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The Truth About God.....


Many years ago I awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of my father in agony, it was to mark the beginning of the slow trip through hell called cancer. If you are going through this yourself or with someone close to you please forgive my use of that horrible word, few words can match it for horror. But such was the beginning of a process of questioning and thinking that ended for me some years after my father's death.

My first reaction to my father's pain was one that surprised and disturbed me a great deal; anger and resentment towards God. I never would have expected it. I am more than somewhat embarrassed and actually sad to have to tell you what I said to God, I actually told him "I know everyone has to die, but if you let Dad suffer horribly I'll never forgive you, because I know you can prevent it if you want to".

Fortunately, my father never went through the long suffering, the anticipation of which brought on my outburst to God. But it did leave me with a problem; I needed to know why God permits suffering. There was obviously something about the nature of God that I didn't understand.

So like whinnie-the-pooh I was determined to think, think, think.

The first rule in my process of inquiry that I determined to use for the answer to the question of God and suffering, was;  that the answer must be quite deductive, as opposed to inductive, in other words; an inductive conclusion is achieved by direct observation. For example, if you see me move a glass of water with my hand you know how that glass was moved. However, if you don't directly see me move the glass, but I'm the only other person in the room you can deduce that I moved the glass. Similarly, most conclusions as to why God permits wickedness are somewhat inductive; God exists, God is all powerful, wickedness exists, therefore God permits wickedness.

The second rule of inquiry was a principle of deductive reasoning that Sherlock Holmes tried to impress on Watson "When you have eliminated every possibility, whatever is left, no matter how impossible must be true". In other words, if you come to a crime scene, and you eliminate every possible murder weapon except for a green monkey with a red machete, you have to put aside your preconceptions and preferences and look for a green monkey with a red machete.

The third rule of inquiry was a principle of tenacity from my Dad. I remember one time many years ago I was out on the patio with my Dad and my oldest brother came up and very smugly said "no one can understand the fact that God has no beginning or end". To which Dad said "well, I don't understand it, but that doesn't mean it can't be understood. You can understand anything if you think about it long enough, look at what Einstein did with Time. Who would have thought that Time could be so well understood?".

The forth principle was one from my mother, and although I wasn't going to consider it binding I wanted to honour it if I could. She maintained that "the truths about God elevate him, and lies about him degrade him".

So, armed with these four principles of inquiry:

1. The problem must be quite deductive and not inductive.

2. After I had eliminated every possibility whatever was left, no matter how impossible, I had to accept.

3. You can understand anything if you think about it long and hard enough.

4. The truth about God should elevate your view of him.

And so, my pondering began.

The first question I asked of the great 'out there' was "is this just the way things are supposed to be?". Interestingly, the bottom line of all medicine, law, religion, philosophy, and much science is the simple sentence "things ain't right". Medicine tries to repair and prevent, Law tries to control and correct, Religion and Philosophy try to explain, and much of Science tries to repair.

So the answer to the first question is; No, this is not the way things are supposed to be.

The second question, which at first seems to be the same as the first question is "is the earth being lived in according to God's will?". Now this is where it gets interesting, logically the answer must be the same as the answer to the first question; "No, the earth is not being lived in according to God's will". So, stated differently; the earth is being lived in against God's will. As I thought about this I realized; if you can do something against someone's will, that person obviously has limitations. For example, if I come into your house and take some of your possessions against your will, I can only do that if I'm stronger than you or I have legal powers over you, as in the case of a repossession. But in each case you have limitations. If you had unlimited control or powers there is no way I could take those possessions against your will. Likewise the earth can't be lived on in a manner against God's will if he's unlimited, therefore God must in fact be a limited being. This, needless to say, is something I had never heard before anywhere, but invoking the Holmesian principle "when you have eliminated every possibility, whatever is left no matter how impossible must be true" requires you to come to that conclusion. And in fact, the Lord's Prayer confirms this; by asking for God's will to be done on Earth, it is apparent that the Earth is existing in a condition against his will (Matt 6:10). And on the night preceding his death, when Jesus begged for "this cup" to be "removed" because it was not 'his will', who was he picturing ?(Luke 22:42) 

But if this is true; that these conditions exist against God's will, it seems to degrade God and not elevate him. But consider this illustration: A good strong man gets into a situation where he has to fight a dirty streetfighter, well, he makes a resolve to himself that he's not going to fight dirty just to win a fight. So, he wades into the fight and probably takes a few more licks than he would have if he'd fought dirty, but, by golly, he wins. As he walks away from the fight do you view him as a weak man because he limited himself to fighting clean? Hardly. His limitations actually make you view him with more respect. Actually, the Bible says that God cannot lie... That's a limitation, it also says he can't leave his word unfulfilled, or a promise unkept... Those are limitations too. So limitations can be a good thing and a sign of strength. So mom's still right.

So, the first conclusion I came to (there are three main conclusions and one super-conclusion) is: God is limited.

The second point is actually quite straightforward, if unorthodox. And it is this; anyone who suffers unfairly against their will is a victim. That, in fact is the definition of a victim. So God by definition is a victim: His creation has somehow been wrested from him and abused in front of his eyes against his will with him unable to stop it. What this did for me is, for the first time in my life, I felt compassion for God. Instead of "poor me, my Dad is suffering with cancer and God won't help my Dad or me" it became "poor God, his creation has been somehow taken from him, and he's forced to see it suffer". So the second conclusion is: God is a victim. In fact The victim.

The third conclusion is a bit more convoluted. So put on your thinking cap. To illustrate this point let me create a scenario similar to that of the book of Job, wherein the veil of invisibility into heaven is removed and we can see and hear the events happening in heaven. The scene is this: Satan has just gotten Adam and Eve to sin and he's back up in heaven polishing stars, or whatever it is they do up there. And along comes God and he says to Satan " I saw what you just did with Adam and Eve."

Satan's reply "So?".

God: "Well, because of what you got them to do, now they have to die".

Satan: "So?".

God: "That means you have to die too".

Satan: "No I don't".

God: "How is that?".

Satan: "You can't kill me. Unless you can prove that you wouldn't do the same thing in similar circumstances. With the right pressure you'll bend or break the rules too. No one is any better than me, with the right circumstances and motivation anyone will bend or break the rules". (That Satan feels that no one has perfect integrity, and that God's integrity is on trial can be established with at least two accounts in the bible. The first is in Job chapter 2:3 wherein God in talking to Satan says ' you try to incite me without cause to do evil to my servant Job', thus showing that Satan thought he could provoke God to do wrong. The second account is in Matthew 4:1-11 where Satan directly tries to challenge and compromise Jesus' integrity. Again, who was Jesus picturing?)

God: "That's not true, my laws are perfect and I'll never break them."

Satan: "Really? Well, try this one on, big guy.

You told Adam and Eve if they touched or ate that fruit they would die and you'd reject them. Yes?".

God: "Yes".

Satan: "...and you always keep your word, in fact, that's one of your laws. Yes?".

God: " Yes to both".

Satan: " But you also had already told them that they could have children. And you always keep your word. So let's see... hmmm.... You've rejected them, but they still can have children, so obviously the children won't be yours, I guess that makes them mine".

At that point God knew what Satan would do to human children, brutalizing, rape, torture, disease...

Satan: "...by the way, you had a little rule with Adam and Eve; if they so much as ate or touched that fruit once, you'd kill them. I'm holding you to your own rule; if you so much as bend or break one rule one time to help them, you lose. and then you can't kill me. Your big lesson with Adam and Eve was respect for property rights, (see the monograph on this website 'everything you need to know about life') and you no longer own the human race, I do." (remember, even Jesus acknowledged that Satan was the ruler of this world, {John 14:30})

So, what I realized is that God is on trial. Just because you're on trial that doesn't mean you're guilty, but you do have to show up in court. (The concept of God being on trial is not foreign to the Bible; Asaph in Psalm 74:22 says to God 'arise o God, do conduct your own case at law'. And again in Micah 6:1-3 God offers to put himself on trial with Israel)

It is an interesting fact of life that you can tell a great deal about a person by watching them work, you can see if they are organized, neat, smart, clean, etc. etc. Applying that same principle to observing God's work you will come up with an interesting conclusion about the nature of God; the nature of every single thing God has made, without exception, can be described with one word, and that word is "Law". 
If everything he has made reflects and conforms to law, then he himself must be a law-loving, law-abiding person.

This conversation between God and Satan continued...

Satan to God: "Are you perfect?".

God: " Yes".

Satan: "Did you make me perfect?".

God: "Yes".

Satan: " Then how did I turn out so bad? If there is a flaw in me I must have gotten it from you".

With this compelling logic Satan clinched the deal, at this point God and everyone else knew that God would have to be so severely tested, that at the end of the trial he could with solid proof say "There is no defect in me at all".(Deut 32:5) Just a side comment here, you have to give the Devil his due. It is unarguable that Round One went to the Devil. Neither God nor any of his angels could come up with a counter-argument that could stop this horrible process, and it is unarguable that Satan derailed God's original plan.

Here's something to ponder. Every Christian knows that when Christ was on earth, he pictured God. Whether you believe he was God incarnate, a God-man being, or a perfect man, we all know he pictured God. He himself said "if you've seen me you've seen the Father". So why is it then, if we know that Jesus pictured God his whole life on earth, we forget that he especially pictured God on his last day of life on earth? When he was on trial, (I count at least five trials, starting the night before he died), and said not one word in self-defense, when he died of a broken heart, the person who most loved God; tried, convicted, and executed as a blasphemer. Who was he picturing? God is on trial, and yet how much does he say in his own defense? God would die of a broken heart if he could die, because of the reproach he has had to endure. Here is the kindest, most tender hearted person who has ever lived accused even by his best servants of permitting wickedness. And when Jesus died his horrible death, is there any doubt in your mind that he was a victim? Again, who was he picturing? (Please, you really must read Psalm 69:20) And so the super-conclusion is: God does not permit wickedness, God has wickedness forced on him against his will.

In fact in the Bible book of James, James says "with evil God cannot be tried, nor with evil does he try anyone". God just flat does not have evil in him, he never touches the stuff. To even say he "permits" wickedness is an inaccurate statement at best, and a false accusation at worst. I like Elihu's denouement towards the end of the book of Job, "Know this for a fact; God will never do wrong".

What is called God's permission of wickedness might be illustrated in this manner; A man marries a woman who already has a child, but before he can adopt the child, the mother dies. At the same time the government under which the man and child live determine that the child needs a surgery that the father/husband feels is unnecessary. At this point the father has two choices, one; kidnap the child and probably get caught and lose the child forever, two; let the government do the surgery, adopt the child, and then repair the damage. If God were to intervene prematurely (illegally) he would ,in fact, prove Satan's point and all would be lost. If he waits until he has the legal right, Ezk 21:27 (Please see the monograph on this website ' how the ransom works') he will regain control and do his repair ("look I'm making all things new" Revelation 21:5).

Conclusions:

1. God is limited (in a good way)

2. God is a victim

3. God is on trial

4. God does not permit wickedness, but it is forced on him against his will. (SuperConclusion)

Well, it's probably not what you're used to hearing, but as Elihu said to Job (Job 34:3) "...the ear itself makes a test of words, just as the palate tastes when eating".

Also, please consider this: For a law to be a law it can have no exceptions, in fact, that is what makes it a law. Similarly, for a complete explanation to be truly complete it must cover all possible aspects, or it is in fact not a complete explanation.  To say that God permits wickedness so as to allow persons to choose to serve him might satisfy some. But frankly, many have chosen to serve God and still suffer and experience wickedness. And even Asaph in the 73rd Psalm confirmed that the wicked do not serve God and yet sometimes prosper greatly. And when a two-week old infant suffers horribly and dies of cancer, please, tell me how that child benefits from suffering. In fact, wickedness is not here for anyone's benefit. It is a horrible thing that God is forced to deal with, and he will deal with it well. But it is not something he chose.

Dear king David made a very peculiar statement once. He had just done that awful episode in his life with Bathsheba, and he wrote Psalm 51. And in that Psalm he makes this peculiar statement to God "against you, you alone I have sinned". He just murdered a man, committed adultery, and yet he says to God 'against you alone I have sinned'. Why? Because David knew that 'Guess Who' had to clean up the mess, not him, but God. Everything ever done wrong will be fixed by God and is in fact against God. We're just very lucky to have a God like him.

So, gentle reader, thank you for taking the time to read this. Please take a bit of time to ruminate on it.


(If I could Just trouble you with a brief afterword here..... )  

We are always told that God is;

Omnipotent (all powerful)

Omniscient (all knowing)
and,

Omnipresent (in all places, everywhere).

These statements are intended to be the highest superlatives that could possibly describe our Creator. And they are well-intended, but on closer examination, God is not unlimited in his power. In fact, Satan is the unlimited one, he will use his power for good or bad whenever and however he chooses. God on the other hand will only use his power for good, so he is not All powerful, but he does have Unmeasurable power, but he, because of his pure and clean nature has no power for wrong. 

God also is not all knowing, if that were true then all things would be predestined, but he gave us his greatest gift when he gave us the ability to choose (free-will). Some would say  'God chooses not to know', well, that is true, if I choose not to know how to speak Japanese, do I know how to speak Japanese? No. If God chooses not to know everything about the future then he is not all knowing. Some would say by choice, I would say by design, and really it's the same thing. 

And lastly God is not Omnipresent, because then he would be in the hand of the murderer, when murder is committed, and in the virus that causes horrible disease.

So we are told that God is:

Omnipotent, but he's not, he's better than that, he only uses his power for Good.

We are told that God is:

Omniscient, but he's not, he's better than that, he lets us choose. (Free-Will)

We are told that God is:

Omnipresent, but he's not, he's better than that, he is perfectly clean and never touches bad (see the monograph on this website "Uncommon Definitions of Common Words": at the end of the definition for the word Sin, the part about the word 'holy').

It turns out that God is not as we have been told,   he turns out to be much better than we could have ever imagined.


Elihu said at Job 36:2, 'Have patience with me a little while, and I shall declare to you that there are yet words to say for God'.

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Consider too, this deep insight that David made about God's character.
(And this is paraphrased to bring out the thought.)
David, speaking of God, said:
'I have come to see that You are the kind of person that values keeping your word so much, that you put the doing of right, and the keeping of your word, as more important than how people may view you as a Person. No matter how much it may effect your reputation or hurt you.'
(paraphrased from psalm 138:2)

 "For thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name." (ASV)
 "For You have magnified Your word above all Your name." (NKJV)
 "You have exalted your word above all your name" (ESV, footnote reading)

So, He values his word above his name. Kind of a different thought, yes ?
Actually, what an amazing insight into God's nature and personality. It almost takes your breath away to realize what kind of person God actually is.
Methinks David knew God very  well.



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Factor this into your cogitations as well:

In the Bible book of Job everyone just assumes that God is causing all of Job's problems, it's not even questioned by ANYONE, EVER.
But here's the amazing part; When God finally speaks on His own behalf.... HE DOESN'T BLAME ANYONE.  All he basically says to Job is, "You shoulda known me better".... THAT'S IT !  
Anyone else would have said, "It's not my fault, Satan did it !" But there's no record that the role of Satan was EVER revealed to Job. (possibly later, but not necessarily)

What kind of person can take that kind of abuse and not blame the guilty ?.....
(hmmm...... kinda reminds me of somebody on trial with Pontius Pilate..... hmmm....)

 I'm tellin' yah, this is an amazing God.... This is a very Noble Person.....
 really think about this..... in personal terms, not in religious terms.......it's just unbelievable.....