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Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 5 (Part Five)

Does God Create Evil?
            Against the saying of Moses: “The Rock, perfect is his activity, [f]or all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness who is never unjust, Righteous and upright is he,” at Deuteronomy 32:4 (NWT) is set against Jehovah’s own declaration at Isaiah 45:7 (ASV): “I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil. I am Jehovah, that doeth all these things,” by the skeptic. But, aside from referring to older translations, the skeptic has nothing to offer.
            Let us first reason the matter out. In Isaiah, Jehovah contrasts two sets of things; light and darkness and peace and evil. However, evil is not the opposite of peace as darkness is for light. Disturbance, calamity or disaster, however, are. Further, the Hebrew word translated in the American Standard Version as evil, rah, can mean, not just “evil,” but also “adversity, affliction, bad, calamity, displeasure, distress” according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. Seeing as the context indicates that moral evil is not implied, it would be improper for us to say that God creates such evil. He, however, did bring about calamity upon those who sinned against him, this is in full harmony with his justice, for “they are the ones who have acted corruptly. They are not is children, the defect is their own. They are a crooked twisted and generation!” – Deuteronomy 32:5 NWT

Is it Fearful to Fall into God’s Hands?
            Hebrews 10:31 (NWT) states: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” So, given that information, David must have a different God, into whose hand he desires to fall into – or, the Bible contradict itself. At 2 Samuel 24:14 (WEB), he says: “I am in distress. Let us fall into the hand of Yahweh; for his mercies are great.”
            I am surprised that the skeptic finds these statements to br contradictory! For, Hebrews refers to the hands of God, but David had in mind the hand of Jehovah! Joking aside, however, I am pleased that the skeptic is not more hyper-literal that usual. Still, his understanding of context could use some work. Has it crossed his mind that, depending on the situation, falling into God’s hands could be good for one or fearful?
            The context of Hebrews informs us that those who have no “sacrifice for sins left,” have a “certain fearful expectation of judgement.” To them, God’s hands are fearful to fall into. However, in David’s case, Jehovah did forgive him; so, to David, Jehovah’s hand was merciful.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Sean,

    The question of "evil" has long perplexed Christians thinkers for centuries. The very existence of "evil" has been the top weapon in the atheists arsenal. All proposed theodicies are not wholly satisfying (IMO), with some form of Calvinism lying at one end of the spectrum and a form of Manichaeism at the other end. Personally, the question of "evil" remains on the 'back burner' for me, being not satisfied with any of the numerous theodicies I have read; but, convinced that only Christianity is able to offer any consistent meaning to the universe as we know it.

    Anyway, moving away from my somewhat vague musings, I have a question for you; how do you understand the following verse:

    Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon which were done in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. (Matt. 11:21 - ASV)


    Grace and peace,

    David

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    1. Similar to the question of why God allows evil, we might wonder why God forgave Manasseh, since he committed many atrocities. However, the scriptures answer, "God in his righteousness was being forbearing with sins in the past." It does not feel right necessarily that such a wicked man be allowed mercy, yet since all our sins are paid for by Christ, and no one gets the things due them, expect those who lack faith in Christ, we cannot limit God's forgiveness simply by our own standards. Such thinking is, I would wager, at the heart at how we (vs. God) view the allowance of evil.

      Of course, you are familiar with how Jehovah's Witnesses interpret this problem, which in basic is: the allowance of evil is due to a challenge that Jehovah accepted (creation can rule itself apart from God) to vindicate his name. Further, the patience of God, which result sin continued suffering, also is salvation to many.

      The example of Job serves as a good example, since, even if we are left wondering why God accepted Satan's challenge and let Satan try Job, we see that, like Job was with his situation, we 'merely hear about it,' but will eventually, 'see it with our eyes.' I note that Jehovah did put restrictions on what Satan was allowed to do, and eventually did undo much of what Satan did (the rest awaiting the Resurrection), so this gives us confidence that God will handle things in his time.

      As far as that verse goes, you may find this citation useful *** w88 6/1 p. 30 Questions From Readers ***

      The end asserts that those destroyed by Jehovah in past judgements are irreversibly destroyed. The end of the article says "Of course, each of us can confirm that by his proving faithful to Jehovah now. In that way we will qualify to be alive in the new world to see whom he resurrects and whom he does not." Which means to me, "We will only know for certain then," or, "We are reasonably sure now, but it is more important for each of us to make it than to worry about whether others will."

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