Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lucia Why do bad things happens to good people? (for LRO)

[..]It is not logically contradictory to say an all-powerful and all-loving God tolerates so much evil when he could eradicate it? Why do bad things happen to good people? The question makes three questionable assumptions.

First, who's to say we are good people? The question should be not “Why do bad things happen to good people?” but “Why do good things happen to bad people?” If the fairy godmother tells Cinderella that she can wear her magic gown until midnight, the question should be not “Why not after midnight?” but “Why did I get to wear it at all?” The question is not why the glass of water is half empty but why it is half full, for all goodness is gift. The best people are the ones who are most reluctant to call themselves good people. Sinners think they are saints, but saints know they are Sinners. The best man who ever lived once said, “No one is good but God alone. “

Second, who's to say suffering is all bad? Life without it would produce spoiled brats and tyrants, not joyful saints. Rabbi Abraham Heschel says simply, “The man who has not suffered, what can he possibly know, anyway?” Suffering can work for the greater good of wisdom. It is not true that all things are good, but it is true that “all things work together for good to those who love God.”

Third, who's to say we have to know all God's reasons? Who ever promised us all the answers? Animals can't understand much about us; why should we be able to understand everything about God? The obvious point of the Book of Job, the world's greatest exploration of the problem of evil, is that we just don't know what God is up to. What a hard lesson to learn: Lesson One, that we are ignorant, that we are infants! No wonder Socrates was declared by the Delphic oracle to be the wisest man in the world. He interpreted that declaration to mean that he alone knew that he did not have wisdom, and that was true wisdom for man.

A child on the tenth story of a burning building cannot see the firefighters with their safety net on the street. They call up, “Jump! We'll catch you. Trust us. “ The child objects, “But I can't see you.” The firefighter replies, “That's all right. I can see you.”

Read the whole article: The Problem of Evil

9 comment(s):

Anonymous said...

thank you Lucia, I have read similar in the past an know why its called apologetics. :-)

There was a Rabbi I read many years ago who rephrased it "Why do bad things happen to me? Well, if not me, then who?"

Anyway, back to your article, the whole thing is based on a single premise - belief in a literal Adam and Eve. How else can the fall be explained, and yet, we know that there aas no Adam and Eve, that it was a simple, entertaining story with a message, but not about actual people.

So, do we discuss A&E, or do we look at how the problem of evil can be viewed -A&E?

Anonymous said...

I don't believe in a literal Adam and Eve, but I do think the story of the fall is metaphysically true. At some point in our hominid development, as we evolved, we became moral beings capable of abstract thought. At that point, some of us chose to do evil. I think it's highly interesting that the story of the Fall directly speaks of agriculture - Adam (Hebrew for Mankind) must toil for his bread. Clearly there is s historical memory of hunter-gatherer society here. Agriculture began in the Near East around 10,000 years ago. Look at the poetic story of Cain and Abel, Cain is an agriculturalist (grain), Abel is a pastoralist (sheep), likely nomadic. This story shows the tensions between the two forms of agriculture.

Lucia Maria said...


I'm happy to discuss Adam and Eve.

Unlike Muerk, I honestly don't know if the story is literal (it could be, and I think it's likely to be), but as I've said to my kids, it could be that hominids existed before Adam and Eve and the first sentient beings, truly like us, were the literal Adam and Eve.

Is that the sort of thing you want to talk about, or is there something else?

Lucia Maria said...

Reading the comment again (I got distracted by Muerk's), it's the first sin, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Lucia and muerk, I guess the issue I am driving at is without a literal living and breathing Adam and Eve, how can "the fall" be used as an explanation for the existence of evil in a world supposedly created by a supposedly benign and loving god?

If you DO believe in a lieteralAdam and Eve, then that opens a completely different can of worms as everything we know about human origins negates that myth.

Lucia Maria said...


I do believe in a literal Adam and Eve, and as I said in my first comment on this thread, I do not think that a literal Adam and Eve contradicts the possibility that human beings evolved from lesser beings.

Why? Well, God exists outside of time and the universe and so could have used evolution as a means to create the earth and evolve all the creatures on it. It would have taken no time at all for Him to do that.

There had to be a first human being. The first human could have evolved from a lesser being, an been ensouled as part of his creation. Or the lesser being could have been used as a template for creating Adam.

If God can make everything from nothing, then using the rules from His own creation would have been pretty easy.

Anyway, I really don't have a problem with HOW God made Adam (and therefore Eve), as the Bible is not a science book.

Anonymous said...

LRO - you're right, a loving God would not create a cosmos that was bad. God is love, logically he can't do anything unloving.

In the story of the Fall it is humanity that chooses to reject God. God warns humanity that if we ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil we would die. God didn't make us automatons, we had the dignity of free will to disobey God.

The Fall explains why bad things can happen. Creation is good, and we are good, but we ignored God's loving warning and brought evil into the world. God responded though Covenants, trying to reach out to us again, and eventually he gave His Son to save us.

An excellent book about this is -

ZenTiger said...

LRO - you're right, a loving God would not create a cosmos that was bad. God is love, logically he can't do anything unloving.

A dangerous thing to say.

Would a loving God create water if people could drown in it?

Would a loving parent say "no" to a child to deny them the pleasure of sticking their finger in an electrical socket?

Maybe you could suggest this AFTER LRO has read the book :-)

Anonymous said...

Well, how about this then -

This says it much better :)

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