Give me an example, please!


Ay Chee wow wa! It’s a long story.

Are you not familiar with the book of Job?

Bascially and very basically, Job was considered as near a perfect a man as can be. He was enormously blessed by God, very rich and with a huge family, and very God fearing.

The devil came on the seen and accused God of fencing in Job. And suggested that if he exposed Job, then Job would curse God.

So God “Allowed” the devil to arrange serious inflictions and catastrophies on Job, including the killing of his family members. Job was himself seriously inflicted with excrutiating ailments.

Job did not curse God, he kept his faith in God to the end. The devil finally finished throwing everything he could at Job. Then God intervened and blessed Job with even more than he had prior to the calamity. Job had a new family and was far richer, and stronger in his belief in God.

Summary: If it were not for the evil, this story would have never been told. The greater Good that came out of this, is for all of us to see that we must perservere to the end. There will be an enormous Good for us waiting at the end. Not to mention the Greater Good done to Job, for his perserverence.



*]Without experiencing a hot summer (evil) I would never be able to appreciate air conditioning (good)
*]Without the setting of the sun(evil) my appreciation of daylight would be eliminated(good)
*]Without experiencing life without the fullness of God’s love and presence in this life, we would never appreciate an eternity basking in it.[/LIST]



I am simply curious if anyone can bring up a scenario, where God desires a greater good, which necessitates some painful or evil logical precursor to it.




Knowing everything, I suspect that if the evil in creation outweighed the good, God would not have bothered with any of it.



Well that would be hard to guage I think under any scale. I mean, I think that we as humans sometimes can take centuries to see the ramifications of all actions. Its a level of detail we are not skilled at seeing due to our relative ignorance.

So to be honest I really can’t state how every detail of the war, had an impact one way or the other. I can see things generally (as we all can), but its possible that some of the ramifications have perhaps not even come to pass. It would be intellectually dishonest for me to claim I know all of this.

And what is even more important, you should substantiate that the victims who suffered were not simply “used” as “tools”. It is Catholic teaching that humans have innate dignity and nothing could more undignified than to be used as a “resource” or “teaching material”. That is why I emphasised that the greater good must happen to the victims. If other goods come out, that is even better.

And that is a hard question. Is someone a tool, if their life or suffering has a positive impact on future people? From that perspective one could look at someone who leads a properous life that inspires people as a tool as well. In Catholic Tradition God himself suffered for man. Suffering seems to be the price humanity demands for any social or spiritual movement. It seems to be the one thing that catalyzes us, or enrages us to action. Sometimes we do not see the benefit of our suffering so while I can appreciate your sentiment, I suppose I don’t see why that a person’s suffering necessitates immediate benefit. Would that be fair? Absolutely, but what about existance suggests fair has anything to do with it? That is a goal we work towards and often suffering can accelerate this, but we are not a wise or enlightened soceity yet.

[FONT=“Verdana”]That contradicts God’s omnipotence. God’s “toolset” can be whatever he wants to have.

It only contradicts God’s omnipotence if you assume I meant that he must do it this way. That wasn’t my suggestion though. God does chose to do it this way though it would seem. We were created to be companions not puppets. We are not all knowing so we mess up a lot. Yet, often it is in our mistakes that we learn the most. Sometimes those lessons can be harsh.



It is ironic that you say this. Ateista and I began this conversation on another thread (Why doesnt God destroy the Devil now?) where he attempted to demonstrate that the existence of evil obviates the possibility of an omnibenevolent God. Your point here was the thrust of my argument, namely:
We are incapable of accurately assessing both the amount of good which results, and the evil which is caused.



Psychological suffering is like a pot of boiling water.

A frog hops along, sees the water, likes water, so jumps in.
He notices that the water is boiling, so he immediately jumps out.

Another frog hops along, sees another pot of water, he likes water, so jumps in.
The water is room temperature, so he stays.
Then an evil person comes along, and turns up the temperature slowly.
The temperature increase is unnoticeable to the frog.
The frog conforms to his suffering,
and so dies when the water reaches it boiling point.

So why have pots of water laying around in the first place?

Keeping the frog from his water would make him unhappy.

I agree with others,
Forcing people to be happy is slavery,
slavery is not happiness.
because slavery conforms to imposed suffering

Since forcing people to be happy goes against the nature of happiness,
and since God is happiness (According to St. Thomas),
then God, who is omnipotent, will not force us to be happy.

Suffering is as much a mystery as is God.

St. Thomas argues that God is goodness and existence.

To experience goodness is to "feel good,"
any diminution is a suffering.

Therefore, nonexistence acts with suffering,
as in the second frog scenario.
(the suffering appears nonexistent, leading to the frog’s nonexistence)

But logical contradiction implies nonexistence,
(an apple which is not an apple is nothing.)

Therefore, logical contradiction acts with suffering.

Therefore, existence also acts with suffering,
as in the first frog scenario.
(the suffering appears existent, protecting the frog’s existence)

Therefore, God, who is existence, acts with suffering to save us from suffering, nonexistence, evil,…



A frog was intended as a metaphor,
for a human being,
But I think a poor one.

I think I have
become like a beast,
and have difficulty
telling the difference.

Like those female animals,
who eat their young.



I think you are tripping over semantics, much in the same way as “Can God make a rock so big that even He cannot lift it?”

If I were to give an example where evil MUST happen for good to come of it, you could rightly say, “Do you mean that God who is omniscient could not think of a way around that?”

The issue is that God does not choose to avoid the evil. He respects our free will. He is not externally constrained by circumstance, he internally constrains himself in order to SHOW us that he is so powerful that He can make good come from our worst. God is not a force who must obey rules. He is a person who has free will to do as he pleases. He follows no constraints the He Himself does not create.

A good example is a parent who allows a child to make painful mistakes. The parent could have caused the child to avoid it, but chooses not to in order to allow the child to learn by doing AND to show the child that perhaps good can come of mistakes. Oftentimes this demonstration is done within the confines of a safe environment where the parent has control, but the child does not know it.

God is like that. In fact, He built us this way so we can see Him in ourselves. So actually we are like Him.



So I ask you to present an example, where God wishes to bring forth a “greater good”, which is impossible to do without inflicting / allowing some “evil” to happen.

Well if I fall into mortal sin now I feel it as a physical pain. That physical pain propels me to learn to be less sinful and thus a greater good can emerge.

If I have been the perpretrator of evil thoughts or words or actions, then I can by God’s grace find forgiveness if I am repentent, and that increases my relationship with God and closes the chasm between myself and God and loosens the grip evil has on me.

I suffered evil in a bad marriage, but it gave me the opportunity to forgive my ex, which is a gain to me.

My mother lost a child who suffered before he died, but it gave her an opportunity to believe in the divine more because she now believes he is an angel overseeing her other children on earth, and his suffering gave her the opportunity to either stop loving God for allowing it to happen, or to retain her Faith. That took a few years.

Suffering has taught me strength, fortitude, increased faith, the ability to move closer to the Light of Christ, the ability to recognise evil influences on my life, the ability to forgive and let go of bitterness, the opportunity to be a witness to others by showing that my suffering has increased my Faith, not vice versa. Evil done to me has done the same. Do not confuse the discipline of God with the evil actions of another onto us. However both give us the opportunity to gain if we see it.



Thanks you both jpusateri and kryia. You are both mirrors of that Light.



(Allow me to jump in here)

I agree with this, and it is in line with Catholic theology. When God gave man free will, the possibilities of both good and evil came with it. Evil was only a possibility, because every free human could choose to not actualize it. Of course, we know historically that people did choose to commit evil, thus bringing it from possibility to actuality.

It is possible for evil to return to potentiality, if every single person stops committing it. This is what we strive for. Unfortunately, this will most likely not come to pass on this earth.



As usual, your points are erudite and excellent! Thank you for sharing them.



We agree on that point, but I don’t understand why you argued that it negates MarcoPolo’s free will explanation:

“He gave us the free will to love Him and attain eternal bliss, which by that freedom, means it is possible to reject Him and go to hell.”

It seems to me that his response would answer your question:

“So I ask you to present an example, where God wishes to bring forth a “greater good”, which is impossible to do without inflicting / allowing some “evil” to happen.”

God cannot allow us to love if He keeps us from choosing not to. Love in a theologic sense is understood as being rooted in the will, so the choice for or against it must be present for that love to be genuine. God giving us the capability of choosing to love yet at the same time keeping us from choosing against it is a logical contradiction, like a square triangle.

In previous discussions, you have defined love as being an emotion. If you still maintain this, how do you account for decidedly unenjoyable self-sacrificial love? It would seem to me that a soldier who throws himself on top of a grenade is practicing love, despite his presumable unhappy emotions



Now you confused me. In your previous reply you agreed that the actuality of evil is not necessary for free will to exist, only the potentiality of evil must be allowed, even if that potential never gets realized. Therefore the actuality of evil is not a logical prerequisite for free will to exist.

I was asking for an example, when something actual evil is logically necessary for some greater good to emerge, even considering God’s omnipotence.

That is acceptable.

No problem, I agree.

Let me clarify. Love is primarily an emotion, which must be manifested in action to be called genuine love. The actions are volitional, to be sure.

I would evaluate your example differenty (about the self-sacrifice of a soldier). It is not an expression of love, it is the result of a good “brain-washing” to instinctively act for the good of the group, and disregard the personal loss. The instinctive action is not a deliberate, volitional process.

A better example would be the self-sacrifice of a parent for his or her child. That would be an expression of love. But the love itself would still be an emotion.



Just my 2 cents - Perfect “example” for facing evil to me was answered by watching “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008)”

and ask why did Prince Caspian need to endure so much evil with no intervention from Aslan from the beginning of the movie?

I think the ending explains everything very well :wink:



The first that came to mind was the Flood. God permitted the whole earth to be washed away in the flood so he could rebuild his world.
Genesis 6:5-6

When the LORD saw how great was man’s wickedness on earth, and how no desire that his heart conceived was ever anything but evil, he regretted that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was grieved.

And of course you must agree that the death and resurrection of Jesus was a great evil that was necessary for the greater good of us all.

Your statement that it would be “morally impermissible” for 1 person to suffer while another profits is specious. Our human idea of morality is not the same as God’s, since all of creation, including his children, is his and he can do what he wants with it. What about Brother Max Kolbe who, while in a concentration camp, offered to die so another prisoner could live.



Cannot go to “heaven” without freewill;
If you have freewill you may chose to go to hell;
But, whilst we were created with freewill and to live in heaven we were not created with evil; being not created with evil we were originally “only good” and we possessed freewill to choose what to do for the love of God, who walked with us, we could only go to heaven. Evil, and the possibility of evil in our will, was a later, and a foreign, possibility, introduced by a foreign agent to Gods Kingdom.



You can’t be serious! Even if the extinction of every living creature would have been a logical necessity, which is absurd (the plants and the animals did nothing wrong!) the way how they were extinguished (drowning is very painful) was not necessary.

I certainly do not. God could have just “forgiven” the transgressions, without any sacrifice. The whole “sacrifice” scenario is just a rehashing of all the ancient religions, where the “angry” gods had to be pacified by offering some sacrifices.

Nonsense. Check out the problem of the “Euthyphro dilemma”.

If someone offers a sacrifice, then it is his business.



Hmm…I think I misread your question. I thought you were asking about a situation in which God tolerates evil for the sake of greater good. In that case, the free-will example explains why God allows people to do evil, so that we can have the “greater good” of love.

Are you asking for a situation in which God (not man) must do something that is actually intrinsically evil for the sake of a greater good?

[FONT=“Verdana”]Let me clarify. Love is primarily an emotion, which must be manifested in action to be called genuine love. The actions are volitional, to be sure.

Catholic theology recognizes different types of love (primarily eros, philios, and agape), with emotions playing different roles in different types. has an article more in depth on this.

I would evaluate your example differenty (about the self-sacrifice of a soldier). It is not an expression of love, it is the result of a good “brain-washing” to instinctively act for the good of the group, and disregard the personal loss. The instinctive action is not a deliberate, volitional process.

While this might be the case in some situations, would you agree that it some cases it can be the result of a choice for selflessness?

Here’s another example, with more time for reflection: Suppose an airline engine fails, and the plane begins its slow descent to the ground. They have about 10 minutes before impact. If they do not have enough parachutes for everyone, and someone chooses to give their one up for someone else, isn’t that love?


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