Post by Ian
"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?" ~ Epicurus
It is a fundamental truth that there is suffering in the world. We see suffering wherever we look, to varying degrees. Quite rightly, atheists ask us: where is God in this? One view is that God allows suffering in order to punish sin. Another view is that it's Satan or the Devil who causes suffering, and God allows this. Predestination, that God sets the course of our lives, is a popular viewpoint - and becoming more so. Fatalism replaces a belief in human free will. A belief that says we deserve whatever befalls us.
Personally, I come down firmly on the side of free will. God has gifted humanity with the ability to choose our own course and allows us the freedom to follow it. Like a good parent, God allows us to make our own mistakes and to learn from them. Yet, God is there to help comfort us in the aftermath.
If Satan exists, then it is the tempting angel of the book of Job. The tempter has no power except that which we give or allow. We can choose to give in or not. Evil is done by humans who no longer listen to the quiet voice in their soul, the voice of God guiding them. They choose their actions and others suffer as a result. God does not interfere as the free choice is made. To interfere would overrule free will and that is something that God is either unwilling or, having given it, is unable to revoke.
In the Bible stories, God works through humans. God gets Noah to build the Ark in order to save life from the flood. He gets Moses to speak for him in Egypt and Aaron to raise his rod to perform the miracles. He gets Jesus to try and reform his people and acts through him in the miracles of healing. Perhaps God, as spirit, needs to work through the material in order to influence the material. God can do anything, as long as God has someone who listens. It is when we fail to listen to the voice in our soul, guiding us to do good, that things begin to go wrong.
What then of natural disaster? Well, the world is active and is needed to be so in order to support life. Our numbers are pushing where we live to places that are more at risk of disaster or unable to support the number of people that live there. Again, the choice is ours. We can choose to continue to grow in number. We can choose to continue to live in areas that are more at risk than others. We can choose to continue to live in places that can not support then numbers who live there. Or, we can choose otherwise. Free will.
"God created the law of free will, and God created the law of cause and effect. And he himself will not violate the law. We need to be thinking less in terms of what God did and more in terms of whether or not we are following those laws" ~ Marianne Williamson
"There's too much tendency to attribute to God the evils that man does of his own free will." ~ Agatha Christie
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