Sunday, June 24, 2007

drugs, diseases, death all part of God's loving plan that is not selfish at all, right?

2:00 PM Posted by: M., 10 comments

I know this is talked about frequently in forums and stuff, but I really was thinking about it a lot this morning at work. If there is a God, and he is the Christian God, why did he create drugs and diseases that effectively take over the brain and "souls" of people? (or at least allow these to be created) A lot of people "sin" when under the influence of these substances, and have no control, so why did God let that happen? Does he secretly have a sick interest in us sinning? Also, why does alcohol make us drunk and we lose our general operating capabilities? God did not have to let that happen when we drink alcohol, but he did. And I am not just talking about the negative consequences such as drunk dialing people or acting stupid, but rather actual, real deaths and suffering that occur as a result of these substances. Most rebel groups in Africa are hyped up on drugs and alcohol which allows them to commit horrific atrocities. Couldn't God's "mission" in this world be completed without these terrible things?

I would like to know the Christian explanation of this. I didnt think about it too much when I was a Christian. And I will probably explode if someone says "because it's a fallen world..."


10 comments:

exapologist said...

This is only tangentially related to your post, but I just read an article about how roughly 2400 children are backed over in driveways every year in the U.S. (mostly by SUVs, btw). Of course, if the Christian God exists, then he is able to prevent this (can't he just give the parent a last-minute thought about where their child might be, or perhaps give them an urge to go to the bathroom, so that they have to get out of their car (etc., etc.) before smashing the little 2-year olds?).

BethPie said...

I decided to have children. I love them and want the very best for them. I'd prefer that they never experience pain or suffering. I'd love for them to succeed in all they do. Guess what? It might sound selfish (but if you think about it, choosing to have a baby really is a little selfish) I want them to love me back.

BUT

When I chose to have them, I knew that, at some point, they would experience suffering in some fashion. I knew that, in creating these precious little lives, they would eventually experience the pain and loss of death and even die themselves. I was fully aware of the fact that they could make a choice that would hurt themselves and possibly even others. I knew that, for them to fully become themselves (and not my little automatons) I'd have to slowly give them freedoms so they could experience, discover, learn.... I've found that, sometimes, the best way to teach them is to allow them to experience the natural consequences of their own actions. I can't jump in and force them to make a good decision once they get to be a certain age (even if I know they are making a mistake).

I chose to create these children knowing that lots of bad things could happen to them or even because of them. Does that make me cruel? Horrible? Illogical?

I truly believe that God gave us the ability to procreate so that we could, on some level, have a picture of His love for us; so we could understand His grief when we make crappy, hurtful choices.

We can also experience the immeasurable joy of knowing that our children choose to love us. We get to share God's pleasure when our children make good choices, create beauty, act selflessly, show kindness, etc....

So that's how I explain it. :o)

marie said...

Hey Beth, and Exapologist

Thanks for those

EA- that is a really interesting point. That actually happened to a family that Katie and I know--it is so tragic. It seems so pointless and I can't imagine how that would be "furthering God's Kingdom"

and Beth

Thanks a lot for your explanation. I can see your point and I really bet you are a great mom. I can see you have a caring and tender outlook for them. I just think about all of God's "children" who have their limbs cut off by drunken rebels and the young women who are gang raped, etc. I cannot see how God could value people "choosing to love him" over the blatant well-being of so many of his "children." I just cannot personally comprehend how a loving God would value free-will over human well-being and life. That to me is SOOO infinitely selfish. I really appreciate your input though and I hope you stick around--I look forward to checking out your blog as well!!

zilch said...

The usual explanation I've gotten from Christians about death and suffering of innocents is that this life doesn't really matter; the innocents will be whisked off to Heaven anyway. This is of course unanswerable- if you believes that nothing in this life matters but getting your ticket to Heaven, then no amount of logic, reason, or love will sway you.

Bethpie- I agree with marie about your post. I have two kids, and I feel the same way about them as you do about yours, except for the God stuff. If I believed in God, I could well imagine Him being like a good parent, Who tried to teach His children to do right and grieved when they made mistakes. But this does not explain why God lets babies get run over by SUVs, or get cancer, or get washed away by tsunamis.

lowendaction said...

great question marie, though I remember having a rather leangthy discussion on this very topic over at SCP a while back...

This is how it all makes sense in my head. I think of a world where none of these undisirables exsist (death, suffering, etc) and then I think about the selfish and spoiled nature of man, and I begin to wonder if we would really learn to appreciate how good we have it. Would we really love God, or others for that matter, if all was well? I guess what I'm trying to say is that it is through and because of the dark things in this world that we are able to truely love and treasure what we do have.

I think it would have been a real easy fix for God to do as you suggested marie, but I truely believe that the reciprocal love is so much greater when it comes through free choice.

So where does this leave the children and other so-called innocents? I don't know, nore do I pretend to know. I can't think of a way to practice total free will and also have a sub-clause for those who are unable to do so. I would like to think that God has a plan for them, but who am I to question his perfect design? And yes, of that I am 100% convinced. His plan is perfection, and just because we can't entirely grasp all of it, does not nullify that fact.

I've often noticed that those who attempt to understand God from a bystanders perspective (as if there where such a thing!)tend to lump numerous "christianic" concepts together. I am currently reading Christopher Hitchins "god is not great", and he is equally guilty of this.

It is clear through the multitude of accounts (both biblical and non-biblical) that the understanding of God (which is my understanding is more of a journey and less of a destination) comes only through close relationship with him, not distant scrutiny. That doesn't mean that we are not to question him, but one does so from the deapths of an on-going relationship, not the sterile Petri dish of a theory.

So to sum up my ramblings (and I do appologize for the novela), I personally love the idea that God has filled this world with countless boobytraps (sin). This forces our lazy nature to make a conscientious decision to either nurture our relationship with him, our feed our own self-serving needs. Of course what is the most amazing thing of all this, is the fact that he has already taken every single sin (past, present and future) and wiped it away. All he asks from us in return is to accept this fact. Sadly, that is not enough for us, and so we continually insist on showing God how capable we are on our own...I guess sooner or later we will all find out how well that's been working out for us.

B Wark said...

How easy is it to say "His plan is perfection, and just because we can't entirely grasp all of it, does not nullify that fact."
What answer or closure does that give to someone who has lost their 3 children in a car accident? Or a man losing his wife and child during labor?
I'm not being disrespectful but I think that is one of the easiest Christian cop-outs, because I've used it plenty of times.

Slapdash said...

"It is clear through the multitude of accounts (both biblical and non-biblical) that the understanding of God (which is my understanding is more of a journey and less of a destination) comes only through close relationship with him, not distant scrutiny." (Lowendaction)

Hmm. This has not been my experience. The more and more I prayed, the fewer answers I got. God didn't in fact reveal himself to me while I was in "close relationship" to him. My agonized prayers begging for understanding went completely unanswered.

This is a terrifying experience for someone who has been told, and believed, exactly what you claim - that we can understand God when we are in relationship with him; that God will reveal himself to us if we earnestly seek, with a pure heart.

For me, God's silence in the face of my many tear-filled prayers has been overwhelming.

Heather said...

**And yes, of that I am 100% convinced. His plan is perfection, and just because we can't entirely grasp all of it, does not nullify that fact.**

Except if you can't entirely grasp all of the plan, how are you convinced that the plan is perfect? Proof of something like that tends to require 100% understanding.

**Would we really love God, or others for that matter, if all was well? I guess what I'm trying to say is that it is through and because of the dark things in this world that we are able to truely love and treasure what we do have.** But what if you tried this on a child? What if you let your child suffer, in order to make sure the child truly treasured you? Child Service Protection would be called incredibly fast.

**Who tried to teach His children to do right and grieved when they made mistakes. But this does not explain why God lets babies get run over by SUVs, or get cancer, or get washed away by tsunamis. **
And even parents step in, if they have the power, when the child is about to make an incredibly stupid choice. If I saw my child about to drink and drive, I certainly wouldn't let him/her do that if I could stop it, as the child could injure/kill himself or others.

I also agree with Marie on the free will aspect. Plus, free will doesn't account for everything. Take a rape victim. Her free will was completely violated, because she certaintly didn't choose to be raped. Why was the rapist's free will respected over hers?

lowendaction said...

There was obviously quite a few responses to my comments, and due to the new post, I will keep this short.


closure - I'm not sure that faith and/or understanding ever constituted automatic healing and removal of pain. Such tragic loss brings very real suffering, and though we might long for relief, I'm not entirely sure that God is the soothing ointment we wish for. He speaks about growing closer to Him, and drawing streanght through such times, but never to simply take it all away.

unanswered prayer - something that I'm just now learning and attempting to put into practice, is this concept of conversing with God, as opposed to talking at Him. We are often quick to shoot our many concerns and demands at God, but how much time do we really spend just listening? I think the answer to this can be found in your daily conversations with those around us. How much time do we spend really listening versus just talking? I'm not holding my breath for a James Earl Jones-like voice to fill my head, but I do believe that there is merit in this form of praying. I believe that the modern church has really screwed up the whole concept of prayer.

Steve said...

Your blog is so much better than mine... you are asking some great questions and dealing with them honestly. I admire that sooooo much. Sometimes I wish I could be this honest...

Appreciate your journey.

Oh... and as for the answer...it's pretty simple.

It's a fallen world! [ducking for cover from impending explosion]

:-)