Don't be angry with God (6)

Author: Paulino Quevedo, PhD.

For being magnanimous and creating by love, and for being also responsible and coherent, God planned to permit the appearance of evils in this world.

Brief pre- article

By continuing to keep everything he has created in existence, God acts as parents do, allowing their children to burn slightly so that they learn not to play with fire; or better, allowing their young children to have conflicts with each other in the process of mutual treatment, by which they get to know, respect, accept, value, love and forgive each other.

Some of his older brothers may not understand why their parents allow such conflicts, instead of forcing their little brothers to make peace immediately. The reality is that parents have a wider arc of vision, both in space and time, and want their children to have the opportunity to meet, respect, accept, value, love and forgive others as they are, with all their qualities and defects.

Otherwise, parents would not let their children have the opportunity to live the experience of forgiveness, in which case they would not be able to fully love each other. This way of proceeding, which for us is known and well understood in the case of the little brothers, is susceptible to generalization to many other fields of reality, which may be completely unknown to us; but not for God, who allows all this even in the face of our misunderstandings, as if we were those older brothers.

And just as human parents do not cause conflicts between their minor children, but allow the conflicts to arise spontaneously and then take advantage of them to educate them better, neither does God distribute evils in the world, but allows them to arise from the imperfection of the creatures and then take advantage of them to make this the best of all possible worlds.

Like parents regarding their young children, but to the fullest extent, God has a greater and more complete arc of vision, both spatially and temporally, and also in every other possible aspect. God knows how and when each evil will arise, how long it will last, what consequences it will have, how it will be resolved and what will be its end.

Evils arise from imperfections of creatures, together and one by one, in detail; and for the same reason, as we saw in the two previous articles, it is impossible for us to know so much detail. That's why we don't fully understand the presence of so many evils in our world; rather, we have to trust the good judgment and government of God.

Although the articles in this series can be read independently, there is a relationship between them; due to which, the reading of each one will be better understood if it relates to that of the others, which can be found by activating the link offered immediately:

Don't be angry with God

Body of the article

In previous articles of this series, specifically the fourth and fifth, and as a consequence of the previous ones, we managed to know on our own the basic and general plan of God, and we also managed to synthesize it and break it down into the following points or tasks:

  1. Create the best of all worlds including the full range of perfections.
  2. Create with magnanimous criteria and for love.
  3. Let all evils disappear in the end.
  4. Let people reach happiness.

Evil refers mainly to life

In the previous article we talked about the first of this four points; now we will talk about the second. In the pre-article we saw that God does not distribute evils in the world, but allows them to arise spontaneously as a result of imperfections of creatures, taken one by one, or in their interactions, and even taken as a whole. And since this detailed reality goes beyond our capacity of understanding, the interesting thing is to observe how God plans, allows and governs that detail.

The range of perfections of creatures covers at least three major areas: that of matter, with the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms; that of immaterial realities, to which the soul of plants and animals belongs; and that of spiritual realities, which encompasses at least angels and human souls. Of all these creatures, only angels and human beings are persons, as far as we know, because we don't know for sure if there are extraterrestrial intelligent beings.

If we observe the material and inert world, say, what belongs to the mineral kingdom, we will hardly recognize there the emergence or presence of evils. For example, if a rock falls off a cliff and shatters when it hits the ground, we will not see any harm in that, nor will we see it in the eruption of a volcano, in solar explosions or in the collision of two stars. In all that we will see only the wonderful fulfillment of physical laws. Certainly, the clash of two stars is not an evil that God allows so that the stars learn not to collide.

Evil is usually presented to us in relation to life and as a diminution of life, such as when a tree is charred by lightning, or when a rabbit is eaten by a snake, or when any living being suffers a traumatic accident or some disease. Being devoured by the snake is a bad for the rabbit.

Objectivity or subjectivity of good

Without a doubt, being eaten by the snake is a bad thing for the rabbit; but, oddly enough, that seems to be a good for the snake, for in that way it feeds. The same that disadvantages the life of the rabbit, favors the life of the snake. Here a big problem appears, because it seems that good is not something objective. Indeed, it seems that the same fact is neither good nor bad in itself, objectively, but only subjectively, for this one or for that one: good for the snake, but bad for the rabbit.

Certainly, this is not so. For example, it is not the case that Mary is a virgin for Catholics, but not for Protestants. Mary is a virgin    or She is not    for everyone, objectively. All truth is objective. Mary is a virgin in herself, objectively, really, and therefore she is so for everyone. If all truth is objective, why isn't everything good too?

We are facing a serious dilemma. If we say that the same nutritional fact    that the snake devours the rabbit    is good for the snake and bad for the rabbit, we will have to recognize the subjectivity of good. On the other hand, good is a value and, like every value, must be objective.

How to save here the objectivity of good? Well, just holding that the same nutritional fact is good or bad    or indifferent    in itself, in an objective way, and therefore for everyone, both for the snake and for the rabbit, and also for the global group, that is, for the world.

Now, it is obvious that being eaten by the snake is not something good or indifferent for the rabbit. It seems, then, that the only solution is to say that the same nutritional fact is objectively bad, and therefore for everyone, for the rabbit, for the snake and for the world; and that, consequently, it is bad for the snake to feed by eating rabbits. It must be said, then, that the snake food practice is bad, that it is a disorder present in the world.

The Spartans had the habit of throwing the weakly, sick or defective children from the summit of Taigeto (It is terrible that today we are creating a fetal and a genetic "Taigeto"). Well, suppose instead of throwing children from that summit, the Spartans have had the habit of eating them, as the most normal thing in the world. Undoubtedly, that "dish" would feed whoever ate it. And so, we return to the subject: the same nutritional fact is good for the Spartan adult and bad for the Spartan child.

We can say that it is something good for the adult and bad for the child, and that good is subjective; or we can say that it is objectively bad, and therefore for everyone, the child, the adult and the world. What to say? Obviously, we recognize that it is something bad objectively, and therefore for everyone. And we recognize that it is so because the victim is a human being, and also because of the immorality involved in the behavior of the adult Spartan.

In the other case, neither the rabbit is a human being nor is there any immorality in the snake; and that's why we don't see things with the same clarity. However, although there is no immorality nor human victim, we can easily recognize a disorder in the fact that the snake feeds on rabbits and other animals; and we can recognize it because not doing so implies accepting the subjectivity of good; which is unacceptable.

In short, the aggressiveness of the animal kingdom is a disorder, just like all kinds of aggressiveness. Some prophetic messianic texts of Holy Scripture help us understand this great truth, such as the one offered below:

Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; The calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them.

"The cow and the bear shall be neighbors, together their young shall rest; the lion shall eat hay like the ox.

"The baby shall play by the cobra's den, and the child lay his hand on the adder's lair.

"There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD, as water covers the sea.”

(Isaiah 11:6-9)

It is very remarkable how this text sheds light on what we have said, because it speaks of aggressiveness as damage and destruction; and, on the other hand, it is equally remarkable how what we have said sheds light, too, on the other text. Aggression is a disorder, an evil of our current world; and as such it is a consequence of sin, as we shall see immediately.

In his magnanimity God created for love

We find it very difficult to understand that all aggressiveness, even that of the animal kingdom, is a consequence of God having created out of love, due to his magnanimity. But that's how it is. Being magnanimous, God created the full range of perfections, and his love led Him to communicate his happiness to creatures that could enjoy it, that is, to creatures that are persons. Because of his love, the main goal of God's creation are persons; and because of his magnanimity he ordered all other creatures for the benefit of persons, like us, human beings.

We don't know well whether the material universe benefits angels, nor how. But we certainly know that it benefits us, human beings, who are the only persons who embody spirit in matter, at least as far as we know. The entire material world    the  universe-world    is ordained to God through us, men; and that's why it also gives glory to God through us.

God created the best of worlds with magnanimous criteria, loving good more than he detests evil; that is, creating the entire range of goods, not only pure goods, but also goods with a mixture of evil. He created all possible goods, even if they dragged evils, instead of avoiding all evils, even if goods were lost. But God does not want evils, neither creates nor distributes them in the world, but has planned to allow them so that they arise spontaneously from the imperfections of creatures.

And so, God has gone from the superior to the inferior: from angels to men, to the material world. We are persons that, due to our freedom, have given rise to the appearance of evil. Even with his grace, God wanted us to earn our happiness, our glory, so that we would have that satisfaction, and thus our glory would be full. And He left us free to do good or evil, by being a quiet and hidden God. We usually say that He gave us a test, but actually He only placed us in the circumstances that would allow us to earn our glory.

Angels were the first to sin, to rebel against God and fall, mainly Luzbel or Lucifer, then called Devil. And then he seduced Eve, and she  induced Adam to sin; and so, what has been called original sin took place, because it is a sin that is transmitted naturally by generation, by inheritance, to all the descendants of Adam, to our human race. For this reason, after Adam's sin, human nature is fallen, disordered, with the consequence that we have to die and suffer many other evils, such as fatigue, disease, aggressiveness, etcetera.

And the whole material world, inferior to us, for being ontologically ordained to us, was also affected by our sin and radically disordered, to the extent of being hostile. Animals attack us and attack each other aggressively; the plants poison us; inert matter attacks us with earthquakes and floods; even Space and Time are hostile to us, because we have to say goodbye and separate, and finally die.

Here we have the panorama of how and why evil appears and spreads in the world; and how all this is a consequence of the free response of angels and men to divine magnanimity and his love. God wants to give us the best of all worlds, and he wants us to achieve happiness. God does not want evil, he only allows it.

Evil does not come from God, but from us. And yet, God takes advantage of evil to achieve his goals, the main of which is our final good and our full bliss. In the following articles it will be interesting to analyze how God has planned to free us from evil. Let's not be angry with God.

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