Uncle Jaque's Soap-Box

How can a Loving God Allow…?

Posted in RELIGION by Uncle Jaque on 11/15/2009

(From one of my postings to a local forum):

A couple of weeks ago I posted on another forum a commentary which might be germane to this conversation – especially in light of C___’s recent posting of one of my favorite verses of Scripture. The topic was about contraception and the Church, but it strayed into a debate about theology of sorts, and when a Member asked why a “Loving” God could allow such terrible things to happen to people, I posted the following response.

Rather that put up a link to what turned out to be a fairly long and convoluted thread, I’ll just re-paste my commentary in here for your perusal and contemplation:

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There’s nothing like incoming ordnance or the sound of hammers just outside your cell building your scaffold, they say, to give a man pause to contemplate those great existential questions of Life. One of which (and perhaps the most popular among them) has long been; “How can a supposedly loving, caring, compassionate God allow (insert atrocity, tragedy, catastrophe etc. here) to happen to his own Creation?” … here, if I may, is my angle on it. Why does a “good” God allow “bad” things to happen? In a nutshell; “Free Agency”. If we are to accept the premise that God is inherently a.) good b.) omnipotent (all powerful) and c.) Omniscient (all-seeing; all knowing), then obviously He could easily force us, his Creation, to conform absolutely to his standards of thought and behavior. He could be, if he wanted to be, our perfect, absolute, divine dictator. Since we would never be able to deviate from the Divine Will, we thus would never “sin”. And remaining forever sinless automatons, we would never have to suffer the consequences of sin, and life would be just dandy all the time. But can you make a robot love you? Apparently God didn’t think so, either. But free agency comes at a terrible cost. Now one of the more obvious laws of nature, and one which even little kids can figure out without a Harvard education, is that actions / choices result in consequences. Cause and effect. What we can’t usually predict with any great certainty is just what those consequences are going to be or who might be effected. What people did, for good or ill, a thousand years ago has an effect on our lives today. And the choices we make in our lifetimes may well outlive us by centuries as well, bringing blessing or regret to who knows who. I really think that the proverbial Heavenly conflict between God and Satan / good and evil, if you will, whether we want to accept that as a literal or metaphorical conflict, was between the “Divine dictatorship” model, which I believe Satan favored, vs. the “Free Agency” design which our Creator intended, while being fully aware of the pain and suffering that allowing humanity a modicum of free choice would ultimately bring.

Satan, you see, demands obedience. Still does, actually.

God, however, desires reciprocal, unconditional Love.   Still does, by the way.

In essence, I opine that it boils down to this: In a vast number of ways, Scripture points out to us that Creator is so identified with, related to, and recognized by LOVE, that it comes right out in a bunch of places and reveals plainly that God IS LOVE. And it does not stop there; in the ancient Biblical languages (mostly Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek) they didn’t just have one word for ‘love” as we do. To the ancient mystics, Love is akin to light; a source of radiant energy prerequisite to life itself. Like light, it is composed of various spectral elements; Red, Orange, Yellow… etc..  And so is “love”; it can be an emotion; a passion; a sense.

“Eros”, for example, was the Greek term for romantic, sensual love; we get the English “erotic” from this root word. They had several of ’em.  But the one that the Classical Poets, Priests and Philosophers of antiquity used sparingly – reverently – was “Agape'” (I can’t spell it in Greek – sorry. The “As” are soft, like “Ah”, BTW.). It was the divine, vital, self-efacing Love that few humans knew, and even fewer could understand or fully appreciate. It was “agape’ ” that St. Paul used when he wrote the 13th Chapter of the First Epistle (letter) to the Corinthian Church, enumerating the defining qualities and characteristics of Holy Love. If you look it up in a “King James” 1611 translation, the word they used is “Charity” – but it was “Agape’ ” “Love” in the ancient manuscripts they and subsequent Translators took it from. Meanings of words evolve over a few centuries. Most contemporary translations, such as the one C___ uses, correctly render it as “Love”… but you have to have a little understanding of the ancient language and culture in order to appreciate just what sort of “love” he was discussing… or more aptly, “revealing”.

That definition which the Apostle Paul gives us, just incidentally, lists some of the very same personal qualities and characteristics of God’s singular human manifestation, Y’heshua M’Sheah (Messiah)… Commonly mis-translated as “Jesus Christ”.

How interesting is that? For all intents and purposes, God = Love = Christ.

Rearrange that equation how you will; it still comes out the same.   And Love… Holy Agape’ Love… will not impose itself on you. It will never demand your acceptance. Because if it tried to, it would violate it’s own nature, and thus immediately cancel itself out, and cease to exist as such.

By allowing us our freedom, Love takes on an immense risk, knowing that we are free to screw up; to blow it; to suffer consequences as well as to impose them on others – And they on us.   Yet God so loves us that he even personally accepts the pain of allowing his beloved to suffer as a consequence of our freedom.

It hurts when someone you love hurts. That’s how Love works… and God came up with the whole idea. But in His infinite Love, God chooses not to exempt Himself from it.  He accepted that suffering through His Son Christ’s torment and anguish on the Cross, as he allowed us to commit the greatest error – the greatest abuse of our freedom – of all; Our utter rejection of Him.

I think that hurt Him infinitely more deeply than that cruel Roman flagellum that literally tore his flesh to ribbons, or the crown of thorns, or the nails that held him up on that Old Rugged Cross.   A lot more… But you know what Love does? (Read 1 Corinthians 13…. again.)

It forgives.

It waits for it’s Beloved to come home again, despite years of alienation…

Patiently… Longingly.   But homecoming is an option too, you know.

Love will never drag you home kicking and screaming.   Hell might; Heaven never will.  And the longer Creation defiantly remains in our self-imposed exile, the more bad things happen, even to good people, all the time.

Love is an option. And God is Love. …

Your call entirely, my Beloved.

******************************************************************** Now in a previous posting here, the issue of “Predestination” vs. “Free Agency” was brought up. Anyone who understands a little about Church History will know that this conflict has been one of the more divisive ones throughout the history of the Christian Church; many distinct sects and denominations have split off over this very issue, and remain at odds over it to this day. But having said that, let me opine that Friend “Knucklehead” offers (in a previous posting) a nugget of true wisdom and insight that the Seeker of Light would do well to seriously consider. I concur with him completely. You see, some of us Christians actually DO get along! God is indeed a transcendent God, and His ways are unsearchably superior to our mortal perception and intellect. Yet my speculation is that God, although he knows quite well who his Chosen are and will be, still invites and expects all of us to be participants, and not just spectators, in his ongoing, divine work of Creation.

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