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The problem with evil - Epicurus Style

12 February 2013, 09:10

In Atheitis article (http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/An-Atheist-Prayer-20130208) I made several comments that man need for power and inability to  control his urges are the true problem here, and not the God he follows. The atheists was even so kind to include my children in the conversation about rape. They fail to see the error of man, and just like Adam is looking for an excuse to pass the responsibility to some else… In the Bible, God said, okay since humans can do better and know better about everything, let’s give them ability to move outside the Will of God like in Gen 3, and also the ability to stay within the Will of God. That way no one can point to God when it goes up in smoke…

When joining the “Crossing the Rubicon” on Facebook (lair for  atheists), there was a Conversion meeting held, with me in the middle, fellow “priests” of the atheist orientation and the proponent trainee priest Hanjo taking the lead… This was their argument…(Pardon the length of the article, but it should be worthwhile

The Epicurus Paradox

Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?

What is a paradox?

A paradox is an argument that produces an inconsistency, typically within logic or common sense. Most logical paradoxes are known to be invalid arguments but are still valuable in promoting critical thinking. However, some have revealed errors in definitions assumed to be rigorous, and have caused axioms of mathematics and logic to be re-examined

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox

I did point out what a paradox was, and that it contains invalid argument from which the author could not escape…

I read once that according to the commentator a  “paradox is for whiners who get stuck on a need to be right. It's a circle. Produces a halting state. Things that halt, get eaten. Evolution in action.”

That is not to say it is not a paradox of personal logic, but that should point to the short comings of individual understanding, rather than the subject in general.

The conclusion entailed the normal two proposed solution and two others. The solution of the parado is that God is evil , or God is indifferent to His creation. The other probable answer, instead of saying the above, they THAT god doesn’t exist, and then the last one, that they don’t dispute the existence of (a) God, but see no good reason to believe in (a) God

On Epicurus and his Paradox

Some say Epicurus was guilty of affirming the consequent. Others that he was denying the antecedent… The truth of the matter is despite which one he used, it is both cases logical fallacies, and that was what “priests of atheism” failed to see…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affirming_the_consequent

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denying_the_antecedent

Let us look at Epicurus paradox.

Simply because he did not understand the God, he is talking about what lead him to his own personal paradox. The paradox is limited to his understanding of God. That makes the argument not a paradox by definition, but just the ranting’s of a confused angry philosopher.

Just because those who worship this man choose to identify his work as a paradox does not make it a paradox. Simply identifying all of the misconceptions he has about God through scripture (if any Greek scripture) shows he did not understand the God he so quickly misjudged.

The age Epicurus lived in is irrelevant only to the one trying to maintain the purity of his work, against mounting evidence that this man did not know the God he spoke of. By speaking of the "evidence" or resources Epicurus had during the time he lived proves he could not legitimately make the assertions that he did and that which renders the body of his work down to trivial speculation. Some may say the paradox stood the test of time, however it will be true maybe to those standing on same side of the fence. Everyone else seems to see a confused little man who died in rebellion of God. Why would anyone insist that Epicurus knows God better than God/The bible knows God? The entire "paradox" is based on his (mis)understanding of sin and evil.

Epicurus took it upon himself to judge God using God's standard but changed the standard to make the conviction fit. All one needs to do, is untied the web Epicurus used tangled all who subscribe to his thoughts and himself. Simply by giving the biblical standard in which he pretended to use to create his "paradox”.

How can one responsibly speak about the God of the bible if he does not use the bible to define God? This is exactly the problem Epicurus argument has.

A simple question to one and all…How is it you can use the bible to convict the known nature of God (As with the Epicurean 'paradox") and yet dismiss the very same bible when a coherent defence is found with in the same pages the original accusation is levied?

Do you not see the logical fallacy here?

So for my acquaintances of the Crossing the Rubicon, the very same men you say were flawed and wrote the bible, was of the same species that wrote his own misunderstanding of what God is… Logical fallacy 101

Let look at biblical definition of Sin, Evil and Freewill.

Sin, is anything not in the expressed will of God. Evil is a malicious intent to be outside the expressed will of God. Not all sin is Evil, but all Evil is sin. Free Will Is the ability to be outside of the Expressed Will of God on your own accord. In other words The "gift" of free will is the ability to Sin. Humans have this ability so we may choose where we wish to spend eternity, but as with any real choice comes a price and consequence.

The paradox of Epicurus can not be about the biblical definitions. Otherwise the paradox fails!!!

Look at how the definition of Evil has had to change and be twisted to convict God with crimes against humanity. What foolish logic is it that one use the bible to be a witness to these so called crimes but refutes the bible when it is used to explain away and dismiss these accusations?

Where as man has had to change the meaning of, and add some of the following terms: good, Evil, Morality, and benevolence. In order to convict God with crimes against humanity so people who do not wish to submit themselves to Him, can feel justified in their personal faith/beliefs.

Why do we use God's interpretation of Evil rather that the accepted and popular understanding of the word? Because it is God's actions (or lack of) that are being questioned in relation to Evil. If God is being judged against a standard then we must establish who God is, against the very same standard in which God is being judged. If we are speaking of the God of the bible then it is to the biblical standard in which we are to also judge evil. That is unless you feel you need to stack the deck in your favour to judge God unfairly in order to win your conviction. A fair assessment would indeed single source (as there is only one source that defines the God of the bible) information of God and sin/evil, in order to make a sound judgment.

One may ask why God allows sin. (A will apart from His own?) Could it be that we may choose, whether or not we want to spend an eternity with God. In order for there to be a choice, there must be true options. Ours are the expressed will of God or our own.

On to the actual quote:
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.


Evil is the ultimate expression of sin. It is the proof that we indeed have a will outside of God's expressed will; it is the proof or ultimate result of free will.

“Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.”

If we had no ability to choose things based on good or evil intentions in the world (including the option to be evil) then we would have simply been created to either spend an eternity with God or in Hell. This is the picture of true malevolence. (The souls being created to exist in Hell with no say in the matter) As it is we have been given a choice to be evil or not, and no one is forcing us to be evil. It is a choice made and we have to all live with the consequences by being outside the Will of God.

Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?


This piece again point that evil is the evidence of Free will. Free Will and the consequences of those choices are the point and purpose of this life. We are to choose where we wish to spend eternity. Without "Sin and Evil" there is not point of been given this existence.

Being able and willing, but still doing nothing does not make the subject malevolent…

Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?


Because the Title "God" has absolutely nothing to do with how Epicurus nor the person using this quote defines it.

Why have a hell in the first place? I think because not everyone wants to spend an eternity in the presence of the God of the bible. So where in all of creation can you seperate yourself from the "Omni-present" God of Creation? Answer: One can’t, however in the “Pit”, “The Void”, “The Darkness” eternal separation can be found. Only by choice you can separate yourself from God, and send yourself willing and able to the place where separation from God is fact…

Free will/ the ability to choose take you there, not God. The problem here is that (some) humans wish to be god themself. Unfortunately, they are not and will be subject to His Expressed Will or Eternal separation. God does not promise to be whom you or I or Epicurus has made Him out to be. “I am what I am” or “I will be what I will be” testifies to that…YAHWEH

We have all heard ”Your belief is faith based, not evidence based. That makes it a superstition.” can only be true and give non-believers’ argument some legitimacy. Especially when they try and explain away the God they hide from.

If the argument is that quoting verses have no relevance is used the fact is when you speak of the God of the bible using the standards found in the bible their "arguments" become subject to the same bible, because one only needs to point out which category of logical fallacy their efforts fall under. Some fallacy would include the following, and they could choose of which one they are more guilty off.

Ignoratio elenchi (irrelevant conclusion, missing the point) – an argument that may in itself be valid, but does not address the issue in question.

Moving the goalposts (raising the bar) – argument in which evidence presented in response to a specific claim is dismissed and some other (often greater) evidence is demanded

Red herring – a speaker attempts to distract an audience by deviating from the topic at hand by introducing a separate argument which the speaker believes will be easier to speak.

The question begins with does God have these “Omni” traits…? Where does God claim them? The only I could find is this one, but God isn’t the One claim it…

Revelation 19:6 (NASB)

6 Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying,

“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty(Omnipotent), reigns.

The omni aspects of God is a religious work trying to describe the aspects of God mentioned in the bible. The problem here is the "short definition" provided by this work does not encompass the complete understanding offered by an infinite God. In short the word is "finite" and God isn't.

Therefore their can be truth found in the omni aspects of God, yet not doctrinal truth meaning the descriptions/definitions provided by this religious work are not actually found in the bible.

It's kinda like an unauthorized biography. there is truth, but not a whole understanding of truth. it is full representation of truth by the people who understand it to be true.

Does God have “omni” traits or not? God is infinite. Our ability to describe all of the personality traits of God accurately is very limited. When we narrow it down to one word phrases the description of God suffers even more.

So is there truth in the omni aspects of God? Yes.

Does the omni apsects of God completely describe the infinite nature of God? No.

The difference between Truth and biblical/Doctrinal truth.

The reason truth is like a unauthorized biography is because the person writing the unauthorized biography may not have a complete understanding of whom he is documenting.

This relates to the omni aspects of God by saying, the “omni “aspects of God are not identified in the bible (Authorized biography) Therefore it maybe subject to misconception and error. Just like an unauthorized biography would be. However that said just because it is an unauthorized, does not mean it doesn't hold truth.

In short Epicurus did not understand the biblical concept of evil either. His idea was based on the Greek understanding

Poneros

Pronunciation

po-na-ro's (Key)


Part of Speech
adjective

Root Word (Etymology)

From a derivative of p???? (G4192)

TDNT Reference
6:546,912
Vines
View Entry
1) full of labours, annoyances, hardships

a) pressed and harassed by labours

b) bringing toils, annoyances, perils; causing pain and trouble

2) bad, of a bad nature or condition

a) in a physical sense: diseased or blind

In short, Epicurus is asking why is life hard. We are asking why do bad things happen to what you think are basically good people. For Epicurus this was not a question, for he knew why bad things happened. He wanted to know why after so much sacrifice and giving to the gods of his day was not life easy and full of pleasure, as it was promised.

If God is to eradicate evil, God has to eradicate sin, and in so doing, with whom does God start? Me, you, your daughter? Maybe all of humankind, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. All that this paradox shows is a complete misunderstanding of the nature of God.

Some would say let apply it on any god. Would that not remove the true power from Epicurus paradox? Just to clarify, Epicurus was not talking about the Hebrew God, he was referring to the Greek gods that promised a good life yet fail to give it.

In Genesis 3 we here we are not going to have good life, put a life with toil and pain, etc...This shows that we are here on earth only temporarily. Check 1Pe 2:11; He 13:14; 2 Co 5:1,5 .

No suffering would result in that no one would want to leave this temporary world and no one would desire the "eternal" home, and therefore prepare himself or herself for it. To evaluate the God of the Bible based on the view that there would be no suffering is not just and ignorant one; both based on false view of what is to be expected during our time here on earth. Then let us substitute pain and suffering if you do not feel comfortable arguing sin and evil any more.

The God of the bible does not say He will take away pain and suffering in this life, matter of fact He says because this world has been handed over to the evil heart of man we are to expect much pain and suffering in this life. Why, because until his kingdom come the set apart will suffer by the hands of the wicked.

So you see the "paradox" is broken for the God of the bible does not make the same promises the gods of Epicurus made to him.

Suffering can bring out our best. An example a man whose wife was seriously injured will see it in the constant support by friends, in the preparation of food, in the financial support. We see this occurring quite frequently in times of natural disaster, when someone loses a house to fire, tornado, etc. or in times of terminal illness. Most humans understand that tribulations could develop character (Ro 5:3-4). If a person fails to see, the relevance it says a lot about that person perception of what life on earth will be and what it purpose is. Love for all humankind and for God. It is good to trust hypotheses know to us in science to explain the unexplainable, however to trust them would be of the same relevance to trust the Unknown, where humans turn to God in times of suffering.  It serves a different purpose that what the hypotheses’ does…

Suffering gives an occasion to silence the enemies of God, just like Satan wanted to prove God wrong about Job, that he served God, only because God had blessed him, but Job's patience under suffering silenced Satan.

Likewise, God desires that we silence "foolish men" - 1Pe 2:15, who ridicule the teachings of Christ as foolishness, and  who say we are Christians only for what good we can get out of

it.

 By patiently enduring, or doing good in times of suffering, the value of being Christians really shines through, and in the faith that sustains us in suffering, through in the love we show towards those who suffer.

Suffering makes us appreciative, since all receive so many good things in this life, that it is easy for us to become prone to take them for granted, instead of receiving them with gratitude toward God. It helps us realize the importance of good health, good friends, and a loving family (Php 1:3-8). It makes us realize our dependence upon God for our very breath, as Paul stated:  "in Him we live and move and have our being" - Ac 17:28

We can only know what another person suffering entails, when we suffer those same pains with them, to fully understand them, and have the same feelings and emotions as they do, only then we can serve ech other better. That explains the necessity of pray, as it wishes well being on that person, and praise God if and when that suffering ends, in one way or another, and when it doesn’t go our way, to accept it that the result made us understand and feel compassion for each other. Death is unavoidable, but with death, that suffering ends. No one wishes for another to die, so the pro euthanationists would agree the result is the same…

God is fair, but life sometimes isn’t. God is good, but people often do bad things. God is perfect, but we make mistakes that sometimes cost us dearly. As long as people do bad or evil things, other people will be hurt. If a robber shot you, you and your family would suffer.

As long as humans make mistakes, there will be suffering. If we could just take back that one decision or action that caused so much suffering. We will be blessed both with rain for our crops and cursed with natural disasters that flood, destroy and kill. As long as we are physical and subject to breaking down and wearing out, sickness and death will come upon us. How will the world would look like if it could be fair as we want it to be fair. No accidents could happen, no criminal act could occur, no natural disaster could affect us. Such a world would have no logic. The natural laws that govern cause and effect would have to be different in every circumstance. If God had to stop carelessness and irresponsibility, stop everyone from being hurt, from coming down with illnesses and diseases and even death?

During our entire lives we would be like babies, always under the interventionist eyes of our spiritual parent, God. No longer would we be free to choose, allowed to consider possible courses of action and to carry through on our choices. Just like our parents, we cant say they were not loving and able to prevent bad things from

We might agree that a world without suffering seems something of a fantasy. However, the question of God’s fairness doesn’t go away easily when we see so much suffering in the world.

The Israelites would certainly have said God was being fair! At last they were being freed from slavery. Life was certainly coming up roses for them. But if we had been Pharaoh or the Egyptians, our attitude would have been quite different.

God hates suffering

More than 2,500 years ago, the prophet Jeremiah surveyed the carnage of the city of Jerusalem, sacked by the Babylonians. Inside the besieged city, starving mothers had eaten their dead children. Jeremiah looked past the suffering of a sinful and dying generation to a future with hope. “Men are not cast off by the Lord forever,” he said (Lamentations 3:31). “Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men” (verses 32-33).

CONCLUSION

1. Can we begin to see why a RIGHTEOUS and MERCIFUL God would allow

   suffering, even to the innocent?

2. If we look at suffering purely from MAN'S point of view, we will not

   understand why suffering is permitted

3. But remember what God said through the prophet Isaiah:

   8  For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways

   my ways, saith the LORD. 9  For [as] the heavens are higher than the

   earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than

   your thoughts. (Isaiah 55)

4. When we look at suffering from GOD'S point of view, from the viewpoint

   of His plans for us in preparation of eternity, then we can begin to

   appreciate why He would allow suffering to occur...

5. And never forget those words of Paul, which reminds us of God's never

   failing love:

   35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall]

   tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness,

   or peril, or sword? 36  As it is written, For thy sake we are killed

   all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37

   Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him

   that loved us. 38  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life,

   nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor

   things to come, 39  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature,

   shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in

   Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8)

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2012/10/12/10-reasons-why-god-allows-suffering/

http://executableoutlines.com/suf/suf_01.htm

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