The Evangelical Universalist Forum

God does not create, commit, or allow evil!


#261

In my view, The Genesis story is the very beginning, :open_mouth: of a story that ends in Revelation. The story of a people called Israel, that all of us are either part of or are brought into in one way or another.


#262

In what sense to we pay? Do you refer to the fact that death has been passed on to all of humanity?

If so, I don’t think that fact is a matter of “paying” but a matter of genetics.


#263

I agree with all this.


#264

I agree and as I understand it… it is this sense or thought of discernment in the judicial sense that lay behind the command not to partake thereof. I don’t see this as so much a moral issue as it was an integrity issue, i.e., could/would Adam be trusted to obey the command given? Adam was not in a place, at that time, maturity-wise to be determining, judging or differentiating on matters of “good and evil” — that was God’s prerogative, power, position and place to fill, not Adam’s — at least not at that time.

On the matter of… ‘does God create, commit and allow evil’? I say unequivocally, YES He can… albeit not of the sinister sinful sense which invariably is what so many think “evil” is said to be. That understanding when applied carte blanch leads to all manner of prevalent gymnastics to have God NOT doing “evil”, where in fact certain texts plainly say otherwise.

IF we understand “evil” in terms of “calamity” and NOT some sentient malevolent entity then it is clear in Scripture God indeed DID bring “calamity” i.e., evil or disastrous outcomes on certain ones… usually in terms of punishment on His disobedient children OR on those who unjustly troubled them.

The two most common words rendered “evil” across the Greek texts are… <πονηρός> ponēros and <κακός> kakos — both are mostly rendered “evil” / “wicked” / “calamity”. Both are used in the same sense in this prophecy about Jesus…

In the Genesis account of “good and evil” the word used is <πονηρός> ponēros. However in Isa 45:7 it is <κακός> kakos

This cannot be white-washed to mean something other than an evil outcome, i.e., a “calamity” — which indeed is the word many modern translations use here for <κακός> kakos. But either way as it says… “I the Lord do all these things.


#265

Paidion, I have to disagree. When God says not do something, He means don’t do it. We are not to steal, cheat, lie, murder, worship other gods, hate our brothers, etc. etc. I can’t think of anything that God commands us not to do that we can then do later on after we mature. In fact, when we become mature, we know better than to do what He tells us not to.


#266

Question… how should Christians make conclusions about truth and what is true? If a Biblical statement does not square with my personal rules or reasons or experience then what options do we have? There are many comments in this post accepting or rejecting various propositions. However, what are your ground rules for determining truth? The subject of God’s sovereignty over all things, including evil, has been debated in this forum over and over. Yet how are we to gain ground in actually persuading one another and growing in unity?

Options when Biblical statements appear to conflict with my personal reason, judgment, and experience

  1. We could question whether the Biblical statement is truly God’s revealed word or an injection, such as KJV 1 John 5:7.

  2. We could simply acknowledge that God’s ways are higher than our ways and subject to Biblical statements over our own reason.

  3. We could patiently wait for more understanding and experience without making premature conclusions.

  4. We could ask, is there obvious one case where God or His ways are beyond our understanding, if there is one, then there could be more.

  5. We could ask is it safer to trust my own judgment of matters or trust God’s word against my own judgment.

  6. We could work toward interpretations that honor the whole of Scripture yet without bending or offending Scripture.

  7. More ideas…?

It may be that agreement is not possible if we do not agree on the basic ground rules of how to determine what is true.


#267

If we could agree on the ground rules, then Christian theologians, Christian philosophers and churches - both historical and contemporary - would have already done so :exclamation: :slight_smile:

As far as evil and suffering goes, we can find good answers…From professional Christian theologians and philosophers, both historical and contemporary. And folks can find the answer or answers, that satisfy them. At least, until God reveals the big picture to everyone :slight_smile:

As far as I know regarding lotteries, everyone wins a prize - if they pick 5 out of 6 numbers (i.e. a good answer). And we all win the big prize, when God reveals all 6 winning numbers (i.e. the definitive answer). :laughing:


#268

That’s the ticket. I am sinful, moronic, and ignorant. The Bible is none of those things. :slight_smile:


#269

Steve, thanks for the opportunity to clarify. I’ve got a bit of time before my first class today and wished to offer you my thoughts on your inquiry.

The first thing to note is that I did not put aside those, “…references that Jesus sacrifice was pre-ordained before the foundation of the world…” I discovered those references to which you are referring to have been interpreted, and thus translated, in the light of Augustine’s fatalistic ideology; an ideology that in no way resembles the ideology of the first believers, which was the ideology of Universal restoration held to for as long as Greek was the language of scripture in the minds of the first and second century Christian apologists, not Latin.

Most of us are here because we recognized that the Latin interprets into scripture an eternal and everlasting hell of conscious torment, against the Original Greek. So, likewise was Augustine’s fatalistic ideology interpreted into the Latin translation, which became the defacto translation for our English Bibles. Augustine was a profligate who later embraced Manichaeisim before he became a Christian monk, highly influential in improving the Latin translation. That, in essence, is when Christianity changed into a religion, because Augustinianisim gave support to the developing divide of the ecclessia into clergy and laity.

In short, that understanding led to me becoming an, “Open Theist,” long before I knew there was a name for what I came to understand.

Hermano’s been writing a lot about how deadly fatalism is to understanding, so there’s no need for me to add any more of my pairings of pennies to that topic.

Now, I have never implied, much less said, that, “…God had no idea what would happen.” And I’m sure you do find that statement hard to believe, even as I would.

Instead, what I have been attempting to point out is that Jehovah could not know the outcome of a choice between trust and distrust that Jehovah had set before them.

Either one of two things was going to happen. That’s it.

Thus I am wishing to communicate that Jehovah put His trust in an optimistic outcome, while being aware that an unfavorable one was just as possible.

Therefore, the only thing He didn’t know was the one thing He couldn’t know, the outcome of their temptation to distrust. They were sentient and innocent, is my contention, and so the first two would set the course for human history to unfold either one way or another.

And don’t you know Jehovah knew what He would have to do, if they failed?

And that cost Him a lot. He has sacrificed much, including having to endure feeling His own anger and remorse at the evil we do, while enduring the same heart-break we endure that come from the Pain and Suffering we create, long, long before Jesus went to the cross as a Divine Human Being to enable us all to, one-by-one, be made complete, beginning, first, with those who will choose to love and trust Him. These first ones He fore-knows because He can read our hearts. And it is these that desire to be good that He elects to receive His grace which leads to an acceptance of faith by His working all things together for the good of them - oftentimes against the actions of other’s who’s actions are from hearts that Jehovah does not favor for having to know them.

Do you understand that every evil we create by our actions, every atrocity, every heinousness, every brutality, every depravity, every immorality, every malfeasance we commit around the globe, every single day, Jehovah feels - as well as the one’s that affect us - and He cares.

Do you think you could endure that kind of intimacy with human beings?

So, “…why not just forgive them, why curse Eve, why curse the ground with thorns and thistles, why appoint Adam as our representative and in effect punish us for Adam’s transgression?”

First of all, forgiveness does not equate to immediate restoration. From a human perspective, the purpose of forgiveness is to restore a damaged relationship, but it depends on both parties to forgive, which means both parties likely contributed something to the Pain and Suffering they endured for being in a relationship. We are weak in conscience and so our relationships suffer. Therefore, the need for our forgiving one another is a direct result of the reality of who we are.

Thus I see that, from God’s perspective, forgiveness could do nothing about the reality of what they now were - human beings who knew the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, but who will now have to struggle mightily to be good. My witness to this is Jehovah’s words to Cain when Jehovah was pleased with Abel’s offering, but not Cain’s:

Why would Jehovah of spoken this way to Cain, encouraging Him to resist the sin of not doing well and thus endure it’s consequent feeling of anger for not being accepted by his God, if Jehovah knew, as a fact, that Cain was later going to murder his brother? Thus, this knowledge of good and evil was now permanently and irretrievably in mankind. Yet, it was not the powerful thing Jehovah intended it to be, and so, in the likeness of Cain, human beings begin their struggle between what we want and what is right to do, rather than living from the opposite effect of the fruit in them which would have been that what we want is what is right to do, an effect that would have been made possible for enduring the temptation and then eating the fruit, with Jehovah’s permission.

And is that not our restoration? Is that not the work that will be annulled in us when all that Jehovah has said is done?

This knowledge was now permanently and irretrievably in mankind, so I said.

And here’s why: some things can only be done at the very beginning, after that, whatever the outcome, there is no possibility of going back, of, “pressing the reset button,” because the reset button would be the killing of the first two - and all of us would never exist and Jehovah’s purpose in creating human beings would be thwarted, permanently.

Thus, Resurrection becomes the thing wherein He will catch the conscience of every being.

You said, “We are told we need to be more then conquerors, we need to be overcomers, we need to put on the full armour of God.”

Yes, indeed, WE are told to do this because that is relevant to the reality of who we are - people who know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil - and yet, apart from being re-sired of Jehovah (born anew), are unable to realize the ideal world such knowledge creates in us.

And that is why I say, over and over again because it’s so very true,

Be good! It is after all what you were created to be!

And what’s wrong with thinking like that?

Dennis!


#270

Senate Chaplain Barry Black just prayed that ‘God’s providence will prevail.’

This verse seems to agree, Proverbs 21:30 ‘There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord.’


#271

Jeff, millions of people throughout the earth are planning evil acts daily, and many or most of them are successful in carrying out their plans.

Or do you think the success of their evil plans is not “against the Lord”—that the Lord is okay with them or has even ordained them?


#272

I can think of at least one.

In instructing His disciples to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom, Jesus asked them NOT to go to the Gentiles or the Samarians, but only to “the lost sheep of the household of Israel.”

(Matthew 10:5) These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: "Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans.

But after His resurrection, Jesus said to Ananias concerning Paul:

(Acts 9:15) But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.

There was a developing—a maturing of the Kingdom of God itself! Jesus spoke of this growth in many of His parables of the Kingdom.

So… at first Jesus instructed His disciples NOT to go the the Gentiles. After a bit or maturation, His disciple Paul, as well as others later on, were instructed TO GO to the Gentiles with the Gospel of the Kingdom.

Unlike the examples you gave, Jesus. instructions NOT to go to the Gentiles, was not a moral issue. But neither was God’s instruction to Adam and Eve not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.


#273

I like all this interesting, thoughtful discussion!

**“…It says…” that the Lord creates evil. Isaiah says. Was Isaiah correct about this? ** Or possibly, did he occasionally, in ignorance, confuse God and Satan? We must read the Scriptures by the Spirit of Christ, through the lens of love.

The Bible says. Is the entire Bible “the Word of God”? Or instead, is the Bible only part of a progressive revelation that quotes, and points to, THE Word of God?

If I showed you a beautiful banana, and asked what it was, you would say “banana.” But if I peeled the banana, and held up the edible fruit in one hand, and the banana skin in the other, perhaps you might now identify them separately as “banana,” and “banana peel.” One is merely the container for the other. And while we certainly appreciate the packaging (the Bible), we only eat the fruit (The Word of God).

The Bible indicates that JESUS is the Word of God. (For example, John 1, Revelation 19:13.) Yet we all know Jesus is not a book. To see this distinction between Jesus and the Bible better, here is a good essay by Richard Murray, called Is "The Logos-Word of God” The Bible?

I like to describe the Scriptures as only part of a never-ending, progressive revelation of the goodness of God, in Christ.

Here is an explanation of what is meant by progressive revelation from another thread:

Blessings.


#274

We got into this discussion before (in other threads here), about “God creating evil” - in the bible and language. I just need to dust off the Calvinist theologian (AKA CARM), Matt Slick’s answer at:

Does God create evil?

**The consensus among Christian theologians and linguists, would side with Matt - on does God create evil in Isaiah. ** :exclamation:

For example, in:

Did God Create Evil and Sin?

Or this article, from the Christian Courier at:

Did God Create Evil?


#275

Thank you, Hermano, for sharing your thoughts.

I agree with the progressive-revelation concept. Like Richard Murray, I think that the ancient Hebrew concept of Satan, was that he was an agent of Yahweh, and so that Satan had committing an act was considered to be tantamount to Yahweh committing the act


#276

I must say that I was greatly surprised that Richard Murray should say this. For example, “the word of God” (Logos tou theou) in the book of Acts does not refer to “Jesus’ divine presence” or to “the Spirit of Christ” but rather the expression refers to the gospel (good news):

Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
Acts 6:2 And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables.
Acts 6:7 And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
Acts 8:14 Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John,
Acts 11:1 Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.
Acts 12:24 But the word of God increased and multiplied.
Acts 13:5 When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them.
Acts 13:7 He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God.
Acts 13:46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.
Acts 17:13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Berea also, they came there too, agitating and stirring up the crowds.
Acts 18:11 And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.


#277

Well hush my mouth, HFPZ, but little old me is not buying the common position laid out by Matt Slick and others. Their explanation may be “tried,” but (if your read my above comment links, you will see why) I don’t think it’s “true.”

-“God” morally uses the devil as His attack dog, so that He won’t technically get His hands dirty?
-“God” sends calamity and disaster, death, disease, and destruction, to “help” people?
-A “merciful” God casts most people into a hell that the “experts” agree is a never-ending torture-chamber?
-“Evangelism” should be a coercive marketing tool to sell fire insurance?

I refuse to redefine “love” to accommodate the more popular explanations of Matt Slick, or any other theologian.

Blessings.


#278

Yes, it’s a common “solution” to God creating evil according to Isaiah 45:7 to use the translation “calamity” rather than “evil.” Many people seem to think this gets God off the hook, since creating calamity isn’t nearly as bad as creating moral evil. But isn’t it evil to create calamity. If a human being deliberately creates calamity for others, he will be jailed if found out.

However, Whether it’s calamity or whether it’s what’s usually thought of as moral evil—creating it is morally wrong. Richard Murray’s solution is far more satisfactory. That it is Satan that creates this evil (whichever kind it is), but it is attributed by Isaiah to God since the Hebraic view at the time was that Satan was an agent of God who could do only what God allowed him to do, so one might as well say that God did it.


#279

Paidion, again I have to disagree. Adam and Eve decided to follow the words of a liar and deceiver instead of the word of God. Even in maturity, we should not do this. It would be breaking the first commandment, that we should not put any other gods before God. From what I understand the tree of the knowledge of good and evil represents what man says is good and evil rather than what God says. It is a case of man choosing to be his own authority.


#280

Actually, there are different alternatives to ECT - that are accepted today:

Metaphorical view of hell
Exile - where folks torture each other - not God
Annihilation
P-Zombie - where folks become sub-human (Rev. N.T. Wright)
Universalism

When we reject what history gives us, via creeds and common consensus, then any number of equally compelling, Biblical exegesis emerge:

Christian Science (everything is ideas and evil and matter don’t exist)
God pulls the strings and there are is no free will
Etc.

Actually, from a standpoint of pure brilliance…Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science spin of scripture, is more compelling to me…then some of the versions, presented on this forum. :laughing:

I think Mary Baker Eddy does express love brilliantly, in her exegesis. And it’s more compelling to me, then what you are presenting (i.e. if I ignore historical creeds and common consensus). :wink:

And don’t forget my own original, Biblical exegesis, I presented here at P-Zombies and Universalism :smiley:

http://www.thebackpew.com/uploads/4/2/4/9/42493387/5993352_orig.jpg