Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Why Evil?

A few days ago a commenter named Alice wanted me to "open my mind" to other possibilities being true and to read the writings that began her journey away from the Bible and Jesus. I want to touch on a couple of points that I found particularly annoying, starting with the idea that God created satan, and Adam and Eve fully intending for them to go wrong.

The first scripture this philosopher/preacher brings up is:

"For the creature was made subject to vanity not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope. Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain until now" Romans 8:20-22

His comments on this verse:
"Wow! Did you know that scripture is in the Bible? Have you ever meditated at length on its meaning? This one scripture does much damage to Christian doctrine. From a strictly carnal-minded approach, this scripture is devastating....The force of these verses in Rom. 8:20-22 is inescapable. It was God HIMSELF who subjected the whole creation to vanity, and He didn't ask anyone's permission before He did it. And it is only God Himself who will deliver the whole creation from the bondage of corruption, pain, and suffering. Make no mistake about it: God is the Creator of evil, and He takes full responsibility for the deliverance from the consequences of all the evils that have caused the creation to 'groan and travail in PAIN until NOW as Paul describes. God takes responsibility for the temporary failures of creation so that He can take all the credit and glory for its successes."

The Apostle Peter had words for such musings when he said:

2Peter 3:11-17  Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,  Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?   Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.  And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation;
  
even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;  as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.  

Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. (KJV)

Where do I even begin to untangle that mess of false doctrine?

First, to his credit, he admits this is view is from his "carnal perspective". What I get out of that passage in Romans by keeping the whole of what the Lord provides for our learning in the Bible in view; that God subjected creation to the consequence of it's vanity which is bondage of our corruption, with the means (Jesus redemption) of reclaiming some of creation (hope) rather than scrapping the whole of it (which would have been justified) into the dustbin of eternity (hell). Instead he concocts a whole new theology out of it that makes God a co-conspirator with evil so that He can then take responsibility for this evil by redeeming ALL of creation, since it was He Himself that made it to fail so that He could redeem all of it to His own glory and credit. God created something that could follow His instructions with happy consequences....or go against His instructions with unhappy consequences. The consequences were and are widespread, to all of creation. The cure is also found by following God's instructions, but many won't, and it is true that it is by His leading, His Spirit, and many won't seek it, in fact are unable to seek it unless God places it in our/their heart to do so.


This writer continues on, and on, and on, explaining further, with more mangling of scripture taken out of context, why there is no hell which I will lightly touch on in another post....and now I need another Advil.

19 comments:

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    1. Yes.......I have a feeling I know where this is going...look Michael, you and others who reject Jesus want to find contradictions where I see only our limitations to fully understand a Being that is far beyond human comprehension, I consider it to be like a worm trying to understand an eagle.if you humble yourself to Him now and seek His forgiveness for rejecting Him all this time, He promises to fill you in later...but we won't care much about stuff like that then, we'll just enjoy His physical presence.

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  2. So there's no way God could have created Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, without knowing in advance how it was going to turn out?

    "if you humble yourself to Him now and seek His forgiveness for rejecting Him all this time, He promises to fill you in later..."

    I can't. You said it yourself: I can't seek Him until He leads me to do so.

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    1. Romans chapter 1 states God has provided enough evidence in nature, that no one will have an excuse, yes, He leads, and there is some kind of supernatural interaction that I know happened in my life, even though I cannot fully explain it, it is a miracle...but however there was a point in my life where God did send a couple to tell me about Jesus, while I was doing drugs and on my way to hell...and if I told them to get lost at that time, I am very certain I'd be in hell today. There is some kind of fluidity to time and life where my situation could have gone the other way.

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  3. That's not what you said earlier. You said, "The fact that the fall has effected and infected every part of our being and extensively so is the very reason we are unable to turn to Jesus, unable to be sincere in our quest of Him, and unable to hear and/or understand His calling out to us.....UNLESS He intervenes and causes it to be so." If that's true, then you were unable not to tell them to get lost at that time, unless it was by His intervention.

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  4. He does intervene, and we are completely infected, He also said people wouldn't believe even if one were to come back from the dead...and that's true too, because He did, plenty of eye witnesses who died as martyrs because they wouldn't lie about what they saw, and yet most people still reject it...that is our natural state, and yet, He gives everyone desires, and He has given the cautionary information and sends His ministers and in OT He sent prophets, many of whom died horrible deaths. Even though it is God's Spirit that draws people to Himself He has made it clear that there will be no excuse, and eternity will bear out the truth of the matter. I do hope you will seek Him for true repentance in humility for railing against Him with your accusations. It will hurt you more than it hurts Him for your continued rejection, it is you rejecting Him, and if that continues to your death, He will give you that, eternity without Him is eternity without everything good...you won't like it much, if at all.

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    1. I have heard that the conversion of a soul is LIKE being on the outside of a door, and not entering it because of not knowing what's on the other side, and the sign on the door say "enter whosoever will" ...not everyone goes through that door...and once through it there is a huge banquet table with a place reserved with your name on it that says "chosen before the foundation of the earth"...and perhaps it's sort of like that, that analogy also has flaws, Jesus told many parables to describe the circumstances because it describes something that is outside the realm of our reasoning ability in our fallen condition...just as I would need a good teacher to teach me physics (I hate memorizing formulas he would have to be a very good and patient teacher because it would take much time, patience, skill, and wisdom to transfer such knowledge to one such as I)...God sends Bibles, teachers, preachers, prophets (that word doesn't mean what most people think it means), and once you have totally surrendered to Him, He gives the best teacher of all, His Holy Spirit that teaches precept upon precept over time, through a better understanding what we see in the world through the lenses of what He is revealing to us through His book...the Bible.

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    2. This tablet is awful for replying, the autocorrect constantly changes words on me, caught a few before hitting publish, oh well, I hope it's good enough for you to understand what I'm trying to say...

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  5. So, can we seek Him ourselves? Or can we not? Earlier you seemed to say that we cannot -- that we reach Him entirely by His grace and His choice.

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    1. Like I said "It's complicated" lol, we tend to make everything "either/or" and God is not limited in that way. I do not subscribe to "synergism" because, as you have pointed out I am a Calvinist....given that, and given that it is all up to our gracious God to do or not do according to His will, we still can not be so presumptuous as to say we can definitely know how He does or does not accomplish this. It is His will after all, and He does not suffer from the limitations that we suffer from. I posted on presumptions today, cover it lightly, where I speak my thoughts about that a bit. We all have them, to be sure, we all speculate whether or not something is true or not, but that will never change the actual facts of any matter, will it?

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    2. I'm not asking for a step-by-step description of the process. It just seems to me that either our salvation is dependent on our actions -- including realizing our need, seeking God, and asking for His grace -- or else our salvation is entirely dependent on God, in which case everyone who doesn't receive salvation is being held responsible for something they ultimately have no control over. (And not just 'consigned to the scrap bin of eternity; we're talking eternal, conscious torment, here.)

      Calvinism tries to have it both ways, claiming that we have no say in our own salvation but simultaneously insisting that if we go to Hell, it's our own fault. I don't see any way those two positions could be even remotely compatible, and the explanations I've heard either do more to obfuscate than to explain, or else come down to "We don't know."

      I get the impression that this bothers you, too -- though of course I don't, and can't, really know for sure. But you spend a fair amount of time urging us to mend our wicked ways for someone who claims to believe that it's all in God's hands.

      Anyway, I'm going to stop, now. I'm sure I've contributed more than enough to your Advil intake. Thanks for answering.

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    3. Did you notice the either/ or in your question? Yes, the answer is yes. You are in control of as much as God gives you AND He holds you responsible for that. How's that?

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    4. Has anyone ever explained what "the gospel" is to you Michael?

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  6. "Did you notice the either/ or in your question?"

    Notice it? It was deliberate. Yes, sometimes people make things more simple than they need to be; but by the same token, sometimes people make things more complicated than they need to be. In this case, I was saying that I find the Calvinist explanation of salvation to be inherently self-contradictory, and the either/or structure seemed like a good way to show why it strikes me that way.

    Now, clearly you don't see it as contradictory, and honestly I'd be surprised if you did.

    "Yes, the answer is yes. You are in control of as much as God gives you AND He holds you responsible for that."

    So our salvation is directly affected by our actions and/or beliefs? In that case, how do you explain people who sincerely sought, but never found?

    "Has anyone ever explained what 'the gospel' is to you Michael?"

    I was raised a Christian. I believed -- believed with that rock-solid, utterly matter-of-fact faith that only comes naturally to children. The sky is blue, water is wet, God loves me, and Jesus died for my sins -- that kind of faith. The Apostles spoke so that everyone in the crowd heard their message in his or her native tongue; Samson tore down the pillars of the temple; and Noah and his family were the only people left in the world who hadn't become irredeemably wicked. I believed all of it.

    That's part of why I keep asking you about your beliefs; Calvinism has a sort of "Twilight Zone" quality for me, simultaneously very familiar and very, very strange. It's built with the same bricks, and on the same foundation, as the Christianity I was raised in -- but the overall edifice has a very different architecture.

    So, if you'd like to explain the Gospel to me, I promise to read whatever you have to say about it. Not only that, I promise to read it attentively and entirely. I think maybe that should be a post of its own, though. Either way, I'd love to hear what you have to say.

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    1. What disappointment, or what angered you, to cause you to feel the need to reject God? Is it that you think that now that you are "all grown up" you are too smart for that? The Bible says the foolishness of God (redemption by the cross) is wiser than the wisdom of men. We always want to have the last laugh, to think we are smarter than those we look down on, I see atheists as thinking they are much too intelligent to believe "such foolishness"....but God says His foolishness is higher in intelligence than the wisdom of man. I know you refuse to believe that. That is the main difference between you and I. I take God at His word...and if something SEEMS contradictory or confusing, I can accept the fact that I am the one that doesn't have all the pieces of the puzzle.

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    2. What caused me to feel the need to reject God? Nothing, really. I was raised to believe in Him, I was told He was there, and I believed it. Why wouldn't I? My parents are Christians; they believe it. My brother is still a Christian (though admittedly "unchurched" -- he had more of a bad experience with the human side of the organization than I ever did) -- he believes it. "All grown up?" Is anybody, ever, all grown up? No. This is where I am at the moment. Admittedly, it's where I've been for twenty-five years, give or take, so of course I don't think it's likely to change, but changes like that never come when they're expected.

      Tell me something? When you talk about who God is, or what He wants from us, are you speaking from your own communications with Him? Or are you speaking from your best understanding of what other people say He's like, and He wants from us? When you ask Him questions, does He answer?

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    3. My experience with church and the Lord are quite different from yours. I My parents didn't "do church" until I was about 10 or 11 years of age, and then it was Seventh day Adventsm, a cult begun by the "prophetess" EG White. Later I rebelled married a Mormon, then a few years after I went into the New Age movement and dabbled with drugs. I was doing "ecstasy" and almost overdosed by accident. It was at that time that a family of "backsliding Christians" talked with me about God, Jesus and the Bible. I was convicted in my spirit of what I was doing, that conviction was so strong, and I just had a "knowing" that I can only describe as from God that if I rejected Him again, or still, I was going to die and go to hell. I had several years of severe spiritual battles. It was very difficult, and always kept a Bible nearby. I guess if I went to a psychiatrist I would have been diagnosed as schizophrenic, and would have been kept "doped up". Thankfully God brought me through all of that His way, but I understand quite well that there are malevolent spiritual forces, some even have a "good" appearance...and that by continuing to seek the Lord even in my darkest hours, I was protected. I don't hear His voice audibly, but I have scripture verses come to mind just when I need them most, or situations that I am observant enough to recognize the lessons that are paralleled by lessons from the scriptures. These strengthen me in my understanding of the spiritual forces, and my life's battles have shown me the truth. I understand that most people won't have such an intense relationship with Jesus, and many love Him without having delved into Satan's realm to know He is real and that the battle is real. I'm thankful He pulled me away from a destiny I deserve, just in the nick of time.

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    4. Okay, fair enough. Most of the committed Christians I know have something like that -- not necessarily with the spiritual battles, but at the very least some awareness of God's presence. They don't just randomly choose to be Christians; they have reasons for it -- often very personal reasons, which are rooted in their own experience and perception of the world.

      I don't. I don't have that awareness. God doesn't communicate with me in any way that I can perceive. As far as I can tell, He isn't out there... and that, ultimately, is why I'm not a Christian. Now, maybe I'll have a C.S. Lewis moment at some point, but until then I'm kind of stuck.

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    5. Have you read Mere Christianity? or Surprised by Joy? I how I hope the Lord brings you to such a moment...mine was more like a series of moments that I now can see as I look back, but at the time was unaware of. One "moment" I had already turned to Him but was going through those terrible battles, when I felt I was at my darkest, I felt like God had abandoned me, I was sitting in my car feeling very dark, late at night (it was after work I worked until 1 a.m.) and I somewhat prayed but more than anything I just felt hopelessly lost and dark and empty and without a compass, no direction,....just sitting for what seemed like a very long time, but maybe it wasn't...and this was about the closest I've come to hearing God's voice, or perhaps His angel's, it said "worship the truth", piercing my darkness, it sort of seemed audible because it was so clear, and definitely entered in a way that wasn't like my ordinary thought processes usually manifest themselves...and I know and knew at the time that Jesus said " I am the way the TRUTH and the life", He fixed my compass, it was the only time I heard a voice that wasn't condemning...conviction of sin is different than feeling condemned.

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