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Problem of Evil

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loko5

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Why are we here?
« on: September 20, 2007, 03:19:05 pm »
I have followed various answers to the Problem of Evil, and have found them convincing to various degrees, but one nagging question remains in the back of my mind.  Why are we here at all?  Why did God create this universe and place us in it, instead of creating us directly into heaven, as he apparently did with the angels?  I have heard the argument that we are placed here to exercise our free will, but apparently the angels have free will as well (e.g. satan's rebellion).  So why did God place us here to suffer natural disasters, illness, and death, when his angelic creations apparently aren't faced with this sufferring?  Any thoughts?


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Luke Martin

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« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2007, 04:16:39 pm »

I think anyone who claims to know the full answer to your question is pretentious.  We can speculate, but there's nothing in scripture to answer this question (unless we are Calvinists, in which case we can repeat their answer for everything; God did it for his glory ).  Plantinga has speculated that divine incarnation and atonement are such great goods that worlds that contain them are better than worlds that don't.  Thus, a world in which we are all created already in heaven is not as good as this world, since it would lack anything requiring atonement.


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Ducksauce

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Why are we here?
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2007, 06:33:36 pm »
This is a great question that I've wondered about myself.  God already had the angels, so he didn't need our fellowship or praise, it would seem.  Did He need created beings that were more entertaining??  That implies the Almighty can get bored...

One can see Plantinga's point, although it's hardly conclusive.  But even if accepted it just answers the question of why God didn't create us perfect in heaven from the beginning.   It doesn't address why He created us at all.

I look forward to the responses here.  Good one, Loko.

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Craig

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« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2007, 07:26:06 pm »
because He wanted to
"You'll never stop at one. Ill take you all on!" - Optimus Prime

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Ducksauce

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Why are we here?
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2007, 08:08:27 pm »

But WHHHYYYYYY did He want to?


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Craig

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« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2007, 08:17:25 pm »
because he didnt not want to

maybe God does get bored and wanted amusement...i mean..we get bored too...i dont see how God getting bored would take away from His nature.
"You'll never stop at one. Ill take you all on!" - Optimus Prime

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demurph

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Why are we here?
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2007, 08:49:45 pm »

loko5 wrote: I have followed various answers to the Problem of Evil, and have found them convincing to various degrees, but one nagging question remains in the back of my mind.  Why are we here at all?  Why did God create this universe and place us in it, instead of creating us directly into heaven, as he apparently did with the angels?  I have heard the argument that we are placed here to exercise our free will, but apparently the angels have free will as well (e.g. satan's rebellion).  So why did God place us here to suffer natural disasters, illness, and death, when his angelic creations apparently aren't faced with this sufferring?  Any thoughts?

  Well, my response has a two part answer to this question, which I will probably not be able to explain all that well in this context.  First, the fact that we exists entail that God thought that it was a good thing for us to exist.  Secondly, it seems to me that our nature requires for us to be fully functioning and perfect relative to kind requires that we have a material component.  The evidence of mind-body interaction, that mental abilities develop as the brain develops, brain damage entails mental defect, issues of causal pairing, etc. make it seem to be the case that we have a material starting point in our existence (if not a simply an essentially material nature).  It seems to be the case that there is no way to have a material start in an immaterial realm, ergo, God, if he wanted to create us a good that ought to be created, had to create us within a material realm.  If I'm misunderstanding where you're coming from, let me know.  Hope this helps.


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Drm970

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Why are we here?
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2007, 12:51:00 am »
God was impressed by the characteristics of our world, so he created it. He was impressed because of the features of the world. He was impressed with those features because of his nature. He has his nature because he is a necessary being.

I like that answer.

But don't take it as doctrine!


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Pieter

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Why are we here?
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2007, 03:31:49 am »
loko5 wrote:
So why did God place us here to suffer natural disasters, illness, and death, when his angelic creations apparently aren't faced with this sufferring?  Any thoughts?


It gets worse: Why did He do that knowing what will happen and knowing that He then decides to come down and rescues us going through the same torture (if not worse) than us? Is he a sadomasochist?

loko5 wrote:
Why are we here at all?  Why did God create this universe and place us in it,


First, I'd say that God is a creator, that's what creators do. Why do artists make paintings? That's what they do even to their own glory. Actually, I am not sure what's wrong with that answer anyway. Surely, God doesn't create us because He needs us. He does it out of His abounding love which is expressed in His creation. When God's nature is revealed, then He is glorified. What's wrong with that?

Secondly, you said:

loko5 wrote:
...instead of creating us directly into heaven, as he apparently did with the angels?  I have heard the argument that we are placed here to exercise our free will, but apparently the angels have free will as well (e.g. satan's rebellion).


Creating us directly into heaven would have made us indeed like angels, but we would not have had any history (as neither do angels) in the way that we have a history. The psalms say that He placed us a little higher than the angels. Perhaps that is because we have experienced salvation. We have all been prodical sons and daughters. Perhaps because we have experienced pain, suffering and death directly, we are different than the angels. God values that experience since He experienced it Himself on the cross. I know this was necessary for atonement, but if He had not placed any value on that, he could have indeed just created angels.

Then you might say, is evil good? Or was the fall a good thing? No, evil is still evil and the fall was not intended to have happened (though God knew it would). But that is just the thing about God. He can take evil and suffering and turns it around into something good. (Rom 8:28) That's why God always conquers evil. Ravi Zacherias said once that God does not conquer despite suffering, but through it.

Finally, Jesus was talking about glorifying His father. But he was talking about His death on the cross. How is that glorifying (if not gorifying). If glorifying God means revealing who God is, than Jesus glorified God on the cross as the God who saves (hence the name Jesus = God saves)

So indeed, it all boils down to the answer: God did it to His glory.

Let me know what everyone else thinks,

Pieter

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Ducksauce

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« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2007, 02:01:21 pm »

But He already had the angels to glorify Him.  What I can't figure out is what do we do for Him?  A higher level of glorification?  He created us knowing we'd disobey, then have to send Himself down to die for us.  It's just curious given that He already had the angels.


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demurph

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« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2007, 02:21:43 pm »
Ducksauce wrote:

But He already had the angels to glorify Him.  What I can't figure out is what do we do for Him?  A higher level of glorification?  He created us knowing we'd disobey, then have to send Himself down to die for us.  It's just curious given that He already had the angels.


  You might as well ask why He created more than one angel.  God doesn't seem to gain anything per se by creating a given amount of individuals than He does a given amount of types of individuals.  Perhaps He saw some beauty in a world where there were different types of creatures, even though it seemed the case that both would eventually produce members that would turn their backs on Him that justifies his decision.

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loko5

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« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2007, 03:13:32 pm »

I can understand God's creation as an act of love, that it is part of His nature to create and to love.  What is bothering me is the relation to the Problem of Evil ( or the Problem of Suffering as it is more aptly called).  If God wanted to create us as part of the sharing of His love, it just seem odd to me that He would put us on this earth to suffer all the things we have to go through in this life, and follow that with eternal bliss in heaven.  What is the purpose of the suffering?  Why not just put us in heaven to begin with?  I think Pieter may be touching on part of the answer, and Plantinga's answer is interesting but also seems incomplete.  My own leaning is toward the idea that our purpose in life is to grow and learn in this world in preparation for life eternal, that the trials and tribulations we go through will somehow prepare us better for eternal life.  But then I think of young children who die and end up in heaven -- they don't have the opportunity to fully experience this world, but God has a place for them in heaven.  So why us?


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Eric Stewart

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« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2007, 03:56:53 pm »
Who appreciates most the gift of a brand new pair of shoes; the spoiled child who has only known abundance, or the penniless street urchin who has had no shoes for as long as he can remember?

We would never be able to understand heaven for what it is had we never experienced anything else.  As it is, we have the knowledge of good and evil, pleasure and pain, and only through that knowledge can we understand good.  

Adam and Eve wanted more than perfect union with God.  They didn't know what they had.  I don't think we, having experienced this life, will be wanting more than what heaven has for us once we're there. That's an understatement.
One person with God is a majority.
~ Billy Graham

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Pieter

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Why are we here?
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2007, 03:03:00 am »
loko5 wrote:

My own leaning is toward the idea that our purpose in life is to grow and learn in this world in preparation for life eternal, that the trials and tribulations we go through will somehow prepare us better for eternal life.  But then I think of young children who die and end up in heaven -- they don't have the opportunity to fully experience this world, but God has a place for them in heaven.  So why us?

That's what I think as well. Young children indeed won't have the opportunity to come to know God through faith and hope, but are nevertheless with Him which is the most important bit. So I suppose that there will be a difference in heaven. But then again, God likes diversity.

Hope this helps,

Pieter

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Pieter

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« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2007, 03:09:14 am »

eric wrote: Who appreciates most the gift of a brand new pair of shoes; the spoiled child who has only known abundance, or the penniless street urchin who has had no shoes for as long as he can remember?

We would never be able to understand heaven for what it is had we never experienced anything else.  As it is, we have the knowledge of good and evil, pleasure and pain, and only through that knowledge can we understand good.  

Adam and Eve wanted more than perfect union with God.  They didn't know what they had.  I don't think we, having experienced this life, will be wanting more than what heaven has for us once we're there. That's an understatement.

I think that this as an answer to the problem of evil is ok to account for difficulties and struggles, but very unsatisfactory when we talk of war, murder rape, natural disasters and diseases. After all, if it kills you, what will you learn?

Also, a child who has only known abundance is not necessarily spoiled or unappreciative. Job had everything in abundance, but had no bad attitude at all.

What do you think?

Pieter