Our study group is randomly picking chapters out of Greg Boyd’s Letters From a skeptic. We decided to do the chapter on “Why Does God Create Earthquakes and Famines?”. The book doesn’t give specific references to back up the points, so Mel and I did a lot of research on finding verses which support the points he mentions in the book. Below is the note sheet we printed for everyone. Thought maybe someone else would find it useful.
It didn’t copy paste perfectly but hopefully you will get the idea 🙂
How do you get God off the hook for evils which don’t arise from anyone’s decision? Since God is the one who directly creates everything why does he create famines, earthquakes, mudslides, AIDS, deformed babies, and the like? Surely no one’s free will – except God’s – can be blamed for these. If he is all-loving, one would think that he would exercise a little more care with his creation.
Is God All-Loving?
- “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” – Psalm 46
- “What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go.” – Genesis 28:15
- “You must serve only the Lord your God. If you do, I will bless you with food and water, and I will protect you from illness.” – Exodus 23:25
- The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name.“ – Psalm 91:14
- We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. – I John 4:16
- Evil People
- “Most of the pain and suffering in the world is the result of evil people, not nature, and that even the pain caused by most natural disasters could be minimized or eliminated if humans were what God created us to be.”
- Example: Take famines. Do you think anyone would ever starve if everyone “loved his neighbor as himself”? How much “natural” disasters could be avoided if people that had the means cared enough about to invest in the safety and welfare of others.
- Suffering and death are a side affect of evil – Romans 5:12
- God gives us a choice – Deut 30.19
- Creation Has Limited Characteristics
- “Anything in which God could create would be limited in certain respects. The very fact that what God creates is less than himself introduces limitations and imperfections into the picture.”
- Example: The rock which holds you up must also be hard enough for you to stub your toe on it. The air which you breathe must also be thin enough to allow you to fall through it when not supported by a hard surface.
- “Every positive feature of any created entity is a potentially negative feature in certain circumstances”
- It’s not inherent evil: it’s just the way things have to be. I suspect that were it not for the fall of humanity we would be quite at peace with the limited, and sometimes unfortunate, nature of things.
- Spiritual Free Beings
- “Human free wills aren’t the only free wills that have been created. The universe is inhabited by innumerable spiritual free beings as well.”
- The earth has been literally sieged by a power outside itself. There is a power of pure evil which now affects everything and everybody on the earth. The Creator is not the only influence any longer.
- Evil forces
- Many angels joined Satan in his rebellion against God – 2 Peter 2:4
- Angels abandoned Heaven – Jude 6, 7
- Other notes on Satan: http://www.dianedew.com/satan.htm
- Battle of evil vs. good going on around us – Ephesians 6:11-12
- The entire cosmos is in a state of chaos – Romans 8:18-21