A heartless God..? Ha... more like heartless people. By Merwin

What follows is my reactions to reading a common complaint among non-theists and atheists alike.

In the comment section that followed my previous Hub... "Rebuttal to AKA Winston's "The Simple Explanation That Resolves Christian Paradoxes", my good friend Chasuk posted a comment (excerpt immediately below) that I thought deserved its own Hub as my response.

- "Paradox #1: God, omnipotent and omniscient, placed us is a world of his own devising in which he knew we would fail. He then punishes us for a failure that he engineered. Therefore, bad things happen to good people because that's the way God wanted it.

It's perfectly possible that God, if he exists, is the type of heartless monster that this implies. Why choose to believe in a heartless God before it has been established that any God at all exists? This is putting the cart before the horse, to me.

I know that this isn't Winston's objection, but Winston's objection doesn't convince me." -

(that... by the way, was the aforementioned "common complaint")

Obviously his accusation that, "...God, if he exists" would be some kind of "heartless monster" is what I take issue with the most, but there are several declarations contained in the comment excerpt that I will address, and the best way I can think of handling my objections is to re-state his declaration from another perspective... my own.

So... here goes.

Paradox #1: Change of perspective...

God, omnipotent and omniscient, placed us is a world of His own devising in which He knew we would fail. He, having known all mankind from before the foundations of the earth, and knowing their future failures, redeemed them at that time... by mandating His only begotten Son to be the Lamb slain to express His heart full of love for His precious creation. He knew that his children would rebel in abject defiance, and become murderous monsters.

He knew as well that in order to redeem them... and, settle the question (for them) of whether they are worthy to be their own gods, He would have to allow them to prove their (un)worthiness at the expense of one another.

He knew that in this "budding god" human history, that man would prove himself to be a heartless monster not only unworthy of godhood, but worthy of punishment for his crimes. And for this punishment He would present Himself to carry the guilt of all mankind, allowing His own wrath to be kindled upon Himself so that monsters could be redeemed. He gave Himself as a ransom for them, for they knew not what they were doing... to God, or to each other.

End of Paradox alternative.

So now, who is the heartless monster..? My friend Chasuk states that all the heartless activity in man's history there is a title of "monster" that needs to be worn by somebody.

My friend says there is no God, but, if there is one, then He is a "heartless monster" because of His intentions for man.

I counter... man is the "heartless monster" to his fellow man, whether or not there is a God.

If there is a God (and I believe there is) He has made a way as the Lamb slain from before the foundations of the earth, to save men from their own hideous behavior and prove that they are not qualified to "run" the universe as their own god.

Yes Virginia... there is the "heartless Monster" and it is Man.
(capital "M" intended)



Comments 37 comments

J.K. 5 years ago

I think one little word change up and it would be quite dialed in. "He would allow them to prove their (un)worthiness"


CoauthorU profile image

CoauthorU 5 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA Author

2 J.K. ...thanks for the pointer consider it dialed.


Chasuk 5 years ago

@CoauthorU: The difficulty with criticizing an omnipotent, omniscient superbeing is inherent in the description. If I have described an entity as possessing unlimited power and infinite wisdom, then any criticism that I make is automatically presumptuous.

I agree with you that man is a heartless monster "whether or not there is a God." However, in your version of reality, I was designed by God. If I am a heartless monster, it is because God designed me that way. If I have limited understanding, it is likewise because of God's design.

God knew that we would fail, from before the foundations of the earth, but still he created us, knowing that he would punish us for our failure. The salvation that he provides isn't particularly magnanimous. He died for three days, knowing that he would live again, and he did this from the vantage of perfect understanding. Yet he punishes his ignorant creations for all eternity.

If I knew that through my painful, temporary death I could redeem all humankind, I would do it, today, and I wouldn't punish those who rejected my redemption due to the reasonable doubt born of limited understanding.

I am apparently not as heartless as your hypothetical God.

I've phrased this as gently as I could, but I still offer my apologies if I have caused any offense.


CoauthorU profile image

CoauthorU 5 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA Author

Thank you Chasuk I am not offended at all, your response is every bit what I expected.

You did of course leave out of your latest comment that in His redemption of mankind, He took upon himself EVERY sin of ALL mankind past, present, and future... so they are without excuse.


Chasuk 5 years ago

I'm not sure that I understand your response.

Was it more difficult to take on sins of past, present, and future? Did this extra difficulty somehow erase the reasonable doubt -- born of limited understanding -- that humans still feel in 2011?


CoauthorU profile image

CoauthorU 5 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA Author

The point of my reply was to emphasize that...

1) You left it out of your response.

2) He paid the price of redemption for all, even knowing that the majority would reject the payment when that good news was displayed before them, and even for those who would never hear the gospel.

And...

3) It did not erase the reasonable or even unreasonable doubt nor should it... those that believe have doubts reasonable and otherwise.

And yes... at least in my mind it would be one thing to take the sins of the vessels created for noble use (the minority) and quite another to absorb the sins of the ignoble (the vast majority) while being purged and crucified.

Difficult..? Freaking miraculous..! That the perfect Lamb would suffer the physical agony then top it with the loathsome revulsion of that burden of sin, for those that He knew would never accept His sacrifice. More difficult..?

Hell yes, that is a no brainer.


Chasuk 5 years ago

Okay, I'll rephrase it:

If I knew that through my painful, temporary death I could redeem all humankind -- past, present, and future -- I would do it, today. I would do it for the noble and the ignoble, in full knowledge of the physical agony and the loathsome revulsion that I would experience. I would do it knowing that it would be rejected by most, with no thought to punishing those who rejected my redemption for reasons reasonable or unreasonable, and even for those who didn't know (or care) that i had died for them at all.

It's a no-brainer, really. I know many atheists who would do the same. As a Christian, wouldn't you?


mulesmurf 5 years ago

Face it guys...bad things happen to ALL PEOPLE!

And the hope that GOD exists is part of what causes BAD THINGS to happen to good and all people.

Religion and God ideas rule the masses. The lower down the education pile you go generally speaking, the higher and more robust the need and acceptance of God, Religion and the Governing of the masses they try to do.

God and Magic are incompatible with the Universe.


CoauthorU profile image

CoauthorU 5 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA Author

2 Chasuk...

You are very generous... now, would you still be as generous when it came to your only, very beloved child..?

And as you mentioned they (the Father and Son) both knew that He would rise again on the morning of the third day. As the Father however, you also knew that the Son's suffering would have to be done while in the form that is subjected to all the frailties that are common to man... including doubt, "Father why have you forsaken me?"

These frailties did not just rush upon Him at the time of the cross, they were through out His ministry, fasting and being tempted in the desert, is our first example. The temptations were varied and powerful. Ruling the whole world would be a great temptation to anyone's ego.

Certainly... He had many powerful confirmations of His direction along His way, but for the most part He dealt with staying on track, in very human terms.

So... would you send your precious child to do that..?


CoauthorU profile image

CoauthorU 5 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA Author

2 mulesmurf...

Thank you for your visit and your comment.

In response I must say that I have no trouble facing the fact that, "...bad things happen to ALL PEOPLE!" mankind has been doing bad things to one another all along and under every "ism", and yes, religion has been used to oppress many peoples, but, then so has Atheism. Stalin's regime in the Soviet Union murdered in the tens of millions as did the Chinese purges during the cultural revolution under Chairman Mao.

These examples have not been God's doing... they are the doings of mankind, insisting that he is the master of his own fate, and his own god.

And most of the religious deaths cannot be attributed to the Father of Jesus. And virtually none of the religious wars since the dispensation of grace began, can be attributed to Jesus or His Father. Nearly all deaths since Jesus are the result of the errant choices of man.

Acts chapter five Ananias and Sapphira are two examples off the top of my head, and then Herod in Acts chapter 12 is another...

Act 12:23 And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.

And your comments about the lack of education of man are little more than pedestrian pulp designed to subjugate those masses who do not want to believe. These folks are looking for rhetoric to make their position sound legitimate, and they think they have found it in this type of jargon.

So... no, after your first two sentences I disagree.


CoauthorU profile image

CoauthorU 5 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA Author

2 mulesmurf correction...

Acts chapter five Ananias and Sapphira are two examples off the top of my head **, and then Herod in Acts chapter 12 is another...

...two examples off the top of my head **that are exceptions,


Chasuk 5 years ago

@CoauthorU: Would I allow my children to be murdered to save others? No, I wouldn't. However, God not only allowed the murder of his child, he arranged it, from before the foundations of the earth. Apparently, human sacrifice was the best plan that an omnipotent, omniscient superbeing could devise.

Think about that contradiction: God loved us so much that he sacrificed his "only, very beloved child," for our sake. Yet he also did this:

"Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark" (NIV, Gen7:21-23).

Eight people survived, out of all of humankind:

"On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark."

God didn't just passively allow them to die, he actively destroyed them:

"I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish" (NIV, Gen 6:17).

God saved the eight on the ark, but he killed every infant, every toddler, every child. He killed the innocent still inside their mother's wombs. He drowned every puppy and every kitten. And he killed everything and everyone else, too. Worse, he knew that he would, before the foundations of the earth.

He made us, ordaining our failure:

"Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be" (NIV, Psalm 139:16).

If you want other proofs that God is heartless, I can trivially provide them.


CoauthorU profile image

CoauthorU 5 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA Author

I could probably... more readily provide those very examples to you, but they all, are far from heartless.

We have been exchanging now for around a year and a half, and I consider you a person that knows me well enough... and as such, I believe it is fair to ask you. Have you ever known me to misrepresent my understanding of who God is, or the things he has wrought..?

I do not sugar coat anything... least of all God. I take this position without reservation for I am certain by what I have read in His Holy Word, that He does not sugar coat... or LIE, concerning Himself. And yet He maintains that He is compassionate and long suffering, a declarations of himself, that I do not doubt.

He also says of that time, that (NIV)...

Gen 6:5 The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.

Gen 6:6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.

So... rather than being "heartless" as you (conveniently leaving out this account) so deftly described Him, He instead had a heart heavy with pain.

In every possible episode of description He gave warnings. In every category of his dealings He dispensed opportunity to repent. In your example of Noah... it took Noah and his sons about one hundred years to build the ark... do you think it happened in a vacuum..? That no one asked, "say man... that's a funny looking stadium yer buildin watcha got in mind..?" No... I dare say he was very explicit about his intentions.

But... you insist on portraying a God that you no longer believe in, as heartless..? This, while you conveniently leave out pertinent, other, God expressed information.

So, you wish to make someone(someone you don't believe in) seem heartless, using His written word to do so, while leaving out His written words that may convey to the reader some understanding of His compassion and long suffering..?!

That sir, is just plain beneath you.


Chasuk 5 years ago

@CoauthorU: No, I have never known you to misrepresent your understanding of who God is, or the things he has wrought.

However, everyone's understanding goes through an unavoidable filter. Our filters alter our understanding. Hence, what you understand about X is different from what I understand about X.

I judge people and gods by their actions.

"By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?" (NIV, Matthew 7:16).

God's actions were heartless, despite his grief and pain. I wouldn't judge Zeus or you or my children or a mass murderer any differently. A crime doesn't have to be real, nor do its perpetrators have to exist, in order for it to be legitimately evaluated. Ming the Merciless was fictional, yet we still judge him.

Nobody forced God to drown most of humanity. He obviously did it of his own free will. He was unhappy with what he had created, so he destroyed it. That this destruction caused him pain is irrelevant; he still did it.

Imagine I'm on trial, and the prosecuting attorney is grilling me.

Attorney: Why did you drown your six children?

Me: I was unhappy that I had made them. They were wicked.

Attorney: All of them were wicked? Even the two infants?

Me: Yes.

Attorney: Did you do it freely, or were you compelled?

Me: Oh, I did it freely. No power can make me do anything against my will. But it did cause me a lot of anguish as I did it.

Attorney: Is that supposed to make the crime less heinous, that you flt bad doing it?

Me: No, of course not. I don't have to justify anything to you.

I didn't have to leave anything out to make God seem heartless. His actions alone proved that.

As far as God giving warning, if you saw a man with his family building an ark for 100 years -- in preparation for a supposed global deluge -- would you believe him? Would any prosecutor be any more lenient if a mass murderer said, "But I did warm them!"


Chasuk 5 years ago

I strongly dislike typos. >.<

" that you flt bad doing it" == " that you felt bad doing it"

""But I did warm them!" == ""But I did warn them!"


CoauthorU profile image

CoauthorU 5 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA Author

Typos... I know the angst well. Used to be one could go back in and edit... I don't know what is going on with Hubpages.

The Bible says of those days that the earth/world was filled with violence, translation... they were killing each other on a global scale, maybe worse than they do it today.

You know, Plato wasn't the only person to give an account of Atlantis, and by many accounts that civilization was destroyed because of their corruption. All over the globe there are huge edifices that admittedly cannot be duplicated today even with our technology, but are attributed to slave labor and simple machinery.

I suggest that, that civilization was technologically advanced, was every on every part of the globe and very violent. I further suggest that they had their warnings, and from more than just Noah, and remained violent.

I am certain that God did not wish to contend with man's arrogance, defiance, and knew they would not turn from their murderous ways and it was time to get on with get on with phase II of His plan for redemption.

Or, maybe you say, it would have been more charitable and loving to allow that "civilization" to continue in that murderous philosophy and populate the universe with it, before doing something..?

You have faith in Mankind to change his ways… to be a kinder and gentler man. Are you demented? You say that if God is real then he is heartless. Are you mad..? For He did not wait perhaps a million decades before stopping an advanced race in their murderous path.

It is apparent to me that God, in His wisdom allowed man a do-over wherein man proved himself just as murderous as the first time, with everything going according to as He foresaw it and portrayed it in His Word.

And now it is time for His plan of redemption to go into its next phase… because this is the generation foretold of, to see his return.


Mr. Smith profile image

Mr. Smith 5 years ago from California

I believe this conversation has lost the single most important point of the redemption plan... God is three persons in one. None of us will fully understand it until we see Him. But even with our limited use of brain and spirit, the very real concept covers vast voids of understanding when it comes to creation, free-will and redemption.


Chasuk 5 years ago

@Mr. Smith: Not every Christan is a Trinitarian, but point taken.


Chasuk 5 years ago

@CoauthorU: I'm not sure whether you are joking, or making a serious suggestion, or somewhere in-between. Atlantis? Advanced technology? Populating the universe with a murderous philosophy?

You leave me speechless.


CoauthorU profile image

CoauthorU 5 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA Author

Being a little flippant..?


CoauthorU profile image

CoauthorU 5 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA Author

Perhaps... and yet what other explanation for these structures might you have?


Chasuk 5 years ago

@CoauthorU: Me being flippant, or you? I was bring serious. You made a suggestion that I never expected you to make.

Which structures? Pyramids? Something else?


CoauthorU profile image

CoauthorU 5 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA Author

I was being a little flippant, but, if flippant, a flippancy based in honest opinion... flippant might be a poor choice, what word might be more appropriate..?

All stone pyramids found around the world that are clearly ancient beyond sound description. These, and then even older non-pyramid structures that defy modern, legitimate, "scientific" explanations.

I been watching the Hitler (History) Channel and they show these programs, and, of course I infer my own estimations. And I am curious as to your take on the subject.


CoauthorU profile image

CoauthorU 5 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA Author

No reply... then please respond to the comment leaving out that paragraph that references ancient structures.

As for the paragraph that does touch on the subject we will need a new Hub... its on the way then.


Chasuk 5 years ago

I haven't deliberately avoided replying. I have about three hours a day in total to have dinner, go grocery shopping, do stuff with my wife, and take care of my correspondence (which is what I consider this), and everything else in life. I commute 25 hours a week, so I'm either commuting, at work, or sleeping the rest of the time. Sometimes I miss stuff. That's what happened here.

I'm a pretty complete skeptic, Merwin. I don't believe in ghosts, witches, demons, UFOs, Atlantis, Big Foot, the Loch Ness Monster, the NWO, 99% of any conspiracy theories, astrology, channeling, astral projection, deity, prophecy, miracles, crystal healing, telepathy, or really anything that is supernatural/paranormal/"alternative".

As for the rest of your comment... am I demented? I don't think so, no. However, I look for a naturalistic explanation for everything, because I don't believe that anything else exists.

I don't have faith that mankind will change its ways. I hope that we survive long enough that we outgrow the zealotry that I've identified elsewhere as the major problem facing mankind. I don't believe that God exists, which means that I also don't believe the theology which excuses his behavior.

You believe in some sort of fate/plan/destiny. I don't. I believe that stuff happens exclusively as a result of what has happened before. If I believed in an omnipotent, omniscient God, I would believe that this God, 10 trillion years ago, knew what was going to happen today, and what will happen tomorrow.

For me, this causes a paradox. God, if he exists, is the first cause, the originator of all things. If he exists, his power and his abilities are unlimited, including the ability to choose different futures. If he is loving, he chooses the future that causes the least pain for his creations. When the best plan that you can devise involves human sacrifice and babies dying of cancer and tidal waves killing tens of thousands, you are either a limited God, or a heartless, cruel one. I don't buy the "god works in mysterious ways" sophistry, or "who are we to question god." If God exists, then every raped and dismembered teen was something that he could have prevented by choosing different initial conditions.

Believing in God is possibly justifiable. But believing all of the rest of the silliness -- whether Christian silliness, Muslim silliness, Scientologist silliness, Mormon silliness, etc -- seems, to be, almost certifiable.

Back to the ancient structures... I don't believe that any structure exists on earth which can't be reasonably explained as an artifact of man. I look forward to your hub on the subject.


CoauthorU profile image

CoauthorU 5 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA Author

Thanks for the comeback, sorry to intrude.

I assume your lumping in…

- “ghosts, witches, demons, UFOs, Atlantis, Big Foot, the Loch Ness Monster, the NWO, 99% of any conspiracy theories, astrology, channeling, astral projection, deity, prophecy, miracles, crystal healing, telepathy, or really anything that is supernatural/paranormal/"alternative". –

With what I asked your opinion of, is because you consider what I brought up to be in the same ball park of premises… in my opinion, it is not. I understand you consider the God aspect of my comments superstition and that is a given for me. Setting that aside, I was asking if you had any thoughts on the actual structures that defy (so far) credible scientific explanations. These are existing structures, and do not sit side by side with your (above quoted) catalogue of bogey men.

If you’ve never really considered them at all then that is fine, my next Hub may give you something to consider, it may be a few days, for you are not the only “busy” person on the planet LOL.


Chasuk 5 years ago

You didn't intrude. I was merely explaining my tardiness.

I'll wait to read your next hub before I respond.


CoauthorU profile image

CoauthorU 5 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA Author

K... maybe this weekend.


CoauthorU profile image

CoauthorU 5 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA Author

There is more comments that I would like to make on this topic... also this weekend.


CoauthorU profile image

CoauthorU 5 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA Author

On the one hand... (you Chasuk, say) there is no God or anything else that might be considered supernatural. That the monster that is man, will hopefully one day grow out of murderous ways but you do not seem hopeful. (fair assessment?)

On the other hand... (I believe) there is a God and He, for the last maybe, 20 thousand years, has been maneuvering through the many efforts and failures of man's attempts to prove that he is his own god. Keeping man from totally destroying everything, perhaps, hundreds of times, and this all, to provide an ultimate eternal solution that showcases man's failure to be god over himself.

The rebellion in the Garden, was effectively two perfect minds being obstinate and stating, "We want to rule ourselves, we will eat the fruit and know what we need to know to do so. We will be our own gods."

We have, in those many eras since, done nothing to prove that we are anything but desperately wicked and murderous, with some exceptions, and invariably those exceptions can trace their source to the influences provided by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

He has sought to provide us a better way out of our self absorption dilemma from the beginning, but it must be done in a way that truthfully shows our murderous choices from beginning to end. It must be done in a way that clearly... for all eternity, illustrates that we had every opportunity to do it right, and proved ourselves fiends every time.

We proved ourselves fiends... while manipulating the hearts and loyalties of the devoted, and, while seeking to eradicate everyone's desire for God/gods. We have used religion for power, and we have used man’s desire for freedom from religions for the same end, we are murderous.

God... through Jesus has provided the solution and we have provided His proof, and it has finally come full circle in this generation.


Chasuk 5 years ago

In every era and in every culture, the majority adhere to a common mythology. As time passes, if the mythology survives, it grows more convoluted. Your sincere confabulation above is an excellent example of this. Most myths eventually implode under the weight of their own accretions. Maybe this will happen here, maybe it won't. I doubt either of us will live long enough to find out.


CoauthorU profile image

CoauthorU 5 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA Author

2 Chasuk...

confabulation

Definition:

1. confer about something: to discuss or have a chat about something ( formal )

2. create memory of supposed past events: to give fictitious accounts of past events, believing they are true, in order to cover a gap in the memory caused by a medical condition such as dementia or Korsakoff's syndrome

What medical condition are you confabulating that I have..? LOL


Chasuk 5 years ago

I mean it in the sense of "the recital of experiences that have no foundation in fact."


CoauthorU profile image

CoauthorU 5 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA Author

2 Chasuk...

Here is a fact... the fact is, it is simply your opinion that there is "no foundation in fact", and my opinion that the facts are extensive.


Chasuk 5 years ago

Two points:

1. You specifically asked me for my opinion -- " I been watching the Hitler (History) Channel and they show these programs, and, of course I infer my own estimations. And I am curious as to your take on the subject." -- which is what I gave.

2. Your 'estimations" may indeed be factual. However, when you make an assertion, it is your job to present the evidence, not mine. You did make such an attempt in a subsequent hub, but not in this one. I do my best to avoid conflating our dialogues, so my response in this hub concerned your lack of evidence here only.


CoauthorU profile image

CoauthorU 5 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA Author

2 Chasuk...

Fair enough.

And it is also fair to say that I qualified my last comment by stating that everything that I consider as being extensively factual is only my opinion as being such. I did not intend to level an accusation... only the playing field.


Chasuk 5 years ago

Fair enough. ;-)

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