I found Rick Rood's article on The Problem of Evil helpful in some way, but I was hoping to find some additional information. No where in my search have I seen anyone address the issue of why God allowed Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge. Surely God knew Eve would be tempted by Satan (the serpent). Why did he allow this? Surely he must have known this would be the downfall of his creation, Earth? And subsequently the root of all pain, hate, and evil to come in the world, both behind and ahead of us. If God had intended for us to live in a Paradise here on Earth, he never would have permitted this event to occur, indeed the event that destroyed what civilization could have been. Instead, God MADE it necessary to save us from ourselves through Jesus. WHY WAS THIS NECESSARY? WHY THE DRAMA? IS GOD SO LONELY AND SELFISH HE CONCOCTED THIS FANTASTIC REALITY SO THAT MANKIND WOULD LOVE AND REVERE HIM? TO THINK THAT WE COULD ALL BE HAPPY AND LOVING AND TOGETHER AS A PEOPLE HERE ON EARTH, RATHER THAN THE CESSPOOL WE HAVE TODAY, MAKES ME SCREAM OUT IN ANGER AT THE GOD WHO SAYS HE LOVES US.
THE EVIDENCE THAT GOD IS NOT ALL POWERFUL AND ALL LOVING IS ON TV. DOES GOD LIKE THE ATTENTION? IS ANY ADVERTISING GOOD ADVERTISING FOR HIM?
It seems to me God wanted this to happen--he made it happen. He WANTS us to suffer, in order to be driven TO Him. That must be the only way he figured we would love and come to Him? I've heard that God does not need us. But surely he does, or he would not have introduced pain and suffering to the world to drive us to him. Without it, why would we need him, goes the argument.
We have the perfect Villain--Satan--to blame everything bad on. But Satan did not create Adam and Eve. Satan did not make the Tree. And where was God when the Serpent came sliding in in? Did God not know Eve would eat it? TO ME, THIS IS THE MOST CRUCIAL QUESTION IN ALL OF HUMANITY. Assuming God is all knowing, he knew what would happen, the chaos for all time it would bring, and chose to do nothing. Or rather, let it happen. Had God stepped up at the crucial moment, we would all be loving and happy and together here on Earth, JUST AS IT WAS INTENDED. GOD MADE THE WORLD WHAT IT IS TODAY. GOD CREATED MAN'S HEARTS, GOD IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL THAT HAPPENS. UNLESS YOU BELIEVE SATAN IS ON PAR AT EQUAL STRENGTH WITH GOD, THEN GOD HAS TO BE ACCOUNTABLE. IT'S TIME RESPONSIBILTY WAS PLACED WITH THE RIGHTFUL OWNER.
I will be happy to talk to you about this, but first I have a question: do you have any children?
Thank you for your response, I really do appreciate it. No, I don't have any children. I smell an analogy using children coming....Something like "As a parent, we do things in the best interest of our children, and it is only until later in life that those same children understand the actions that were taken...". One analogy I have heard puts God in the example as the parent and us as the children. I would never have children until I was able to resolve these questions in my own mind and heart. Otherwise I am sure I would pass on the same frustration about God to my family.
After even more thought, I guess the Root of my problem/question is creation, and specifically why God created a flawed world intentionally. I use the word "flawed" in the sense that he
• Knowingly created an access point for evil for all the world (apple tree)
• Had foreknowledge Eve would eat from it
• Knew that eating from it would result in Sin throughout mankind
• That the sin would cause great suffering to all of God's People
• That it would be necessary for God to "save" the world through his Son
Is God so selfish he would intentionally and knowingly cause all this so we would "choose" him through the salvation in Jesus and 2) He must have known it would turn out like this (the hell that is our world today).
I must sound like a maniac, but I'm 29, well educated, catholic raised and partially practicing, with a good heart. I want to love God, but when I am honest with myself I realize I don't. In fact I hate the person I have concluded God to be. I love Jesus, and of course do believe he died for my sins. My problem is with the Father, and why this grand scheme to make everyone love him was necessary. He could have designed us that way. I finally stopped prayer almost entirely 3 years ago, because I would get so mad and angry at God during prayer--because I would find myself 1) praying for the same stuff with no result 2) many of the things I was praying about were caused by God (natural disasters, human suffering, etc.) When I say human suffering is caused by God, of course I understand free will and that people cause suffering. I hold God accountable for allowing evil and pain and suffering to exist.
Hope this provides you with a little more insight into my problem. If you are able to assist or offer a new perspective that would be great. Thank You.
I believe the answer to your question is the fact that God has a very big plan for creation that we cannot see from our vantage point in space and time. He knew before He created anything, what would be the best way to get to His final desire, which is to provide a Bride for His Son. Just as any man wants a woman to marry him freely and out of love and commitment and support, the Lord Jesus wanted a Bride who chose Him freely. The only way to have a Bride who chose Him freely was to create people who could also choose freely to reject Him.
Could God have made people who couldn't have chosen NOT to love Him? No. Love means choice, and the other alternative would have been to create automatons who were programmed to behave in a certain way. If I read your e-mail correctly, you believe God could have made a world in which we were "happy and loving and together as a people here on earth," but He didn't and you're mad at Him for that. People without choice cannot be happy and loving. (Have you ever used a word-processing program that automatically changes what it thinks are misspellings and punctuation errors? No matter what you type, the program rearranges your letters, removing your choice. I don't know about you, but "happy and loving" doesn't describe me when I growl, "That's not what I meant! Let me type things MY way!"<smile>)
I would suggest that an ant colony is busy and productive, ant-wise, but they are not happy and loving. They ARE together, but in the scope of eternity, what does it matter? Their behavior is programmed, but there is no depth to any of it.
God created a world in which the people WERE happy and loving and together, and they chose to trash it. I guess you don't have any trouble accepting that reality; if I'm not mistaken, what you want is all the benefits of Eden without the choice to trash it. I can certainly understand that! :) But you also haven't seen the end of the story, either, when everything is made right again, and that's exactly what we will have. I respectfully suggest that that's the part you're missing. The big picture where God restores creation to its original perfect state. I also respectfully suggest that the evidence of the world today that God is not all-powerful and all-loving, is actually evidence that God is very patient. He's not finished yet. He's allowing a certain amount of pain and suffering--which He will redeem, every bit of it--because there is a larger purpose behind it. Our inability to see it doesn't mean it's not there.
I asked if you if you had children because this is one of the things we can learn about God as parent when we have children. I passionately love my children, but I allowed them to experience pain of immunizations and school tests and other things they hated because I had a larger purpose for them besides preventing discomfort and pain in their lives. For instance, now that my son is in college, he's glad I made him do his homework in 5th grade although he sure didn't at the time. I never lost sight of the big goal, of maturity, because I am his mother who loves him and wants the best for him. God never loses sight of His big goal either.
You have a lot of company in being angry with God for allowing pain and suffering to exist. In fact, many wise people have said that pain and suffering is the single biggest evidence that God is not good. Or that He doesn't exist. (But then, if there were no God, and we evolved by chance, then where did we get this idea that life is unfair and broken? Life just IS, according to that worldview. But we are haunted by the sense that things should be much better than they are. And sure enough, God has revealed that we live in a fallen and broken world that is so much less than what He originally created for us. We're the ones who blew it.)
But you're not there; you know God exists, and you apparently resent Him for being a bad God for allowing life as we know it.
I'm afraid all I have to offer you is what God has revealed to us: that there IS a bigger plan, than He will make all the pain and suffering worth it some day. If you insist that there was a way for God to create people who could freely choose to either love Him or ignore/hate Him AND there be no chance for pain and suffering in the exercise of that choice, then I guess you will continue to be irreconcilably angry. You may as well fume over God not making a "square circle" or "light-filled darkness." God is a powerful God, but He is not able to create nonsense.
You know that Jesus came to earth and was tortured and died to pay the penalty for our sin. And bless you, you love Him for it. Jesus coming into the midst of our suffering and pain is the clearest indication of the Father's heart there is. He didn't do or say a single thing that was not the Father's will, and to see Jesus is to see the Father. So to hate the Father and love the Son is inconsistent. They are one God with one heart. It cost the Father everything to let the Son pay for our sins, and it cost the Son His life. That's how valuable we are to Them.
The bottom line here, ______, is that what you want God to have done is something He couldn't do. He couldn't make a world for Him to lavish with His love that didn't include the ability to reject that love. Otherwise creation would have been pointless, and God never does anything pointlessly.
May I suggest, humbly, that you try a prayer again, even though it's been three years, and ask God to show you what you're not getting? Ask Him to open your eyes to see the truth about Him and His ways? And ask Him to help you deal with your anger? He's not intimidated by it; He fully understands your frustration. And He'd love to relieve you of the burden of that anger and replace it with His peace.
I hope this helps, even a little.
About the Author
Sue Bohlin is an associate speaker with Probe Ministries. She attended the University of Illinois, and has been a Bible teacher and conference speaker for over 30 years. She is a frequent speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Connections), and serves on the board and as a small group leader of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ centered outreach to those dealing with unwanted homosexuality. Sue is on the Bible.org Women's Leadership Team and is a regular contributor to TheTapestryBlog.com. She is also a professional calligrapher and the webmistress for Probe Ministries; but most importantly, she is the wife of Dr. Ray Bohlin and the mother of their two grown sons. Her personal website is suebohlin.com.