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Author Topic: What does the Protestant mean when they say "God is in control"?  (Read 4832 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: February 22, 2011, 11:47:53 PM »

I never understood that. I was talking with a fellow on trying to get his house sold before it being foreclosed and said "You know it's really up to God, He's in control"

I was a bit puzzled by this statement. I also heard it from my grandmother who is battling diseases saying God is in control of that too. Doesn't that just merely make us puppets?
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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2011, 11:55:24 PM »

It depends on the context. I've seen it used as an excuse for laziness/not doing anything for oneself, but mostly I think it's a variation on "Thy will be done." Which, I think, is an admirable attitude—to trust rather than worry.
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« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2011, 01:07:50 AM »

Depends on who you ask. Some calvanists (I talked to one today), said that God is responsible for everything including evil. Which just utterly stunned me, they are concerned that if God is not in control of everything he is not totally sovereign over his creation. The calvanists anyway.
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« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2011, 01:45:07 AM »

Those crazy Calvies
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« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2011, 02:20:08 AM »

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these [things].

Isaiah 45:7
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« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2011, 02:22:37 AM »

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil(catastrophy): I the LORD do all these [things].

Isaiah 45:7
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« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2011, 02:25:52 AM »

From Strong's (hebrew):

bad, evil

Original Word: רָע
Transliteration: ra'
Phonetic Spelling: (rah)
Short Definition: adversity

adversity, affliction, bad, calamity, displeasure, distress
From ra'a'; bad or (as noun) evil (natural or moral) -- adversity, affliction, bad, calamity, + displease(-ure), distress, evil((- favouredness), man, thing), + exceedingly, X great, grief(-vous), harm, heavy, hurt(-ful), ill (favoured), + mark, mischief(-vous), misery, naught(-ty), noisome, + not please, sad(-ly), sore, sorrow, trouble, vex, wicked(-ly, -ness, one), worse(-st), wretchedness, wrong. (Incl. Feminine raaah; as adjective or noun.).

http://strongsnumbers.com/hebrew/7451.htm

What is the greek word used in the septuagint, anyone know?

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« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2011, 08:40:26 AM »

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these [things].

Isaiah 45:7

Whoa, what translation are you using?
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« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2011, 09:25:41 AM »

I dont know the Greek word, but the NETS renders it "evils" as well.

Of course, we can never make too much of this. Remember that God has to condescend to make himself known. God is all-good, he does not will evil, so that verse cannot mean that God is the source of evil (which is the logical conclusion of Calvinism).
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« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2011, 09:40:48 AM »

I dont know the Greek word, but the NETS renders it "evils" as well.

Of course, we can never make too much of this. Remember that God has to condescend to make himself known. God is all-good, he does not will evil, so that verse cannot mean that God is the source of evil (which is the logical conclusion of Calvinism).

But doesn't He also will the possibility of evil to exist, however that is contingent on His creatures' choice and actions rather than Himself correct?
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« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2011, 09:56:04 AM »

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these [things].

Isaiah 45:7

Whoa, what translation are you using?

From the Douay-Rheims Bible:
[7] I form the light, and create darkness, I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord that do all these things.
Note: [7] "Create evil"... The evils of afflictions and punishments, but not the evil of sin.
http://www.drbo.org/chapter/27045.htm
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« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2011, 02:17:30 PM »

Well, God created Satan, and Satan is evil, so logically, God created evil, or at least the potential for evil, no?
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« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2011, 02:21:12 PM »

I dont know the Greek word, but the NETS renders it "evils" as well.

Of course, we can never make too much of this. Remember that God has to condescend to make himself known. God is all-good, he does not will evil, so that verse cannot mean that God is the source of evil (which is the logical conclusion of Calvinism).

Ya, I would say that God created at least the potential for evil by creating free-will, because he loved his creation and didn't want slaves, and this is perhaps what Isaiah was getting at. Perhaps he didn't have a completely clear vision of what God was trying to convey here, and did so in the best way he could describe given the limited revelation he was provided with.
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« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2011, 04:51:30 PM »

Well, God created Satan, and Satan is evil, so logically, God created evil, or at least the potential for evil, no?

No.

God created the Angels. Some of his Angels 'performed' evil, which is a rejection of God in person, nature, and will.
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« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2011, 05:34:12 PM »

Well, God created Satan, and Satan is evil, so logically, God created evil, or at least the potential for evil, no?
We have to put free will into the equation.

God Created Satan, who was at first Good, who then because of pride rebelled against God, committing evil and then taking part in the fall of humanity. God Created Satan, but it was satan through his own will that caused him to do evil.

This is how I have always understood it./
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« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2011, 05:34:31 PM »

Well, God created Satan, and Satan is evil, so logically, God created evil, or at least the potential for evil, no?

No.

God created the Angels. Some of his Angels 'performed' evil, which is a rejection of God in person, nature, and will.

You wouldn't agree with the last part?
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« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2011, 05:47:12 PM »

Well, God created Satan, and Satan is evil, so logically, God created evil, or at least the potential for evil, no?

No.

God created the Angels. Some of his Angels 'performed' evil, which is a rejection of God in person, nature, and will.

You wouldn't agree with the last part?

Sort of, maybe. I agree He created us and the Angels with 'free will'. I suppose that also allows for the potential for evil, in a certain light, but I'm hesitant because I don't think it's specifically creating the 'potential', merely His creation had the 'potential'. Subtle difference to me.
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« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2011, 05:49:51 PM »

So is that how you would interpret Isaiah 45:7 as well? As referring to God creating creatures with free-will, with the potential to do evil?

If anyone has some Orthodox commentary on this verse, it would be much appreciated.
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« Reply #18 on: February 24, 2011, 05:53:04 PM »

So is that how you would interpret Isaiah 45:7 as well? As referring to God creating creatures with free-will, with the potential to do evil?

If anyone has some Orthodox commentary on this verse, it would be much appreciated.

I posted this earlier. I try to avoid a definite personal interpretation. If you can find some ECFs or something to contradict this, I'll consider that instead.

From the Douay-Rheims Bible:
[7] I form the light, and create darkness, I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord that do all these things.
Note: [7] "Create evil"... The evils of afflictions and punishments, but not the evil of sin.

http://www.drbo.org/chapter/27045.htm
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« Reply #19 on: February 24, 2011, 05:59:15 PM »

So this would basically mean that all the tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, cancer, etc. are not merely permitted by God, but directly caused by him (as punishment)? So Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson were right after all?
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« Reply #20 on: February 24, 2011, 06:29:38 PM »

So this would basically mean that all the tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, cancer, etc. are not merely permitted by God,

but created by Him.

but directly caused by him (as punishment)? So Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson were right after all?

Using them for evil is to make evil. It's a subtlety. All natural evils are part of his creation, but he does not inflict them with wrath and evil.
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« Reply #21 on: February 24, 2011, 06:31:17 PM »

Well, God created Satan, and Satan is evil, so logically, God created evil, or at least the potential for evil, no?

If by Satan you mean Lucifer, that line of thinking doesn't work because he wasn't evil when God created him.
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« Reply #22 on: February 24, 2011, 06:33:04 PM »

Personally, I'm not sure about evil as a proper translation with respect to what we usually mean by evil.
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« Reply #23 on: February 24, 2011, 06:44:29 PM »

I have always understood evil to be the absence of good and not actually a thing.  Kind of like the dark is the absence of light.  Am I on target here? 
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« Reply #24 on: February 24, 2011, 06:56:17 PM »

I have always understood evil to be the absence of good and not actually a thing.  Kind of like the dark is the absence of light.  Am I on target here? 

I tend to view evil in a more parasitic light, but that's pretty close to my own conception.
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« Reply #25 on: February 24, 2011, 06:57:17 PM »

So this would basically mean that all the tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, cancer, etc. are not merely permitted by God,

but created by Him.

but directly caused by him (as punishment)? So Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson were right after all?

Using them for evil is to make evil. It's a subtlety. All natural evils are part of his creation, but he does not inflict them with wrath and evil.

If not wrath and evil, then what? Divine Justice? I hardly see how such calamites could be inflicted by love...
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« Reply #26 on: February 24, 2011, 06:59:58 PM »

I have always understood evil to be the absence of good and not actually a thing.  Kind of like the dark is the absence of light.  Am I on target here? 

I tend to view evil in a more parasitic light, but that's pretty close to my own conception.

Does this interpretation by KBN1 somehow imply that evil (like darkness) is merely the absence of light, and is therefore the more natural (basic, fundamental) state? I've heard this POV argued before.
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« Reply #27 on: February 24, 2011, 07:09:53 PM »

So this would basically mean that all the tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, cancer, etc. are not merely permitted by God,

but created by Him.

but directly caused by him (as punishment)? So Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson were right after all?

Using them for evil is to make evil. It's a subtlety. All natural evils are part of his creation, but he does not inflict them with wrath and evil.

If not wrath and evil, then what? Divine Justice? I hardly see how such calamites could be inflicted by love...

Inflicted implies intent. "Isaiah" says nothing of intent, merely origin.

We believe God is unchanging and He is the epitome of love. Intent for sadistic harm does not mesh. There are 'evil' things within the world (catastrophies), and there are times that feel wrong to us, but may be part of a larger scheme to nudge you back to Him.

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« Reply #28 on: February 24, 2011, 07:11:20 PM »

I have always understood evil to be the absence of good and not actually a thing.  Kind of like the dark is the absence of light.  Am I on target here? 

I tend to view evil in a more parasitic light, but that's pretty close to my own conception.

Does this interpretation by KBN1 somehow imply that evil (like darkness) is merely the absence of light, and is therefore the more natural (basic, fundamental) state? I've heard this POV argued before.

Disclaimer:  I am not yet arguing that I am correct.  I don't know that I am.  I wouldn't use the term "natural state" in terms of absence of good though.  Only talking in regards to existence of evil and darkness.  
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« Reply #29 on: February 24, 2011, 07:24:04 PM »

I have always understood evil to be the absence of good and not actually a thing.  Kind of like the dark is the absence of light.  Am I on target here? 

I tend to view evil in a more parasitic light, but that's pretty close to my own conception.

Does this interpretation by KBN1 somehow imply that evil (like darkness) is merely the absence of light, and is therefore the more natural (basic, fundamental) state? I've heard this POV argued before.

Hmmmmm...

I would not say that about evil. Evil occurs when beings with moral agency and freedom of will (mostly angels and humans are what we speak of here theologically) choose to follow the path of corruption, chaos, and entropy instead of the path of theosis. So when we look to creatures which do not have this moral agency and freedom of will, evil is not a consideration. As such, I don't think it is true to say that it is the "more natural", way, because in more primitive creatures evil does not occur at all.

However, if we were to change the question to being more generally about this path of corruption, chaos, and entropy, then we can come up with a more clear answer. At this, it depends on what perspective we are talking about. With regard to the first and eternal Existence, that being God, we can answer simply that it is not the more natural, basic, or fundamental state. Quite the opposite is true of God. However, when we speak of the Creation, the answer is yes, in some sense. Corruption, chaos, and entropy is what the Creation comes from. God created us from nothing, or from the void, the primordial chaos (they may very well be the same thing, just explained differently). His act of Creation is essentially a progressive propelling us forward beyond this chaos towards union with Him. However, when becoming united with God is taken out of the picture, it is quite clear that what we are naturally inclined towards is returning to that chaos. This is precisely what happened in the Fall. So in this sense, we could say that it is what is "natural" for us, that is what we are inclined to in and of ourselves. OTOH, it is not "natural" in the sense of what God intends for us and what we were created for.
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« Reply #30 on: February 24, 2011, 07:26:03 PM »

I guess this leads us to ask the question then, what is evil? If evil can be used for good (for example, by strengthening the faith of a community), is it really evil to begin with? How do we determine whether the source is God, satan, or man? Is God only responsible for the natural evils (calamites, etc.), that could not otherwise be attributed to man or satan? Should we respond to all evil by giving thanks to God, no matter what the source of the evil be?


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« Reply #31 on: February 24, 2011, 07:32:32 PM »

Like I said, I don't agree that it is appropriate to refer to natural disasters as "evils" in the sense of the standard definition of evil.

They are simply a consequence of the relative natural inclination of the Creation to chaos.
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« Reply #32 on: February 24, 2011, 07:35:47 PM »

I guess this leads us to ask the question then, what is evil? If evil can be used for good (for example, by strengthening the faith of a community), is it really evil to begin with? How do we determine whether the source is God, satan, or man? Is God only responsible for the natural evils (calamites, etc.), that could not otherwise be attributed to man or satan? Should we respond to all evil by giving thanks to God, no matter what the source of the evil be?


We would also have to think about our personal priority. Is our highest priority personal comfort, self-respect, situational completeness, etc? Or is it ultimately "unity" with God and the same co-existence with our community, family, and loved ones?

In the same light, is evil the act itself, or is it the intent of the act. Not in the light of supporting "the ends justify the means" in any respect, but is the loss of a house evil or is the "taking away" of someone's house evil. Perhaps somethings are allowed to endure because no good will come of removing the event. Who really knows, in the end it's all speculation to mesh our understanding of the unconscionable love and majesty that is God.
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« Reply #33 on: February 24, 2011, 07:40:58 PM »

So this would basically mean that all the tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, cancer, etc. are not merely permitted by God,

but created by Him.

but directly caused by him (as punishment)? So Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson were right after all?

Using them for evil is to make evil. It's a subtlety. All natural evils are part of his creation, but he does not inflict them with wrath and evil.

If not wrath and evil, then what? Divine Justice? I hardly see how such calamites could be inflicted by love...

I've been under the impression that there was no weather, at least rain, until after the flood and it can be regarded as a product of a planet rot with sin. That in the beginning the earth was watered with underground wells and springs. I'll need to dig up the verses on this. Genesis 2:5-6, Hebrews 11:7
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« Reply #34 on: February 25, 2011, 04:00:50 PM »

Like I said, I don't agree that it is appropriate to refer to natural disasters as "evils" in the sense of the standard definition of evil.

They are simply a consequence of the relative natural inclination of the Creation to chaos.
You've expressed my thoughts here. These calamities are part of "cursed is the ground" that we read in Genesis. Sin affects more than the sinner.
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« Reply #35 on: February 25, 2011, 05:22:35 PM »

So if these calamities (illness, natural disaster, etc.) are a result of sin (the fallen nature of man, hence the world) what "evil" is directly created by God here? Forgive me if it seems that I am going in circles, but I am rather confused on this topic and am struggling to make any sense at all out of this passage. Is there anything specifically that we can directly attribute to this term 'evil' in regards to what God has created? If we say that God does not create evil, then what are we to make of this verse? I know that the Orthodox understanding of God isn't based on one verse, but this verse does appear to be from the mouth of God (spoken through the prophet), or at least expressed that way, which is why I am giving it special consideration here.

"I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."

Here evil does seem to be compared with darkness, yet darkness is depicted as something that is created along with light, not merely an absence of light itself.

I have a feeling I may have hijacked this thread; Aposphet if you would like for me to continue this discussion elsewhere, please let me know and I'll start a new one.


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« Reply #36 on: February 25, 2011, 06:19:08 PM »

Well, God created Satan, and Satan is evil, so logically, God created evil, or at least the potential for evil, no?

I think it was St. John Chrysostom who points out that when God says, "I create evil" He's referring to calamities that seem evil, but aren't actually evil because they serve His purpose.

As for creating Satan, Satan - in his nature - is good. He was created good. But in his moral actions he is pure evil. So no, God did not create evil because at one point Satan was both good in nature and moral actions, but instead chose to defame his nature and act contrary to it by becoming morally evil.

God did create the potential for evil, but that is a far cry from creating evil or being responsible for said evil.
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« Reply #37 on: February 25, 2011, 07:26:13 PM »

Well, God created Satan, and Satan is evil, so logically, God created evil, or at least the potential for evil, no?

I think it was St. John Chrysostom who points out that when God says, "I create evil" He's referring to calamities that seem evil, but aren't actually evil because they serve His purpose.

As for creating Satan, Satan - in his nature - is good. He was created good. But in his moral actions he is pure evil. So no, God did not create evil because at one point Satan was both good in nature and moral actions, but instead chose to defame his nature and act contrary to it by becoming morally evil.

God did create the potential for evil, but that is a far cry from creating evil or being responsible for said evil.
St. Augustine teaches that evil is not a created thing in and of itself, but a hole, or lack of a due good, a privation.
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« Reply #38 on: February 26, 2011, 12:00:50 AM »

So if these calamities (illness, natural disaster, etc.) are a result of sin (the fallen nature of man, hence the world) what "evil" is directly created by God here? Forgive me if it seems that I am going in circles, but I am rather confused on this topic and am struggling to make any sense at all out of this passage. Is there anything specifically that we can directly attribute to this term 'evil' in regards to what God has created? If we say that God does not create evil, then what are we to make of this verse? I know that the Orthodox understanding of God isn't based on one verse, but this verse does appear to be from the mouth of God (spoken through the prophet), or at least expressed that way, which is why I am giving it special consideration here.

"I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."

Here evil does seem to be compared with darkness, yet darkness is depicted as something that is created along with light, not merely an absence of light itself.

I have a feeling I may have hijacked this thread; Aposphet if you would like for me to continue this discussion elsewhere, please let me know and I'll start a new one.


Darkness is created, I suppose, in a comparative sense.  Without the light, "darkness" would not have needed a name.  Could it be that "I form the light and create darkness..." is one action rather than two?  Same goes for "I make peace and create evil..."   This is a genuine question.  Is anyone here able to speak about the text in the Hebrew or Greek?
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« Reply #39 on: February 26, 2011, 06:26:09 AM »

Well, God created Satan, and Satan is evil, so logically, God created evil, or at least the potential for evil, no?

God created Lucifer but Lucifer created Satan (I could be wrong, but I think I read this from Origen, I know he is not a father, but what he said here was true......I will have to find where he said it....just to make sure it was him.) Some of the other early christians....both fathers and nonfathers/wintesses talk about the fall of the devil.
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« Reply #40 on: February 26, 2011, 06:40:55 AM »

So this would basically mean that all the tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, cancer, etc. are not merely permitted by God, but directly caused by him (as punishment)? So Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson were right after all?

America use to call hurricanes, earthquakes.....etc. as acts of God. But when you read the context of the quote in Isaiah, the evil is in the context of catastrophes or calamities.

The fathers also talk about calamities and how both christians and nonchristians suffer through them.
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"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

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« Reply #41 on: February 26, 2011, 06:43:26 AM »

Well, God created Satan, and Satan is evil, so logically, God created evil, or at least the potential for evil, no?

God created Lucifer and Lucifer created Satan. Some of the early fathers talk about this very thing.
I don't know that "created" is the right word.
Evil is not a "thing" in itself, rather it is the distortion or twisting of something good.
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« Reply #42 on: February 26, 2011, 06:48:54 AM »

Well, God created Satan, and Satan is evil, so logically, God created evil, or at least the potential for evil, no?

God created Lucifer and Lucifer created Satan. Some of the early fathers talk about this very thing.
I don't know that "created" is the right word.
Evil is not a "thing" in itself, rather it is the distortion or twisting of something good.

I picked it up from Origen. I will have to find it, but from what I can recall from memory, the context was in regards to free will.

God created Lucifer, but Lucifer became the devil through the use of his own free will. They would never say that god created the devil. Instead, they would always say he created Lucifer.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 06:51:56 AM by jnorm888 » Logged

"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #43 on: February 27, 2011, 03:03:34 AM »

Well, God created Satan, and Satan is evil, so logically, God created evil, or at least the potential for evil, no?

God created Lucifer and Lucifer created Satan. Some of the early fathers talk about this very thing.
I don't know that "created" is the right word.
Evil is not a "thing" in itself, rather it is the distortion or twisting of something good.

I am interested in this train of thought, oz, but I wonder how it plays out practically. For example, let's use tornados. I think they are evil, because they are dangerous and kill people indiscriminantly. I think we would all agree that without tornados, the world would be better off. How could such a thing be a distortion of something that was originally good?
« Last Edit: February 27, 2011, 03:04:19 AM by Ortho_cat » Logged
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« Reply #44 on: February 27, 2011, 03:19:02 AM »

Well, God created Satan, and Satan is evil, so logically, God created evil, or at least the potential for evil, no?

God created Lucifer and Lucifer created Satan. Some of the early fathers talk about this very thing.
I don't know that "created" is the right word.
Evil is not a "thing" in itself, rather it is the distortion or twisting of something good.

I am interested in this train of thought, oz, but I wonder how it plays out practically. For example, let's use tornados. I think they are evil, because they are dangerous and kill people indiscriminantly. I think we would all agree that without tornados, the world would be better off. How could such a thing be a distortion of something that was originally good?

Weather?

Plus, tornados are also beautiful and powerful expressions of the natural forces.

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/image/0412/waterspout_noaa_big.jpg

Someone traveling in a canoe off of Niagra Falls wouldn't consider Niagra Falls evil, even if it destroyed them.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2011, 03:22:58 AM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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