Thursday, October 29, 2009

God got rid of all evil today, so I'm no longer available to write this post.

One of the claims I see about why God doesn't just eradicate all evil this very second is that if God did do that, He'd have to wipe out all of humanity, as we all have evil tendencies.

But if God can only eliminate evil by destroying people, then how can anyone get to heaven? The whole premise behind the salvation and sanctification is that one is slowly changed to be like Jesus, and once one dies and gets to heaven, you are back to your original, pure, sinless state. And thus, no longer have an ounce of evil.

So if God is able to eradicate the evil in a person without destroying them, why can't He do the same to everyone? Or is this tied to He can only eradicate evil is someone has made the choice to repent and follow God?

To say that God can't destroy evil without destroying us comes across as saying that evil is an inherent part of our nature, something we were intended to have from the beginning. But the whole idea behind the Fall is that humanity was distorted from its original purpose -- and thus, evil isn't supposed to be an inherent part of anyone's character.

11 comments:

atimetorend said...

As you said, God only slowly changes people when they believe in Jesus (sanctification). But he considers them righteous in a legal sense instantly when they believe in Jesus, so they will go to heaven when they die (justification). By separating the two, it makes it easy to understand that though God could destroy evil by destroying all people, he wouldn't want to because he is patient and wants everyone to be justified so they won't go to hell when they die. I think that is considered Reformed doctrine. I think I used to believe it, at least I gave it mental assent at some level.

Temaskian said...

@ATTR: So it appears that God can either change people slowly, or quickly. In that case, why doesn't he change them all quickly instead, then all those who believe in him would instantly transform into the kinds of persons they would be in heaven? Wouldn't that would be a better testimony?

Or maybe the idea is to leave them a little bit of evil so they can continue to co-exist with evil atheists. If they all became too good, they might turn into instant martyrs. This idea is of course erroneous, especially now that society has become so civilized.

@God: in case you didn't know, it's safe now to transform your saints into true saints. Really, God.

Kay said...

OSS,

It doesn't make any sense to me either.

I often wonder how humans get the ideas they do, from scripture. I think the whole Jesus story has been so dissected and examined under a theological microscope that the forest is being missed (while the bark of the trees is being examined).

Sarge said...

My twice - born relatives used to answer this question thiswise: "God has his own purposes that we are not to know..." (said with a certain tilt to the head, grave, far away look, and tone of voice)or "Shu'up, kid, yer cruisin' for a bruisin'..." also said with a certain look and tone.

OneSmallStep said...

Atimetorend,

But when the people get to heaven, they're still there without any evil -- so God is capable of destroying evil without destroying people. So I don't see how the argument can be made that in order to eliminate evil, God would have to destroy us as well.

OneSmallStep said...

Temaskian,

**In that case, why doesn't he change them all quickly instead, then all those who believe in him would instantly transform into the kinds of persons they would be in heaven? Wouldn't that would be a better testimony?**

I would think something like that would really boost the conversion rate to Christianity. It would be excellent evidence of the claims it makes to change a person's moral character.

OneSmallStep said...

Kay,

**I often wonder how humans get the ideas they do, from scripture. **

My cynical view is that they pick the easiest elements. It's a lot "easier" to have faith in Jesus, or to pray to Jesus for a change, then to actually go out and physically try to make the world a better place, or actively love and engage one's enemy.

OneSmallStep said...

Sarge,

**My twice - born relatives used to answer this question thiswise: "God has his own purposes that we are not to know..." **

If this were true, there'd be no such thing as Christian apologists. :) I find answers like this frustrating, because they're incredibly convenient. Nothing ever has to be explained or justified. Doesn't make sense? God has His reasons.

SocietyVs said...

"Or is this tied to He can only eradicate evil is someone has made the choice to repent and follow God?" (OSS)

I always chalk good behavior up to 'choice'. I think we have both inclinations within us - good and evil - and we make the choice how this is going to work situation to situation. How this looks to God is quite beyond me.

I know that heaven, at least to me, is not some place where whole sale change is needed...in the sense we lose the being of being us. What the theology you are talking about espouses the idea we are this way on earth then transformed to something else in heaven...which to me is strange since it defeats the idea God loves us 'as is'. Maybe in their theology God does not love us 'as is' and we need to change?

And I think some change is welcomed thing by far. I think the teachings were given to lead a community to change aspects of their lives and reflect better ideas for living...of course this was many centuries ago and it's equivalence now needs to be looked at in more depth.

But I appreciate change - namely when people choose actions for their life that benefit themselves and all those around them (namely their kids). I think this premise is at the heart of religion/faith - specially in Judaism and Christianity. But with theologies like the one aforementioned and many other contradictions within that theology - one is left wondering the importance of change in one's behavior.

OneSmallStep said...

Society,

**hich to me is strange since it defeats the idea God loves us 'as is'. Maybe in their theology God does not love us 'as is' and we need to change?**

From everything I've seen in their theology, though, they hold to both ideas. God does love us "as is," but as soon as Christians get to heaven, they become new creatures, completely sinless -- in essence, a new, perfectly good personality. For that is the only way God can stand to be in their presence.

But God's love is unconditional, and you don't need to do anything to earn it. He just also can't stand the sight of you unless you're covered in the blood of Jesus.

**one is left wondering the importance of change in one's behavior.**

Why go through all the effort of changing your own behavior when Jesus will do it for you, post-death? ;)

Unknown said...

But there are different kinds of evil. Telling a lie is not on the same level as drug dealing, human trafficking, child pornography and similar atrocities. Why don't God just send these evil people to hell straight away and just leave the world with the "manageable" evil.