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Problem Of Evil?


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#21 Bonedigger

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 07:15 PM

And who would be the expert on minimum sin necessary? God. The world is terrible, and you want to blame God. I am not surprised because that has been the case since the beginning of humanity. People can't take responsibility for their own bad decisions, they want to blame their creator for allowing them to make their own decisions.


That sounds exactly like the abrogation of personal resonsibility so prevalent in today's society.
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#22 miles

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 08:09 AM

Yes they experience sin when they die due to a sin-shattered world, regardless of if they were born. Also, the collective experiential knowledge of sin would factor in despite not quite being good enough to prevent sin in the first place.

What is collective experiential knowledge? Do you mean there's some kind of shared memory in heaven or were you suggesting that the adult souls could instruct the baby soul based on their experiences? The second option is contrary to your argument below that suggests knowledge is insufficient without personal experience.

And who would be the expert on minimum sin necessary? God. The world is terrible, and you want to blame God. I am not surprised because that has been the case since the beginning of humanity. People can't take responsibility for their own bad decisions, they want to blame their creator for allowing them to make their own decisions.

The following assumes that free will is the ability to choose, not the ability to succeed at a choice. Possessing free will does not give me the ability to choose to successfully flap my arms and fly, I can make the attempt but I will not succeed at my choice. If I freely choose to rob a bank, the capacity to make that choice does not mean I will succeed. Lack of success of a choice does not remove the capacity to make that choice, this means that god could intervene to prevent success of certain human actions without eliminating free will. For a biblical example consider god directly intervening to prevent the tower of babel from being completed.

The argument I'm making isn't about personal responsibility, it's about the effect of other people decisions on people other than themselves. Let's say there were 10,000 kidnappings that ended in murder last year. The victim did not decide to be taken and killed so any complaints about taking personal responsibility are irrelevant. My argument is that most christians would agree that if that number were 9999 it would be better than 10,000, 9998 would be better than 9999, 9997 better than 9998, etc. I'm assuming god is capable of acting directly or indirectly (such as by providing an anonymous tip) to reduce the number of kidnapping/murders by 1. If kidnapping/murders are bad events that god does not want to happen, god should be acting in such a way to reduce the number of these outcomes to the minimum necessary to achieve his goals. Do you think that all the kidnapping+murders that occurred last year were necessary or do you think that some could have been prevented without negative consequences? If you wish you can replace kidnapping+murder with any event where one person does something 'evil' to another person.

Just to be clear, I'm not blaming god for anything, I don't think the christian god is real so it would be extremely foolish to try and blame a (from my perspective) fictional character for real events. I'm suggesting that your concept of god as omnipotent and benevolent is inconsistent with the amount of preventable misery and suffering in the real world.

Memories and experiences are different from knowledge. People can reject learned knowledge, but they won't soon forget experience and memories. If I tell you that if you touch a hot stove, you will get burned, it is different than you burning your hand on a stove.

See top of post, dead babies are generally not considered to have been alive long enough to form much if any experience or memories. However, if you think there's sufficient 'hand on stove' experience in the womb to prevent sinning in heaven then there's no purpose from a 'immunization' perspective for any additional negative experiences as an adult. Each person would have received enough experience as a fetus to keep them from choosing poorly in heaven so any additional suffering or misery is unnecessary as a preventative measure.

#23 JayShel

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 09:11 AM

What is collective experiential knowledge? Do you mean there's some kind of shared memory in heaven or were you suggesting that the adult souls could instruct the baby soul based on their experiences? The second option is contrary to your argument below that suggests knowledge is insufficient without personal experience.


This is not contrary to my argument. People can share their experiences with the people in heaven who died in infancy or in utero, so how is this different than God telling Adam and Eve that sin was bad from the start? It goes back to a personal experience with sin, which is their death due to sin. Based on that personal experience they know that they can trust the testimony of others on their personal experiences with sin as well. Without this personal verification of sin, Adam and Eve were free to reject God instructing them about sin, having no way to verify what He was telling them.

The following assumes that free will is the ability to choose, not the ability to succeed at a choice. Possessing free will does not give me the ability to choose to successfully flap my arms and fly, I can make the attempt but I will not succeed at my choice. If I freely choose to rob a bank, the capacity to make that choice does not mean I will succeed. Lack of success of a choice does not remove the capacity to make that choice, this means that god could intervene to prevent success of certain human actions without eliminating free will. For a biblical example consider god directly intervening to prevent the tower of babel from being completed.

The argument I'm making isn't about personal responsibility, it's about the effect of other people decisions on people other than themselves. Let's say there were 10,000 kidnappings that ended in murder last year. The victim did not decide to be taken and killed so any complaints about taking personal responsibility are irrelevant. My argument is that most christians would agree that if that number were 9999 it would be better than 10,000, 9998 would be better than 9999, 9997 better than 9998, etc. I'm assuming god is capable of acting directly or indirectly (such as by providing an anonymous tip) to reduce the number of kidnapping/murders by 1. If kidnapping/murders are bad events that god does not want to happen, god should be acting in such a way to reduce the number of these outcomes to the minimum necessary to achieve his goals. Do you think that all the kidnapping+murders that occurred last year were necessary or do you think that some could have been prevented without negative consequences? If you wish you can replace kidnapping+murder with any event where one person does something 'evil' to another person.

Just to be clear, I'm not blaming god for anything, I don't think the christian god is real so it would be extremely foolish to try and blame a (from my perspective) fictional character for real events. I'm suggesting that your concept of god as omnipotent and benevolent is inconsistent with the amount of preventable misery and suffering in the real world.


The Bible does not explain all of the reasoning and motives behind God's actions or inaction, so I can't say with 100% certainty. I admit either my concept is flawed, or I don't have enough insight to completely resolve this conundrum. I reject the assertion that since there is no consensus among Christians on the fine details of the problem of evil, and my understanding of this is limited, that God does not exist.


See top of post, dead babies are generally not considered to have been alive long enough to form much if any experience or memories. However, if you think there's sufficient 'hand on stove' experience in the womb to prevent sinning in heaven then there's no purpose from a 'immunization' perspective for any additional negative experiences as an adult. Each person would have received enough experience as a fetus to keep them from choosing poorly in heaven so any additional suffering or misery is unnecessary as a preventative measure.


I believe the soul records both conscious and subconscious data. This data is not understood by the baby at the time since their brain is still developing. In the perfected state in heaven, it is understood. so dead babies would have experiences and memories.

Yes death is the smallest effect of sin that one can experience, but for whatever reason, each person is exposed to a different amount of sin and suffering, which I believe is for a purpose we do not understand. All sin is evil, not all suffering is sin or evil. All suffering results in some purposeful good at some point.

#24 miles

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 06:52 PM

This is not contrary to my argument. People can share their experiences with the people in heaven who died in infancy or in utero, so how is this different than God telling Adam and Eve that sin was bad from the start? It goes back to a personal experience with sin, which is their death due to sin. Based on that personal experience they know that they can trust the testimony of others on their personal experiences with sin as well. Without this personal verification of sin, Adam and Eve were free to reject God instructing them about sin, having no way to verify what He was telling them.

I think this opens up questions about whether Adam and Eve could be considered non-culpable for the actions due to not having sufficient experience to determine if their actions were wrong but I think this would be getting too far off topic. If you have no objections I'm going to focus instead on the second part of your post.


The Bible does not explain all of the reasoning and motives behind God's actions or inaction, so I can't say with 100% certainty. I admit either my concept is flawed, or I don't have enough insight to completely resolve this conundrum. I reject the assertion that since there is no consensus among Christians on the fine details of the problem of evil, and my understanding of this is limited, that God does not exist.

I have to disagree that this is a fine detail rather than the essence of the problem of evil. Anybody that you or I would consider good would act to prevent certain events that god does not act to prevent. If a human behaved in a manner similar to how god is claimed to behave, they'd be considered a monster. Your answer is basically that there's some unknown justification. Non-believers have no reason to accept this as a valid resolution to the problem.

Pretend I'm accused of being an accessory to kidnapping and murder.

I admit to knowing who took the victim
I admit to knowing where the victim was taken
I admit to knowing how the victim could have been rescued
I admit to being able to give this information to the authorities with no risk or unreasonable effort on my part
I admit to being able to rescue the victim myself if the authorities were unable to
I admit to not rescuing the victim or providing information that would have allowed rescue

In defense my lawyer argues that I must have had a good reason for inaction since I have told him I'm a good person
My lawyer does not actually present any reason for my inaction since I have not told him what my reason was.

If you were on the jury, would you vote to convict me? If I refuse to give a reason for my inaction, is the jury justified in convicting me?

Replace "I/me/my" with "God/he/his" and "lawyer" with "christian apologists" and see if you still get the same answer.

All suffering results in some purposeful good at some point.

I'll argue that even if that were true, I doubt that you'd agree that the purposeful good would outweigh the suffering in all cases. If I handed you a piece of paper that had instructions on how to eliminate one type of suffering (ex. how to create a cure for cancer or how to build a machine that could find missing people that wanted to be found, etc.) would you use that information and eliminate both the suffering and the resulting good or would you throw it away because you think the good of that suffering outweighs the bad of the actual suffering. What would you think of someone who had that piece of paper and didn't use that information?

#25 Spectre

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 09:48 PM

Welcome Joe.

So natural evils are god's punishment for sins we may or may not have committed yet?

First, I want to say that your question assumes that there is some sort of standard for morality. What do you use as your standard for morality as an atheist? I've never heard any atheist give a solid foundation for morality.

You also point out that an omnipotent God should not allow for evil. This would be a valid point if you were arguing against a general theistic god that is omnipotent, but not the Christian God. Why? Because the Christian God gave Adam and Eve the choice of whether or not they were going to sin. They chose sin, so then, the Creation was cursed.

Not to mention that the problem of evil has several glaring issues that other philosophers have pointed out, but since this argument doesn't apply to the Christian God I feel no need to go as far to address them here.

Lastly, you are saying that people are being punished for sins that haven't been committed yet. All it takes for damnation is one sin. If anyone has sinned(and everyone has) then a just God would send them to hell. However, God sent Jesus to die for our sins, if you ask to be saved and repent from your sins, God will give you a free pardon into heaven when you die. We have all sinned and deserve hell. I'm telling you this so that you might at least know the way to heaven.

#26 JayShel

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 08:19 AM

I think this opens up questions about whether Adam and Eve could be considered non-culpable for the actions due to not having sufficient experience to determine if their actions were wrong but I think this would be getting too far off topic. If you have no objections I'm going to focus instead on the second part of your post.



They had sufficient knowledge because they were told directly by God not to do what they did, or face consequences.


I have to disagree that this is a fine detail rather than the essence of the problem of evil. Anybody that you or I would consider good would act to prevent certain events that god does not act to prevent. If a human behaved in a manner similar to how god is claimed to behave, they'd be considered a monster.



Yes in our worldly understanding of suffering, it is the worst thing that can happen to us, but God sees otherwise. Choosing to reject Him will end us up in a place where God's presence is withheld, by our own choosing. We want to be rid of God and so Hell is such a place, as awful as it is. We cannot pretend to know how much suffering is too much suffering to try preventing us from going to hell, and potentially for other reasons. Also, as I stated before, suffering causes empathy, and God uses that empathy to nudge us toward helping each others. I am fully convinced that He is working in the most effective and efficient way possible to eradicate evil, and bring about ultimate good.


Your answer is basically that there's some unknown justification. Non-believers have no reason to accept this as a valid resolution to the problem.



Non-believers could at least accept that if God exists, He does things beyond our understanding. In your use of the problem of evil to attempt to explain away God, you are using an argument from ignorance; “Christians can't justify all of God's actions with their limited knowledge of Him, therefore He doesn't exist”. It is a fallacious and flimsy argument.


Pretend I'm accused of being an accessory to kidnapping and murder.

I admit to knowing who took the victim
I admit to knowing where the victim was taken
I admit to knowing how the victim could have been rescued
I admit to being able to give this information to the authorities with no risk or unreasonable effort on my part
I admit to being able to rescue the victim myself if the authorities were unable to
I admit to not rescuing the victim or providing information that would have allowed rescue

In defense my lawyer argues that I must have had a good reason for inaction since I have told him I'm a good person
My lawyer does not actually present any reason for my inaction since I have not told him what my reason was.

If you were on the jury, would you vote to convict me? If I refuse to give a reason for my inaction, is the jury justified in convicting me?

Replace "I/me/my" with "God/he/his" and "lawyer" with "christian apologists" and see if you still get the same answer.



So you admit you are putting God on trial here? I am afraid that we are the ones on trial here in this life, not God. In this false analogy, you know all of the circumstances and motives to convict, we however do not when talking about God. Also, when putting someone on trial the defendant is usually present, not just his lawyer. Don't worry, I am sure you will get your chance to stand before God and ask Him all your questions.


I'll argue that even if that were true, I doubt that you'd agree that the purposeful good would outweigh the suffering in all cases. If I handed you a piece of paper that had instructions on how to eliminate one type of suffering (ex. how to create a cure for cancer or how to build a machine that could find missing people that wanted to be found, etc.) would you use that information and eliminate both the suffering and the resulting good or would you throw it away because you think the good of that suffering outweighs the bad of the actual suffering. What would you think of someone who had that piece of paper and didn't use that information?



You must have a very good reason not to use the information on that piece of paper, but can we say that there IS NOT such a good reason? No, that is an argument from ignorance. We cannot imagine what that reason might be, but we don't understand many things about our existence and our universe. Not having infinite knowledge is a big deal. You are an agnostic, which means you claim not to have vital knowledge to make certain decisions regarding belief. I don't have sufficient evidence to throw away belief in God because I suffer. God has suffered with me, actually more than I have, as Jesus Christ, and I trust His motives.

#27 joe

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 11:20 AM

1. You've totally taken me out of context! I was meaning the highs and lows of the individual so that ONE individual can do as I said. I never said that people have bad things happen to them so that others can feel good. I ask that you retract your statement.


I still feel this is hugely dismissive of the very real and completely gratuitous suffering that some people experience. Why do some need the lesson of living with constant physical pain while others do not? At best this is an empty platitude at worst it is much more sinister.


3. No its not a collective punishment it is what is. You can't get gold from excrement. We live in this flawed world because we ourselves are flawed, or would you claim that we are perfect and thus deserve automatic heaven?


So the state of the natural world is a direct result of our sinful nature and god has no control over this? Then your god is not omnipotent. If he is omnipotent he has chosen to make the world like this as a result of our sinful nature, which seems to me to be a perfect example of collective punishment.

As to the arguments against god, they are not supposed to be knock-down arguments to convince others. I was asked why I don't believe in any gods and those are a few of my reasons, personal to me. As to atheism/agnosticism, I am indeed agnostic as I don't know for sure if gods do or don't exist and I don't believe anyone else does either. However I am also an atheist because I hold no beliefs in gods. You misrepresent this as a positive position. I don't make the claim that I know god/s don't exist, I just reject the claims of others that they do exist, because I find the evidence unconvincing. I am what is sometimes referred to as a soft or weak atheist, as most atheists are.

#28 Salsa

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 08:10 AM

So the state of the natural world is a direct result of our sinful nature and god has no control over this?


Control over what?

The natural world, or our sinful nature?

Omnipotence has to do with power (potence). Power has to do with force. Force has nothing to do with free-will, otherwise it would not be "free" will.

Then your god is not omnipotent.


What does "omnipotent" mean according to your definition? The Bible never claims that any- and everything that happens is a direct result of either God's will, or His power. I think JayShel addressed this earlier on, but I don't think you responded to it.

Jesus taught us to pray "Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven". That implies that God's will is not being done on earth. It also means that the phrase "God is in control" is only being realized in a very broad sense. God can obviously use an "act of nature" to bring about something that is in accordance with his plan for mankind. But that does not mean that every time it "rains" on your particular parade that it is something you can blame on God or use as a basis for denying his existance.
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#29 Teejay

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 10:07 AM

[quote] name='joe' timestamp='1349960059' post='86116']
Hello all, just signed up to ask a question which I've never had a satisfactory answer to. I'm sure it's an issue you've all heard a thousand times before so sorry if I'm going over old ground, but I really want to know what the Christian perspective on this is. If you're not familiar with the problem of evil please see here .[/quote]

Joe, JS has written you a good post, that love can't exist without the freedom to love or hate. For example, you can program your computer to say, "I love you, Joe." but would the computer's love have any value to you you? Of course not. God could have made a robot of you where you would not have the freedom to do otherwise. But your love would be of no value. I value my wife's love because she is free to love another. So what JS posted is right on.

But before you ask for an explanation of why there is evil in the world, you must first ask yourself how there can be evil or good in your worldview? Absent a Moral Prescriber who is above man, there can only be preferences. You may not prefer that someone steal from you, but you can't judge stealing to be moral or immoral. In your worldview, morality can only be relative or "What's moral for you is not moral for me."

So I will ask you: How can there be good or evil in an atheist's worldview?

[quote]Basically put there is evil in the world, if a god or gods exist then they could stop evil. Evil still exists so either there are no gods or they allow evil, and therefore are not good/moral. Genuinely interested to hear what your views on this are, I'm sure most Christians must have dealt with this problem somehow, I'm just curios to know how. Again, apologies if I'm dragging over ground that's well covered but I'm not particularly well versed in Christian theology.[/quote]

Let's start with your basic premise, "if god or gods exist." Joe, there is no "if." For if a noncontingent God did not exist, then neither you, nor anything physical, could exist. Second premise: "Evil still exists...." Not in your wordview. Conclusion: "Therefore [God] is not good or moral." Question: How is God giving you freedom to do otherwise immoral? Please answer.

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#30 Teejay

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 10:27 AM

[quote] name='joe' timestamp='1350036481' post='86129']
Free will explains human evils, that's fine. However, what about natural evils? For instance a tsunami killing thousands, the good and the bad alike, including infant children who cannot have chosen to commit sins, Is this a gods doing? Does god allow it happen? How can this be described as moral or good? And with regards to your design comment, what about parasites that dig into the eyes of children and blind them? Did god design them? If so how can this be described as moral or good?
[/quote]

Joe,

What I want you to realize is that for you to judge anything, whether it be a natural tsunami or human behavior or God's actions, you must borrow from the Christian worldview--a worldview you deny as being true. When you do this, you affirm atheism false and Christianity true.

I define a worldview as a set of presuppositions we all have and use to interpret reality. If your worldview does not rationally and truthfully described what you encounter in reality, then your worldview is flawed. The Christian worldview explains and justified why the earth is the way it is. A careful reading of Genesis shows that this world is cursed because of the sin of Adam and Eve. If God had allowed man to live in an uncursed world in his present state of evil, then he would only get more evil. People who win the lottery and can live without having to toil, usually do not end up well.

Now God is Creator, and as such, He has authority to take man from this stage of life here on earth to the second stage of the hereafter. The righteous go to be with Him. The unrighteous go to Hell. As for children "who do not have the knowledge of good and evil" God does not hold accountable (Deut. 1:39).

And, Joe, when you are sitting around pondering these dilemmas have you ever asked yourself, as an atheist/materialist, how you can have the ability to reason and reach truth? Thoughts are not part of the physical universe.

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#31 Teejay

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 11:05 AM

[quote] name='miles' timestamp='1350059431' post='86134']
I think there's some problems with the free will defense from the christian perspective that considers heaven as a place without evil.

Your argument includes the following statements:
1. Love cannot exist without free will.[/quote]

This is a truthful statement. Do you deny that this is true?


[quote]2. Evil arises from our free will as human beings.[/quote]

This is not true. Freedom to do otherwise does not CAUSE evil. If so, Jesus would have sinned, for He had freedom to do otherwise. Using your logic, Jesus' sinlessness arose from His freewill.


[quote]Does love for god exist in your concept of heaven?[/quote]

Yes. And only those who accept Him and love Him will be there.

[quote]If yes, then item 1 requires free will to exist in heaven.[/quote]

That love can't exist without freedom to hate is a self-evident truth.

[quote]If free will exists in heaven then item 2 would require that evil occurs in heaven. This is contrary to the standard christian view of heaven.[/quote]

Item 2, that our freedom to do otherwise causes us to sin, is a false premise. Therefore you conclusion is false.

Now as to whether there will be sin in heaven is another matter. Satan was in heaven and he attempted to exalt himself to a level with God. What you must understand is that our freedom to do otherwise is not the cause of evil. We, ourselves, are the cause of evil when we use God's gift of freedom to sin. Arguing to blame our gift of free will is like blaming the gun instead of the shooter.

God will never take away our freedom to love or hate Him--in this life or in heaven. For if he took away our freedom, we could not love Him. God Himself has the freedom to love or hate. While I can't describe exactly how heaven will be, we can know a few things. Satan will not be there to tempt us. We will not have our flesh pulling us to overeat, over drink, be s*xually immoral, etc. Man's pride is an issue that God will have to deal with for some time. We will not be under the law which "gives passion to our evil desires" (the forbidden fruit). We will have overcome many of the things that plague us here on earth. Hillary and Bill will not be there to make heaven hell. We will see clearly and not "through a glass darkly." We will have a glorified body with no sickness. But do I think that all humans will be perfect in heaven by God sprinkling magic dust on us? No. We will grow spiritually and mentally for eternity.

[quote]If you want to argue that free will exists in heaven but there is no evil in heaven then you have to accept that free will does not logically require the existence of evil choices. This means that item 2 does not have to be true. If it's possible for free will to exist without evil then the need for free will can't be a justification for the existence of evil.
[/quote]

Only if your premise, that free will is the cause of evil, can your argument hold water. But your premise is false.

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#32 Teejay

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 11:11 AM

[quote] name='joe' timestamp='1350089527' post='86137']
So natural evils are god's punishment for sins we may or may not have committed yet?
[/quote]

Joe, no such thing as a natural evil. Do you judge baking soda evil for neutralizing vinegar?

Evil can only exist if a moral God exists who has created humans in His image with the freedom to do otherwise.

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#33 Teejay

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 12:22 PM

[quote] name='miles' timestamp='1350144134' post='86144']
Many christians feel the bible describes a age of accountability for children where before that age they cannot be expected to know or choose between good and evil.
1. Do you believe that infants go to heaven?
1a. If yes to 1, do you believe infants have hard earned experiential knowledge of evil?
1b. If no to 1, please explain what you think happens to dead babies.[/quote]

Miles,

1. Yes, I believe infans go to heaven, because God does not hold people accountable for what they do not know. For example, God says that children do not have the "knowledge of good and evil" (Deut. 1:39) and are not accountable.

Paul wrote that "I was alive once without the law, but the law came and I died [spiritually]. When was Paul alive without the law? When he was too young to be under it.

1a. I do not believe that infants have a "hard earned experiential knowledge of evil" but are in the process of learning what is good and evil.

1b. Babies go to be with the Lord.

[quote]2a. If no to 1a, then that means infants don't meet your proposed conditions for not sinning in heaven. (unless you think they remain unaccountable in heaven)[/quote]

Are you assuming that they will remain infants? If so, I think you would be wrong. Infants will grow spiritually in knowledge and awareness just as they would here on earth. You grow in knowledge here on earth which is not a physical process. And infants will have freedoom to choose in heaven and will be accountable when they become aware of the knowledge of good and evil.. Reference my first post on this

[quote]2b. If yes to 1a, could you explain how this is possible[/quote]

Must you murder someone to know that murder is wrong?

[quote]If you argue that evil is necessary, that simply changes the problem of evil to the problem of above minimal evil. If it's impossible to 'immunize' someone against being evil without them experiencing evil then a benevolent god should be limiting evil to the minimum necessary (whenever possible, we do not vaccinate children by exposing them to the full blown illness). If there were X instances of evil last year, would the immunization effect have been greater, less than, or the same if there had been X-1 instances of evil? Did everyone in history who was tortured and murdered need to experience both torture and murder or would simply being called mean things have been enough to immunize them against being evil in heaven?[/quote]

Cain knew murder was wrong BEFORE he murdered. And after he did it, he knew he deserved the death penalty for it (Gen. 4:14). Miles you have to remind yourself that here you are using God's moral law to accuse God--a God that you don't accept or believe exists. Can you see the inconsistency of your argument. And you are using your thought processes to reason and come up with arguments against God. If your worldview were true, you could not do this. Your thought processes are not physical and are not part of the physical universe. You must use God's gift of reason to reason that there is no God.

When God gives man the freedom to love or hate Him, He is taking a huge risk, but He desires love and deems a love relationship with His created beings so precious that He is willing to take that risk. If you are married, do you put your wife in a house with no doors or windows to leave if she wants to? No! Only a sick man would do such a thing. God risks us hating Him in hope that we will love Him. When God grants us freedom to love Him, He also grants us freedom to hate Him. Otherwise our love for Him can't exist and love would be valueless The Tree of Knowledge in the garden was the door out of the garden. I, for one, do not think evil has to exist, but evil is the unavoidable consequence of freedom.


[quote]This seems contrary to the literal story of genesis. I'm also not clear on why god would be incapable of creating someone with built in memories and experiences. Do you think Adam needed to learn how to walk and talk or was he created with the experiential knowledge of how to walk and talk? From a purely biological standpoint, the brain requires certain experiences in childhood to develop. For example, there are neurons that develop during infancy that respond to vertical or horizontal lines. Without seeing vertical or horizontal lines as a child, an adult will be effectively blind to anything vertical or horizontal. This has been done with kittens raised in specially designed rooms, the adult cats were blind to any visual stimulus they didn't experience as a kitten. Unless you believe adam and every other animal was blind, the physiological state of a functioning adult brain requires they were created in a state indistinguishable from having experienced childhood. If god can build-in the effects of non-existent childhood experiences why would it be impossible to build-in the effects of other non-existent experiences?[/quote]

Miles, you can create a computer program with built in memories and experiences. Can it choose to love you? No. I don't know why you can't see that love must be freely given? If you are married, do you value your wife's love because she is programmed or because she is free to love another?

Love is not physical. Can you agree with this?

TeeJay

#34 miles

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 02:39 PM

This is not true. Freedom to do otherwise does not CAUSE evil. If so, Jesus would have sinned, for He had freedom to do otherwise. Using your logic, Jesus' sinlessness arose from His freewill.
....
Item 2, that our freedom to do otherwise causes us to sin, is a false premise. Therefore you conclusion is false.

The failure of item 2 was what my argument was intended to show. Remember, item 2 was a direct quote from Jayshel's post, it was his defense for why evil exists, not mine. I was taking his argument and showing that free will does not justify the existence of evil since according to christianity, humans with free will can exist eternally without ever making a evil choice. If god can create anything that is logically possible, and a 'have free will but never choose evil' human is logically possible, there's no reason to not simply start out with a 'have free will but never choose evil' human.

1. Yes, I believe infans go to heaven, because God does not hold people accountable for what they do not know. For example, God says that children do not have the "knowledge of good and evil" (Deut. 1:39) and are not accountable.

The bolded portion opens up the defense that adam and eve didn't have knowledge of good and evil until after they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. In which case god should not have held them accountable for their actions. If they did have knowledge of good and evil then the bible is wrong in stating that after, not before eating, they knew good and evil.
"And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil..."

Are you assuming that they will remain infants? If so, I think you would be wrong. Infants will grow spiritually in knowledge and awareness just as they would here on earth. You grow in knowledge here on earth which is not a physical process. And infants will have freedoom to choose in heaven and will be accountable when they become aware of the knowledge of good and evil.. Reference my first post on this

The problem is how is god able to guarantee that infant souls don't sin and get kicked out of heaven. If all infant souls in heaven grow up to freely choose to love god and never sin then there's a problem with why god is incapable of producing humans on earth that grew up to freely choose to love god and never sin. If some infant souls grow up and get kicked out, then there a big misconception among many christians regarding whether being in heaven is a permanent state.

Must you murder someone to know that murder is wrong?

No, you simply need to have the capacity to understand the consequences of murder to determine it's wrong. Please remember that the portion of my post you are responding to was directed at Jayshel's claim that first-hand experience of evil is necessary to produce a human that won't choose evil.

I, for one, do not think evil has to exist, but evil is the unavoidable consequence of freedom.

Evil can't be a unavoidable consequence of freedom if you believe that freedom can exist without evil in heaven. Remember, you specifically rejected Jayshel's position that "Evil arises from our free will as human beings".

Miles, you can create a computer program with built in memories and experiences. Can it choose to love you? No. I don't know why you can't see that love must be freely given? If you are married, do you value your wife's love because she is programmed or because she is free to love another?

Why would building in memories and experience have any impact on free will? To be clear I'm defining free will as simply the ability to choose. If I implanted a experience of having your face licked by a puppy or the pain from putting your hand on a hot stove, why would that have any impact on your capacity to make choices?

Secondly, the ability to choose to love someone does not have any apparent connection to the actions and events that people refer to as 'evil'.
If I (or god) physically restrained you whenever you tried to murder someone, would that mean you don't have the ability to choose to love god? If I (or god) intervened to cause kidnapping plots to fail, does that mean that kidnappers would lose the ability to choose who they love? If I (or god) cured all cancer, would that eliminate freedom? If god does not want these things to occur and you are still able to freely choose to love even if these things were impossible, why do they occur?




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