A Brotherhood of Man

jonathan_hili

Well-known member
"God is the ground of Being" is just a more palatable way of saying that 'might makes right'

"God has moral obligations but they aren't always the same as human beings"???

You would never accept it as good and just that a human authority figure hold you to a moral standard that he, himself, is not willing to conform to so why accept it as good and just when God does the same?

Oh yeah, you've already provided the answer to this question...

God is the ground of Being / morality {i.e. might makes right} and so, therefore, He doesn't have to play by the rules

Well, in as much as there is nothing any of us can do about it, that may well be true - God doesn't have to play by the rules, but if He wants to be regarded as a moral being then He DOES have to play by the rules!

If He wants me to respect Him, then He DOES have to play by the rules!

If He expects me to glorify Him, then He DOES have to play by the rules!
"God is the ground of Being" has nothing to do with "might makes right". By the "ground of Being", that means that God Himself is existence (or, as Aquinas puts it, God's essential nature is existence) and everything else that exists is derivative of His existence, like all reality piggy-backing on the giant turtle!

God doesn't always have the same obligations as human beings because people have different obligations depending on (a) their nature and (b) their relationship to others. Just as children have different obligations to parents, or police officers have different obligations to regular citizens, or dogs and cats have no obligations whereas people do, the same brush can't be used to paint all people. While some theologians and philosophers don't believe God has any moral obligations, I do (though perhaps "obligations" is the wrong way of putting it - it's more an "obligation" God puts on Himself by His very nature, like fire obligating itself to be hot), for instance, if God creates (directly or indirectly) persons, He has the obligation to provide them with the faculties and environment in which to survive.

I also try to avoid the idea of arbitrary "rules". Morality is more about one's being - and conforming oneself to the standard of morality and being, God - rather than simply following rules.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
Who said God sent anything? I'm saying that God permits the world to be the world and (a) He has no moral obligation not to and (b) there are good reasons why He does. From the Christian worldview, the world is fallen and not as it should be or as God ordained it to be. It is in statu viae or "in a state of journeying". I worship a God who was willing to enter into the ugliness of the world and suffer alongside us and for us.
In a theistic universe where God is the author of nature, there is no distinction between sending and allowing disease. And if the world is fallen, it is because God has determined that it should be so. You may worship a God who chose to suffer alongside us, but you also seem to worship a God who has children suffer from disease just so that we can bond together to eradicate it. I also don't see on what basis you can exclude God from the moral obligation to alleviate suffering where possible - you'd no doubt censure any human who had the power to immediately end Covid but chose not to, yet somehow God gets a free pass. I can see how a Christian can end up boxed into such rationalizations, but from the outside it makes no sense at all.
 

jonathan_hili

Well-known member
In a theistic universe where God is the author of nature, there is no distinction between sending and allowing disease. And if the world is fallen, it is because God has determined that it should be so. You may worship a God who chose to suffer alongside us, but you also seem to worship a God who has children suffer from disease just so that we can bond together to eradicate it. I also don't see on what basis you can exclude God from the moral obligation to alleviate suffering where possible - you'd no doubt censure any human who had the power to immediately end Covid but chose not to, yet somehow God gets a free pass. I can see how a Christian can end up boxed into such rationalizations, but from the outside it makes no sense at all.
I disagree, and so do most theologians and philosophers. There is a distinction between sending and allowing, since it entails different obligations. For instance, there's a moral difference between me pushing a person into the sea so that they drown as opposed to me allowing someone to drown who fell in. Again, with the fallen world, God has allowed it to occur because He didn't cause it. If God is going to respect the free will of creatures, then He is going to have to put up with evil that they think and do, and how this might affect the world.

My argument that God doesn't have a moral obligation to alleviate suffering where possible is based on (a) "where possible" is a very vague term (how much suffering is too much?); (b) God has omniscience and so would know the good that would result on not alleviating all suffering (even the positive effects it has on us); and (c) it assumes that suffering is the worst thing possible but it might be tolerated to avoid a worse evil.

I'd like to stick with (a) though: How much suffering and evil do you think God should alleviate to be morally good?
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
I disagree, and so do most theologians and philosophers. There is a distinction between sending and allowing...
Not for God there isn't. I can passively allow nature to take it's course, but for God He is actively responsible for that too. I seriously doubt you'll find a single philosopher saying otherwise.

Again, with the fallen world, God has allowed it to occur because He didn't cause it.
Who determined that a fallen world would include disease, if not God? Who else had the power to determine what the consequences would be?

My argument that God doesn't have a moral obligation to alleviate suffering where possible is based on (a) "where possible" is a very vague term (how much suffering is too much?); (b) God has omniscience and so would know the good that would result on not alleviating all suffering (even the positive effects it has on us); and (c) it assumes that suffering is the worst thing possible but it might be tolerated to avoid a worse evil.

I'd like to stick with (a) though: How much suffering and evil do you think God should alleviate to be morally good?
I don't see the vagueness. 'Possible' is not vague. Why should God allow any suffering? I would return to my previous point: We already collectively decided that the existence of smallpox was not worth tolerating to avoid a worse evil. That's why we got rid of it. So we already have a case of unnecessary evil that we can all agree we are better off without. Yet God allowed it. We would have imprisoned any human who sought to reintroduce smallpox, and would view them as criminally insane if they said we needed it to have something to come together and fight against. Yet somehow God gets a free pass. Why shouldn't God be just as morally obligated as any regular person when it comes to alleviating suffering? We excuse other people only where they lack the power, or where significant cost to the person would be involved, yet neither of these mitigating factors applies to God.
 

jonathan_hili

Well-known member
Not for God there isn't. I can passively allow nature to take it's course, but for God He is actively responsible for that too. I seriously doubt you'll find a single philosopher saying otherwise.


Who determined that a fallen world would include disease, if not God? Who else had the power to determine what the consequences would be?


I don't see the vagueness. 'Possible' is not vague. Why should God allow any suffering? I would return to my previous point: We already collectively decided that the existence of smallpox was not worth tolerating to avoid a worse evil. That's why we got rid of it. So we already have a case of unnecessary evil that we can all agree we are better off without. Yet God allowed it. We would have imprisoned any human who sought to reintroduce smallpox, and would view them as criminally insane if they said we needed it to have something to come together and fight against. Yet somehow God gets a free pass. Why shouldn't God be just as morally obligated as any regular person when it comes to alleviating suffering? We excuse other people only where they lack the power, or where significant cost to the person would be involved, yet neither of these mitigating factors applies to God.
Why is God actively responsible for something He allows but doesn't directly cause? If so, that means God is actively responsible for the sins of every human being. I doubt many would agree with that.

What do you mean by "determine"? If you mean that God "determined" (i.e., He necessitated that X would occur, either directly or indirectly), I don't agree. If you mean that God knew what state of affairs would eventuate and still allowed them to do so, then I do agree with that.

Okay, so is your contention that a morally good God would not allow any suffering? Or - based on what you just said about smallpox - that God would not allow unnecessary suffering? I'm trying to get your perspective right to discuss because they are vastly different points.

There could be lots of reasons why God isn't as obligated as any regular person when it comes to alleviating suffering; however, I'd also contend that "any regular person" doesn't have a moral obligation to any and all suffering. One reason - as I noted before - could be that God knows that the good coming out of the suffering (for the individual or many people) outweighs the evil) or else that to stop the suffering would necessitate stopping other goods from co-existing. In that case, He might be obligated to not stop the suffering.
 

treeplanter

Well-known member
I agree that God is never compelled to cause harm in the course of achieving a greater good. That is different, though, from allowing harm to occur because of the inherent limitations and choices of created reality (both physical and spiritual).
Well, we agree on that much - I, too, have no overtly moral problem with God allowing nature to run it's course - both the good and the bad occurring under His watch

Would I, personally, allow suffering to naturally occur?
No, but then again, I, like most every other human being, am morally superior to God

What I have an actual moral problem with is when God consciously and purposefully inflicts needless harm upon us
 
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treeplanter

Well-known member
"God is the ground of Being" has nothing to do with "might makes right". By the "ground of Being", that means that God Himself is existence (or, as Aquinas puts it, God's essential nature is existence) and everything else that exists is derivative of His existence, like all reality piggy-backing on the giant turtle!

God doesn't always have the same obligations as human beings because people have different obligations depending on (a) their nature and (b) their relationship to others. Just as children have different obligations to parents, or police officers have different obligations to regular citizens, or dogs and cats have no obligations whereas people do, the same brush can't be used to paint all people. While some theologians and philosophers don't believe God has any moral obligations, I do (though perhaps "obligations" is the wrong way of putting it - it's more an "obligation" God puts on Himself by His very nature, like fire obligating itself to be hot), for instance, if God creates (directly or indirectly) persons, He has the obligation to provide them with the faculties and environment in which to survive.
I also try to avoid the idea of arbitrary "rules". Morality is more about one's being - and conforming oneself to the standard of morality and being, God - rather than simply following rules.
I beg to differ - an assertion that God, Himself, IS existence is no different than an assertion that His inherent might always makes Him right

Like you say, it all begins and ends with Him - He, and He alone, is supreme in every way

You're claiming that our "moral obligation" as human beings is dependent upon our nature?
That flies in the very face of Christian teaching
Christianity holds that our human nature is corrupt and wicked - thus our need of Jesus Christ
Nonetheless, God expects us to conform to a moral standard that He has set for us {one that He, Himself, refuses to conform to}

I agree, children have different obligations than do parents, but these obligations do NOT extend to moral directives
Being a parent does NOT grant one the right to behave immorally

Police officers do enjoy certain rights that are not extended to regular citizens, but again, this does NOT mean that cops are free to behave immorally

Same too with God - He does NOT have a moral right to do as He pleases with impunity just because He happens to be creator
 

jonathan_hili

Well-known member
Well, we agree on that much - I, too, have no overtly moral problem with God allowing nature to run it's course - both the good and the bad occurring under His watch

Would I, personally, allow suffering to naturally occur?
No, but then again, I, like most every other human being, am morally superior to God

What I have an actual moral problem with is when God consciously and purposefully inflicts needless harm upon us
I agree. I don't believe God does "consciously and purposefully inflict needless harm upon us". Have you some examples?
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
Why is God actively responsible for something He allows but doesn't directly cause?
Because for God there is no difference between allowing and indirectly causing - at least with respect to nature.

If so, that means God is actively responsible for the sins of every human being. I doubt many would agree with that.
I would accept the free choices of human beings as an exception to the above (although it requires libertarian free will, which I would reject). But that hardly applies here. If smallpox is a result of human free will, then it is only because God chose to make it so.

What do you mean by "determine"? If you mean that God "determined" (i.e., He necessitated that X would occur, either directly or indirectly), I don't agree.
Then who else determined what the consequences of the fall would be? Was God constrained by some external power to inflict smallpox on a disobedient humanity?

Okay, so is your contention that a morally good God would not allow any suffering? Or - based on what you just said about smallpox - that God would not allow unnecessary suffering? I'm trying to get your perspective right to discuss because they are vastly different points.
I am saying that a good God would not allow suffering that we all agree we are better off without - such as smallpox.

There could be lots of reasons why God isn't as obligated as any regular person when it comes to alleviating suffering; however, I'd also contend that "any regular person" doesn't have a moral obligation to any and all suffering. One reason - as I noted before - could be that God knows that the good coming out of the suffering (for the individual or many people) outweighs the evil) or else that to stop the suffering would necessitate stopping other goods from co-existing. In that case, He might be obligated to not stop the suffering.
I didn't say regular people have a moral obligation to end all suffering. I'm saying they are morally obligated to prevent all suffering that they can, where they have the power to do so, and will not incur great costs upon themselves, or otherwise thereby create even greater suffering. This was achieved with smallpox - there was great suffering involved, but we had the power to get rid of it and we did. If God exists, then he had even more power than us to get rid of it, at less cost to himself, and no greater suffering has resulted from its eradication, yet God did nothing. Again, we would lock up any human who was that grossly negligent and throw away the key.
 

jonathan_hili

Well-known member
I beg to differ - an assertion that God, Himself, IS existence is no different than an assertion that His inherent might always makes Him right

Like you say, it all begins and ends with Him - He, and He alone, is supreme in every way

You're claiming that our "moral obligation" as human beings is dependent upon our nature?
That flies in the very face of Christian teaching
Christianity holds that our human nature is corrupt and wicked - thus our need of Jesus Christ
Nonetheless, God expects us to conform to a moral standard that He has set for us {one that He, Himself, refuses to conform to}

I agree, children have different obligations than do parents, but these obligations do NOT extend to moral directives
Being a parent does NOT grant one the right to behave immorally

Police officers do enjoy certain rights that are not extended to regular citizens, but again, this does NOT mean that cops are free to behave immorally

Same too with God - He does NOT have a moral right to do as He pleases with impunity just because He happens to be creator
I'm not sure I get the connection. (Can you explain it a little more, please?) Saying that God's nature is existence means that He is the only necessary existent. "Might makes right" is basically a pragmatic approach to morality. We don't believe God is right because of His strength but because He is the ground of moral values and obligations.

I don't know what tradition of Christianity you are talking about (Calvinist, maybe?) but in Catholicism and Orthodoxy, human nature is fallen (wounded) but not corrupt and wicked. Even if people act in corrupt and wicked ways, human beings are essentially good. Our conscience is in fact a means by which we recognise such corruption and wickedness is our actions and thoughts and try to be better. I mean, if we were evil by our natures, how could we possibly recognise the Good as worth pursuing?

I agree, being a parent or cop doesn't grant one the right to behave immorally. I was just trying to ascertain that moral obligations can change depending on who you are and your relations with others. And I'd agree with regards to God. Treeplanter, I think your comment here: "He does NOT have a moral right to do as He pleases with impunity just because He happens to be creator" suggests to me you don't really understand where I'm coming from. From the Catholic tradition (especially of scholasticism), God doesn't act willfully (that is, arbitrarily) but necessarily according to His nature, which is essentially God. God doesn't have the freedom to act with impunity and do evil just because He is God. His actions are always good de factor. Therefore, when I approach a difficulty with regards to God and morality, I try to see how the two can be harmonised.
 

jonathan_hili

Well-known member
Because for God there is no difference between allowing and indirectly causing - at least with respect to nature.
But that's just an assertion. How is there no difference? If you mean "in outcome", maybe there isn't a difference, but there's clearly a difference otherwise. For instance, is someone directly steals, they likely intend to do so and have set in train a causal series of events, thereby being morally responsible. However, if someone merely allows someone else to steal, they need not intend the stealing to happen and are not responsible for the causal series of events. They might still be morally culpable to some degree but that's something that can then be discussed.
I would accept the free choices of human beings as an exception to the above (although it requires libertarian free will, which I would reject). But that hardly applies here. If smallpox is a result of human free will, then it is only because God chose to make it so.
The fallen state of the world might be the result of angelic/demonic free will, as I know some have proposed that idea. I'm not sure I buy it but it's a possibility.
Then who else determined what the consequences of the fall would be? Was God constrained by some external power to inflict smallpox on a disobedient humanity?
I'm really confused by the language you are using. "Determined what the consequences of the fall would be..." suggests that these consequences were fixed or necessitated by God rather than being a consequence of what happens to a fallen world. If God is the source of life, the further things move away from God, the more death enters into the picture. God didn't inflict smallpox on humanity as some kind of punishment.
I am saying that a good God would not allow suffering that we all agree we are better off without - such as smallpox.
But we might be wrong in thinking we are better off without certain suffering. Children certainly would agree that they are better off without punishments or limitations from their parents, but they would be very wrong. Humanity is in a kind of similar position when it comes to knowledge. There are also many other forms of suffering that we believe we'd all be better off without, e.g. getting old and dying, but I'm not sure we (and the world) would be.

I didn't say regular people have a moral obligation to end all suffering. I'm saying they are morally obligated to prevent all suffering that they can, where they have the power to do so, and will not incur great costs upon themselves, or otherwise thereby create even greater suffering. This was achieved with smallpox - there was great suffering involved, but we had the power to get rid of it and we did. If God exists, then he had even more power than us to get rid of it, at less cost to himself, and no greater suffering has resulted from its eradication, yet God did nothing. Again, we would lock up any human who was that grossly negligent and throw away the key.
I'm not sure if it's true that we are morally obligated to prevent all suffering that we can, where we have the power to do so and would not incur great costs upon ourselves. This is the kind of argument Peter Singer makes. If it's true, that would mean practically everyone in the Western world is morally evil for not donating most of their income to charity, or else for spending our time chatting on internet forums and watching TV instead of being out ministering to the poor and sick.

I think we are morally obligated not to cause suffering (though even with this, it needs to be nuanced).
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
But that's just an assertion. How is there no difference? If you mean "in outcome", maybe there isn't a difference, but there's clearly a difference otherwise. For instance, is someone directly steals, they likely intend to do so and have set in train a causal series of events, thereby being morally responsible. However, if someone merely allows someone else to steal, they need not intend the stealing to happen and are not responsible for the causal series of events. They might still be morally culpable to some degree but that's something that can then be discussed.
You're talking about people. I specifically said there is no difference for God. As I explained before, this is because God is responsible for nature, so He cannot appeal to the regular course of nature as an alternative to what he is controlling.

The fallen state of the world might be the result of angelic/demonic free will, as I know some have proposed that idea. I'm not sure I buy it but it's a possibility.
Then those demons would have to be more powerful than God, at least with respect to the matter at hand.

I'm really confused by the language you are using. "Determined what the consequences of the fall would be..." suggests that these consequences were fixed or necessitated by God rather than being a consequence of what happens to a fallen world. If God is the source of life, the further things move away from God, the more death enters into the picture. God didn't inflict smallpox on humanity as some kind of punishment.
I don't see why this should be confusing. It is not a logical necessity that those turning away from God should face death and disease. If God is as powerful as Christians claim, then He could easily have arranged an alternative disease-free reality to house those who turn away from Him.

But we might be wrong in thinking we are better off without certain suffering. Children certainly would agree that they are better off without punishments or limitations from their parents, but they would be very wrong. Humanity is in a kind of similar position when it comes to knowledge. There are also many other forms of suffering that we believe we'd all be better off without, e.g. getting old and dying, but I'm not sure we (and the world) would be.
But we're not wrong in thinking we are better off without smallpox, as proven by the absence of anyone seeking to reintroduce it. And one example is all we need to disprove a loving God.

I'm not sure if it's true that we are morally obligated to prevent all suffering that we can, where we have the power to do so and would not incur great costs upon ourselves. This is the kind of argument Peter Singer makes. If it's true, that would mean practically everyone in the Western world is morally evil for not donating most of their income to charity, or else for spending our time chatting on internet forums and watching TV instead of being out ministering to the poor and sick.

I think we are morally obligated not to cause suffering (though even with this, it needs to be nuanced).
I agree that there is a balance to be met between how much one is obligated to contribute, and how that would impact upon one's life. This is a fair point against Singer's view if it is taken to extremes (which he doesn't). But it doesn't really apply here, as we are talking about someone with unlimited resources, who deliberately allows a fatal disease to affect thousands of children. There's really no plausible excuse for God. It's not as if He would be over-taxed by the demands of charity by getting rid of a disease. So under what conditions would you consider someone negligent for failing to intervene and prevent suffering when they could have done so?
 

jonathan_hili

Well-known member
You're talking about people. I specifically said there is no difference for God. As I explained before, this is because God is responsible for nature, so He cannot appeal to the regular course of nature as an alternative to what he is controlling.
That depends on the kind of control you think God has on nature. Spontaneous things can happen which God might "foresee" but not directly cause (e.g. the genesis of smallpox, some think, evolved from a rodent virus that was then transmitted to human beings), and there might be other agents involved in changing the natural world. - This would all be separate to the point of whether God Himself could legitimately cause certain lifeforms to exist that threaten other lifeforms.
Then those demons would have to be more powerful than God, at least with respect to the matter at hand.
Why? God gave angels/demons free will too. Again, He might allow their interference with the material world.
I don't see why this should be confusing. It is not a logical necessity that those turning away from God should face death and disease. If God is as powerful as Christians claim, then He could easily have arranged an alternative disease-free reality to house those who turn away from Him.
I'm not saying that any particular individuals that turn away from God become more susceptible to death but as a species and as a world in general. There are far worse things than diseases and if diseases actually cause people to turn back to God, then that can be an overriding factor.
But we're not wrong in thinking we are better off without smallpox, as proven by the absence of anyone seeking to reintroduce it. And one example is all we need to disprove a loving God.
We might be materially better off but are we spiritually better off? I don't know. I'm just saying that it could be possible and, if so, then it doesn't disprove a loving God.
I agree that there is a balance to be met between how much one is obligated to contribute, and how that would impact upon one's life. This is a fair point against Singer's view if it is taken to extremes (which he doesn't). But it doesn't really apply here, as we are talking about someone with unlimited resources, who deliberately allows a fatal disease to affect thousands of children. There's really no plausible excuse for God. It's not as if He would be over-taxed by the demands of charity by getting rid of a disease. So under what conditions would you consider someone negligent for failing to intervene and prevent suffering when they could have done so?
I think Singer does take it to extremes. Have you read "Famine, Affluence and Morality"? He basically argues that anyone who doesn't "give till it (almost) hurts" to help those in need is immoral and by implication (rather than outright stating it) is something like a criminal.

As I've said, there might be good reasons for allowing the disease, let alone the fact (which very few people consider) that the disease (or virus) has some kind of existence of its own, which is a good (obviously, with bad outcomes for us, though).

I'd consider someone negligent for failing to intervene and prevent suffering when they have the authority or responsibility to do so, e.g. a physician in a hospital who neglects his patients' health. While God has the authority to do so, I don't think He has the responsibility to do so.
 

docphin5

Well-known member
Maybe. However, there could be a good end that comes out of diseases like smallpox. As I've said somewhere before, physical human death has good ends that counterbalance the evil involved.
Death by smallpox is NEVER a good thing. Physical human death is NEVER good.

You are confusing things and muddying the water. The better point would be that a good God can turn bad things into good, but that is not the same thing as saying, as you say, bad is good sometimes.

For example, war is bad, but good people can turn war into good if it is for the purpose of stopping bad people. Hitler was bad. Totalitarianism is bad. Liberty is good. We fought a World War to defend liberty therefore we turned a bad thing (war) for the greater good.

With that said, you are never going to justify YHWH committing genocide as some plan for greater good. What YHWH did was bad. He is the totalitarian regime who formed "body" from matter that Jesus Christ (the face of "Ruach Elohim"; 2 Corinthians 4:6) is at "war" with. Where YHWH enslaves everyone under the law and judgment of death, Jesus Christ gives life and liberty from death in this world.
 

jonathan_hili

Well-known member
Death by smallpox is NEVER a good thing. Physical human death is NEVER good.

You are confusing things and muddying the water. The better point would be that a good God can turn bad things into good, but that is not the same thing as saying, as you say, bad is good sometimes.

For example, war is bad, but good people can turn war into good if it is for the purpose of stopping bad people. Hitler was bad. Totalitarianism is bad. Liberty is good. We fought a World War to defend liberty therefore we turned a bad thing (war) for the greater good.

With that said, you are never going to justify YHWH committing genocide as some plan for greater good. What YHWH did was bad. He is the totalitarian regime who formed "body" from matter that Jesus Christ (the face of "Ruach Elohim"; 2 Corinthians 4:6) is at "war" with. Where YHWH enslaves everyone under the law and judgment of death, Jesus Christ gives life and liberty from death in this world.
I agree that smallpox or death are not good things. I said that they could be permitted to allow comparable good things. You can't do an evil to for a good end but you can permit an evil for a good end.
 

5wize

Well-known member
I'm still unclear by what you mean about the purpose of evil being permitted in the world being "hidden". Or God hidden generally.
I don't understand why that is unclear.
With the former, I really do think that it's not so much hidden as ultimately unknowable to the human mind, like trying to explain algebra to an infant. It's our natural limitation that means we cannot comprehensively know the purpose why God would permit any singular or collective evil events. However, it doesn't mean that we can't understand how they might be allowed or the purpose for them and why this matters.
What's the difference? A cornerstone of presuppositional apologetics is that god can make things known to us in a way that we are sure of their veracity without proof. You may not be a presupper, but any version of God includes that talent.

Again, I'm not asking for individual accountings for this or that specific suffering. I am asking for exactly what you are eluding to - an understanding of the macro explained consistently, clearly, and directly by the almighty father of all, not an accounting for the micro. That understanding hasn't been instilled in anybody. It has to be fabricated by a philosophy. Don't believe me, just ask Job. He was granted exactly what I am talking about. A face to face with the entity that sold his health and happiness for a wager.
As for the second point, I don't think God is especially hidden. I think specific theological truths about God might be difficult to attain or understand but that a God exists and has certain properties is something that most human beings have believed in, with little or no theological knowledge. I would argue that while theology is important, God is probably more concerned about what people do with what they have to develop themselves and reach out to Him.
There are hundreds of thousands of theological speculations, some of which you call truths (I don't know how Christians got so lucky to pick the truths). This alone proves a hiddenness. If he does not directly correct us in this life, he waits for a time that is way out of reach for us and too late to reveal himself. This is the definition of hiddenness.
I disagree about ascribing to God anthropic properties. When we speak about God in an anthropomorphic manner, we are trying to understand God analogically. Attempting to provide a psychological account for why people believe in God isn't the same as dealing with the arguments for God's existence and how philosophy and theology can illuminate understandings of God.

So you say. I say you have projected yourself on a dream of eternity. Compared to your speculation, that requires grand philosophies and apologetics, is an Occam's Rasor issue for me. One you start wading into apologetics... oh what a confusing and complicated web you start to weave, and chop through when it tangles you in the contradictions. Just read Aquinas, Ignatius, Irenaeus, etc..... They tried very hard to make sense of Paul's confusion and fabrication.
 

docphin5

Well-known member
In a theistic universe where God is the author of nature, there is no distinction between sending and allowing disease. And if the world is fallen, it is because God has determined that it should be so. You may worship a God who chose to suffer alongside us, but you also seem to worship a God who has children suffer from disease just so that we can bond together to eradicate it. I also don't see on what basis you can exclude God from the moral obligation to alleviate suffering where possible - you'd no doubt censure any human who had the power to immediately end Covid but chose not to, yet somehow God gets a free pass. I can see how a Christian can end up boxed into such rationalizations, but from the outside it makes no sense at all.
If you were right that God created suffering then your conclusion that he should receive censure would be spot on. I would have to agree with you. But I don't see it that way. "True God and Father" (or El) could have been present with another entity before our cosmos became what it is today. The second entity or second "god", if you will (2 Corinthians 4:4), would have separated himself from good and truth to become what he is today. That entity would correspond with what Christian orthodoxy calls the "devil". The devil or "adversary" of men is the cause of suffering and death. It was for this reason that God the Father comes to us as his own Son to give life and liberty to mankind. He also plans to defeat death for all time when the "body of Christ" is made perfect.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
If you were right that God created suffering then your conclusion that he should receive censure would be spot on. I would have to agree with you. But I don't see it that way. "True God and Father" (or El) could have been present with another entity before our cosmos became what it is today. The second entity or second "god", if you will (2 Corinthians 4:4), would have separated himself from good and truth to become what he is today. That entity would correspond with what Christian orthodoxy calls the "devil". The devil or "adversary" of men is the cause of suffering and death. It was for this reason that God the Father comes to us as his own Son to give life and liberty to mankind. He also plans to defeat death for all time when the "body of Christ" is made perfect.
Yes, you can certainly avoid the problem of evil by denying that God created disease or has the power to remove it. But then why call Him God? I don't think it's really even monotheism anymore if there's a second God causing death and disease that the first more loving God cannot overpower.
 

docphin5

Well-known member
Yes, you can certainly avoid the problem of evil by denying that God created disease or has the power to remove it. But then why call Him God? I don't think it's really even monotheism anymore if there's a second God causing death and disease that the first more loving God cannot overpower.
Monotheism is nuanced. For example, Christianity has a first, second, and third person of a presumed Godhead which they claim is monotheism. It depends how one defines it.

It is not that the first loving God cannot overpower the second but that the first is repairing the damage of the latter over time. For example, the universe was lifeless before it produced life in us. The death and ignorance that existed in our universe has been reversed in us. We have potential for good and for growing in knowledge about ourselves. The first loving God throws nothing away because He prefers to make it new. Our suffering is a result of the Fall but it is only temporary.
 
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