Saturday, October 30, 2010

Suffering continued...and other bits

Hello, and thanks to all who've read the blog and posted comments, I greatly appreciate it and I hope that the Lord will continue to use me in this way. I also hope that you continue to comment. I may not address every comment, but I will try to read all of them. I also hope that God uses my limited abilities to help you wherever you are.

This week I was going to delve deeper into Bart Ehrman's book that I've been beating up, but after looking more at his arguments, I found that there wasn't really a point. He completely looks at suffering, even the Biblical view of it, as though there was no such thing as a spiritual realm. I also agree with some of the comments that "God's Problem" is really a rather sad attempt to debunk the Bible. So, rather than picking his book apart further, which could be done by anyone who knows their Bible, or at least who has read it once, I figured I would do my best to wrap up suffering in some way, and try to address a comment. To sum up on Bart, the Bible does offer many reasons why there is suffering, and I would submit that all of the Biblical views for the cause of suffering are valid. That is, suffering can bring believers closer to God (i know from firsthand experience). It is also sometimes a punishment for disobedience or a way for the Lord to grab our attention. That is, according to Ehrman, the Prophets' view on suffering. I also would think that poor Job's experience is also a valid explanation. That is, that God allows Satan to work us over, and in the end the Lord gets glorified. In the end, the Bible really does have alot of answers, if not all the answers, to suffering. But for the Holocaust, or "senseless suffering" you're just gonna have to go to God with it. Read the Bible, pray to God, read my post (hehe, sorry) and try to work out what God wants you to know. This is what I feel God has shown me, and for me, these reasons are good enough. They make sense to me, and I can live with it.

So now, I would like to take some time to answer a comment. I didn't have much to write about until I read the comments, so thank you! I hope that I can provide a sufficient answer, though I doubt to some it would be satisfactory. I would say that to those people, even if an angel of the Lord appeared to give an answer, some would still doubt. I would too unless i tested the spirit to make sure he was from God. Even Thomas the disciple had to feel the holes in Christ's hand and ribs before he believed. So, I will do my best to answer within my limits. Comments are quoted from Que? a couple blogs back. Que? Thank you for your questions, I appreciate your questioning mind, and I hope I can provide you with some answers. If not, I apologize, but this is the best I have. Again, go to God, and the Bible with an open heart and mind, He has the answers.

1) Why should I, as a puny human, even entertain the idea of spirit or the spiritual realm or even God since it is so... unintelligible/unresolvable?

A: What evidence is there for a spiritual realm? I would say first the Bible is ample evidence. Here's a thought picture: In a thousand years lets assume that man has reverted to the stone age. Would they believe our evidence and writings that we went to the moon? Or had TV, radio and computers? Pick anything in our technology, would anyone believe it? There would be people who doubt. So, I submit that the Bible is full of accurate eyewitness accounts of supernatural events, it's just that they are beyond what we can imagine as reality. Does that make them less real? IMO, no.

Taking this further, look at the other religions of earth, many of them claim to have been handed down by angels (I say demons, as the Apostle Paul warned us about in Timothy). Islam, and Mormonism were both given by angels. Theosophy was also given through angels disguised as something else. Now, we have UFO religions and such being given by the same entities, except under the guise of aliens. No doubt that out of all of the religions, there may be some scams there, but if even a handful of them were given by a discarnate entity, that should be proof as well.

OK, so you're not buying ancient texts as proof. OK, that's fine. I get it. How about Michio Kaku? They and quantum physicists pretty much agree that there are more dimensions beyond the four we can interact with. I am not overly familiar with all of the theories and works, but I've read "Flatland" and parts of Kaku's "Hyperspace" I am under the impression that Kaku thinks that some paranormal phenomena can be explained by higher dimensional/quantum physics. I would say that what these scientists call higher dimensions, is actually the spiritual world. (maybe this is another blog post, just going through those theories). It's not much of a stretch to infer that if there is a higher dimension, there may well be beings that live there. We cannot see as we are trapped in the 3rd/4th dimension, but a 5th or 6th dimensional entity could potentially come down to our level and communicate with us. We can't prove this exists, but science is entertaining the possibility of it.

Lastly, there are rumblings that the US Government, or its associates have performed experiments with the spiritual world. I recommend listening to the Future Quake episodes ( {go to past shows tab}) and listening to the episodes with 1) Ray Boeche and 2) Nick Redfern. While you're at it, listen to the two Robert Luginbill episodes, his theories are interesting, and after today no more menton of Luginbill. The Boeche and Refern episodes imply that the government, or elements within it, were attempting to access a supernatural power to weaponize and were partially successful.

So, to summarize, I like to think of the spiritual world as a dimension that is higher than us. Read "Flatland" for a basic thought experiment on this type of thought. I would put God at the infinitely highest possible dimension. For simplicity's sake (and because scientists bandy this number about), let's say He's at dimension 10. God created Heaven say level 7, and the spiritual realm of angels/demons, etc and lets call that dimension 5 or 6. He also made us which we can say is the proven to exist traditional 4 chrono-spatial dimensions. So, we can't detect or interact with dimension 5 or higher much, but we can theorize they exist, and I suggest that this sort of arrangement would be scientifically feasible. I'm not saying this is how God did it, or that it's even Biblical, just that if I HAD to describe the spiritual world scientifically, this is the best way I could do it. Finally, God, in His goodness, gave us instructions (from His obviously superior vantage point) for living in this world, and we call it the Bible. (PS, Chuck Missler has a great study on the book of Mark where he uncovers amazing instances of the #7 as a way to verify the Bible comes from someone not limited to our dimensional understanding. The program is named 66/40, check it out in itunes, it's from the last few weeks.)

Q) Also, on God allowing the Devil to reign to show mercy.... huh? To show mercy to the devil while showing near indifference to the humans the devil is supposedly deceiving/destroying?

A) I would say that God does not, and never has shown indifference to humanity. If that were the case, we wouldn't be here. He wouldn't have called out the Jews as His people, to be a light to us Gentiles. He wouldn't have given us the Bible, or salvation through His son, Jesus Christ. In fact, God has gone out of His way to repair the damage Satan has done to humanity by sending Christ to pay for my sins, and the sins of EVERYONE who repents. He came down in the midst of us, to become one of us, to set right the things that went wrong. God could have wiped EVERYTHING out, but instead showed concern for what He made by making us right with Him through faith in Christ.

I would also say that if Satan were given full reign to maximize human suffering, humanity would be destroyed. See the book of Revelation. When he is given full reign (and the Bible says he pretty much will be as Antichrist) nearly all of humanity is wiped out. I believe that God prevents innumerable suffering and annhilation by putting restrictions on what Satan can and cannot do (see the book of Job). I think God's mercy is apparent if a) you see that He is restraining Satan and limiting what Satan does and b) you know your Bible and c) you have read Luginbill's Satanic Rebellion. When you look at Satan's works, you see that compared to him, God is merciful. Not that anyone should compare a finite fallen creation to the infinite, all Holy creator. It's merely my attempt to show that God allows Satan to rebel, and carry that out to it's fullest extent.

Q) How do you know? Could God not be evil and the Devil good? What if the Bible was written by the and evil God who is trying to bring you away from the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving Devil?

A) How do I know? I will admit, that in my questioning/straying days, and the time I was looking to UFOs, I started to ask this VERY question! How do I know it's not all a trick? That would be the ultimate evil deception!

But when you consider this purely logically, it makes no sense. When you actually read the Bible, it becomes quite apparent what God, the author of the Bible is all about. Once I read the Bible, it became obvious this theory is not feasible. I would start with the books of the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Then move on to the gospels. Yes, many bring up what Israel did in conquering Canaan, but there are actually good reasons for that (if you look into the Nephilim, giants, etc. Please check out Future Quake's archives, and look into the Nephilim on your own.)

a few points...

1 - So God wrote the Bible, and yet some assume that He is an evil God, and Satan is good. Let's look at the many examples of Satan's actions in the Bible. His actions I do not believe are mentioned elsewhere, unless you consider world mythology, where Satan gives his own biased version of the story.

OK, so here are some examples of the "loving" things Satan has done.

Which tree in the garden did Satan lead Adam and Eve to eat from? If Satan were a loving and caring being, why didn't he lead us to the tree of life for eternal life, rather than to the one God had forbidden? If Satan were loving, good and cared for us, he would have helped us attain eternal life, but because he hates us, he tried to kill us by tempting us to eat the fruit God had forbidden. Not so loving I think.

How about the time he went to God and asked for permission to destroy Job's life, merely to prove that he would curse God? Or maybe the time that Satan tried to get Jesus to jump from the top of the temple. I know, I must be instead thinking of the time that Satan inspired Judas to betray Jesus which led to Christ's crucifixion. Look at Satan's fruit, does ANY of it look like he loves us? Yeah, that seems like pretty evil stuff to me too. I doubt anyone can name one thing Satan has done to humanity that is loving. if you find even one, please let me know.

2 - God, in the Bible and reality, is ALL powerful. Since He is all powerful, if He were also evil, suffering would be millions of times worse. I would think it would make the Holocaust look tame in comparison. Let's look at the fruit of the Biblical God. If He were evil, that should be quite easy to discern. The Bible claim that He loves us. Love is good, and the things the Bible commands are good, the Ten Commandments are good, and they are the basis for our society's justice system.

Which of the Ten commandments, doesn't demonstrate a restriction placed in love, the way a loving parent restricts a child's activities? If God were evil, why would He give us good rules to live by? We find murder and theft evil, if God were evil, He would have told us to murder and steal.

Loving our neighbor is good, giving to the poor is good. The books of the prophets (read them, in fact, read ALL of the Bible before criticising it) show the foul things Israel did (child sacrifice for starters), and God tells us how much it hurt Him. His own people betrayed Him. But because He is good, rather than destroy Israel, He remembered and kept His promise to Abraham, and left a remnant. That sounds like God is good too.

If God was evil, He would delight in the child sacrifice Israel undertook, rather than be heartbroken by it. Read the Bible, ask God to show you what He feels, and to show you if He is good or not. I guarantee that if you do, with an open heart and are sincere in asking God to touch you, He will show you.

Q) Why does suffering exist at all?

A) As Papa commented, there will probably never be a logical human understanding for it. I agree quite a bit. The Bible I think explains it all. Read it. It's all those things in the Bible, and I think IMO, it's a side effect of the spiritual war we are all in, whether we like it or not.

But for the sake of argument...

I watched Bicentennial Man last night. It's a great, touching story, despite the fact that it raises a whole trans-humanist pandora's box. In this movie, a robot desires and takes drastic steps to become human. At one point, he is given the chance to become equipped with the equivalent of a central nervous system. The scientist helping him, says that the robot will be able to feel pleasure, BUT the rub is that he will also have to possibly endure pain. For more than 60 years, this robot has not ever experienced a physical feeling (in the sense that we feel with touch) and even with the threat of pain, the robot insists that he be allowed to do it, merely to be able to feel the pleasure too.

The movie "Little Miss Sunshine" also mentions a writer that counted his years of suffering as the most valuable of his life, because those years made him who he was. The years of happiness he deemed a waste. (sorry, not sure on the quote, wife is watching as I type)

Now, I am not going to put myself into God's shoes. But, our ability to suffer helps to shape us. The Bible says it refines us the way fire refines gold. It also, IMO, may also allow us to feel pleasure and contentment. Water never tastes as good as when you've endured a hot day full of thirst. Food never tastes so good, unless you've been without. Being employed sometimes feels horrible, but contrasted with the suffering of having no income it actually isn't that bad.

The people suffering and starving in Africa should make us feel grateful we even get one full meal a day, let alone complain that our latte was made wrong. The people dying from earthquakes and natural disasters, make those who survive feel fortunate when they do. Often survivors who have lost everything are in tears of happiness merely because they lived.

Why is there suffering? It should help us appreciate when we do not suffer. It can build character. It can strengthen and test our faith. Trite answers? Maybe to some, but they are also true I think.

I can give no good answer that will satisfy every one. I wish I could. But unless one accepts the spiritual reality that we live in, there will never be an answer for suffering.

I do think suffering is horrible, I feel for those who do. I suffer. You suffer. All people suffer. The best answer I can give is that it's because our world is not perfect. It's because we're in a war with spiritual beings. Satan introduced it into our world, God is going to get rid of it when His Kingdom comes.

Que?, and any other seekers out there. Any atheists. I love you. God loves you. Before you let the fact of suffering get you down, or like Ehrman make you lose your faith, read the Bible with an open heart, ask God to speak to your heart. Ask Him to show you the truth. It may not happen immediately. Be patient. Seek God, where God has revealed Himself, the Bible. The evidence is there.

Next Time:

My friend Gaz Parker has asked me to tackle the wacky claim of immortality rings. These are rings that you wear, and they claim to give you eternal life. Obviously this cannot be true.

Until next time, Que?, Papa, and anyone else I missed, see you then. May God lead you and bring you closer to Him!


  1. *Sigh*
    I went back and forth with myself as to whether I should respond to this. My ego really wants to point out all the glaring problems with your answers. But I also do not wish to waste my time giving rebuttals to such bad answers.

    I can only hope you save this blog for future reference so you can see how bad your arguments are. I think even your average amateur apologist would find your answers problematic.

  2. My answers may be bad, but this is the best I can do with what I know. I may very well look back and see these were bad, I will be praying that God shows me where I've erred, and if He leads me to, I will post it. In the meantime, I've done the best I could, and its up to God to change hearts. It may not help you, but maybe someone else.

    At any rate, let's not argue, neither of us will benefit from it. I pray that the Lord will minister to you in some other manner.