These inducements, however, are not sufficient for producing faith since not everyone who witnesses or hears them finds them compelling. We must therefore posit an internal cause whereby God moves the will to embrace that which is proposed for belief.
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But how is it that God moves the will? In other words, what does God do to the will that makes the assent of faith possible? None of the proposed answers to this question are uncontroversial, but what follows appears to be faithful to the view Aquinas favored for some competing interpretations of Aquinas' account, see Jenkins, ; Ross, ; Penelhum, ; and Stump, and Thus we might think of the inward cause of faith to be a kind of infused affection or, better yet, moral inclination whereby the will is directed to God Ibid.
As a result of this moral posturing, a person will be able to view Christian teaching more favorably than she would were it not for the infusion of charity. John Jenkins endorses a similar account. He suggests that pride, excessive passion, and other vicious habits generate within us certain prejudices that prevent us from responding positively to sacred teaching Jenkins, In other words, faith formed by charity transforms the will by allaying the strength of those appetitive obstacles that forestall love of God.
On this view of faith, the person who subordinates herself to God does so not as a result of divine coercion but by virtue of an infused disposition whereby she loves God. For grace curtails pride and enables us to grasp and fairly assess what the Christian faith proposes for belief Jenkins, In doing so, it permits us to freely endorse those things that we in our sinful state would never be able—or want —to understand and embrace. Indeed, the arguments offered in support of Christian claims often provide us with the motivation we sometimes need in order to embrace them.
But does the use of reasons or argument compromise the merit of faith? He also quotes St. In short, human investigation into sacred doctrine threatens to render faith superfluous. For if one were to offer a good argument for the truth of what God reveals, then there would be no need for us to exercise faith in regard to that truth.
What sort of reasoning or argumentation does Aquinas have in mind? He makes a distinction between demonstrative reasoning and persuasive reasoning. Were a person to grasp the truth of sacred doctrine by means of this sort of reasoning, belief would be necessitated and the merit of faith destroyed Ibid. Persuasive reasoning, on the other hand, does no such thing.
See In other words, the arguments in which persuasive reasoning consists may provide reasons for accepting certain doctrines, but they cannot compel acceptance of those doctrines. One still needs the grace of faith in order to embrace them. A closer look at some central Christian doctrines is now in order. And although there are many doctrines that constitute sacred teaching, at least two are foundational to Christianity and subject to thorough analysis by Aquinas.
These include the Incarnation and the Trinity. Aquinas takes both of these doctrines to be essential to Christian teaching and necessary to believe in order to receive salvation see ST IIaIIae 2. For this reason it will be beneficial to explore what these doctrines assert.
The doctrine of the Incarnation teaches that God literally and in history became human in the person of Jesus Christ. The doctrine of the Incarnation further teaches that Christ is the complete and perfect union of two natures, human and divine. The idea here is not that Jesus is some strange hybrid, a chimera of human and divine parts.
The idea rather is that in Christ there is a merger of two natures into one hypostasis —a subsisting individual composed of two discrete but complete essences ST III 2. Aquinas' efforts to explicate and defend this doctrine are ingenious but may prove frustrating without a more advanced understanding of the metaphysical framework he employs see Stump for a treatment of this subject. Rather than pursue the complexities of that framework, we will instead address a different matter to which the Incarnation is intricately connected.
According to Christian teaching, human beings are estranged from God. ST IaIIae So understood, sin refers not to a specific immoral act but a spiritual wounding that diminishes the good of human nature ST IaIIae Further, Christian doctrine states that we become progressively more corrupt as we yield to sinful tendencies over time. Sinful choices produce corresponding habits, or vices, that reinforce hostility towards God and put beatitude further beyond our reach.
No amount of human effort can remedy this problem. The damage wrought by sin prevents us from meriting divine favor or even wanting the sort of goods that which makes union with God possible. The Incarnation makes reconciliation with God possible. To understand this claim, we must consider another doctrine to which the Incarnation is inextricably tied, namely, the doctrine of the Atonement.
According to the doctrine of Atonement, God reconciles himself to human beings through Christ, whose suffering and death compensates for our transgressions ST III Yet this satisfaction does not consist in making reparations for past transgressions. Rather it consists in God healing our wounded natures and making union with him possible. From this perspective, satisfaction is more restorative than retributive. This last benefit requires explanation.
Only a supernatural transformation of our recalcitrant wills can heal our corrupt nature and make us people who steadily trust, hope in, and love God as the source of our beatitude. This brief description of grace might suggest that it is an infused virtue much like faith, hope, and charity. According to Aquinas, however, grace is not a virtue. This account helps explain why grace is said to justify sinners.
Justification consists not only in the remittance of sins, but in a transmutation whereby our wills are supernaturally directed away from morally deficient ends and towards God. In this way God, by means of his grace, heals our fallen nature, pardons sin, and makes us worthy of eternal life. Now, remission of sin and moral renovation cannot occur apart from the work God himself accomplishes through Christ. Yet such favor was not limited to Christ. But again, the aim of satisfaction is not to appease God through acts of restitution but to renovate our wills and make possible a right relationship with him Stump, Thus we ought not to look at Christ simply as an instrument by which our sins are wiped clean, but as one whose sacrificial efforts produce in us a genuine love for God and make possible the very union we desire ST III The preceding survey of the Incarnation and the Atonement will undoubtedly raise further questions that we cannot possibly address here.
Instead, this brief survey attempts only a provisional account of how the Incarnation makes atonement for sin and reconciliation with God possible. This section will focus on the doctrine of the Trinity with all the typical caveats implied, of course. Aquinas' definition of the Trinity is in full accord with the orthodox account of what Christians traditionally believe about God. According to that account, God is one. That is, his essence is one of supreme unity and simplicity.
By distinct, Aquinas means that the persons of the Trinity are real individuals and not, say, the same individual understood under different descriptions. Moreover, each of the three persons is identical to the divine essence. That is, each person of the Trinity is equally to God. The doctrine is admittedly confounding. But if it is true , then it should be internally coherent. In fact, Aquinas insists that, although we cannot prove the doctrine through our own demonstrative efforts, we can nevertheless show that this and other doctrines known through the light of faith are not contradictory de Trinitate , 1.
It teaches that Christ was created by God at a point in time and therefore not co-eternal with him. In short, God and Christ are distinct substances. The other heresy, Sabellianism, attempts to preserve divine unity by denying any real distinction in God. Aquinas' account attempts to avoid these heresies by affirming that the persons of the Trinity are distinct without denying the complete unity of the divine essence.
How does Aquinas go about defending the traditional doctrine? The challenge, of course, is to show that the claim. In an effort to reconcile 1 and 2 , Aquinas argues that there are relations in God. For example, we find in God the relational notion of paternity which implies fatherhood and filiation which implies sonship ST Ia Paternity and filiation imply different things. Thus if there is paternity and filiation in God, then there must be a real distinction of persons that the divine essence comprises ST Ia The notion of distinction , however, does not contravene the doctrine of simplicity because according to Aquinas we can have a distinction of persons while maintaining divine unity.
This last claim is obviously the troubling one. How can we have real distinction within a being that is perfectly one? The answer to this question requires we look a bit more closely at what Aquinas means by relation. The idea of relation goes back at least as far as Aristotle for a good survey of medieval analyses of relations, see Brower, For Aristotle and his commentators, the term relation refers to a property that allies the thing that has it with something else. Thus he speaks of a relation as that which makes something of , than , or to some other thing Aristotle, Categories , Book 7, 6b1.
On the other hand, the notion of relation need not denote a property that allies different substances. It can also refer to distinctions that are internal to a substance. This second construal is the way Aquinas understands the notion of relation as it applies to God. For there is within God a relation of persons, each of which enjoys a characteristic the others do not have. As we noted before, God the Father has the characteristic of paternity, God the Son has the characteristic of filiation, and so on.
These characteristics are unique to each person, thus creating a kind of opposition that connotes real distinction ST Ia Care is required before proceeding here. Each of the aforementioned relations not only inhere in the divine essence, they are identical to it in the sense that each member of the Trinity is identical to God ST Ia From this abbreviated account we see that relation as it exists in God is not, as it is for creatures, an accidental property.
For the relation, being identical to God, does not add to or modify the divine substance in any way. This woefully truncated account of Aquinas' position presents a more detailed articulation of the very claim he needs to explain. Aquinas is aware of the worry. ST Ia Aquinas recognizes that most people will find it difficult to imagine how something can have within itself multiple relations and at the same time be an unqualified unity. In order to show how one might have a plurality while preserving unity, consider the following analogy.
Although the authors do not have Aquinas' account of divine relations in mind when using this analogy, we may cautiously avail ourselves of their insights. If we can think of the lump of bronze and the configuration by which the bronze is a statue as a relation of two things, then we can see that relation does not concern anything that is not identical to the object the bronze statue. Such an account is similar to the one Aquinas has in mind when attempting reconcile 1 and 2. For although each person of the Trinity is distinct from each other, each person is not distinct from God ST Ia Some readers might object to the use of such analogies.
In the present case, the relations that inhere in God are persons , not formally discrete features of an artifact. Moreover, the analogy does not adequately capture the precise nature of the relations as they exist in God. For Aquinas, the divine relations are relations of procession. Aquinas is careful not to suggest that the form of procession mentioned here does not consist in the production of separate beings.
Jesus does not, as Arius taught, proceed from God as a created being. Nor does the Holy Spirit proceed from Father and Son as a creature of both. In order to make sense of this idea, Aquinas employs the analogy of understanding, which consists in an interior process, namely, the conceptualization of an object understood and signified by speech Ibid. He refers to this process as intelligible emanation. Intelligible concepts proceed but are not distinct from the agent who conceives them.
Historiography of early Christianity - Wikipedia
This notion is central to Aquinas' account of how Father and Son relate to each other. For the Son does not proceed from the Father as a separate being but as an intelligible conception of God himself. These words may sound cryptic to the casual reader, but Davies helps render them comprehensible. Aquinas' attempt to render the doctrine of the Trinity coherent is controversial and involves complexities not addressed here.
Yet I imagine Aquinas himself would not be surprised by the consternation some readers might express in response to his attempts to illuminate and defend this and other sacred teachings. After all, Aquinas contends that knowledge of the divine nature will, if acquired by our own investigative efforts, be quite feeble SCG IV. And this is why God, in his goodness, must reveal to us things that transcend human reason. But even once these things are revealed, our understanding of them will not be total or immediate.
What is required is a form of intellectual training whereby we gradually come to comprehend that which is difficult to grasp in an untutored state Jenkins: And even those who reach a proper state of intellectual maturation will not be able to comprehend these mysteries fully, which may explain why attempts to clarify and defend these doctrines can produce so much debate. As such there is no need for ethics, morality or such, because survival is the only criteria. I mean, really!
The argument is valid. I am only arguing that a being that has the power to stop evil and does not is not a wholly moral being. And this is not an argument against the existence of God, but of the Christian God specifically. But, again, Christianity specifically deals with this. As for the creation, God created it for the purpose of humanity and human free will.
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Though what we are discussing here is not an issue of free will, but restraint. Free will is a matter of the ability to make fully autonomous decisions. Restraining those decisions being carried out is another thing altogether. I am arguing against the existence of the Christian god, because the author specifically references the Christian god. If you wish to argue the pros and cons for any one of the thousands of other gods, we can, but not within this thread. Demonstrate your assertion that a god created the universe for humanity and free will. I was just making an observation on that matter.
I know you are arguing against the true God. How would you like me to demonstrate it? What criteria would you like fulfilled? It would probably be faster for you to just go and read the accounts. My answer would be that an omniscient god would know what that evidence would be in my case. So i will await his submission of that evidence. In the meantime, i have no reason to believe. I think that is fair. Fair enough. I would recommend it to you. I will pray that God will reveal Himself to you on the grounds that are necessary for you. Keep searching, and you will find.
Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What man among you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them—this is the Law and the Prophets.
For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it. If you will concede the possibility that He is there, and if so you would wish to find Him, then He will most surely find you. CD, I have no problem conceding a god may exist. I just know that there is no convincing evidence for it to be true. Milton, your thinking is still fundamentally anthropocentric, and more specifically Milton-centric. On the justice of suffering: 1 All humankind is in rebellion explicit or otherwise against its creator.
This is not a mistake; it too is a lesson in human evil and call to repent. Why do hundreds die in natural disasters? Why are children mistreated and slain? You and me and people just like us. Why does God not step in and stop it? He will. But in the meantime he wants us to recognise our utter general culpability and turn to him for mercy.
Yet we would rather blame him for giving us exactly what we corporately asked for — to rule ourselves and our world in our own way. Now, there are half a dozen possible objections to this. But if any of them hold, then we are in a worse place — if there is no God who will judge, then there is no justice, no right, no wrong.
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These are all things we make up to try to make ourselves feel better in a dog-eat-dog world. As for evidence of God, why do you assume the problem is a lack of evidence? There are none so blind as those who will not see. But he does offer some of us two gifts — the gift of realisation that we need him, and the gift of salvation. For those he gifts with the first, the second follows easily.
Perhaps in his mercy and plan he will offer them to you. Finally, let me observe that when the Apostles speak in public in the book of Acts , their ultimate focus in not on the crucifixion of Jesus but on his resurrection. To their thinking, the resurrection of the Christ is the sign that he is King and the judgement of God is coming upon the world Acts , Acts The apparent reign of ignorance and evil is coming to an end; do not be caught up in its fall.
God in his mercy offers you a way back to him. You have actually put thought into your reply. Unfortunately, I disagree with your reasoning. My main point is that if god is omnipotent and omnibenevolent then he has both the ability and the desire to end immorality. He does not. Is he is incapable or unwilling? It is irrelevant that he may step in at some point in the future and stop it. The point is that he can stop it now and chooses not to. Therefore, if he exists, he is immoral. Let me give my original question to you, because virtually everyone else on this thread has dodged the question and not answered it.
Maybe you will be the first to have the courage. If you could stop a child from being raped without any risk to you or others, would it be immoral not to stop it? If you think it is immoral, then you and I agree…. If I could stop a child from being raped, without any risk to myself or others, would it be immoral for me not to stop it? In accordance with human conceptions of morality, it would be immoral for me to stand idly by.
Is God bound by human conceptions of morality? Did evil break me? Yes, but only until I allowed myself to be loved back to wholeness. Why do children starve to death? There is ample food to provide for every being on Earth. Look into the vast amounts of perfectly good food disposed of every day because of its aesthetics bananas are a great example!
Why is all of this perfectly good food thrown away? Because it is a financial drain to transport this food to the starving, when they cannot pay even a cent towards the cost, significantly impacting profits. True, re: wars, etc. As far as communism is concerned, it works very well in theory, but every failed example throughout history failed because of human greed in those at the centre the greed which also causes capitalism to fail!
He designed the entire system knowing beforehand what the consequences of his choices would be and he was okay with those choices. How is he not culpable? As much as we might like to be, or believe that we are, we are not gods, so cannot perceive nor judge His actions or lack thereof, depending on perception by our own standards. The Bible however, says that God knows our every thought before we have them, not that He chose them for us.
Though, as I said, many people have different perspectives on this topic — many of which make not a shred of sense to me! To follow the logic that God is culpable for sending people into a world in which He knew the cost of our poor actions would be like saying a knife maker is culpable for designing a kitchen knife that someone used to kill somebody, or a teacher is culpable for setting a test that students would fail, if they chose not to study in preparation. We all have the opportunity to make good choices, or terrible choices. Something is moral or it is,not. Why would you imply it is somwhow moral for your god to allow a child to be raped, but immoral for humans to do so?
The act of rape is to me immoral, and so is allowing it to happen when you could easily stop it. Whether god stopped a rape in another instance is irrelevant. I am concerned with the ones he does not stop. If Christians say human morals are derived from god and are objective in nature, then how can our moral standards be different? In what context is child rape moral? To say your god would allow someone to rape a child just so the child could hit rock bottom and maybe recover sometime in the future to learn some lesson is obscene.
Allowing children to be raped to teach then a lesson about life is a horrendous idea. How can you even think that could somehow be moral? Is that the best an all-loving god can do??? What about those who do not recover? Finally, I find it odd that you are telling me you believe it is impossible for an all-knowing, all powerful being to overcome the drawbacks of a human economic system and feed starving children.
If that is so, then he is surely no god. I am surprised you are proposing to limit the power of your god in such a manner. On the other hand, if he could have prevented the course of history that brought us to this point, then there would perhaps be no starving children. If that is so, then he remains responsible for those results. Obviously, I write as a human being, and my opinions and perspectives are my own, which I have formed based on my own limited understanding and life experiences.
I may be dead-wrong, and as I am absolutely no theologian, I stress that my perspectives represent only myself, not my family, my church, my denomination, and certainly not Christianity as a whole. I do have a friend however, who is a very learned woman of God, and a priest. I will send her this link and see if she wishes to answer some of your questions more accurately and concisely than I will ever be able to without years of studying theology!
On saying that though, here is my completely worthless! People with faith in God understand that we are nowhere near being on a level playing field with Him, so will not ever assume to judge His actions, based on our limited understanding. Not only do we have no right, but we are somewhat concerned for the state of our immortal souls! We are each tempted, we each question and doubt, and we each place higher value on human concerns and endeavours, and the pursuit of immediate gratification, rather than the things that really matter.
As I said above, I certainly did not mean to imply that a child would go through such an ordeal for any kind of lesson. Their suffering is as a result of the evil afflicting another individual. I do however, believe that we can learn from all suffering that we experience. I know I sure have. I also posit that anyone who truly finds God can find healing of any and all things that they suffer, experience, or — the most unpopular stance — commit. What it boils down to, in my humble opinion, is that any situation, no matter how base, how vile, how debilitating, can be injected with hope and eventual healing through faith; that all hurts can be healed through God.
I do not believe it is impossible for God to cure the wrongs of the world. The Earth was created with more than enough for everyone, yet the gift to humanity of free will, along with temptation, caused all of this to crumble. To somebody who does not have faith, death is the endgame, so to think of people dying from starvation, after a life albeit extraordinarily short in far too many cases of suffering is unconscionable and disgusting — hence your mistrust and hostility towards faith, as God is then to blame for this.
When one does not have any faith in anything outside of physical human experience, the ills of life are all that matter; they are the most important and debilitating questions in existence. When one does have faith, the ills of life are infinitely easier to bear.
If you imagine the primary purpose of life as an opportunity to experience existence both with and without God, so that when you are faced with an opportunity to choose how to spend your eternity, your choice will be informed by your life experiences, the suffering of a godless world is easier to understand, endure and see through. I have to distance myself enormously and place this conversation on a hypothetical plane in my mind in order to have this discussion at all, as the reality of suffering and starving children throughout the world causes me significant distress.
The fact that there are children in agony due to their lack of food and clean water in parts of the world, whilst people in my own small corner of the globe throw elaborate birthday parties for their dogs, sickens me. I feel the pain of these people especially the mothers, with whom I can most strongly identify , and I try to help in my small ways, through child sponsorship and feeding some of the local poor, when I can.
I also thank God every single day for the riches my family can enjoy. I see the good that many Christian and non-Christian organisations do to try to remedy the situations and alleviate the suffering, then I also see the individuals affected by greed who exploit even these organisations most often from within. In these, I again see lives with and without God.
I see that free will and life are gifts given to humanity such that we might experience existence both with and without God, and be able to make our decision at the time of judgement. I also look forward to a world that is free from all of this. He will however, always be there to pick up the pieces and to heal the hurts, as well as to allow good to come from any evil experienced.
In my personal experience, my incredible hurts drove me away from the path that I was on to medicine, and instead redirected me to education. So if you had the power to prevent rapists from brutally raping children without any risk to yourself or to others, would you prevent such heinous acts? Or would you sit there and do nothing?
Which of those two courses of action or inaction do you think would present you as a more morally sound person? So you would stop the rape. The most important question here is the implicit one — what obligates me to act? If the oppressor is powerful, I may draw persecution to myself, or even be unjustly blamed for his offence. Conversely, the more social support I get for intervening, the more likely I am to go out of my way to perform it.
Firstly, this is not a new question. Consider Psalm 10, a lament to God that the powerful are getting away with evil. Secondly, while we act from a very limited moral and temporal perspective, God does not. Broadly speaking, to turn a blind eye to evil that I could prevent is to condone or even participate in it. If I see one of my enemies mistreating another, am I bound to prevent it? This is the first reckoning.
But there is an alternative reckoning. God will not and cannot overlook evil, or dismiss it cheaply. Instead, Jesus, Son of God, comes to be human, to suffer as a human, to be rejected by humans, to die as a human, and to be judged by God as the innocent ideal human in place of all other rebellious evil humans. In that death, he takes the evil done upon himself. Moreover, he takes the evil suffered upon himself also. For me to overlook evil is immoral. Sorry, but if your god does not intervene and stop an immoral act, then he is complicit in the act.
His future acts cannot unrape the child. I think that having another person pay the penalty for your own immorality is a sick concept. If your great grandfather killed someone, would you think it fair that they put you in prison for his transgression? No, that is the response of a man who is truly unaware of his own depravity.
I answered your question, and you complain about it because my answer holds you and I as guilty as the hypothetical rapist. We humans have a wonderful moral system. God has a slightly different system. He starts with his own perfection, compares that to his rebellious, treasonous creation, and withdraws from us because he does not want to destroy us utterly. Well, many cultures have had some variant on that. It does. But I am saying that, in the scheme of things, our day-to-day evil is not unique — rather, it demonstrates and confirms that we really are cosmically evil. Then he is immoral for doing so.
This is precisely what you would expect if there was no god determining outcomes. Your responses to 2,3 and 5 carry no weight whatsoever. If I say that fairies boil water, and you say that giants blowing bubbles boil water, showing that the water boils proves nothing either way, since we already agree on that. If you want to argue for a moral system which will affirm the goodness of man, the floor is yours.
Then why does the Christian god interfere with free will in the Bible, and why do Christians pray in a way that would interfere with the free will of the person being prayed for? Christians argue that their god values free will above the well being if his creation. My argument was pointing out that such a god evidently places the free will of the offender above that of the victim as well. Take it up with Him. Hugh7, Three objections occur to me: First, It is not clear that the need for free will on the part perpetrators should supersede the need to prevent unjust suffering on the part of their victims—always, sometimes, or as often as seems to be the case.
Second, according to the Bible, God DOES occasionally intervene in the lives of his creations and thus implicitly deny their free will. Third, Believers are constantly praying precisely that God will intervene in the lives of His creations, thus implicitly denying the free will of agents in those cases where prayers are supposedly answered in a positive way. How can you have it both ways? It is not me who needs to explain those things, but you. That is interesting. I do believe God is quite the interventionist. God intervened in the life of His creation not only when He created us but when He saved us creating the way to be right with Him.
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. And yet he chooses not to intervene to stop child rapists, or to save starving children, or prevent tsunamis or earthquakes or hurricanes…. Thanks for your reply. As to C. Basically, any being that would allow such things when it vould easily stop them is malevolent. No, your crabbed and hidebound viewpoint is that any being that allows any evil to happen is malevolent.
This is entirely your own opinion, based on you limiting yourself to the earthly, human effects of any action. There are lots of people who claim,that in an odd way, getting cancer was the best thing that ever happened to them. There are people who suffered unimaginably yet say it was the best thing that ever happened to them. Your reasoning is shallow. I disagree, Tyler. What was the thing gained by the child that was raped?
What was the big lesson formthe millions of children that starve to desth or die from horrible diseases every year? What was the big lesson for a quarter million people swept away by a tsunami? That God is supreme. And has divine authority and he can allow evil to touch us if we refuse to turn to him. Explain that to a child that is starveng to death or to infants and todlers killed in the catastrophe your god chose to allow. You assume that the only thing that matters is what happens here on earth.
This is the atheist self referential loop. If you want to argue with religion then you must take it as it is, not cut out parts of it. Your childish imagining is that the only thing that happens is what happens on earth, as if God should be some sort of Big Mommy in the Sky. Whether there is something to worry about other than here on earth is completely beside the point. If you can prevent a child from being raped with no risk to yourself at all and you do not, have you acted morally?
So they try to defuse the query by employing a red herring. IMO, the best counter attack is to keep repeating the question until they admit their tenuous position. Hi Pierre, I was just wondering why you believe suffering occurs? Why do you believe people do horrific things to each other?
Annie — It could be for one of a number of reasons or a combination of those reasons. Among those that come to mind are anger, hatred, greed, lack of compassion, revenge, mental illness, lack of empathy, sadism, etc. I see no differnce between the rate at which evil falls upon beleivers of any religion and the rate at which it falls upon the general population, somthat does not hold up under scrutiny.
Do you believe that all evil is the result of your god choosing to allow evil, or only some of it? If only some, how do you objectively tell the difference? At the end of the day, if you are capable of preventing evil and look the other way, you are complicit in the evil. If I saw a child being raped, I would do all I could to stop it. That is the difference betwee me and your god. Milton — check this out. Milton — another one for you. You seem to know a lot about God.
You do not know the mind of God. Oh, trust me. Evil falls in much greater rates among people who abandon the idea of God and do whatever the hell they want. In fact, we saw some of the greatest evils fall among people who explicitly drove God out of their societies — the communists, who gloried in their atheism. As a result, they saw no problem terrorizing millions upon millions.
They saw no problem killing people who were troublesome. They saw no problem in gulags and massacres. The average attendee at Sunday services commits far less crime, is involved in less of all societies problem makers such as drugs and alcohol. So we have tried that little experiment, it was called Communism and the results are in.
By and large, the people out there doing crime, whoring, taking drugs, committing armed robberies etc have little or no religious belief. It is a well established fact that the more secular a society is, the lower the crime rates tend to be. It is also a well established fact that with regard to prison inmates, Christians represent a larger percentage relative to their percentage of the overall population than atheists represent as a percentage relative to their percent of the overall population.
In either case, this of course demonstrates correlation and not causation. But then I am not claiming religion is necessarily the cause. I would add that doing the right thing out of fear of punishment or hopes of some large reward is not morality. It is selfishness.
Ephesians For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no-one can boast. Hi Hugh7, I ask you in a spirit of humility and questioning, if there is no absolute truth, then how can we know an absolute reality? I never said there is no absolute truth.
I think there has to be a real universe, otherwise what is it that are we arguing about? Over the last few centuries we have discovered that reality is a lot more complicated than we thought — that everything is made of atoms, which are mostly empty space, for example. Or that space and time are more flexible than we thought. I think we will go on discovering more and more of that kind of thing, including how we are deluded. For example we now know that we begin to move before our conscious minds have formed the intention to move.
I think no matter how much we discover, reality will always be more complicated. Romans 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. You simply shift the problem of evil to the easily observable, still with no way to explain it.
So you are claiming that reality itself is evil and life is not worth living for aggregate humanity. The most miserable life that any human ever lived is but a blink of an eye compared to the timespans of heaven. Yes, some people are born into squalor and misery and torment on this planet from which they never escape—until death.
But heaven is available to them, and that is for eternity. Without the capacity to commit evil and hurt others we would not be human beings with moral agency. But through things like disease, violence, and natural disaster we are motivated to learn about the physical world around us. If there was no distress and danger in the world, what kind of science would exist?
Would there be any reason for scientific research if there were no illness and no natural disaster? Do you desire a world with no problems to solve? And yet I would wager, since you have time to engage in this discussion right here, that your life is already pretty close that as it is. And yet you still view the world itself as full of inexplicable evil and torment. Are you angry at God for not making you some sort of kept animal in a video game? No, reality is a mixture of good and evil, and for most of the world, the good outweighs the evil.
First, because of our natural curiosity to find out how the universe works a universe in which science has yet found no trace of nor need for any supernatural agency. Then because there are many issues which are not disasters. The good can be improved. The uninvented can be invented.
Cellphones would still be useful even if we did not use them to summon rescue helicopters. John, I am losing track as to who I did and did not answer. I do not see that i responded to you, so here goes:.
Your claims are patently absurd. Christianity dictates that one must believe in the Christian god and in Jesus at a minimum, am i not correct? So demonstrate that those billions of people who die of starvation, and cancer, and natural disasters to the person do not fall into that category.
My idea of a world with no evil is simply a world with no evil. We both have time to engage in this discussion, so whatever you wistfully apply to me, do so to yourself as well. I will take it from your use of seven consecutive question marks that you cannot rationally address any of the points I raised, and I will pray for you. Hope you feel better. So, the quarter million people who lost their lives in the tsunami some time back were all killed because they did not acknowledge your god? Children starve to death in Africa because they did not accept your god even though they may not ever have heard of him?
Milton — your argument is that there is no God because he does not operate as sort of a Super Hero Saving Squad. This is a childish notion. God has a plan and every single human being is part of it. People died in that tsunami because spoiled cretins like me and you would rather spend time arguing with each other on the internet than developing ways to detect and alert people to natural disasters. The technology to warn and evacuate people in tsunami zones already exists.
Have you contributed anything to that field of study? Kids are starving in Africa because their parents are unable or unwilling to feed them, and because me and you are not feeding them either. Because, according to Christianity, he designed the system that produced these results……. His alternative is to deny there is a God who cares about people because some times bad things happen. Therefore he prefers a world in which child rape, etc are simply natural occurrences, which have no intrinsic moral effects.
He is acting like a baby, who wants a God who prevents each and every instance of evil, everywhere, or he is not going to believe in him. You forget that believe in God is to also believe in Satan. There is a spiritual realm and it influences everything that happens in this world, whether for good or for evil. Satan is an awful, awful individual. He is rotten and takes absolute glee in the pain and agony and atrocities that take place in this world. They are his doing.
But God allows it because he created us as free, he wants us to have the choice otherwise there is no point.source link
Archelogical Evidence and the Divinity of Jesus
And at the end of set time alloted, our choices will be rewarded eternally. And we are offered an eternity, a promise, stated over and over again in the Bible where there will be no more suffering, no more pain, no more crying, no more dying, no more war, but everlasting, everlasting peace and safety. An eternity with God. Sin and satan will no longer exist or threaten to touch us. But even now, the promise remains in Romans that God works all things for our good.
I bhave experienced this personally. There is no lose with out gain. Look at the nation of israel. They are prime example of this truth and evidence that God does exist. They have experienced some of the worst hatred and suffering than any group of people on the earth and yet they remain and maintain their faith. In God. After the holocaust, after great, great loss, because of it they gained back their homeland and then their capital and holy city. After thousands of years of exile, they made a great gain followingtheir great loss. Look at the life of Joseph.
He went through tremendous tragedy and set back and in the end he said what you meant for evil, God meant for good. That is the final answer. We obviously live in a fallen and wicked world. Why should that keep us from faith? It should actually increase our faith!! Because the bible doesnt say not to expect trouble, it actually promises it. But Christ defeated him at the cross and promises to dispose of him for good at the end of the age. Until then, we have to live in the world that he is ruler of and embrace the love of God and the promise that our pain may endure through out our lives, but joy will be ours through Christ, eternally.
Ultimately, faith is listed as one of 9 fruits of the spirit. It is a supernatural thing to believe. It is not in our nature or in our surroundings, it is of God himself. For more on this, please watch this video. Are you under the impression that suffering is of no worth? I would say that it is of little to no worth, yes.
Especially when one has no idea why they are suffering inexplicably. God can, will and does intervene, especially when we seek Him. They are being the hands and feet of God, being his love in action! To believe in good, does not mean to deny evil!! It is a very real and obvious fact of life in this world. But it does not help those who lost their lives or were permanently maimed.
Heather, please ask God to cure all cancer patients in the country of Australia? Have him do it at midnight tonight. If that happens, I think a lot of atheists will become believers. He first shows Jesus doing things, and then he presents Jesus explaining what He has done. The Sermon on the Mount then explains what this means. In short, fulfilling all righteousness means being in harmony with the direct will of God, not just adhering to external forms as did some of the Pharisees, Thus, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus, the original lawgiver, teaches the true intent of the law.
Persons are to go beyond externals such as not killing see Matthew , not committing adultery , not divorcing , not breaking an oath , not exacting a commensurate penalty , or loving neighbors while still hating enemies The Pharisees did all these things. They obeyed the external law, but they could still be polluted on the inside.
A righteousness higher than that of the Pharisees , which Jesus demands, means that persons will live in harmony with the direct will of God. If they will do this, then they will not only do what God desires but will also be clean internally: they will not be angry, will not lust, will make no oaths, and will love their enemies as well as their neighbors. Jesus fulfilled the law not only by living the external forms of it but by living precisely what He meant by it when He gave it as Jehovah.
The law was to cleanse the inner vessel and condition thoughts and feelings, as well as actions. Jesus elucidates what He Himself intended the law should mean to people and did not merely parrot what previous interpreters had said about it. Jesus claims the temple.
In Matthew, however, Jesus does not cleanse the temple and then teach. The Gospel of Luke presents different challenges than does Matthew. It is written for a gentile audience, and while Luke is concerned to show a continuity between Judaism and the Church, he does it in ways that would be comprehensible to Gentiles.
However, lest one be tempted to place Luke in a totally gentile environment, we need to be aware that he quotes extensively from the Old Testament. When he does, his quotations are word for word from the LXX. Despite his gentile emphasis, Luke is very much at home in the world of Old Testament Judaism. Joseph A. This is not yet to be regarded as an expression of divinity, but it speaks at least of his otherness, his transcendent character. In chapters 1 and 2, kyrios is used twenty-four times to designate the God of Israel- Jehovah.
The same word is used for Jesus thirty-one times in the rest of the Gospel. It strains credulity to suppose that readers would somehow make a neat distinction between the two uses and not see them pointing to the same being. Luke preserves an additional Son of Man saying in Luke Jesus had gone to the house of Zacchaeus, the tax collector, who committed to giving half his goods to the poor and to returning four times over any monies that he gained deceitfully. Other Markan parallels. Luke does not include, however, the account of Jesus walking on the water, with its attendant ego eimi.
Instead, he includes two ego eimi sayings unique to his Gospel, but neither of them is clearly a claim of divinity see ; In verse 48 Jesus tells the woman that her sins are forgiven and receives the same shocked response from His listeners as He did when He healed the paralytic see — The answer is, of course, that He is Jehovah, since only Jehovah can forgive sins. Most assume the account to be a resurrection narrative placed in a preresurrection setting, thus discounting its historicity as it stands. Almost no one ties the account to any Old Testament antecedents. Consequently, virtually all miss the point that Luke intended his readers to understand—that Jehovah of the Old Testament is Jesus of the Gospel of Luke.
The context of the account is the miraculous catch offish which occurred after Jesus directed the disciples to throw their nets out one more time. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: and so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. To read the first account without remembering the second seems strange, but as noted above, most commentators ignore the Isaiah parallel.
All three synoptic Gospels have sufficient material to lead readers to equate Jesus with Jehovah of the Old Testament. All of these strains are maintained and augmented in Matthew and Luke. In the end, it seems clear that we are to see Jesus and Jehovah as one, at least from the standpoint of the synoptic writers. Much of John is instruction to those who are close to Jesus. There is a greater sense of intimacy between Jesus and His close disciples. Thus, Jesus says more about Himself.
We will not enter into the debate about whether all the sayings in John are from Jesus Himself.
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The critical issue is what we are to understand about Jesus and His relationship to Jehovah from the Gospel in its present form. John is unquestionably the easiest Gospel from which to make the identification between Jesus and Jehovah. You do not know me. Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. In a Jewish context, where Jehovah was the Father, if Jesus is Jehovah incarnate, then what He says is absolutely true: those who have seen Him have seen the Father as they understood that word.
We will now see if the Gospel of John can support this interpretation. Ego Eimi. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he [ego eimi]. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he [ego eimi], they went backward, and fell to the ground. Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. The reaction of the soldiers is as clear as the reaction of the Jews in John Readers are to understand that Jesus is the God of the Old Testament.
He is Jehovah, for those confronted by Him fall back in awe and fear. A third use of ego eimi is parallel to the synoptic account of Jesus walking on the water. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he [ego eimi]. To hold that Jesus is merely using the title as an extension of the Father, or because He and the Father are one, is to manipulate the clear meaning of the texts.
Jesus is God. In the synoptic Gospels, we had to demonstrate indirectly that each author held Jesus to be divine. However, that is not necessary in the Gospel of John, because John explicitly states that Jesus is God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Jesus is the Word that becomes flesh. The Word is God, and through Jesus, the Word, were all things created.
But Jesus is not the place where the Father Jehovah and human beings meet; rather, He is Jehovah whom human beings meet. It is He, God Himself, who reveals the previously unknown Father. When confronted by the risen Jesus Himself, however, his response is swift and undiluted. In a Jewish climate, there is only one possibility. He has to be Jehovah. The Good Shepherd. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
Behind this assertion must stand Ezekiel As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. The new Christian element is that the Shepherd will lay down His life, something which Ezekiel did not say Jehovah would do.
However, that is part of the surprising Christian revelation—Jehovah can lay down His life for His sheep see John Peter and the Church, as the representatives of Jehovah, carry on the work of the Good Shepherd see John — Jesus as king. Jesus is a king like David. However, by the time Jesus completed His ministry, the title carried very different connotations for John. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then?
Like the synoptic writers, John shows Pilate trying to satisfy the Jews by having Jesus whipped and humiliated. But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? It is the last statement that is not found in the synoptic Gospels. Earlier we showed that the true king of Israel was Jehovah.