Inspired by an article posted on AD by
Regis (Reg) Auffray, "The Omnipotent, Benevolent and Compassionate." Thanks again Reg for making me think.
Some of my articles could surely use a touch up and this is one of them, so occasionally I will dust them off and polish them a bit. That is one thing I like about this space on AD here. No hurry, just let it happen naturally.
Now as far as God goes, it is to his cleverness that he reveals what he reveals and yet his enemies have not stamped out all the few true believers yet. My thinking is that he is too marvelous to put into words. This war which we suffer through everyday is between him and his adversary. We are collateral damage and the prize. The suffering in the world was predicted in advance of our appearance here.
God could destroy and start over, like he did in times past, but then someone would always be left to complain about it. He did not bring the suffering into our world, but now to not throw the baby out with the bath water, we have to endure until it can be resolved. God can resolve it, and he will, but somehow there is more to it that we are not privy to at this time. I trust him that he is keeping his foot on the pressure switch the enemy planted on his bomb right now, until the time is right, so as not to blow us all to kingdom come along with the enemy. In the meantime, hang on tight!
Countless people throughout the ages have questioned how there could be a compassionate, omnipotent, and omniscient God, considering the ubiquitous and universal nature of suffering experienced around the world. Included in the accounts of recorded history that I accept is the Holy Bible, which claims that suffering was not one of the initial conditions under which this iteration of mankind existed. The proclamation that man's death would surely occur as a consequence of his sin if he disobeyed God was made clear early on in the Bible's first book, Genesis. Unfortunately, the choice to disbelieve and disobey God was made anyway, despite the warning, first by the female and then by the male human inhabiting the Garden the Lord planted in Eden.
Speaking on the question of God’s benevolence and compassion, with his help this needn't be the end of the line for us, since he has offered plenty of both. If you are curious as to what I mean, look up John 3:16 on your favorite Internet search engine. If you have any questions in the meantime, I hope to be around for a while, providing I can stave off my own death long enough to be of help to you.
The resultant wreckage of sin in our lives, can no more be separated from the law of cause and effect, than to deny the results of another choice of absolutes, that of evil over good. After watching the flood of injustices, and outrageous carnage that we inflict on one another daily as shown on the Internet, and the 24-hour global news networks, the reality of good vs. evil can hardly be called into question. At this point evil seems to be winning. This is not God’s doing, though he certainly either gets the blame for it or has his existence denied, due to the apparently lopsided outcome favoring evil. How would you feel if the people you loved judged you in this way?
The primary conditions under which we live are simply the results of man’s inhumanity to man. Most of the remaining incidents of suffering are due to the combined effects of man's actions, and the weight of circumstances of what appears to an infinite succession of series and parallel random events, which cannot always be traced back to their root causes or original sources. The progenitors of modern man started out in an environment engineered for them to thrive and succeed, as set up for them by a loving God. Thus, our ancestor's suffering did not start until man was evicted from his perfectly tailored environment, as a result of the choice he made to disbelieve God's word on the subject, and to act on the adversarial Serpent’s version of the truth instead. This is echoed globally in similar stories of ancient man, suggesting a common root to the historical tree establishing the various branches of this allegory of man's fall from grace.
In accordance with the biblical account, the result of man's disobedient act was, as worded by 17th Century poet John Milton, "Paradise Lost." In my estimation this happened in both the metaphorical and the literal sense. Immediately, man began to suffer negative things within the integration of his mind, body, and spirit, relative to the less than optimal conditions in which he soon found himself. Cumulatively, the result of these changes over time was the death of the human body, and continues to be so to this very day. Along the way to the culmination of this proclaimed event, suffering occurs as a result of the forces, natural and spiritual acting on us. This attack occurs continuously and relentlessly day and night, while taking a recognizable toll on us, as we travel down the road to meet our appointed destiny.
If we conclude from all outward evidence that there is a thing such as evil contributing both directly and indirectly to the wretched state of affairs we humans face, then logically and by example of nature there ought to a countervailing force of good to ameliorate those negative results. Else, our existence would be hopeless, futile, and unbearable. In both human and natural philosophy, what is the meaning of light to us, without an equal knowledge of darkness? In like manner, our appreciation of the wonderful benefits of sunshine is muted without the occasional cloudburst of a falling rain to chill us to the bone.
The external proofs offered against "the existence of an omniscient, omnipotent deity who is also benevolent and compassionate in the absolute sense" are hard to explain away rationally by the known and accepted laws of man. However, so are the internal evidences to the contrary of these stated proofs, at least by means of the scientific method that works best with tangible things like atoms, planets, and stars, but not so well with things like love, beauty, and God, though many will readily attest to the obvious existence of these things.
Why not use a test more in line with the subjective nature of our experiences with such things? Such a test involves the statistical probability that millions of people independently concurring that within a deeper and abiding part of themselves, that there is made known to them, a real, unique and completely valid entity that is not of themselves, but knows them intimately never-the-less. Many call it God. Until you know what that sweeping love and inner peace that the reality of your creator indwelling you by power of his Holy Spirit is like, then you can no more deny the reality of such, than can be denied the absence of such a reality in your life, as sad as that would be in the eyes of many.
It all comes down to faith and whether you accept the outer world as the complete proof of your experiential truths of reality, or whether you have discovered a deeper inner truth that defies explanation or scientific examination, but is as real as anything else ever known to your perceptions or senses in this world. Still, to deny millions of people's common knowledge of this phenomenon across all social, economic, geographical and historical strata is to leave the proofs of lesser known and experienced events and phenomena in danger of being discounted or discredited for lack of an equal evidential footing. Those things are readily accepted as fact and not fable, even with much less commonly known proof of knowledge or discovery going for them, than can be attributed to the reality for millions of a compassionate, omnipotent, and omniscient God who loves them.