Friday, May 18, 2007

Hurricane Jesus: 3

My reply to Annabel's list of reasons for suffering.
Annabel - thank-you for your reply.

With regards your list of possible reasons offered to account for suffering and evil in the world.
I propose an example of euffering and see if the reasons offered measure up. I'll stick with the hurricane analogy since that was were this all started.
A hurricane tears through a coastal village. A palm tree crashes through the roof of a fisherman's house and smashes into the cot where his youngest daughter, aged 6 months, is sleeping. The tree crushes the infant, but the poor child does not die immidiatly. With broken ribs and punctured lungs the infant takes half an hour of terrified agonised suffering, alone and cold before she dies.
Now, hold that image in your mind as we go through the 11 points you propose.
1. Free will. Nope, free will does not explain why the innocent child died so painfully. Nor should this child suffer so because of Adam's sin
2. God is powerless. Well it might seem that way, mighten't it. interestingly the only argument you offer aginst God's seeming powerlessness is that "does not != cannot" Because the other things you offer here are:
discipline people (Prov. 3: 11)
teach them (Prov. 15: 32).
Evidently, in the example of the baby killed in the hirricane, there is nothing to teach and no reason to punish.You offer at the end of the paragraph "It means that He simply has chosen not to do so." We come around to "mysterious ways"
3. How much evil should be stopped? I'd be satisfied with the stopping of the kinds of death and suffering we are discussing here, innocent lives through natural disaster. Lets get God to simply start there. No need to split hairs over murderers, theives, or thought crime. Lets just start with the inoocent babies OK?
4. Prevention of further evil. You admit yourself that this is a bit circular. In this paragraph you also invoke "mysterious ways"
5. For the greater plan. Since we cannot know the graeter plan, or understand how the death of a baby in a storm works towards that plan, I guess we are left with "mysterious ways" again.
6. For discipline and instruction. You touched on this already with point 2. We have already seen that a six month old child has no need for God's instruction or discipline through the media of agonising death.
7. It is the result of sin. Again, I find it morally questionable to hold an infant responsable for its parent's sins, or its ancestors' sins.
8. To serve as a warning. Ah! At last, a valid point. To serve as a warning: evidently in our example God would not be trying to warn the baby? So it would be to serve as a warning to her parents? Or perhaps to the rest of the world. So God will cause anguish and suffering and death of an infant to warn me of something? Can you see how I might view that proposition? Can you see that I might think God a little callous? A little heavy handed perhaps? He has to hurt babies to make us notice?
9. To make a point. This is a bit close to item 8, No? But in point 9, you again discuss Free Will, which we have already seen is not relevant in our example, and you suggest that often God let's us have what we deserve. If you are pressing towards the idea that it is our fault that the infant died, why did the baby have to suffer? Why torture the baby?
10. To serve as a means to bring the Son. As I read through this paragraph I couldn't believe the twisted logic: In order for us to be saved by Jesus, Jesus had to die. Without sin and suffering Jesus would not have been able to die. BUT DON'T YOU SEE? Without sin and suffering he wouldn't have had to die in the first place!
11. We don't know. And here we have it. All we end up with at the end is God's mysterious ways.

You can see Annabel, that in this 1 example, a baby dying a painful lonely death during a hurricane, there is no logical, undertandable means of understanding why the God you describe as being so full of love would let such things happen. I am made in his image, and yet none of my god-like emotions or god-given intellect can rationalise these things. God lets the innocent suffer. Regards




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