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The basis of every moral argument against God, oddly enough, come from the morals God placed in the heart of men. I’ve heard the rebuttals to that statement. “Morality doesn’t have to come from God. It can come from social norms, from empathy, or even evolution due to natural selection.”
But there is the problem with every rebuttal that I have heard. They are all short sighted. When you think of social norms you have to ask further questions. Why are there social norms? Why do we have empathy? Why would the first moral concept have occurred in our thought process?
To say that empathy is the cause of morality you have to explain why you have empathy. Be careful, don’t get caught in a circle. You may be tempted to say you have empathy because you know what something feels like. But that means you have empathy because you have empathy.
If evolution formed empathy by chemical response, … what caused that response? And, who was the one to say it was worth passing on to others?
The point I am making is that the argument for God from morality is solid. The only way you can avoid it is by only asking questions until you hit an answer that you want. Such as you having empathy because of empathy, rather than digging deeper. Or, by claiming God Himself is immoral.
Since you can’t fix stupid (the dog chasing his tail), I am going to focus on the second way to avoid it. The claim that God is immoral. This is normally called “The Problem of Evil.”
Before we get into the specific arguments from the Bible we need to address one big issue first. Does it matter if God is or is not immoral? If He is not then you need to submit to Him. If He is then you need to submit to Him. Either way, you need to submit.
But, be sure that God is righteous. How do I know? Because God alone decides what is and wrong. You don’t like that? Maybe you would like to decide? Well, do you own the universe? No? Then get your proud little hands off of what isn’t yours!
The point is that you DON’T get to decide. You only get to know what was already decided for you. God owns you, like it or not. You DO, however, get to decide if you want to DO right or wrong. I will explain that in a moment.
Now, there are two other issues we need to address as well. The second issue is where did evil come from? But to answer that question you also have to know what evil is! So, what is evil? Evil is the opposite of good. What is good? Good is God and what God decides is right.
So did God create evil? YES! In fact, Isaiah 45:7 comes right out and tells us that God creates evil. He created evil when He created good. You can’t have one without the other. If good is light then the dark must be evil. If right is right then anything that isn’t right must be wrong. It’s not too hard to figure that one out.
And, guess what. You don’t have to BE something in order to create it. For example, if I make a law saying thou shalt not kill then I have also made the opposite of that law, … lawlessness. Even though I myself am not lawless.
But, the issue of where evil came from boils down to the same thing. Who owns the universe? Whoever owns the universe gets to decide how to use it and what it should do.
Right and wrong is only subjective to the one who gets to decide. The only one who gets to decide is the owner of the universe. He made it, He sets the rules.
The third, and final “big issue” we need to address is why God allows evil to happen. Notice I didn’t say exist. It will always exist, but it doesn’t have to occur. Evil is a concept, the occurrence of evil is an action. You can’t destroy an idea, but you can stop the actions of those who have the idea.
So, why doesn’t God stop evil from happening? Surely, an Omnibenevolent God would not let evil happen, right? Well, what if He would? What if there was actually a benevolent REASON to allow evil to happen?
That is exactly why God allows evil. It is because He is actually being good to us. If God never gave us the ability to choose between good or evil (even knowing we would choose evil) then we would not be complete. We would be robots with no will, no mind of our own, no love, and nothing like God.
So God gives us the ability to choose. Now, some may point out that man must have been flawed to have chosen sin. This is untrue. God created man to be sinless. In the beginning man was perfect. It was man who had the choice to obey or not. It wasn’t until man sinned that he BECAME imperfect.
Why would a perfect man sin? Because he had the ability to choose, but did not understand what it would really mean to choose sin. This is because he was sinless. So, why not? Man was perfect, but he was still not God. He still didn’t know it all. Perfection doesn’t require you to be a god. It just requires you to be without flaw in what you were designed to be.
It was at the fall of man that humans became imperfect. It was also because of their fall that the world also suffers. That is why we now see natural disasters. Our sins don’t just affect us.
Why didn’t God just design man to already have an understanding of sin and death? Simple, man didn’t need to know. All man had to do was choose good over evil. You don’t have to put your head on a railroad track with a train coming to know it is a bad idea.
Want to understand this issue a little bit better? Visit The Knowledge of Good and Evil.
“If God is perfectly good, he would want to prevent all of the evil and suffering in the world. Couldn’t God have created a world without evil?” That is the statement made by the normal atheist. But, there is a problem with that statement.
Again, this is a short sighted view. In order for God to prevent evil from happening He would have to never create anything good. Because when you create good, you create it’s opposite too, evil. In fact, God Himself could not exist. Nothing could.
Evil is the opposite of good. Therefore, if a good God did not exist then we may (wrongly) say that only evil would exist. Because evil is the opposite of good.
But, without good there could be no opposite of good. Without the idea of what is right there can be no idea of what is wrong. Either way, good and evil must exist at the same time, or nothing at all can exist.
We DO exist. Therefore, God must be good. Because there is no such thing as evil if there is no such thing as good. Before evil could exist good must FIRST exist, or at the very least it must exist at the same time.
Could God find a way to make good exist without evil? You are asking a question that cancels itself out. It‘s like asking me to run, but not run. Your question is therefore invalid. It is based on the idea that omnipotence is subject to a request that doesn‘t exist.
Because if you request me to run then I will. If you request me not to run then I will not. But if you request me to do both at the same time, then I could do nothing and STILL fulfill your request. Because by not running I have fulfilled the request to not run. Or, by running while not running I am not running and STILL fulfill the request.
There is NO request for me to run though! Because your question cancels itself out. You may as well be saying, “Run, … on second thought, don’t run.”
So, would it be good for God to be alone when He wanted companionship? Would this in itself not be a bad thing? God would suffer, forever, alone.
“Then a good God would suffer rather than let us suffer.” someone may say. But aren’t you being short sighted again? What if you could end the suffering of God without forcing man to suffer either?
Because, God being alone would be evil. So out of goodness God created us. He is good, after all. But, He gave us the choice to be good or evil. Why? Because it would be evil to withhold that choice.
It would keep us from being a close companion with God. We couldn’t know what He knows. So again, this would not be good.
Therefore, God did NOT FORCE man to suffer. Man CHOSE to suffer. Yes, God knew he would. But that doesn’t mean God forced the choice we made on us. Foreknowledge does not put things into action. It only knows the actions that will be taken.
But, going in a circle here, why didn’t God keep man from sin? Because it would have been evil for God to deny us the choice. And, it would be evil not to create us.
So do you see that the problem of evil isn’t as simple as we may think it is? Put yourself in God’s shoes for a moment (I know you want to).
If we deny man the choice to sin or not then we are evil. If we suffer alone for eternity rather than giving man existence or the choice then we are still evil. If we don’t exist at all, then nothing at all exists.
We DO exist though. So how can we be good? We must create man to remove the evil of loneliness. We must give man the choice between good and evil to remove the evil of an empty relationship with God.
BUT, we do NOT have to prevent man from making his own choices in order for us to be good. So even when man chooses evil we are still good. We must continue to allow man to chose good or evil, or we must destroy him right then. But, what if we could save man?
Would it not be good to let man continue to make his choices while we have mercy and plead for him to repent? Would it be good to destroy, or to save? Therefore, it would be evil to NOT allow man to make the choices that he does. These choices lead to death and destruction. But they can also lead to life everlasting. It’s our choice. But God is innocent in all of it.
So ultimately the answer to the question of why God allows suffering isn’t because God is evil. It is actually because God is good!
He was good in making us. He was good in providing us a choice, even though He knew what it would be. He is good in letting us continue to make our choices until the day of judgment.
We suffer because of our choice. We do not suffer because God created us to suffer. He created us to make our own choices. So the world is evil because of OUR choices. God withholds His wrath because of His MERCY. Therefore WE are evil, and God is GOOD.
June 4, 2017 at 4:40 pm | | No comment