Monday, December 14, 2009

Thoughts on God and Evil (Different forms of Evil)

Diff forms of evil and what is the point of them? And what does God do with them?

Although, evil has a simple definition: Evil is the simple disregard of human life, a disregard of justice, and the valuing of one life over the other. Just by looking around at the world and our lives we can notice that there are many forms of evil. These different forms of evil are important to point out to make clear what God thinks about these evils.

For the first form of evil we need to look no further than ourselves to find. As I stated before humans have a problem of sin that if not reconciled leads to the devaluing of life that leads to evil actions as simple being rude to your waiter or as complex and terrible as herding people on to a death train on its way to Auschwitz. Yet, in the same breath, it is very important not to use the word evil lightly. Much like sin is a deeper problem that leads to sins, evil as I have defined, is a deeper problem that leads to evils.
The solution to this evil is in relationship. Since, the problem of sin is a problem of disconnection and wrong relationship with God this must be reconciled to make it possible and easier to see the world with God’s eyes; to see the “createdness” of the individual and the equal playing field that humanity rests on.

Invisible People TV is an organization and website that interviews homeless people so that there lives will not be invisible but very visible through their stories recorded on video. Jay, a homeless man from Cleveland is asked what he would wish for if he was given three wishes. What he says is simply profound,
“If I had three wishes, I believe first that everyone would treat everyone as equals. The man who has a 100,000 dollar job is not better that the person who is picking up garbage on the corner for somebody. Were all the same, were all human beings why can’t we just help each other. And I think if everyone did that I might not even need two more wishes.”

No theologian or philosopher can say it better than that. Jay is down and out, has been out of work for two years and has been getting the run around by every social service agency he has come to. He knows what evil is, he knows what suffering is and amazingly in the midst of economic turmoil he does not wish for a million dollars but simply that people won’t devalue one person over the others. Jay recognizes what is at the root of the evils of this world.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Thoughts on God and Evil (god)

This is the section dedicated to understanding God's character inlight of the evil that I defined and described above. Answering questions like Why Would God Let Evil Persist? etc.


God’s very essence is to be in relation or in community with others. This is witnessed in God’s relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Out of God’s relational essence came his desire for creation. Heyward, describes real relation as one founded in love, humility, and God . This is the context that humans were created out of. Because right relation rests on the capacity to choose and not be forced into relationship, God is restricted by his loving desire for genuine relationship to give humans free choice. Yet, there is undoubtedly something in this world that corrupts the choices people make.

This is sin not evil. In my terms sin is separation and disconnection from God. Heyward would put this as not being in right relation with God. This disconnection (sin) blinds us from seeing each others as equals (evil) and hence there lies the justification for evil actions. The devaluation of a person is rooted in the problem of sin that leads to evil as the concept I have described which leads to evil actions. Yet, without free will God could not be in a right loving relation with humanity. This paradox of sorts can be summed up like this.

Free will and choices lead to evil.
Love is dependent on free will.

As well, love and right relation with God and others in the only way to remove evil from the perpetual paradoxical cycle.
From this we can establish how God feels about Evil. The prophet Amos tells us that God hates evil and Isaiah tells us that God loves justice . God would prefer there to be no evil, because he would prefer us to love others equally, or as Jesus says in Matthew 22 to love your neighbor as yourself. In this God reminds us of our humanity, that we are all on equal playing fields and valuing one life over another is evil. God does not desire a world full of genocide, murder, or any other action caused by the devaluing of life but a world of mutuality, equality, and solidarity.

God's View and Our View of the World

Greek influence on Christianity has lead to a place where it has been commonplace to separate the physical from the spirit. This has lead to theological interpretations that have created a God who places paramount importance on the soul and that does not care about the physical that is fading away. This has had extreme implications for the justification of evil throughout history and very much so today. It is not out of the ordinary to hear someone say, “Jesus is coming back soon, this is Earth is going to explode and be done away with, and so why not use it up.” This is an example of what may happen if this perspective that God does not care about the physical is taken on. There is a disregard for the value of the Earth and raping and pillaging it dry of its resources is not only justified it is what God wants us to do.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thoughts on God and Evil

This semester I took a seminar class on theodicy. Theodicy is the theological/philosophical discussion of justifying a "good" or "loving" God with the reality of evil that plagues the world. Our final assignment was to come up with our own theodicy, or our own personal way that we justify a the existence and belief in a good God with evil.

Here are some high lights. (that will come in parts)

Often scholars will stray away from defining evil and point to massive historical events of suffering as examples to define evil. No doubt Hiroshima, the Holocaust, and other horrific events are accurate examples of evil, but it is dangerous to avoid defining evil. If in defining evil the hope is to better understand evil so it can be avoided in the future than a clear definition of evil must be presented. What about Stalin’s reign and the Trail of Tears should never be repeated? In defining evil we must find the underlying root that is common in everything that would be deemed evil. Evil is the simple disregard of human life, a disregard of justice, and the valuing of one life over the other. From this comes the justification necessary to allow the suffering of one or many to persist.
The Holocaust could never have been possible if the Jews lives were valued as much as Germans. In order for the final solution to go forward Jews had to become less than humans, vermin that plagued the earth from reaching its potential. It is simply impossible to put a family member or friend that you know to be deserving of life just as mush as you on a train leading to Auschwitz.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I love this and have been trying to think of myself as irreplaceable in God's eyes. More importantly, if we can find out why people around us are so irreplaceable to God by building deep relationships or trying to take on the perception that God sees the world, I will be able to love people a whole lot better.

"Egotism is pathological self-obsession, a reaction to anxiety about whether or not I really count. It is for our acute self-conciseness and can be prevented and healed only by the experience of being adequately loved. it is, indeed, a desperate response to frustration of the need we all have to count for something and be held to be irreplaceablee"
-Dallas Willard, Divine Conspiracy