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An Omnibenevolent God?

Discussion in 'Christian Apologetics' started by Quoth, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. Quoth

    Quoth Guest

    My philosophy "teacher" in college used a term to describe God when discussing "the problem of evil". That term was "omnibenevolent". In other words, it's the idea that God is absolutely good to absolutely everyone absolutely all of the time.

    Are there any Biblical references that God fits the above definition, or am I simply missing them? If there aren't any, then who is God "nice" to, and where do we get this idea that "God is good, all the time"?
     
  2. Jaws13

    Jaws13 Urban Nomad. Literally.

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    Presumably He is good if He is worthy of our praise. No?
     
  3. Quoth

    Quoth Guest

    He is worthy of our praise, indeed, because He is good. However, He is also just. A just God is not necessarily nice to absolutely everyone all of the time. However, there are those in Christendom that seem to have the idea that God is always nice to everyone, all of the time.

    I can't find any biblical support for that idea.
     
  4. lawtonfogle

    lawtonfogle My solace my terror, my terror my solace.

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    How about this question, how would you feel worshiping God if He was being a meanie? Basically that is what you are saying when God is not being omnibenevolent. As to the just argument, just is what God says it is, so if God says it is just for a baby to be condemned to hell, that is God's choice in the matter (and not a very nice one). Unless you are saying there is some law greater than God.
     
  5. AMR

    AMR Presbyterian (PCA) Supporter

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    The simple answer to your professor's query is that omnibenevolence does not necessitate that God remove evil, but that He use it benevolently. God wills righteously what men do wickedly.

    AMR
     
  6. Quoth

    Quoth Guest

    God is just, and whatever law He prescribes is just, regardless of whether it is pleasant or not. There is no law greater than God. However, all responses thus far fail to answer my initial question of biblical evidence.
     
  7. Omni-benevolence - I see no scriptural support for such a being. It is clear that God is not benevolent to EVERYONE. God takes sides, nudges history to his suiting when it is required, even to the detriment of various individuals or groups.

    But this does not mean God is not Good. Omni-benevolence, as far as I see it, is akin to apathy - God doesn't really care about what anyone does or says, because he really is just a great guy to us all. That is totally unscriptural!

    Justice - pleasant or otherwise (as Skellington notes above) is what it is, especially when the creator of our universe is the designer of the Law.

    ~ Regards, PA
     
  8. Emmy

    Emmy Senior Veteran

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    Dear Skellington. God is Love. Is there anything good, what is not Love? God is Love, all Love, and it is God`s Holy Law which gives rewards, as well as CONSEQUENCES. Sometimes we reap what we sow immediately, but very often it takes time. WHY?? Because God is waiting for us to realise what we are doing wrong, and try ourselves to stop doing wrong, and start doing better, become more loving and forgiving, more kind than being unkind, and so forth. Omnibenevolence is only another word for being all things GOOD. I say this humbly and with love, Skellington. Greetings from Emmy, sister in Christ.
     
  9. Jaws13

    Jaws13 Urban Nomad. Literally.

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    Now hang on a minute. Who's using the word 'nice'? YOU are! And how are you defining benevolence?
    General dictionary:
    n.
    • An inclination to perform kind, charitable acts.
      1. A kindly act.
      2. A gift given out of generosity.

    Philosophical Dictionary:
    General desire for the good of others, and disposition to act so as to further that good. Moral philosophers may be more or less optimistic about the intensity and scope of such desire, or its general presence in human nature. See altruism, egoism.

    Both from answers.com.

    I don't think anyone's going to argue with the idea that God desires the good of others and has the disposition to act that way... unless you're an atheist and misunderstand the OT.
     
  10. elman

    elman elman

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    First John says God is love. Jesus said God is good. Paul said love is greater than faith and hope--! cor 13. Jesus taught the will of God was summed up in loving God and man. All of this and what God has written on your heart about loving others being good and harming others being bad attest to a loving Creator. God is nice to us when He gives us life and the hope of life more abundantly. Matt 25:31 and following show Jesus dividing the sheep from the goats based on being nice to people in need. Being nice is not to be condemened.
     
  11. rejectreality

    rejectreality Regular Member

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    I'm not a smart man, but I'll take a shot: Is God omni-benevolent? Yes. Why? Because He is God. I know that's a circular answer, so I'll explain.

    What is right and good is not necessarily what is nice. A small child may want to pet a wolf, but we know it is best that they do not. The small child will think we are not nice because we aren't letting them pet the wolf. However un-nice we may seem, we are still right to not let the child interact with a dangerous animal.

    The same is true of God. What God does is for the goodness of mankind, and it is right. Just because we may not think it is nice does not negate that it is right and good.

    Or a simpler, more direct explanation: God is the Almighty God of the universe, the Alpha and Omega, the great I Am. And because God is God, what He chooses to do will always be right and good because He is the proscriber of what is right and good.

    I don't know if that helps, but it's my interpretation to the best of my limited knowledge.
     
  12. daniel777

    daniel777 Senior Veteran

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    ... that's a vague definition.... it depends on what "good" means.

    if good is what God is, then God is omnibenevolent.

    if good is not what God is, then God is not omnibenevolent.

    either way, the problem of evil would persist through that. all it requires is that God remain consistent in his moral framework, or character, and that evil="not good". defining benevolence another way really wouldn't matter because that ultimate standard for "goodness" would still remain intact within God's character. . . . . . . in fact, the only way he could ever be not "omnibenevolent" in the most basic sense is for him to contradict himself. . . . . . so, your phil professor is right, at least on the definition.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2010
  13. elman

    elman elman

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    I agree God can be trusted to be loving and good all the time and I agee we may not on any given occasion be able to see the purpose behind what is happening. I don't agree God is good simply because He is all powerful. Might does not make right even in spiritual matters.
     
  14. brinny

    brinny everlovin' shiner of light in dark places Supporter

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    There are a few Bible verses in here that would challenge that idea:

    YouTube - He Drank Your Hell - Paul Washer
     
  15. lawtonfogle

    lawtonfogle My solace my terror, my terror my solace.

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    So if given evidence to the contrary, why would this hold?
     
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