The Mystery of Christianity: 1. The Problem of Evil

Recently, we have been able to establish, reluctantly by some and without an official admission, that God could not have spared Adam and Eve from the consequences of their disobedience that led to sin, which resulted in aging, diseases, suffering, natural disasters outside of paradise and then eventually death…

The main premise of this issue is that if God had shielded Adam and Eve from the consequences of their sin, it would have made him a liar, as He had stated clearly, that if they were to eat the forbidden fruit, they would definitely die…

Genesis 2:16-17

16 God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

So, if God had forgiven Adam and Eve, as some have suggested He should have, and let them stay in the paradise to have access to the tree of life, Adam and Eve would not have died, but God would have been clearly proven a liar…

Not only that, by forgiving Adam and Eve, God would have proven Satan’s slander true, when he (Satan) said in:

Genesis 3:1-5

“1 Now, the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the God had made. And he (Satan) said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden? 2 The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die. 4 The serpent said to the woman, You surely will not die! 5 For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Satan is identified by many Christian and other religions as the one “hiding” behind the serpent or snake…or using it as a deception…

Some claim that ever since Adam and Eve were ousted from the paradise, God causes all the bad things that happen in the world today, including tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, diseases etc.

Is it true?

It doesn’t seem to be true at least in case of Job and his family, as the verses from Job 2: 16-19 show that Satan was the one who caused all the natural disasters and diseases that directly affected Job and his family…

Job 2:16, 18, 19

“16 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” …

“…18 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 19 and behold, a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”

So from these Biblical accounts, we can clearly see that Satan, and NOT God, was causing all the natural disasters and diseases that affected Job and his family…

There are several issues needing consideration:

1. Why Satan had the power to cause all the bad things to Job and his family?

2. If Satan had the power in times of Job to cause natural disasters and diseases,  is he responsible for them today? If God is, what proof is there?

3. Any suggestions?

Regarding Christian views of God’s omniscience, omnipotence and omnibenevolence please see the OP by vjtorley. 

Please try to focus on the main theme of the OP. If there is something that is not directly related to this OP but it is important to you, create your own OP, so that we can try to stay on the same theme as much as possible…

 

 

244 thoughts on “The Mystery of Christianity: 1. The Problem of Evil

  1. Mung:

    I was raised in a home where after dinner we would read the bible. So I got to learn what God is like from an early age. Never had to overcome Sky Daddy Straw God ideas.

    And contrary to what some might think, we weren’t indoctrinated. My parents didn’t tell us what to think about the passages. We just read.

    [Emphasis added]

    To see how goofy that statement is, imagine a similar one coming from a Scientologist:

    I was raised in a home where after dinner we would read from L. Ron Hubbard. So I got to learn about Xenu, and suppressive persons, and how homosexuals are aberrated.

    And contrary to what some might think, we weren’t indoctrinated. My parents didn’t tell us what to think about the passages. We just read.

    We weren’t indoctrinated. No siree.

  2. J-Mac, in the OP:

    So from these Biblical accounts, we can clearly see that Satan, and NOT God, was causing all the natural disasters and diseases that affected Job and his family…

    Do you believe that God is too weak to stop Satan from tormenting people?

    And have you forgotten that it was God who granted Satan permission to do all those horrible things to Job and his family, all on account of a stupid boastful bet?

    The buck stops with God.

  3. Byers:

    in fact i think it was sAtan who brought the flood.

    In other words, you think that God lied.

    An aside: Why do Byers’ comments always read like ransom notes constructed from cut-out newspaper letters?

  4. J-Mac,

    “…Back in the day of my forefathers…”

    How long was the day keiths?

    You do realize that Genesis was written in Hebrew, right? Quoting a saying from English is not the way to support your claim.

    Just look at other translations of the passage in question. For example:

    16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

    Genesis 2:16-17, NIV

    God lied. They didn’t die when they ate from it

  5. In any case, why are you so sensitive about the charge that God lied? According to the Bible, he did plenty of things that were far, far worse.

    Your God is abominable. You should feel queasy every time you enter church to worship him.

  6. J-Mac: This is the point that this OP is all about…TRUST

    Thanks for posting it!

    Sal view is ” I’ve have concluded there is indeed Intelligent Design, but lots of it is malicious, and that the Intelligent Designer is a God who is to be feared and dreaded.” why should you trust that God to be magnanimous? No other choice?

  7. newton: Sal view is ”I’ve have concluded there is indeed Intelligent Design, but lots of it is malicious, and that the Intelligent Designer is a God who is to be feared and dreaded.” why should you trust that God to be magnanimous? No other choice?

    I’d say by now intelligent people of your caliber would realize that I don’t share many of Sal’s views…

  8. J-Mac: I’d say by now intelligent people of your caliber would realize that I don’t share many of Sal’s views…

    Why are you not trying to convince him of the error of his ways then? Does evolutionary biology have some legitimacy in your mind that his creationism does not, so that it does not need to be shown to be illegitimate?

  9. J-Mac: I’d say by now intelligent people of your caliber would realize that I don’t share many of Sal’s views…

    In your opinion then, where did the parasites that infest and infect humanity come from? Were they designed? Did they evolve? Are they products of “the fall”? Something else?

  10. keiths: We weren’t indoctrinated. No siree.

    When I first moved into a shared house I noticed that we all used different butters. I asked what butter they used at home, and lo! It was the one their parents had bought.

    It’s no surprise to hear Mung say such things, given what is going on in the adaptive evolution comments. It’s just pure coincidence that a bible reading family brought up a believer who came to the faith themselves, no indoctrination whatsoever.

    Hey Mung, do you suppose cannibal tribes all independently discovered cannibalism each generation or did they like have some sort of mechanism for passing it down instead?

    No need to answer. I’ve got you on ignore you see.

  11. OMagain: In your opinion then, where did the parasites that infest and infect humanity come from? Were they designed? Did they evolve? Are they products of “the fall”? Something else?

    In your opinion then, where did the raccoons that infest and infect humanity come from? Were they designed? Did they evolve? Are they products of “the fall”? Something else? 😉

  12. J-Mac, to OMagain:

    In your opinion then, where did the raccoons that infest and infect humanity come from?

    He thinks raccoons evolved. Now how about answering his question?

  13. keiths:
    J-Mac,

    You do realize that Genesis was written in Hebrew, right?Quoting a saying from English is not the way to support your claim.

    Just look at other translations of the passage in question.For example:

    God lied.They didn’t die when they ate from it

    So you changed your story?

    I know you will die… as will I… I just don’t know when…Do you? But the first is just as certain as you changing your story…. whenever needed…

    Goodbye!

  14. keiths:

    16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

    Genesis 2:16-17, NIV

    God lied. They didn’t die when they ate from it

    You have a strong argument against a very literal reading of the Bible. I’m just not sure if anyone here takes it that literally.

  15. CharlieM,

    You have a strong argument against a very literal reading of the Bible. I’m just not sure if anyone here takes it that literally.

    J-Mac does, and I’ll bet Sal and Byers do too. Besides being a Biblical literalist, what other reason is there to be a young-earth creationist?

    And for those who aren’t literalist but still think the Bible is the inspired word of God, the question is this: Why did God include all these stories that paint him in such an unfavorable light?

  16. J-Mac: In your opinion then, where did the raccoons that infest and infect humanity come from?

    It’s amusing how terrified you and phoodoo are of the question I asked.

    Here, let me spell out what your unconscious mind already realizes:

    If evolution is as impotent as you say then it must be the case that parasites were created in their current form. By your deity. There is no other option. This means that your deity is a bit of an evil bastard. It could choose not to create parasites that blind children, but it chooses to.

    On the other hand, if parasites evolved then it seems evolution has some power to it after all. And parasites are typically complex, having co-evolved with their hosts. And if a complex parasite can evolve, well, so can other complex things. Which means there is no need for your deity at all.

    Both choices are unacceptable, so you and phoodoo refuse to even answer the question. But those are the only two choices available. Either your deity did it, or it did not.

    The absurdity of your position is plain to your unconscious mind. Otherwise why are you afraid to even attempt to answer the question?

    And for the record:

    During the Eocene period, 55 – 37 mya, the miacids entered the fossil record, and it is believed that these slender-bodied, five-toed, tree-climbing mammals are the ancestors of present-day carnivores. Because the miacids were more flexible and had a dentition advantage over the creodonts, they exploited new habitats and foods. It was during a period of adaptive radiation that the carnivores began to adopt various forms for different environments and foods. The adaptive radiation led to different dentition needs, and some carnivores became mixed feeders, such as raccoons. Raccoons have both the carnivore carnassial shear, to feed on flesh, and the expanded molars for crushing.

    http://online.sfsu.edu/bholzman/courses/Fall00Projects/raccoon.html

    J-Mac, in your opinion then, where did the raccoons that infest and infect humanity come from? What equivalent explanation, comparable to the above, do you have for your own question?

  17. keiths: What’s with the rat-a-tat flouncing and deflouncing?

    As per my last post, I believe they are terrified of the questions that illustrate their worldview is a sham. Better to flounce off after a misdirection then stay and face the idea their deity is either a shitbag or does not exist at all.

  18. J-Mac: But the first is just as certain as you changing your story…. whenever needed…

    And yet, despite facing a foe who cannot keep their story straight (according to you) you have failed once again as evidenced by your flounce out.

  19. J-Mac: In your opinion then, where did the raccoons that infest and infect humanity come from? Were they designed? Did they evolve? Are they products of “the fall”? Something else?

    I’m happy to answer your questions J-Mac, why are you so afraid of answering mine?

  20. OMagain: I’m happy to answer your questions J-Mac, why are you so afraid of answering mine?

    When you answer my question, you will also answer yours… 😉

  21. OMagain: And yet, despite facing a foe who cannot keep their story straight (according to you) you have failed once again as evidenced by your flounce out.

    I know very well, as many on this blog, that answering keiths or your questions just lead to you pretending that it wasn’t answered…

    So, what’s the point?

    For what is worth for other’s sake, who are seeking truth rather than to support preconceived ideas, let’s just pretend that the forbidden fruit contained radioactive isotope, and the exposure to it causes a slow death. The moment you ingest it, you are technically as good as dead, similarly to people who were exposed to high radiation in Chernobyl.

    When people in Chernobyl were exposed to that high radiation, they signed their own death certificate with the unknown date in the future…some of them died faster…but some of them continued on for few years…

    When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they were as good as dead, similarly to the people exposed to high level of radiation, though it took them a long time to die…as they were supposed to live forever as their bodies were designed perfectly for living indefinitely with the continued access to the tree of life…

  22. J-Mac: When you answer my question, you will also answer yours…

    Er, I’ve already answered it and Keith already answered it on my behalf with the same answer. Any excuse eh?

  23. J-Mac: I know very well, as many on this blog, that answering keiths or your questions just lead to you pretending that it wasn’t answered…

    What evidence do you have for that assertion? Can you link to such?

    J-Mac: So, what’s the point?

    Then what is it you are hoping to achieve here?

    J-Mac: For what is worth for other’s sake, who are seeking truth rather than to support preconceived ideas, let’s just pretend that the forbidden fruit contained radioactive isotope, and the exposure to it causes a slow death. The moment you ingest it, you are technically as good as dead, similarly to people who were exposed to high radiation in Chernobyl.

    This whole “preconceived ideas” is nothing more then a comfort blanket for you. It’s used when those you are trying to convince reject your arguments. You then simply assume that it’s not your ideas or arguments that have failed, it’s your opponent clinging to “preconceived ideas”.

    This demonstrates that you don’t know any actual scientists. The scientists I know would abandon their “preconceived ideas” in favour of ideas that fit the observed data better in a heartbeat. You could almost say it’s their job to disconfirm their own preconceived ideas.

    J-Mac: When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they were as good as dead, similarly to the people exposed to high level of radiation, though it took them a long time to die…as they were supposed to live forever as their bodies were designed perfectly for living indefinitely with the continued access to the tree of life…

    And that is your answer to the question of where parasites that blind children come from? That Adam and Eve are to blame for it?

    So, as you are in the “evolution can do nothing” camp the actual origin of the parasites that blind children is that god created them as part of the punishment for eating the fruit of the forbidden tree?

    Is that a fair summary?

  24. J-Mac: When you answer my question, you will also answer yours…

    Yes, and all you’ve said is godditit. So, now, the follow up. Would you, as a loving parent, deliberately design and release parasites that you know would blind your children?

  25. It’s pretty clear that God wasn’t speaking of physical death.

    Yes, people can read it in a literal way as referring to physical death, and then call God a liar. Pretty lame and shallow, but hey, when you got nothing else you go with what you got.

    As if Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike have never had an answer to it.

    Boring.

  26. Out of interest J-Mac, given that your deity knew in advance that the tree would have it’s fruit plucked, did it create the blinding parasites there and then or did it have it all ready to be unleashed when required from moment 0 of this universe?

    I realize there is literally no way to know this “fact” one way or the other, but I’m interested in your opinion?

    Does your god have a “warehouse” of platonic forms of organisms (as FMM seems to think) ready to go, or did it have to “design” it on the fly when needed?

  27. God: Tell me you love me and I’ll give you a million dollars.

    Lame & Shallow Person: OK, I love you….where’s my money?

    Mung: Ho ho, silly literalist – what God actually meant is….

    Theology in a nutshell.

  28. Woodbine,

    The actual dialog is in Matthew 7:21-23. Most Christians tread on very shaky theological ground, but atheists have no theological ground whatsoever.

  29. Erik:
    Woodbine,

    The actual dialogue is in Matthew 7:20-23. Most Christians tread on very shaky theological ground, but atheists have no theological ground whatsoever.

    If atheists had any theological ground whatsoever, they wouldn’t be atheists.

  30. Erik: The actual dialog is in Matthew 7:21-23.

    Dialogue? I followed your reference and I didn’t see any dialogue. Anyway, isn’t the Bible supposed to be a monologue?

  31. Alan Fox,

    Is Woodbine’s post just a monologue or does it contain a dialogue?

    If you followed my reference, you should be able to understand what is being talked about. If not, you are simply proving my point: Atheists have no clue about theology and it’s useless to try to give any.

  32. Erik:
    Alan Fox,

    Is Woodbine’s post just a monologue or does it contain a dialogue?

    Technically, both.

    If you followed my reference, you should be able to understand what is being talked about. If not, you are simply proving my point: Atheists have no clue about theology and it’s useless to try to give any.

    I don’t consider it my business to interfere between someone and their beliefs unless they broadcast them publicly. In my part of the World there has been a shift in power and understanding regarding religious belief. It’s now a life-style choice rather than something you opted out from at peril of being burned alive.

  33. Actually, I have a honest question — I don’t know the answer and I’d like to.

    Orthodox Jews hold that Torah (the Pentateuch) was written by God and dictated by God to Moses, who wrote it down. But they don’t hold that the rest of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) was revealed — just the Torah.

    Do Christians believe that Torah was written by God and dictated to Moses?

    I can see how, if the person of Jesus Christ is to function as a new revelation or testament, then Christians must believe that the Torah was the old one.

    But if that’s right, then there’s no reason why Christians would need accept any parts of the Old Testament other than the Pentateuch as being divinely inspired.

    As for the New Testament, presumably the revelation is the person of Jesus Christ himself (“the Word made flesh”), which is why Christians need the Holy Spirit — to maintain a connection to God after Jesus’s death. Then presumably the only parts of the New Testament that must be taken ‘literally’ are those that describe Jesus’s teachings and actions — even though most of those teachings take the form of parables.

    And if the function of the Incarnation and Resurrection of Jesus Christ is to supersede the Law (Torah), then really the only parts of the entire Bible that a Christian should take ‘literally’ are the descriptions of Jesus’s teachings and actions.

    Is this line of thought coherent and correct?

  34. petrushka,
    Thanks, Petrushka, for reminding me. The Cathars. An inoffensive group of people who had taken Zoroastrianism and run with it, nestling against the Pyrenees. They made one bad move in deciding tithes levied by the Catholic Church were unjust and refused to pay. Crusade! But their belief was that God did not create this world and that we live in the Devil’s hell and can only gain access to God’s world through total withdrawal even in pain and suffering. All worth it for the greater glory etc. The crusaders finally besieged their last real stronghold at Monségur and the defenders eventually surrendered. At the bottom of the hill, a large bonfire was made ready. Cathars were given the choice: recant or burn. Many chose to jump voluntarily into the flames to achieve their goal.

    Catharism has gone extinct.

  35. Kantian Naturalist,

    Actually, I have a honest question — I don’t know the answer and I’d like to.

    Orthodox Jews hold that Torah (the Pentateuch) was written by God and dictated by God to Moses, who wrote it down. But they don’t hold that the rest of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) was revealed — just the Torah.

    Do Christians believe that Torah was written by God and dictated to Moses?

    I can see how, if the person of Jesus Christ is to function as a new revelation or testament, then Christians must believe that the Torah was the old one.

    But if that’s right, then there’s no reason why Christians would need accept any parts of the Old Testament other than the Pentateuch as being divinely inspired.

    As for the New Testament, presumably the revelation is the person of Jesus Christ himself (“the Word made flesh”), which is why Christians need the Holy Spirit — to maintain a connection to God after Jesus’s death. Then presumably the only parts of the New Testament that must be taken ‘literally’ are those that describe Jesus’s teachings and actions — even though most of those teachings take the form of parables.

    And if the function of the Incarnation and Resurrection of Jesus Christ is to supersede the Law (Torah), then really the only parts of the entire Bible that a Christian should take ‘literally’ are the descriptions of Jesus’s teachings and actions.

    Is this line of thought coherent and correct?

    I think that both are relevant in the Christian view. Jesus did not through out the law but added additional clarity to man’s relationship with God. The Torah contains more than just the Law.

    There is study going on now on additional information contained in the Torah based on using a technique called ELS or equal letter spacing where you can use these rules to obtain additional information and in some cases events that have happened recently like the 9/11 attacks. I know very little about this but have looked at a few explanations of the technique. Here is a link that will patricianly explain the Torah codes research.

    https://youtu.be/MfnPMGfQRhs

  36. Erik: That’s right. Hopefully Woodbine understands this some day and refrains from false opinions on what theology is, in a nutshell or otherwise.

    ‘False opinions’

  37. colewd: There is study going on now on additional information contained in the Torah based on using a technique called ELS or equal letter spacing where you can use these rules to obtain additional information and in some cases events that have happened recently like the 9/11 attacks. I know very little about this but have looked at a few explanations of the technique. Here is a link that will patricianly explain the Torah codes research.

    Your credulity on this subject makes a fascinating contrast with your skepticism on common descent. How can we account for those differences?

  38. Kantian Naturalist: Do Christians believe that Torah was written by God and dictated to Moses?

    Many conservative Christians do believe that. But liberal Christians likely doubt it. And note that conservative/liberal are intended in the theological sense rather than the political sense, though there is a lot of overlap.

    But if that’s right, then there’s no reason why Christians would need accept any parts of the Old Testament other than the Pentateuch as being divinely inspired.

    Of course there’s a reason. Conservative Christians tend to be very authoritarian — control freaks. And they need the Old Testament as a source of authority.

  39. Hi KN,

    Most Christians treat the Bible equally, probably based largely in part on the following passage (2 Timothy 3:16):

    All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…

    – New International Version

    All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness…

    – New American Standard Bible

    Those who do not are usually taken to be a cult and not in any way orthodox.

    Of course how we read the Tanakh will be through the lens of Jesus as Messiah and as the fulfillment of both the Law and the Prophets.

    Contemporary Jewish Religious Thought has an interesting article on Torah. But none on Satan 🙂

  40. Neil Rickert: Conservative Christians tend to be very authoritarian — control freaks. And they need the Old Testament as a source of authority.

    This is nonsense of course. The covenant at Sinai was made with a specific group of people and does not apply to those who are not a part of that covenant.

    This is why Christians do not observe the same as Jews.

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