On Prayer

August 30, 2013

 A Theological/Bible Related Commentary

Jesus_Prayer_Hands

 

Have you ever asked yourself why Christians feel the need to pray?

The faithful will tell you that they pray for a wide variety of reasons. They may pray to their God to praise Him for being so loving and wonderful, or merely to give “thanks” for the “blessings” He’s bestowed upon them. Some pray to confess their “sins” directly to God and thus make their remorse feel all that more sincere. Many pray to seek God’s Divine help or guidance in some matter. Many Christians even pray on the behalf of others. And many of the faithful pray to their God simply to “commune” with Him. Most Christians, however, pray in hope of receiving material goods of one form or another.

You may wonder how the faithful can come to praise God for being so loving and wonderful, or thank Him for “blessings” received when there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that God even exists. (This parallels, in a manner, Christians telling atheists that we “hate” God. Now how can anyone  be “mad” at or “hate” a God―or any other  imaginary creature for that matter―that we don’t even believe to be real? It is well-nigh impossible to do. Just try it sometime and see. Try truly  hating leprechauns, for example. Or try getting really, really angry at them. Can’t do it now, can you? But if you really can, well, you deserve genuine pity.

The brutal truth is that Christians are actually imagining  that they are communicating with deity. Equally brutal is the fact that they cannot possibly prove otherwise either.

Isn’t that  a mind-numbing realization we nonbelievers all have to accept!

On Group Prayer

Many non-Christians are troubled by the extent to which Christians will try and impose  Christian prayer on others. If it’s not in the public school classroom, it’s at graduation ceremonies, or during sporting activities and the like. And it is usually Christians using simple peer pressure to coerce others into participating even though genuine sincerity on the part of each participant may be entirely  lacking. Such group prayer ends up being nothing more than an “advertisement” for the Christian religion and a bold-faced attempt to indoctrinate non-Christians into the Christian faith.

Yet Jesus―purported to be none other than God in the flesh himself―absolutely opposed staged prayer and the like in his famed “Sermon on the Mount”:

““Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven

But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret  will reward you.

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others” (Matthew 6:1, 6, and 5, in that order; NIV; emphasis mine)

As for what prayer truly  accomplishes―other than fulfill some psychological or emotional need on the part of the worshiper―Christians are at a loss to prove.

And has anyone ever defined what group prayer is supposed to achieve that individual, personal prayer does not?

God Anticipates Your Needs

But there’s more: Jesus goes on further in the Sermon on the Mount to declare that “Your Father knows what you need [even] before you ask him ,” prayer-wise! (Matthew 6:8; NIV)

Well, if an all-knowing God already  knows what you would feel the need to pray for beforehand, what is the need for prayer at all? If it is simply to make make-believe God “punch-happy” and pleased with the level of attention and begging He is receiving, what a hoot! Does it make imaginary God unhappy  to deny prayer requests too?

Havoc-Wreaking God and Misfortune

God gets the credit when things go well for the Christian; so much so that Christians feel themselves individually “blessed” by God in a positive way. But then why is not God given the blame when things go disastrously wrong by these very same worshipers―excepting natural disasters? God, instead, gets to remain utterly immune from reproach―regardless  of how horrific the disaster! Now that’s retarded in my view. It’s just plain goofy. Is it not?

Look at the number of Christians throughout man’s history that have actually been killed in church or during a religious service of one type or another; killed while praising, adoring, and thanking Almighty God in worship!!  Now what on earth did thankful prayer achieve for those  Christians?!

Francisco de Curico church

Where was Almighty God to “protect” not only His houses of worship, but too, those worshiping inside  them, from destruction?

* A recent event reported (here).

What a bizarre form of “gratitude” God Almighty chooses to display to the faithful!!

Was not going to worship and pray that deadly day utterly tragic, not only for the victims, but for their friends, family members, and fellow worshipers alike? Would not the act of protecting all worshipers from harm in places of worship provide a proof that God actually exists?

So what do the grieving survivors, friends, family members, and fellow worshipers do after church-related deaths? Why, they gather together and pray to make-believe God all the more  fervently! Now how bizarre is that!!  It was their own “loving” God calling the victims “home,” so we are told, by murdering them! So what is further prayer supposed to accomplish?

We all know of people of faith who have prayed to God to thank him  for the fact that their hellish existence isn’t even more  hellish. But where was God prior  to these individuals suffering such hellish conditions? How much praying and veneration is required before God does something, anything, to aid his suffering earthly “children”?

Concentration Camp Inmates

Your [Heavenly] Father knows what you need before you [even] ask him.”

(Jesus in Matthew 6:8)

starving_kids

starving-child-1

Child and Vulture

So what went wrong?

awful1

What? Starving children just not praying fervently enough for God’s taste these days?

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A Theological/Bible Related Commentary

Part II

The Two Mary's - Artist

The Two Mary’s, An Angel, and Jesus

     Mary Magdalene is now breathlessly reporting all that she had seen and heard at Jesus’ tomb to the disciples in Jerusalem (cf. John 20:18). And it is here that she happens upon friend and fellow disciple, “the other Mary.” Together, they decide that yet another  visit to the tomb is in order and quickly prepare for the return trip; this marking the 3rd  visit by Mary Magdalene within the span of a mere hour  or so―that’s if  we were to rely on the combined gospel reports!

     It is still the pre-dawn when the two Mary’s arrive (Matthew 28:1)), and after a violent earthquake has just erupted.

     But note that it was after  the sun arose when the women arrived, according to  Mark16:2!

     An angel has come down from heaven and has rolled back the entrance stone to Jesus’ tomb (which had somehow  been rolled back  into place)! That missing Roman guard has now finally materialized and stationed at the tomb entrance―though shocked out of their senses as a result of witnessing a “real” angel roll back the entrance stone; so much so that they have become like “dead men” (Matthew 28:4).

Angel at the Tomb

     “And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat upon it.  (Matthew 28:2; RSV; emphasis mine)

     This now third  angel (following the two that appeared inside the tomb earlier in John’s gospel)  knows that the two Mary’s are looking for Jesus. Yet, in spite of all that has already transpired in John’s gospel, proceeds to tells Mary Magdalene precisely what she already  knows: that Jesus has risen from the dead!

(Clearly, the telepathic communication system employed by imaginary God and His imaginary angels back in the “day” was simply not as “reliable” as it is today.)

     But what happens next is simply astounding. The angel gets up off the stone and escorts the two Mary’s to Jesus’ tomb. It is only now that Mary Magdalene is made aware that Jesus’ body is missing, according to Matthew’s gospel! Contrast this with John’s account (20:1-18), and the Christian fundamentalist has problems.

     By now, it should be rather obvious that the author of “Matthew’s” Gospel knew nothing  of Mary Magdalene’s pre-dawn visit to the tomb as recorded in the Gospel of John. But, more striking is the fact that Jesus’ imminent death and resurrection was a “talking point” Jesus himself repeatedly  stressed to his disciples (cf. Matthew 16:21-28; Mark 8:31; Luke 9:21-22; and parallels). Therefore, is it not incredibly odd that not one disciple is depicted as anticipating Jesus’ imminent return from the dead? Not a single one!

How is one to explain this?

     Moreover, it is only now  dawn Sunday. Jesus underwent the resurrection quite some time earlier. Ergo, we have Jesus’ “rising’ actually occurring prior  to only the second “dawn.”

     The apostle Paul claims in I Corinthians 15:3-5 …

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen by Cephas, then of the twelve.”

     But Jesus himself  “prophesied” the Resurrection would occur on the fourth day in Mark 9:31:

“He [Jesus] said to them,”” the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men,. They will kill him, and  after three days he will rise.”
(Emphasis mine, NIV)

and, by inference, Jesus again in Matthew 12:40 where Jesus God declares he will remain in the heart of the earth for “three days AND three nights,” thus equaling the fourth  day. (See also Matthew 27:63.) This being the case, one would assume that the disciples were already  fully, and gleefully prepared for Jesus’ return from the dead.

What happened?

Should we assume that the disciples were truly dim-witted beyond all belief? Or, could it be that the disciples never really  believed Jesus after all?  Even after  witnessing the multitude of “miracles” he is said to have performed right before their very eyes?

End of Part II

 Part I (here )

Next Time in Part III: The Christian response.     Part III (here)

A Theological/Bible Related Commentary

Part V

It’s a “Mystery”

Why Are People of Faith Made to Suffer?

Why Are People of Faith Made to Suffer?

     Rather than provide a blow-by-blow account of what Christian commentators have had to say elsewhere in respect to the issues covered in this series, I will simply focus on the two most resilient “defenses” apologists have had to offer when caught in a particularly difficult exegetical bind.

     The first of these I find inherently dishonest and intellectually bankrupt. It is completely devoid of any real  quantitative substance. Yet, it is, without a doubt, one of the most frequently used defensive rebuttals atheists have encountered in debate with believers, and the one which usually puts an end to any further discussion. It is the tried-and-true “It’s a Mystery” defense; favored most by Catholic  apologists.

     What the It’s-a-Mystery   defense purports  to maintain as fact is that we humans are so stupid (in relation to God) that we cannot even hope  to fathom the reason why God did this or God did that―that “something” being anything one finds theologically perplexing to the point of being left wholly baffled by it; such as the question: Why are people of faith made to suffer so? Another one being: Why do we find real  contradictions in God’s sacred word? (Such as: Did Jesus actually rise on the 3rd  day as per I Cor. 15:4, or on the 4th  day as per Mark 9:31?; to cite just one example.)

     Therefore, the faithful must accept that any “perceived” theological conundrum; any inexplicable problem dealing with biblical inerrancy issues; or any apparent “ungodly” acts of behavior on the part of God, are “mysteries” only God  holds the answers to. In spite of the  obvious staring the believer right in the face, the believer is to believe, no matter what!

     But what about the skeptic who finds such “blind” faith utterly revolting, even dangerous? Where is the “truth” of the Christian faith supposed to exist if it is entirely  unprovable? And why on earth  should children be made to pray to, and then worship and adore the actual Creator of everything evil? Out of “love,” or because of the fear that if one doesn’t, one will be made to suffer horribly?

     (I would just point out that a real  God could just poke his head through the clouds and at least attempt  to explain himself in terms we humans could understand; but that it would be just plain knock-down impossible  for an imaginary  God to do, now wouldn’t it? I would further point out that God would rather an atheist suffer indescribably brutal torment, agony, and anguish for all of eternity (!) for simple non-belief than truly reveal himself as He did to Doubting Thomas and Paul on the way to Damascus, and thus save their “soul.” (Makes you wonder how much the God of Christianity really  wants to save souls, doesn’t it?)

Either it is beyond His “limitless” powers to reveal Himself to us moderns, or else He’s really  a Supernatural Sadist simply having his way with hapless man. But most obvious is the fact  that He’s simply flat-out imaginary!)

     The question now becomes, does the It’s a Mystery  defense truly  provide any real kind of a substantive rebuttal to the skeptic, or is it merely an evasive “cop-out”? We atheists believe it the latter. The statement, “It’s a Mystery,’ for all it’s worth, answers absolutely nothing.

     The second, and the most  intellectually bankrupt “defense” imaginable for an “out-debated” Christian  apologist to resort to, is to simply blurt out: I don’t care what  you say! I’m going to believe anyway !! (Followed by a parting, exceedingly pious, “I’ll pray for you” directed towards the skeptic.)

      Now how many times has the atheist heard that retort (or some variation of it) at the end of a hotly contested theological debate? And the “clincher” for the apologist? Why Paul’s words in I Corinthians 1:20:

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? (NIV)

     In other words, a God who has an absolutely astounding inability to prove to skeptics he truly exists, has decided to reinforce that inability by counseling believers to treat logic and reason―in other words, “God-given” intellect―as so much used toilet paper when it comes to matters of personal faith.

     And what other  passage of scripture do apologists gleefully point to in defense of such irrational belief? Why I Corinthians 1:19, where God says, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

     Some  kind of “Super Intellect,” that “God,” isn’t He?

      We have focused on the decidedly evil nature of God in this series. But not to despair, for God does not really exist. He is purely the invention of man. Nonetheless, it is astonishing to see that Christians worship and adore the true Creator of evil (within the scope of their faith) instead of despise Him. But that’s blind faith for you. It is as irrational  as it gets.

Part I (here)         Part IV (here)

Next Time: Jesus God versus God the Father     (here)

A Theological/Bible Related Commentary

Part IV

On God’s Evil Power

The Imposter

     Have you ever wondered where Satan gets his extraordinary powers from? (Pssst, that’s him in the painting above disguised as Jesus! Damn  decent impersonation of him, wouldn’t you agree?)

Okay, enough silliness. Back to the serious stuff.

     It is certainly obvious that Satan couldn’t have created his evil powers himself. The Bible clearly demonstrates that it is God  who created every  single thing in existence: God and God alone.

“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. (Colossians 1:16; AKJV bible; see also John 1:3; emphasis mine)

     Therefore, there could be no  other possible source for Satan’s evil powers other  than Almighty God.

     But there’s one more odious “fact” to ponder: God is continually  providing the Evil One with His powers! Think about that. Absorb it. God―if you believe the God of the Bible to be “real”―is actually supplying  Satan with the power to lead man into sin. Now why on earth, would the very personification of love; of all that is good, just, moral, and righteous want to do anything like that ?!

     It wouldn’t be because God is . . . ahem . . . truly evil, now would  it?

     As I’ve stated elsewhere (see here): “There can be no greater Evil in all of existence than the Creator of Evil”.  Here, we are talking about the very inventor  of evil, the Lord Almighty himself (accepting He exists purely  for the sake of discussion); this, a rather stinging rebuke to Christians everywhere, to be sure. But am I wrong? Go ahead. Try and think of something more evil. I’ll wait.

     A further thought; and one which I’ve also stated elsewhere (see here) “If it happened, God wanted  it to happen. If He didn’t, it would never  have happened.” Every plague, “natural” disaster, the Holocaust, and every other “evil” to befall man has either been created by, or permitted by God to afflict mankind. Now what does that  have to say about the moral character of a “loving” God?

God could have easily uttered three simple words to Adam & Eve after they were tricked  into partaking of the forbidden fruit. Just three words would have prevented the fall of man and all the horrific suffering and misery accompanying it. Those three words being a simple: “I forgive you.” And guess what? There would be no need whatever for Jesus-God to pretend to die on the cross for the “sins” of mankind! (Now, you don’t really  believe that you can actually “kill” a “God,” do you?)

Think about it: God would have absolutely NO need to have Himself murdered at all!! Hmm. Or was that God-man, Jesus-God simply a “clone” of the Almighty? (I keep losing track of which God is supposed to be which these days.)

Food for thought: God could have easily “forgiven” Adam & Eve and thus ensure man’s continued sublime happiness. God could have also chosen not  to plant that “tree of knowledge” in the Garden, or have simply barred Satan from entering it at all (as we have already pointed out). But even with his supernatural omniscience, and knowing  the disastrous outcome for us humans, God went ahead and did what he did anyway. So does this not make for a hideously evil and sinful  God? Or would “heartless boob” be a more apt byword to describe this entity?

Further Food for thought: If you were to unplug your bedroom table lamp, that lamp would no longer be able to provide light to that room. Correspondingly, if God simply “pulled the plug” on Satan, he would no longer have the “power” to  lead man into “sin”. Now, would he? But God has clearly chosen NOT to “pull the plug” on Satan, hasn’t He?

Gives you a very accurate indication as to just how evil, at His core, the God of Christianity actually is, doesn’t it?

Let’s face facts: If God really  wanted to create that perfect world he so (supposedly) wanted for mankind, there wouldn’t be anything  to prevent Him from doing so―except Himself! After all, He’s “God.”

Next in Part V: Christian apologists play “defense”; the conclusion; Part III (here)

A Theological/Bible Related Commentary

Part III

What “Sinless” God?

     There is a deeply-held religious conviction that God is utterly  incapable of doing anything evil, of being wicked, or of behaving “sinfully”; that He is simply unable to exhibit anything other than pure “holiness.” Evil is altogether absent from God’s heart, insist Christian commentators. God is all that is Good. He is without blemish. Sin is an anathema to God’s very being!

     Really?

     Well, if God actually thought-up  the concept of evil, brought it into existence, and then deliberately  unleashed it on both angels and man through the guise of “free-will,” how could this possibly  be true?

     God, incapable  of doing evil? For real ? Then, what was the murder of every  infant baby, every  young child, and every  pregnant woman on planet earth during Noah’s Flood, a love  fest?

     It was “justified” in God’s eyes does not  suffice as an answer for what was done. We still call what God did, “murder.” Murdering babies is a “sin” in Christian theology, is it not? Furthermore, God did not have to actually drown  babies. He could have just wiggled his nose and made them “disappear” with just a simple “poof  and they’re gone.” What He did instead is just plain cruel beyond measure. (Just picture what it must have felt like for those infants frantically fighting to stay alive amid the torrents of water!) Where did God’s vaunted love, mercy, and compassion disappear to at the time? (Too busy gettin’ Jesus-God ready for the big show, was He?) To simply argue that because God  did it, it could not possibly  be evil or sinful makes a complete mockery of what it means to be evil and sinful.

     The creation of evil, by the very act itself, reveals God’s sinful nature. The creation of the very impulse  to disobey His Almightiness was surely wickedin light of the consequences. To deliberately  create evilbased on simple common sense and logicwould just be impossible  for a being perfect in love, mercy, and goodness to undertake. Would it not?

     Now a Catholic “twist” on the creation of evil is to argue that God didn’t actually create  evil, but merely allowed it to exist. However, this clearly flies in the face of John 1:3 and Colossians 1:16 where it is affirmed that the God Jesus created “everything” that exists, both “seen and unseen.” Evil most certainly exists. Ergo, “God” created evil as well. The act of even “allowing” evil to exist would be an evil act in itself. Would it not? Moreover, it is an  “argument” does nothing at all to explain where evil itself actually originated, now does it?

     What God has consciously and deliberately  perpetrated should be grounds for His Almightiness to be condemned to eternal damnation Himself   if fair and just were to be truly “fair and just.” Should it not? He deliberately created EVIL, when he didn’t have to.

     Allowing Eve to be supernaturally beguiled into sin by an evil being of God’s very own creation was certainly immoral. And having that heavy hand in the brutal ” “torture” of faithful Job (cf. Job 2:7), the suffering of Job’s wife, and the needless murder of his seven sons, his three daughters (cf. Job 1:2; 18-19), and nearly every single one of Job’s numerous servants, (cf. Job 1:3; 15-17) was absolutely beyond the pale. In fact, it was evil personified. And who  explicitly sanctioned those murders? Oh, that’s right: “Sinless God,” of course!

Job 1

Next in part IV: On God’s Evil Power (here)     Part II (here)

A Theological/Bible Related Commentary

Part II

About That “Tree of Knowledge”

God at the Tree of Knowledge

     The bible tells us that God planted a “tree of knowledge” right alongside normal fruit-bearing trees in the Garden of Eden (see Genesis 2:9). This “knowledge tree” gave the partaker of its fruit the ability to discern the difference between what is good and what is evil, with scripture once again pointing to that force which produces evil and wickedness, and which, as we have seen, already  existed prior to the creation of Adam & Eve.

Now God, it must be emphasized, had the free-will not  to introduce the tree of knowledge into the Garden. He also had the free-will to either bar Satan from entering the Garden altogether, or to allow him in. So what could possibly  have been God’s purpose in planting the knowledge tree in the young pair’s midst if not to cruelly  and malevolently  place evil within man’s easy  reach! And Satan being given free access to the extremely vulnerable pair! What are we to make of that ?

Baffling to no end is why Christians willfully choose to ignore the fact that Eve had absolutely no idea what “evil” even was  prior to digesting the forbidden fruit. Therefore, she could not possibly  have possessed true “free-will” until after  the point of consumption. Eve, strictly speaking, had been a mere automaton up until the fatal moment; with Eve following Satan’s directives just as readily as she would God’s. She had not even an inkling that following Satan’s counter-directive would cause here to “sin” until after she had consumed the fruit. Those that believe otherwise fail to grasp the fact that Eve could not possibly have known she had “disobeyed” God if “disobeying” God  was an “evil” one  became aware of only after consuming the forbidden fruitIt is as simple as that.

Ignored too, is the fact that Eve had been tricked  into “sinning”; tricked by a God-created supernatural creature using God-bestowed supernatural powers to accomplish his wicked deed! Now, how just and fair was God in light of that ! God stood by and “watched” as events unfolded and did absolutely nothing to “save” Eve and, eventually, mankind from the fall from grace. What does that  tell us  about the moral character of Christianity’s so-called “loving” God!

So was Eve truly  guilty of “disobeying” God if she had no idea what disobedience really  was? To say “Yes” is to say Eve knew the difference between right and wrong and understood that disobeying God was evil prior  to the partaking of the fruit; a position that is clearly contradicted by scripture.

So, in the end, who really  tempted Eve into sinning? Was it Satan? Or was it actually God Himselfwho merely used  Satan as his implement of choice? Think about it.

We need to question why Satan was not simply barred from Eden altogether―let alone even allowed to exist! Did God not know ahead of time what would happen? And how is one to explain the presence of the “knowledge tree” in the Garden? Was not the tree a booby-trap (figuratively speaking) just waiting to be detonated? What was God “thinking“?

The math is simple: No “knowledge tree” or Satan in the Garden = No “sin” on the part of Adam & Eve = No need for a crucified Jesus = an eternity full of happiness and joy for mankind. It is as simple as that.

But such happiness and joy was obviously not part of God’s “Divine Plan,” now was it? Memo to all believers: You need to take off your rose-colored blinders and get real. Or do you believe what transpired is clear-cut evidence of “Intelligent Design”?

We will just add here that God’s wicked behavior effectively negates James 1:13 where we read:

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.” (AKJV)

In coupling the temptation of Eve with the fact that the “Lord” and Satan worked hand-in-hand in trying to deliberately  induce poor Job into denouncing Jehovah God (and thus “sin“) through their hideously cruel behavior, we find clear, unassailable evidence of God being downright “wicked,” even “sinful.” (Read at least the first two chapters of the Book of Job.)

In the end, we have discovered a supposed “unimaginably intelligent” super-being who Christians worship as God who freely  chose to invent evil, and freely  chose to allow an unsuspecting and incredibly naive Eve to be lied into sin by Satan―while doing absolutely nothing  to protect her! We need to ask: “Why not ” ? What “good” has come about as a result when weighed against the “bad”? The outcome has been an unmitigated disaster for human-kind―as well as the rest of the animal world. As for Eve: her “Heavenly Father” was surely derelict  and deficient  in his Fatherly duties. Don’t you think?

Ask yourself: Would it be “okay,” for a father to stand by and watch his infant baby drowning in a bathtub and not lift a finger to save it? Well that is the moral equivalent of what Eve’s Heavenly Father did in regards to her and  Adam. To compound matters, God is said to have known ahead  of time  that his creation, Satan, would succeed in his efforts through God’s supernatural “omniscience”―yet chose not  to prevent it!  That was criminal. That was unconscionable. God was not helpless. He was malevolent.

Next in Part III: We ask the question: “”What “Sinless” God””? (here);     Part I (here)

A Theological/Bible Related Commentary

Part I

     After having undergone a rather strenuous evolution through the hands of Hebrew, Greek, and Latin writers down through the ages, the terms “Lucifer,” “the devil,” and “Satan” have come to symbolize a beguiling supernatural creature who Christians believe to be the very embodiment of “evil“.

Lucifero 3

     One tradition holds that this creature was originally an angel esteemed highly by
God who somehow transformed himself into a megalomaniac intent on usurping
his Lord and Creator as Lord of the Heavens.

     Although this angel’s given Latin name  is “lucifer” (or “morning star”), his much older Hebrew title  is ha Satan. After undergoing a Christian character make-over and a shortened title change, “Satan,” eventually replaced “Lucifer” as the dark angel’s most familiar moniker―while he  was simultaneously being transformed into the very embodiment of evil.

Note: It is important to remember that Orthodox Jews do not  share a belief in the Christian “Satan” or “fallen angels,” just as they do not share a belief in the Christian triune God.  “Ha Satan ” in Hebrew is translated, ‘the Accuser” or “the Opposer.” He has been historically viewed more as Yahweh’s “sounding board” or a modern-day “devil’s advocate” rather than the very embodiment of evil. The modern-day “Satan” is purely a Christian invention.

Satan’s “Evil” Nature

     Satan, as we have already remarked, is thought to have been an angel highly favored by God who somehow became wholly gripped by wicked, power-grabbing ambition. He sought to possess God’s power and authority and rule the Heavens himself. What is more, he is said to have persuaded countless other  angels to rebel against God, as well.

But how valid can this claim really be? What could these renegade angels possibly  hope to gain from such a move? What real  incentive was there to follow Lucifer rather than God when these angels were already  filled with unimaginable joy and happiness? Or are we to believe Heaven was filled with vast numbers of angelic beings absolutely wallowing in deep discontent and misery instead? Could they possibly have been so  unhappy with their lot in heaven that they would mindlessly toss their unimaginable joy and happiness aside just to follow  Satan?

Really?

In any event, we are told that Satan and his minions were cast out of Heaven and doomed to eternal agony, anguish, torment, and suffering.

Angels01

     But the question now becomes: How was it even possible  for an angel, let alone an army of angels, created by a “perfect” being in the ultimate place of perfection—Heavento become so “evil”? Where could the “urge” to think and to do evil have possibly originated?

The answer, Christian apologists tell us, is that God bestowed all of His angels with the “gift” of free-will. This freedom of thought gave the angels the ability to choose between (A) thinking and acting in a “Godly” manner, or (B) thinking and behaving in ways opposed  to God. God simply created the “urge” that pushed all his angels to think and behave in one way or the other based on their inclination.

(Christian apologists claim God did this to prevent both angels and man from becoming mere robots or mindless puppets.)

     Unfortunately for human-kind, Satan and his minions freely chose to become “opposed” to God; in other words, to become evil.

But this presupposes the preexistence  of “evil” itself, does it not? Satan had the free-will to choose between either “A” (GOOD) or “B,” (EVIL) with ”B” having already  been created! Otherwise it would be impossible to  choose “B”. So now we must probe deeper and ask where evil and wickedness itself  originated. And the answer to that—according to scripture—lies with God himself. For we read:

     “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.” (Colossians 1:16; AKJV bible; see also John 1:3; emphasis mine)

And John 1:3 states that the God Jesus created *everything* that exists. It even goes so far as to declare that there is NOTHING that was created that the God Jesus *DIDN’T* create:

All things came into being through Him [the God Jesus], and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” (NASB; emphasis added.)

As we can see, evil could not have been brought into existence by any other being but  God. As the creator of everything that exists, it naturally follows that God created― in fact,  invented  evil―along with every  conceivable ill that has plagued humanity. And here is the fly-in-the-ointment: God had the free-will not  to create evil. In fact, Christians are taught that at some future date God will eradicate all  evil once and for all (cf. Revelation 21:4); that it will, in fact, vanish from existence completely.

(And so up in smoke goes the Christian claim that God wanted neither angels or man to become mere robots or mindless puppets!)

     If there’s to be no evil in the future, why create it in the past? Why create even the urge  (or thought) to disobey in the first  place?

A further point: In thinking-up the concept of evil, God had to draw on some notion, some idea, that was inherently evil. Since there is no other place God could have conceivably “summoned up” the notion of evil―other than from within Himself―it logically follows that God is possessed of an “inner evil nature” of some sort; an area from within his own psyche from where He could  draw upon the concept of evil, as well as suffering , death, and *eternal* punishment; an area of his psyche devoid of “goodness.” Otherwise, from where else would  God have derived the idea of EVIL from?

And here is another  unsettling question or two for Christians to ponder: Why is God continuing  to “supply” Satan with his evil powers instead of “pulling the plug” on him and, thus, prevent yet another human from spending all of eternity in God’s “Hell”?

Helpless to do so, is He?

See also my, “On God and Evil . . .God’s Evil Power” (here)

Next in Part II: We ask the question: Did Eve really  possess “free-will”? (here)

A Philosophical/Theological Commentary

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Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that “God” actually exists.

Let us, then, go back in time; to the dawn of time; on a hypothetical journey to the time before time even began; to that time referred to in Scripture as “In the beginning.”

At a certain point during our imaginary journey into preexistence, we will come across God deep in thought mulling over the idea of creating the very universe in which we humans now reside.

A blink of an eye later and we will witness God begin the process of devising and creating the material and immaterial substances that will comprise the theist view of a super-Intelligently designed, perfectly engineered, and lovingly-created cosmos. 

At an intensely critical juncture during this process, and armed with the supernatural foreknowledge of the catastrophic results that the creation of evil will bring about, God, nevertheless, will proceed to use his own free-will to not only conceive, design, and create a perfect form of evil in all its vulgar manifestations, but deliberately do so, and then move on to unleash it upon hapless, defenseless, man without mercy—when he had the option not to.

Now what could possibly be more evil?

The answer? There can be NO greater evil in all of existence than the Creator of evil. End of story. _Greywolf’s* 1st Dictum

*Your’s Truly

 Mainstream Christianity’s Viewpoint

In the preceding section we took an imaginary excursion into preexistence from the viewpoint of an atheist watching a supposed God “invent” evil. But that is not how most Christians surmise evil came into being.

By chance, I came across an editorial titled The Origin of Evil and Suffering in a mainstream evangelical magazine recently.** The author asks, then answers, the question of where evil and suffering originated. His response is very typical of Christian publications dealing with this issue. Let us, then, explore the author’s analysis and see from where mainstream Christians are led to believe evil originated.

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In a subsection titled “Where and how did evil begin.” the author immediately begins by quoting Jesus; citing John 8:44:

[He was] a murderer from the beginning” adding that “[He is] a liar and the father of lies.” The author then goes on to say, “Here Jesus identifies the origin of evil and suffering, a being who initiated lying, deceit, hatred and murderthe enemy, the adversary of mankind, the devil” [Lucifer].”

And in his summation the author concludes with the words: “He [Lucifer the Devil]] was the first criminal, a being whose mind and thinking grew corrupt, twisted and perverse. He introduced evil into the world. Humanity has struggled against evil ever since.”

He introduced evil into the world,” this editorial writer categorically says of Lucifer, that he was perfect until iniquity arose from within him. But from where, dare we ask, did this iniquity originate? And how could “inequity” enter into a being created “perfect” by a God? From where did Lucifer derive the substance that makes up evil? And how could Lucifer have possibly “introduced” evil anywhere without God’s “blessing”? Just how would that have been accomplished within the confines of God’s perfectly created existence?

Is this not effectively declaring that God created one astoundingly imperfect “perfect” being?

Fact is, the author’s conclusion can hardly be correct if viewed from a biblical perspective. For Isaiah 45:7 states directly that God creates/created evil(And other translation attempts to tone it down by translating “Rah” as simply “woe” does not account for moral evil which we all know actually exists.)

John 1:3 declares that God made everything in existence that exists. And Colossians 1:16 proclaims this includes everything both seen and unseen. These are ultra-critical scriptural passages dealing with the origin of evil that the writer simply ignores. And not only he, but countless other Christian exegetes struggling in their attempts to pinpoint the origin of evil; apparently finding God being the author of evil too unpalatable to even contemplate: hence the placing of blame squarely on Lucifer.

The bible cannot make it more plain, however: the God Jesus created evil. And through the vehicle of our imaginary journey into preexistence made in the first half of this article, we find God did so deliberately; with the free-will not to. There is no escaping this conclusion if one is going to insist the bible is inerrant. And there is no exonerating God from obvious malfeasance and “sinful” conduct simply because He is “God” either. For even God believes evil to be abhorrently evil himselfif one accepts that the bible is truly the divine word of God.

 The Free-Will Argument

There are those within the Christian community, of course, who readily accept God created evil. But they insist that He did so as part of a divine plan we humans have no right to moralize over or contest. These God-created-evil believing Christians maintain that God did not want to simply create mindless human robots or zombies with no capacity for freedom of choice. So he bestowed a “gift” to mankind; that gift being “free-will”; the ability to say “No” to evil; and, thus, the gift to be truly human.

There are, however, inherent problems with this “gift” to mankind:

The very act of creating evil is, in itself, a malevolently evil act. It is an evil endeavor to deliberately create evil and thus impossible for a being perfect in love, mercy, and goodness to undertake.

●  God had the ability to endow mankind with the free-will, the freedom of choice to do anything excepting just two choices: the ability to think or do evil.

● God had the ability to instantly destroy evil once He recognized it for what it was but chose not to do so. What does that tell one about the moral character of God?

I bring up this last point because it has been, and continues to be, the ultimate aim of every single Christian who has ever taken a breath of air on planet earth to end up in God’s heaven in the hereafter. And what is the singular most attractive draw about entering God’s heaven apart from eternal life and happiness? That’s right! The absence of evil.

God is set to eradicate every trace of evil once and for all at some future date, we are told. But does that not then beg the question as ti why God created evil in the first place? For does that not mean that heaven will be comprised of nothing but mindless robots, mindless zombies worshiping God in incomprehensible bliss for all eternity? Or are all of God’s people “upstairs” going to still “enjoy” having the free-will to think and do evil?

Why create Evil in the first place? I’d ask his Godness if he were real. Why not truly have heaven here on earth minus all the agony, anguish, suffering, and misery evil entails? “Why put your “children” though such unspeakable torture when you didn’t have to?,” I’d ask his “Holy” Almightiness. Why be so mean?

We are not to question God on such matters, say the Christians. Okay. Then explain why anyone in their right mind would love, worship, and adore such a fiendish creature with all their heart and soul?, I respectfully ask. We atheists are all ears. Well, at least this one is.

So does that mean that I believe in the existence of a God that is evil? Hardly. There is no more proof that an evil God exists than an infinitely good one does. (But if I were forced to pick which one has the closest chance to being “real”, I think the reader can guess which God I think has a distinct edge.)

Greywolf’s 1st Dictum: There can be no greater evil in all of existence than the Creator of Evil. (Assuming such a Creature actually exists, of course.) The conscious, deliberate, act of creating evil is, in itself, inherently evil. End of story. Most  theists, then, actually worship and adore the Creator of evil – albeit in a roundabout, unwitting way. Ironic, to say the very least, I submit. Or am I off-base here?

Greywolf’s 2nd Dictum: If if happened, God wanted it to. If He didn’t, it would never have happened.(Assuming such a Creature actually exists, of course.) Note: This would include every  human tragedy, every  evil to befall man. Would it not? – A sobering conclusion that needs to be honestly addressed by every  brave, uncompromising, free thinking mind in search of the truth.

** Ashley, Scott. “The Origin of Evil and Suffering” The Good News: A Magazine of Understanding Vol. 4, 3May/June 1999 Web.3 Jul 2009. <http://www.gnmagazine.org/issues/gn22/editorialorigin.htm&gt;.