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Pain, Evil and Suffering

Discussion in 'Ethics & Morality' started by Bertrand Russell White, Apr 5, 2021 at 7:47 PM.

  1. Bertrand Russell White

    Bertrand Russell White New Member

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    The traditional problem of evil and pain seems intractable from a religious perspective. The Christian view of answering with defenses (such as freewill or soul making) not only seem vastly inadequate but outside of any arguments that came out of the OT or NT (this should make a solution seem dubious right from the start). Soul making is probably the closest to any kind of Bible type solution. However, both of the major arguments of freewill and soul making seem to make no sense in response to horrendous evil such as extreme torture and killing of innocent children. This case seems to allow for absolutely no good to the individual in this life. An appeal to the well-being/moral enhancement/soul making of others (such as parents or groups of related people to the child) somehow through the event seems like a poor justification or poor argument if the event or circumstance could have been avoided in the first place or the desired outcome could have been done in a much less horrific way. Although we can't know for sure, it would seem highly likely that it could (see below).
    Also, mythologies taken as true (story of the Fall of Man) seem inadequate to account for evil, pain and suffering based on middle knowledge (see W. L. Craig writings on middle knowledge). If a god knew the results of all possible worlds, why did he/she/it not choose a world where humans (and other beings like angels) were free, but who made right choices so evil never entered the world. This is obviously possible and so therefore not beyond god's power. Perhaps this happened in an alternate universe. However, in that case, god is still culpable in our universe for allowing evil via middle knowledge. I'm also dubious that there aren't other ways to learn and grow without the need for evil, pain and suffering or much less than there currently is, if there is an infinite god. If this is not the case, then this would have to be the best of all possible worlds which seems quite impossible.
     
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  2. Jeshu

    Jeshu Bought by His Blood Supporter

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    i think you forget to mention that the problem of evil has to do with lies. Lies people believe about God, themselves and their neighbour which kill their inner truth and turns good into bad.

    So it was not possible to create an universe where evil was not possible, because the created image bearers, like God Himself, have the freedom to choose evil. Now God knows evil is no good and therefore refrains Himself from creating any, and warned us to do the same. Or we would find out what happens when we turn the truth into a lie. Just look at this world where lies rule galore. The truth is lies cause evil, the truth is people who believe lies love evil, and so become the great abomination themselves. Anti God/truth to be while the truth is their life. This is how eternal death has come into being.

    To blame the truth of God for people to choose the lie is absurd. Rather the truth overcame the lie on the cross, for all to see. This is why i have hope - because the truth always survives the lie, for the truth simply is, while lies can only rule for as long as people believe them. Like Jesus demonstrates the truth is always resurrected. That is why i let my life be build by His truth for truth is always eternal, while the lie can only survive in the substance of the truth. A lie can only ever rule for a short time, while the truth rules on forever.

    To blame God, who took full responsibility in the shape of His Son Jesus Christ, demonstrating what happens to God when you believe lies. We crucify Him, like you are doing, blaming Him for the wrongs we sinners have brought into being.

    Repent of the lies and believe the truth of His love for you, and all, and you will see you get a much more responsible and loving God than the monster you have in mind right now.

    Here is a excellent demonstration of what we believe to be the truth of Him and all.

     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2021 at 8:52 PM
  3. Friedrich Rubinstein

    Friedrich Rubinstein Well-Known Member

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    Without pain we wouldn't know joy.
    Without hate we wouldn't know love.
    Without sadness we wouldn't know happiness.

    Happiness without pain has no meaning whatsoever.
     
  4. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    First, yes there is such evil . . . even though God is almighty and so good.

    So, the practical answer to your concerns is we need to trust God about this, and only with God are we able to do the good which can be done, about the evil.
     
  5. renniks

    renniks Well-Known Member

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    The question isn't why there's evil. It's why good exists if God doesn't?
     
  6. Halbhh

    Halbhh Everything You say is Life to me Supporter

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    We understand that because God exists, 'death' is only a temporary "sleep", as Christ says, from which all will awaken.

    Evil and Good are merely inevitable -- Both Evil and Good are inevitable if intelligent beings exist with freedom -- ability to choose their own path and do actions.

    If we are allowed to truly choose and act, then we will sometimes choose the good and sometimes what is wrong.

    Without that freedom to act ('free will') we'd not be able to love.

    God foresaw the problem of evil -- before the beginning of this world He already chose a Redeemer to save us from this situation.

    And to be saved from the pain and suffering of this world. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

    God respects us, and doesn't force us. (the alternative is to live a life here just for the sake of what you can gain here, and rejecting his salvation to then die a final time in the 'second death' which 'destroys body and soul'; simply a true death as atheists imagine death to be)

    But He sent a Savior to pull at our hearts that we might turn from evil back to Him.

    So, we will indeed suffer here in this temporary mortal body, in this time of choosing. And, suffering often aids us in a way: it helps bring us back to the crux of the situation.
     
  7. Ken-1122

    Ken-1122 Newbie

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    So what does that say about Heaven where there is no hate, pain, or sadness?
     
  8. Mark Quayle

    Mark Quayle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Since you brought up middle knowledge and few other semi-god sorts of scenarios, I'll say right off that God = Omnipotent = First Cause, and, for the purposes of this conversation, I will say, First Cause is necessarily with intent. I will not accept any other in discussing the problem of pain.

    My answers are enough for me, though I want to know more --particularly since I wish I could help some others see how God is good. Reformed Theology of course rejects the freewill explanation, and any soul-making I have heard explained does not match reality in the least. It is true that the NT particularly has several places where some degree of perfection is a (the?) goal, but it does not in the least make it sound like that goal is for another purpose. It is THAT purpose that I look forward to.

    We (Reformed) speak of 'two wills' of God, sometimes put as his [eternal] decree vs his command. hidden vs revealed, etc. Most Christians seem to think that God has a goal in this life for each person, and that it is up to the person (no doubt with God's help) to accomplish or arrive there, before they die. The Reformed, on the other hand, see wherever a person finds themselves as being where God had intended all along (not where he commanded, but where he intended) for them to be. This to me is most obviously demonstrated by the fact that, regardless of any other excuses, most people (including those who believe themselves Elect) are nowhere near what they are told to be by scripture. Indeed it is apparent to me that by any human standard, they are many of them less virtuous on the day they die, than they had at one time or another been earlier in life.

    Like with Soul-Making, I believe suffering, pain, etc is for the purpose of God making each person into what he has in mind for them --the Elect into Heaven, the reprobate into demonstrations of his power, justice and purity.
    We have many things the Bible says about the elect, the members of which are "the Church", "The Body of Christ", "The Bride of Christ", God's dwelling place The Children of God", and so on. In trying to understand the Bride of Christ, I notice that the New Jerusalem is said to be dressed like a bride/ Whether or not I am right in my thinking that it is in fact, we the Elect, whom Christ has gone to Heaven to prepare for us, I am sure there is something to the notion, in which case whatever he does is worth it.

    To avoid going into long explanations, I will just say that it makes no sense that God would waste anything. No effort is ineffective, God does not experiment, there is no mere collateral damage.

    We also have the claim in Genesis, God makes that in this crushing of the serpent's head, the serpent would bruise the heel of Eve's offspring. I believe that sin is the only thing that can truly hurt God, and that he has done what he did for our sakes.

    All this I put for the sake of description, not proof and not even explanation. But I will mention it makes sense that God should be able to make of us twisted, stupid, self-important individuals, the raw materials for his construction, and is involved during a person's life with the shaping of the raw materials he has for his construction.

    The old order of things will pass away.
     
  9. Jeshu

    Jeshu Bought by His Blood Supporter

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    Of course once we have made our choice, like God, to refrain from evil we can really get on with the job of living good life and creating better. That is what this valley of tears is for. To bring us to our senses and to hate evil and love good. Nothing difficult about understanding that.

    Those who love evil will get evil's reward, and those who love good life will get good life's reward. No one need to argue any more then. All fair and square determined forever.

    All praise to Jesus for orchestrating that one.

    Daniel 12:2
    "Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt."
     
  10. disciple Clint

    disciple Clint Well-Known Member

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    Without evil there is no basis for good, we only understand good because we can contrast it with evil. There would also be no reason why we would need to help each other or depend on each other and of course we would no longer need to ask God for anything so our relationship with Him would not lead us to additional faith in Him. Frankly I think it would get very boring very quickly. Man needs a challenge and a feeling of accomplishing something. We also need being needed by someone else, it gives us purpose. So an ideal world without evil would not be ideal at all. If man is to have free will there needs to be something to decide between, each of us decides between good and evil in everything we do, what would it be like if we could only do good, if there were no bad decisions, no lessons learned, no loss and no victory.
     
  11. Bradskii

    Bradskii Active Member

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    Mmm. If it was heaven then it would feel like hell. Oh, wait...
     
  12. tdidymas

    tdidymas Newbie

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    According to the Bible, God's purpose for His people is to display His glorious grace. This is done by means of faith in Jesus Christ, which leads to following Him in obedience to His words. Love shines best in times of adversity, so the evil of calamities are the situations which call God's people to love their neighbors. In the same way, faith in Jesus causes a person to overcome the nature of sin that resides in every person's soul. It is because whoever has faith in Jesus also has God working His will and goodness into their soul and life character. This is why the saint is said to be characterized by love and goodness. And this love and goodness is best seen in contrast to the common wickedness of people who do not have faith in Christ.

    This is how I read from the Bible on what the purpose of evil is. Unfortunately, mankind having the sinful nature in their hearts causes all kinds of horrid activity. So there is another purpose besides the display of love, and that is the display of justice. Serial killers are to be caught and put into prison (or even executed) in order to display justice in the world, which gives some taste of satisfaction concerning the ultimate justice of God. We would not understand justice unless there was some moral evil to be punished. This points to the gravity of sin, which God will punish ultimately in Lake of Fire judgment. This is why the Bible speaks of the importance of escaping the wrath of God through faith in Jesus Christ.

    So since God is also a healer, as Jesus displayed this in His ministry on Earth, He is able to heal us from the terminal spiritual illness of sin. But that requires faith. So evil conditions and the sinful nature are to be overcome in those who believe in Jesus, and God can make that happen if we trust Him for it. Therefore, in a sense, evil in the world is somewhat like an obstacle course to run. As we properly and morally deal with the evils in the world, we develop the virtues of Christ into our souls, as well as display how God will ultimately deal with evil.

    I haven't quoted the scriptures that I base my opinion on, but I hope this helps your understanding.
     
  13. Tolworth John

    Tolworth John Well-Known Member Supporter

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    So are you saying that as there is no God, that we do live in the best of all possible worlds, despite there being pain and evil.
     
  14. Mark Quayle

    Mark Quayle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Excuse me?? God is good only because of evil? Maybe you want to rephrase that.
     
  15. Bertrand Russell White

    Bertrand Russell White New Member

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    Yes, this kind of logic is obviously flawed
     
  16. Friedrich Rubinstein

    Friedrich Rubinstein Well-Known Member

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    That there is no free will in heaven :) That's why we live on this earth: to make a decision. Either eternity with God or without God. God could've put all humans in heaven directly but then we'd be string puppets who never actively chose to be there.
     
  17. Bertrand Russell White

    Bertrand Russell White New Member

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    I'm saying that if god exists and this is the world we have, than it must be the best possible of worlds. If it were not the case, then evil is not minimized. If evil is not minimized than god being omnibenevolent and all powerful has not done his best to reduce evil which would be at odds with his nature.
     
  18. Bertrand Russell White

    Bertrand Russell White New Member

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    Who says there is no free will in heaven? I see nothing in scripture that explicitly states this. Without free will in heaven then we are string puppets as you say, only this time it just starts when we get to heaven. I think it more likely that we do have free will in heaven. In this case, it is still possible to reject god as Christian tradition says that Satan did. Hence, as I said previously, why did god choose the option of free will with everyone choosing not to sin, as with middle knowledge.
     
  19. Friedrich Rubinstein

    Friedrich Rubinstein Well-Known Member

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    You lose your free will after death either way: either you get tortured (without free will) or you spend eternity in happiness (without free will). The decision is yours, and you can make it as long as you got a free will still, which is in this life. Those who decide for God are those who are fine with God being in complete control. Those who don't mind being God's "string puppets".
    We should also note that the "string puppets" in heaven only applies to whether we obey God or not. You can still choose what you'll eat, you just cannot lie anymore for example.

    That makes no sense, sorry. If that was the case then heaven would be a "fallen Creation" still. That is not biblical. Satan had to exist on this earth in order for us to be able to decide for or against God. No human being is their own master. You belong to God or to the devil. There is no "neutral". In heaven the devil doesn't exist anymore - therefore no way to choose "not-God".
     
  20. Halbhh

    Halbhh Everything You say is Life to me Supporter

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    The road to the Rule of Law was long and often with reverses, because free intelligent beings often choose their own (temporary) gain at the expense of others. (break the golden rule)

    And having either broad laws (like the 10 commandments) or detailed ones (as followed when they failed to keep the broad laws)....both are steps along the way to changing human culture into one where at least the idea of law ruling instead of men ruling is at least thought to be better, by some, and gradually more.

    (counterexamples like Trump are plentiful, where an individual man feels he himself should be the ruler over and instead of the written law, that the law should serve him, instead of being over him)

    The first half of the common bible is the account of this progress towards learning that law should rule (at least in principle).

    God foresaw we'd struggle a lot. He planned when the moment was ready to send a heart-changing Redeemer, the Christ, to change our inner selves, for those that would look to Him. Only some will. They will show this by their changed lives and changed actions.
     
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