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This is the forum to discuss the spectrum of views within Christianity on God's foreknowledge and election such as Calvinism, Arminianism, Molinism, Open Theism, Process Theism, Restrictivism, and Inclusivism, Christian Universalism and what these all are about anyway. Who is saved and when is/was their salvation certain? How does God exercise His sovereignty and how powerful is He? Is God timeless and immutable? Does a triune God help better understand God's love for mankind?

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Atheists are welcome to discuss and debate these issues in the Apologetics 301 or General Theistics 101 forum without such restrictions. Theists who wish to discuss these issues outside the parameters of orthodox Christian doctrine are invited to Unorthodox Theology 201.

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God's Love and Allowing Evil

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  • God's Love and Allowing Evil

    Some people make the claim that if God allows someone to be raped or tortured, then He does not really love that person. They say that according to 1 Corinthians 13, love is kind. They go on to say that if God allows someone to be raped or tortured, then He is not kind to person. Therefore, God does not love that person. The assumption is that if God loves a person, then He would not allow someone else to do evil to that person. How do you respond to this?

  • #2
    If God directly controls a person to not allow them to do evil, then their free will has been violated. When horrible things happen to people, many times it's because other people did it to them. If God didn't love certain people, it stands to reason he could be doing horrible things to them himself, instead of through human intermediaries. But what we observe is that most things that happen to us are the result of the actions of other human beings. Even deaths and injuries due to natural disasters are sometimes the fault of people unscrupulously building homes in an area they know is unsafe just to make money.

    Allowing people to do whatever they freely choose to do does not mean God doesn't love the victims, it means he values free will. Also think of this: when people have a perfect life where it seems nothing bad ever happens to them, they tend to forget God because they don't need his help just to get through life.

    I would encourage anyone struggling with this to read the book of Job. Especially the last bit where God reminds Job that he doesn't have the omniscience God does and has no idea what God is doing behind the scenes. God doesn't control people's actions, but he does work with those actions to bring about what he wants to accomplish. We just don't always know what that is.
    Curiosity never hurt anyone. It was stupidity that killed the cat.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by QuantaFille View Post
      If God directly controls a person to not allow them to do evil, then their free will has been violated. When horrible things happen to people, many times it's because other people did it to them. If God didn't love certain people, it stands to reason he could be doing horrible things to them himself, instead of through human intermediaries. But what we observe is that most things that happen to us are the result of the actions of other human beings. Even deaths and injuries due to natural disasters are sometimes the fault of people unscrupulously building homes in an area they know is unsafe just to make money.

      Allowing people to do whatever they freely choose to do does not mean God doesn't love the victims, it means he values free will. Also think of this: when people have a perfect life where it seems nothing bad ever happens to them, they tend to forget God because they don't need his help just to get through life.

      I would encourage anyone struggling with this to read the book of Job. Especially the last bit where God reminds Job that he doesn't have the omniscience God does and has no idea what God is doing behind the scenes. God doesn't control people's actions, but he does work with those actions to bring about what he wants to accomplish. We just don't always know what that is.
      ^That.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by QuantaFille View Post
        If God directly controls a person to not allow them to do evil, then their free will has been violated. When horrible things happen to people, many times it's because other people did it to them. If God didn't love certain people, it stands to reason he could be doing horrible things to them himself, instead of through human intermediaries. But what we observe is that most things that happen to us are the result of the actions of other human beings. Even deaths and injuries due to natural disasters are sometimes the fault of people unscrupulously building homes in an area they know is unsafe just to make money.

        Allowing people to do whatever they freely choose to do does not mean God doesn't love the victims, it means he values free will. Also think of this: when people have a perfect life where it seems nothing bad ever happens to them, they tend to forget God because they don't need his help just to get through life.

        I would encourage anyone struggling with this to read the book of Job. Especially the last bit where God reminds Job that he doesn't have the omniscience God does and has no idea what God is doing behind the scenes. God doesn't control people's actions, but he does work with those actions to bring about what he wants to accomplish. We just don't always know what that is.
        Hello QuantaFille,

        Thank you for answering my question. If I were to see someone being raped and I had the power to stop the raptist, why would I be morally obligated to override the raptist's free will, but not God? In this kind of a situation it seems obvious that if I had the power to stop the raptist, then I would be morally obligated to stop him. I would be morally obligated to override the raptist's free will. Why wouldn't God be morally obligated to override the raptist's free will?

        Why doesn't God override a person's freedom more often? God overrode Pharoah's free will even He delivered the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Hornet View Post
          If I were to see someone being raped and I had the power to stop the raptist, why would I be morally obligated to override the raptist's free will, but not God? In this kind of a situation it seems obvious that if I had the power to stop the raptist, then I would be morally obligated to stop him. I would be morally obligated to override the raptist's free will. Why wouldn't God be morally obligated to override the raptist's free will?

          Why doesn't God override a person's freedom more often? God overrode Pharoah's free will even He delivered the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt.
          You would be morally obligated to override the rapist's free will because that's probably why God put you in that situation at that moment.

          Comment


          • #6
            And what about the victim's free will? Why does the oppressor get to have their free will, and not the victim? I don't agree with the free will defense in the problem of evil, instead we can take this Scripture as a response, for the Christian:

            "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." (2 Co 4:17)

            So without the troubles, there would be no glory!

            But what about for the unbeliever?

            "No harm overtakes the righteous,
            but the wicked have their fill of trouble." (Prov. 12:21)

            And we may hope the wicked repent, and then their troubles too, will be meaningful, and rewarded.

            Blessings,
            Le
            "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Hornet View Post
              Hello QuantaFille,

              Thank you for answering my question. If I were to see someone being raped and I had the power to stop the raptist, why would I be morally obligated to override the raptist's free will, but not God? In this kind of a situation it seems obvious that if I had the power to stop the raptist, then I would be morally obligated to stop him. I would be morally obligated to override the raptist's free will. Why wouldn't God be morally obligated to override the raptist's free will?

              Why doesn't God override a person's freedom more often? God overrode Pharoah's free will even He delivered the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt.

              I think God leaves us alone because he is giving us our wish. That is what rebellion is after all. When mankind rebelled against God, we were telling God not to interfere with us and we knew better than him what is best for ourselves. We wanted to be in control. So God is letting us. We can use that control for good or evil. If you use your power to stop a rapist, then you are doing good. If you use your power to walk away, then you are doing evil. When we get saved, we are submitting our will and control back to God.

              Comment


              • #8
                So, like the Prime directive from Star Trek? I got that from Christianthinktank.com .
                If it weren't for the Resurrection of Jesus, we'd all be in DEEP TROUBLE!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                  I think God leaves us alone because he is giving us our wish. That is what rebellion is after all. When mankind rebelled against God, we were telling God not to interfere with us and we knew better than him what is best for ourselves. We wanted to be in control. So God is letting us. We can use that control for good or evil. If you use your power to stop a rapist, then you are doing good. If you use your power to walk away, then you are doing evil. When we get saved, we are submitting our will and control back to God.
                  I agree. Without the Fall, there would be no rapist to stop and we couldn't even conceive of this conversation. Maybe we need to start relearning the doctrine of the Fall and it's impact. Rightly or wrongly, we'll mention the Fall for about one minute and then skip ahead to salvation.
                  "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

                  "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Or we need to know what life apart from God looks like to make the choice of salvation? I accepted Jesus' offer of salvation after finding out the world was not a perfect place. And I wanted the trust in God that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had.
                    If it weren't for the Resurrection of Jesus, we'd all be in DEEP TROUBLE!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post
                      I agree. Without the Fall, there would be no rapist to stop and we couldn't even conceive of this conversation. Maybe we need to start relearning the doctrine of the Fall and it's impact. Rightly or wrongly, we'll mention the Fall for about one minute and then skip ahead to salvation.
                      Or maybe we have to upgrade our understanding of the Fall.

                      Why did Adam not have the ability to differentiate good from evil? Consider the idea that he had a body which has not yet been subdued. However God was with him, so he COULD subdue it, gradually. Subduing a horse is making it useful for its owner. Why did God not give Adam a controllable body? God used the situation to bond with Adam, just like parents get a model plane or a cake mix, to bond with their children. Adam would see the great attributes of God, and become attached to Him.

                      So we see Adam had a wild body, and at the same time was close to God. A spirited body is not a bad thing. If God’s creatures did not get pleasure from eating, they would have no motive to feed and continue to live. It is only when this appetite, like other appetites, is misused, is when it becomes a problem, like stealing, instead of being satisfied with what one has hunted or gathered by ourselves, or adultery, instead of staying within marriage. Judaism calls the controlled impulse yetser hatov, the uncontrolled, yetser hara.

                      So till Adam learned to have a controllable body, he needed to be prevented fro having the ability to differentiate good from evil, because mental competence, what minors and the mentally handicapped do not have, as any good lawyer knows, is what makes a person culpable, and if Adam became guilty, a very likely possibility because of his spirited body, he would have become separated from God, because only the pure can remain in the presence of God. Resulting in what Paul described as the condition of knowing, willing to do right, but sin, not him, which was causing him to disobey (Romans 7), and killing him, separating him from God. Thanks be to Christ for saving him, for those who are in Christ, who created our hilesterion, the thing that saves, we CAN be united with God. The Jewish sages teach that if Adam had waited till the Sabbath, he would have entered Rest, have finished subduing his body because of God’s help, and God would have given him the knowledge of good and evil.

                      God's instruction to keep away from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a warning, not a law, because laws are useful only when humanity has a knowledge of good and evil, like God, and unlike animals. Its use is like the warnings of parents to children to not play in traffic. They may not understand, so they need a punishment to be added. A proverb: when we were children we obeyed out of fear of punishment, when we became adults, out of choice, when we became old, out of understanding.

                      So the Fall is: Adam’s pride, thinking he knew better than God, leading to ignoring the warning, resulting in being found guilty, leading to death, separation from God.

                      The Gospel is restoration of unity with God (confirmed by having the ability to have God do great works, explain great teachings through us, abilty to overcome great difficulties, to complete humanity's mandate) through being in Rest in Christ, through being found loyal to God, through grace, not law (relationships).

                      1 Corinthians 15:1Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

                      3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance a : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Cephas, b and then to the Twelve. 6After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
                      Last edited by footwasher; 09-02-2020, 08:36 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Faber View Post
                        You would be morally obligated to override the rapist's free will because that's probably why God put you in that situation at that moment.
                        I would agree with that.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                          I think God leaves us alone because he is giving us our wish. That is what rebellion is after all. When mankind rebelled against God, we were telling God not to interfere with us and we knew better than him what is best for ourselves. We wanted to be in control. So God is letting us. We can use that control for good or evil. If you use your power to stop a rapist, then you are doing good. If you use your power to walk away, then you are doing evil. When we get saved, we are submitting our will and control back to God.
                          Why are we morally obligated to stop a rapist if we have the power and opportunity to do so, but not God?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Hornet View Post
                            Hello QuantaFille,

                            Thank you for answering my question. If I were to see someone being raped and I had the power to stop the raptist, why would I be morally obligated to override the raptist's free will, but not God? In this kind of a situation it seems obvious that if I had the power to stop the raptist, then I would be morally obligated to stop him. I would be morally obligated to override the raptist's free will. Why wouldn't God be morally obligated to override the raptist's free will?

                            Why doesn't God override a person's freedom more often? God overrode Pharoah's free will even He delivered the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt.
                            If I stopped the rapist, I have done right by preventing a crime.

                            If God stopped a rapist, it means He has not given him free will.

                            God never over rode Pharoah’s free will in changing his actions. He hardened an existing sin, to speed up the process of judgment. Pharaoh was already in rebellion against God. If you do bad deeds you will become God’s vessel of dishonor, be used for doing bad things. Judas was already a thief. Jesus chose him to be a betrayer. This applies to individuals.

                            In the case of groups, nations, before they can do good or bad, God chooses them to be vessels of honor or dishonor. Therefore God chose to make Israel disbelieve that Christ was the Messiah.

                            Isaiah 8:14And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

                            They will only be grafted back into the People of God, the nation created by its father , Abraham, identified by faith, when they say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Hornet View Post
                              Why are we morally obligated to stop a rapist if we have the power and opportunity to do so, but not God?
                              Maybe you are God's way of stopping the rapist.

                              Comment

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