Monday, April 8, 2013

If God is NOT in Suffering

Let us think on the entailment of Godlessness in human suffering. What are my legitimate options if I am unable to believe in God during times of suffering? I use the word ‘unable’ to emphasize the overwhelming pain of the suffering heart. We should positively sympathize with those struggling to decrypt God’s presence in times of (arduous) suffering. Those who succumb to the incredible pain caused by their suffering, deny God’s existence.

            If man replaces God, then suffering is caused by mankind. Poverty, I postulate, is an imbalance in the distribution of financial resources, due to greed. The haves turn a blind eye to the have-nots. The poor shrink and the rich bloat. This is a tenable proposition. Again, if starvation is an outcome of the barrenness of land due to lack of rain, then one can posit concretization (building of concrete jungles) through deforestation as a plausible cause. This too is tenable.

            Man ought to be the cause behind a baby with birth defects due to parental negligence or an untimely death because of a drunken driver. These evils could be attributed to him exercising his freewill. But what is he free from? If someone is “free,” then we posit a restraining power. A young man may want freedom from his parent or a slave may want freedom from his oppressor. The parent and the oppressor are the restraining powers.

What do these powers restrain a man from? Parents restrain a child from being bad (which is good). An oppressor restrains the slave from escaping (which is bad). Hence, the restraints could be either good or bad. Man can choose to be free from either good or bad. Thus, a “free” man can liberate himself from good or bad.

            The moment we bring concepts such as ‘bad’ and ‘good’ (morality) into our domain, we should explain its cause. Who framed these moral laws? Since our postulation is Godlessness, society (man) frames its own moral laws. But one society executes convicts for armed robbery, whereas another imposes a lesser punishment. We need to decide which of these societies is right or wrong.

So we arrive at the realm of arbitration. A society sets up objective units to arbitrate opposing contentions. These objective units determine the innocent, the criminal, the winners, and the losers. Even in villages (where literacy is rare), a village council comprising of mature and credible people is established as an objective arbitrative unit. When man seeks justice/truth, he approaches the objective authority, whose sole purpose is to establish truth through impartial justice.

            This objective arbitrative unit ought to be a transcending authority. Primarily, it should transcend the contending parties, without sympathizing with either. But man is a vulnerable being. So the transcending authority need not be absolutely transcending, for it could fail to transcend corruption.

            When a man depends on his fellow being for justice, especially with the prevailing corruption, one can reasonably posit that justice need not be rendered to every individual. Justice often marries power, position, and prominence, leaving the poor and powerless divorced from justice.

Here the aspect of “Hope” needs to be considered if mankind is robbed of justice from fellow man. When one is at the receiving end of injustice, should he live with hope to receive justice one day, or should he be hopeless? When a man fails to receive justice, what is his assurance to receive justice later? When corruption is in full force, justice from a fellow man is not an optimistic anticipation, especially if he is poor and powerless. When man replaces God, hopelessness prevails.

            With man at the helm of affairs, justice and hope are uncertain. With God at the helm of affairs, there is justice and hope. This hope is an eternal hope where evil will be punished and righteous will be saved to coexist with God unto eternity (Revelation 20ff). If the Lord so ordains that I do not receive justice in this time and age (Cf. Hebrews11:35b-40), I am certain of receiving justice when HE comes in all HIS glory to judge mankind.
            Until now we hypothetically removed God from the helm and replaced HIM with man. Then we examined the situation to ascertain if man’s replacement of God answers questions related to suffering. The situation of suffering with man at the helm is worse. If I depend on man, then I am hopeless and robbed of justice. Hopelessness with man also posits that man is not “free” but is under the control of evil.

            There is a sense of duplicity in those who reject God (a transcending, objective, Almighty reality) but accept the presence of objective arbitrative units of men. On one hand, they reject God because of HIS supposed partiality (HE provides good to some and not to all), and impotency (HE fails to eliminate evil), but on the other hand they accept a man who is worse than God – partial, impotent, and susceptible to corruption. Those who are disappointed in God should also be disappointed with man (even with themselves!). Significantly, there is hope with God but only hopelessness with man.

            If we replace God with anything inanimate (chance), then the situation gets even worse. We are left with more holes and questions – the situation becomes more unstable and untenable. If God is at the helm, then God decides the birth of every man. If man rejects God, then his birth is a chance occurrence. When ‘chance’ rapes a man, he is abandoned into brutal obscurity, humiliation and indignity that he remains idiotically ignorant of the cause for his malady. This is a situation of greater hopelessness and indignity. This is a horrendous evil.

            It has already been emphasized that man can decide to liberate himself from good or bad. We have the intrinsic freedom to liberate ourselves from God or the devil. When we liberate from God, we fall prey (even innocently and ignorantly) to the schemes of the devil. A deluded man falls prey to the devil’s schemes. God gives man many chances to seek HIM, love HIM, and obey HIM willingly and lovingly. It is my prayer that we do not fall into the hands of the evil one, but willingly and lovingly fall into the loving and nail pierced hands of the Almighty God.

            Christ in us is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). Without Christ, we are hopeless. I therefore submit that suffering is more understandable and explainable with God. Amen.

If man replaces God:

            Suffering caused by ‘man’ or ‘chance’
If suffering caused by man, then Man is “free.”

                                    A ‘free’ man can liberate himself from ‘good’ or ‘evil’ (morality).

Man frames moral laws to establish justice/good (since God is replaced by man).

Man arbitrates/judges to ensure fairness/good (man sets up objective authority akin God)

Arbitration should absolutely transcend, but does not, for man is vulnerable (corrupt). So, man is unable to liberate himself from evil.
Justice unrendered to man, since man unable to liberate himself from evil.

When justice is unrendered, man is HOPELESS, evil prevails, ‘good’ is nonexistent/partial.

Because justice and hope are consistently non-existent/partial, man is not ‘free,’ but is under the control of evil.

Therefore, when man rejects God, he is under the control   of evil.

                        If suffering is a ‘chance’ occurrence
Man is so hopeless that he cannot seek anyone or anything for answers. Man is robbed of dignity completely.

This is a horrendous evil, so evil prevails.
If man replaces God, evil prevails, man is under the control of evil.

Man sets up an objective authority to establish justice/good, but rejects a good and a just God who is an objective authority. (Man does not want to yield control to God.)

Because of corruption/evil, man fails to provide justice consistently. (But he rejected God for the same reason - not providing justice consistently.)

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