This is a split board - You can return to the Split List for other boards.

Ask a Rabbi: Problem of Evil edition.

#1kts123Posted 4/12/2013 11:47:56 AM(edited)
The following is a question/answer exchange between someone and a Rabbi. I thought it was an interesting look at the Problem of Evil. The actual issue is centered around why God doesn't "do" open miracles anymore, but it does touch the Problem of Evil.

Dear Rabbi,

I was reading my son Bible stories and he asked a simple, child-like question: "Why doesn't G-d use his power to punish bad people the way he did in the Bible?" He was referring to the stories of Passover, Noah's Ark, the destruction of Sodom and others. Then it turned to the Nazis and why G-d didn't help the Jews by simply destroying the Nazis. I was flustered for an answer as to why we don't see G-d's great powers the way they did in the bible. Any thoughts?


Dear <OMITTED>

A very deep question. Why does G-d seem to allow evil, and bad people to do bad things to good people. It boils down to, "why is there evil?"

I think the answer is that G-d doesn't "like" to do open miracles. The word "world" in Hebrew, "olam," means "hiding." That is, G-d made the world as a place to hide from us, so that we can get reward (in the next world) for finding Him.

To do this, G-d needs to allow evil to flourish, for a short time. If lightning struck every time someone did a sin, no one would deserve credit for being good, because there would be no other choice.

So, what's wrong with that? As I mentioned before, G-d made this world as a place to hide in. That way, someone who truly wants to be good will be good, and someone who doesn't, won't. Then, G-d will reward the good person for being good, not because he was forced into it, but because he chose it.

So, although G-d did great miracles, like splitting the sea, and the ten plagues, He only did them for that specific generation. No other generation ever saw so many wonderous miracles. This was sort of a one-time deal, in order to teach that G-d is really there, is the Creator, and is in total control. From then on, though, G-d wanted people to use their free will to believe in G-d and follow the commandments, and not because they were "forced" into it.
#2OrangeWizardPosted 4/12/2013 11:53:06 AM
inb4 people whine about it being too hard to find him
---
Trolling and making valid arguments are not mutually exclusive things.
#3darkmaian23Posted 4/12/2013 12:01:19 PM
Am I alone in thinking that answer is absolutely terrible? Even if I was still a Christian, I wouldn't like that answer. I think even the stock reply from believers that God does miracles but we don't appreciate them is a step above the nonsense this rabbi is pushing.

The idea that God only did great miracles for one generation 2,000 years ago to prove he was really is also awful. Especially when stories like Noah's Ark were actually pagan in origin and hand nothing to do with the God we are told of in the Bible.
#4darkmaian23Posted 4/12/2013 12:02:33 PM
OrangeWizard posted...
inb4 people whine about it being too hard to find him


Thank you for this post; it led me to avoid doing that in my own. You seem to have been trolling a bit less lately. ^_^
#5FlashOfLightPosted 4/12/2013 12:08:19 PM
Well, not disagreeing with the man, but all of those miracles, collectively, pointed to Christ, which is of course something he does not believe in, but the judgments that were shown to the children of Israel in and around Egypt, would have their counterpart in the miracles that Christ did for the children of Israel when he spent his time with them.

As an example, whereas one of the judgments in Egypt was to slay the firstborn of the Egyptians, Christ in contrast raised people from the dead, and whereas a famine struck Egypt, Christ fed the multitudes.

Also the old testament was a time when judgment was in full effect, and after Christ mercy is in full effect, but the judgments are not altogether done away with, just reserved until the day appointed for them.
---
"Listen, children, to a story that was written long ago, 'bout a kingdom on a mountain and the valley-folk below."
#6JonWood007Posted 4/12/2013 12:21:54 PM
Yeah. I think that answer was kinda awful. First, he wants to hide, but then he wants all this elaborate worship in the OT? (sticking to the OT here since it's a Jewish answer).

Second, it sounds like he's playing hide and seek for us.

Third, I'd argue every generation, or every few generations, needs a miracle like the OT stuff. Otherwise the power of the stories loses its punch. And seeing how his supposed revelation happened in prescientific times, those stories really become less trustworthy as times goes on. How can God expect us to hear stories and simply believe (especially if we use critical thinking skills) when the very people he revealed himself to also did not believe? (remember how much the Israelites whined in the desert?).

The answer also fails to address the fact that God could've simply chose to create a world with no evil.

Again, such an answer comes off as weak for me.
---
Desktop: Phenom II X4 965 | 8 GB DDR3 | GTX 580 | 1 TB HDD | W7 | 650W Antec | 1600x900
Laptop: A6 3400m | 4 GB DDR3 | HD 6520g | 500 GB HDD | W7 | 1366x768
#7kts123(Topic Creator)Posted 4/12/2013 12:25:54 PM
[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]
#8kozlo100Posted 4/12/2013 12:32:34 PM
Rabbi said...
So, what's wrong with that? As I mentioned before, G-d made this world as a place to hide in. That way, someone who truly wants to be good will be good, and someone who doesn't, won't. Then, G-d will reward the good person for being good, not because he was forced into it, but because he chose it.


I think this part works fine for Jewish theology, or at least what I know of it, but from a Christian perspective it seems to run contrary to the notion that we don't deserve anything from God, and any boon he grants us is by his mercy alone. That doesn't jive with the notion of God making it hard for us to find him, then rewarding us when we do.

I could also question whether this much cruelty and evil, particularly the non-human instigated forms of it, were really necessary to hide from us, but that's a long road with no real possibility for conclusion, so I'll stick to just the first point for now.
---
Time flies like the wind,
and fruit flies like a banana.
#9Moorish_IdolPosted 4/12/2013 12:40:20 PM
^ But he is a Jewish Rabbi. The Christian perspective isn't really relevant at all.
#10kozlo100Posted 4/12/2013 12:42:16 PM
Moorish_Idol posted...
^ But he is a Jewish Rabbi. The Christian perspective isn't really relevant at all.


If I'm not too far mistaken kts is a Christian.
---
Time flies like the wind,
and fruit flies like a banana.