Is THIS My Father’s World?

It’s on the problem of evil that reason truly stumbles, and skepticism truly triumphs. For here reason is not merely in trouble but in pain.” — Susan Neiman, Evil in Modern Thought

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Thank you Barry. No one who has thought deeply more than an hour could avoid this confrontation with the reality of human existence in this world. For comfort and for a compelling rationale for faith I turn to Moltmann’s_The Crucified God or follow Ron Osborn and a host of others like David Hart who remind us of the gospel narrative which upends all human proposals for our politics, social structures, priorities and values. That the world is beset with natural events that cause human suffering, with the facticity of death, and with the brutality within the human species, the one ringing “answer” in history is the self-sacrifice of Jesus of Nazareth and the promises he proclaimed for the future for the planet and its inhabitants. The story “grips” me in aesthetic and value terms, rather than my trying to grip a sufficiently rational response to the mess we are in.

Thanks again. And isn’t Nieman something?

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Moltmann, Merton, Nieman, Osborn, and others—we have great resources to draw on alongside the scriptures of the world. But I keep coming back to the gospels, Psalms, and the life of Jesus. And yes, Neiman is a well I keep drawing from!

Our church prophet, EGW, has already indicated that Christ’s Second Coming is a MOVABLE EVENT.

She stated many years ago, that Christ would have long since come, had certain conditions been met.

Had Christ come, circa 1900, as EGW stated was possible, multiple twentieth century atrocities would have been aborted:
The Armenian, Pol Pot, Bosnian, Rwandan genocides, the Holocaust, the London Blitz, Stalin’s Gulag, Hiroshima, Nagasaki ad infinitum.
Hundreds of millions who met abysmal deaths would not have had to endure the atrocities.

Years ago a women being raped below an apartment building, made headline news, because not one of her onlooking neighbors, called 911, nor came to her assistance. Were they ethically, as guilty as the rapist, by not stopping the crime?

In the same way is God not complicit, a co dependent with atrocities, when He looks on impassively without compassion?

The misery depicted on the evening news hour is often so intense, I have to turn off the television.

How does “the universe”——EGW 's unfallen beings on other planets, supposedly the “jurors.” In this Great Controversy, tolerate live streaming of earth’s atrocities? Or does God have a blackout of censorship regarding planet earth?

It is not helpful to my spiritual well being, to know that an expedited Second Coming, would immediately abort all current misery on this planet.

Christ could come in a heartbeat, that He chooses not to do so makes Him a willing accomplice in ongoing human suffering.

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It is twice a His. he Created it and He. Bought it back. Read Ps 22, 23,24 Then Read Phil. 2:5-11.

My childish eyes were first opened by C.S. Lewis. At that point I realized what I thought to be “good” could actually be “bad” and vice versa. Without seeking Freud, most of us realize there is much in our actions and beliefs that comes from hidden places, brought to the surface as feelings; and feelings drive most of our view of the world.

Lewis would have a problem with “Reason or faith? Pick one, because you can’t have them both.” He wrote:

It is not reason that is taking away my faith: on the contrary, my faith is based on reason. It is my imagination and emotions. The battle is between faith and reason on one side and emotion and imagination on the other.

God is the CREATOR. We can never get into His “mind” to see WHY? or HOW? We are His “creation”, not His equal. How many times have we, as parents, thought “if you only knew…” when dealing with our rebellious teens. Our ONLY hope for navigating this life successfully, is to follow the pattern God gifted to us - “God, as man”. Even then, we see Jesus through feelings and imaginations already planted in our minds by “others” - parents - good-intentioned grandparents - church creeds - unfortunate experiences. If ONLY we could wipe away all the preconceptions and look at “God become man” as a new experience…, the focus not being on what he ate, or didn’t eat; or what day he worshipped or healed, It is the sum-total of the person and his attitude toward others and his own circumstances - his strength, facing the unknown - "Why have you forsaken me…?"

The “evils” of nature are evil only because sometimes they hurt us. They hurt us because we have ignored the rules nature plays under; or because our property is worth more on the edge of the great oceans that sometimes react violently when natural laws make them boil, and our house get wiped away.

Science tells us that we are even here because the violence that created it was so precise that it spit out our earth and its inhabitants. Science also decries the wastefulness of all that space just so we can exist. What arrogance to think that the whole creation is here on our behalf! - but it LOOKS like that is how it is.

Reason tells us we can’t know reality as God knows it; therefore our faith is based on the REASONABLE assumption that all we can do is TRUST. Why trust and not distrust - because there is goodness in the midst of evil.


Barry, you strike a responsive chord in all of us with your thoughtful and wise writing. We can never lose our awe of God as our Creator. We are “creatures,” meaning created beings. I go to Isaiah 6 to refresh my respect, awe, and love for God’s continual blessings in my life. We must be constantly aware that we must give account to God for all our thoughts, words and actions. We must never feel so independent and self-reliant that we fail to depend on and rely on God. As Jesus told His disciples, “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). The prophet Hosea wrote, “For Israel has forgotten his Maker” (Hosea 8:14). We must never do that, not even for a day. Awareness of our Creator should be the foundation of our worldview, outlook and daily thoughts. We need to reaffirm these crucial lessons in knowing God is our Creator!

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We are not saved through the Church nor will the Church save the world.

What a profound, yet simple declaration. I would add, nor will we save the church. We drove it off the road long ago, when we proclaimed that our denomination was the remnant church, (a mistranslation), so climb aboard and ride into heaven–if we keep the church purified of such as lgbt and ordained women.

(Yes, I know that the Bible refers to individual congregations as churches and Jesus considers all who seek God as His church but I speak of heirarchical denominations.)

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Is God not sufficiently involved?

Should God keep people from taking drugs or drinking booze?
No overdoses or hangovers allowed.
Should God keep people from talking to prevent spousal abuse or student bullying?
Should God prevent any advice/criticism of clergy so they can never be better ministers?
Should God whisper to all married people to spend money properly to prevent divorces?
Should God keep people from overeating on Thanksgiving & Christmas to prevent acid reflux or constipation?
Should God eliminate all tattoo parlors?
Should God whisper to all young ladies to keep them from becoming part of the sex trade?
Should God have angels install invisible TV controls to keep watchers from viewing perverted depraved entertainment?

How much freedom do we want to give up so that we can stop sinning and not crucify Christ afresh?

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