Theology "From the Top"!

God, Christ, & The Holy Spirit
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Paidion
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Re: Theology "From the Top"!

Post by Paidion » Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:27 pm

Greetings Brother Alan, you wrote:I think the first big short-coming with this solution is that it addresses only those evils that are caused by the choices of men, i.e., moral evils. But, the Problem of Evil deals with ALL evils, including those evils which are not caused by human beings. Thus, this proposed solution would not adequately respond to the evils which are caused by other things, eg., natural disasters, accidents in which no sin was involved, etc. Thus, for example, it does not appear that this proposed solution would give an adequate response as to why babies die at birth, or why thousands of people might die in an earthquake, or why a seemingly perfectly healthy and young father of one of my friends back in grade school tragically and suddenly died while playing basketball on a previously very joyful Thanksgiving Day, etc. The objection against the existence of an all-good, all-knowing, and all-loving God covers these sorts of evils, too, not just moral evils, for life is full of these sorts of evils. In fact, I would say that it is these sorts of evils—the NON-moral evils—which pose the biggest difficulty to holding to belief in a God who is all-good, all-knowing, and all-powerful (for, it would seem that if such a God exists, He would surely want to and be able to stop such evils from occurring). So, it appears that this proposed solution, since it does not seem to give any sort of response to these non-moral evils, has a rather large lacuna in it.
Yes, you are right that my solution addresses only the moral evils of man. I have thought about "natural" evils as well. The problem with Augustine's solution is that it implies that every flood, earthquake, tsunami, etc. that destroys peoples' lives was caused or allowed by God in order to bring about a loving purpose or perhaps to punish the people who undergo such disasters. But are those people any more deserving of such punishment as those who live elsewhere where such disasters seldom or never occur?

What I think may be the explanation for these disasters, is that when Adam and Eve chose their own way in the garden of Eden, and fell from God's protection, not only were their descendants all fallen as well, but also nature itself! Thus these damaging floods, earthquakes,tsunamis, etc. are examples of fallen nature.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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Paidion
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Re: Theology "From the Top"!

Post by Paidion » Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:47 pm

Hi Homer, you wrote:While I agree with your position in general I do believe God sometimes (rarely) makes exceptions. In the story of Pharaoh I believe we find Pharaoh hardening his heart repeatedly, interspersed with God hardening Pharaoh's heart. Whether directly or indirectly, God intervened and brought about a result.
Yes, throughout the Old Testament writings we read statements of what God supposedly did. For example, it is written in 2 Samuel in 1 Chronicles that when the oxen stumbled that were pulling the cart that carried the ark, so that Uzzah, presumably to prevent the ark from tipping over, reached out his hand to steady it. This made Yahweh so angry that He struck Uzzah dead! Tell me. Does this sound like the God whose very essence is LOVE as John wrote in 1 John? Is it like the Father whom Jesus describes as being kind to ungrateful people and to evil people? (Luke 6:35) Would the God of LOVE order the Israelites to wipe out a people group entirely including women and babies?

My opinion is that the OT truly is a record of what happened, but that the writers often ascribed events to God that were not, in fact, God's doing.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 81.

BrotherAlan
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Re: Theology "From the Top"!

Post by BrotherAlan » Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:15 am

Greetings, Otherness, Paidion, Homer, et al.
Otherness, thanks for “chiming” in with your thought-provoking ideas. As we have been discussing, there is certainly no denying that, if God makes creatures with free will, then there is the possibility that these creatures can choose evil, as you, now, have also stated (in so many words) in your post. However, as I pointed out in an earlier post, this does not adequately respond to the “Problem of Evil” for a number of reasons, the chief of which is that it addresses only moral evils (evils committed by man), and not other evils in the world. So, while I think your response is a good response, I think we also need to keep trying to have a truly adequate response to this Problem of Evil.

Addressing Paidion’s last response, leaving aside, for now, Augustine’s proposal, we are endeavoring here to form our own solution to the Problem of Evil. And, we have come up against a number of difficulties, one of which (and perhaps the biggest) is the presence of evils in the world that are not caused by man’s doing. Now, Paidion, you have proposed that, perhaps, these “non moral” evils, and, in particular, natural disasters, are the result of the Fall of our First Parents. I agree with that.

However, I don’t think that solves the Problem of Evil: for, even granted that the Fall of our first parents has led to a fall of nature itself (nature, so to speak, rebelling against man, even as man rebelled against God), we are still left with a situation in which an all-good, all-knowing, and all-powerful God is, yes, ALLOWING these evils to take place which cause unspeakable suffering (suffering which, on the surface, does not “make sense” to us). In other words, even granted the idea that “nature is fallen” (an idea with which I agree), the fact is that, for any given natural disaster that causes a tragedy, we know that an all-powerful God COULD stop that disaster, but He does not. It sure seems to me that, at least with respect to these sorts of evils (leaving aside, for now, moral evils caused by man), we are then forced to say that God, the all-powerful God who could stop these evils, is, in fact, ALLOWING them to occur; He is permitting them to take place.

Am I missing something here? Is there any way for us to avoid the conclusion that, with respect to AT LEAST these evils (natural disasters, accidents not caused by the sin of man), the all-powerful God is NOT stopping these from occurring, though He is fully capable of stopping them? In other words, is there any way for us to avoid the conclusion that, at least with respect to evils not caused by man’s free will, the all-powerful God is, yes, allowing them to occur? I do not see how we can avoid this conclusion.

And, so, given the fact that, at least with these “non-moral” evils, the good God is ALLOWING these evils to occur, even though He could stop it, the same question with which we have been dealing the whole time is, once again, begged: Why? Why would an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good God allow/permit/not stop these evils from occurring?

Regardless of whether Augustine’s answer is right or wrong, it sure seems to me that we have not yet come up with a good answer to this question; I think we need to keep working on this one.

In Christ,
BrotherAlan
"Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and always, and unto the ages of ages. Amen."

Otherness
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Re: Theology "From the Top"!

Post by Otherness » Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:05 am

Brother Alan,

This disjunction of evil into moral and amoral categories is, fundamentally, an unnecessary exercise because we run into the same objections in either case. An all-knowing, all-powerful, all-good God could, in either category, intervene at any moment or in any circumstance to avert any (danger of) evil. Did not Jesus’ command to the raging storm to be still demonstrate God’s sovereign freedom to impose His will according to His transcendent wisdom? And let’s not forget that God, in that same transcendent creative wisdom, allowed the evil one to bring all manner of (“moral and amoral”?) calamities upon Job.

The answer to this lies at the depths of the natural order where sin and rebellion have sewn chaos into the very (organic) fabric of our created reality. God “suffers” this to be so and to continue until that time “that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God (Romans 8:21). Until that fullness of time He attends every detail (Matthew 10:29) to assure that it works out to the good of His loving purpose of forming the Body of Christ. (Romans 8:28).

This whole “body of reality” that we are clothed with at this time is a body of death, and it “attacks” us with storms within and without. In either case He is our refuge (Psalms 57; and 91:1-4, Isaiah 25:4).

Evil exists because ours is (and we are) a wholly (and organically) OTHER reality than God that has perverted (at the core) its “otherness” and turned it upon itself, bringing upon itself chaos within and without.

Remember that “otherness” is His First Love in creation and that everything is designed around originating and preserving it throughout time until the fullness of time “when the mystery of God will be finished” (Revelation 10:7). That true (ontological) otherness that He has created out of nothing returns to Him in the LOVE that is the Body of Christ.

In HIs Love

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