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Philosophical/theological problem: evil in the Church

Discussion in 'Ethics & Morality' started by InnTee, Jul 4, 2017.

  1. RDKirk

    RDKirk Alien, Pilgrim, and Sojourner Supporter

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    Were you on About.com?

    When being a Christian became socially advantageous, those seeking social advantage became "Christians." Such people--who are Christians for the social advantage--will also be the very people with a "self before service" attitude that will propel them up the ranks ahead of the "service before self" people.

    The Church organization is not shielded from the Iron Law of Bureaucracy when membership is according to the ways of the world instead of the drawing of the Lord.
     
  2. Walsinghsm Way

    Walsinghsm Way New Member

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    Baruch Hashem, InnTee!

    EDIT: so many small things left undone, I'm sure I didn't address everything yout wanted, so I'll try again if I need to. .... And I expanded some after work. Apologies for my vanity in answering at length.
    The simpliest (and hardest) answer is because He loves us, and will not do violence to His creation.

    More complicated is that He does not allow it so much as He suffers it to be done, again because He loves us.

    To go further, we have to explore the nature of evil itself -which is not pursued in Holy Writ. So a little (more) Philosophy and a little (more) Theology has to be used. But first, a little rabbit hole on the Will of God and its relation to God in Himself.

    He does not will evil to be done in His Name, He does not 'allow' evil to be done in His Name, but He suffers evil done in His Name in the same that He suffers all evil "for a little while", for "the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence and violent men take it by force"(Matthew 11:12). God in Himself does not suffer of course, because He does not change.

    God's permissive will is not God's perfect will. God's 'permissive will' is how God gave us up to the lusts of our heart (Romans 1:12, Psalms 81:12), it is the will that stores up the fullness of wrath (James 5:3 , Romans 2:5). God's 'perfect' will is health and salvation, but His 'permissive' will allows wrath to build up "against all ungodliness", but in actuality, His will is one because He is One; moreover He is without change.

    Oh look, another rabbit hole on the divine perfections!

    He does not change His will or mind, because in Him His Essence is His Existence, and His Mind and Will are identical, and He is pure act with no potential for moving from imperfection to perfection, thus no change.

    In us this is not so, our essence and existence are not identical, we are full of potential to become, so in us is there is the principle and potential of change. Change can lead to privation, a loosing of some quality, which in turn becomes the ground of evil.

    Evil, according to Theology, is a privation, an absence of some good. Thus there is a physical (body, mind and emotions), moral, and spiritual privation in creation, thus the possibility for evil. Creation by its very nature is limited, and finte, thus it can and does change, and suffer loss, can become 'evil'. It is only in becoming completely filled by God (overshadowed by His Holy Spirit) that we become good.

    Back to God, His Love, and a little about our wills.

    I mentioned God suffers violence to be done in His Name because of His love. This love of God for Creation is His gift, wherein He made us "in the image and likeness of God" (Genesis 1:27), and created us to be His agent-intellects and stewards on earth, having a full independent power of agency to enact real changes, reducing potentialities to act. But it can go either way, and as the creation story shows about Adam "he chose...wrongly". And we've beens choosing wrongly ever since. Ahem.

    It's a steep price to pay, but one God was/is willing to lay, otherwise He would have sent not a Suffering Servant, but an avenging Warrior Angel or Messianic Warrior-King and Teacher of intertestamental Judaism *cough* Essences *cough*

    We're not really going to understand the "permission of evil" this side of the Second Coming though , so I'm sure I've missed a few things here, which I'll try to correct of opportunity presents itself. But for now, this is the best i can do. I hope it helps.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
  3. jayem

    jayem Naturalist

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    But if God allows free will--even if it results in evil--that raises another issue. God is claimed to be sovereign and to have a divine plan for the universe. This would mean nothing can occur that is contrary to God's overall design. So we must conclude that misery and suffering caused by evil must be part of God's grand plan. Which contradicts the notion of free will. We still have a paradox. Am I stating this clearly?
     
  4. Chriliman

    Chriliman Well-Known Member

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    God gives us free will, similar to how a we give our children free will by giving birth to them, but this doesn't mean he allows us to disobey, similar to how good parents don't allow their children to disobey. If disobedience happens, God corrects it, but this doesn't mean he allows disobedience/evil, it actually means quite the opposite, God rebukes disobedience/evil.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
  5. Walsinghsm Way

    Walsinghsm Way New Member

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    So yeah, I heavily redacted my earlier post. Sorry guys. (But what a cool post number it was!)
     
  6. Chesterton

    Chesterton Whats So Funny bout Peace Love and Understanding Supporter

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    No, I think this is a non-sequitur:
    • God is claimed to be sovereign and to have a divine plan for the universe.
    • This would mean nothing can occur that is contrary to God's overall design.
    I don't think being sovereign and having a plan means nothing contrary can occur.
     
  7. RDKirk

    RDKirk Alien, Pilgrim, and Sojourner Supporter

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    Being a mission-oriented, operational kind of guy, I don't really see how this question is a problem in going out and accomplishing the mission of the Body of Christ.
     
  8. jayem

    jayem Naturalist

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    Do you really think God would allow an occurrence that was not in accord with his plans? As I understand traditional Christian teaching, there are some events that are central to God's plan. Like Jesus's death as remission for sin. Could Pilate have chosen to spare Jesus from execution? And if so, could Jesus have survived to die of natural causes at a ripe old age? Isn't the fall of man another paramount event? Could Adam and Eve have chosen not to disobey God?

    How would you even know if any particular event was or was not ordained by God?
     
  9. John 1720

    John 1720 Harvest Worker Supporter

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    Hi InTee,
    I see three questions here all of which can be answered straight out of the Bible itself.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    1. My concern is that it does not seem that a loving and kind God would allow humans to publicly misrepresent him by doing evil in his name. So does that mean God is not loving and kind?
    2. Or God does not exist (or does not have the power to lead his people)?
    3. Or that God values humans' free will even more than the integrity of his "body" in this world, the Church?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    1. You state that, "It does not seem that a loving and kind God would allow humans to publicly misrepresent him by doing evil in his name". My answer is that God demonstrated His love towards us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly. If He followed the above premise than immediately after the Fall He should have taken us out but in His love and mercy He did not.
    2. God does not exist (or does not have the power to lead his people)?
      • This is a false assumption. Based on the Narrative found in His Holy Word, God certainly exists and does have the power to lead His people. He does so by putting His Spirit in us who have believed, turning from our sins to Christ and transforming our minds and hearts to be in one accord with His. So God is in the process of making a new man from the old, although it can be inferred that we are in embryonic stage and do not yet fully know our fulfilment in Him as John says.
      • 1 John 3:2
      • Galatians 4:19
      • Suffice to say, as Paul infers above, we are being formed into the image of Christ. We are developing new arms, legs, hands, feet, eyes, ears, mouth, and mind in the image of Christ, who is with us to the end of the age, to represent Him to the ends of the earth and proclaim His life saving Gospel. His Church, therefore, is on mission with Him through the Holy Spirit who works Christ's life-saving mission to transform sinful descendants of dead Adam to the ascendents of the living Christ; transferring us from the dark kingdom of death to the glorious light of the kingdom of God with great power that can move mountains; for the gates of hell cannot prevail against the Gospel and the Church (the body of believers in Christ).
    3. Or that God values humans' free will even more than the integrity of his "body" in this world, the Church?
      • Love and free will, as discussed in #1, are synonymous with one another. God has provided an age for the merciful Gospel to go out to the ends of the earth. He warned us that fowls would rest in the branches of the Kingdom and that there would be enemies within the Church - tares and wheat - beforehand. He said not to uproot them just as He himself gave the so called prophetess Jezebel time to repent. Waiting illustrates His mercy so I don't understand the supposed postulate of coercive love. Do you? I do, however, understand this, however. While God has given us a time whereby we may repent and turn toward Him and be saved by the power of Christ and His cross - justice is coming and will be proportionate.
      • Rev 2:20-21 "Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent.
        2Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.​
    In Christ,
    John 17:20
     
  10. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    Yes - but it shows a limited understanding of how God works. God is not limited to our understanding of logic. Things that appear to be paradoxes to our limited understanding may fit together perfectly well in HIS scheme of things.

    And we know from the scriptural record (Ex: Joseph being sold into slavery) that God will use our sinful decisions and weave them into His ultimate goals.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
  11. Aseyesee

    Aseyesee Well-Known Member

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    It is another example of where Christ is crucified.
     
  12. fhansen

    fhansen Oldbie

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    People, believers or otherwise, will always be compelled or tempted by conflicting desires, while needing to justify whatever those desires are before they act on them. We all want and need to be in the right, regardless of how wrong we might be; we're created as moral beings. In fact, all wrong acts are driven by some perceived good result. Sometimes Christians may justify some particular behavior in the name of God, sincerely believing, at the time, that they're doing His will. And, being human they may be influenced by the values of the world around them. The Church has lived through very different times than we live in now. But this only means that her members haven't always heeded her very own gospel.

    So there's no absolute black and white distinction in terms of moral behavior between God's followers and the rest of the world, although, ideally, there certainly should be. Humans find ways to do what they want anyway, and it's a struggle all through life to get better and better at doing the "right thing".

    But we cannot dismiss the fruits of the Church which have been huge, and consistent, down through the centuries as well. Clothing the naked, feeding the poor, caring for the sick-hospitals and orphanages and rehabilitation centers and preserving education and developing the educational and university systems, strides in science/knowledge, offering hope and light in an often very dark world, promoting the pursuit of excellence in general, countless hours of charitable volunteer work and amounts of wealth donated, social justice endeavors, loving our enemies when our natural inclination is to vanquish them, making altruism an authentic human value. All inspired by the ideal presented by the gospel.
     
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  13. jayem

    jayem Naturalist

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    What you're saying is that it comes down to faith. I'm not a religious believer, but I agree that there is no other answer. The problem of evil is an unsolvable dilemma by human intelligence. If you're a Christian, you just have to have faith that God will work everything out in the end.

    I may be getting off topic, but to touch on my point about free will, how can you know that your decision really is your own? Isn't it possible that God could be directing your choice pursuant to fulfilling his goals? He's done that before. In Exodus, God hardens Pharaoh's heart against releasing the Hebrews more that once, until the time was right. How can anyone know if free will exists at all?

    This probably should be a new thread. :wave:
     
  14. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    Indeed. But it also is a matter of the logic framework one uses.

    In our greek based logic from Aristotle, things can be seen to be mutually exclusive. However, the bible seems to use another framework known as Hebraic Block logic or adductive logic. Many things that are "either-or" in Aristotelian logic become "both-and" in Hebraic logic.

    Aristotelian logic works very well as long as you are dealing ONLY with the natural physical world. But once you make the jump to the supernatural world, Hebraic Block Logic must be used.
     
  15. Hank77

    Hank77 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This was never done in the name of the church or the name of God. It was done in secret.
     
  16. fhansen

    fhansen Oldbie

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    Yep, largely self-preservation mentality operative there in all likelihood.
     
  17. possibletarian

    possibletarian Active Member

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    But in full view of a god who had the power to stop it.
     
  18. Hank77

    Hank77 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That is a whole other discussion outside what is OP is discussing, in my opinion, so I'm not going to respond to it.
     
  19. SPF

    SPF Well-Known Member

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    I think the simplest answer is because He doesn't need us to defend Him. He's revealed the Truth about Himself to us in Scripture.

    No Christian, not a single one, is ever going to be able to perfectly represent God this side of heaven. The only way what you're asking could be accomplished would be if there was no sin in the world.
     
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