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If there is a God, why is there evil?

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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ape
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Re: If there is a God, why is there evil?

Post by ape » August 17th, 2009, 11:25 pm

[quote="james1951"]
Just because the Pharisee claimed to be good does not mean he was.
ape: No it was JC who said he did good and was righteous but DESPISED others. Luke 18:9.
James:
It is said our judgement of "goodness" is as filthy rags next to what god judges as good, because Gid sees the motive, not just the actions. The same actions can have good or evil motives.
ape: Exactly!
And the Motive of Motives is either Love in Attitude or Hate in attitude.
So Love means good motive.
Hate means bad motive.
JAMES:
Give a child a treat to - lure him for evil intent
Give a child a treat to - reward good effort

Is giving the child a treat good or evil? You see good and evil lies in the intent not the activity.
ape: Exactly!
James:
To harm or deceive others for self promotion or gratification may not really be a good activity.
Ape: Exactly! It all depends on the ATTITUDE behind the motive.
Malice afore thought shows the Motive before the motive and before the thought.

Here is God:
What is His MOM: Motive of Motives: His Attitude?:
God's Attitude or Motive behind the motive is always Love:
2 Thessalonians 2:
9Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

10And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the Love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11And for this cause [of NOT receiving the Love of the truth or better, The truth of Love]God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

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Post by OTavern » August 17th, 2009, 11:57 pm

Faith wrote:I argue against free will. I've never known a human being that can choose not to do evil (and I don't mean singular acts, because I myself have chosen to tell the truth or not to steal) but to do all good is impossible and i guess to do all evil is impossible, because somehow good could come out of evil or evil out of the good you've done.

Intention is very important, i do agree.

We being born into sin, being born sinful... We have no free will, we can't choose. Has anyone accepted Jesus, who supposedly gives power over sin, and never sinned again? I tell you, I do not wish to sin, but my very existence is sin.. my society prevents me from any chance. All is vanity.

Yes I'm a cry baby.

Since my intention is to follow God, but I am to weak....does that dimiss me. Is my choice to do good made, but my inability to do so excusable?
I think this is very much in line with St. Paul and traditional Church teaching. Our only real freedom is to choose freedom. The power to do good only comes from God as grace. We are essentially free beings when living fully in communion with God, but when separated by sin we are enslaved to sin. The only real choice we have is to choose to trust or have faith in God and by doing so come fully to rely on his power through grace to remake us and "set us free." This is what faith is - trust and reliance on God to rebuild us from the core of our beings. When fully re-made we will be completely free because God will be fully realized within us.

Faith is not merely assenting to certain "truths" or believing religious dogma, it is essentially trusting and allowing God to become the core reality of our being, to become instruments of His grace and goodness. That does not mean traditional Church teaching is unimportant. It is the roadmap for the journey to God, but merely assenting intellectually to certain beliefs is not enough.

God in traditional theism is "Existence Itself" He whose essence is existence. Therefore allowing God to become the Reality of our beings is identical to becoming fully real, becoming one with the Truth or Essence of who we are. That is why purity of heart, complete honesty with self - being without guile -are essential in the process of coming to "know" God.

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Post by whitetrshsoldier » August 18th, 2009, 12:03 am

How do you call it freedom when:

1) God knows all.
2) God knows some of us will 'fall'.
3) God created us knowing we would be cast into eternal damnation.

How are we 'free' under this idiotic philosophy?
"I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings! I'm obviously just insecure with the ineptitudes of my logic and rational faculties. Forgive me - I'm a "lost soul", blinded by my "ignorant belief" that there's such a thing as reality and truth in the world"

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Post by Juice » August 18th, 2009, 12:08 am

O-Very well said except I don't think free will equates to freedom. I believe free will is a natural state gifted by God which allows man to either live by the knowledge of Gods Grace or not.

Anything else are just earthly choices which in fact are the things which enslave. As one does not have a choice not to eat or drink, or to breath. In these instance we are aware of the consequences of each which is death. So to with God whose Grace has allowed the choice of belief which can lead to life and death similarly.
When everyone looks to better their own future then the future will be better for everyone.

An explanation of cause is not a justification by reason.
C. S. Lewis

Fight the illusion!

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Post by whitetrshsoldier » August 18th, 2009, 12:15 am

Juice wrote:O-Very well said except I don't think free will equates to freedom. I believe free will is a natural state gifted by God which allows man to either live by the knowledge of Gods Grace or not.

Anything else are just earthly choices which in fact are the things which enslave. As one does not have a choice not to eat or drink, or to breath. In these instance we are aware of the consequences of each which is death. So to with God whose Grace has allowed the choice of belief which can lead to life and death similarly.
Here's the problem, Juice.
Romans 3:23

For ALL HAVE SINNED and fallen short of the glory of god.
We're all sinners, and we will all sin again. The bible says that "no man comes to the father except through [the son]". If this is true, what is the choice? Where is the free will?

Neither freedom nor free will exist in christianity.

God created us sinners, tells us we will sin again, and that we have one choice and one choice only. And that he knows who will and who won't make that choice.

AND, to make it worse, HE WAS THE ONE WHO CREATED US THAT WAY.
"I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings! I'm obviously just insecure with the ineptitudes of my logic and rational faculties. Forgive me - I'm a "lost soul", blinded by my "ignorant belief" that there's such a thing as reality and truth in the world"

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Post by Juice » August 18th, 2009, 12:40 am

WTS- I am not a bible scholar which for our purposes is probably best. I've responded in a few threads about God being a personal God and the process of revelation which can be attained without reading the bible. Sort of a way that God makes himself clear to those who believe.

Now this is strictly religious but also philosophy.

Man is born a sinner thanks to Adam. As a result man has knowledge of good and evil. What does that mean? From a Christian perspective God is good, the ultimate good and no matter what a man thinks of himself no matter how good he thinks he is or what ever good works he thinks he does if those good acts and good thoughts are not attributed to God as coming and gifted by God then they are not good.

When you think about it it makes sense especially when considering the acts of Lucifer. Lucifer thought he was better than God, maybe Lucifer thought he was "more good" than God and was then punished for that.

The sin is not per say those things on the ten commandments for which one can be forgiven but in the belief that as someone who can be good that, that good was not gifted from a good God.

Now if one does something good and feels he needs reward then that is not good unless he gives the reward to God in the form of praise to God for making that good act which makes the man good because God made man good.

As in our political agreements and as one is responsible for his self so to is one responsible to God for recognizing that existence is His due.
Last edited by Juice on August 18th, 2009, 1:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
When everyone looks to better their own future then the future will be better for everyone.

An explanation of cause is not a justification by reason.
C. S. Lewis

Fight the illusion!

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Post by boagie » August 18th, 2009, 1:26 am

"Only to man are somethings right and somethings wrong, to god all things are well and good." Heraclitus

"There is no such thing as right and wrong, only thinking makes it so." William Shakespeare

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Post by ape » August 18th, 2009, 10:11 am

boagie wrote:"Only to man are somethings right and somethings wrong, to god all things are well and good." Heraclitus

"There is no such thing as right and wrong, only thinking makes it so." William Shakespeare
Excellent, Boagie!:)

"Know the [*constant Love*] thought thru which things are led thru all other things."
Or
"120. Wisdom is one ---- to know the intelligence [of Love] by which all things are steered through all things."
Heraclitus

"To be wise is one [*constant*] thing:
[it is] to know the thought [of Love] that directs all things through all things."
Heraclitus

"Opposition brings concord.
Out of discord comes the fairest harmony."
Heraclitus

"God is day and night, winter and summer, war and peace, surfeit and hunger."
Heraclitus

Romans 14:
14I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteems[thinks] any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

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Post by whitetrshsoldier » August 19th, 2009, 12:30 am

Juice wrote:Man is born a sinner thanks to Adam. As a result man has knowledge of good and evil. What does that mean? From a Christian perspective God is good, the ultimate good and no matter what a man thinks of himself no matter how good he thinks he is or what ever good works he thinks he does if those good acts and good thoughts are not attributed to God as coming and gifted by God then they are not good.
Juice,

If god is all-knowing, and he created Adam, didn't he create Adam knowing that he would fail? If so, then he created us with eternal damnation in mind. Thus, he created us into damnation. That's why I do not consider god benevolent, and I cannot accept any 'creator' who would make me this way.
Juice wrote:As in our political agreements and as one is responsible for his self so to is one responsible to God for recognizing that existence is His due.
Here I disagree. How could a god create us accountable beings but dismiss himself as such?

If we are to be responsible for our deeds, so is he. He created us inept to deal with temptation. So he should be accountable for his creation, and should not demand for us to pay [through eternal damnation] for his crime [creating us with the knowledge that we would be eternally damned].

How is this just? How could he be benevolent and still do this?
"I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings! I'm obviously just insecure with the ineptitudes of my logic and rational faculties. Forgive me - I'm a "lost soul", blinded by my "ignorant belief" that there's such a thing as reality and truth in the world"

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Post by Juice » August 19th, 2009, 1:42 am

WTS-Good question.

Let's try to also keep in mind the limitations of language and how words can be interpreted in different ways.

Now I of course am making assumptions and not necessarily attempting to divine or extrapolate anything as far as biblical references can be of assistance. As I have stated I depend on revelation directly from God. boagie will have a field day with that one but it is what I have come to know of myself.

First it is impossible to know the mind of God and to what purpose or plan He has for his creation except by what is revealed by what ever method He wishes to reveal Himself and His will.

Having said that there is no doubt that this is a philosophycal question as well and the word omniscience can be disputed in and of itself when considered on human terms. Mathematicians and physicists constantly grapple with the infinite.

So let us presume that God is the creator of all things and He has done so for reasons which are his own. Let us also presume that God exists in and out of time in so far as time can be a consideration of humans. We will say that God is nontemporal. But what does nontemporal mean?

If we consider that the universe has a beginning and extrapolate that it will end then God will exist beyond those two points. But what about between those two points where time is a property of the universe he designed. A universe in which a law of time exists which He created for His purpose and let us presume that within the two points of beginning and end God has created consciousness which he designed to have a free will. Could it be that God as an omnipotent being has put laws into effect in His creation in which he is unable to predetermine certain actions?

Now this can also be consistent with omniscience since God would know what would happen given certain conditions and would then be able to apply will when necessary to advance His will. This can be mathematically proven.

Lets say that God knows your heart and maybe you just need a nudge in the right direction to make a decision He knows you will make. So He does that.

On the same token He is able to nudge certain hearts in order to "harden" them when that serves His will too.

If God wants a certain outcome He may be able to adjust choices in such a way to effect certain hearts and minds he has knowledge of. But only because his creation has already developed the conditions of his heart when He acts.

I think if some can debate this argument it will only help to strengthen it. Thanks.

To the second part I can only say that God has provided an out for anyone to freely accept. But, I'll try to come up with a more philosophic argument.
When everyone looks to better their own future then the future will be better for everyone.

An explanation of cause is not a justification by reason.
C. S. Lewis

Fight the illusion!

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Post by Alun » August 19th, 2009, 3:06 am

whitetrshsoldier wrote:How do you call it freedom when:

1) God knows all.
2) God knows some of us will 'fall'.
3) God created us knowing we would be cast into eternal damnation.
Sorry, to butt in here, but what do you call freedom?

I call freedom being in control of my own actions; I don't think this means the universe cannot be deterministic. I mean, yes, I am composed of physical atoms which act in a predictable way, so what I do is just the outcome of that matter behaving is it would behave; but I am that matter, so I'm still in control of what I do.

The next question is, what do you call punishment?

I call punishment the rightful or logical outcome of a person's actions as imposed by an external authority. Hence, it is right to punish a murderer by taking away their freedoms for a long period of time; such destructive behavior much be reflected on that person's life. That is to say, you deserve punishment because of what is a natural consequence of your actions, nothing more.

On the other hand, I think Hell is just a metaphor for what the universe would become if evil 'won out;' not an actual realm where bad souls go, so I can't really defend the position completely.
"I have nothing new to teach the world" -Mohandas "Mahatma" Gandhi

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Post by Belinda » August 19th, 2009, 4:34 am

The original question would be better framed as 'In the presence of evil, can all-powerful God also be good God?'

Obviously not.You have to dispense with the all-powerfulness of God.

At this point someone may present the platitude that love conquers all. If only! No, people who insist that an all-powerful God can also be a loving God are driven finally to claim that the ways of God are a mystery.
I am a supporter of the loving God, and I claim that it does the loving God a disservice to trust that he is all powerful. . It takes human efforts to bring the loving God into existence.

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Post by Belinda » August 19th, 2009, 4:44 am

Whitetrshsoldier wrote:
If god is all-knowing, and he created Adam, didn't he create Adam knowing that he would fail? If so, then he created us with eternal damnation in mind. Thus, he created us into damnation. That's why I do not consider god benevolent, and I cannot accept any 'creator' who would make me this way.
Neither could any thinking person , Soldier.However, to give the God myth its due, part of the myth is that God allowed man and woman to have Free Will Free Will being the exception to God's all embracing power.

Now that science has shown that there is not such a thing as Free Will, the God myth is not believable to thinking people in its original form. But all is not lost.There are progressively religious people who are hammering out an acceptable religion.If you wish to find such a progressive congregation, try the Unitarian Universalists.Also, in the USA, the Westar Institute.

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Post by RyanParenti » August 19th, 2009, 4:44 am

There are no flawed choices. There is only the path along which we are led to perfection.

So why is there seemingly evil?

If all notes are played at once, there can be no music. If all light shines equally bright, there can be no definitions and no pattern.


Comparison implies relationship and attempts to define something by what it is not.
This type of definition mistakenly leads us to believe that we understand the essence of something because we can see what it is not.
Choices can only be deemed as accurate or not moment by moment, as life dances on its way.

-Ryan

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Post by Belinda » August 19th, 2009, 4:47 am

If all notes are played at once, there can be no music. If all light shines equally bright, there can be no definitions and no pattern.
True, but we don't live our lives in the eternal Now. We live our lives where music is made up of separate notes which are played in temporal sequence.We need a religion that answers our living questions.

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