The vast majority of philosophers have given up on saying that the logical problem of evil goes through. But some continue to develop probable versions of the argument. According to them, evil makes it very improbable that God exists. While I don’t think they have done so let’s just suppose this is true. John Loftus often says that Christians take an irrational leap beyond the probabilities. But nothing much follows if it is very improbable that God exists. After all God is a miracle. Kind of like how it is very improbable that I exist given the reproduction probabilities of the sperm reaching the egg and fertilizing into what I call myself. You have to calculate the probability that a particular sperm united with a particular egg, then multiply it by the probability that my parents met, and then repeat that calculation for my grandparents and all my ancestors going back to the beginning of life on Earth. It’s very unlikely that such a thing would happen. Yet here I am! What this shows is that warranted belief in God’s existence like my own is justified not by probabilities but something more along the lines of perception or experience.
God is trans-rational. Like humans He is filled with a clash of contradictions or paradoxes. It’s a holding together of extreme opposites. It’s a fused together beauty that holds opposites together in tension like we should do in ourselves. Christ is human and divine, God is both 3 and 1. Majestic yet meek. Masculine yet feminine. Merciful yet just. Loves good hates evil. Christ is equal to God yet submitted to God. Transcendent yet imminent. It’s a unity in diversity and this indeed reflects Reality in the universe in which we live. This should be expected for one of the signs of a true revelation from God is that it transcends the finite and selfish nature of man and His reasoning abilities. It’s a true miracle attesting to the truth of Christianity. The natural tendency of human reason is to reject Divine Revelation because of his finite and limited understanding. But once the duality of man’s thinking is broken opposites come together and he is ushered into the circle of love. The understanding and the paradoxes come together in a happy relationship called faith. In a happy love affair self-love transcends itself. A person who has this passionate desire of faith finds his reason fulfilled as he believes that which surpasses human understanding. Far from disproving Christianity, the paradoxes of the God confirm His supernatural accuracy. As Thomas Aquinas says, the fact that humans can come to believe is the greatest of miracles. The natural tendency of man to disbelieve is a confirmation of the truth of the revelation. We should expect a miraculous revelation of God to be impossible to understand, and difficult to believe.
In arguing about the problem of evil and suffering I use to try to place God in a human category and say He must behave a certain way. This is known as a categorical mistake. What I failed to take into consideration is the holiness of God. Holiness when applied to God not only refers to moral purity but also to everything that sets God apart from His creation and His creatures. We are to imitate God in certain ways but there are also ways we cannot be like God. For example: God is self-sufficient, God is all-powerful, God is all-knowing, God is infinite in wisdom. These are just a few ways we are not like God. To try to be like God in every way leads to ego and megalomania.
The Bible says God is love. It doesn’t say He is ONLY love. And while it says God is love it’s a Holy love. This is no mere human love. For the Bible says God is Holy, Holy, Holy. The Bible also says God has a Holy hatred as well. So, it’s my contention that the problem of evil and suffering doesn’t even get started. For God’s love is a Holy love. This isn’t the same Omni benevolence that we try to ascribe to God. For God has a Holy hatred as well. Nonetheless, God is completely Holy and deserves our worship.
Many times I’ve wondered why God would allow suffering and bad things to happen. It is good to question and try to figure things out. But I think when we are dealing with a Being who is infinite in wisdom and knowledge we must realize our limited capacity to understand and grasp things and all His reasons for doing what He does. God is in a category all by Himself. I also don’t see God as something to try and figure out. Rather, I trust in His infinite wisdom and goodness to run things no matter what they may look like at the present moment. I believe He brings beauty out of ashes. For I trust He causes all things to work together for good. His business is His business. My job is to trust Him and walk humbly and do justice.
People who complain that God could have created things differently fail to realize that the laws of physics are based on symmetries and those symmetries are based on mathematical necessity. God would have to make those mathematical truths false. Hence, God couldn’t have created things differently. He is a God of truth as well as infinite wisdom and perfection.
I just wanted to respond to those who say God shouldn’t have created at all. If God had justifiable reasons in creating a world that now contains evil and suffering then it’s not the case that He shouldn’t have created at all. For if He has holy justifiable reasons in creating a world that now contains evil and suffering then He is going to be motivated to create since He does nothing wrong in creating. In bringing the Cosmos into existence from nothing He did the greatest miracle next to raising Christ from the dead.
The apostle John said twice in First John that God is LOVE. That means that the very essence of God is LOVE. If John had also said that God is only LOVE, that would have been redundant. There’s nothing in God except LOVE. Every one of His actions is an expression of LOVE.
Pure water is H2O. To say that water is only H2O is redundant. For H2O is the very essence of pure water. There’s nothing there except H2O.
If John had meant merely that LOVE is but one of the characteristics of God, and that there are other characteristics of God such as HATE, he would have said so.
It also says He is light which is holiness. It’s all through the Bible that God has more attributes than love. Light is His essence and love is His essence. But holiness is more important because it’s repeated three times. Holy, Holy, Holy. This is how the Bible stresses the importance of something. It will repeat the word. Like verily, verily means that what is about to be said is very important. In Revelation it says Holy, Holy, Holy is the lord. So, while God is love it’s a holy love. His wisdom is a holy wisdom. His justice is a holy justice. To learn more about the Trisagion (Holy, Holy, Holy) Wikipedia has an article here:
Here’s something else on it:
To be Holy means to be set apart. Therefore, when the Bible speaks of the holiness of God it refers to everything that separates Him from His creation and creatures. His love is no mere human love but a holy love. Just as He is separate from His creatures in that He is Omni-present, Omniscient, Self-sufficient, Sovereign over the universe, infinite in wisdom. all these attributes of God are Holy. Not only is He free from moral corruption but He’s perfect in all attributes. He’s distinct from His creation and His creatures. He alone is God. Here’s scriptures from the Old and New Testaments that speak of the Holy hatred of God:
Leviticus 20:23 - “And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.”
Leviticus 26:30 - “And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you.”
Deuteronomy 32:19 - “And when the LORD saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters.”
Psalm 5:5 - “The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.”
Psalm 5:6 - “Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.”
Psalm 10:3 - “For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth.”
Psalm 11:5 - “The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.”
Psalm 53:5 - “There were they in great fear, where no fear was: for God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee: thou hast put them to shame, because God hath despised them.”
Psalm 73:20 - “As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.”
Psalm 78:59 - “When God heard this, he was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel:”
Psalm 106:40 - “Therefore was the wrath of the LORD kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance.”
Proverbs 6:16-19 - “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”
Proverbs 22:14 - “The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the LORD shall fall therein.”
Lamentations 2:6 - “And he hath violently taken away his tabernacle, as if it were of a garden: he hath destroyed his places of the assembly: the LORD hath caused the solemn feasts and sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion, and hath despised in the indignation of his anger the king and the priest.”
Hosea 9:15 - “All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters.”
Zechariah 11:8 - “Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me.”
Malachi 1:3 - “And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.”
Romans 9:13 - “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”
Many people have wondered why God has created things like the shark or the lion. Indeed, why all those millions of years of death decay and suffering as animals devour each other? No one can fathom all of God’s justifiable reasons for doing what He does. Many things remain a mystery and we must trust Him. On another level though we learn something of the Creator through what He has created as the above Romans passage tells us. It may not make us feel good but nature tells us that God can be wrathful. This is what His power includes. People say they don’t believe God is like that. But on what basis? Is it because nature is always so gentle and kind that the God who created nature couldn’t have said and done all those wrathful things in the Bible? One thing is certain. Both nature and the Bible agree. If you are to believe what is true and not just what you wish to be true, then you must swallow the hard pill that the True God revealed in nature is just not who you want Him to be. People may hate the wrath of God but you cannot say it is illogical believe in it after the testimony through nature. What is illogical is to believe that God would never harm a flea when fleas are being harmed all around us. Even the terrors of nature testify that God exists. We must marvel at the lion even while fearing it. Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying that a particular instance of destruction in nature is God’s wrath. But the above passage tells us that the God who created nature reveals His own Divine nature through what He has created. And nature or creation tells us that God is capable of severe wrath and pain.
If love is God’s essence, there is no other. A person or an object can have multiple attributes but only one essence. Yes, it is written that God is light, and so I agree that His essence is light. But since His essence id love, that tells me that in His case, love is tantamount to light. I suggest that “light” is used figuratively to represent “love.”
You speak of God’s holiness. Yes, that is an attribute. But how do you understand “holiness”?
I explained what I mean by holiness above. Scroll up and re-read.
Yep, you just gotta, to use your words… “spiritualize everything away” — TOTAL humbug Paidion!!
Scripture says God is Spirit (Jn.4:24). How would you describe this? God’s substance?
What is holiness? An attribute of God?
Scripture says 3 things remain, faith hope & love & the greatest of these is love (1 Cor.13:13)
1 Pet.4:8 Above all, love one another deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
The greatest 2 commandments are re love.
God is love.
So i’d suggest love is more important than holiness, although God’s love is a holy love, that is a love unlike & far above all others.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. ~~ Romans 12:9
Love is more important than faith and hope. But Revelation says Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. This is how the Bible stresses the importance of something. It will repeat the word. Like verily, verily means that what is about to be said is very important. In Revelation it says Holy, Holy, Holy is the lord. So, while God is love it’s a holy love. People love each other and commit murder. Nazi Germany loved Hitler. There’s a time to love and a time to hate. If God’s love is holy then He must hate evil.
Did you notice Peter says above all love one another (1 Pet.4:8). He didn’t say above all be holy or hate evil. The two greatest commandments speak of love, not holiness.
Maybe it says holy 3 times for the Trinity, i.e. once for each of the 3 Persons. Who knows?
I agree God’s love is holy & that love hates evil. Though God is never said to be hate, He is said to be love. Love is defined or described here:
1If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
The Bible says many times to be holy like God in the sense of moral purity. Moreover God hates certain people. He will shift from love to hate.
God’s love is holy as it protects from evil.
Vengeance belongs to God but He gives some of His authority to the Governing officials though. They are not obligated to turn the other cheek. As Paul tells us in Romans: There is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God…(This authority is) God’s servant for your good…he does not bear the sword in vein. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer." (Romans 13:1-4).
A Time Under Heaven
Let us deal in peace and tenderness
Lest love and compassion become a hindrance
Then unmix the wine and make it sour
Drinking the blood of judgments power
For there’s a time for peace and a time for war
A time to speak and a time to roar
A time to hate and a time to love
A time and season under heaven above
Yes, God’s wrath, anger, punishment, hate are all to correct His creatures for their own good:
Hab.1:12 O LORD my God, my Holy One, you who are eternal–surely you do not plan to wipe us out? O LORD, our Rock, you have sent these Babylonians to correct us, to punish us for our many sins.
Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the LORD’s wrath, until he pleads my case and upholds my cause. He will bring me out into the light;I will see his righteousness. (Micah 7:9)
Then you will say on that day, "I will give thanks to You, O LORD; For although You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, And You comfort me.
"Come, let us return to the LORD. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.
Isa.57:17 “Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry and struck him;
I hid My face and was angry, And he went on turning away, in the way of his heart.
18“I have seen his ways, but I will heal him;
I will lead him and restore comfort to him and to his mourners,
Mat 18:34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
Jer 23:20 - The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.
Dan.4:33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.
34a But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him…
36 At that time my reason returned to me. And my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom, and my counselors and my nobles began seeking me out; so I was reestablished in my sovereignty, and surpassing greatness was added to me.
37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (1 Cor.5:4-5)
When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness." (Isa.26:9b)
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 Jn.4:10)
1 John 2:2
He Himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours alone, but also for the sins of the whole world.
“They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, "Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.
"Those who err in mind will know the truth, And those who criticize will accept instruction.
God destroys those in the lake of fire with His holy hatred. But He restores them with His love. He kills but makes alive.
Those in the lake of fire experience the eternal wrath of God. This is His holy hatred. According to Jonathan Edwards:
The crime of one being despising and casting contempt on another, is proportionably more or less heinous, as he was under greater or less obligations to obey him. And therefore if there be any being that we are under infinite obligation to love, and honor, and obey, the contrary towards him must be infinitely faulty.
Our obligation to love, honor and obey any being is in proportion to his loveliness, honorableness, and authority…. But God is a being infinitely lovely, because he hath infinite excellency and beauty….
So sin against God, being a violation of infinite obligations, must be a crime infinitely heinous, and so deserving infinite punishment…. The eternity of the punishment of ungodly men renders it infinite…and therefore renders no more than proportionable to the heinousness of what they are guilty of.
The sum total remains the same if those in hell suffer an infinite degree for a finite period of time rather than a finite degree for infinite time. It’s an infinite degree of suffering for days upon days. Thus those in hell suffer infinite punishment are annihilated or experience death and then are resurrected or restored. Here is all three views in one. Given those in hell have new bodies in a trans dimensional reality they are able to experience an infinite degree of suffering for a finite time.
God just HAS to torture people, right?? Infinitely, because he gets infinitely po’d?
I know you like Jonathan Edwards, but his ‘reasoning’ is NOT scriptural.