Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good
Comments on Debate
between Dr. Geisler vs Rabbi Kushner - Part 1
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1. Is God all powerful?
- God is all powerful, but
Kushner argues against this, because if He is all powerful, why would God allow
suffering? Kushner cannot reconcile these 2
issues, especially since his son passed away at 14 yrs old to terrible
- Geisler argues -
God controls and is sovereign over the entire universe.
- While He permits suffering He
does not promote it.
- Like Job says "When He has tried me, I will
come forth as gold."
- God has a purifying purpose to
"make us better men" by having gone through the suffering. Sometimes
our sin causes the suffering, sometimes its permitted into our lives - - either
way, God has a purpose as defined in Romans 8:28:
- Romans 8:28 - 28And we know that
in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been
called according to his purpose.
- Kushner argues - would God
pervert one life, so that another could go through a growth experience?
How could we hold God responsible for this? He argues
that God is not all powerful to control it......
- Geisler responds - - Evil is
permitted in this world - - We have a loving God, who gave man free will to
accept or reject God - - and man chose to reject God - - and a consequence is
sin, death, sickness and death entered the world.....and God looks down on the
world in the context of that free will and brings men to a greater good thru
- Kushner responds - - man has
free will to choose - - and when they choose evil - - can God stop them if he
- Geisler responds that God can and does
supernaturally intervene - - we see it in the Old and New Testaments in the
life of the prophets and of course, in Christ's life...He has proven He is the
Messiah...But what provides the most hope is that God has
involved Himself in the world personally, He has taken on the suffering in the
world through his Son Jesus, and He has promised a final triumph over this in
2. Do we have authoritative support for God's
will and his nature?
- Kushner says yes on the will but not on His
nature - - - that God makes clear his will - how He wants us to live - - but
doesn't tell us who He is...
- Geisler says both - - He's
referred to as Almighty over 48 times in Old Testament Scripture - proving He
is all powerful.... In addition, if you do know the will of someone, you
have to know something about their nature.......
3. If God did create everything, did he then
- St. Augustine said - - if God
created everything - - and evil is something - - - therefore God created evil
-- is to miss the real nature of evil - - - evil is a lack - - - - like rust to
a car and rot to a tree - - it is a parasite that exists only in something
- God created the good nature and
evil is a corruption of that good nature - - so, God did not create evil and
nevertheless, evil is very real.....
- Kushner believes God created the opportunity for
evil - - he doesn't hold God responsible for individual acts of evil - and that
He created a world with the maximum good is also a world where evil is
possible.....- Kushner doesn't hold God responsible for individual acts of evil
because Kushner believes God has no power over evil..........(In my opinion,
this is absolute blasphemy..)
- Geisler - with the fact of freedom there is a
possibility of evil - - the difference would be "are
God's hands tied by the natural laws He made or does God transcend the natural
laws He made"? If He created the natural law - - then He transcends
them.......and can from time to time intervene - - to have nature more powerful
than God is to make God finite and the laws He created all
- Kushner says "If God
has the power to spare a life of a child who is suffering and chooses not to -
- -I have to question His goodness ; If He has the power to work a miracle and
chooses not to - - He is morally deficient....
- Geisler - - If you say God
is morally deficient, then you must have some standard by which you are judging
God to be imperfect.....and if you had a perfect standard by which you judged
God to be imperfect- then that standard is ultimate and that standard would
become God........ C.S. Lewis, a former atheist, concluded that
"I'm arguing in circles - - he said - if God is imperfect - - and I have a
standard of perfection beyond God by which I am measuring Him - - therefore,
the standard is ultimate - and it is God - - so, Geisler asked Kushner what is
this ultimate standard that he's using to judge God imperfect? morally
- Kushner believes God is
morally good - - but that He is just limited in power .....so Kushner uses the
term morally deficient........(my input - then how is He God?????)....
But Kushner doesn't believe "perfect power" is such a big
deal......Any jerk with a gun can destroy lives - - -that doesn't take
power....To create life is a divine miracle - - - and He sees the perfection of
God in a moral direction - - and so when bad things happen - - he's prepared to
qualify God's power - - - God is the perfect good - - but is morally deficient
and without power to handle all issues.....
- Geisler responded - -
"then I misunderstood your book which I've read a number of times" -
- which said God is limited in His power and His love and God is
imperfect because He is limited in his love and his power.......
- Kushner said - - God is
not limited in His love - - but to forgive God is to get over our anger at God
that He made a less than perfect world - - perhaps God could not have created a
perfect world and perhaps he loves goodness over perfection.....and he
created a world where goodness would not happen unless one of us made it
happen.......Sometimes we're hurt because of that decision of God's.......and
that's where we have to forgive him - for leaving us vulnerable in an imperfect
world... (my thoughts - - - I'm going to forgive God??? Unbelievable ........
how awful does that sound???)
- Geisler - - says if God is
infinite in love and that's part of His nature, how can he not be infinite in
power if that is part of his nature also.................
- Kushner argues that love and
power are incompatible......You can't control someone and love
them..........Because God is the perfection of love, He doesn't need all the
power - - - He can give us part of the power - -to live out our
- Geisler - - says its not a
question of whether God needs all the power or not - -its a question of whether
he has it....
- Geisler says - - you have a
problem saying God is infinitely loving and not infinitely powerful when they
are both parts of his nature.....and how are love and power incompatible? Just
because God wills to give us freedom doesn't necessarily limit His power - - -
because He freely chose to give us freedom - - - can you show a contradiction
between showing God as all loving and all powerful....
- Geisler says - - how can
he be infinite and loving and not infinitely loving and also be infinite and
powerful but not infinitely powerful - - - you cant choose one and not the
other.......? Kushner called it a word
- Kushner says he sees God as our source for love
- so He needs an inexhaustible supply of love, compassion, growth,
discipline........He doesn't see power as a divine
- Ankerberg - If He doesn't have
power - how can we trust Him to do anything?
- Kushner - God is all powerful and has
voluntarily limited His power to leave some room for us....secondarily - you
can't count on God to prevent us from messing up our world - - -
- Geisler takes a biblical
approach - using the Old Testament that a rabbi would be familiar with - - - in
Isaiah it says that God knows the end from the beginning..........when you look
at Scripture you see a God who intentionally created, intentionally gave free
will, where man rebelled against God and despite of that, God is working out
His purposes through history to bring the greater good in the end because ....
as Joseph acknowledged to his brothers in Genesis 50:20 - 20 You intended to
harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, and
so - - despite our evil - God can create a greater good - -
- Ankerberg - Is it
important whether God is all powerful? Geisler
quoted William James - - the world is better for having the devil in it,
provided we have our foot on the devils neck, but the one thing we cannot be
sure of, if God is limited in power, is that we have a foot on his neck....I
feel much more assured if we have an all powerful God with his foot on the
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