Thursday, April 26, 2012

Good vs. evil and how God is good. Period

As of late, I've had some great conversations with friends on all things God, good vs. evil, and how God could be 'good'. The following I wrote in response...

Why would a 'Good' God can allow such chaos, hurt, and tortures happen in this world? This is a great question. And I stand by my statement that God is good, infinitely good, and cannot do bad or evil. He's the epitome, the perfect "good".

Now, let's dive into this a bit... The questions of: why doesn't God stop evil/the bad? Why doesn't God care or help? Are very valid given the atrocities that plague our world today and in generations past. We can look at the horrors of the Holocaust and say, 'surely there is no God, or if there is, he doesn't care'. Same with all that goes on in the middle east and countries at war in africa of today.

Augustine once said 'if there is no God, why is there so much good in the world? If there is a God, why is there so much evil?'

Touche. We can't really have good and evil sans God. We can't have right and wrong. We can't have ethics and morals. The very basis of our cultures and how we interact with one another are based on something or someone laying down the 'guidelines' of life, if you will. You know... Don't murder. Be kind to one another. Etc. If you do don't follow those inherant 'standards' that nearly every human on the planet has, then remorse, regret, guilt, shame, etc rise to the surface. Even down to our emotional responses to things point back to some type of God head that made the response in the 1st place.

If we assume there's evil, bad, horrors in the world, by recognizing that it exists we're assuming there's an objective standard on which it's based. Otherwise every one of us can do whatever they see fit and thus there's no need for order, law, government, leadership, or even corporate hierarchy. If there's no standard for evil, there's no standard for any order in the universe.

Riddle me this (and I'm going on a bit of a tangent here), but if there is no creator, no moment of creation, and everything is straight up evolution and we've been around for so many billions of years, shouldn't there have been enough time gone by now for everything to be made perfect and for evil to have disappeared? I mean, think about that for a second. Shouldn't we be constantly becoming better based on survival of the fittest? But history tells us otherwise. And even the chaos of the world today tells us we're certainly not getting closer to perfection or lacking in the 'bad', I'd dare to say we're getting worse...
And free will? Once God chose to create human beings with free will, it was up to them (up to us), rather than God, as to whether there was sin or not (and thus evil being introduced into the world via sin). That's what free will means. The source of evil is not God's power, but mankind's freedom. We're, unfortunately, the one's who messed up. The overwhelming majority of the pain in the world is caused by our choices to kill, to slander, to be selfish, to break our promises, to stray from truth, or to be reckless. To prevent all evil you must remove all freedom and reduce people to puppets, which means they would lack the ability to freely choose love. Or hate for that matter.

I think I'll wrap this up with this idea: God the Father. Consider for a moment how parents work. A good parent won't always do everything for their child. They won't do their child's homework. They won't tie their kids shoes. They won't do their laundry when they get to a certain age. Are all of these to somehow punish the child or be mean? No. I would say these are signs of a loving parent. If we coddle our children for our whole lives they'll grow up not knowing how to be responsible, or they won't learn in the process. Is it hard not to do everything for your kids? Absolutely. But it would be detrimental to their own good if we did. So it is with God. Does He like suffering? Does He want His children to hurt? Surely not. But if He didn't let us live our lives and learn through and grow through the sufferings, we may very well not be able to fully function at our full, God given, potential. God doesn't allow suffering to punish us or hurt us, he allows suffering to train us and equip us to be better humans. Suffering produces perseverance, hope, trust.... And honestly, if our heart is open to it, the suffering and humility that comes within us produces a unexplainable love and care. We learn from our mistakes. We learn from our sufferings and difficulties.

God seems to have a hiddenness (word?) about Him. There are clues we can follow to find Him or experience Him. Maybe those little nudges we feel deep down within that make us go, 'maybe. No. It can't be... But maybe....' Are one of those very 'clues' that God gives us along the way. If God were to give us constant, absolute proof that He exists then we could no more deny God than we could deny the sun is in the sky. However, God, being the gracious God He is isn't in the business of coercing people into believing in Him. No, He gives us our choice, our free will, to do with the evidence or the clues, what we'd like. But He does say 'seek and you shall find'. He's not far away and unapproachable. He's very near. And given the pursuit of Him, in that, He reveals Himself to the one seeking.