Friday, January 26, 2007

Justify the Ways of God to Man

Milton's purpose in Paradise Lost is to "justify the ways of God to man." Why does a just and good God allow evil to exist? What is the source of its power to fascinate?

32 Comments:

Blogger levik said...

A just and good God does not simply choose to have evil on earth. There is much more to it than that. Speaking biblically, the world could have existed free from evil and sin. In the garden of Eden, Adam gave in to sin and the devil. Because of this act the devil and his ways were able to exist on earth. Sins, deceits, crimes, etc. are because of the work of the devil, not because God allows it. Those who give in to the desires the devil makes available to us are sinners, and these people are the main sources of evil that this question talks about. In the Bible Jesus saved us by dying on the cross. We have a choice of whether or not to believe that he is indeed our savior. God deals with people by allowing them this opportunity. This is the connection that people can make with God. Even if a terrible and evil act occurs to someone, in the end they will be OK because they can spend eternity with God. When people suffer they ask how God could allow this to happen to them, when really they should stop and think about the weight of all sins of humanity that Jesus took upon his back. I beleive God does not want people to suffer or evil to exist, but he gave humanity a chance at a world free of sin when Adam was in the garden of Eden. The devil made his mark and from then on used his methods to bring sin and evil in to this world. Overall, God does not "allow" evil to exist, evil is the work of the devil and accepting God is the way to escape it.

January 26, 2007 12:03 PM  
Blogger Marie P said...

God made us in his image (Gen. 1:26). He did not make us to obey his every rule and regulation. He gave us minds to think and a will to do what we want. Will this freedom we can sin, which does not glorify God, but is yet another reason for him to be in our lives. God did not create sin, man did. James says, ““Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire” (James 1:13-14). God created a world without sin and because man disobeyed him, sin was created in the world. This sin comes from our worldly desires and temptations from the devil. God did not make men for the purpose of sending them to hell. God made man to glorify Him (Lev. 10:3; Psalm 148:1 Chron. 16:24-29). God had absolutely no desire than men should or would perish once on earth (John 3:16; 1 Tim.2:7; 2 Pet. 3:9). God never allowed evil to exist, man did. Evil fascinates us because we created it and because we created something we cannot see what it leads to.

January 26, 2007 1:10 PM  
Blogger jessg said...

Good and evil are throughts which God himself did not create. As Marie commented, God created man in his image. Through this, God placed us on earth and gave us the option to do in our life what we want to. Granite his hope was that we would strive towards good, he didn't place us here to see who would fall to evil. Prior to when satin fell, there wasn't really such a defined line between good and evil. Prior to Adam and Eve there wasn't a line between good and evil. Man, in his own image and through his own greed has created a world in which evil exists in a defiant plane. There is no longer a "grey" area of evil. This has been brought on by man and through our own ability of choice.

God was the founder of earth and life on earth. I'm not really sure exactly where his source of power comes from, however I do believe that he is allowed to keep his power through the love he feels for his children and through the love they feel for him. As long as love still exists in the human race, God will exists and will hold power.

January 26, 2007 1:41 PM  
Blogger Amy K said...

I'm actually really happy that this question came up in the blog. It's definitely something I relate to personally and, to be completely honest, it is a daily struggle for me. I agree 110% with Levi on this one that we were created in God's image and because of Adam and Eve's sin the only way we can reach God is through Christ. I also agree with Levi that people turn their backs on God and question WHY when things are going badly. I'M GUILTY. It's my daily battle. I definitely have days where I'm angry and I feel foresaken because of some of the things I have been through in life. It's the constant question WHY did God allow this to happen?? I came upon a Bible verse a couple months ago that has completely changed me and I think it is very valuable to this topic : "For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men." Lamentations 3: 31-33 ..(this is actually my quote on my facebook no lie)..but this verse has answered the blog question for me..God doesn't bring pain or evil, but He is the one walking with you when you suffer and he suffers with you...but God is faithful and he doesn't want his children to suffer the evils of the world.

January 27, 2007 7:24 PM  
Blogger Nick W said...

Where there is good there will always be evil. "Good and the bad" God does not allow evil to exist evil comes within people. People whether they believe it or not choose to sin. They might know what they are doing is wrong but still choose to do it anyway. God does not control what we do as people. People create there own evil. There are evil people that live among us and choose to bring pain and hurt to others. I agree with amy when she said, "God doesn't bring pain or evil, but He is the one walking with you when you suffer and he suffers with you..." I agree with that, God wants us to live a normal happy life and when things are not going our way God knows exactly the way we are feeling.

January 28, 2007 11:16 AM  
Blogger KatieA said...

The reason god allows evil to exist is temptation. With out evil evryone would be the same and everyone would be good and never sin and we would all go to heaven. temptation seperates the weak from the strong. The reason evil fascinates us is because it is different. Even if it is wrong it is still different, out of the ordinary. So people are drawn toward it because of excitement; or fascination.

January 28, 2007 4:56 PM  
Blogger alex ma said...

The people before me have generally alluded to religion, specifically christianity, to answer this question; which is probably what most of us have been exposed to. Adam and Eve, Pandora's box, Satan etc.

But think about it this way- without evil, we wouldn't know how "good" good really is. We would have nothing to compare it to. Which to an extent can be related to ying/yang. Good cannot exist without evil. I think that having evil/bad things makes the good things that much better

January 28, 2007 5:09 PM  
Blogger StaceyK said...

God allows evil to exist beacuse if evil didn't exist, the world would all be the same. All the sins commited wouldn't be bad, and all of them would be on the same level. There would be no hell to go to for the sins a person commits. Also I agree with a few other people that mentioned God allows evil to exist beacuse we would not know this world today if no evil existed. The source of evil comes from good but there are different levels of evil, that is why there are differnt levels of hell.

January 28, 2007 5:28 PM  
Blogger alexmu said...

I agree with nick when he says that with good comes evil. Evil is on the opposite side of good, like the devil is on the other side of god. People make all of their own decisions, god doesnt control the actions of people. The result of this is evil in the world. People make thier own decisions and some of the decisions could be seen as evil. A good and just god allows evil to exist in the world because people should be able to make thier own decisions freely.

January 28, 2007 5:29 PM  
Blogger TaylorW said...

I think that god allows evil to exist because it has to exist. Like Stacey said, if there wasn't evil everybody would be the same. There wouldn't really be any need for law enforcement. There aso wouldn't really be the Catholic religion. Most people in their lives try to avoid evil so that they can gain access into heaven. But even though evil exists, it still gets punished. Evil people end up in jail and eventually will end up in hell.

January 28, 2007 6:32 PM  
Blogger melissa b said...

A good God allows evil to test ones faith, if there is no alternative to good or by having having an alternative to good, God is able to test ones faith. I agree with alex on how one needs to balance between evil and good. They are a package and to have one you need the other.

January 28, 2007 7:28 PM  
Blogger ashleym said...

A just and good God allows evil because it is the only way we can learn. If there was no sin, if there was no evil how could anyone be different? How could anyone have their own thoughts and beliefs with out anyone to contradict them? Another reason why a just and good God allows evil to exist is in order to find who his true followers and believers are. Those who still have faith in God after all of the evil the world brings upon us are the people that God would want to follow him and his teachings. I agree with Melissa, in that it tests peoples faith in God.

January 28, 2007 8:06 PM  
Blogger David L said...

I agree with Melissa in the fact that God allows evil to exist because it tests our faith. God does not want any of us to go to hell, but as most everyone has discussed so far, man made evil and thus they made a place for humans in hell. The temptation of evil in our world allows God to judge whether a person is worthy of heaven, if their faith is strong enough to overcome their worldly desires. He even sent His only son to redeem us of our sins, so that if one truly has faith in God and Jesus, and is redeemed of their sins through Jesus, their sins are no longer "counted against them" so to speak. Evil was made by man, or at least brought to our world through Adam and Eve's actions, but God has allowed humans the ability to resist sin and conquer their temptations through faith.

January 28, 2007 8:11 PM  
Blogger Haley C said...

I agree with many of you. I think that God allows evil to exist is so we can learn and to test our faith to him. He has to be able to trust that we are true to our faith. That is why he puts the temptation there. You can't be tempted to do something that you have no idea about.

January 28, 2007 9:19 PM  
Blogger Mark C said...

I am going to go more off of what amy was talking about. This is more of the question: Why does a good God allow bad things to happen to good people? Everyone asks this question sometime in their life. I agree with amy that while God does not bring the pain or evil because that is impossible, He does allow bad things to happen. Why? "The Lord hath made all things for himself: the wicked also for the evil day" (Proverbs 16:4). The main idea is that everything happens according to God's plan. He is omnipotent and in control of everything. All things happen for good, so even when events seem hopeless, God will bring the good out of the situation. There is an unlimited amount of stories where one can witness how God works even through horrible situations.

January 28, 2007 9:40 PM  
Blogger Kyle G said...

I like what most everybody has said so far in response to the question, and everybody seems to agree with each other. It is a good theory that God allows evil to exist as a way of testing humanity, and as a comparison to make good seem that much better. I would agree that that is why evil exists, though God has more than enough power to make it all go away. Perhaps God, before the creation of man, found himself facin the same temptations that many people do today, maybe even surrendered to said temptations at times, but eventually found the power and will to resist them, and found that he had never been happier. Maybe when he created man he thought they should have the same chance he did to find great happiness and power, so not only gave us the ability to choose, but also allowed some of the things we chose to be the wrong things to choose (if that makes sense). This is all just a theory, but after all, there is nothing known about God before the creation of... everything. Maybe God allows evil to exist for some other divine purpose, a reason that humankind could not possibly comprehend with our simple minds. The truth is, though we each have our theories and thoughts, none of us could even pretend to truly know what God's plan for humanity is.

January 28, 2007 11:07 PM  
Blogger ZachM said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

January 28, 2007 11:16 PM  
Blogger ZachM said...

I believe that evil is so fascinating because it allows for some people to get ahead and rise to power. People are always looking for shortcuts in life and acting wrongly is a way to do that. Some people look at the end result, and not the road traveled, and that is why there is evil. I have a very different perspective on why evil exists. I believe that evil exists because of people’s desires. I’m not saying that desires are a bad thing and that you should be rid of them (that is what’s called Buddhism), just that that is the reason evil is out there. I don’t believe that God has anything to do with evil in people and on Earth. More people are killed every day in the name of God than anything else. Another part of what some people said confused me. If God is all-powerful, than couldn’t he just look into us and know if we were truly good or evil? Why the need for a test?

I completely agree with what a few people are saying, that without evil how would we know what is good? And finally, I believe that evil is a matter of perspective. Large evils are pretty easy to spot, but other things are not so easy to. If a person steals something but they need to or their family will starve, is that evil? Or is that just nature’s way? I’m just saying that evil is not that easy to define.

January 28, 2007 11:24 PM  
Blogger LeAnneC said...

I agree with everyone that evil exists because how would anyone know what good was? How could anyone be good if there was no evil? Everything would be the same and "Pleasantvilleish." I think that evil is placed on the earth to test the virtues of each individual. I think that the test entails one facing the easy road and the road that is more challenging but possibly more rewarding. I think that evil is used to test the dedication of a person towards their greater goal.

I think that evil is so tempting to people because it is an easy escape. Like Zach said many people don't look into the future or the road travel but look into the moment and what is going to benefit them at that very second. Sometimes the easiest way to gain something you want is to cheat, and do it through evil and not necessarily good. However, I think that some like the temptation of being rebellious and that is why they sin.

January 28, 2007 11:43 PM  
Blogger sonnyw said...

While this is a fantabulous philisophical question, I don't think the answer carries any importance. No siree, I think the larger question, the one that'll really flip your mind into a knot is: "Why do people allow evil to exist?" What I mean is, we can easily attribute anything to God; we can rationalize any pesky "why" with a ready-made response of "because God wills it." But hypothetically, if billions of monotheists worldwide are in fact wrong, and THERE IS NO GOD, then why do just and good people, like us, allow evil to exist? Instead of waiting for an imperceptible deity to help the widows and orphans and homeless, shouldn't we be the ones to show them compassion--to suffer with those who are in pain, even if they brought it on themselves with their own "evil"?

I know this comment seems really, really cocky and self-righteous. Yes, it is self-righteous and makes me look like a big prick, but that's just how I feel tonight. Then again, it's easy to pontificate when I sit in front of a computer screen and lecture bombastically on hypothetical situations.

January 28, 2007 11:48 PM  
Blogger chrisg said...

A just and good God lets evil exist because he has enabled humans to have the power of free will. This means that any source of evil can tempt somebody, and the person is the only person that can reject or accept the temptation. Also, God allows evil to happen because through every evil something even greater can come from it. There is always a way for good to overcome evil. Even when no one expects good, God can create opportunities for it to arise in everyone's life. So this is why a good and just God allows evil to exist.

January 29, 2007 7:42 AM  
Blogger zverges said...

A just and good God allows evil to reside because Adam and Eve ate the sacred fruit. Once they did this they realized that they were sinners and that they disobeyed God and were therefore banished out of Eden. However, to take the fruit and consume it when God had told them not to, that was a choice. God allowed men to have free will instead of putting on a puppet show and controlling every aspect of our lives, he let us do what we want. Free will is not always a good thing though; it can lead to crime, disobedience, disrespect, and irresponsibility. God allows evil to exist so that when we mess up he can be there for us to go to. The source of evils power to fascinate is rebellion. Rebels, whether it is a teenager or a radical politician, go against the grain in order to receive attention from society or persons of interest. Criminals commit wrongs not because they don’t know any better, but because they are deliberately deciding to perform acts of evil for themselves and themselves only.

January 29, 2007 8:23 AM  
Blogger Scott M said...

I believe that the only reason that God allows evil to exist is to show just how good he really is. It makes sense to me that to realize how good God is to us we have to be able to experience what God is not which is evil. I believe that God put us on the Earth to serve and worship him. Although he likes to be served and worshiped he doesn’t like to be worshiped by a bunch of drones or robots that go around worshiping him without any other choice. So it seems to me that evil goes along will our freewill because there has to be an alternative to the goodness of God. I do think that he allows it because I think he could get rid of it whenever he wanted but again that would defeat the purpose and satisfaction that he gets from having people choose to serve him. Evils power to fascinate is peoples’ ability and desire to defy what God put them here to do. I think it is also obvious that evil things seem to appeal to people more which makes it even harder to do what God wants. So I think the main reason for evil is the fact that God is a selfish God and wants to be served.

January 29, 2007 8:26 AM  
Blogger asaetveit said...

that question is to hard for me to answer to me faith it god is about belief not understanding. So asking why does god alow evil to exist in the world is to hard for me to fathum.god has reasons for everything the answers of which I don't know

January 29, 2007 8:37 AM  
Blogger CaitlinO said...

Without evil I do not think there is good. We need evil to know what good is. If god made everyone good, and no one did anything wrong, I do not think that is good. Having evil and having to resist it makes good. You need one to have the other.

January 29, 2007 8:45 AM  
Blogger Kurt W. said...

I believe that God allows evil to exist because mankind has created evil, and God never touches free will. Humans have the free will to do what they want, even evil deeds. Humans have to choose their own fate, and choose their actions. Angelic beings have this same freedom, thus the rebellion of Lucifer. Evils power to entice us comes from human's ability to choose their fates and their liking of this freedom. Human's like evil deeds because sinsare fun. If it was hard or unenjoyable to sin, then human's would never choose sin.

January 29, 2007 9:09 AM  
Blogger DaveV said...

I think God allows evil to exist simply to be the counterpart of good. Without evil there would be no basis for good, we would not know the difference between right and wrong. I think God wants only true "good" to exist in his heaven, and he can only tell true good by distinguishing it from evil.
As for its abilty to fascinate, i feel that people are naturally suspicious and look for excitement, and because evil is viewed as such (bad) people get excitement out of seeking evil.

January 29, 2007 9:43 AM  
Blogger NathanK said...

The reason for evil in God's created world is just like Chris said free will. Take the beginning of evil for example Adam and Eve lived in the perfect place and they were given only one rule, don’t eat from that one tree, but it was still tempting. Without sin (The Tree of Life) and its temptation our faith in God would mean nothing because we would have no other choice but to follow and believe. God gave us sin as the choice not to choose Him and through that our faith in Him actually has meaning. This is fascinating because it would seem more logical for there to be nothing bad, nothing evil in an all powerful God’s world. But it all goes back to what our faith would mean if there was never another option.

January 29, 2007 9:45 AM  
Blogger AmyB said...

I believe that a just God allows evil to exist to prove how good one really is. If there was no evil in the world, then God would have to assume that everyone was all the same and that no one was a better person than the other. By having evil in the world it makes people stand out more, it makes us prove ourselves to God, in a sense i think it makes us work harder to be a better person so we can make it to paradise in heaven. Without evil, there can be no measure goodness.

January 29, 2007 10:04 AM  
Blogger Matt W said...

I wholeheartely agree with Kurt. God demonstrates his justice by allowing sin and evil to exist. By giving us the choice to sin if we so choose, he gives us the gift of free-will. There are sects of religions such as Hyper-Calvinism that believe men have no free will and we are simply robots acting out a program God has written long ago. According to them our choices are not our own and God has predetermined the course of our life. I personally believe that the fact that we do sin and we do create evil shows that God has given us free will. God even gave Lucifer and the angels free will in allowing them to choose to leave heaven (One third of them actually did). Evil and sins are the epitome of freedom and free will. To us, we see things that we believe we need and we believe will satisfy us, so we want to pursue them. However these things will not satisfy us, as what we really need is what God gives. If we continue to attempt to fill the need with worldly sins, we will never fulfill our insatiable thirst for more. Thus it is wholly captivating to our human nature.

January 29, 2007 10:33 AM  
Blogger AdamSG said...

Good and Evil were created at the same time it says when man became aware of its freewill. When we were able to have the ability to judge what wrong and right are. Freewill allows us to dipict what we want to see as good and evil. Some people certain music is evil when others thinks its uplifting. So God did not create good and evil. He allowed them to exist maybe. But if he destroys good and evil, he destroys man's freewill and ability to control your own life. Without evil we would not be tempted by things that we see wrong because we would not see its consequence or value to us.

January 29, 2007 7:25 PM  
Blogger jeffg said...

Evil exists due to mankind's selfish acts. God is perfect so there is no way that he could create evil. It is simply all due to men's actions that evil exists. Also, Lucifer, or Satan, continually tempts each of us to do the wrong thing. Though it is not his fault, he does cause a lot of the evil commotion that we deal with daily. I do agree with Kurt though. God promised us free will before we came to Earth, so he can't simply take it away to make it easier for us to make the right choice. The one thing that God does is he only allows us to be tempted to a point where we can say no. He would never allow us to be tempted if we were seriously unable to resist. But it is quite clear that we really do have the free will to choose and because of the natural man's selfish acts, we have created a world of chaotic evil. God doesn't really have the choice to stop evil from being on this earth. If he did, he would be a liar for promising us free will. God would never ever break a covenant.

February 02, 2007 9:56 AM  

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