Thursday, 3 May 2018

Go[o]d v. Evil

This post is about good and evil... and God and evil.

How can God allow evil people and organisations achieve such powers of destruction? Whether we're talking Hitler or ISIL, it is hard for people to contemplate the juxtaposition of such things and a loving God. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury recently admitted to struggling with his faith over such matters. (Not sure that helps a lot, Justin.)

Things like this are responsible for many people NOT believing in a loving God - or any God, for that matter. Take the tragic death of a spouse or relative. The murder of a child. Bad things done by members of the Church. How can God allow such things?

Well here's my view on the matter, in case it helps anyone. The world is as we see it. That's pretty much the way scientists see it - except in matters of fine detail where their 'beliefs' tend to change with time. And that word 'belief' is an important one. Science, you see, 'believes' what it has theorised or thinks it has proven so far, but frequently new theories come along and those beliefs have to change. Given this, a scientist should look more kindly on those whose less complex belief is in God. A scientist can prove little of what he believes, and he cannot disprove what a Christian believes - except perhaps a few of the fine details like the method of creation.

The world is as it is. As we see it. And that is the way God created it. In a masterpiece of creativity, his thought became our universe, our realm of creation, and that is where we exist. Clever stuff? Yes, but hang on. You create worlds which seem just as real to your perceptions on a regular basis: in dreams!

Yes, evolution has played an enormous part in our physical selves, and that was all part of the natural development of the world God created. There are different levels of 'good' within it, no matter how we define the term, and another term used to describe the negative extreme of good is 'evil'. Through the graduations of behaviour we label as good or evil, it is inevitable there will be evil. That is all part of the free-flowing nature of creation.

God created a system which appears to follow rules or theories. But almost anything can appear to have rules if you go to extremes of modelling it (like weather forecasting). The fact we have weather forecasting models that boil down to rules does not mean the weather actually follows any rules. God does not chose to interfere with this realm of existence, although he has given us guidelines, which religions document: as guidelines or 'rules'. God is, no doubt, entertained by the evolving nature of this creation but, like a human father, he prefers to let his children - us - make our own way in the world. Why would he want to control everything? What would be the value of a creation where he had to control the movement of every grain of sand, the path of every falling leaf... or the actions of ever-interacting human beings? He prefers to give us freedom and to delight in those individuals who follow paths of good. Good will ultimately prevail, for evil would be self-destructive, and what creator wants to destruct his creation? So evil people and organisations can exist. It is up to the powers of good in the world to destroy them. How do we know what is good and what is evil? That is where true and trusted religions come in: such as Christianity; in their case they have the Holy Bible - which the believe to have been 'God-inspired'. (But since human beings wrote it, and had a cap on their levels of understanding, there is scope for some misinterpretation and human error here and there. (Not to mention the fact that powers have changed its wording through the centuries.)

If you believe there is a devil as the ultimate essence of evil then such an entity would most delight in fooling people who start out believing in God and then turn their behaviour into the opposite of what should be their true aims. What a laugh for the devil - and what an achievement. ISIL is an example of this: religion gone wrong to the extreme. And nations all over the world can see it is wrong.

There are different ways to accept a God, and it it wrong for a particular religion to disparage another if it also believes in one God.

Christians believe there is an afterlife - Heaven - and that, of course, is another realm of existence. Jesus told a repenting criminal on an adjacent cross to him at his crucifixion that he would be together with him in Heaven that very day. And if there is an alternative existence for believers who die, one we are led to believe is a better one than the physical world, that puts a whole new complexion on people dying; they can move on to a better world. Our point of view is restricted to this life, but God's is not. He can see his other creations. He can see the better lives that exist for those souls who had a bad deal in this world. And so must you. Think about the wider picture, think about the freedom God gives us in this creation, think about the promises he makes about a better life after death if we believe in him, and just understand this world is a world of freedom. It is up to use to identify and eliminate evil using the uncorrupted word of God. And that is where things go wrong: when activists believe in a corrupted idea about the word of God. And that is why God and evil coexist. 

It is up to each and everyone of us to determine the right path. Deep within our selves God provides the means for us to judge between right and wrong.

When you 'get it' and add 'oh' to your understanding of God... you will see the Good.

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