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September 02, 2016

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For a long time now I think God purifies our "unconditional" love for him in the crucible of affliction. Consider the deaths of many of the best being ripped to shreds by lions for entertainment. Or being burnt at the stake, sometimes with the flames along side to produce more suffering and prolonged death.

It is one thing to love a god that allows this and would like to step it but cannot. Because of the sovereignty of the human will he created but cannot control.

But when we realize that all suffering we endure is at his hand, producing an unflinching love and faith that we could not receive otherwise, that we thank him even in our darkest hour.

The most painful suffering is often not the worst suffering. The worse suffering is often that to which there seems to be no benefit.

There's stuff God can't control?

I never heard that before ~~~

@SCB; "There's stuff God can't control?

I never heard that before ~~~"

I believe you have heard it before if you believe in "free will".

God isn't able to control free will whenever He wants? Hmmm... No. I've never heard that.

@Scb, "God isn't able to control free will whenever He wants? Hmmm... No. I've never heard that."

Yes, but do you believe he does not control "free will" in matters of salvation?

Marriage.

Programmed to hate God.

“We love him, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)

Many hate God when exposed to him from a biblical perspective. This is why we have so many idol worshipers today.

Many do not understand that it is ultimately God whom Jesus saves us from. His righteous wrath smolders against sinners. Especially those who divert credit away from him where it belongs to themselves and to the blind forces of nature.

You seem angry Dave. Why are you ascribing to others things they obviously don't believe?

What is your motive for doing that specific act? It can't be a good one.

Dualism seems better than blind natural forces. I know you know that. You shouldn't declare or describe others as rejecting that.

Gratuitous Evil is the problem on the table. Such a state of affairs is necessarily impossible and yet you seem to think there are possible worlds where that isn't true.

Why?

Neither the less robust Greater Good path into reality nor the wider explanatory power that is the freedom bearing consequential worlds route into reality extricate any logical possibility of gratuitous evil.

Only Non-Theism(s) find such irreducible ends.

It's interesting:

[1] The Greater Good path into reality has its X. There is therein no possibility of gratuitous evil.

[2] The wider freedom bearing consequential worlds path into reality has "that" *and* the Greater Good's irreducible explanatory termini.

[3] Non-Theism(s) have nothing but gratuitous X's through and through amid their rationally available explanatory contours.

@SCB; "You seem angry Dave. Why are you ascribing to others things they obviously don't believe?"

I'm only saying that if you believe in "free will" then what I said, and what you are attacking stands true.

"It is one thing to love a god that allows this and would like to step it but cannot. Because of the sovereignty of the human will he created but cannot control."

So I am saying those who make God subject to the creature reverse the God/Creature roles - they reverse the cause and effect relationships.

It's interesting.

There is no logical possibility in any possible world as a created, contingent X which fails to declare the glory of *God*. Even Lucifer's free choice to attempt the ascent to the throne in fact testifies of, declares, affirms, the goodness and glory and power of *God*.

All of creation testifies. The inverse is in fact logically impossible. In any world.

And yet Atheists and a small subset of Christians declare that in fact there are X's which factually / ontologically fail to declare: *God*.

It's interesting.

Clearly God can control our free will whenever He freely wills to do so.

In all possible worlds.

And yet Atheists and a small subset of Christians, like Hyper- Calvinists, reject that fact.

@SCB; "any possible world"???

You do not understand that God's will and his essence are one. God does not have parts that he can arbitrarily choose, one over another. And so it is with creation. It is the express image of his nature.

“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” (Romans 1:20)

Dave,

Nothing you said contradicted what I said.

It is logically impossible to demonstrate an X which fails to testify of the glory of God. Simply to exist presses in and settles the matter amid choruses. The very essence of being sums to deafening melodies. As for motion, well the shouts abound. As for love's irreducibly volitional (free) contours amid reciprocity's timeless one another vis-a-vis Trinity / Imago Dei, and as for... and as for... all vectors declare the glory and goodness and power of God.

Dave,

Did God choose to create? Could He have done otherwise?

You said He can't choose... Can you unpack that wrt creation?

Dave,

Clearly God can control our free will whenever He freely wills to do so. Our will becomes determined when he does that, but clearly He can freely choose to do that whenever he freely wills to do so.

You mentioned something of God not being able to freely choose...?

Moving closer towards the question at the epicenter: Gratuitous Evil, there is the issue of God's Hands upon, not some vectors, but all vectors, whereby "purposeless" becomes impossible. A bit short of that is the question of Justice/Injustice, and, just to "sort of include that" (though not focus on it), two quotes by "Peter" here:


“Here’s a quote of S. Carroll,

“Hume was right. We have no objective guidance on how to distinguish right from wrong: not from God, not from nature, not from the pure force of reason itself....Morality exists only insofar as we make it so, and other people might not pass judgments in the same way we do."

[The] atheism of the past few centuries was a moralistic protest against the prevailing and past injustices of the world. This atheism held that there was no God to create justice and so it was down to mankind itself to impose it. However, a world which has to create its own justice can only address present injustices. It cannot undo the past centuries of suffering. True justice requires a world where not only present injustices are wiped out but also where past injustices would be undone. The only way – and there is no other – to undo the injustices of the past is for the dead, both the victims and the perpetrators, to be resurrected in the flesh. This is something which mankind, despite all its moralizing, cannot do and which only God can do. The moralizing of men without God is useless. It ultimately leads to cynicism. The collective burden of past human sufferings and injustices is too great. It is only the hope of eternal life and of the permanent undoing of all injustices which can remove that cynicism and open men's eyes to the true source of morality.”

And,

“There is nothing we can do to undo past injustices. That's why we will never impose true justice, nor even wipe out present injustices. For the injustices of the past to be undone and true justice imposed, God is necessary. Without God there will never be true justice.

In a world where there is no God the cry of the victim would never be heard for eternity. It is a world where evil would forever rule triumphant, where brutality and inaction would forever go unpunished.

In the resurrection of the body, the perpetrators and their victims would face each other in front of God and be dealt with accordingly. There would be closure.”


@SCB: How does anything you say relate to the topic; "Sometimes We Suffer Like Lazarus, Not Job"

I simply commented on "the topic" and you have run off with it like a dog with a new bone.

We ran, Dave ;-)

Gratuitous evil is the topic. As I mentioned earlier, within Calvinism or Arminianism or Middle Knowledge or any mix thereof it is logically impossible to find the purposeless. Whereas, within Non-Theism(s), it is inescapable.

@SCB; "We ran, Dave ;-)"

Not quite. I posted and created a reaction from you that quickly lost the original intent of my post.

Given the fact of God, it is at reality’s most fundamental level impossible for the “gratuitous” (purposeless) to actualize. Ever. We find that, no matter our pain, and no matter our joy, and no matter *any* reality actualizing, “The Greater Good” path into reality is, by logical necessity, void of the gratuitous. We also find, of course, that the wider explanatory power that just is the “freedom bearing consequential worlds” path into reality has within its own boundaries "that" (all which comes by the freedom bearing worlds path) *and* it also has the Greater Good's irreducible explanatory termini as well.

Whereas: Non-Theism(s) have nothing but gratuitous X's through and through amid their rationally available explanatory contours as all “purpose” suffers the illusory.

There is *nothing* which God does purpose for Good. Now, that just is to say that there is nothing which God does not purpose for Himself given that one of the essential, irreducible meanings within the Christian term *GOD* is the metaphysical absolute of THE GOOD. Or, another way through that is to say that the metaphysical absolute of "Goodness Itself" in fact *is* that what which the Christian term *GOD* referents.

By necessity we find an impossibility of there actualizing in some world somewhere an X which fails to be used by Goodness Itself for Goodness Itself, which is to say by God for God. And, for all the same reasons, we find that there is no logical possibility in any possible world as a created, contingent X which fails to declare the glory of *God*. Even Lucifer's free choice to attempt the ascent to the throne ultimately and in every way testifies of, declares, and affirms the goodness and glory and power of *God*. All of creation testifies. The inverse is in fact logically impossible. In any world.

God uses evil for our Good. Our suffering. Privation (or evil, or suffering, or lack, our current state of affairs) is a lack of Good, and going about “filling up” said hollow with more lack, more want, more hollow, is logically impossible, an outright contradiction and we find therefore that our suffering in fact – if God Himself fill it, fill us – and only if such is the case – cannot evade ultimate Good. And the reality is unavoidable: God uses all things for our good. By this we know that even in our suffering it is God Himself who ultimately transfigures the entire affair for that which is ultimately good.

Comfort from Eden: The idea of "necessary privation" streaming out of Eden is both contrary to scripture and to the requisites of love and necessity with respect to Man/God and we can, knowing that, easily rest in the fullness that is “God Himself” which is sufficient to get the job done, that our hope and sufficiency is God, and we need not strain to do the absurd, to tell ourselves that the power good is in the evil but in fact is in the God Who is present. The power of reality-minus-God never will get the job done. Rather, in all state of affairs, our hope, our joy, our anchor is not evil, which is something less than God, but, rather, our anchor is nothing less than God Himself.

That said, we are, now, in privation, so, which semantics to use?

Though God did not cause evil (our privation streaming out of Eden) He can and does use, place His Hand upon, "All Things" and use them for, well for what? Well, "The Good" of course.

And there it is.

On the ultimately purposeless (gratuitous), whether one takes the route of “The Greater Good” (Cannot do otherwise in Eden, Calvinism, perhaps others…. Perhaps…) or whether one takes the route of free will and consequential freedom-bearing worlds (Can do otherwise in Eden, perhaps Arminianism, perhaps others... Perhaps…), we find [All Things] taken and used by *God*, by "The Good", and – therefore – wherever we may find not only evil, not only good, but anything, we cannot find the ultimately gratuitous.

It is *not* the route which makes that an irreducible "ontic-fact", but God. In other words, it is not the Greater Good route nor the free will and freedom-bearing consequential world route which makes the difference. The difference-maker with respect to gratuitous/purposed is the irreducibility of love vis-à-vis Being with respect to The Good, namely, *God*.

Now, the irreducibility (non-illusory, ever present, that which precedes all) of love vis-à-vis Being with respect to The Good, namely, *God* is exactly what Non-Theism has rejected. Hence it has embraced, for some unstated reason, that all things are ultimately, cosmically, gratuitous.

Given Non-Theism: We find that [All Things] end in the gratuitous for all "purpose" is non-ontic, illusory.

Whereas, if the Christian God: We find [All Things] taken and used by *God*, by "The Good", and, therefore, wherever we may find not only evil, not only good, but anything, we cannot find the ultimately gratuitous.

The difference-maker with respect to gratuitous/purposed isn't Man's path into this world (as if Man’s choices can thwart The-Good / God), but, rather, it is the irreducibility of love vis-à-vis Being with respect to The Good, namely, *God*.

Typo:

The third paragraph (in the comment stamped "scbrownlhrm | September 03, 2016 at 11:55 AM") begins with this: "There is *nothing* which God does...."

The word *not* should follow, as in this:

There is *nothing* which God does *not* purpose for Good. Now, that just is to say that there is nothing which God does not purpose for Himself given that one of the essential, irreducible meanings within the Christian term *GOD* is the metaphysical absolute of THE GOOD. Or, another way through that is to say that the metaphysical absolute of "Goodness Itself" in fact *is* that what which the Christian term *GOD* referents.

I don't know Nabeel personally. I don't think I've ever even interacted personally with him on line. But I was stunned and so saddened when I read his post. I had to read it a few times for it to even sink in. I still don't think it has.

Thank you for that post from Michael Patton.

Sometimes, all that comes to mind is:

"Though he slay me, I will hope in him;"

Job 13:15

There really is nothing and no one else!

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