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God impotent or evil?
Posted: 23 January 2007 04:14 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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On page 55, Sam writes “Of course, people of all faiths regularly assure one another that God is not responsible for human suffering…This is the age old problem of theodicy…if God exists either He can do nothing…or He does not care to…God, therefore, is either impotent or evil.”  Perhaps there is another possibility.

According to Dr. Gregory Boyd in his book, "Satan and the Problem of Evil: Constructing a Trinitarian Warfare Theodicy", evil is a necessary possibility in a world in which the following realities make love possible:

1. Love entails freedom. Freedom to choose otherwise is what gives meaning to choosing love.

2. Freedom entails risk. The risk is that someone may actually choose not to love.

3. Risk entails moral responsibility.  People are responsible for their choices because of the consequences they bring.  Choices other than love often lead to evil.

4. Moral responsibility is proportionate to the power to influence others. If you are powerful, you have more responsibility than someone who is inconsequential.  In Christian theology, Satan was the most powerful agent, so he carries the most responsibility for rebelling against God.

5. The power to influence is irrevocable. God's gifts are genuine, not taken back if abused.

6. The power to influence is finite. God has established boundaries within which we operate, so the consequences of our poor decisions are not infinitely bad for everyone everywhere.

Thus, according to Boyd, if you experience evil, it is because someone, including possibly yourself, chose to follow something other than God, and that choice was close enough to you that the consequences were within your sphere of influence.

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Posted: 23 January 2007 04:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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[quote author=“Parable”]On page 55, Sam writes “Of course, people of all faiths regularly assure one another that God is not responsible for human suffering…This is the age old problem of theodicy…if God exists either He can do nothing…or He does not care to…God, therefore, is either impotent or evil.”  Perhaps there is another possibility.

According to Dr. Gregory Boyd in his book, “Satan and the Problem of Evil: Constructing a Trinitarian Warfare Theodicy”, evil is a necessary possibility in a world in which the following realities make love possible:

1. Love entails freedom. Freedom to choose otherwise is what gives meaning to choosing love.

2. Freedom entails risk. The risk is that someone may actually choose not to love.

3. Risk entails moral responsibility.  People are responsible for their choices because of the consequences they bring.  Choices other than love often lead to evil.

4. Moral responsibility is proportionate to the power to influence others. If you are powerful, you have more responsibility than someone who is inconsequential.  In Christian theology, Satan was the most powerful agent, so he carries the most responsibility for rebelling against God.

5. The power to influence is irrevocable. God’s gifts are genuine, not taken back if abused.

6. The power to influence is finite. God has established boundaries within which we operate, so the consequences of our poor decisions are not infinitely bad for everyone everywhere.

Thus, according to Boyd, if you experience evil, it is because someone, including possibly yourself, chose to follow something other than God, and that choice was close enough to you that the consequences were within your sphere of influence.

As a corollary, since God is omnisciencent, God experiences directly and with full intensity all of the evil and the effects of evil in the world.  Makes one think about God’s love and the value of free will.

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Posted: 23 January 2007 08:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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The existence of evil argument is weak to be perfectly honest.  Sam’s book talks about the murder of a child, and how an omniscient God would never allow that, as a sort of way to justify the non-belief in such a deity. 

So, how to Darwinianists explain the existence of evil?  And how do we know that its evil in the first place?  By the way, I expect the generic Richard Dawkins explanation here, about our heritage being such that we would have an environment conducive to altruistic behavior. 

An omniscient God is just that.  All knowing.  God allows the existence of evil to bring about His purpose.  This forum, along with other forums, never explains or even uses the word “sovereign.”  A Sovereign Creator has no explaining to do.  A clay pot does not look up at its maker and ask, “Why are you making me this way?”  I am not trying to convince anyone of anything here, but just think of it for a minute.  Assume there is a Sovereign Creator.  Assume for a minute that you are His Creation.  What could you possibly tell Him that He doesn’t already know? 

Try the evil test on yourself.  First define what is evil?  And evil has to be defined as anything that might be harmful to other human beings or possessions of human beings.  And please don’t tell me that you have never done anything evil.  How are you doing with evil?  Let’s start with you.  Do you wish, that every time you lied, which is evil, that a meteor come hit you on the head?  No. 

We have this idea of corporate judgement, but it never applies to “me.”  And we don’t believe in sovereign rulers or kings in this society now.  We believe in Manifest Destiny.  Its existentialism at its simplest form.

Those of us that are Christians believe that all things happen for a purpose, not just by chance.  We do believe that we have a purpose here, unlike atheists view that there exists no purpose.  Evil is a part of the Sovereingty of God, which I cannot question, because I am not Him.

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Posted: 23 January 2007 08:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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nothingbutthebloodofjesus,

We do believe that we have a purpose here, unlike atheists view that there exists no purpose.

If we have a purpose then it doesn’t really matter if we exist. We just become means to an end. It doesn’t matter to us if the purpose is ever achieved.

But you were correct. Christianity reduces us to nothing more than clay pots.

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Posted: 23 January 2007 10:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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You’re right, a clay pot is what I am.  But I am fearfully and wonderfully made by my Creator.  I will gladly be called a clay pot. 

I don’t think you understand why evil exists in this world.  You blame it on God, although you don’t believe in Him.  Its very easily understood, if you would step outside of the realm of your own close-mindedness.

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Posted: 23 January 2007 10:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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nothingbutthebloodofjesus,

So, you are happy being a clay pot. It really doesn’t matter who made you or what you are used for. You can be filled with either Good or evil and you wouldn’t care.

Perhaps now you understand why evil exists. Clay pots provide a container for it.

As an Atheist, I cannot believe evil exists. I can only believe that people make good or bad decisions.

Evil can only exist if you believe in God.

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Posted: 24 January 2007 01:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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[quote author=“nothingbutthebloodofjesus”]I don’t think you understand why evil exists in this world.  You blame it on God, although you don’t believe in Him.  Its very easily understood, if you would step outside of the realm of your own close-mindedness.

To say that atheists blame something they don’t believe in is probably one of the more ridiculous claims you’ve made here. If you would go back and read some of the previous posts blaming evil on God, you will see that it is done to highlight the irrationality of a belief in God. Since evil is a philosophical concept created by humans, we have no one to blame for it but ourselves.

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Posted: 24 January 2007 01:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Of all the different kinds of life on this world, humans are the only ones who have a problem with evil. If you take mankind out of the picture, evil will disappear with him. What would take our place? Badgers? Asteroids filled with evil purpose?
Evil is an invention of minds. Even our bodies don’t believe in it.

Hey Joad, I like your answers here. The clay pots are also inventions of our minds that can only be filled with things that don’t exist in the real world. Things like evil and Gods. Fortunately for most of us, what’s in our clay pot need only resemble the real world enough to maintain the basic survival of our culture. The rest is gravy. Should the contents fall below the minimum requirement of correlation to reality, that culture will slowly perish and take its most loyal adherents with it. The rest will scatter in a mad dash to go shopping for better contents.
It sounds like NBBofJ chooses to ride it out in his/hers. Why here, I can’t imagine.

Let me suggest an alternative to…

Evil can only exist if you believe in God.

Evil’s counterpart is not God. We believe in Evil because we believe in Perfection. Both are without any actual presence in the universe. Except for the resulting physical evidence left behind from actions we take to defend whatever we keep in our clay pots. Perfection makes our clay pots eternal and thus achieve endless generational replication. It serves no other purpose.

If there’s a God, then He’s not evil nor perfect. Relieved of these major problems, I think it’s a lot easier to consider that maybe there is some sort of God-Like being who, if not lurking about somewhere, is perhaps experiencing the universe and/or had some intent in its existence.

For the record, I believe in the possibility of God, with the reservations mentioned above and elsewhere. I got over the stigma left behind from Jehovah. In the big public clay pot, I do not cast my vote for Random Chance.

I would suggest to everyone here, whatever you might do with ideas about God, consider them separately from any debate over any biblically based supreme entity. They have nothing to do with one another. As for the Problem of Evil, get over it!

Cheers

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Posted: 24 January 2007 02:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Perfection is the state in which improvement is no longer possible.  In that sense, it is the same as death.

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Posted: 24 January 2007 08:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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[quote author=“nothingbutthebloodofjesus”]You’re right, a clay pot is what I am

With approximately the same I.Q.  :!:

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Posted: 24 January 2007 10:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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Nhoj Morley,

Hi. Nice to meet you.

Your comment was great.

To get rid of evil we must get rid of either God or Man.

We can live without one, but not the other.

“God: Can’t live with him. Can live without him.”

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Posted: 25 January 2007 02:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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[quote author=“Joad”]nothingbutthebloodofjesus,

So, you are happy being a clay pot. It really doesn’t matter who made you or what you are used for. You can be filled with either Good or evil and you wouldn’t care.

Perhaps now you understand why evil exists. Clay pots provide a container for it.

As an Atheist, I cannot believe evil exists. I can only believe that people make good or bad decisions.

Evil can only exist if you believe in God.

Now that basically makes your entire argument ridiculous. 

“I cannot believe evil exists.  I can only believe that people make good or bad decisions.” 

So you don’t think the example of the murder of a child that Sam uses evil?  You thinks its just a bad decision.  Forgive me for calling your semantical jargon nonsense.  So you can’t see the pure existence of evil in the 9/11 tragedy.  It was just a bad decision right?  And of course I even use an example that was brought on by the fact of the evil-doers believing that God told them to do so.  Fanatics, of course, claming evil in God’s name.  Disgusting.  And I agree that these fanatics are ridiculous.  But you cannot believe in evil? 

So, if you don’t believe in evil, how can you believe in bad decisions?  How do you discern the two?  How do you know that your good decisions aren’t really bad decisions?  How can you even use the word “believe?”

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Posted: 25 January 2007 03:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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[quote author=“nothingbutthebloodofjesus”][quote author=“Joad”]nothingbutthebloodofjesus,

So, you are happy being a clay pot. It really doesn’t matter who made you or what you are used for. You can be filled with either Good or evil and you wouldn’t care.

Perhaps now you understand why evil exists. Clay pots provide a container for it.

As an Atheist, I cannot believe evil exists. I can only believe that people make good or bad decisions.

Evil can only exist if you believe in God.

Now that basically makes your entire argument ridiculous. 

“I cannot believe evil exists.  I can only believe that people make good or bad decisions.” 

So you don’t think the example of the murder of a child that Sam uses evil?  You thinks its just a bad decision.  Forgive me for calling your semantical jargon nonsense.  So you can’t see the pure existence of evil in the 9/11 tragedy.  It was just a bad decision right?  And of course I even use an example that was brought on by the fact of the evil-doers believing that God told them to do so.  Fanatics, of course, claming evil in God’s name.  Disgusting.  And I agree that these fanatics are ridiculous.  But you cannot believe in evil? 

So, if you don’t believe in evil, how can you believe in bad decisions?  How do you discern the two?  How do you know that your good decisions aren’t really bad decisions?  How can you even use the word “believe?”

Bah, evil and good are descriptions man gives to things and actions, not entities and forces themselves as theists are wont to claim they are. Look at the greater universe, the laws of nature and ask yourself if such ‘forces’ as ‘good’ and ‘evil’ exist within those paradigms. I fear you will be greatly dissapointed. The fact that man alone calls things good or evil among the many species on this planet should show you that they are merely descriptions he gives to things, not absolutes that exist outside of everything else…

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Get with it. Millions of galaxies of hundreds of millions of stars, and a speck on one in a blink. That’s us, lost in space. The cop, you, me… Who notices?
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Posted: 25 January 2007 09:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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stardusk,

Great point.

Sharks spend their entire lives killing other fish. Ant colonies wage genocidal wars on each other. Eboli virus eat their victims alive.

Overall, Humans are one of the least ‘evil’ species on earth.

Yet, we alone are singled out as evil.

We are all familiar with the parent who continually tells his child “You aren’t good enough”. No matter what the child does, it is never enough.
We know the damage that causes.

For 3000 years, God has told us we were evil sinners. Is it any wonder that some people actually begin to believe that?

nbtboj,

If you believe in evil, then you admit defeat. Nothing can be done about evil. It has no cause, it has no remedy. It is just random events that occur due to our evil nature.

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Posted: 29 January 2007 11:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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Well, I for one am a human being, not a clay pot.  I think that assertion is the difference between theists and the rest of us…

I like how Dr. Boyd has a nice little logical argument.  However, he brings this concept of “god” into the picture, assuming that “god” does in fact exist (and we all know that assumption is the mother of all f-ups).  Every Christian I’ve ever talked to has told me that you can’t prove that a god exists, that the matter is to be taken on faith.  So Dr. Boyd is attempting to prove something using the premise of something else that he would claim cannot be proven.

Anybody else seeing the problem here?

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Posted: 29 January 2007 06:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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MsWitt,

So Dr. Boyd is attempting to prove something using the premise of something else that he would claim cannot be proven.

We all do this in any system of thought, and we cannot escape from it.  In any proof, there are axioms we cannot prove that are fundamental to the derivation.  Of coures, if God doesn’t exist, Boyd’s proof is meaningless, especially if you hold that God is love (1 John 4:8 )

Boyd is addressing the problem of evil in the context of scripture on the basis of scripture.

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