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Why Does God Stay His Hand


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6 minutes ago, Buckeye said:

I used to believe this but no longer. The vast majority of my suffering is not a result of others actions. It’s just part of this world. 

True, the properties of chaotic matter is trouble, though much could be prevented or alleviate by collective compassion, generosity, and harmony.

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There is a story (I can’t recall its source) of a man who complained long – and bitterly – to the Exalted about the amount of suffering in the world. He wanted to know why the Exalted had not done anything about it.

Allāh (subḥānahu ūta'āla) answered: ‘I have. I created you!’

In surah ‘Ash-Sharh (‘The Consolation’), Allāh (subḥānahu ūta'āla) says: ‘So truly where there is hardship there is also ease; truly where there is hardship there is also ease’.

We are created to provide ease – care and protection – to those who suffer hardship. By so doing, we bring Allāh (subḥānahu ūta'āla)’s blessings upon them.

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15 hours ago, MrShorty said:

Welcome to the problem of evil. IMO, it is still a question even after thousands of years of Christian and religious thought because it really is difficult to answer.

It seems to me that LDS theodicy is substantially rooted in "soul growth" + "free will" ideas. Where evil and suffering (even if they are drastically unfair and unbalanced as @pogi noted) are necessary for growth and progression, coupled with a sense of "free will" as completely inviolate that prevents God (usually) from interfering in human choices. Sometimes, we throw in the idea that something (a law or authority) exists outside of God that constrains God's intervention. As unsatisfying as it seems, these seem to be our best ideas for why evil and suffering exist in the world.

Specific to the issues you mention of hunger and illness, I found one idea from a podcast discussing Process Theology's theodicy very compelling. The idea is that, maybe God cannot intervene all the time to prevent or relieve human suffering, but He expects us believers to do all we can to intervene and prevent and alleviate suffering. That kind of theodicy is uncomfortable for different (less metaphysical) reasons, because it can be hard to look myself in the mirror and convince myself that I really am doing everything in my power to relieve the suffering that is within my reach.

It seems to me that the doctrine goes that this discomfort is swallowed up in Christ, especially when He has settled all affairs perfectly in the end. I think our comprehension of “the end” and His differ in two ways, both in timing and aim.

Our scriptures talk about the sevens seals, the seven thousand years of earth’s continuance, etc. Perhaps these are figurative, or have become figurative, only because the imperfectly executed agency of Adam and Eve and their posterity deviated from, and changed the course and timing, of the original plan’s design of 7,000 years. The same is so with all prophecies, and so by only by grace they are fulfilled, somehow and eventually, in Christ. His miraculous interventions (manna and finding keys) are to course-correct when things get so skewed as to end His work and glory. I believe the vast majority of these interventions go unnoticed, individually, collectively and generationally.

His atonement was established before the foundation of the world, so in my understanding the problem of evil has been addressed all along. Our slowness to discover this is developmental so there is no evil in that, only in our willfulness which is offset by our discomfort (both being swallowed up in Christ). I don’t think God would intervene in the developmental process any more than a farmer would harvest a plant just as it was germinating.

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15 hours ago, pogi said:

Is that doctrinal?

I believe so, yes.

Don't get me wrong, I think there's more to it than that, but that's the best I've come up with to try and encapsulate our beliefs into a single, short response to a question which clearly demands a much more involved response.

 

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10 hours ago, let’s roll said:

Thanks to all for the thoughtful and thought provoking comments.  Reading them provided an opportunity to again ponder principles of eternal consequence (and a welcome respite from 300 comments on who sits on the stand in Sacrament Meeting 🙂).

A few thoughts, in no particular order…

  • Mortality is definitely intended as a crucible for conversion…it is telling to me that when a society as a whole gets it completely right (city of Enoch) or completely wrong (people in the time of Noah) God ends their mortal existence.
  • Our eternal journey includes our pre mortal life, our mortal life and post mortal, pre resurrection life…In the midst of mortality we understandably focus on our personal mortal journey and, hopefully, recognize the importance of mortality in our eternal journey…that said, remembering that for some of God’s children their pre mortal or post mortal life plays a larger role than mortality helps me better understand mortality.
  • It’s telling to me that when the apostles told Christ that the people were hungry, he said “give ye them to eat”…before performing His miracle…I believe Deity wants us to understand both that we are accountable and that we always best meet the challenge of that accountability by seeking Divine guidance and assistance.

As to your 3rd bullet, there is nothing better than taking those first steps to do what we can while He walks with us and does what He can. From John 17, He is all about all doing things that we may be one. 

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6 minutes ago, Amulek said:

I believe so, yes.

Don't get me wrong, I think there's more to it than that, but that's the best I've come up with to try and encapsulate our beliefs into a single, short response to a question which clearly demands a much more involved response.

 

I think that perhaps the omnipotence, omnibenevolence, and omniscience that we ascribe to God are from our point of view (relative), and that the fulness that is spoken of has more to do with oneness and unity (innumerable/indeterminate number of heads are better than one).

Edited by CV75
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@pogi I haven't discussed the issue in years, and nobody ever really budges in these discussions, but it's still good to discuss. 

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When I seek to alleviate the suffering of others as God commanded, I don't fear that helping to alleviate their suffering would make them "entitled immature brats".

There's a line, it seems to be a fuzzy line, between "alleviating suffering" and "enabling behavior that stunts growth".

Personal story: My daughter had to have double foot surgery as a young child.  6 weeks in a wheelchair.  She had to learn how to walk again.  It was an incredibly slow, painful, and frustrating process.  After the casts were off, she didn't want to stand up, because it hurt.  She didn't want her crutches, because the wheelchair didn't hurt.  She didn't want to put down her crutches, using them hurt less.  My wife and I, barely holding back tears, had to force her to do these things many times.   Many times she cried and begged us for help.  Truly one of the five hardest things I've done in this life.   But she gained her strength back and has been fine for a dozen years now, and will be fine for the rest of her life. 

Can you imagine what God would think of us, if we had sought to alleviate her suffering by not forcing her, against her will, to suffer?  Can you imagine what her life would be like right now?  A lifetime in a wheelchair, possible lifetime bone deformities, most likely all sorts of negative mental health impacts. 

Anyway, take that story and change some of the words to "starvation" or "poverty" or anything else you're thinking about on this issue. 

 

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I don't pretend that all suffering could or should be eliminated, but I'm sorry, so, so much is completely unnecessary - at least from a limited mortal perspective.  

I have heard it taught that God suffered so that we don't have to.  If that is true, why do so many suffer unawares of God?   

Yep.   From your (and my) limited mortal perspective, so much is completely unnecessary.  My daughter never in a million years deserved to be born with those ankle problems.   But I don't know the change that early struggle in her life made.  She remembers when the casts came off and the pins in her ankles were taken out.  At age 7, she said "before the pins came out, I was a little kid.  After, I was a big kid."

 

20 hours ago, pogi said:

Being unfair is unmerciful and unjust in many ways.  If God is merciful and just, then he is fair and balanced.   The scales/balance of justice is a symbol of fairness.

The scales/balance of justice is indeed a symbol of fairness.  I often bend my knee in prayer that God tempers that fairness with mercy.  My scales don't balance - there's no way I can make the scales balance here in mortality.  I am so thankful he is not a fair God, because then I'd get what's coming to me.  Instead, I've got this atonement deal offered.  It promises to right my past wrongs that I cannot right.  Through some perfect and eternal application of both justice and mercy, that I as a mere mortal cannot fathom.

 

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Some say that the balance will be evened in the afterlife.  If that is true, then he is a fair God.  I don't think we can pretend to have answers as to the why's of all suffering in mortality.  At best, all we can do is hope that it serves a purpose in the next life, but as far as mortality goes...there is no good holistic explanation.  

I don't know what 'holistic' means, but I agree with everything else.  My good explanation is taking my story about my daughter, and trusting in God that He allows similar things to happen to each of us, because He loves us.

Edited by LoudmouthMormon
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49 minutes ago, LoudmouthMormon said:

@pogi I haven't discussed the issue in years, and nobody ever really budges in these discussions, but it's still good to discuss. 

There's a line, it seems to be a fuzzy line, between "alleviating suffering" and "enabling behavior that stunts growth".

Personal story: My daughter had to have double foot surgery as a young child.  6 weeks in a wheelchair.  She had to learn how to walk again.  It was an incredibly slow, painful, and frustrating process.  After the casts were off, she didn't want to stand up, because it hurt.  She didn't want her crutches, because the wheelchair didn't hurt.  She didn't want to put down her crutches, using them hurt less.  My wife and I, barely holding back tears, had to force her to do these things many times.   Many times she cried and begged us for help.  Truly one of the five hardest things I've done in this life.   But she gained her strength back and has been fine for a dozen years now, and will be fine for the rest of her life. 

Can you imagine what God would think of us, if we had sought to alleviate her suffering by not forcing her, against her will, to suffer?  Can you imagine what her life would be like right now?  A lifetime in a wheelchair, possible lifetime bone deformities, most likely all sorts of negative mental health impacts. 

Anyway, take that story and change some of the words to "starvation" or "poverty" or anything else you're thinking about on this issue. 

 

Yep.   From your (and my) limited mortal perspective, so much is completely unnecessary.  My daughter never in a million years deserved to be born with those ankle problems.   But I don't know the change that early struggle in her life made.  She remembers when the casts came off and the pins in her ankles were taken out.  At age 7, she said "before the pins came out, I was a little kid.  After, I was a big kid."

 

The scales/balance of justice is indeed a symbol of fairness.  I often bend my knee in prayer that God tempers that fairness with mercy.  My scales don't balance - there's no way I can make the scales balance here in mortality.  I am so thankful he is not a fair God, because then I'd get what's coming to me.  Instead, I've got this atonement deal offered.  It promises to right my past wrongs that I cannot right.  Through some perfect and eternal application of both justice and mercy, that I as a mere mortal cannot fathom.

 

I don't know what 'holistic' means, but I agree with everything else.  My good explanation is taking my story about my daughter, and trusting in God that He allows similar things to happen to each of us, because He loves us.

Thanks for sharing your story.   I fully understand that all pain and suffering cannot and perhaps should not be alleviated in mortality.  I understand that growth can come from it.  But it also needs to be understood that not all types of pain and suffering leads to growth in mortality.   In fact, it can cause the opposite effect from the effects of trauma.  It can inhibit emotional growth and well-being significantly and lead to many developmental, psychological, and even spiritual delinquencies.

By "holistic", I mean complete - leaving no possible question or explanation unresolved - leaving us with whole understanding of the problem and total resolution. 

Example:  

Two children are born and die by age 5.

1 child was loved and cared for and seemed to express happiness and satisfaction with her short life. 

The other child was sexually and physically abused throughout her life.  Emotionally and physically neglected, starving, cold, and constantly in fear.  She died from a traumatic brain injury from the hands of those who were supposed to protect her.  

Both kids are crowned with eternal glory in the end and will not be held back from any blessings.  If all blessings can be received without being sexually and physically abused, then what benefit does it serve in mortality?  If one can be equal to God in power and glory etc. without going through that type of suffering in mortality, then it is hard to see any benefit.

I think that sometimes it can be hurtful to those suffering from abuse or otherwise to try and have an answer for all suffering, as if it is for our good somehow.  It can come off as dismissive to try and spin it as a good thing.  

 

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1 hour ago, pogi said:

Thanks for sharing your story.   I fully understand that all pain and suffering cannot and perhaps should not be alleviated in mortality.  I understand that growth can come from it.  But it also needs to be understood that not all types of pain and suffering leads to growth in mortality.   In fact, it can cause the opposite effect from the effects of trauma.  It can inhibit emotional growth and well-being significantly and lead to many developmental, psychological, and even spiritual delinquencies.

By "holistic", I mean complete - leaving no possible question or explanation unresolved - leaving us with whole understanding of the problem and total resolution. 

Example:  

Two children are born and die by age 5.

1 child was loved and cared for and seemed to express happiness and satisfaction with her short life. 

The other child was sexually and physically abused throughout her life.  Emotionally and physically neglected, starving, cold, and constantly in fear.  She died from a traumatic brain injury from the hands of those who were supposed to protect her.  

Both kids are crowned with eternal glory in the end and will not be held back from any blessings.  If all blessings can be received without being sexually and physically abused, then what benefit does it serve in mortality?  If one can be equal to God in power and glory etc. without going through that type of suffering in mortality, then it is hard to see any benefit.

I think that sometimes it can be hurtful to those suffering from abuse or otherwise to try and have an answer for all suffering, as if it is for our good somehow.  It can come off as dismissive to try and spin it as a good thing.  

 

This brings to mind the questions, What do the spirits of the two children bring with them into the spirit world? They processed their mortal life with five-year-old bodies, mental states, abilities. One my have been quite precocious, the other slow; who knows how much either was aware or appreciated their circumstances and experience?

The benefits of mortality, as you pointed out, are the blessings of immortality and eternal life, and there is a developmental aspect to our perfection in Christ. These blessings, availed to all and to a fulness, are the same, and so the developmental experience along the way is also “the same” even when it may not apparent to us. I think is where mourning with those who mourn, and rejoining with those who rejoice help us round out our personal experience, and when we do so with the Lord in mind, and in oneness with Him, we find that blessed state that surpasses all understanding. Everyone who is exalted, no matter the length or circumstances of their mortal life, will learn all it takes for this to occur. The two children can learn this in the spirit world along with the rest of us. We all learn and grow from and in each other, in the Lord.

Likewise, all the unaccountable learn perfect accountability in the next life, as the accountable learn innocence from the spirits of these children who die before they become accountable. Those we esteem as privileged and those we esteem as oppressed learn from each other’s experience (the exalted are brought low and vice-versa) and the sealing power in Christ makes this extraordinarily effective.

Of course, the Lord invites those who are able to begin this process in this life, with baptism.

Edited by CV75
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2 hours ago, pogi said:

 

Two children are born and die by age 5.

1 child was loved and cared for and seemed to express happiness and satisfaction with her short life. 

The other child was sexually and physically abused throughout her life.  Emotionally and physically neglected, starving, cold, and constantly in fear.  She died from a traumatic brain injury from the hands of those who were supposed to protect her.  

Both kids are crowned with eternal glory in the end and will not be held back from any blessings.  If all blessings can be received without being sexually and physically abused, then what benefit does it serve in mortality?  If one can be equal to God in power and glory etc. without going through that type of suffering in mortality, then it is hard to see any benefit.

I think that sometimes it can be hurtful to those suffering from abuse or otherwise to try and have an answer for all suffering, as if it is for our good somehow.  It can come off as dismissive to try and spin it as a good thing.  
 

Mitch Albom’s novel, The Five People You Meet In Heaven had a thought provoking approach to this question.  A Vietnam veteran had escaped from a POW camp.  During the escape the prisoners set fire to the huts occupied by their captors to reduce the likelihood the guard would pursue the escapees.  The vet was haunted by the memory of what he thought were cries of a young girl coming  from one of the burning huts.  When the vet died, he came upon some children joyfully playing in a stream.  One of the children, a young girl, turned to him and said to him repeatedly and without any anger, “you burned me.”

It made me ponder both the types of mercy and forgiveness we may experience post mortality

 

 

2 hours ago, pogi said:

 

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On 11/27/2023 at 3:32 PM, CV75 said:

He knows when to hold them.

 🎵 He knows when to fold 'em! 🎵

🎵 Knows when to walk away, 🎵

🎵 And knows when to run! 🎵

🎵 You never count your money 🎵

🎵 When you're sittin' at the table! 🎵

🎵 There'll be time enough for countin' 🎵

🎵 When the dealin's done! 🎵

:D :rofl: :D

Couldn't resist!  :huh: :unknw:  Sorry! ;) :D

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9 hours ago, The Nehor said:

You also hit the problem that if all this suffering is vital and necessary and even good then those born in the Millenium are missing out. ...

 

I don't think so.  Satan will be only mostly finished during the Millennium.  After that, he'll be released for a little season.

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11 hours ago, MiserereNobis said:

knows when to fold 'em

knows when to walk away

knows when to run

I quoted the whole rest of the song!  Neener-neener! :P

:friends:

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8 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

 🎵 He knows when to fold 'em! 🎵

🎵 Knows when to walk away, 🎵

🎵 And knows when to run! 🎵

🎵 You never count your money 🎵

🎵 When you're sittin' at the table! 🎵

🎵 There'll be time enough for countin' 🎵

🎵 When the dealin's done! 🎵

:D :rofl: :D

Couldn't resist!  :huh: :unknw:  Sorry! ;) :D

A Psalm!

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15 hours ago, let’s roll said:

Mitch Albom’s novel, The Five People You Meet In Heaven had a thought provoking approach to this question.  A Vietnam veteran had escaped from a POW camp.  During the escape the prisoners set fire to the huts occupied by their captors to reduce the likelihood the guard would pursue the escapees.  The vet was haunted by the memory of what he thought were cries of a young girl coming  from one of the burning huts.  When the vet died, he came upon some children joyfully playing in a stream.  One of the children, a young girl, turned to him and said to him repeatedly and without any anger, “you burned me.”

It made me ponder both the types of mercy and forgiveness we may experience post mortality

 

 

I had a similar experience in a dream, where in the next life the person told me, "I was so angry with you," and all I could feel was love for them, and the assurance that they would soon find their way to feeling the same.

I think a great reconciliation is in store, not only between us and God, but by extension, between those we esteem as enemies, strangers and the unknown in this life. I include with "strangers" and "unknown" those people of such extremely different life experiences as the children used the scenario above. We will all come together and benefit from each other's life experiences in a way that surpasses anything we have experienced individually.

I believe that all who were not accountable in this life are resurrected in the celestial kingdom because they were successfully accountable, or become successfully accountable, in some other estate than this one. Even the injustice of chance (as we perceive these concepts) is met at some point along the eternal round with justice, mercy, love and grace of God's purposes.

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On 11/27/2023 at 5:19 PM, Amulek said:

Because it's not possible for God to end all hunger and sickness without simultaneously preventing an even greater good - namely, the soul making theodicy we all agreed to embark on when we counseled together before the world was created.

 

How is starving a child to death a soul making theodicy?  How about a child dying from a horribly painful disease. Or a small child being kidnapped, raped and murdered? How doe this build or make a soul better?  Why are so many born into poverty.  Why are you and  I so better off materially than so much of the rest of the world?  How does that build a soul?  Is that fair?  Is it random? 

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On 11/27/2023 at 5:26 PM, LoudmouthMormon said:

Because a life at 100% followed by a seamless and painless switching over to the other side of the veil, is not in anyone's best interests. 

Why?  

On 11/27/2023 at 5:26 PM, LoudmouthMormon said:

Pain, suffering, and uncertainty.  Without them, joy, ease, and certainty lose all meaning and relevance.

Why? Who determined this?

On 11/27/2023 at 5:26 PM, LoudmouthMormon said:

Can you name a single human advancement that was innovated into existence by humans NOT filled with discontent at the status quo?

Discontent does not equal untold suffering so many humans go through. But yes human advancement often comes through struggle.  With no help from any god.

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On 11/27/2023 at 6:32 PM, pogi said:

Even if there is no God, hoping in one still serves a good purpose.  

Why?  Why believe in an imaginary being and what good purpose comes from believing falsehoods? Will I be better off if I believe in hobbits and Gandalf the Wizard?  I think Gandalf the  Wizard had some pretty great things to say. I would be happy if he were real. But believing he is real may indicate some mental imbalance on my part.  Saying he is real serves a good purpose even when he is not could also indicate mental imbalance.

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