Who is God, Who We Are, & The Problem of Evil

When I was 16, my philosophy teacher Mwalimu Kassala asked me to ponder on the problem of evil. He presented the problem as Saint Augustine had presented it:

Either God cannot abolish evil or He will not.

If He cannot, He is not All-Powerful;

If He will not, He is not All-Good.

Many years have passed since then, and I think I have finally “solved” the problem of evil- and it is an extremely important question to consider because my solution puts us in the role of creators rather than passive observers.It challenges the fundamental assumptions most human beings have made about God.

The problem with the question and the traditional understanding of God is the assumption that God IS rather than BECOMING and that He is All Powerful, All Merciful, or Both. Truth is often a paradox. My view on the problem of evil, on the nature of God, and who we are is suggested in the following poems:

 Caterpillar and the Butterfly

Pristine Whore

The Opening

Where is God?

The problem with the traditional understanding of God is that it makes us passive observers who assume that goodness will prevail because of a higher power. I suggest, respectfully, that the outcome should not be assumed: what we do, and how we live, will determine the fate of not only ourselves but “It”.  Individual and Social Justice are paramount to the “creation” of Us and “It.”

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10 thoughts on “Who is God, Who We Are, & The Problem of Evil

  1. The problem is in the last. It is man’s assumption/opinion that if God does not abolish evil, He is not all good. Since evil exists, He uses it to bring about good, a greater good accomplished through and in spite of evil.

    • Did you read the poetry referred to in this post? Respectfully, I think it is a simple approach to think that there is a Good and All Powerful God who puts his creatures through suffering for a greater good. The views I express, I think, make more sense- that God is not abolishing evil at this very moment is because He Cannot- He is in the process of Becoming- in part determined by what Everything does and Becomes.

  2. When I click on the links to the poems, a message pops up on each one: You’re not allowed to edit this (or something like that). My view comes from this – Because of the overwhelming evidence, I believe that the Bible is the word of God. For that reason, it is accurate in what it says about God. One thing it says is that He does not change. He is eternal, without beginning or end, and is immutable. I can understand you coming up with other ideas about the dilemma given by Augustine if you don’t believe what the Bible says about God (I change not). But since I do believe what it says, I look for answers that will harmonize with what it says. What I see from scripture is that life here on earth is a test to see who hates sin and loves God and is thus a fit candidate for eternal life with Him. Those are the ones He forgives through Jesus and adopts as His children to live with Him forever. Let me know when the poems are available. I’m looking forward to reading them. Thanks for subscribing to my blog.

    • Thanks for pointing out that the link to the poems were not functional. I just fixed this-let me know if it still does not work. I also appreciate your comments and am contemplating on it.

  3. Yes, the links work now and I’ve read your poems about the subject. The difference between our two stances is that I accept the evidence that the Bible is the word of God and thus what it says is true. I’m not sure how you feel about that, but your stance comes from looking at the problem of evil and coming up with a solution. It doesn’t fit what the Bible says, but if you don’t accept the Bible, I can see why your thoughts have become the solution. My view means that God has to reveal to us the truth about these matters, and that He has. So, men all over the world through the centuries don’t have to reason about such things, coming up with different conclusions. Those conclusions are reasonable to the one who comes up with them but there isn’t an substance behind them to say that they must be so and accepted by others. My view means I can rely completely on what I read, knowing that it is true, and is an infallible guide to finding God’s will for me (and for all others).

    • I respect the Bible as an inspiration from God. Is what I am saying inconsistent with what the Bible says? I am simply saying we cannot confine God to God- He is limitless and our actions has an impact on Him. So, for instance, in Mathew 25:35, God says: For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40“The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ God here is identified by God as the vulnerable and weak members in our society who need protection. Our service to them is service to Him even though we may not perceive it in that manner.

      My point is not to deny that God is All Good and Powerful- it simply to point out that God is a paradox- while He is All Good and Powerful He is also Not- He is Becoming and a Witness and Participant in Our acts of living and kindness just as Mathew seems to suggest.

      What would be really helpful would be for you to present references from the Bible itself on the question of the problem of evil. I say from the Bible because often what the commentators say is not the same as what the Bible says.

      I thank you for your thoughts. May God preserve your faith. There is beauty in it.

  4. Pingback: A Quick Guide to The Posts on Poetic Social Spiritual Human Rights Uproar | The Poetic Social Spiritual Human Rights Uproar

  5. Sorry that it’s taken me so long to get back to this. It kept slipping my mind. Cleaning out my email reminded me this morning. When I first responded, I didn’t know your view of the Bible. That’s why I talked in generalities and didn’t post the verse references. To be a bit more specific…. The Bible doesn’t comment directly upon the problem of evil. So, we must reason why. Our conclusions, however, must not contradict what the Bible does say. One of the characteristics of God is immutability – He does not change (Mal.3:6; James 1:17; Heb.6:17). Another characteristic is that He is almighty, omnipotent (Gen.17:1; 18:4; Job 42:2; Matt.19:26, etc). He also is capable of carrying out all that He desires and plans (Job 23:13; Jer.32:27; Dan.4:35, etc). Enjoyed the discussion. Just wanted to wrap things up by presenting some of the actual verse citations and answer a point you made in your last response.

  6. Reblogged this on The Poetic Social Spiritual Human Rights Uproar and commented:

    I highly recommend reading this if you have ever wondered about the nature of God in relation to us, and the problem of evil. It is a serious read which I believe provides a unique insight into both our nature and the nature of God and the problem of evil. It is a perspective that cautiously empowers us. Some light Sunday reading (lol)

  7. I think the conventional idea of God is too simplistic and that’s why it always seems so contradictory – illiciting the claim that ‘God works in mysterious ways’. For me, if there is a God it is a force, one which we are fundamentally a part of. Therefore it is US that is either Good or Evil. Having said that, from a philosophical standpoint Good and Evil are simply subjective and can be interpreted differently depending on ones perspective. EG: Suicide bombers THINK they are doing Good, the victims of such bombings always THINK that it is Evil. The debate goes on. Nice post. 🙂

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