Monday, May 12, 2008

ferris


my friend in malaysia recently posed a line of questions in an email.
Did God create everything?
If so then did He create SIN?
If not then can Satan create things?
Or did God just make the
possibility of sin?
Is the possibility of something too big a question for the human mind to understand?"


there are some challenges whenever we default to the notion that "God created everything, therefore..."

it's probably just bad logic on my part.

i like to hold to the idea that God created materials and situations, got wheels turning, and BOOM, there we have the earth and all that is within.

i like the idea that the 'big bang' was the voice of God shattering the silence and the darkness simultaneously with the words 'let there be light!'

i like the idea that evolutionary theories do not prove or disprove anything, especially the existence or non-existence of God, and that they do not necessarily contradict our Christian cosmology.

but...

if i am comfortable with this 'wheels turning' thing, then i should also be good with the idea that God indirectly put to death the friends and families of my dear friends in sri lanka with the tsunami. i should be fine with the idea that God 'did' the recent cyclone in burma which took the lives of 100 thousand and has us wondering whatever happened to at least 200 thousand more. wheels are turning and the outcome is attributable to God, right?

well... yes, but... no... but...

hate that. somehow there are things that seem inconsistent with our (my) picture of who God is and what God is about, no matter which position in a logical argument like this i side with. drives me crazy sometimes.

there is comfort for me, however, in remembering that all we know about God has been revealed to us- revealed to us in ways that are recognizable to us even though we are, in our fallenness, only a reasonable hand-drawn facsimile of what created and deemed 'very good.' the things that we do not know we do not know because God has chosen to remain a mystery through them for reasons that are God's- perhaps because the answers to some of our questions may be too big for our minds to embrace. we mustn't ever let logic bind God. this promptly ushers out the possibility of miracle.

a miracle, after all, is a break in the cause/effect nature of our physical world- an intervention- and when God chooses to break these little physical rules that keep our feet on the ground and keep the fires burning and the air circulating on this planet, God does so for good reasons- God's.

and how might we understand the mind of God apart from revelation? we can't. i'm kinda glad that we can't though.

being prone to bad logic, foolish conclusions and abhorable behaviour, for us to be able to completely comprehend the divine at this level would make divinity considerable less divine. in my view, part of God's divinity is God's mystery. in my rather wimpy understanding of things, the possibility of sin is our free will, which is also our greatest endowment from God- free will represents God's greatest trust, greatest risk, greatest hope.

i also think that the most important aspect of one's faith is the question-asking part... even if the answers we are able to arrive at are, at best, inconclusive.

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9 Comments:

Blogger SocietyVs said...

"i also think that the most important aspect of one's faith is the question-asking part... even if the answers we are able to arrive at are, at best, inconclusive." (JB)

This is so funny for me to read - from a pastor. I am on another blog debating the validity of this idea - for a pastor to question aspects of their faith and lead their congregation in some new directions. Many seem to think a pastor should not question at all - and of so - they should step down (I am almost defending you in a sense here from these accusations - lol). It's on Stupid Church People if you wanna check that out - if only for a laugh.

God - the author of good (and evil)? That's also an area I slightly look into - since Yael has somewhat brought this arguement to my doorstep. I am quite satisified with mystery myself - I have no problems with it...but that doesn't say much for those needing one (I am at a loss for words to them).

I tend to look into free will as the the main srguement also - we were created this way and we are responsible for our behaviors. That makes sense to me. When it comes to Tsunami's and what not - one has to wonder if these are also by-products of industrialization on the weather patterns? It's a point that does get raised.

I hate suffering - and stuff like the Tsunami makes all of us pain. Do we blame God? That's the thing. I think there is room for one to ask those hard questions of God - maybe they come back with the wisdom we are lacking.

5/12/2008  
Blogger jollybeggar said...

"When it comes to Tsunami's and what not - one has to wonder if these are also by-products of industrialization on the weather patterns?" (sVs)

in this line of reasoning, is the blame for things to be placed squarely on the shoulders of God for giving humankind freewill in the first place?

5/12/2008  
Blogger SocietyVs said...

"in this line of reasoning, is the blame for things to be placed squarely on the shoulders of God for giving humankind freewill in the first place?" (JB)

I don't think so, God created us in His image - are we to blame the creator for having that image/ability? Yikes.

It all comes down to responsibility in my opinion. Just because I have the ability to choose doesn't mean that ability is necessarily a 'bad thing' (but can be used that way).

Real responsibility is saying 'we can choose' and then taking full responsibility for those choices (good or bad). In this sense, we say we are 'blessed' or 'punished' by the consequence. The consequence changes with choice.

People suffer in other lands because of choices made from lands not their own - common motif in history. Canadian Indian peoples suffered because of the French and the British rule. Jewish people from a variety of regions suffered under German choices. But in the end, choices were made...and in my opinion they sucked. But do I blame God for the evil of humanity? That's scape-goating. Did God 'intend' those results?

As for the weather patterns - I am not sure of them - but they have been getting worse in the lase while (and more frequent)...maybe because of Global Warming (again - I am not sure of this). If so, who caused and lives by industrialization? Well, we do. Let's clean up our act then.

But if it is not so - and weather is random - then how can we say 'God meant for this to happen' - when weather is quite random in it's movement.

Let us blame God for what we can definitively say was 'God's fault' (His intention for us). And that is a very tricky thing to do.

5/12/2008  
Blogger hineini said...

well, I'm always a bit confused about these sorts of posts.

So we have established that there are things we don't know and that its good to ask questions. That doesn't strike me as all that interesting because aren't those things we already know? Couldn't we move on from "its ok to ask questions" to something like "ok, what if God did want all those Sri Lankans dead?"
Doesn't the tension seem to be wanting to posit God's existence and character prior to our experience? I'm not sure why, if what we experience seems to tell us certain things about God we are uncomfortable with, we automatically assume our experience is wrong or something.
This is not to reduce God to logic and its not to clamor for some sort of certainty but if we think God has the ability to affect weather then why are we uncomfortable with God having any part in the negative effects of weather.

I don't think the "humans are always bad and God is always good" line is really all the helpful anymore. It seems to be getting much and much more difficult to sell at least. Maybe God had other priorities, other things to do that day. Maybe we are a bit deluded as to how much God actually cares about who we are and what we do. Maybe God has other things to worry about, if humanity is tossed around on the ocean of life maybe God inhabits another of the boats and also is subject to the waves and currents. Maybe God is taking a break, hiding God's face or finished the creation and moved on.

These seem to me to be more demanding questions that take both out experiences and our desires for who we are and who God is seriously, without trapping us in the "things we'll never know" wasteland where we end up taking "the leader's" word for how things are.

5/20/2008  
Blogger jollybeggar said...

ok, what if God did want all those Sri Lankans dead?

5/20/2008  
Blogger hineini said...

Then we need to see how that fits into how we conceptualize God and how that effects the possibility and desirability of relating to such a divinity. Asking these types of questions adds a critical edge to our theology and what we do with that theology. We become a little less quick to believe people when they say they speak for God.
It seems to me then, that we are better able to see the weaknesses in the system (Christianity in this case) and free ourselves from some of the obligatory loyalties that only land us in hot water and make more problems then they fix.

But mostly, in general, a sincere contemplation of the possibilities of God, especially those possibilities we are most uncomfortable with, wrenches that very God out of our grasp, giving us a healthy dose of uncertainty and hopefully humility.

5/21/2008  
Blogger jollybeggar said...

"Asking these types of questions adds a critical edge to our theology and what we do with that theology."

ha ha- good thing i keep giving you permission to ask away then!

5/22/2008  
Blogger John T. said...

"hate that. somehow there are things that seem inconsistent with our(my) picture of who God is and what God is about"

Therein lies the problem, the "my" part. If you truly think scripture is all God inspired then you KNOW he did the shitty stuff too.

Isaiah 45:7

7/08/2008  
Blogger jollybeggar said...

nicely put.

7/14/2008  

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