Is the Existing Theology on Human Suffering Adequate?

Unfortunuately, I do not agree. There is a suppostion on your part that everything is known about the doctor and his motives and the person receiving the treatment. On the surface … and if this was true a true story it could be argued the pain was needless. The fact is we never get to know all the facts since we are not God.

The Christian belief is that nothing happens on earth without God’s knowledge and as Christians we believe God’s loves us beyond what we can imagine. So it follows that all that happens is out of love, both the good and the bad for if it did not originate out of love then God is a liar. We know that God is not a liar so it must be out of love.

[quote=ncgolf]Unfortunuately, I do not agree. There is a suppostion on your part that everything is known about the doctor and his motives and the person receiving the treatment. On the surface … and if this was true a true story it could be argued the pain was needless. The fact is we never get to know all the facts since we are not God.
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Argumentatum ad ignoratiam.
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By your reasoning we should NEVER form an opinion about anything, because we cannot know ALL the details. I don’t think that is a valid position, and I would bet that you violate your own principle many times every day, just as you violated it by posting what you did.

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[quote=ncgolf]The Christian belief is that nothing happens on earth without God’s knowledge and as Christians we believe God’s loves us beyond what we can imagine. So it follows that all that happens is out of love, both the good and the bad for if it did not originate out of love then God is a liar. We know that God is not a liar so it must be out of love.
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Your definition of “love” is probably different from mine.

[quote=Hitetlen]Argumentatum ad ignoratiam.
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By your reasoning we should NEVER form an opinion about anything, because we cannot know ALL the details. I don’t think that is a valid position, and I would bet that you violate your own principle many times every day, just as you violated it by posting what you did.

[/font]Your definition of “love” is probably different from mine.

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Never said that …we form opinions and judgements all the time with the information we have … but our conclusions may be incomplete due to not knowing every detail. Doesnt make us wrong just human. Let us be us and God be God. Yours is a comment about what God knows and what we know. There is an infinite chasm between the two and you are trying to bridge it with a simplistic argument.

An opinion about why something happened is different than the actual reason something happened. We do the first all the time but many times we dont know the second.

Agape … divine love.

[quote=Hitetlen]Not according to the Bible and the posters around here. The torture in hell is eternal, while Satan got off scot free. No torture and he kept his power to do exactly what he wants to do.
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Hi Hitetlen

You seem to be equating death with hell. In my last post, I explained the difference between death and hell. Yes, we all die, but we do not all go to hell.

Satan, at the end of time, will be condemned to hell for all eternity. He will receive the same punishment as all those who deny God. He does not have the power to do exactly what he wants to do, only what God permits, the same as the rest of us.

Hell is not a place of eternal torment, not torture. The chief torment of hell is separation from God. Those who are detemined to live without God are given precisely what they want. Life without God. Is it really punishment for God to respect the free will of His people? The other torments likely arise from what the beings consigned there will do to one another with absolutely no restraint from God.

The only difference between what Satan receives and disobedient humans is death. Also, as I explained earlier, Satan, because he does not have a physical body, cannot die. Death is the spearation of spirit from body - no body, no separation, therefore no death.

We humans have been given an opportunity to return to God, Satan has not. Satan’s punishment is more severe.

[quote=Hitetlen]So what? Can you expect a child to understand (who is ignorant about the questions of life and death) that tasting a cookie has dire consequences? According to the believers, death was a direct consequence of the original sin, therefore no one could have known beforehand just what this death is! So this warning simply could not have carried any meaning for them. The punishment was way out of proportion compared to the act.

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You seem to have this notion that death is some horrible punishment in and of itself. It’s not. Our spirits are simply separated from our bodies. We continue to exist, just apart from our bodies. It’s a cliché, but we are spiritual beings having a human experience.

Death is temporary. Death is really little more than God saying, “Go to your room and don’t come out until I say,” on the scale of punishment. All of us will be resurrected and restored to our bodies.

Even in the end, if we continue disobedient in these days of our probation, God’s punishment is to kick us out of the house, so to speak, and leave us to our own devices. If we demonsrtate time and again that we won’t live by the rules of His house, why should we think we are entitled to stay there?

[quote=ncgolf]Never said that …we form opinions and judgements all the time with the information we have … but our conclusions may be incomplete due to not knowing every detail. Doesnt make us wrong just human.
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Sounds good. Now going back to the question I presented, according to the information we have if the doctor uses a needlessly painful procedure when there is a painless one is also available, he is inflicting unnecessary pain. If the doctor has some valid reason to avoid the letter, then the pain (by definition) was not unnecessary. But you just cannot justify (by applying to ingorance) the causing of pain that there MIGHT HAVE BEEN some reason to do so. If we don’t know of a reason and the doctor does not reveal the reason - we MUST assume that there was no reason.

[quote=ncgolf]Let us be us and God be God. Yours is a comment about what God knows and what we know. There is an infinite chasm between the two and you are trying to bridge it with a simplistic argument.
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No way. God does not get a get-out-of-jail card. When I use the word “God” I imply the hypothetical being you believe in with some very well defined attributes. If those attributes have certain logical corollaries, you cannot argue that all of a sudden the logic cannot be applied, or that the words suddenly change their meaning. That would render your argument incoherent. We can either make some judgments about God, or we cannot. But to argue that only believers can make vaild (and positive) judgments and atheists cannot (by using the same logic and the same definitions) would be unacceptable. If you can make valid positive judgments about God, then I can make valid negative judgments, too. Whether either of us is right or wrong depends on our logic.

Yes, I know the concept of “agape”. Nevertheless, the word “love” does not allow for unnecessary suffering. And since no-one can argue that every time a father spanks his son he will administer precisely enough slaps to achieve a certain educational goal, and they will ALL stop at that point by sheer chance; God - by not interfering - does tacitly allow the existence of unnecessary suffering.

And that cannot be refuted by applying to free will, nor can be refuted by arguing from ignorance.

[quote=Hitetlen]Sounds good. Now going back to the question I presented, according to the information we have if the doctor uses a needlessly painful procedure when there is a painless one is also available, he is inflicting unnecessary pain. If the doctor has some valid reason to avoid the letter, then the pain (by definition) was not unnecessary. But you just cannot justify (by applying to ingorance) the causing of pain that there MIGHT HAVE BEEN some reason to do so. If we don’t know of a reason and the doctor does not reveal the reason - we MUST assume that there was no reason.
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This is a non-sequitar. Just because you or even I or even all of humanity cannot see a reason for God to permit this suffering does not mean there is not one. Again, you should read the argument that I suggested.

[quote=Hitetlen]No way. God does not get a get-out-of-jail card. When I use the word “God” I imply the hypothetical being you believe in with some very well defined attributes. If those attributes have certain logical corollaries, you cannot argue that all of a sudden the logic cannot be applied, or that the words suddenly change their meaning. That would render your argument incoherent. We can either make some judgments about God, or we cannot. But to argue that only believers can make vaild (and positive) judgments and atheists cannot (by using the same logic and the same definitions) would be unacceptable. If you can make valid positive judgments about God, then I can make valid negative judgments, too. Whether either of us is right or wrong depends on our logic.
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And I, myself, have never reasoned that God is totally logical. I have never stated that God has ‘well defined attributes.’ You often hear the argument (borrowing from the Simpsons) “Could God microwave a burrito so hot that even he could not eat it?” Well, yes and yes. God can have two mutually exclusive properties. Like God is both infinite love, yet demands justice (another one). You are attempting to make arguments out of sheer logic about God, which I do not think is possible.

[quote=Hitetlen]Yes, I know the concept of “agape”. Nevertheless, the word “love” does not allow for unnecessary suffering. And since no-one can argue that every time a father spanks his son he will administer precisely enough slaps to achieve a certain educational goal, and they will ALL stop at that point by sheer chance; God - by not interfering - does tacitly allow the existence of unnecessary suffering.
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The concept of “love” in that “God IS divine love” is so poorly defined that you cannot make those statements.

God will not (or at least as far as I understand) necessarily interfere with choice in that a choice a soul makes is a choice. However if you were overly spanking your child He could hurl a meteor into your back yard such that you would get distracted. Or something like that. Which is not interfering with choice; maybe ‘directing’ choice…but that is another discussion entirely.

One cannot reason out God, because like most Christians say “No one can know the mind of God”. Thus the ‘argument’ veers off to the path of faith. I only can have faith that God will do what is right, that God is loving, etc. I don’t KNOW logically that this is so. But if I thought God was a God of cruelty then I would choose not to worship Him. How do I know that he is not? I don’t. That’s why its called faith.

In summary, I, nor anyone here, is claiming that you can convince someone that God exists by logical argument. I know better. I don’t think that I have ever seen someone converted to Theism or to Atheism by some argument written on a piece of paper.

I have seen all the arguments for and against God and none of them are irrefutable. In fact, that is another problem with logic is that there is no such argument that if someone were rational and understood logic, agreed with the premises and the argument itself, would be FORCED to accept the conclusion. We all have our little problems.

[quote=Hitetlen]Sounds good. Now going back to the question I presented, according to the information we have if the doctor uses a needlessly painful procedure when there is a painless one is also available, he is inflicting unnecessary pain. If the doctor has some valid reason to avoid the letter, then the pain (by definition) was not unnecessary. But you just cannot justify (by applying to ingorance) the causing of pain that there MIGHT HAVE BEEN some reason to do so. If we don’t know of a reason and the doctor does not reveal the reason - we MUST assume that there was no reason.
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If I was on a jury with the doctor being sued for some sort of malpractice … yes I could find … if there was sufficient evidence corraborating his behavior negligent and may award the person damages. There are two types of justice, human and divine. You speak of only human and from a human standpoint we do stand in judgement of some behaviors. I will admit and I believe though I do not know all of God’s will. This is your crux. You want to know as God knows and I say in many cases we are ignorant.

You can always make a judgement about God … no one on this forum will stop you … unless you get real nasty. What attritbutes do you speak of. I will list a few but it is not exhaustive.

  1. All knowing
  2. No beginning and no end an eternal being
  3. Creator of all things
  4. Triune God (three persons 1 God)

What attritubutes about God do you hold?

Rightness and wrongness about God is not dependant on logic, it is only dependant on whether the statements are true or not. And truth walked the earth as a person … Jesus Christ.

[quote=Lapsed]Hell is not a place of eternal torment, not torture. The chief torment of hell is separation from God. Those who are detemined to live without God are given precisely what they want. Life without God. Is it really punishment for God to respect the free will of His people? The other torments likely arise from what the beings consigned there will do to one another with absolutely no restraint from God.
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I think you are splitting hair here, and you are definitely in contradiction to the words of the Bible. The words are eternal flame, the worm that never sleeps, gnashing of teeth (as if souls could have teeth, but let’s let this ride) - definitely a gruesome and painful place.

[quote=Lapsed]You seem to have this notion that death is some horrible punishment in and of itself. It’s not. Our spirits are simply separated from our bodies. We continue to exist, just apart from our bodies. It’s a cliché, but we are spiritual beings having a human experience.
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Even if that were true, that would also be in contradiction with the Bible, where it was death as a punishment for the original disobedience.

[quote=Lapsed]Death is temporary. Death is really little more than God saying, “Go to your room and don’t come out until I say,” on the scale of punishment. All of us will be resurrected and restored to our bodies.
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And - according to many believers - that is when the physical torture will begin. In a sense you sound as some newer, liberal members of the clergy do, when they downplay the concept of hell.

I would be inclined to agree with you (if I were a believer) because the concept of eternal punishment for a finite “misdeed” is not only very repulsive to me but it is in dire contradiction to God’s alleged “loving” nature, not to mention his also alleged “just” nature. I cannot fathom how is it possible that some people do not see the horrible injustice in giving an eternal punishment (whetever that precisely means) for a finite misbehavior.

[quote=precious_roy]And I, myself, have never reasoned that God is totally logical. I have never stated that God has ‘well defined attributes.’
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Maybe the word “attributes” has thrown you off. I am simply talking about the definition which is in the Catholic almanach, which talks about omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, loving, just, ineffable, immutable, etc… These attributes form a well-defined human hypothesis. Now we can examine these atrributes and find out three things:

  1. are the attributes sensible in and by themselves?
  2. do the attributes contradict each other?
  3. do the attributes conform to what we know about the world?

If these three demands are met, it is possible that the hypothesis may have a manifestation (in simple words: it is possible that God exists). If any of these demands are not met, the being described by the attributes cannot logically exist.

[quote=precious_roy]You often hear the argument (borrowing from the Simpsons) “Could God microwave a burrito so hot that even he could not eat it?” Well, yes and yes. God can have two mutually exclusive properties. Like God is both infinite love, yet demands justice (another one). You are attempting to make arguments out of sheer logic about God, which I do not think is possible.
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Here we get to a very important point: God cannot have mutually exculsive attribues. Nothing can. Even God cannot create a logical contradiction: like a married bachelor or square circle. That would be nonsense. If you wish to abolish the three (very simple) axioms of logic (the law of identity, the law of contradiction and the law of excluded middle) you would abolish all possibility of coherent speech, of any kind of mutual understanding. There would be no way to decide if any sentence is correct or not.

[quote=precious_roy]The concept of “love” in that “God IS divine love” is so poorly defined that you cannot make those statements.
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If it is poorly defined, then why is it used?

[quote=precious_roy]God will not (or at least as far as I understand) necessarily interfere with choice in that a choice a soul makes is a choice. However if you were overly spanking your child He could hurl a meteor into your back yard such that you would get distracted. Or something like that. Which is not interfering with choice; maybe ‘directing’ choice…but that is another discussion entirely.
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The precise method is not relevant. The fact that he allows pain and suffering which can be alleviated is enough. Another example: people have been dying left and right in the past when there were no medications to cure certain illnesses. Now with new medications available, people do not die prematurely. Mind you, these medications did not come from God. There is a tendency to to improve on our lives, to minimize pain and suffering - and all that comes from human endeavors, God does not interfere to “help” us.

[quote=precious_roy]One cannot reason out God, because like most Christians say “No one can know the mind of God”. Thus the ‘argument’ veers off to the path of faith. I only can have faith that God will do what is right, that God is loving, etc. I don’t KNOW logically that this is so. But if I thought God was a God of cruelty then I would choose not to worship Him. How do I know that he is not? I don’t. That’s why its called faith.
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I know that, and appreciate the candor.

[quote=precious_roy]In summary, I, nor anyone here, is claiming that you can convince someone that God exists by logical argument. I know better. I don’t think that I have ever seen someone converted to Theism or to Atheism by some argument written on a piece of paper.
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I agree with the first part, but I don’t know if the second part is true or not.

[quote=precious_roy]I have seen all the arguments for and against God and none of them are irrefutable. In fact, that is another problem with logic is that there is no such argument that if someone were rational and understood logic, agreed with the premises and the argument itself, would be FORCED to accept the conclusion. We all have our little problems.
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Actually it is not the fault of logic, it is that most people are unwilling to apply logic when it comes to deeply held beliefs - more is the pity. When it comes to fundamental beliefs, most humans will rationalize rather than accept the conclusions.

[quote=Hitetlen]Maybe the word “attributes” has thrown you off. I am simply talking about the definition which is in the Catholic almanach, which talks about omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, loving, just, ineffable, immutable, etc… These attributes form a well-defined human hypothesis. Now we can examine these atrributes and find out three things:

  1. are the attributes sensible in and by themselves?
  2. do the attributes contradict each other?
  3. do the attributes conform to what we know about the world?

If these three demands are met, it is possible that the hypothesis may have a manifestation (in simple words: it is possible that God exists). If any of these demands are not met, the being described by the attributes cannot logically exist.
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I disagree. I would think that logic, something of this universe, can only be applied to something of this universe. Like causality. A rock falls and hits the ground. It makes a noise. The noise that came from the rock could not occur before the rock hit the ground. Or could it? Yes, it could, possibly, outside the universe where I don’t know that its causal. I’ll reiterate next.

[quote=Hitetlen]Here we get to a very important point: God cannot have mutually exculsive attribues. Nothing can. Even God cannot create a logical contradiction: like a married bachelor or square circle. That would be nonsense. If you wish to abolish the three (very simple) axioms of logic (the law of identity, the law of contradiction and the law of excluded middle) you would abolish all possibility of coherent speech, of any kind of mutual understanding. There would be no way to decide if any sentence is correct or not.
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But there you have made an assumption. That God is simply something. Something that logic can be applied to. Which is a supposition to which I do not necessarily agree. And yes, I do wish to abolish the axioms of logic outside the universe, because I have no data that indicate that they apply there. Inside the bounds of the universe, logic is very useful. For speech as an example. It may be that when someone steps outside the bounds of the universe that the axioms of logic become rediculous and thus must be discarded.
Now, ascribing properties to God is only useful in as much as we understand those properties. Thus saying something like “God is loving” is quite incomplete, but it gives us some sort of human reference point to start from.

[quote=Hitetlen]The precise method is not relevant. The fact that he allows pain and suffering which can be alleviated is enough. Another example: people have been dying left and right in the past when there were no medications to cure certain illnesses. Now with new medications available, people do not die prematurely. Mind you, these medications did not come from God. There is a tendency to to improve on our lives, to minimize pain and suffering - and all that comes from human endeavors, God does not interfere to “help” us.
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But you are again supposing that it can be alleviated. I am operating within the assumption that God will not take over the souls ability to make a decision (a possibly false assumption). So there are pains which apparently are necessary as a result of human free will. And, hopefully someone with more Biblical and Church background can pick up this argument for me.

[quote=Hitetlen]I know that, and appreciate the candor.
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Likewise I appreciate your positions and strong arguments.

[quote=Hitetlen]I agree with the first part, but I don’t know if the second part is true or not.
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You’re right. I don’t know either, but I am just saying that I have never seen anyone really ‘moved’ to a religious position by a pencil-and-paper argument. Maybe a book, which is less dry…

[quote=Hitetlen]Actually it is not the fault of logic, it is that most people are unwilling to apply logic when it comes to deeply held beliefs - more is the pity. When it comes to fundamental beliefs, most humans will rationalize rather than accept the conclusions.
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That actually was not what I was getting at. I was more getting at the assumption of modus ponens (spelling?), which is necessary to get anywhere in logic via the Lewis Carrol story.
And yes, most will rationalize: its a psychological phenomenon called ‘cognitive dissonance.’

[quote=Hitetlen]I think you are splitting hair here, and you are definitely in contradiction to the words of the Bible. The words are eternal flame, the worm that never sleeps, gnashing of teeth (as if souls could have teeth, but let’s let this ride) - definitely a gruesome and painful place.
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Figurative speech employed to convey the seriousness of the pain endured by those who experience the immediate presence of God and are then deprived of it. This is not a contradiction of the Bible but an understanding of it rooted in apastolic tradition and handed down by the Church.

From the Cathechism:

1035"…The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs."

This is what the Church teaches.

As for hair splitting, no. There is a decided difference between torture (willful acts by another intended to cause pain and suffering) and torment, which can arise from the realization of guilt.

The characters in Edgar Allen Poe’s The Telltale Heart or Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment are classic examples of this type of torment. They experienced internal torment brought on by their own actions that manifsted in physical torment.

In hell, after having been in the presence of God for judgement, the full realization of the consequences of separation from Him will come to those who have rejected Him. The torment of that, of the consequences of their own choices and realization it could have been otherwise, will be beyond that of any physical torture that could be inflicted. God is simply respecting the choices of the individual.

[quote=Hitetlen]Even if that were true, that would also be in contradiction with the Bible, where it was death as a punishment for the original disobedience.
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I never said that death wasn’t a punishment. What I was calling into question was your perception of death’s severity as a punishment. For an atheist, yes it’s the ultimate punishment. However, within a Christian worldview, it is a minor punishment bacause we understand that death is only temporary.

[quote=Hitetlen]And - according to many believers - that is when the physical torture will begin. In a sense you sound as some newer, liberal members of the clergy do, when they downplay the concept of hell.
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What I have been saying is completely in line with Church teaching. I have hardly been downplaying it. The torment of hell will be horrible, but it is the natural consequences of the choices made by the individuals there and God’s respect for their free will.

The position I am taking here is hardly limitted to newer liberal theologians. I have a book titled My Catholic Faith by Bishop Louis Morrow first published in 1936. My copy is from a 1961 printing. Pre-Vatican II. On page 175, he writes, “The wicked in hell know what they rejected and lost: God. This pain will be the greatest torment of hell, for the human soul is made for God.”

The emphasis is in the original, just as I have written it, both bold and itallicized.

[quote=Hitetlen]I would be inclined to agree with you (if I were a believer) because the concept of eternal punishment for a finite “misdeed” is not only very repulsive to me but it is in dire contradiction to God’s alleged “loving” nature, not to mention his also alleged “just” nature. I cannot fathom how is it possible that some people do not see the horrible injustice in giving an eternal punishment (whetever that precisely means) for a finite misbehavior.
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Again, it is a matter of God respecting the free will of those who have demonstrated they do not want to be with Him. God does not assign people to hell, they choose it for themselves.

This is one of the meanings of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man ignored God and His instruction. He chose to live without God, so after death, God respected that choice and sent the rich man to live without Him.

God has given us plenty of warning and instruction. He has sent servants. He has sent His Son. It is up to us to accept or reject these things. Where we spend eternity is our choice.

Getting back on topic it really is a simple answer that is answered in many different complex ways. First let us not confuse the act of consoling a person as giving an explination for suffering. Second, let us not confuse the reality of suffering with the idea of suffering.

The simple answer is that God allows suffering because He loves you.

Why is this so? Suffering comes from three distinct ad different sources. First, it is from the natural finite world. Second it is from God’s permissive will as an antecedant of freedom. Thrid, it is from God’s active will to manifest His glory.

In the first case we cannot escape the perfect imperfection of the natural world. Because of the nature of the cosmos being finite it will have natural evil built into the system. Comming inot contact with this natural evil (non-being) at times will cause human suffering. The second deals with human freedom. Bad things happen because God allows you true free choice. To say that He only allows some free choice by some people would imply that God does not love us equally which is false. Third, as with the case of Job God will allow a person to suffer to manifest His glory. In this aspect the axiom applies that God will only give you what you can deal with. This can even be God positing a punnishment upon a person for sin such as the punnishment of corruption and death due to Original Sin. However, the purpose of the punnishment is medicative either for the person under penalty or for the people around that person.

[quote=precious_roy]I disagree. I would think that logic, something of this universe, can only be applied to something of this universe. Like causality. A rock falls and hits the ground. It makes a noise. The noise that came from the rock could not occur before the rock hit the ground. Or could it? Yes, it could, possibly, outside the universe where I don’t know that its causal. I’ll reiterate next.
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I have some objections (big surprise, eh?). One is that we all live in the universe and have to employ its properties if for nothing else, for the purposes of this conversation.

A more serious one is this: logic is not a special feature which can be applied or discarded at will. To exist is to exist as something as compared to existing as something else. You yourself adhere to this principle when you make an actual utterance about God, when you declare that “God is a loving being” (even if the word “loving” is not clearly defined). If this concept does not apply in the realm where God dwells, you cannot make any utterance about God, the whole concept becomes sheer nonsense. I don’t think you want to do that.

[quote=precious_roy]But there you have made an assumption. That God is simply something. Something that logic can be applied to. Which is a supposition to which I do not necessarily agree. And yes, I do wish to abolish the axioms of logic outside the universe, because I have no data that indicate that they apply there. Inside the bounds of the universe, logic is very useful. For speech as an example. It may be that when someone steps outside the bounds of the universe that the axioms of logic become rediculous and thus must be discarded.
Now, ascribing properties to God is only useful in as much as we understand those properties. Thus saying something like “God is loving” is quite incomplete, but it gives us some sort of human reference point to start from.
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As I said in the previous paragraph, even to have a starting point (as you put it) the words have to have some meaning, and there are some rules to apply them - and that presupposes to application of the law of identity. Let me remind you of a funny picture: a pure solipsist who tries to convince you that you don’t exist and you are merely a figment of his imagination. Why does he bother? Such a person would belong to an insane asylum, wouldn’t he?

[quote=precious_roy]But you are again supposing that it can be alleviated. I am operating within the assumption that God will not take over the souls ability to make a decision (a possibly false assumption). So there are pains which apparently are necessary as a result of human free will. And, hopefully someone with more Biblical and Church background can pick up this argument for me.
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I know that some previously necessary pains can be alleviated today: the easiest examples come from the medical progress we are all witnessing. Some previously painful procedures are replaced by non-painful ones. With the discovery of new pain-killers we can alleviate previously existing pains. You cannot argue (convincingly) that all the pains we are able to allieviate today somehow lost their significance they had yesterday. That yesterday all these pains had some vaild reasons to exist, but today that all changed and their existence is not necessary any more.

Actually I recall that the first time the childbirth pains were dampened, some of the Catholic clergy were in uproar, saying that God ordained that women MUST deliver their children “in sorrow”, and that alleviating the pains of child birth were a slap into God’s face. Pretty funny, if you stop to think about it.

To sum it up: if you want to argue that all existing pains are necessary, you should be able to bring up valid reasons why that idea ought to be entertained. To say that if those pains would not be necessary, God would not allow then to exist (since God is allegedly “good”) that has no meaning to anyone who does not accept your position - especially since we all see that previously existing pains are disappearing.

[quote=Lapsed]In hell, after having been in the presence of God for judgement, the full realization of the consequences of separation from Him will come to those who have rejected Him. The torment of that, of the consequences of their own choices and realization it could have been otherwise, will be beyond that of any physical torture that could be inflicted. God is simply respecting the choices of the individual.
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You know, this defense is actually worse than the “attack” I mounted. If the result is worse than any physical torture, then it is even more cruel than what I said. Hardly a good defense. As to free will, that is even stranger. See the next remark below.

[quote=Lapsed]Again, it is a matter of God respecting the free will of those who have demonstrated they do not want to be with Him. God does not assign people to hell, they choose it for themselves.

This is one of the meanings of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man ignored God and His instruction. He chose to live without God, so after death, God respected that choice and sent the rich man to live without Him.

God has given us plenty of warning and instruction. He has sent servants. He has sent His Son. It is up to us to accept or reject these things. Where we spend eternity is our choice.
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So according to this, free will is actually taken away immeditely when you have full information, so you are not allowed to make a really infomed decision. You say that God gave us hints by sending some information our way. But you have to admit that this information is not convincing, it falls way short of actual proof. (No sane believer would assert otherwise, since in that case there would be no need to resort to faith!).

So at the moment when we shall have actual proof of God’s existence, and we can make real decision based upon the proof, God does not allow to make this decision, we must carry the consequences of the uninformed decisions. And you think it is valid to call such a being “just” and “loving”?

My grateful thanks to all who have contributed to this thread. Of course I am aware of the apologetics and theoeretical arguments involved, but that is not really my starting point. I was hoping to have some views which would avoid blah blah,but,sadly the blah blah crept in, which leaves us with the question, would it be sufficient to dish out slabs of theology to a couple who are holding a dead child in their arms, or who have just buried a baby that they struggled for years to conceive?

[quote=Hitetlen]You know, this defense is actually worse than the “attack” I mounted. If the result is worse than any physical torture, then it is even more cruel than what I said. Hardly a good defense. As to free will, that is even stranger. See the next remark below.

So according to this, free will is actually taken away immeditely when you have full information, so you are not allowed to make a really infomed decision. You say that God gave us hints by sending some information our way. But you have to admit that this information is not convincing, it falls way short of actual proof. (No sane believer would assert otherwise, since in that case there would be no need to resort to faith!).

So at the moment when we shall have actual proof of God’s existence, and we can make real decision based upon the proof, God does not allow to make this decision, we must carry the consequences of the uninformed decisions. And you think it is valid to call such a being “just” and “loving”?
[/quote]

Only you need proof of God’s existence and when you die it will be too late for you as you will be condemned. Atheists will look pretty foolish standing before God when their time comes!!
I think in every thread in all the forums you have been in you are asking for hard scientific proof of the existence of God. How many times do so many people have to tell you Faith is not about proof and science can never prove or disprove this. Repeatedly requiring this is like listening to a broken record.
Science is understanding the measurable.
Faith is believing the incomprehensible, and for this you need Grace.

[quote=mosher]The simple answer is that God allows suffering because He loves you.
[/quote]

If that is the reason, I would prefer that he did not “love” me. We can do quite well without this kind of “love”. It is totally incorrect to call this attitude “love” since it is in dire contradiction to what we mean by “love” when it is applied to human interaction.

[quote=mosher]Why is this so? Suffering comes from three distinct ad different sources. First, it is from the natural finite world.
[/quote]

Not according to the Bible: allegedly the Garden of Eden was also finite and without pain and suffering.

[quote=mosher]Second it is from God’s permissive will as an antecedant of freedom.
[/quote]

This is simply nonsense.

[quote=mosher]Thrid, it is from God’s active will to manifest His glory.
[/quote]

Wow! I am almost rendered speechless. If God’s glory comes from our suffering, then God is the most evil being there could be. To wallow in someone else’s pain and misfortune to glorify oneself is so horrible that I am lost for words. Again, the defense is worse (much worse) than the “attack”.

[quote=thistle]Only you need proof of God’s existence and when you die it will be too late for you as you will be condemned.
[/quote]

This was my point: all those posts which say that we are given free will are nonsense, since this very same free will is taken away once we would be in the position to make a fully informed decision.

[quote=thistle]Atheists will look pretty foolish standing before God when their time comes!!
[/quote]

Actually I don’t think so. If God would truly be just, he would appreciate the fact that we (who are dissatisified with the vague hints) are using our intellect and do not succumb to the unproven hints. And if he is not just, then you are out of luck, because he can send you to hell for being gullible.

[quote=thistle]I think in every thread in all the forums you have been in you are asking for hard scientific proof of the existence of God. How many times do so many people have to tell you Faith is not about proof and science can never prove or disprove this. Repeatedly requiring this is like listening to a broken record.
[/quote]

Nope, I don’t ask to proof, since I know that proof is impossible.

[quote=thistle]Science is understanding the measurable.
Faith is believing the incomprehensible, and for this you need Grace.
[/quote]

As Tertullian said: “Credo quia absurdum est.” I must believe because it is impossible, absurd. And God obviously did not send me his grace, since I am without faith - and thus he condemned me to hell. How “loving” of him! Maybe it is for his glory as mosher said. If God’s glory comes from our suffering, then he needs the screams of the condemned to glorify himself. “Loving”? I don’t think so.

[quote=Hitetlen]If that is the reason, I would prefer that he did not “love” me. We can do quite well without this kind of “love”. It is totally incorrect to call this attitude “love” since it is in dire contradiction to what we mean by “love” when it is applied to human interaction.

Not according to the Bible: allegedly the Garden of Eden was also finite and without pain and suffering.

This is simply nonsense.

Wow! I am almost rendered speechless. If God’s glory comes from our suffering, then God is the most evil being there could be. To wallow in someone else’s pain and misfortune to glorify oneself is so horrible that I am lost for words. Again, the defense is worse (much worse) than the “attack”.
[/quote]

Calling God evil is blasphemy and while I may again be accused of being uncharitable I would hope you leave this forum now. To publicly declare God to be evil is blasphenous and dispictable.

[quote=thistle]Calling God evil is blasphemy and while I may again be accused of being uncharitable I would hope you leave this forum now. To publicly declare God to be evil is blasphenous and dispictable.
[/quote]

Well, blasphemy would be irrelevant (in my eyes), but your charge is actually unfounded. I did not call God evil, I said that IF God would find glory in our suffering that WOULD render God evil. But I disagree with this picture, and I think that your belief in God is incorrect. Furthermore I would not call you uncharitable, just a little hasty in your rendering judgment. But since we are all fallible beings, that is no big deal.

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