And sin causes bad things in our lives in at least 3 ways. . In our humanness, we can see this as a very selfish and unloving motive. It's very hard to keep up with the current state of science across multiple disciplines. An easy earthly life that results in being blinded to God is actually a curse that leads to hell. Just type in your email address below. The Bible says that He is waiting for our response. In an eternal multiverse the origin question is moot (the idea of a multiverse was not invented with the goal of rendering this question moot, it is in many ways an inescapable conclusion extrapolated from the known fundamental physics). But bad things do happen, thus people often conclude that God is either not all powerful or is not a loving God. God uses pain to get our attention. However, recently I've been doing therapy and my old coping mechanisms are failing. Thus when God glorifies himself through our lives, we ourselves will experience the best possible life in the process. The universe has no inherent purpose or design.". What Jesus accomplished in the gospel is the final solution. Once we come to terms with the universe’s indifference, we realize more acutely that we have only each other to rely on. In other words, add up all the probabilities necessary for life to occur: the ratios of the four fundamental forces relative to each other, the probability of a protein forming by chance, earth’s magnetic field, distance from the sun, special nature of water, etc. Often times people with these thoughts or feelings have something on their mind they feel uneasy about; it could be anything from a fight with a loved one, to feeling … Among other topics, the book also discusses in more depth how people cope with adversity, contrasting religious and secular coping strategies and beliefs. 21 Reasons Bad Things Happen to Good People by Dave Earley. 2. He summarizes how science has come to view the universe and absolutely everything in it as the product of entirely spontaneous, unguided processes, and why this is actually a highly motivating realization for humankind. PS: Small typo: I meant to refer to Victor Stenger. This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it's still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. "From whence, do these laws of nature emerge?" Consensus of opinion is very important to me. As I’ve stated elsewhere, in my psychiatric clinic I am not in the business of changing people's religious worldviews, unless they ask me to help them do so and if it's appropriate and helpful to do so. Also, God can allow bad things to happen to good people in order to teach them lessons, to discipline them, to improve their character, to encourage them to depend on him, etc. Ask the pastor. " Humans created sin, not God. This may seem like a cop-out, but it's not. Imagine being … I recognize His limitations. Second point: There is nothing special about the causation of things that we humans judge as “bad.” The question of why bad things happen to good people can be reframed (as Karin’s response to the question posed to her implied): Why would bad things not happen to good people? Steven Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory (New York: Pantheon Books, 1992), p. 251. There is much we can do to alleviate each other’s suffering when adversity strikes. The glory of God is when the invisible qualities of God are made manifest. Can Life Have Meaning in a Random Universe? We could only have evolved within the type of universe whose laws of nature are conducive to ordered matter and life evolving. A better question would be “Now that this has happened to me, what am I going to do about it?”3, 4, The scientific or non-theistic perspective: there is no cosmic purpose or design. .”. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. So that's what AGW is all about! Many wrestle with the question of why bad things are allowed to happen. Presupposing the laws of quantum mechanics is to commit the logical fallacy of begging the question. We should refrain from the temptation to simply make stuff up to fill the gaps not yet known by science, which unfortunately characterizes the history of theology. question I've always found odd. Feel free to email me with any questions or comments at email@example.com. To be clear, this is not my own worldview, but I offer it here to help my religious readers, like my religious patients, to reconcile the faith that is so important to them, with the deeply troubling problem of evil. To Mould Us into Christ-likeness. In the ordeal of Karin’s cancer, we were the grateful beneficiaries of very much kindness and caring. This is an assertion that is easy to disprove in multiple ways -- such as the fact that the Old Testament was clearly written many centuries later than it claims to have been written, contradicting the Torah's origin story of Moses and Mount Sinai. The Law of Attraction. You said: God does not override human free will and make us do things. I also assure them that I will pass on the lessons I am learning from them to other patients as well as to my students. God’s creation reflected His nature–perfect. “Bad things can happen, and often do--but they only take up a few pages of your story; and anyone … Validate Their Feelings. Bad things happen when we make sinful choices. Rather, God’s solution comes through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Smolin assumes the evolutionary mechanism of natural selection. There are multiple converging lines of more detailed evidence very clearly demonstrating that the Bible's authors were very human and that they had a pitifully limited and flawed Iron Age understanding of the world. The universe has no purpose, but we do. 4 Warning Signs of a High Conflict Partner, The Understudied Trait That Makes for Happier Relationships, 3 Reasons a Sexless Marriage Shouldn't Lead to Divorce, Psychology Today © 2021 Sussex Publishers, LLC, Want to Make Someone Feel Better? But how do we explain its origins? When bad things happen, when you’re facing heavy challenges, when you don’t understand all the reasons behind your struggles, here is one thing to always remember: No matter what trial you’re facing, when you’re feeling lost, alone, defeated, or broken, the Savior’s arms are open to receive you. Paperback. goal of rendering this question moot, it is in many ways an inescapable I had always been caref… Because God wants true love between us and him and true love cannot be forced. Dr. Lewis, conclusion extrapolated from the known fundamental physics). I say things like "I'm not a religious person myself, but there are some wise metaphors that my religious family, friends and colleagues have shared with me which you might find helpful and consoling.". “How could He let this happen?” “My God failed me.” “If this can happen on Earth there is no God in heaven.” Unfortunately, too many religious leaders respond with sayings like “God works in mysterious ways” or “there must be a reason in God’s plan.” Most Hindus and Buddhists may point to karma, the consequences of our previous actions in this life or the last. We will understand our role and the reasons for everything—the purpose of it all. 4. The multiverse hypothesis assumes the existence of a mechanism that engenders bubble universes with varying laws of nature. There are also, as you no doubt know, a number of other theories that propose an eternal multiverse spawning an infinite number of individual universes, each with randomly differing laws of nature. It is the real solution humanity desperately needs. One day everything will be as it should have always been. 3. I try to express gratitude to them for sharing their life experience with me and for teaching me profound lessons about the human condition. Bad things happen because sin is written in our DNA. One day God will make a new heaven and a new earth. However, we can also perform actions that have positive effects. God didn’t create cancer, famines, and broken relationships in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 1. God Allows Bad Things to Happen in Your Life Because God Wants Us to Find Our Ultimate Hope for Salvation in Jesus Christ Alone. All those bad things happened later after humans corrupted this world with sin in Genesis 3. Some of my cancer patients are facing less lucky outcomes than Karin, and the psychotherapeutic work turns from reassurance or tolerating uncertainty to defining their legacy—how their life has mattered to all the other lives they have touched. But what if…the numerator exceeds the denominator? God didn’t need to wipeout the human race, start over, and give us a whole new world that doesn’t have sin in it. For as Revelations 21:1-5 states: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. But the mere fact that plausible models exist to explain the ultimate origins should give us pause in jumping to conclusions that there must have been an intelligent designer. But I’m not talking about faith but metaphysics. However, if you look up you will see light. In an eternal multiverse the I find it no less explicable than positing the Christian God. Everyone’s opinion is equally valid. Nevertheless, I've often found denial helpful when it comes to my ageing and my avoidance behaviour is helpful in that regard (eg diverting attention, pretending it's not happening etc.) Wanting bad things to happen to yourself can be thought of a form of self-punishment. For example, Paul Davies has suggested "a notion of laws as emergent with the universe rather than stamped on it from without like a maker’s mark.” Lee Smolin has proposed a model of cosmological natural selection in which the laws of nature are consequently progressively refined in successive generations of universes birthed through black hole singularities. In the initial phases of her illness and treatment, the time of greatest uncertainty and vulnerability, I found myself grasping for reassurance and desperately wanting to believe that everything was somehow cosmically ‘meant’ to turn out favorably. When we act kindly, it also gives meaning to our own life, as we see that we matter to others. His fallible logic follows this line of reasoning: According to quantum mechanics…wait, stop! It’s all about progress and not perfection. While I would never want to make light of hard questions like these, the reality is God is not responsible for all the evil in this world. Ralph Lewis, M.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, a psychiatrist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and a consultant at the Odette Cancer Centre in Toronto. The Bible says that God’s primary purpose in everything he does is to bring himself glory. This belief is a double-edged sword: it can be reassuring and comforting but can also lead to disillusionment, anguish, and feelings of abandonment by God, under conditions of cruel adversity. My passion is to help others apply God's truth to every aspect of life for his glory and our enjoyment of him. 1. In this little world in which we live, it was necessary for God to give way or contract his power and presence to make space for free will and allow humans to help shape the universe—God created humans as partners in the process of trying to perfect the world. When we feel like God must micromanage reality and take away our choices and stop everything bad that can ever happen – we are saying that the gospel is not enough. Because the gospel is enough. “What did I do to deserve this? I am primarily in the business of helping people to function better and to be less distressed. Get the help you need from a therapist near you–a FREE service from Psychology Today. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. What makes matters even more confusing is that the Bible also teaches us that God is all loving. In the end, I believe it takes more faith to be an atheist than to believe in some sort of intelligence behind the curtain. The partial, immanent aspects of God that we are said to experience in our world are sometimes likened to mere sparks of the ultimate transcendent light, trapped within the material of creation. And God doesn’t need to stop us from sinning to accomplish his will in our lives. Those insights are worth keeping and teaching as part of our collective intellectual heritage, so long as we understand that they are all merely the musings of human minds observing the human condition. As New. Where do these laws come from? I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have - life itself. Vince, once again the points you've made are all ones upon which I hope our readers will give long and deep reflection. My experience is that some opinions are well thought out. But the gospel is enough. Yes, he could. Why doesn’t God need to stop the bad things from happening? Since you quote Smolin, here’s his take on String Theory: A scientific theory that makes no predictions and therefore is not subject to experiment can never fail, but such a theory can never succeed either, as long as science stands for knowledge gained from rational argument borne out by evidence. God is neither the micromanaging dictator nor is he the absent father who just lets the world run mad. A Guidebook for Every Phase of Christian Singleness, To really understand this point, we have to take a quick step back and remember, what the glory of God is according to the Bible. A hard earthly life, however, that leads to seeing God accurately through Jesus Christ is actually a blessing that leads to eternal life forever in God’s presence. #4 — It helps invite progress not perfection. "There is much we can do to alleviate each other’s suffering when adversity strikes. It also could be related to why things happen the way … So one of the reasons God allows bad things to happen is because he allows human choices to matter. Why you? It's all free! The point is we find ourselves in a universe with regularities and patterns that lend themselves to mathematical understanding. If there are lots of sour reviews and one person that raves about the place I'm skeptical. But, I've heard some opinions from people that are absurd. The book is a deeper dive into questions of purpose, meaning and morality in a random, purposeless, godless universe. The downside is that the reason is not always given to you. . They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. So much to unpack on your excellent post. And not just empathy, but active help towards those human beings and to other animals also. If God stopped all the bad, no one would have a true choice to do anything good either. The book provides an accessible understanding of the insights from disparate, cutting edge scientific fields that lead today’s scientists to confidently state that the universe, life and human consciousness are the wondrous products of fundamentally random, unguided processes. Therefore, if God is glorified when God is revealed, we have to ask ourselves, “When is God’s power and love seen most clearly?” Oftentimes the answer to this question is that God’s glory is seen most clearly through the hardest trials in life. It’s not really that God is allowing us to suffer or allowing bad things to happen to good people, it’s a sin thing. I've served as a missionary, a pastor, and as a pastoral counselor. 1. . That 70's Show Thanksgiving (season 1, episode 9) The theological problem of trying to explain why evil and suffering exist in the world is referred to as theodicy. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Consequently, Faith has Bad things happen because sinful people can do hurtful things to us. The bad thing that He suffered was the punishment that our sins deserved. Terrible things do not happen for reasons we can understand, or … My wife Karin is a much more practically-minded, down-to-earth person than I am. 1. The single most fundamental conclusion of modern science is this: The universe has no inherent purpose or design. Get your copy of The Ultimate Guide to Christian Singleness and access to all of our eBooks. This proposition would be correct if you conflate metaphysics and faith. The truth is that the "reason" bad things happen isn't somehow baked into our life's trajectory. The list is mind-boggling! Everyone’s opinion is equally valid.". Thank you very much Dominique for your keen interest. Sure, it’s still possible to believe that a higher power with a higher purpose operates surreptitiously behind it all, using evolution as a means to creation, making it all just appear spontaneous and unguided. For what children are not disciplined by their father? We know from the Scriptures that nothing occurs without God’s permission (Ephesians 1:11). “We can ignore even pleasure. And indeed it would be if anyone but God sought all the glory for himself. We have no idea about the “how.” In terms of plausibility, I find the arguments of Biologist James Tour to be “fully plausible.”. The belief that life is random is unsettling, but it can be emotionally liberating. God Allows Bad Things to Happen to You Because Without the Human Free Will Which Causes Much of the Pain in Our Lives, No True Love Could Be Experienced. The Top 10 Most Viewed AGW Videos from... What Does the Bible Say About Narcissism? But we can redeem these tragedies from senselessness by imposing meaning on them. But I do not believe the same things about Him that I did years ago, when I was growing up or when I was a theological student. "), I wrote: "In the realm of biology, 160 years of extensively detailed science in evolutionary biology since Darwin published On the Origin of Species has left no doubt that the complexity of living organisms, including Homo sapiens, could indeed have arisen without even a whiff of prior purpose or design. Why Do Bad Things Happen? Sometimes, Bad Things Happen for a Reason.. Again, I hope you hear what I am saying, sometimes bad things happen for a reason and I am grateful for each lesson life has brought to me. The reason it is not unloving for God to seek to bring himself glory in all situations is because God’s glory is the best. But as I’ve painstakingly learned, this is metaphysical territory. It’s Trying to Save Us. A similar, more elaborate idea is expressed in Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), according to which only partial aspects of God are contained within this universe—less powerful aspects of the perfect, greater God. Can you point to anything in the physical world that we would characterize as “infinite?”. “Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. Pertaining to “infinity,” such abstract concepts exist only in mathematics. Hi, I'm Mark Ballenger and I'm so happy you've come to ApplyGodsWord.com. Consequently, Faith has repeatedly had to pull up its stakes and relocate, as its former tenets have become undermined or blatantly contradicted by science's expanding knowledge. Honesty has it's down sides. The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly. How precisely this could happen—how such astonishing and ‘clever’ complexity could have arisen and developed out of fundamental randomness and simplicity (and perhaps ultimately out of nothingness! Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”, 2. Money Can Buy at Least One Type of Happiness, Consider Skipping New Year's Resolutions in 2021. Thank you very much Vince for your as-usual thoughtful and penetrating comment. In this sense, the observation of a universe fine-tuned for our existence is a kind of hindsight bias. And 3. 3. The implication is that we would naturally find ourselves in such a universe, rather than in any of the myriad other universes with randomly differing laws of physics not conducive to our existence. Well again, that would take away our opportunity to choose, and if we are all just puppets on a string with no choices to actually make, there would have really not been a reason for God to create us at all. We can either be mindless robots who experience only good things in life but will never actually experience true love because we don’t have choice, or we can be real people who can actually love God and others but who also have to experience real consequences for sin in this world. While the latter might seem more reasonable than the former, they can both be types of the grand excuse. Consensus means nothing! If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. repeatedly had to pull up its stakes and relocate. The central quandary is this: “Why do terrible things happen in a world governed by an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good God?” How can God simultaneously possess all three of these qualities and yet allow bad things to happen to good people, and with such frequency and such savage intensity? The "why me?" So if God is all powerful and God is all loving, the idea of anything bad happening seems impossible. The paperback version is available for $12.99. Like the prodigal son who could only see the love of his father when he was at his lowest, God often lets us go through dark valleys so we will then be able to see how glorious and loving he really is. Red Forman: Son, you don’t have bad luck. Severe adversity seemed almost overdue for us. On the other hand, when we think of a world that is outside of God’s control and everything that happens is simply the outcome of human choices, we can feel abandoned by God and unloved. So we can’t have it both ways. We are also a story-telling species. And while there may forever be things unknowable to science, the problem with Faith staking its territory at the outer limits of scientific explanations is that those outer limits are very rapidly expanding. His goal is not to give us temporary and perhaps superficial and fleeting comfort in … Allow me to explain. But they do. People can and do care, even if the universe doesn’t, Woops I've responded to the wrong article. God is neither the micromanaging dictator nor is he the absent father who just lets the world run mad. But the Bible offers a third option, which is that God shows us his love through the bad things that happen in our lives. … Purposewithoutgod.com: website for the book, articles, videos, podcasts, Finding Purpose in the Randomness of Cancer, Purpose, Meaning, and Morality Without God. And all of this will be accomplished because Jesus Christ came to earth, lived a perfect life, died for our sins, rose from the dead, and will one day return. One of my graduate degrees is in Philosophy. People can and do care, even if the universe doesn’t. We are only good because He has taken our sins and is transforming us into His good image. Accepting randomness frees people from excessive self-blame, and in so doing also empowers them. But sometimes it's because our inactions create an equal and opposite reaction. God doesn’t have to stop the bad things from happening in our lives to spare us from becoming broken. They have the added 'advantage' of being non-falsifiable, whereas conventional Judeo-Christian theology can easily have the rug pulled out from under it in so many different ways: for one thing, conventional Judeo-Christian theology rests on the foundation of the Old Testament having been either divinely revealed or divinely inspired. We know through studying the Bible that God is all powerful and thus he could stop bad things from happening to us if he wanted to. It was 430 pages, 200 pages lesser than my latest version! But let me hastily add, not in a Christian God…but more in the spirit of Whitehead’s process theology. that those outer limits are very rapidly expanding. Sin has so blinded us to God’s glory, the Lord often has to open our eyes through extreme measures. According to this view, God may nevertheless still be at each person's side comforting them and giving them strength during times of adversity (an idea also invoked in the famous "Footprints in the Sand" poem). Why are so many people drawn to conspiracy theories in times of crisis? "We know that all things work together for good to those who love … Yes, as counterintuitive as it is, it is indeed fully plausible that the universe and all the complexity and life and consciousness contained within it could in fact have emerged and evolved entirely spontaneously and unguided. Nothing else is needed. Karin and I had experienced adversity and big life challenges before, but nothing like this. That table is just a brief summary. In short, the darker the night the brighter the light that shines. Here again, we may touch upon spiritual aspects, but not in the traditional sense. He has already made the invitation through His Son Jesus. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. But my favorite act of serving God is revealing his truth in written format. Not that we were really surprised to be facing such a crisis: neither of us had illusions of immunity to the kinds of adversity we had all too often seen hit others.
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