The Problem of Natural Disasters

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mattrose
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Re: The Problem of Natural Disasters

Post by mattrose » Mon Sep 08, 2014 8:23 am

Thanks for everyone's input in this thread :)

Here is the audio (basically the same as the text above)

http://www.lockportwesleyan.com/apps/po ... ast/347804

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Paidion
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Re: The Problem of Natural Disasters

Post by Paidion » Mon Sep 08, 2014 3:42 pm

backwoodsman wrote: ...in Gen 2:17 God told Adam that, if he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil, he'd die the same day...
That's not what God told him, though God's words could be interpreted in that way. Here are the exact words:

In the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.

I understand this as saying in the day that Adam ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he would surely begin to die, that is, the death process would surely begin in him; he would become subject to death. In my opinion that was physical death. In the Greek Septuagint, the tense for the verb "shall die" is the future middle indicative. A verse in the New Testament, also in the future middle indicative, similarly seems to indicate (spiritual) death as a process rather than a single event:

Again he said to them, "I go away, and you will seek me and die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come. (John 8:21)
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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robbyyoung
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Re: The Problem of Natural Disasters

Post by robbyyoung » Mon Sep 08, 2014 4:56 pm

Paidion wrote:
backwoodsman wrote: ...in Gen 2:17 God told Adam that, if he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil, he'd die the same day...
That's not what God told him, though God's words could be interpreted in that way. Here are the exact words:

In the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.

I understand this as saying in the day that Adam ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he would surely begin to die, that is, the death process would surely begin in him; he would become subject to death. In my opinion that was physical death. In the Greek Septuagint, the tense for the verb "shall die" is the future middle indicative. A verse in the New Testament, also in the future middle indicative, similarly seems to indicate (spiritual) death as a process rather than a single event:

Again he said to them, "I go away, and you will seek me and die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come. (John 8:21)
Hi Paidion,

So what are saying? Was this death both spiritual and physical? The spiritual being immediate and the physical a start of a process?

God Bless.

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Paidion
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Re: The Problem of Natural Disasters

Post by Paidion » Mon Sep 08, 2014 8:45 pm

So what are saying? Was this death both spiritual and physical? The spiritual being immediate and the physical a start of a process?
I think God's sentence "In the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die" (or "you shall surely begin to die) refers only to Adam's physical death.

Though my parallel example probably referred to "spiritural" death, I used it to give another example of how the Greek tense can mean the beginning of a process rather than a completed action.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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steve7150
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Re: The Problem of Natural Disasters

Post by steve7150 » Sun Sep 14, 2014 7:47 am

backwoodsman wrote:Everyone dies sometime, of something, and some common ways it happens are much more unpleasant than the average natural disaster. So I don't see a problem with God creating a system that includes them, especially considering the benefit they provide.



No, my statement that you quoted was doubting that God would have created such a system BEFORE the arrival of death and called it 'very good.'

The idea that God would allow natural disasters for reasons you have suggested AFTER death entered the picture can certainly be argued.






I still don't know what difference it makes. God could have given Adam and Eve more chances to repent or he could have only punished or disciplined them and not all of mankind. Additionally you would have to believe God didn't know or didn't anticipate Adam and Eve would sin and was surprised by the consequences. It just doesn't add up. The statement "very good" can mean various things and not just what we think it means from our limited perspective. "Very good" can mean "very good" for God's purposes which i think is the likely intent.

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Re: The Problem of Natural Disasters

Post by dizerner » Sun Sep 14, 2014 11:01 pm

steve7150 wrote: I still don't know what difference it makes. God could have given Adam and Eve more chances to repent or he could have only punished or disciplined them and not all of mankind. Additionally you would have to believe God didn't know or didn't anticipate Adam and Eve would sin and was surprised by the consequences. It just doesn't add up. The statement "very good" can mean various things and not just what we think it means from our limited perspective. "Very good" can mean "very good" for God's purposes which i think is the likely intent.
I think it makes a lot of difference, because then we see the evil in this world as a consequence of free actions and resultant punishment and not a reflection of God's intrinsic initial desire for his creation, same problem I have with Calvinism.
~ Classical Arminian Christian Mystic ~

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Re: The Problem of Natural Disasters

Post by steve7150 » Mon Sep 15, 2014 7:21 am

I think it makes a lot of difference, because then we see the evil in this world as a consequence of free actions and resultant punishment and not a reflection of God's intrinsic initial desire for his creation, same problem I have with Calvinism.

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dizerner

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I think Calvinism is very different in that it believes God makes man commit evil. When God allows evil the usual response is that God will simply not interfere with our free will. But in the bible God intervened numerous times if that suited his purposes, so God's purposes are the main theme of the bible, not our free will. So the concept that Adam and Eve sinned and only because of their sin evil entered the world is a flawed concept IMHO. Whatever happens in this age is not happenstance, it happens because it serves God's purposes.

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Re: The Problem of Natural Disasters

Post by mattrose » Mon Sep 15, 2014 9:12 am

steve7150 wrote: I think Calvinism is very different in that it believes God makes man commit evil. When God allows evil the usual response is that God will simply not interfere with our free will. But in the bible God intervened numerous times if that suited his purposes, so God's purposes are the main theme of the bible, not our free will. So the concept that Adam and Eve sinned and only because of their sin evil entered the world is a flawed concept IMHO. Whatever happens in this age is not happenstance, it happens because it serves God's purposes.
You are right to say that God's purposes and not free will is the main theme of Scripture. But I get the feeling that you have some different ideas about the content of God's purposes. It seems that you more closely associate God's purposes with the divine will (perhaps understood as power? Perhaps understood as to bring about holiness?). I think you'd be better served by recognizing God's purpose as inviting creation into divine love and right relationship).

'Free will' is not some entity that many Christians emphasize b/c they think it is the main theme of Scripture, it is a principle that extends from the fact that God is love and wants to invite others in divine love. Love must be chosen. And choosers must be free, in some sense, to do otherwise. Because of this principle, humanity had opportunity to bring sin into the world. They did so. And it is BECAUSE they did so that God works in the midst of evil things. It was not part of the divine will or plan.

I chose to respond to you because your last sentence is, I think, deeply flawed. You're using a unnecessary either/or (either bad stuff serves God's purposes and is therefore part of the divine will OR it is happenstance). The actual reason bad stuff happens is b/c God, in the quest to invite others into divine love, created a context in which evil was possible. But God, being perfectly wise and creative, is able to work in spite of that evil to STILL bring invite others into divine love!

To say that whatever happens serves God's purposes is an ugly doctrine if, by that, you are insinuating that it was God's plan to bring those things about. I would say, instead, that in whatever happens... God keeps working to bring about the divine purpose of inviting others into the love of the trinity. And THAT is a beautiful truth.

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Re: The Problem of Natural Disasters

Post by steve7150 » Tue Sep 16, 2014 7:53 am

The actual reason bad stuff happens is b/c God, in the quest to invite others into divine love, created a context in which evil was possible. But God, being perfectly wise and creative, is able to work in spite of that evil to STILL bring invite others into divine love!

To say that whatever happens serves God's purposes is an ugly doctrine if, by that, you are insinuating that it was God's plan to bring those things about. I would say, instead, that in whatever happens... God keeps working to bring about the divine purpose of inviting others into the love of the trinity. And THAT is a beautiful truth.








God created a context in which evil was possible? I've stated the following points in the past but they were never specifically responded to.
God created Adam and Eve innocent and highly susceptible to influence.
God SENT Satan to tempt Eve. Why didn't God stop Satan from entering the garden?
Satan is the master deceiver in the universe and Eve was innocent and immature. Is it hard to predict the outcome of their encounter?
Considering the players in the Garden of Eden encounter why did God appoint Adam and Eve to represent mankind?
Why did God curse the ground that Mankind would need to cultivate to survive?

Why does God have to "work with" evil to accomplish his purposes? Why not just destroy it now? God shows he will intervene anytime it suits his purposes, why not intervene and destroy evil completely. Why work with it? How does working with evil respect mans free will? Most people do not want evil in the world.

I think you said God allows evil to allow our free will to work but when evil happens, whose free will is working and whose is not?

Yesterday a ship with hundreds of African immigrants was rammed and sunk by human traffikers and almost everyone died. That was evil, so whose free will was served? People's free will is violated all the time every second. When evil happens it always violates the victims free will.


James said, "Therefore to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin." James 4.17

God can stop evil but he generally does not, therefore it must be beyond just working with evil. If God is just working with evil he is violating James 4.17. The only explanation IMHO is that it suits his purposes and it is done out of love. Yes it looks ugly, but we look through a glass darkly in this age.

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Re: The Problem of Natural Disasters

Post by mattrose » Tue Sep 16, 2014 9:04 am

steve7150 wrote:God created a context in which evil was possible? I've stated the following points in the past but they were never specifically responded to. God created Adam and Eve innocent and highly susceptible to influence. God SENT Satan to tempt Eve. Why didn't God stop Satan from entering the garden? Satan is the master deceiver in the universe and Eve was innocent and immature. Is it hard to predict the outcome of their encounter?
My argument doesn't depend on it being 'hard to predict.' It depends on it being POSSIBLE for them to stay in right relationship with God. You, by focusing on the devil's power and human inexperience, make it sound like God rigged them for failure. Of course, there was another huge factor involved in the story: God's love. They could have obeyed and remained in right relationship to God. That God knew they would likely succumb to sin does not make God the author of evil unless God caused them to sin.
Considering the players in the Garden of Eden encounter why did God appoint Adam and Eve to represent mankind?
Are you forgetting that God was also in the Garden of Eden?
Why did God curse the ground that Mankind would need to cultivate to survive?
I think the ground was cursed, in part, to remind humanity that the world is not as it should be.
Why does God have to "work with" evil to accomplish his purposes?
God only has to work with evil b/c evil came into the world. God would have preferred evil not come into the world to begin with. God could have accomplished divine purposes without evil, but given evil's entrance into creation, God chooses to work through it rather than giving up on creation.
Why not just destroy it now? God shows he will intervene anytime it suits his purposes, why not intervene and destroy evil completely.
This quote is, I think, where you go far astray in your thinking. How do you know that 'God shows he will intervene anytime it suits his purposes'??? It seems to me God does NOT intervene TRILLIANS of times when it would suit divine purposes. Everytime someone doesn't get saved it goes against God's purposes. Every time someone sins it goes against God's purposes. By stating that God intervenes anytime it suits his purposes, you CREATE the problem of having to say that every situation in which he does NOT intervene is, therefore, part of his will!
Why work with it?
What's the alternative? Giving up on the world? Love never fails.
How does working with evil respect mans free will? Most people do not want evil in the world. I think you said God allows evil to allow our free will to work but when evil happens, whose free will is working and whose is not? Yesterday a ship with hundreds of African immigrants was rammed and sunk by human traffikers and almost everyone died. That was evil, so whose free will was served? People's free will is violated all the time every second. When evil happens it always violates the victims free will.
We've discussed this before, but maybe you forgot my position. You keep making it sound like FREE WILL is a prime doctrine... that its advocate will go to all lengths to defend it. As I've stated before, though, free will is just a principle that extends from the doctrine of God's love. There is no reason for people who believe in libertarian free will to argue that everyone is free in every situation. We only require that people have genuine alternatives to the point that they could have chosen various options.

Human and natural disasters happen in a world ruled by a devil (another free will creature). Free will theists do not believe that free will gives people the power to choose anything (like avoiding a certain disaster). It does not argue that there are an unlimited number of options. You're debating a straw man.
James said, "Therefore to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin." James 4.17. God can stop evil but he generally does not, therefore it must be beyond just working with evil. If God is just working with evil he is violating James 4.17. The only explanation IMHO is that it suits his purposes and it is done out of love. Yes it looks ugly, but we look through a glass darkly in this age.
God gave a certain created being a certain amount of potential and freedom. This being could have used his potential and freedom positively, but chose to use it negatively. God does not revoke a gift once given. The devil has an allotted time to wreak havoc on this planet. Rather than just taking a vacation during this time, God chooses to work in the midst of evil and suffering.

So, yes, it does suit God's purposes and it is done out of love. The difference b/w you and I, it seems, is that I think God accomplishes divine purposes in spite of these things (They are not part of God's ideal will) and you think God accomplishes divine purposes with these things (They are part of God's original plan).

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