If we accept the Biblical narrative about the Fall, we find that evil only exists because of man.And God let evil exist because of man.
Well, yes, otherwise there wouldn't have been any point in the whole free will exercise. "You can choose me or something else. Go ahead, it's your choice. Wait, you chose something else? Okay, show's over
In fact, evil is an action, not something that happens.Uh, an action is something that happens...
That would have probably been better stated as "Evil is an action of will, not an occurrence.
There are things that happen that are tragic, such as calamities, plagues, and famines and such, but in a good vs evil debate these don't rise to the level of evil.Yes, natural disasters that take potentially thousands, maybe even millions, of lives aren't evil. Not at all.
Not in the same sense. There is no malevolent intent behind a natural disaster. Hurricanes and earthquakes happen because that is the way the world works, pressure builds and releases. The only reason they kill thousands or even millions is because we were dumb enough to say "You know, I know that earthquakes are common in this region, but I want to live here. This fault line looks like an excellent place for a high-rise." Or my personal favorite: "I know this region is prone to storms with high winds and lots of water. Let's push some water into a levy, and complain when the levy breaks."
In fact, if it weren't for our fear of death (whether it's the fear of damnation, or the fear of total non-existence) events would have no sense of tragedy to them at all.Who gave us our fear of death?
If everyone knew for certain that after you die you go to a place even better than the one you know now (I hear there's pie) death would not be mourned, but celebrated.This is demonstrably false. Christians and other theists who sincerely believe they are going to heaven when they die are just as afraid and saddened at death as anyone else.
I'm not entirely sure that's true, at least the fear part. In our current society, where a large majority of people who call themselves Christian have separated themselves from the Church, it might seem that way. But there's nothing like a good round of persecution to demonstrate the fearlessness of Christians in the face of death. As far as sadness, that is only natural. I am saddened when a friend or loved one moves far away so that I am unable to see them every days or weeks or months.
Evil requires an action.True.
It takes a rather twisted humanity to turn tragic circumstances into evil circumstances. A hurricane might kill a few, a disease might cause some suffering. It takes humanity to force people to live under deprived conditions, to ensure that death involves as much suffering as possible, to send people off to gulags to wait in fear of execution. Animals might kill for food, or to protect territory and mating rights, it takes a human to kill for an I-pod.And God made humans. What does this say about him?
One of two things, which assuming a belief in the existence of God you are going to have to decide for yourself: God is good, yet humble, that His love for man drove Him to create man; basically that He chose to love man, and extends this same choice to man in regards to Him. Or that God is neutral at best, evil at worst.
It exists because man is given the freedom to choose, he can choose God and the good and life, or he can choose evil and death.
Why must he choose between these two things? Why can't he still be good without God? Why does he have the ability to reject God? Why does he have abilities that, when utilized, point towards no God?
Because trying to be good without God is like trying to fly without an airplane. Because without the ability to reject God our love for God would mean nothing: Some people would love nothing more than the object of their affection MUST love them. These are never good people. As for why our abilities allow us to believe there is no God, the human being is capable of great amounts of self deception.
There is no other way that would allow for choice.Why is choice good?
I can't answer that. I can't tell you why
anything is good. What I can tell you is that nothing but the most evil people in our world would deny choice (even, or perhaps most especially those who would deny choice in the name of good).
God is good, to reject Him is evil.Why?
For the same reason that breathing needs oxygen, to reject oxygen is suffocation.
It couldn't be a choice between God and ice-cream, for the opposite of God is not ice-cream.
Because God is not a warm puddle of lactates mixed with the flavoring of your choice.
The only way for God to not allow evil would be if God were to not allow humans.Why?
Because free will is one of the defining characteristics of humanity. Why do whales live in the ocean? Why are cats the most annoying creatures on the planet?
We could perhaps argue if it were better for God to not have created humans, but if the answer is that God is evil because He created humanity, then the only answer is mass genocide of the species. That'll show Him.Why did God have to create humans the way they are?
Why does an author write a book that, while excellent to read, has nothing resembling a happy ending?
To echo others on here, I don't think you really have comprehended yet what Orthodox teaching is. God is in essence unknowable.Why?
Because we only have a finite capacity for knowing. We can never completely know God just like we can never completely know pi.
We can know He exists, we can know certain things about His existence by His revelation, and in conjunction with that revelation we can determine certain things about Him from creation.Why can't we know more?
You can always
know more. You can know as much as a lifetime of human experience can teach you. A saint knows more about God than he could ever hope to explain to me, the same as a biologist knows more about organic functions than I ever will.
It is even more so with God. The more I know God the more I realize just how unknowable He is. Knowing He is Good is a good starting point, then I find there is more to goodness than I ever imagined. Right did Milton tell us that "How Awful goodness is." If you accept that God is good from the start, then anything he does is good automatically, making the word "good" useless when talking about God.
From a purely etymological perspective, the word "good" is useless unless
you're talking about God. But, more to address the situation, what you just said makes no sense. I know an airplane flies, that doesn't make flight useless when talking about an airplane. In fact, talking about an airplane would be useless if the airplane didn't fly.
Fortunately, we don't have to understand Him. But even this is not surprising. I cannot even begin to understand a fellow human being, the second I think I do they do something so shockingly surprising (good, bad, or just unusual) that I am left puzzled. When you get right down to it, I don't even understand myself all the time, I am constantly doing things (good, bad, or unusual) that I never would have thought myself capable of. Know what's in God's mind? My good fellow, if I could just know what's in your mind it would be a miracle! But you don't need to understand someone to have a relationship with them. You can understand some things about them, the rest you take on faith. I understand that my friend is occasionally grouchy because his father abused him, I have faith that if I'm in a pickle he'll be the first one to get my back (faith within reason, he's had my back since day one). I understand that God is terribly good, I have faith (within reason because of the Incarnation) that He will make me good as well.Why is faith good? Why wouldn't God prize intelligence and rationality more? Why aren't all humans equal?
First, you have to stop thinking of faith as some sort of opposite to intelligence and rationality. You have to break out of your 20th century mindset (I say 20th century because your arguments are very modern
and we are moving into the post-modern, whatever that means) that thinks it knows what a word means just because a small percentage of the population (the one with Ivy League degrees) defines it that way. Faith is not blindly believing in something despite all rational objections. Faith is continuing to believe despite all irrational
objections. We have faith in science, that it will explain things within the realm of the natural, not because science has never done so before, but because it has. We demonstrate this faith in science every time we set foot on an airplane: All our irrational objections tell us that something so large was never meant to fly, that the sheer weight of it must send it hurling back to earth. The irrational objections seem
logical enough, but we know this not to be so. Now, this faith in science is demonstrated most soundly whenever an experiment fails: those who have no faith or a weak faith in science will loudly declaim the failed experiment as an example of why those scientists never should have been trusted to begin with, those with faith in science will calmly explain that the experiment failed not because science
is wrong, but because the hypothesis was faulty.
Without faith nothing would ever get done, without faith in other people no cooperation or friendship would ever be accomplished, without faith in our observations nothing would ever be recorded. Without faith no one would ever leave the house and the human race would have been still-born.
The faith of a Christian is similar. We don't believe in God because there is no reason, but because we are fairly sure that there is every
reason. Our faith in God is based of off observation, we observe God because we use the proper tools for the observation of God. It's all well and good for me to dismiss the existence of the microbe if I refuse to ever look into the microscope, tales abound of the Roman Cardinal who refused to glance through Galileo's telescope. Without prayer and listening in the stillness one will never observe God. Without the reading of Scripture and the Church Fathers I will never be able to compare my observations with others. I would be like a staunch Luddite, looking through neither microscope nor telescope, poring through scientific journals going "Aha! This scientist two hundred years ago tells me the atom is the smallest particle in existence. This scientist a hundred years ago says atoms are composed of neutrons, protons, and electrons. And now some scientist tells me that there are even smaller particles than that! Utter nonsense! Why, look at this biologist who tells me all life is composed of cells, now you tell me that virii are alive and composed of mere protein strands! I bid you good day!" This same Luddite grabs a book on quantum physics and jumps up triumphantly in the air, citing one contradiction and paradox after another, and thinks himself smart for being able to do so.
As to your question about all men being equal: All men are
equal, but all men are also different. Take any element on the periodical table and assemble it so that each is exactly the same mass. One will be denser and more compact, another is gaseous, and still another is a liquid. So it is with man, everyone is brilliant, but in a different way. For every Hawking or Einstein there's a van Gogh or Picasso or someone who is absolutely the best sheep-herder hands down. Einstein can't paint worth squat (although I hear he was a very good violinist), Picasso could never write a theory of relativity, and neither one could convince a herd of sheep to get in it's pen.