With an Infinite God, You can have it both ways. You have real free will and God is really in control of everything that happens in the universe.
September 23, 2013 in Uncategorized
So, do you think Scott Adams (the drawer) is evil because he created such an evil character? Or because he chose every evil thing that character ever does?
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September 23, 2013 at 5:30 am
If he is the reason for evil characters AND the character were real, then yes.
September 24, 2013 at 3:51 pm
Yes. I think Scott would be evil, if Dogbert were a real creature, and not a satire of evil creatures.
September 24, 2013 at 4:05 pm
Gentlemen, thanks for answering my question.
So in Dilbert’s world (where they think they are real) it would be reasonable for them to think of Scott Adams as evil?
And, moving into our reality, if you were to find out that God chose that a person would do evil to you, it would be reasonable for you to think of God as evil?
And Daniel, are you the Daniel from Vox Populi (just out of curiosity)?
September 25, 2013 at 3:42 am
Hard question to answer as I don’t think that God would choose to do evil. I would be more inclined to think that it was not God, or I was wrong about it being evil.
September 26, 2013 at 10:54 am
There is a difference between choosing to do evil and choosing that a being you created do evil.
“I would be more inclined to think that it was not God, or I was wrong about it being evil.” This is a wise perspective, I think.
But how do you respond to the Biblical accounts where it is God’s will for a human (or group of humans) do evil?
September 26, 2013 at 7:59 pm
Which specific passages did you have in mind?
September 27, 2013 at 9:22 am
Well, four come to mind (but there are others).
1. God willed for Job’s kids to be killed by the attackers (but perhaps you’ll say that those attacking the kids weren’t sinning).
2. God willed that Pharaoh sinned by hardening his heart.
3. God willed that the crucifixion happened.
4. Just this morning I read –
Moreover, I swore to them in the wilderness that I would scatter them among the nations and disperse them through the countries, because they had not obeyed my rules, but had rejected my statutes and profaned my Sabbaths, and their eyes were set on their fathers’ idols. Moreover, I gave them statutes that were not good and rules by which they could not have life, and I defiled them through their very gifts in their offering up all their firstborn, that I might devastate them. I did it that they might know that I am the LORD.
(Ezekiel 20:23-26 ESV)
I’d be interested in any explanation of this passage that doesn’t have God choosing that people would sin.
September 28, 2013 at 12:47 am
In Dilbert’s World, yes, it would be entirely reasonable for the created characters to think of Scott as evil. Yep, it’s me, or at least one of the me’s. Daniel is a ridiculously generic screen name, and I know that there have been at least a few others under that same name, but I think I’m the most-frequent posting Daniel there, at least recently.
Moving into our reality, no I would not find God to necessarily be evil if he were for some reason to breach the commandment his only begotten son gave to his followers. He is, after all, God, and can choose to do whatever he wants to do. However, God is not a cartoonist – he is not mortal or created, and that is a fundamental difference.
Finally, I don’t believe that God willed Pharaoh to sin. I believe that God willed Pharaoh’s hard heart to harden further. It is an important distinction. The crucifixion is not evil. God did not will the death of Job’s children. Satan did.
September 28, 2013 at 1:05 am
Whoops. Forgot point 4. “not good” is very different than “evil’. Rules that “could not have life” is different from rules that encourage sin. I have given rules that are “not good” before. For example, I love it when kids naturally get along and are helpful, but sometimes, you get a batch of them that love conflict and strife. Second batch gets the “not good” rules. They won’t make them love each other in peace and harmony, and they won’t make them happy, but they’ll let them know their boundaries. “Good rules” are the ones that actually amplify the natural love that exists in the first batch.
Look at Deuteronomy! It has a bunch of sections with “good rules” for worship and living a full life with God, and it also has some plain old “stop worshipping Molech you dumb little monsters” rules, which I would consider to be in the “not good” category.
It is no stretch at all for me to read this passage to plainly mean “I tried to help you with good rules, but your hearts weren’t in it. So I had to resort to “not good” rules in hopes that it would bring you back into order, even if it did nothing to foster an abundant life…at least it wouldn’t destroy them. The Molech worship went unabated (offering firstborn), so I finally brought the hammer down, which seems to be the only thing that brings the folks around to wanting anything to do with goodness and hope. (and even that doesn’t always change the hardest hearted among them.)”
This is, at the most basic level, God’s measured, escalating approach to child sacrifice and idol worship.
September 28, 2013 at 3:21 am
1. God did not will Job’s children die directly, he allowed Satan to test Job, but stayed his hand. Nevertheless, I do not see God taking anyone’s life as evil. God can kill, he cannot murder.
2. God did not will Pharaoh sin. Pharaoh sinned and God hardened his heart. I view this as strengthening Pharaoh’s heart. I have written a substantial post on this which I encourage you to read.
3. Yes, but not that any individual will kill his son. That God knows people are evil and uses them to his purpose does not mean God intends for them to be evil. Look at the people involved in Jesus’ crucifixion. It seems that Jesus appealed to all of them to respond to who he was. And some did. While the Pharisees generally opposed Jesus Nicodemus and Joseph responded to Jesus and did not take part in putting him to death.
4. Difficult passage (not just in what you have asked). May have a go at it later. Wife wants me to spend time with her and the kidS
September 30, 2013 at 12:58 am
While I’ve been busy and this has somewhat kept me from responding to your comments, one reason I haven’t is that I agree with so much of what you say and you’re saying it in such reasonable ways.
But here goes:
Daniel – you say:
“However, God is not a cartoonist – he is not mortal or created, and that is a fundamental difference.
Finally, I don’t believe that God willed Pharaoh to sin. I believe that God willed Pharaoh’s hard heart to harden further. It is an important distinction. The crucifixion is not evil. God did not will the death of Job’s children. Satan did.”
I certainly agree with your statement that there is a fundamental difference. But I think the difference is so fundamental that it makes it possible for God to hold one of his created beings responsible for something he (God) ordained him to do.
It does say that Pharaoh sinned by hardening his heart (ex 9:34). Where do you see that there were two levels of heart hardening for Pharaoh (one on his own and a greater level after God got involved)?
Regarding the Crucifixion, is it the case that you think that no one involved with deciding that Jesus would die on the cross (the priests, Pilate, etc) sinned?
Regarding Job, please see my post about that story.
God did choose that it would happen.
September 30, 2013 at 1:01 am
And Daniel, regarding the Good and Not good rules, I see that you have put some thought into this topic, and while I disagree with how you read the passage, your take is sufficient to show that there is a reasonable way to read it where God didn’t choose that sin would happen.
October 6, 2013 at 8:09 pm
Sorry, I forgot to check back in very timely fashion. Could you show me where I’m wrong in that reading? Very honestly, the “not good” reading is merely what comes natural to me, and I’m happy to change my take on it if it is, in fact, a bad reading.
October 7, 2013 at 12:21 am
Honestly, I think your reading is fine and might be the right way, I’m just nervous about God calling any of his holy laws ‘Not good’.
I was curious, so I just googled Ezekiel 20 commentary and this is from the first link I saw:
“25. I gave them . . . statutes . . . not good–Since they would not follow My statutes that were good, “I gave them” their own ( Ezekiel 20:18 ) and their fathers’ “which were not good”; statutes spiritually corrupting, and, finally, as the consequence, destroying them. Righteous retribution ( Psalms 81:12 , Hosea 8:11 , Romans 1:24 , 2 Thessalonians 2:11 ). Ezekiel 20:39 proves this view to be correct (compare Isaiah 63:17 ). Thus on the plains of Moab ( Numbers 25:1-18 ), in chastisement for the secret unfaithfulness to God in their hearts, He permitted Baal’s worshippers to tempt them to idolatry (the ready success of the tempters, moreover, proving the inward unsoundness of the tempted); and this again ended necessarily in punitive judgments.
This commentary writer things more along what I think is true – that God some how made it so the Israelites would follow really bad laws, like sacrificing their own children. It points out Ezekiel 20:39 where God says “Go and serve your idols, every one of you!”
I found another commentary that said pretty much the same thing.
So, I think this is a situation where God in some way chooses that a human sin, but I haven’t proven it and, like I say, your way of reading it is not that bad.
October 8, 2013 at 11:07 am
Is it more nerve-wracking for God Himself to call any of his holy laws “not good” (anymore than it is for me, a “good” person to call my own rules “not good”) or for us to describe God as fostering sin?
“Not good,” in this instance, is simply descriptive to me: the common law that married people are contractually obligated to one another is a “good” law – society flourishes because an existing good is protected with the force of law. An example of a “not good” law is the prohibition of assault: it won’t help two people like each other any better, but it will at least punish someone who commits it.
“Not good” law, in my mind, is more similar to a “shall not” law (although not identical) than anything. “Not good,” in this case, is not the same as a bad law. It simply isn’t one that encourages an abundant life in the Messiah – it merely prevents or responds to degraded behavior.
I probably should come up with a different phrase, because, yes, it is slightly different than those commentaries, and they have dibs.
Perhaps “neutralizing” law and “lifeholding” law better describe my reading of this text. As in, you rejected the lifeholding laws (such as heterosexual marriage, honor parents, care for widows, worship Me who you love) because you had no life left to hold on to (you had degraded your wife, dishonored your parents, rejected the weak, and had become black with bad works against Me). Therefore, you are in need of neutralizing laws that will not give you joy back, but will at begin to attack the ongoing sins.
God, in that passage is not just saying “Repent!” but he’s giving them the neutralizing law tools to start the process. They won’t be saved by those laws – and they’ll only expose them for what they really are…thereby giving them the wisdom of Who, exactly the Lord is.
September 30, 2013 at 1:23 am
Bethyada, you say: “1. God did not will Job’s children die directly, he allowed Satan to test Job, but stayed his hand.”
Like I said above to Daniel, please see my post on this – The Bible says God did it.
You say: “Nevertheless, I do not see God taking anyone’s life as evil. God can kill, he cannot murder.” Very good. I agree and I’m glad to see you say this. But you would say that God never chooses that a man would murder (sinfully kill) another, right?
You say: “2. God did not will Pharaoh sin. Pharaoh sinned and God hardened his heart. I view this as strengthening Pharaoh’s heart. I have written a substantial post on this which I encourage you to read.”
I read it, it’s a good post. I can hardly disagree with a post that makes such a big deal about the importance of God getting glory.
But you don’t ever really show why God can’t get glory AND “make Pharaoh judgment-worthy.”
You say: “3. Yes, but not that any individual will kill his son.”
What if all of them had chosen to accept Jesus. Would God’s will (that the Crucifixion happen) have been thwarted?
October 8, 2013 at 11:42 pm
Daniel, you make a good case and I can understand seeing ‘Not good’ as a descriptor. But I don’t find it as nerve-wracking as you to think of God as ordaining sin.
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