God always gets off the hook. Somehow he manages to not only worm his way out of any fault, but get the praise for everything good. God is the ultimate schoolyard bully.
Take the problem of evil as an example. Why do jaguars kill fawns, why do parasites infest hosts, why do crocs drown prey? Why does lightning kill people, why do tornadoes and floods destroy towns? Why is there Alzheimer’s or cancer?
Adam and Eve, that’s why. Somehow, through some intense magical inheritance, Adam and Eve doomed us all. Even the deer and the insects. They’ve managed to even affect our genes. And what’s God’s response to this? Well, he did warn us. And by “us,” of course I mean Adam and Eve. Nevermind all the details – God gets off because he did technically warn us.
And so we’re left with a world in disrepair. Slowly wasting away until God returns on a cloud with thunder and gold and chariots. Only then will he fix everything. He doesn’t mind the wait. No, in God’s mind, all the suffering here on earth and all the issues will be dealt with swiftly and shortly. Two thousand years ago they thought it would be then. Two thousand years later, some think it will be now. In either case, isn’t that a long while to wait to clean up this mess? Even if one day is as a thousand years to the Lord, shouldn’t he realize it’s much, much different for his most cherished creation?
To be fair, God did decide to do something once. He cared so much that he decided he’d rectify this whole situation. Enough was enough. So he had himself placed inside a virgin, was born, tortured, and finally murdered…so that we all could go on living in an evil and suffering world for at least two thousand years more.
So why is there evil and suffering in the world? And why do animals kill and eat each other? Why are there paralyzing diseases? You and me and Adam and Eve. Clearly, God has tried everything.
There are theists who don’t even know this is what they think. But no theist, whether they’ve thought about it or not, thinks God is at fault or to blame for the current state of the world. What I want to know is, why not?
If Adam and Eve brought all this evil into the world, fine. I’ll skip over the part about God creating them and knowing this would happen. Why doesn’t he just clean it up then? What’s stopping him? If it’s so he can wait a really long time to come to earth and get tortured, then, even without the bit about him getting tortured, suffering is central to his whole idea! Why not just fix it?
Take an example: if I knew someone would be raped and murdered, and I alone had all power to stop it from ever happening (and it cost nothing to me to stop it), am I not then to blame even a little for it occurring? Granted, granted, I didn’t make it occur, and maybe I didn’t even want it to occur, but I allowed it, right? How much more powerful is God than you or I? How much greater?
The answer is he is infinitely greater in every way. All the more shocked and appalled we should be by the fact he does nothing (except that time he helped you find your keys) and gets away with it.
I know, I know, theology is much subtler than that. Or perhaps a little more long winded. Regardless, God is not off the hook. He sees all ends, all beginnings, all everything. He knew what he was doing: the Creation, the Fall, the Redemption – and the outlandish, unimaginable amount of suffering that would happen in his creation, that this small planet would harbor Hell in the present, and produce people to house Hell eternally thereafter.
He looked at all this, and he said that it was good.
I’m happy to say I don’t agree with his assessment. I’m guessing most people don’t either. If God is real, he has a lot to answer for. In the mean time, I hope people will make fewer answers for him, and let him fight his own battles. Surely the thing that created all existence with a word can still speak for himself?
And if he never does – and he never has – let’s maybe understand that silence for what it really is.