believe in the God of the Bible.

 

According to Barker’s “line of reasoning,” the lady with whom we talked should not believe in a loving God, the volunteers that gave their time to the hospital should not believe in a loving God, we should no longer believe in a loving God (since we walked through the hospital), nor should any other person who has visited that facility. The falsity of such reasoning is apparent. Seeing the suffering in a children’s hospital does not necessarily drive a person to atheism. Truth be told, most people who visit a children’s hospital, and even have children who are patients there, believe in the God of the Bible. Barker’s assertion does not stand up to rational criticism.

 

Furthermore, Barker’s emotional appeal can easily be turned on its head: Walk through any children’s hospital and observe the love, care, and concern that the parents, doctors, and volunteers show the children, and you know atheistic evolution cannot be true. After all, evolution is about the survival of the fittest, in which the strong struggle against the weak to survive in a never-ending contest to pass on their genes. If evolution were true, parents and doctors would not waste their valuable resources on children who will not pass on their genes. Only theism can account for the selfless devotion and care that you see in children’s hospitals.

 

SOME SUFFERING IS ACCEPTABLE

When the “problem of evil” is presented, it quickly becomes apparent that the term “evil” cannot be used in any meaningful way by an atheist. The tactic, therefore, is to swap the terms “suffering,” “pain,” or “harm” for the word “evil,” and contend that the world is filled with too much pain, harm, and suffering. Since it is evident that countless people suffer physical, emotional, and psychological harm, the atheist contends that, even though there is no real “evil,” a loving God would not allow such suffering. [NOTE: The atheist’s argument has not really changed. He is still contending that suffering is “bad” or “evil” and would not be present in a “good” world. In truth, he remains in the same dilemma of proving that evil exists and that suffering is objectively evil.]

 

At first glance, it seems that the atheist is claiming that a loving, moral God would not allow His creatures, the objects of His love, to suffer at all. Again, the atheist reasons that humans are supposed to be the objects of God’s love, yet they suffer. Thus, God does not love or does not have the power to stop the suffering—and therefore does not exist.

 

The thoughtful observer soon sees the problem with this line of reasoning, which even the skeptic is forced to admit: it is morally right to allow some suffering in order to bring about greater good. On numerous occasions, Dan Barker and his fellow atheists have admitted the validity of this truth. During the cross-examination period of the Butt/Barker Debate, Barker stated:

 

You can’t get through life without some harm.... I think we all agree that it is wrong to stick a needle into a baby. That’s horrible. But, if that baby needs a life-saving injection, we will cause that harm, we will do that. The baby won’t understand it, but we will do that because there is a greater good. So, humanistic morality understands that within certain situations, there is harm, and there’s a trade off of values (Butt and Barker, 2009, emp. added).

 

In his debate with Peter Payne, Barker stated: “Often ethics involves creating harm. Sometimes harm is good” (Barker and Payne, 2005, emp. added). In his book, Maybe Right, Maybe Wrong: A Guide for Young Thinkers, Barker wrote: “When possible, you should try to stop the pain of others. If you have to hurt someone, then hurt them as little as possible.... If you do have to hurt someone, then try to stop as soon as possible. A good person does not enjoy causing pain” (1992, p. 33, emp. added).

 

It becomes evident that the atheist cannot argue against the concept of God based on the mere existence of suffering, because atheists are forced to admit that there can be morally justifiable reasons for suffering. Once again, the argument has been altered. No longer are we dealing with the “problem of evil,” since without the concept of God, the term “evil” means nothing. Furthermore, no longer are we dealing with a “problem of suffering,” since the atheist must admit that some suffering could be morally justifiable in order to produce a greater good. The atheist must add an additional term to qualify suffering: “pointless.”

 

POINTLESS OR UNNECESSARY SUFFERING

Since the skeptic knows that some suffering could be morally justified, he is forced to argue against the biblical concept of God by claiming that at least some of the suffering in this world is pointless or unnecessary. The skeptic then maintains that any being that allows pointless suffering cannot be loving or moral. In his book The Miracle of Theism, J.L. Mackie noted that if the theist could legitimately show that the suffering in the world is in some way useful, then the concept of the God of the Bible “is formally possible, and its principle involves no real abandonment of our ordinary view of the opposition between good and evil” (1982, p. 154). In light of this fact, Mackie admitted: “[W]e can concede that the problem of evil does not, after all, show that the central doctrines of theism are logically inconsistent with one another” (p. 154). Did Mackie throw in the proverbial towel and admit that the “problem” of evil and suffering does not militate against God? On the contrary, he contended that even though some suffering or evil might be necessary or useful, there is far too much pointless evil (he terms it “unabsorbed evil”) in the world for the traditional God of the Bible to exist. He then concluded: “The problem, therefore, now recurs as the problem of unabsorbed evils, and we have as yet no way of reconciling their existence with that of a god of the traditional sort” (p. 155, emp. added). Notice how Mackie was forced to change the “problem of evil” to the “problem of unabsorbed evil.”

 

Dan Barker understands this alteration in the “problem of evil” and has used it himself. In a debate with Rubel Shelly, Dan used his standard argument that the suffering in a children’s hospital is enough to show God does not exist. Shelly responded with a lengthy rebuttal, bringing to light the idea that suffering in this world can be consistently reconciled with God’s purposes for mankind. In concluding his comments, Shelly stated: “The kind of world, apparently, that unbelief wants is a world where no wrong action could have bad effects or where we just couldn’t make wrong actions” (Barker and Shelly, 1999). Barker responded to Shelly’s comments, saying:

 

I’m not asking for a world that’s free of pain.... No atheist is asking that the world be changed or requiring that if there is a God, He be able to change it. I’m not asking for a world that’s free of consequences. I think pain and consequences are important to a rational education.... What I am asking for is for human beings to strive as much as possible for a world that is free of unnecessary harm (1999, emp. added).

 

Barker went on to describe a scenario in which a forest fire forces a baby fawn to flee its home. In the process, the fawn catches its leg in a snare and is consumed by the flames. Barker then stated that he believed no one’s soul or character was edified by the fawn’s suffering, thus it would be an example of unnecessary or useless suffering. Barker further admitted that even though some suffering is acceptable, there simply is far too much to be reconciled with a loving God. Here again, it is important to notice that Barker’s entire argument has been altered. It is no longer a “problem of evil (harm)” but now he has amended it to the “problem of unnecessary evil (harm).”

 

The next question that must be asked is: What would classify as “pointless,” “unnecessary,” or “unabsorbed” suffering? The simple answer that the atheistic position must suggest is that any suffering that the atheist does not deem necessary is pointless. As Timothy Keller points out, the fact is that Mackie and others use the term “pointless” to mean that they, themselves cannot see the point of it. Keller stated: “Tucked away within the assertion that the world is filled with pointless evil is a hidden premise, namely that if evil appears pointless to me, then it must be pointless” (2008, p. 23, italics in orig.). Keller further noted:

 

This reasoning is, of course, fallacious. Just because you can’t see or imagine a good reason why God might allow something to happen doesn’t mean there can’t be one. Again we see lurking within supposedly hard-nosed skepticism an enormous faith in one’s own cognitive faculties. If our minds can’t plumb the depths of the universe for good answers to suffering, well, then, there can’t be any! This is blind faith of a high order (p. 23).

 

Indeed, it is the atheist who lives by the blind faith that he mistakenly attributes to the theist.

 

THE PURPOSE OF HUMAN EXISTENCE

In his monumental volume, Have Atheists Proved There Is No God?, philosopher Thomas B. Warren undercut completely the atheist’s use of the problem of evil. He insightfully demonstrated that the Bible teaches that “God has a morally justifiable reason for having created the world...in which evil can (and does) occur” (1972, p. 16). What is that reason? God created the planet to be “the ideal environment for soul-making” (p. 16). God specifically created humans to be immortal, free moral agents, responsible for their own actions, with this earthly life being their one and only probationary period in which their eternal fate is determined by their response to God’s will during earthly life (p. 19). Hence, the world “is as good (for the purpose God had in creating it) as any possible world” since it was designed to function as man’s “vale of soul-making” (p. 19). The physical environment in which humans were to reside was specifically created with the necessary characteristics for achieving that central purpose. This environment would have to be so arranged that it would allow humans to be free moral agents, provide them with their basic physical needs, allow them to be challenged, and enable them to learn those things they most need to learn (p. 47).

 

Whereas the atheist typically defines “evil” as physical pain and suffering, the Bible, quite logically, defines evil as violation of God’s law (1 John 3:4). Observe, therefore, that the only intrinsic evil is sin, i.e., disobeying or transgressing the laws of God. Hence, pain and suffering are not intrinsically evil. (“ntrinsic evil on the purely physical level does not exist” [p. 93]). In fact, animal pain, natural calamities, and human suffering are all necessary constituent variables in the overall environment designed for spiritual development. Such variables, for example, impress upon humans the very critical realizations that life on Earth is uncertain, precarious, and temporary. They also demonstrate that life on Earth is brief—that it will soon end (p. 58). Such realizations not only propel people to consider their spiritual condition, and the necessity of using this life to prepare for the afterlife, they prod people to contemplate God! Suffering, pain, and hardship encourage people to cultivate their spirits and to grow in moral character—acquiring virtuous attributes such as courage, patience, humility, and fortitude. Suffering can serve as discipline and motivation to spur spiritual growth and strength. It literally stimulates people to develop compassion, sympathy, love, and empathy for their fellowman (p. 81).

 

WHO IS IN THE BEST POSITION TO KNOW?

Since atheists cannot say that real, moral evil exists, they must adjust their objection and say that a loving God would not allow suffering. This position quickly becomes indefensible, so again the position is altered to posit that some suffering is morally permissible, but not pointless or unnecessary suffering. Who, then, is to determine if there truly exists unnecessary suffering that would negate the concept of God? Some atheists, such as Barker, are quick to set themselves up as the final judges who alone can set the proper limits of suffering. Yet, when those limits are analyzed, it again becomes apparent that the “problem of evil” is a legitimate problem only for the atheist.

 

In his book godless, Dan Barker stated: “There is no big mystery to morality. Morality is simply acting with the intention to minimize harm” (2008, p. 214). In his explanation about how to minimize harm, Barker wrote: “And the way to avoid making a mistake is to try to be as informed as possible about the likely consequences of the actions being considered” (p. 214). Reasoning from Barker’s comments about morality, if there truly is an omniscient God Who knows every consequence of every action that ever has been or ever will be taken, then that Being, and only that Being, would be in a position to speak with absolute authority about the amount and kind of suffering that is “necessary.” Barker and his fellow atheists may object to God’s tolerance for suffering, but were God to condescend to speak directly to them, He could simply respond by saying: “What you do not know is...,” and He could fill in the blank with a thousand reasons about future consequences that would legitimize the suffering He allows.

 

Indeed, this is precisely the tact God employed with Job, when He challenged Job’s knowledge and comprehension of the mysteries of the Universe:

 

Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this. Do you know it, because you were born then, or because the number of your days is great? Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it. Would you indeed annul My judgment? Would you condemn Me that you may be justified? (Job 38:2-4,18,21; 40:2,8).

 

God’s interrogation of Job elucidated the fact of humanity’s limited knowledge, especially as it relates to suffering. In contrast to this, Barker wrote:

 

Why should the mind of a deity—an outsider—be better able to judge human actions than the minds of humans themselves? Which mind is in a better position to make judgments about human actions and feelings? Which mind has more credibility? Which has more experience in the real world? Which mind has more of a right? (2008, p. 211).

 

Of course, Barker’s rhetorical questions were supposed to force the reader to respond that humans are in a better position to understand what actions are moral, or how much suffering is permissable. In light of his comments about knowing the consequences of actions, however, Barker’s position falls flat. Whose mind knows more about the consequences of all actions? Whose mind is in a better position to know what will happen if this action is permitted? Whose mind has the ability to see the bigger picture? And Who alone is in the position to know how much suffering is permissible to bring about the ultimate good for humankind? That would be the infinite, eternal, omniscient Creator—the God of the Bible.

 

REFERENCES

Barker, Dan (2008), godless (Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press).

 

Barker, Dan (1992), Maybe Right, Maybe Wrong: A Guide for Young Thinkers (Amherst, NY: Prometheus).

 

Barker, Dan and Rubel Shelly (1999), Barker/Shelly Debate: Does God Exist? (Brentwood, TN: Faith Matters).

 

Barker, Dan and Peter Payne (2005), Barker/Payne Debate: Does Ethics Require God?, [On-line], URL: http://www.ffrf.org/about/bybarker/ethics_debate.php.

 

Butt, Kyle and Dan Barker (2009), Butt/Barker Debate: Does the God of the Bible Exist? (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

 

Craig, William Lane (no date), Pain and Suffering Debate, Part 1, [On-line], URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZTG5xyefEo.

 

Keller, Timothy (2008), The Reason for God (New York: Dutton).

 

Lewis, C.S. (1952), Mere Christianity (New York: Simon and Schuster).

 

Mackie, J.L. (1982), The Miracle of Theism: Arguments For and Against the Existence of God (Oxford: Clarendon Press).

 

Nietzsche, Friedrich (2007 reprint), Beyond Good and Evil (Raleigh, NC: Hayes Barton Press), [On-line], URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=C7sRYOPWke0C&pg=PA1&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=0_1#PPP1,M1.

 

Provine, William (1998), “Evolution: Free Will and Punishment and Meaning in Life,” [On-line], URL: http://eeb.bio.utk.edu/darwin/DarwinDayProvineAddress.htm.

 

Warren, Thomas B. (1972), Have Atheists Proved There Is No God? (Ramer, TN: National Christian Press).

 

 

 

 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

Copyright © 2009 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

(taken from http://apologeticspress.org/articles/240166)

Edited by tvp

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The problem with Atheist is that they do not understand that God is a loving God, but he is also a God of vengeance and wrath. People have this notion that the God of the bible is like Santa Claus, they forget that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of living God!

 

IN addition to this, they often fail to realize that when an adult or child dies of sickness that sometimes it is an act of Mercy by God. In sparing the suffering God takes the child away from the miseries of this life and blesses them, much to our sadness, to enter into eternal peace, rest and joy.

 

Doesn't sound to me like prayers aren't answered. They just may not always be answered in the way that we want. But God knows whats best and we do not.

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The world in which we live.....

 

http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/stories/2009/06/09/commerce_shooting_grandson_dfcs.html?cxntlid=homepage_tab_newstab

 

excerpt:

“That is the insanity of it,†Gaissert said. “I’m having difficult time getting my mind around the idea that this child was shot over a watermelon.â€

 

“I’m not sure there is an explanation except the one offered by biblical Christianity that we live in a lost and dying world,†he said.

 

=====================================================================

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/9664940/'Miracle'-recovery-for-Little-Leaguer-shot-in-head

Little Leaguer shot in head

 

excerpt:

"It wasn't until he was in the emergency room and about to have his gash stapled when a doctor noticed something was lodged in his skull. An X-ray showed it was a 9mm bullet.

 

Asked what he thought when doctors told him he had been shot but would be all right, he replied, "I thought what everyone else thought. I thought it was a miracle. My life could have been taken away."

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The problem with Atheist is that they do not understand that God is a loving God, but he is also a God of vengeance and wrath. People have this notion that the God of the bible is like Santa Claus, they forget that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of living God!

 

IN addition to this, they often fail to realize that when an adult or child dies of sickness that sometimes it is an act of Mercy by God. In sparing the suffering God takes the child away from the miseries of this life and blesses them, much to our sadness, to enter into eternal peace, rest and joy.

 

Doesn't sound to me like prayers aren't answered. They just may not always be answered in the way that we want. But God knows whats best and we do not.

 

An Atheist I know simply is in the world of gotta see it to believe it. He is a well educated person and has developed his beliefs since attending college.

 

I feel he is lost and lacks faith. I don't think that he feels one way or the other, he just doesn't believe in the existence.

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tvp, I appreciate your responses to. I realize that perhaps many people haven't studied as much as they should, I agree that there is a lot of learning anyone can do, as for myself though, the direction I've been going has a lot more to do with experiences in life than just the hard to answer questions, although I mentioned the questions about suffering and evil to show the area of life that sort of reinforces my doubt.

That said I tend to feel a lot the way the atheists do about the idea of God and suffering, either He can't do anything about the bad in the world or He won't.

In the big scheme, as evil and suffering and pain have been going on, it not only seems as if God doesn't care, but considering any individual act of evilness or suffering, and then considering that God knows and looks on and does nothing, by action not words I can only conclude that God approves.

If anyone watched a person sit there watching an infant being beaten and had the power to stop it but didn't, would anyone ever believe that that person really cared or loved that infant. Why should people not consider God according to His actions rather than words?

 

For all of God's promises that 1 day it's all going to be good and there won't be anymore evilness or suffering, consider that however long the Earth and creation have been around, however many millions of years, that has never been the case, not since the very start of creation.

People say "God had to do it this way", I disagree completely, if God can do all things then He could have had a world of good things and peace and comfort for all from the start, but yet instead God chose to have a world of pain and suffering where evil often overcomes good.

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tvp, I appreciate your responses to. I realize that perhaps many people haven't studied as much as they should, I agree that there is a lot of learning anyone can do, as for myself though, the direction I've been going has a lot more to do with experiences in life than just the hard to answer questions, although I mentioned the questions about suffering and evil to show the area of life that sort of reinforces my doubt.

That said I tend to feel a lot the way the atheists do about the idea of God and suffering, either He can't do anything about the bad in the world or He won't.

In the big scheme, as evil and suffering and pain have been going on, it not only seems as if God doesn't care, but considering any individual act of evilness or suffering, and then considering that God knows and looks on and does nothing, by action not words I can only conclude that God approves.

If anyone watched a person sit there watching an infant being beaten and had the power to stop it but didn't, would anyone ever believe that that person really cared or loved that infant. Why should people not consider God according to His actions rather than words?

 

For all of God's promises that 1 day it's all going to be good and there won't be anymore evilness or suffering, consider that however long the Earth and creation have been around, however many millions of years, that has never been the case, not since the very start of creation.

People say "God had to do it this way", I disagree completely, if God can do all things then He could have had a world of good things and peace and comfort for all from the start, but yet instead God chose to have a world of pain and suffering where evil often overcomes good.

 

I don't have the most time, so my response will be brief.

 

Man took the step into sin and away from the perfection, harmony, and bliss that comes with being wrapped in God's presence. It was man's free will, not any deceptive plan by God, that put man where he is today. It is also man's free will that allows man to strive back toward God. Since man took that step away, and since this world as a whole continues to step away, there's going to be hardship by the very system where we find ourselves.

 

I find much truth in the saying "be the good/change you wish to see in the world."

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So are we to believe that man "thwarted" God's plan?

I don't agree with the free will argument with all due respect, will free will be taken away from people in Heaven?

why was God's mortal enemy in the garden of eden to tempt man in the 1st place?

Edited by buzzsawBeaver

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So are we to believe that man "thwarted" God's plan?

I don't agree with the free will argument with all due respect, will free will be taken away from people in Heaven?

 

No, I suggest that we are to believe that man has free will, and that it was in God's plan to give man this free will while on this Earth. And if we disagree on that, we'll just have to disagree I suppose. But the Genesis story reinforces the point of man's free will: Eve chose to take the fruit, and Adam chose to eat of it. Both had the opportunity to decide one way or the other, and they decided to go with sin.

 

To answer your second question, because Satan will already have been cast into the Lake of Fire, away from God's presence. And because Satan will be away from God's presence, and we'll be in His presence, we are free from the temptation of sin.

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The subject of Free Will is often disputed and I would like to present my view of what the bible teaches regarding the will of man.

 

In the garden, free will existed, and man chose evil rather than good. This happened and it proved a point, man will choose evil when exercising free will! (I am not implying that every decision that a man makes is evil, but rather that he is inclined to choose evil at times) God permitted Satan to be in the garden, Satan is not and was not eternal, he indeed was a created being. I do not understand why God created or permitted Satan to do what he did. But I believe that God permitted Satan to tempt man, when man CHOSE to follow Satan, it demonstrated to man what he would do with his free will. Therefore, Adam and Eve and their posterity to follow would have to be brought to the realization of their ABSOLUTE NEED of Gods mercy and not the ability of themselves to appease the wrath of God.

 

Imagine it like this, the incident in the garden showed us that we could not keep ourself from sin and therefore let's us know that God is our only way out! By this happening, God gets the praise and honor from man that he justly deserves for being our only source of redemption.

 

Some believe that man can still choose good over evil, but they fail to realize that in Adam we ALL died. When left to his ownfree will, man will ultimately choose evil over good. You may say that I am not giving man much credit, and you would be right, I don't believe that man has it in him to satisfy or appease the wrath of good.

 

There is a difference in living right and choosing to serve the Lord. There are many atheists that are good moral and ethical persons. They support their family, help old ladies across the street, never curse, swear, drink or smoke. But they don't serve the Lord.

 

The Law in the bible was given "because of transgression," it paints a picture of the helplessness of mankind. If it were possible for man to keep the law by exercising his own free will, then why has there never been a man do it? This is where so many fail to understand their situation. Mankind is by nature a sinful creature. He is born with in sin and it is condemmed in his flesh. Since he is a sinful creature, he sins!

 

For example a pig wallows in the mud because that's what pigs do, a cat cleans itself because thats what a cat does, a sinner sins cause that's what sinners do.

 

What people fail to realize is that if you break one part of the LAW, just one, you don't have anything to pay with, your free will does not trump the one sin that you have committed. Therefore, all it takes is one mistake, one sin and you are at the mercy of God. It doesn't mean that a lier is as a bad as a murderer, the law is like a chain, break one link, doesn't matter which one, you broke the law!

 

This is what makes so many rejoice in the Grace of God. Were we (mankind) couldn't keep the law, Christ did.

 

hope this wasn't too confusing.......

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It's hard to put things in words a lot of times, what you wrote seems reasonable, but it creates some more ?s to, that's 1 of the things about it all, it all goes round and round.

In my opinion something you wrote makes a point I was writing about,

 

"God permitted Satan to be in the garden, Satan is not and was not eternal, he indeed was a created being. I do not understand why God created or permitted Satan to do what he did."

 

it's what God did, and all the debate about the reasons is irrelevant, it's what God did, and all of the evil, suffering, and pain are the result of it.

 

 

 

"The Law in the bible was given "because of transgression," it paints a picture of the helplessness of mankind. If it were possible for man to keep the law by exercising his own free will, then why has there never been a man do it? This is where so many fail to understand their situation. Mankind is by nature a sinful creature. He is born with in sin and it is condemmed in his flesh. Since he is a sinful creature, he sins!"

 

As for being born into sin, something I never could grasp even when I was believing as much as ever, is why mankind is condemned for being sinners to the point they are, afterall, if people were created by God, they are what God created them to be, and aren't capable of being anything better.

Nothing ever asks to be born, there is nothing about the situation anyone is born into that they had a say in, time, place, to what parents, health or lack of, ect.., yet a loving God holds mankind accountable and deserving of eternal punishment simply for being born and being born within the limits of the creator.

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As for being born into sin, something I never could grasp even when I was believing as much as ever, is why mankind is condemned for being sinners to the point they are, afterall, if people were created by God, they are what God created them to be, and aren't capable of being anything better.

Nothing ever asks to be born, there is nothing about the situation anyone is born into that they had a say in, time, place, to what parents, health or lack of, ect.., yet a loving God holds mankind accountable and deserving of eternal punishment simply for being born and being born within the limits of the creator.

 

I can understand your confusion, there are so many intangibles to take into consideration.

 

Your question is sort of like, why hold me accountable for something that I could not help?

 

When Adam fell in the Garden, he passed on this terrible condition to his entire posterity. Therefore, the posterity of Adam is in a state of nature in which they cannot get themselves out of. This is where the grace of God comes into play, God is showing us how much we need him when he bestows his grace and mercy upon us.

 

Here is an example.

 

A man is brought to the realization that he has a massive debt that he cannot pay. The debt begins to burden the man something awful. He tries and tries to get out of the mess, but fails miserably every time. We will call this man Mr. X

 

While he is sitting at home worrying over this debt, unknowingly to him another man goes into the local bank and says I would like to pay Mr. X's debt in full. The banker accepts the payment for the debt and Mr. X no longer owes the debt. Someone else came and paid it for him.

 

Finally, Mr. X, overwhelmed with burden and grief of his staggering debt, which I remind you he cannot pay, goes to the bank and tries to work something out, hoping for one final reprieve.

 

When he arrives at the bank, the banker tells him some "GOOD NEWS" your debt has been paid in full by someone else. Relief comes to the banker in hearing this good news and he realizes how merciful and graceful this person must have been for paying his debt for him when he didn't have to.

 

/////

 

I believe that your problem Buzzsaw may be with reconciling the will of God to your understanding. Some folks think that God is unjust to punish them, and some are looking for justice because they believe that their good out weighs their bad. I can see where all of this would seem confusing to you and how it makes you ponder it's legitimacy.

 

I have often made this comment to folks, God is Sovereign, that means that He has all power over everything that he created. He can do as He pleases, anything that God does is Just, because He is God! Whether we like it or not, whether we think it to be fair or not, it is His universe and He can do as He pleases with it......

 

Try this;

 

Imagine yourself in a state of TOTAL HOPLESSNESS, you are lost, ruined and without ANY ability at all to deliver yourself from a poor fallen state. I sometimes liken this to a person on the sinking Titanic and all of the life boats have already left, death appears certain. By the way in this scenario it's your fault the Titanic is sinking!

 

Then someone out of nowhere comes along and prepares to save you from this condition, would you cry loud and tell that person that you deserved to be saved? Would you cry out for JUSTICE?

 

No, you would be at the Mercy of the one who is capable of saving, your cry would be have mercy on me, save me!

 

This sort of demonstrates what I am trying to convey, it rather difficult to articluate such a difficult subject.

 

best of luck

Edited by bucfan64

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,"

if people were created by God, they are what God created them to be, and aren't capable of being anything better.

Nothing ever asks to be born, there is nothing about the situation anyone is born into that they had a say in, time, place, to what parents, health or lack of, ect.., yet a loving God holds mankind accountable and deserving of eternal punishment simply for being born and being born within the limits of the creator.

 

In this particular quote you seem to be blaming God for the problem, you are correct you didn't ask to be born a sinner, but it wasn't God that made you a sinner. It was the transgressions of our natural father Adam.

 

Your beef is with Adam, not God! God is the one that delivers us from the situation that the free will of our father Adam got us into.

 

Think of it like this; when Adam failed he foreshadowed exactly what everyone of us would have done, had we too been given the opportunity that he had.

 

Therefore, God is saving us from ourselves and our sinful nature!

 

God didn't place the limits on us, we brought them on ourselves, through Adam.

Edited by bucfan64

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1 hour ago, nogod said:

This site is biased against atheism and for christianity. It's bullshit.

Ummm. You dug up a 12 year old thread for this? Lol. Trust me — there are plenty on here who are atheist. 😂

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