On the whole, men are more good than bad; that, however, isn’t the real point. But they are more or less ignorant, and it is this we call vice or virtue; the most incorrigible vice being that of an ignorance that fancies it knows everything and therefore claims for itself the right to kill.Albert Camus, The Plague
I would go beyond this question and say that even Adam and Eve shouldn’t have been punished for their small transgression.
The chapter of genesis that talks about the fall of man says thus
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?
The good book says this of the tree
For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.
from where I am justified in concluding that A&E were dumb as a dodo. They did not know shit. In fact, I would go as far as argue that the serpent knew more shit than the two combined which brings us to some very interesting questions
- why was the serpent created sly? did she just become sly?
- is knowledge bad? or was it just particular knowledge the gods were not interested in men having?
But back to the question, how are we, who if the story were story, several generations removed from Adam, who were not in the garden where, if god was present, his presence and goodness and whatever else one feels in the presence of a god could be felt, there was enough room and time for the serpent to be crafty, it is akin to asking a Nigerian who has is so far removed from the state to obey its directives.
This brings us to a final question, when the author of genesis writes that god saw that whatever she had created was good, what does this mean?
As you already know, The problem of Evil appears to be one of the biggest problems to the theist philosopher. In trying to explain why god, if one exists, would allow evil to occur they[theist philosophers] have appealed to free will [I am of the view we have no free will as I have written in different posts here] as their line of defense to explain away evil.
Theist philosophers like Platinga and Swinburne argue that it is necessary to have evil in the world to enable us employ our free will in a significant way. They argue that in a world where our choices are between different level of goods, the world will be a playpen. They claim
[..] the existence of moral evil is permitted by God so as to preserve human free will, without which a host of significant goods – including self-determination, moral responsibility, and relationships of love and friendship – would be forever unattainable. [Trakakis Nick, The God Beyond Belief (pg 274)]
I don’t know if they really believe this, I find it absurd that one would claim that a loving god would create us with free will, allow us to commit horrendous evil against each other, so that we achieve can freely employ our freedoms in the slim hope that a heaven exists where we will live in eternal bliss with this god. Was it impossible for this god to create us in this state of bliss? Does this god have sadistic tendencies that he wants to fulfill and for his entertainment likes to watch men and women butcher, rape, maim, torture and kill each other just so that he can tell himself it ain’t my fault, they employed their free will! Free will my ass!
Why, for example, would a perfectly loving god with omniscient capabilities want such a state is beyond me.
My question therefore is, do you think the free will defense for existence of horrendous moral evil is successful in explaining why a loving god would not intervene to prevent such evil from occurring? Would a moral person with the power to stop such evil act with indifference as the supposed god seems to play aloof?
Then the Lord said to Noah, “Enter the ark, you and all your household, for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this time how many families were in existence? All must have been Noah’s relatives 2 You shall take with you of every clean animal by sevens, a male and his female; and of the animals that are not clean two, a male and his female;clean in what sense? I thought in the previous chapter we had two of each? 3 also of the birds of the sky, by sevens, male and female, to keep offspring alive on the face of all the earth. 4 For after seven more days seven days to traverse the whole globe from the NH to SH, convince the animals to come, trap the birds and ants, you can fill in the list here you will find an idea on how long and at what cost it would have taken to capture the animals living on the planet at the time, I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights how did the sea life survive? was the rain saline in nature? were there any plants left after this many days of rain?; and I will blot out from the face of the land every living thing that I have made.” 5 Noah did according to all that the Lord had commanded him.
6 Now Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of water came upon the earth. 7 Then Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him entered the ark because of the water of the flood. 8 Of clean animals and animals that are not clean and birds and everything that creeps on the ground, 9 there went into the ark to Noah by twos, male and female, as God had commanded Noah. 10 It came about after the seven days, that the water of the flood came upon the earth. 11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened. 12 The rain fell upon the earth for forty days and forty nights Apart from the repetition of the same event in the six verses, I have a few thoughts; are the other humans dead already? have they just taken a leave of absence? is it remotely possible they couldn’t break the door? Would everyone be so bad in this society that only one family does the right thing?.
13 On the very same day Noah and Shem and Ham and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark, 14 they and every beast after its kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, all sorts of birds. 15 So they went into the ark to Noah, by twos of all flesh in which was the breath of life. 16 Those that entered, male and female of all flesh, entered as God had commanded him; and the Lord closed it behind him.
17 Then the flood came upon the earth for forty days, and the water increased and lifted up the ark, so that it rose above the earth. 18 The water prevailed and increased greatly upon the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 The water prevailed more and more upon the earth, so that all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered. 20 The water prevailed fifteen cubits higher, and the mountains were covered. 21 All flesh that moved on the earth perished, birds and cattle and beasts and every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth, and all mankind; 22 of all that was on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, died. 23 Thus He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the earth; and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark. 24 The water prevailed upon the earth one hundred and fifty days. My friends have asked many questions on the verses above.Where does all the water go? They have at the last verse been in the watertight and airtight ark for 190 days; what lighting system are they using? what is the method of waste disposal they are employing? do they still have food?
I had promised we will start bible study, bad me, just this once let me break that promise and bring up something interesting just for you.
God is conceived by those who believe as all powerful and all knowing. From the creation story in the Book of genesis it indicates that all was created through his will and knowledge and all that came to existence he knew and he was happy. From this argument of creation, believers insist that all that exists were created by God, such as St. Augustine, an apologist who said there is a theory of seminal principles in the explanation for those things that come to existence later yet creation was done in time. It begs an answer from the believers to explain the origin of evil, yet all that was created by God was good. However from one point of understanding, evil refers to lack of something that ought to be there and the question comes, where was the God who is said to be all knowing and all present for such a mistake to occur, was it an omission or a deliberate move by him?
Others blame evil on the issue of free will, they say human persons use their freedom to create evil, to some extent this argument holds especially on those harms caused by fellow human beings to others. However some happenings such as earth quakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides occur on their own accord and we cannot stop them, yet man has tried so hard even to invent detectors for such calamities but we still loose lives. In us much as we are free to choose, many stories from the Bible which believers use as the source of defense narrates about people whose lives had been destined before even their birth: Jeremiah was told I chose you before you were born and so he had to agree, Jesus says of Judas that cursed was he, he was not suppose to be born and so was Jonah on his mission to Nineveh.
It still amazes me why god who is all loving would use evil to punish Job who was innocent? Instead of protecting him from evil. I would like to end with a question that still troubles me, God is so powerful and so loving, why had he to choose death of His only beloved son as a way for the atonement of sins of human yet he could use his power and save them, as the Bible indicates Jesus forgave people their sins through a word of mouth.