The downside is that the reason is not always given to you. Therefore, if God is glorified when God is revealed, we have to ask ourselves, “When is God’s power and love seen most clearly?” Oftentimes the answer to this question is that God’s glory is seen most clearly through the hardest trials in life. He is not, however, willing to give us short-term pleasures at the cost of long-term suffering. We’ve Got Depression All Wrong. Thanks to a whole lot of dumb luck, and some remarkable medical breakthroughs, we made it through—though one is never really out of the woods with cancer, and we have had more scares in recent years. The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly. We have to account for how these disjointed pieces harmonize together to create life. But as I’ve painstakingly learned, this is metaphysical territory. While I would never want to make light of hard questions like these, the reality is God is not responsible for all the evil in this world. I try to express gratitude to them for sharing their life experience with me and for teaching me profound lessons about the human condition. I have read so many authors including Victor Stengel, Lawrence Krauss, Steven Weinberg, etc. This experience confirmed our faith in people. 1. I am open to all of these amazing opinions. You wrote that you wish bad things would happen to you and you purposefully put yourself in dangerous situations. When needed, I offer consoling religious ideas to help patients whose faith has been shaken by cruel adversity and who are asking "Why did this terrible thing happen to me when I've tried so hard to be a good person?" And all of this will be accomplished because Jesus Christ came to earth, lived a perfect life, died for our sins, rose from the dead, and will one day return. And more disturbingly, there are too many callously brutal people in the world for anyone’s comfort. Get the help you need from a therapist near you–a FREE service from Psychology Today. Paperback. My experience is that some opinions are well thought out. I had seen how these get deployed by people facing serious threat and uncertainty—all the more so when those people's fates are being arbitrarily determined by random and trivial factors that seem to mock the significance of their lives. Profoundly Challenging Questions to Ask an Atheist. Parts of this article are taken from: Ralph Lewis, Finding Purpose in a Godless World: Why We Care Even If The Universe Doesn’t (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2018). Our brains are not satisfied with randomness. God doesn’t have to stop the bad things from happening in our lives to spare us from becoming broken. The example you mention isn’t an empirical matter but relates to values. Because metaphysical issues cannot be empirically disproven. PS: Small typo: I meant to refer to Victor Stenger. However, if you look up you will see light. The truth is that the "reason" bad things happen isn't somehow baked into our life's trajectory. The glory of God is when the invisible qualities of God are made manifest. . The multiverse hypothesis assumes the existence of a mechanism that engenders bubble universes with varying laws of nature. So much to unpack on your excellent post. But this construct (I hesitate to call it a theory) was not extrapolated out of fundamental physics as you suggest but arose out of String Theory. Wanting bad things to happen to yourself can be thought of a form of self-punishment. It seemed obvious to us that there was no reason we should be exempt from misfortune and tragedy. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’, And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.””. Why didn’t God stop sin from happening? Let’s assume that the denominator is a very large number (VLN). God uses pain to get our attention. One of my graduate degrees is in Philosophy. When you are in the greatest need, God will then be able to show you how he is the greatest provider. When bad things happen, God feels our pain, is very present with us, and works to bring out the best in a bad situation. Red Forman: Son, you don’t have bad luck. Just type in your email address below. A Guidebook for Every Phase of Christian Singleness, To really understand this point, we have to take a quick step back and remember, what the glory of God is according to the Bible. Sure, it’s still possible to believe that a higher power with a higher purpose operates surreptitiously behind it all, using evolution as a means to creation, making it all just appear spontaneous and unguided. A better question would be “Now that this has happened to me, what am I going to do about it?”3, 4, The scientific or non-theistic perspective: there is no cosmic purpose or design. God has sovereignly created a world where people’s choices matter and his ultimate plan will still come to pass. "Consensus means nothing! God is neither the micromanaging dictator nor is he the absent father who just lets the world run mad. Here again, we may touch upon spiritual aspects, but not in the traditional sense. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. . If I read a Yelp review of a restaurant I like seeing lots of happy customers. God is neither the micromanaging dictator nor is he the absent father who just lets the world run mad. There is nothing special about the causation of things that we humans judge as “bad.” The question of why bad things happen to good people can be reframed (as Karin’s response to the question posed to her implied): Why would bad things not happen to good people? In other words, add up all the probabilities necessary for life to occur: the ratios of the four fundamental forces relative to each other, the probability of a protein forming by chance, earth’s magnetic field, distance from the sun, special nature of water, etc. But the solution found in the gospel will only be received by those who put their faith in Jesus, repent of sin, and receive God’s grace. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. In all empirical matters, I believe that science is the ultimate arbiter. The thing that brings God the most glory is the gospel of Jesus Christ, therefore the gospel of Jesus Christ is the ultimate solution that God has chosen to use for all the bad that happens in this world. One day everything will be as it should have always been. Often times people with these thoughts or feelings have something on their mind they feel uneasy about; it could be anything from a fight with a loved one, to feeling … Chris, When we feel like God must micromanage reality and take away our choices and stop everything bad that can ever happen – we are saying that the gospel is not enough. But given everything we now know about how evolution proceeds, a god who uses evolution to create living creatures can only be thoroughly cruel or indifferent, as well as inefficient, tinkering, and bungling. From a scientist’s point of view, Kushner’s God (or any version of God, actually) is superfluous, an unnecessary addition to the scientific explanation for the existence of the universe and everything in it. As long as the numerator is smaller than the denominator, this line of reasoning becomes more plausible. Could God stop the bad things from happening in your life and in this world? A hard earthly life, however, that leads to seeing God accurately through Jesus Christ is actually a blessing that leads to eternal life forever in God’s presence. I agree with you that if one has difficulty letting go of the notion of a higher power then process theology or other notions of either a non-omnipotent or impersonal God are more defensible than conventional Judeo-Christian biblical theology. "Yes, as counterintuitive as it is, it is indeed fully plausible that the universe and all the complexity and life and consciousness contained within it could, in fact, have emerged and evolved entirely spontaneously and unguided. “We could bear nearly any pain or disappointment if we thought there was a reason behind it, a purpose, to it.” — Rabbi Harold Kushner, When Bad Things Happen to Good People. In short, the darker the night the brighter the light that shines. If God stopped all the bad, no one would have a true choice to do anything good either. We're like Douglas Adams' "sentient puddle": "Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? Thank you very much Vince for your as-usual thoughtful and penetrating comment. Consequently, Faith has repeatedly had to pull up its stakes and relocate, as its former tenets have become undermined or blatantly contradicted by science's expanding knowledge. Why Do Bad Things Happen? When tragedy impacts their life, some people reproach God. For several years following the diagnosis, we expected the worst and lived with tremendous uncertainty. Because God wants true love between us and him and true love cannot be forced. 21 Reasons Bad Things Happen to Good People by Dave Earley. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have - life itself. Swedenborg learned big picture reasons for this. Steven Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory (New York: Pantheon Books, 1992), p. 251. In fact it fits me staggeringly well, may have been made to have me in it!' 2. 1. We know from the Scriptures that nothing occurs without God’s permission (Ephesians 1:11). I have a Master's Degree in Pastoral Counseling, I've been married since 2008, we have two wild children, and we live in Cleveland, Ohio. We give value and meaning to life. God Allows Bad Things to Happen in Your Life Because God Wants Us to Find Our Ultimate Hope for Salvation in Jesus Christ Alone. In the ordeal of Karin’s cancer, we were the grateful beneficiaries of very much kindness and caring. In our humanness, we can see this as a very selfish and unloving motive. Ralph Lewis, M.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, a psychiatrist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and a consultant at the Odette Cancer Centre in Toronto. 3. It becomes obvious that bad things happen for the same reason anything happens: the same laws of nature that underlie all causes and effects. Or, more simply and crudely put, “Sh*t happens.”. See this YouTube video link for an engaging Power Point presentation in which Dr. Lewis explains how a family health crisis focused him on coming to terms with the outsized role of randomness in life, and to wrestle with the question of whether the scientific worldview of a fundamentally random universe is nihilistic. But the Bible offers a third option, which is that God shows us his love through the bad things that happen in our lives. And indeed it would be if anyone but God sought all the glory for himself. conclusion extrapolated from the known fundamental physics). “Bad things can happen, and often do--but they only take up a few pages of your story; and anyone … In an infinite number of universes such a universe is not only possible, it is inevitable. Dust cover is intact; pages are clean and are not marred by notes or folds of any kind. But we can redeem these tragedies from senselessness by imposing meaning on them. According to this view, God may nevertheless still be at each person's side comforting them and giving them strength during times of adversity (an idea also invoked in the famous "Footprints in the Sand" poem). “Why did this happen?” and “Why me?” are therefore natural and common questions asked by many people when faced with a sudden adverse event, such as a diagnosis of cancer. On the other hand, when we think of a world that is outside of God’s control and everything that happens is simply the outcome of human choices, we can feel abandoned by God and unloved. As a meaning-seeking species, we tend to process events in terms of what they mean to us: is it good or bad for us? But my basic point is captured by this quote from Terence McKenna: “Modern science is based on the principle: ‘Give us one free miracle, and we’ll explain the rest.’ The one free miracle is the appearance of all the mass and energy in the universe and all the laws that govern it in a single instant from nothing. Validate Their Feelings. In other words, when God is seen accurately, this is when God is glorified. that those outer limits are very rapidly expanding. Certainly, this question you pose is still at the outer limits of science. The central quandary is this: “Why do terrible things happen in a world governed by an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good God?” How can God simultaneously possess all three of these qualities and yet allow bad things to happen to good people, and with such frequency and such savage intensity? When we act kindly, it also gives meaning to our own life, as we see that we matter to others. It’s all about progress and not perfection. And God doesn’t need to stop us from sinning to accomplish his will in our lives. The "why me?" … And not just empathy, but active help towards those human beings and to other animals also. Second point: Sin has so blinded us to God’s glory, the Lord often has to open our eyes through extreme measures. When the light of Christ shines, this is the glory of God. You also wrote that you … The theological problem of trying to explain why evil and suffering exist in the world is referred to as theodicy. Just grateful for a wonderful read. From a scientist’s point of view, Kushner’s God (or any version of God, actually) is superfluous, an unnecessary addition to the scientific explanation for the existence of the universe and everything in it. is indeed a very intriguing question, one to which some scientists have given much thought. But more importantly, I have my own conclusion about why this proposition is wrong. Bad things happen when we make sinful choices. So that's what AGW is all about! It becomes obvious that bad things happen for the same reason anything happens: the same laws of nature that underlie all causes and effects. Here is some sage advice about why everything happens for a reason: 1. We all know that there are unfortunately also many uncaring, selfish people. That table is just a brief summary. Hope you all understand that I am not perfect and although I did … We can also turn the question around: "Why would an all-good, all-knowing, and all-powerful God allow good things to happen to bad people?" So even if one bought into the notion that a deity fine-tuned the universe, such a god self-evidently has little regard for the well-being of living creatures including us, and there is abundant evidence for lack of benevolence.". Karin and I had experienced adversity and big life challenges before, but nothing like this. As New. The Real Reason Why Weird Things Happen At 3 AM By Gerald Sinclair April 3, 2019 April 20th, 2019 No Comments Tons of people across the globe note waking up at the witching hour and most have no clue why, if you are someone who wakes frequently between 3 am and 4 am you … Just because God doesn’t respond to your prayer the way that you want Him to then it doesn’t mean that He doesn’t care.… "There is much we can do to alleviate each other’s suffering when adversity strikes. . All those bad things happened later after humans corrupted this world with sin in Genesis 3. But the mere fact that plausible models exist to explain the ultimate origins should give us pause in jumping to conclusions that there must have been an intelligent designer. Feel free to email me with any questions or comments at [email protected] I find it no less explicable than positing the Christian God. Bad things happen because sin is written in our DNA. . The implication is that we would naturally find ourselves in such a universe, rather than in any of the myriad other universes with randomly differing laws of physics not conducive to our existence. And it is a human habit to infer deliberate intention to events in self-referential ways. This was an old version I was working on a few days ago. In an eternal multiverse the origin question is moot (the idea of a multiverse was not invented with the goal of rendering this question moot, it is in many ways an inescapable conclusion extrapolated from the known fundamental physics). Many wrestle with the question of why bad things are allowed to happen. All the things after sin entered the world, reflect the enemy. 2. It also could be related to why things happen the way … His fallible logic follows this line of reasoning: According to quantum mechanics…wait, stop! Yes, we will find out why in the afterlife, but if nobody deserves anything, then the question still exists why those bad things happen to specific people.... (14) craig , December 21, 2010 6:08 PM But sometimes it's because our inactions create an equal and opposite reaction. In this little world in which we live, it was necessary for God to give way or contract his power and presence to make space for free will and allow humans to help shape the universe—God created humans as partners in the process of trying to perfect the world. One day God will make a new heaven and a new earth. According to Kabbalah, the separation of the less powerful, fragmented aspects of God from the transcendent, perfect God occurred during the act of creation of the universe. I had always been caref… It is the real solution humanity desperately needs. “I believe that everything happens for a reason. But let me hastily add, not in a Christian God…but more in the spirit of Whitehead’s process theology. People can and do care, even if the universe doesn’t. We are also a story-telling species. In conclusion, this last comment deserves a reply: Faith staking its territory at the outer limits of scientific explanations is Why are so many people drawn to conspiracy theories in times of crisis? This may seem like a cop-out, but it's not. God has sovereignly created a world where people’s choices matter and his ultimate plan will still come to pass. And sin causes bad things in our lives in at least 3 ways. 3. Accepting randomness frees people from excessive self-blame, and in so doing also empowers them. As I’ve stated elsewhere, in my psychiatric clinic I am not in the business of changing people's religious worldviews, unless they ask me to help them do so and if it's appropriate and helpful to do so. Our support and empathy toward our fellow human beings in their time of need helps them not only materially but demonstrates to them that they matter and that what happens to them has an emotional impact on us. He is limited in what He can do by laws of nature and by the evolution of human nature and human moral freedom.”3 Kushner went on to propose: “Let me suggest that the bad things that happen to us in our lives do not have a meaning when they happen to us. The paperback version is available for $12.99. They have the added 'advantage' of being non-falsifiable, whereas conventional Judeo-Christian theology can easily have the rug pulled out from under it in so many different ways: for one thing, conventional Judeo-Christian theology rests on the foundation of the Old Testament having been either divinely revealed or divinely inspired. To be clearer, regarding my statement "We could only have evolved within the type of universe whose laws of nature are conducive to ordered matter and life evolving." What we must remember is that God takes the long view. People change so that you can learn to let go, things … So when she was diagnosed in 2005 in her late thirties with a very aggressive life threatening cancer, she never dwelled on questions like ‘Why did this happen?’ or ‘Why me?’ When people asked her if she struggled with such questions or if she felt a sense of cosmic injustice, her characteristically matter-of-fact reply was “Why not me?”. Do Narcissists Prefer to Date Other Narcissists? He summarizes how science has come to view the universe and absolutely everything in it as the product of entirely spontaneous, unguided processes, and why this is actually a highly motivating realization for humankind. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Type in your email address and a copy will be sent right to your inbox. 2. God Allows Bad Things to Happen to You Because Without the Human Free Will Which Causes Much of the Pain in Our Lives, No True Love Could Be Experienced. We have no idea about the “how.” In terms of plausibility, I find the arguments of Biologist James Tour to be “fully plausible.”. Bad things like diseases and natural disasters happen because creation is broken because of the fist sin that happened in Genesis 3. Every explanation or proposed theory carries hidden assumptions. Honesty has it's down sides. Vince, once again the points you've made are all ones upon which I hope our readers will give long and deep reflection. Bad things happen because sinful people can do hurtful things to us. It can simply be because of what energies they attract. With that said, God is still the one in ultimate control, but he grants freedom to humans to act in ways he does not approve of, which is called sin. The history of the writing of the Bible parallels other contemporary writings such as The Iliad & The Odyssey and it should be valued in the same way, not naively regarded as a revelation about the nature of reality and the origins of the universe. We could only have evolved within the type of universe whose laws of nature are conducive to ordered matter and life evolving. Thank you very much Dominique for your keen interest. Ask the pastor. " Like me, Karin worked in a helping profession, so we had both witnessed much tragedy in our work, as well as among friends and relatives. As to James Tour's arguments, his views are very unrepresentative of those of the vast majority of his scientist colleagues, and are clearly more aligned with his very religious worldview than with the worldview of biological science. 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