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Old 03-24-2010, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OK, I'm not Christian but I have a genuine question that kept me up at 3 am last night. I don't mean like the immaculate conception, or resurrection - those things I can deal with by filing them away under "miracles". Fine. But what I have a problem with is... why? If God makes the rules (which inevitably he does) why couldn't he have come up with a way that his son didn't have to suffer and die? Like, I can't imagine coming up with any grand scheme where I have to watch my baby boy die. It just seems... and please don't flame me, but masochistic. I know that's not the reason behind it and all, and I'm not trying to be mean/disrespectful. It just purely does not make sense to me. Is it purely the enormity of the act? I know about the covenant fulfilled part and all that - but God made the covenant in the first place, he came up with it. Isn't there something else that could have happened that was very powerful?

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Old 03-24-2010, 12:54 PM
 
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Good question - I'm looking forward to seeing answers. I had a similar question in my RCIA course. My kids are attending a Catholic school and I wanted to learn more about Catholicism and Christianity. No matter how I phrase the question ... the answers I receive don't answer the issue ... the issue as you described.

I think it is likely a complex issue and the simplistic answers leave many of us scratching our heads.

Thank you for asking and I look forward to reading this thread.
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Old 03-24-2010, 01:19 PM
 
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I don't even know why I'm tackling this as there are many who will come along and answer this way better than I can but here goes.

1. Because of the trinity Jesus was not JUST God's son he was also God. He was the living manifestation of God. So God didn't so much let his son suffer and die as he let himself suffer and die.

2. You are placing Jesus in the role of son/child when the christian faith considers him more in the role of parent. What parent wouldn't suffer and die for their children. What parent wouldn't suffer and die at the hands of their children if they could save (in this case saving God's childrens souls and eternity) their children by doing so.

3. If Jesus hadn't suffered and died he would just be a cool profit who did a couple of miracles and would likely be forgotten 2000 years later. The fact that he not only lived and taught but also suffered and died makes him something more and something different. It is what makes him relevant to our lives 2000 years later. How many people even remember who many of the saints are or what they did. Many lived amazing lives much like Jesus did. But they didn't die for us.

4. Jesus' death was a glorious beginning. He continues on in heaven and we will join him there. His death is not tragic. It is a beautiful beginning. He died to show us the path to follow to heaven and a life with God. Unfortunately, he had to suffer as part of that death and that was the cost of being human among us imperfect humans.

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Old 03-24-2010, 03:49 PM
 
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I thought i might add to this, when Jesus died on the cross it was for all sin of all people. it is symbolic of the fact that sin unforgiven=death. in order to live life eternally, you must come to Jesus(God) and ask for forgivness of your sins. all of our sins are erased by his death. the ultimate sacrifice. hope that doesnt sound too preachy!!
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Old 03-24-2010, 05:40 PM
 
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I agree with JollyGG's answer, especially this part:

Quote:
2. You are placing Jesus in the role of son/child when the christian faith considers him more in the role of parent. What parent wouldn't suffer and die for their children. What parent wouldn't suffer and die at the hands of their children if they could save (in this case saving God's childrens souls and eternity) their children by doing so.
Jesus was God in the flesh, God with us (that's what "Immanuel" means). He is the Son persona of the Trinity, but his sacrifice was God giving himself up for our sake. There is symbolism of Father and Son, but it is not exactly the parent/child relationship we live in the human context.

Why did it happen that way? I don't think we can fully grasp it.

But God saw fit to give humanity a choice, rather than forcing conformity to his will or making us incapable of chosing.
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Old 03-24-2010, 06:01 PM
 
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Agreeing with and adding on to Jolly and Mama Love and Cappuccinosmom.
As for the Why God came up with this 'way'? I don't know. I can only add my little piece the puzzle. No time to look up verses to provide for you, but I can later if you want them.

God is righteous and true to Himself. Only God can fulfill His righteous requirements. When the fall occurred, sin entered into our being, thus making it impossible for man alone to fulfill God's requirements. It was God in a human sinless body who died on the cross. Only sinless blood can redeem us.

Here are the other things which were terminated on the cross:
  • sin (sin nature)
  • sins (the manifestation of the sin nature)
  • the world (with all of its' attractions and elements)
  • Satan (the destroyer of man)
  • flesh (with all of its' lusts)
  • the law (10 commandments with all of the ordinances the Hebrews had to fulfill
  • the old man (our person, disposition, who we are by birth)
The cross is not just a suffering, it's a termination of all the old creation, making a way for man to come to God. In the Garden of Eden, after the fall, God blocked the tree of life (signifies God) so that Adam/Eve could not partake of it. The reason God blocked it is because they had sin in them, and God cannot be joined to man until the sin is taken care of by Christ terminating it on the cross. Also, the life of God is eternal. Can you imagine if we got eternal life and lived forever in our condition today?

The cross terminated ALL of the negative things in the universe.

The aim of the cross is termination rather than suffering. I am not saying that Christ didn't suffer or that His believers won't suffer. I am saying that suffering wasn't the goal/aim of the cross. The cross was for terminating.

So for us, as believers, to take up the cross means that we have to be terminated. Our old man, our culture, our opinions, our emotions, reasoning, murmurings, rationalizations, temper, etc. all needs to be terminated. Christ lives in His believers, therefore all of the experiences of death and resurrection are already inside of us. All of God's person and work on the cross is inside of us.

We just have to contact the Lord to experience the cross. To me, the cross is a miracle! Anything that keeps me from yelling at my dh and dd is a miracle. Yes, yelling can be terminated by the cross if I turn inwardly to my spirit where the Lord dwells, and call on the Name of the Lord Jesus. Calling on His Name terminates all of the negative things in my being. That is a miracle!

The death and resurrection of Christ is like two sides of the same coin. If we experience the cross in our daily life, we are enjoying the termination of all of the negative things in our being. Then we automatically enjoy the resurrection of Christ as the supply of the divine, eternal life of God in our spirit.

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Old 03-25-2010, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for your posts, that's a lot to think about!

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Old 03-25-2010, 01:42 PM
 
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Well, I agree with what everyone else has said about it already, but wanted to add to it by saying 'yeah' to this...

Quote:
Is it purely the enormity of the act?
As I truely understand it, it is the enormity of the problem of sin and the enormity of God's love. But there is a lot more to it, a LOT more.

Shami put it quite well actually.


Quote:
If we experience the cross in our daily life, we are enjoying the termination of all of the negative things in our being.
Ill go one step further here and say that while we try and try on our own merit to do just that, its interesting but God has it set up so that this is the ONLY way we can deal with our sin, our negative feelings, failings, etc. I was reading about this last night during my bible study. He's done it this way so that nobody can glory in His presence. All of our glory was always meant to be thru God and in Him. We can take pride in handling a situation in a way that is more positive then others, or then how we handled it before, but we will never be able to 'glory' or take pride in our actions when we stand before God. We were ALWAYS meant to find our glory IN Him... The problem of sin made it impossible. The only way for God to make a way for us was to become 'like' one of us, thus humbling himself, putting on the same flesh that we have, experiencing our weaknesses (If you think about that its pretty amazing) but never failing. This was God showing us how its done. It was God saying that only thru Him can you do 'this' right. Any other way is man's way of trying to find righteousness apart from God, so that we can have glory in and of ourselves.

God says we cant do that, it was never meant to be that way and it will never be that way.

It also says that the cross of Christ is life to those who are being saved, but its complete foolishness to those who are perishing. It makes sense to those of us who believe, but its foolishness to those who dont.

hth...

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Old 03-25-2010, 07:08 PM
 
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Prior to Jesus, Jews were required to bring sacrifices to the temple to atone for their sins. This was not only a financial sacrifice, but the act of having an animal slaughtered because of their transgression brings home the concept of mortality.

Jesus voluntarily ended that, it took a sacrifice of such enormity to cover all the sins of the world.

While I would never want to sacrifice my child, if my adult child willing laid down their life to save others, it would be a different story.

Wife to M , Mommy to DS aka Captain Obvious  (06/06) and DD aka Lissalot  (03/09, anoxic brain injury)
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:50 PM
 
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Since Christ is God, the question comes to "why couldn't God have created a universe where he didn't have to suffer?"

My guess is that such a universe wouldn't have free-will, and so wouldn't have all the qualities that God wants, it wouldn't allow for the quality of love that God is.

Because God wants us to be able to know and love freely, he must allow for the possibility of untruth, and created beings choosing to reject him. It's not that the way that was chosen to hold this together was just one possibility of many - the essence of it is that perfect God takes into himself our imperfection, which is a kind of suffering.

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Old 03-26-2010, 01:50 AM
 
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A big yes to all who brought up free will. Also, genifer mentioned God getting all the glory. I remembered a message I heard about these two things and how they are connected. Hope I can say it clearly.

Back in the Garden when the serpent (Satan) deceived Eve and she gave the fruit to Adam, sin entered into man and that issues in death. Satan must have thought, ah ha! I've won now. Now man is like me with a sin nature and will be 'on my side' and not choose God. God gave us free will to choose so that when we choose God it will be a defeat to Satan and a glory to God.
Satan thought he won by injecting himself into man's flesh. But actually Satan got trapped into man's flesh because Jesus became a man and terminated Satan, sin, and all flesh on the cross. So Satan lost! Whenever we exercise our free will, and turn to the Lord, Satan loses and God gets the glory.

1 Corinthians 1:29

29 So that no flesh may boast before God.

I just want to mention something about pride. Satan is full of pride. Before Satan was cast down to the earth, he was the top most beautiful angel. He became proud and decided that he would ascend to the most high place. He declared five times, "I will"....(Isa. 14:12-16) He wanted to be God. Now Satan is the god of this age roaming the earth and seeking to devour man. He uses all kinds of things in this world to draw people away from God. He is the master of distraction.
Pride can really hinder us from turning to the Lord. We have free will to turn to the Lord, but we might be too proud and not even know it. I am a very proud person and it has been a huge problem in my spiritual walk. Finally the Lord is starting to shine on all the places in my heart that are too proud and not depending on Him.
Regarding suffering...It's when I am suffering that it breaks my pride and I realize that I need God. Yes, we have free will and God may arrange our environment to cause us to turn to Him. Every time we turn to the Lord, it's like a kick in the teeth to Satan, and a slam dunk for God.

Suffering is part of our life, but it's better to suffer with God because He can heal all kinds of broken hearts. Like pp mentioned, it's the enormity of God's love that motivated Him to die. We should have died, but He died in our stead so that we could have eternal life. He paid our debt.

Romans 6:23

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Old 03-26-2010, 03:37 AM
 
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Not all (probably most, but definitely not all) Christians believe that Jesus "died for our sins." Some Christians (myself included) believe that he was crucified by the Romans and the metaphor of the sacrifical lamb was applied to his life later, years after his death. Or were you looking for a Christian who believes he died for our sins to answer your question? If so, then sorry for butting in!!

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Old 03-26-2010, 12:33 PM
 
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Also remember that death did not separate father and child like it does on earth. It reunited them. Death not only reunited Jesus with Our Father it blazed a path for all of us, all of God's children, to be joined with him in heaven.

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Old 03-26-2010, 12:33 PM
 
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hrsmom

I hope all views are welcome here. I don't know if the OP was looking for a particular viewpoint. I was wondering, are you coming from the viewpoint of the entire Bible is a metaphor, and none of it is literal?

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Old 03-26-2010, 12:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyGG View Post
Also remember that death did not separate father and child like it does on earth. It reunited them. Death not only reunited Jesus with Our Father it blazed a path for all of us, all of God's children, to be joined with him in heaven.
Excellent point.
There is evidence in the Old Testament that the Godhead held a council. At some point it was decided that the 2nd of the Trinity would step into time as a man, Jesus Christ.

Then when He was in the tomb for three days, the Bible says that He conquered death and took the keys of Hades.
In His resurrection power, He was raised from the dead and led all of us as a train of vanquished foe all the way up to the Father. We were raised with Him.

Ephesians 2:6

6 And raised us up together with Him and seated us together with Him in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus,

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Old 03-26-2010, 06:32 PM
 
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This is one of those "big questions" that Religious Studies was designed for so the thread is being moved. Please keep in mind that while Religious Studies offers space for different points of view, politeness is important too. If you have any questions (or concerns about a post) please contact a moderator.

Thanks!

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Old 03-27-2010, 11:00 PM
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Just want to add that in Matthew 26:36-44 Jesus is struggling with what he has to do. In verse 39 he says " My Father, if it is possible may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." And he repeats this prayer twice. He is asking, if there is any other way, take this burden from me. But if it is the only way, let your will be done.

My point being that he chose to do it.
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Old 03-28-2010, 04:28 PM
 
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Hi. I don't normally post in here. Or read in here much.

But...

From the point of view that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one, it was also an act of self-sacrifice. God, as Jesus, suffered and died in our place.

He paid the price for our sins himself, though he is holy.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Plato
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Old 03-28-2010, 04:45 PM
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Seems to me that the most sensible thing would have been for God to destroy Satan. If no Satan = no sin, then there would be no problem and no sacrifice would have been necessary.

This whole discussion brings to mind the Epicurean riddle:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
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Old 03-28-2010, 11:34 PM
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Seems to me that the most sensible thing would have been for God to destroy Satan. If no Satan = no sin, then there would be no problem and no sacrifice would have been necessary.

This whole discussion brings to mind the Epicurean riddle:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
Evil came about because man has free will. Man chose evil.
If God wants to create robots, He will. That wasn't what He was doing when He created man.

Which would you enjoy more, the love of someone who chose to love you, or the love of someone who has no choice but to love you?


And, when someone comes face to face with Jesus, they see that He indeed did destroy Satan, and all his power.
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Old 03-28-2010, 11:41 PM
 
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Seems to me that the most sensible thing would have been for God to destroy Satan. If no Satan = no sin, then there would be no problem and no sacrifice would have been necessary.

This whole discussion brings to mind the Epicurean riddle:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
Actually many Christians believe it works the other way evil = Satan. Evil is simply selfishness and pride-fullness. We are selfish and prideful because we have free-will and choice. Satan is the not the root of evil.

If you believe that Satan is a fallen angel then where did the original pride and selfishness come from. It came from free will. The evil was already in the world. Satan just personifies it.

Mom to DS 4/24/03 and DD 4/17/06
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Old 03-29-2010, 02:24 AM
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Either way, evil exists in the world because God allows it to. If God created everything, then God must be the root of evil, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebirdiemama
Which would you enjoy more, the love of someone who chose to love you, or the love of someone who has no choice but to love you?
I cannot conceive of a situation in which someone is forced to love me, so I find that question unanswerable. Personally, I cannot wrap my brain around the notion that an omniscient, omnipotent being would need or want love....especially from such imperfect beings such as ourselves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyGG
Because of the trinity Jesus was not JUST God's son he was also God. He was the living manifestation of God. So God didn't so much let his son suffer and die as he let himself suffer and die.
Isn't suicide a sin? Just curious.
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Old 03-29-2010, 03:37 AM
 
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2xy
I just realized that I've never talked at any length with an atheist since my salvation experience.
I must say your opinion will add some interesting discussions. I will be thinking about your posts. I hope you will keep commenting.

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Old 03-29-2010, 04:22 AM
 
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Either way, evil exists in the world because God allows it to. If God created everything, then God must be the root of evil, right?



I cannot conceive of a situation in which someone is forced to love me, so I find that question unanswerable. Personally, I cannot wrap my brain around the notion that an omniscient, omnipotent being would need or want love....especially from such imperfect beings such as ourselves.



Isn't suicide a sin? Just curious.
The entire Bible is a divine romance between God and man. God is wooing us sinners back to Himself so that He can get all of the glory.

In typology, Adam and Eve are a type of Christ and the church. Eve was built out of a rib taken from Adam's side. Christ was pierced in his side on the cross and the church was produced when he resurrected. Christ said in Matt 16, I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not prevail. Just as Eve was built out of Adam (type of Christ), the church was produced out of Christ. Sorry it's a little jumbled up.

In the old testament you can see this in type in the Song of Songs. The king Solomon, type of Christ, is in love with this country girl, the church, and she goes through a transformation process until she matches him. Believers are going through a transformation process which takes an entire life time.

In the new testament you can see it in Ephesians when Christ loves her, the church, the believers, and gives Himself up for her. It is likened to a relationship between husband and wife. It says that through the washing of the water in the word Christ is getting rid of all of our spots and wrinkles. This is so that we will match Him. What i mean is that we need to mature. Christ is growing in us so that we will be a mature bride to match Christ.

Then in Revelation you can see the Spirit and the bride say, come. This is God and man completely joined as in a husband and a wife. In eternity we will be joined to God and praising Him for taking us lowly sinners and making us sons of God. God gets all the glory. We will never be worshipped as this is reserved only for God, but we will be organically joined to Him. What that is going to look like...I don't know. But I do know that I am joined to Him now and it's only gonna get better.

If we were made in God's image, which we were, and we being mere humans have such a need for love and companionship, then our source surely desired for us to love Him and be one with Him.

The Bible isn't just a bunch of do's and don'ts. It is the breath of God expired out into black and white print so that we can see His love for all of mankind.

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Old 03-29-2010, 09:46 AM
 
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Either way, evil exists in the world because God allows it to. If God created everything, then God must be the root of evil, right?



I cannot conceive of a situation in which someone is forced to love me, so I find that question unanswerable. Personally, I cannot wrap my brain around the notion that an omniscient, omnipotent being would need or want love....especially from such imperfect beings such as ourselves.
As C.S. Lewis wrote,

Quote:
Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong; I cannot. The happiness which God designs for His creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other . . . And for that they must be free.

The way I see it:

God does not need anything, so he does not need us to love him, but that is the purpose for which he created us, for US to experience the love and happiness that only comes from our perfect Creator. He created us out of love to experience His love, and the only way that is possible is for us to be free to choose his love or not. Unfortunately, with the choice to not choose his love comes the potential for evil. There is no way around it.
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Old 03-29-2010, 11:46 AM
 
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Seems to me that the most sensible thing would have been for God to destroy Satan. If no Satan = no sin, then there would be no problem and no sacrifice would have been necessary.

This whole discussion brings to mind the Epicurean riddle:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
I believe God is able, but not willing. I do not believe he is malevolent, but I doubt my ability to prove that to anyone. My proof would come from the Bible, which might not mean anything to you and I don't want to just spout off verses.

I will say that it has to do with free will and the fact the God gets all the praise and the glory when sinners, who have sin in our flesh, choose God. The angels in heaven cheer when this occurs.

Bluebirdiemama put it very well. Satan was already destroyed on the cross. From God's viewpoint, which is in eternity, everything has been accomplished. All of the things in Revelation have already taken place in eternity. However, we are in time and things have to be worked out with us still. Here's an analogy: If a company decided to build a building they come up with a plan and it's planned all the way to the finished product. But, it is a very messy process until it is complete. So, I guess I'm saying that we are in a messy process right now, but eventually God will get His building. The Bible refers to the Body of Christ as the church, which Jesus will build in love. The church is also referred to as God's masterpiece. I imagine a masterpiece will be displayed for all to see in the end, but right now, it's a little messy.

Trying not to get too preachy cause I know that is not fun for anyone, but I don't know how to tell you my beliefs otherwise???

DH, and Me plus baby girl (10/07)
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Old 03-29-2010, 06:32 PM
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From God's viewpoint, which is in eternity, everything has been accomplished. All of the things in Revelation have already taken place in eternity. However, we are in time and things have to be worked out with us still.
I have heard this said before. I don't believe that free will and predestination can mutually exist. If God has everything all wrapped up on his end, then all the choices that you will make in your life have already been determined before you make them.
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Old 03-29-2010, 06:32 PM
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But this leads me to another issue....

God created the original two people with free will. Yet he didn't want them to have the knowledge of good and evil, so he said not to eat from the tree. And then he allowed this serpent to talk Eve into eating from the tree. All the while, Adam and Eve do not have knowledge of good and evil. So how are they to make an informed decision? Free will without knowledge is a disaster waiting to happen.
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Old 03-29-2010, 07:15 PM
 
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I have heard this said before. I don't believe that free will and predestination can mutually exist. If God has everything all wrapped up on his end, then all the choices that you will make in your life have already been determined before you make them.
I'm not calvinist and don't believe in "predestination" the way I'm thinking you mean.

But God having full knowledge that is not bound by time does not negate free will.

Knowing a the choices a person will make, and even planning accordingly, does not equal forcing that person to make that particular choice. Knowing the choices every single human being will ever make and working that into an overarching plan does not equal forcing each of those to make certain choices.

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God created the original two people with free will. Yet he didn't want them to have the knowledge of good and evil, so he said not to eat from the tree. And then he allowed this serpent to talk Eve into eating from the tree. All the while, Adam and Eve do not have knowledge of good and evil. So how are they to make an informed decision? Free will without knowledge is a disaster waiting to happen.
Free will with knowledge isn't much better. If we have the ability to choose, the ability to choose wrongly is there by the very nature of things.

Adam and Eve had a relationship with God. They walked with Him, they knew Him as their Creator. He told them that choosing to disobey on that point would have disasterous affects and they chose not to believe him. God told them it was wrong, and that they would suffer if they chose it. He gave them the knowledge that they needed to choose rightly. They were very well informed.
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Old 03-29-2010, 08:08 PM
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Knowing a the choices a person will make, and even planning accordingly, does not equal forcing that person to make that particular choice. Knowing the choices every single human being will ever make and working that into an overarching plan does not equal forcing each of those to make certain choices.
I guess it just seems.....silly....to me, to continue to bring millions of people into this world who will choose to be doomed for eternity. That just doesn't sound very loving to me, at all.

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Free will with knowledge isn't much better.
But it is better.

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Adam and Eve had a relationship with God. They walked with Him, they knew Him as their Creator. He told them that choosing to disobey on that point would have disasterous affects and they chose not to believe him. God told them it was wrong, and that they would suffer if they chose it. He gave them the knowledge that they needed to choose rightly. They were very well informed.
God merely told them that eating of the tree would cause them to die. Had they ever seen anything die? Did they know that dying was "disastrous"?

If you tell a 18mo toddler that something is "hot," they have nothing with which to associate that word. They will still attempt to touch a hot object until they succeed....and therefore learn what "hot" is.

If nothing in the Garden had ever died, how would Adam and Eve have known that dying was undesirable? If they had no knowledge of good and evil, how would they have been able to understand that God was good and the serpent was evil? A complete innocent would trust everyone and not be suspicious of anyone.

Sorry, but the whole thing sounds like a set-up to me. I'm really not trying to be argumentative; it's just that I really don't understand how anyone can read the Bible and come to the conclusion that the deity portrayed in it is a loving being.
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