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#21 Richard

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 02:46 PM

Well I was saying "you" in a general sense towards the spirit that Jeppo alluded to. But in any case, thanks for your answer Ev - elucidated much better than mine.

#22 Jeppo_*

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 03:27 PM

So the millions of children who die through illness & natural catastrophes are simply the victims of man's disobedience to God?

Well who else's fault is it?


OK, i'll humour you. Let's take the Boxing Day tsunami as an example. I didn't come across anybody blaming Adam & Eve for the mounting death toll, but that's essentially the logic of your statements. However, I tend to believe the seismologists; the tsunami was caused by an earthquake close to Sumatra. It's a subduction zone, but i won't bore you with stuff about Plate Tectonics. We live on the crust of a cooling earth, so we just have to get used to these planetary teething problems. Millennia ago we may have conceded that the tsunami might have been caused by a particular underwater Sea-God seeking vengeance on humans, but thankfully due to the enlightenment of modern science we can discount stuff like that, I hope.

The Bible explains the value of suffering and the discipline of God thoroughly. It is for our eternal benefit that we live in a fallen world.


OK, so we live in a 'fallen world' as you put it. Can I reasonably assume that this world was perfect before Adam & Eve fouled things up for the rest of us? If that's the case then earthquakes & tsunamis couldn't have afflicted the human race before Adam & Eve (approx. 6,000 years ago). This is serious stuff - it means our whole knowledge of how the earth's crust behaves is totally wrong. I'll stop there with Plate Tectonics because it's tangential to the discussion about suffering & may be better discussed elsewhere.

If you tried to understand God instead of criticizing him from the feebleness of human reasoning then you'd be more open to accept that God is true and every man a liar.


Doctors and nurses strive every day to help people recover from the effects of terrible illnesses. Human reasoning may be 'feeble' by your standards, but i'm grateful there are many good people out there who keep trying to understand the world in which we live. Medical science is just one area in which the 'feebleness of human reasoning' has helped to give such comfort to those who suffer. Who knows, you may have to rely on this feebleness yourself one day.

#23 Evangelion

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 04:05 PM

Tsunamis have no relevance to Adam and Eve, and I believe they would have occurred regardless of whether or not Eve had eaten the fruit.

However, I believe it could be argued that natural disasters of a different sort (like pandemics) are a consequence of the changes that God wrought upon the earth as punishment for the fall. So while we may trace the reasons for their existence back to Adam and Eve, it is wrong to say that Adam and Eve are personally responsible for everything bad that happens today.

I do not claim that every natural disaster is a deliberate act of God intended to punish the world for the sin of Eve. That is sheer fantasy.

As I said in my previous post: "perfectly natural processes which occur every day". And as I also said: "We have a tendency to view natural disasters as things which shouldn't happen - when in reality, they are things which are indeed supposed to happen, in accordance with the well known laws of nature and physics".

Of course, the greatest threat to humanity is humanity itself; the Nazis alone managed to slaughter more human beings in a few short years than countless natural disasters (excluding pandemics) had killed over several millennia. But that's what you get with free will.

Millennia ago we may have conceded that the tsunami might have been caused by a particular underwater Sea-God seeking vengeance on humans, but thankfully due to the enlightenment of modern science we can discount stuff like that, I hope.


Indeed, and we are all the better for it.
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#24 Richard

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 04:12 PM

So the millions of children who die through illness & natural catastrophes are simply the victims of man's disobedience to God?

Well who else's fault is it?


OK, i'll humour you. Let's take the Boxing Day tsunami as an example. I didn't come across anybody blaming Adam & Eve for the mounting death toll, but that's essentially the logic of your statements. However, I tend to believe the seismologists; the tsunami was caused by an earthquake close to Sumatra. It's a subduction zone, but i won't bore you with stuff about Plate Tectonics. We live on the crust of a cooling earth, so we just have to get used to these planetary teething problems. Millennia ago we may have conceded that the tsunami might have been caused by a particular underwater Sea-God seeking vengeance on humans, but thankfully due to the enlightenment of modern science we can discount stuff like that, I hope.

Tsunamis happen through natural causes - so what? I know about Plate Tectonics don't worry - you don't have to belittle me. And Tsunamis kill people. So what? (I don't mean "so what" in the sense that I don't care) God is interested in people's eternal salvation, not in whether or not they are killed by Tsunamis.

In fact the Bible has the answer to these dilemmas, but I am not sure you'd be interested in the wisdom of God.

OK, so we live in a 'fallen world' as you put it. Can I reasonably assume that this world was perfect before Adam & Eve fouled things up for the rest of us? If that's the case then earthquakes & tsunamis couldn't have afflicted the human race before Adam & Eve (approx. 6,000 years ago). This is serious stuff - it means our whole knowledge of how the earth's crust behaves is totally wrong.

I don't get your reasoning at all.

Doctors and nurses strive every day to help people recover from the effects of terrible illnesses. Human reasoning may be 'feeble' by your standards, but i'm grateful there are many good people out there who keep trying to understand the world in which we live. Medical science is just one area in which the 'feebleness of human reasoning' has helped to give such comfort to those who suffer. Who knows, you may have to rely on this feebleness yourself one day.

That's got nothing to do with what I said. I have the utmost regard for those who know how to help people and alleviate their suffering. But that has nothing to do with the feeble mind's attempt to understand the problem of suffering. It's ironic that the Bible has perfect answers to these problems but people want to ignore them. Are you saying your mind is greater than the mind that went into the Bible?

#25 Jeppo_*

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 05:07 PM

So the millions of children who die through illness & natural catastrophes are simply the victims of man's disobedience to God?

By extension, yes. Of course in practical terms, they are simply victims of perfectly natural processes which occur every day.


Let's clarify this: would there be people dying from natural disasters if man hadn't been disobedient? I'm assuming you'd say 'no'. That seems to be what you are saying...'by extension'. In simple terms God must allow natural disasters to happen. If we go with the man's disobedience angle, then natural disasters can be seen as part of God's punishment for Adam & Eve's disobedience....or a consequence of their disobedience, if we want to spin it more positively.

We have a tendency to view natural disasters as things which shouldn't happen - when in reality, they are things which are indeed supposed to happen, in accordance with the well known laws of nature and physics.
If there was no God, who would you blame for natural disasters?


I wouldn't blame anyone - how could I? It would seem absurd, but I've no reason to believe that the earth was any different in the past. As you say, it's the laws of nature & physics. However, if you are telling me that all the suffering in the world has been caused by man's disobedience in the past, you are making a claim that ultimately every child's death in a natural disaster is a result of Adam & Eve's disobedience to God.

Just out of interest - do you believe there were no earthquakes or tsunamis before adam & Eve? What is the empirical evidence that we live in a 'fallen' world, or is that just something you assume from the Bible?

It also poses another problem: if God is omniscient then He knows the outcome of every situation before it has happened. He knew Adam & Eve were going to make a mess of things before he even started - so why go ahead and let it happen?

Parents all over the world choose to have children despite knowing that they will be disobedient one day, so why be surprised when God does the same?

This is a false analogy. Parents are not omniscient & if they were they would never engineer a situation in which they would knowingly let their children walk into certain death. They definitely wouldn't let their children suffer an agonising death if they had the power to intervene. Would you?

None of this makes Him, equivalent to Hitler and Stalin.

Read my post, I never talked about equivalence. They weren't immortal & omnipotent for starters. Hitler & Stalin were terrible human beings and it would be deeply satisfying to think that there would be some sort of retribution awaiting these guys, but one can't help thinking that even they were part of God's grand plan. Distasteful as that idea may sound.

I don't recall Hitler and Stalin offering too many salvation plans, do you?

I'm not quite sure how to answer this. I'm assuming you are justifying all the suffering in the world by claiming we have been given a way out - presumably by getting the 'salvation plans' from the Bible. Considering that Homo Sapiens have been around for at least 150, 000 years God certainly left it a little late in the day to intervene. And I would agree, there are plenty of slavation plans to go around. Which one is the correct one though? If the Christadelphians turn out to have the 'truth' then it looks like there's going to be billions of Christians hanging from those shackles that Richie was talking about. Can't say i'm looking forward to being lumped in with all those Catholics, mind you.

A consequence of free will is personal responsibility, Jeppo. Even Sartre insisted on this, and he was a hardcore atheist.

I'm a great believer in personal responsibility, though I do question how much 'free will' we really have. There are many aspects of our lives over which we have absolutely no control, but that doesn't diminish the need for us being accountable for our actions.

Edited by Jeppo, 12 July 2008 - 05:14 PM.


#26 Jeppo_*

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 05:35 PM

Tsunamis have no relevance to Adam and Eve, and I believe they would have occurred regardless of whether or not Eve had eaten the fruit.

They do have a relvance to the discussion about human suffering. Tsunamis are a cause of human suffering & totally relevant to the issue of Adam & Eve & the 'fall'. This whole discussion is about why God would allow suffering in the world & you've already told me it's down to man's disobedience. I mention Adam & Eve because it was them who got the ball rolling in the first place. They committed the first act of disobedience did they not? We've been paying the price ever since; being a good person doesn't even let you off the hook, as poor Job found out.

the Nazis alone managed to slaughter more human beings in a few short years than countless natural disasters (excluding pandemics) had killed over several millennia. But that's what you get with free will.

I'm no apologist for Nazi atrocities, but you are way off beam with this one. Did you check my source about malaria? I don't deny that human beings cause an immense amount of suffering in the world, but even they just can't keep pace with the unrelenting cruelty of the natural world.

#27 Richard

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 05:39 PM

Why is Ev way off beam? So what if the natural world is cruel? God has offered us eternal life. Do you know what that means?

#28 nsr

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 05:41 PM

I think the point might be that we humans die because of our own sins. We live in a world where death is unavoidable. If the world were free from suffering, death would not be possible, but death is the punishment we deserve for our sins.

Of course, the Bible's message is the hope of life after death based on God's plan of salvation. We should not be entirely focussed on the present world, and complaining that it isn't perfect. It is only a means to an end. It won't last forever, and our concern with it will only last our lifetime.

#29 Jeppo_*

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 06:28 PM

Why is Ev way off beam? So what if the natural world is cruel?


Richie, both you & Evangelion told me that all human suffering was a direct cause of man's disobedience with God. It was the only explanation you offered & you both claimed you were satisfied by that explanation, which I still find vacuous. I'm making the simple point that the vast majority of human suffering is NOT caused by human beings. That is a simple fact. I'm not complaining that the world is a grim place, I just accept it the way it is. Why shouldn't I?

It gets very complicated if you make the claim that the world is ordered by a divine creator who is omniscient & omnipotent & who loves us. You then have the problem of why a benevolent God (we assume He cares about us) would allow so much suffering in the world, most of which can NOT be blamed on human actions. If you don't think the problem of suffering is a serious issue then that's fair enough, but throwing the book at me & telling me God has given me a way out is completely missing the point of this discussion.

]God has offered us eternal life. Do you know what that means?

I see death as an absolutely necessary part of life & I can't even begin to imagine eternal life. It would kill all motivation, that's for sure. One thing that gives my life value is the fact that it will definitely come to an end.

#30 Richard

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 07:24 PM

Why is Ev way off beam? So what if the natural world is cruel?


Richie, both you & Evangelion told me that all human suffering was a direct cause of man's disobedience with God. It was the only explanation you offered & you both claimed you were satisfied by that explanation, which I still find vacuous. I'm making the simple point that the vast majority of human suffering is NOT caused by human beings. That is a simple fact. I'm not complaining that the world is a grim place, I just accept it the way it is. Why shouldn't I?

It gets very complicated if you make the claim that the world is ordered by a divine creator who is omniscient & omnipotent & who loves us. You then have the problem of why a benevolent God (we assume He cares about us) would allow so much suffering in the world, most of which can NOT be blamed on human actions. If you don't think the problem of suffering is a serious issue then that's fair enough, but throwing the book at me & telling me God has given me a way out is completely missing the point of this discussion.

Fair enough but I think the point is that suffering is here, whether caused directly by man or no, because of man. Why would a benevolent God allow so much suffering? Because he gives man freedom, as I said before. Man always has a choice and some of his choices end in suffering. A lot of suffering isn't cause by man's choices, of course, but the big point is that the ultimate suffering - mortality - has been overcome by Christ, and God has given us hope beyond it, and man has the opportunity to seek after God or not. So ultimately the suffering of eternal death is man's fault.

]God has offered us eternal life. Do you know what that means?

I see death as an absolutely necessary part of life & I can't even begin to imagine eternal life. It would kill all motivation, that's for sure. One thing that gives my life value is the fact that it will definitely come to an end.

As someone who has been offered eternal life and believes it with all his heart I can assure it kills no motivation whatsoever. In fact the absolute opposite is the case - it gives me reason to live my life.

#31 Guest_composer_*

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 08:00 PM

The following springs to mind -

. . . . cursed [is] the ground for thy sake; . . . . (Gen. 3:17) KJV

i.e. that Natural disasters were the result (for those who follow the Bible) of Adam's disobedience.

#32 Richard

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 09:08 PM

Jeppo: I think I can have some sympathy for where you're coming from because you're not coming at things from a divine perspective. Without accepting the concept of eternal life it is hard for you to understand why a benevolent deity would allow great suffering to exist. However, since we have grown to understand God and his purpose through his word we're coming at things from the angle that life on earth is a mere blip in time and real life begins when God establishes his Kingdom. To that end all suffering is put into perspective - but I can understand why you don't appreciate that perspective.

#33 Evangelion

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 10:49 PM

Tsunamis have no relevance to Adam and Eve, and I believe they would have occurred regardless of whether or not Eve had eaten the fruit.


They do have a relvance to the discussion about human suffering. Tsunamis are a cause of human suffering & totally relevant to the issue of Adam & Eve & the 'fall'.


How?

This whole discussion is about why God would allow suffering in the world & you've already told me it's down to man's disobedience.


Nowhere did I say that all human suffering is the result of man's disobedience. Nowhere. In fact, I explicitly stated that tsunamis, etc. would have occurred even without the sin of Adam and Eve.

Tsunamis have no relevance to Adam and Eve, and I believe they would have occurred regardless of whether or not Eve had eaten the fruit.


I don't know if you're just reading my posts very badly, or deliberately misrepresenting me.

I mention Adam & Eve because it was them who got the ball rolling in the first place. They committed the first act of disobedience did they not? We've been paying the price ever since; being a good person doesn't even let you off the hook, as poor Job found out.


Yes, they got the ball rolling. They ensured that human beings would remain mortal, and they ensured that the world would produce certain natural phenomena antagonistic to humanity:


Genesis 3:17-18
But to Adam he said,
"Because you obeyed your wife
and ate from the tree about which I commanded you,
'You must not eat from it,'
cursed is the ground thanks to you;
in painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
but you will eat the grain of the field.


We suffer and die because we are mortal, and we are mortal because of Adam and Eve's sin. We struggle against certain aspects of nature (thorns, thistles; perhaps also certain diseases) because of Adam and Eve's sin. Tsunamis, volcanoes etc. occur as a natural result of natural laws which existed before Adam and Eve sinned, and would therefore have remained even if they had remained obedient.

the Nazis alone managed to slaughter more human beings in a few short years than countless natural disasters (excluding pandemics) had killed over several millennia. But that's what you get with free will.


I'm no apologist for Nazi atrocities, but you are way off beam with this one. Did you check my source about malaria? I don't deny that human beings cause an immense amount of suffering in the world, but even they just can't keep pace with the unrelenting cruelty of the natural world.


I am not way off beam with this one. I said excluding pandemics.

Do you know what a pandemic is?
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#34 Evangelion

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 11:18 PM

So the millions of children who die through illness & natural catastrophes are simply the victims of man's disobedience to God?


By extension, yes. Of course in practical terms, they are simply victims of perfectly natural processes which occur every day.


Let's clarify this: would there be people dying from natural disasters if man hadn't been disobedient?


No. Not because the natural disasters would not be occurring, but because man would be immortal! The natural disasters would still occur, as I have now said at least twice.

I'm assuming you'd say 'no'. That seems to be what you are saying...'by extension'. In simple terms God must allow natural disasters to happen.


See my point above.

If we go with the man's disobedience angle, then natural disasters can be seen as part of God's punishment for Adam & Eve's disobedience....or a consequence of their disobedience, if we want to spin it more positively.


I repeat:

Tsunamis have no relevance to Adam and Eve, and I believe they would have occurred regardless of whether or not Eve had eaten the fruit.


The primary reason for human suffering is our mortality. And that mortality is a direct result of Adam and Eve's sin. Ergo, the millions of children who die through illness & natural catastrophes are by logical extension the victims of man's disobedience to God because they are mortal (not because God is deliberately killing them, which He is not).

Again:

Of course in practical terms, they are simply victims of perfectly natural processes which occur every day.


We have a tendency to view natural disasters as things which shouldn't happen - when in reality, they are things which are indeed supposed to happen, in accordance with the well known laws of nature and physics.

If there was no God, who would you blame for natural disasters?


I wouldn't blame anyone - how could I? It would seem absurd, but I've no reason to believe that the earth was any different in the past. As you say, it's the laws of nature & physics.


Excellent, we make progress. Of course, it would be absurd to blame anyone for natural disasters.

However, if you are telling me that all the suffering in the world has been caused by man's disobedience in the past, you are making a claim that ultimately every child's death in a natural disaster is a result of Adam & Eve's disobedience to God.


That is not what I have said. Can you provide a quote in which I have actually said this?

I have said that human suffering is the result of our mortality, and our mortality is a consequence of Adam and Eve's sin. I have also said that by extension, humans who die from certain natural causes are victims of man's disobedience to God. But the link is only consequential; it is not a case of God deliberately killing humans via natural causes to punish them for Adam and Eve's disobedience. It is a case of humans dying from natural causes in a world made worse by Adam and Eve's sin.

Thus, the victims of man's disobedience to God are not being punished at all; they are merely victims of a hostile environment.

Just out of interest - do you believe there were no earthquakes or tsunamis before adam & Eve?


I don't know how many times I have to say this:

Tsunamis have no relevance to Adam and Eve, and I believe they would have occurred regardless of whether or not Eve had eaten the fruit.


The answer to your question is therefore "No". I do believe there were earthquakes and tsunamis before Adam and Eve.

What is the empirical evidence that we live in a 'fallen' world, or is that just something you assume from the Bible?


It is not something I assume from the Bible; it is something I derive from the Bible:


Genesis 3:14-17
The LORD God said to the serpent,
"Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all the wild beasts
and all the living creatures of the field!

On your belly you will crawl
and dust you will eat all the days of your life.
And I will put hostility between you and the woman
and between your offspring and her offspring
;
her offspring will attack your head,
and you will attack her offspring's heel."
To the woman he said,
"I will greatly increase your labor pains;
with pain you will give birth to children.

You will want to control your husband,
but he will dominate you."
But to Adam he said,
"Because you obeyed your wife
and ate from the tree about which I commanded you,
'You must not eat from it,'
cursed is the ground thanks to you;
in painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles for you
,
but you will eat the grain of the field.


It also poses another problem: if God is omniscient then He knows the outcome of every situation before it has happened. He knew Adam & Eve were going to make a mess of things before he even started - so why go ahead and let it happen?

Parents all over the world choose to have children despite knowing that they will be disobedient one day, so why be surprised when God does the same?


This is a false analogy. Parents are not omniscient & if they were they would never engineer a situation in which they would knowingly let their children walk into certain death. They definitely wouldn't let their children suffer an agonising death if they had the power to intervene. Would you?


The fact that parents are not omniscient is irrelevant. They still know that their children will disobey them. Nobody requires omniscience for that.

True, most (not all) human parents would not knowingly let their children walk into certain death or suffer an agonising death if they had the power to intervene. However, God is not our parent in the direct way that human parents are parents of their own children (God did not actually create me), and He is under no obligation to cocoon us from harm. He is not a celestial nanny.

None of this makes Him, equivalent to Hitler and Stalin.


Read my post, I never talked about equivalence. They weren't immortal & omnipotent for starters. Hitler & Stalin were terrible human beings and it would be deeply satisfying to think that there would be some sort of retribution awaiting these guys


If it wasn't about equivalence, what was it about? Hitler and Stalin appear to be a mere irrelevance, introduced purely for shock value. Of course, I could have invoked Godwin's Law at that point, and shut this entire argument down. But let's humour you instead.

but one can't help thinking that even they were part of God's grand plan. Distasteful as that idea may sound.


Why can't one help thinking that? It's not something I believe, and I'm someone who actually believes in God. Why would you choose to believe it? Because it makes God look nastier?

I don't recall Hitler and Stalin offering too many salvation plans, do you?


I'm not quite sure how to answer this. I'm assuming you are justifying all the suffering in the world by claiming we have been given a way out - presumably by getting the 'salvation plans' from the Bible. Considering that Homo Sapiens have been around for at least 150,000 years God certainly left it a little late in the day to intervene.


Nope, I'm not justifying all the suffering in the world by claiming we have been given a way out. (I am not a subscriber to the "human suffering is trumped by the greater good that results from it" argument). I am simply demonstrating why Hitler and Stalin should not be compared to God.

And I would agree, there are plenty of slavation plans to go around. Which one is the correct one though?


I guess we'll find out when Christ returns. Of course, he might never return at all, which will solve the problem in another way.

If the Christadelphians turn out to have the 'truth' then it looks like there's going to be billions of Christians hanging from those shackles that Richie was talking about. Can't say i'm looking forward to being lumped in with all those Catholics, mind you.


They won't be hanging from any shackles. If dead at Christ's return, they simply won't be resurrected; if alive at Christ's return and they choose to reject him, they'll simply live a mortal life and die normally without hope of resurrection. No shackles, no fuss, no nonsense, no retribution. Certainly a lot more reasonable than the mainstream view of hellfire and brimstone, wouldn't you say?

A consequence of free will is personal responsibility, Jeppo. Even Sartre insisted on this, and he was a hardcore atheist.


I'm a great believer in personal responsibility, though I do question how much 'free will' we really have. There are many aspects of our lives over which we have absolutely no control, but that doesn't diminish the need for us being accountable for our actions.


I'm glad we can agree on this.
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#35 Evangelion

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 11:27 PM

Richie, both you & Evangelion told me that all human suffering was a direct cause of man's disobedience with God.


Actually, I didn't say that. I said:

So the millions of children who die through illness & natural catastrophes are simply the victims of man's disobedience to God?

By extension, yes. Of course in practical terms, they are simply victims of perfectly natural processes which occur every day.


I also said:

I do not claim that every natural disaster is a deliberate act of God intended to punish the world for the sin of Eve. That is sheer fantasy.


I also said:

We have a tendency to view natural disasters as things which shouldn't happen - when in reality, they are things which are indeed supposed to happen, in accordance with the well known laws of nature and physics.


The key issue here is the way in which the millions of children who die through illness & natural catastrophes are victims of Adam and Eve's sin.

They are not victims in the sense of being deliberately punished by God for the sin of Adam and Eve. They are victims - by extension - because they are subject to the consequences of the sin: mortality and a hostile planet.

It was the only explanation you offered & you both claimed you were satisfied by that explanation, which I still find vacuous.


I think what you find vacuous is not the argument itself, but a certain version of it which you yourself have produced by a combination of assumptions and misrepresentations. I've had to correct your interpretation of my view repeatedly throughout this thread.

I'm making the simple point that the vast majority of human suffering is NOT caused by human beings. That is a simple fact. I'm not complaining that the world is a grim place, I just accept it the way it is. Why shouldn't I?


Sure, that's fine.

It gets very complicated if you make the claim that the world is ordered by a divine creator who is omniscient & omnipotent & who loves us. You then have the problem of why a benevolent God (we assume He cares about us) would allow so much suffering in the world, most of which can NOT be blamed on human actions. If you don't think the problem of suffering is a serious issue then that's fair enough, but throwing the book at me & telling me God has given me a way out is completely missing the point of this discussion.


God cares, but He is not omnibenevolent.
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#36 Richard

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 11:56 PM

He's not omnibenevolent but he doesn't suffer from apatheia either.

#37 Jeppo_*

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 06:26 AM

Evangelion, I can assure you that I do read your posts. I can't be blamed when you make mutually exclusive statements, then criticize me for not understanding what you have written. You make the claim that suffering came into the world through the disobedience of man:

He gave humans the chance to live in a much nicer world and they freely chose to mess it up

I then asked you to clarify your position:

So the millions of children who die through illness & natural catastrophes are simply the victims of man's disobedience to God? That may be the biblical answer, but I'd be very surprised if any thoughtful Christian was satisfied by it. I can't believe that explanation satisfies you either

You then confirmed your position:

It satisfies me perfectly. I would not give it if it didn't.

Specifically replying to my question "So the millions of children who die through illness & natural catastrophes are simply the victims of man's disobedience to God?"
You said:

By extension, yes. Of course in practical terms, they are simply victims of perfectly natural processes which occur every day.

Tacking on a statement about 'victims of perfectly natural processes' doesn't make any difference to what you are implying, as you seem to think it does. You emphasise the point again:

They are victims - by extension - because they are subject to the consequences of the sin: mortality and a hostile planet.

It doesn't matter whether the cause of suffering is a direct, or indirect cause of man's disobedience (or whther we choose to call it a 'punishment' or a 'consequence' of man's 'sin') it is still a cause as you freely acknowledge. You are not seriously suggesting that some suffering is caused by man's disobedience to God and other types of suffering are just accidents of nature? I'm not misunderstanding you or misrepresenting you at all. Just read your own posts!

Edited by Jeppo, 13 July 2008 - 06:27 AM.


#38 Jeppo_*

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 06:44 AM

I just want to focus on one particular statement you have made:

The primary reason for human suffering is our mortality. And that mortality is a direct result of Adam and Eve's sin. Ergo, the millions of children who die through illness & natural catastrophes are by logical extension the victims of man's disobedience to God because they are mortal (not because God is deliberately killing them, which He is not).

You don't seem to understand the fundamental problem with this statement IF God is omnipotent/omniscient. If God exists then he is most certainly allowing people to suffer; to say he is 'deliberately killing them' seems a bit strong, but logically that is what is happening.
Let's look at it another way: would you send your own child to a painful & excruciating death if you knew you could prevent it?

#39 Jeppo_*

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 07:06 AM

God did not actually create me

If you can make a statement like this, then I can see why we are at cross purposes. You clearly do not believe that God is omnipotent or omniscient. That's the only way I can make sense of your statements. He seems to have little to do with what is going on in the world today, even your own birth. You are introducing an element of Deism into your thinking; that would certainly distance God from the suffering of present day humans.

Edited by Jeppo, 13 July 2008 - 07:46 AM.


#40 Dawn

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 09:20 AM

It's a difficult one to balance in our human minds sometimes. While God is omnipotent and omniscient, we are not robots. Also there is the fact that concerning Israel and the Jews, knowledge brings responsibility and God often strenthens their enemies against them to purge them, but in the process there is often much suffering. We also have to remember, that when God does strengthen enemies against Israel, He usually chooses a nation (or nations) He wants to judge because of some unrighteousness of their own.

In the same breath though God is with Israel in their sufferings "In all their distresses He is distressed" (Isaiah).

It is an issue we have to hold in tension as rationally as we can to avoid getting sucked into an emotional vortex. Some mainstream Christians fall prey to this "emotionalism" and it is unproductive (particularly concerning Israel, where they seem to think Israel can do no wrong and that they "do spiritual warfare in the heavenlies" against Israel's enemies (who they believe to be driven by demons) and to "bring down principalities". A totally pointless and time-wasting exercise).

The best thing I think we can do for Israel is to pray for them as much as we can in line with God's will, and when God does strengthen their enemies against them, to be there to offer help and support: especially practical help and support. They never forget it, and neither does God.




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