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How the Bible Explains Suffering – Video

On September 8, 2008 I gave a lecture at the University of California Berkeley.  The lecture was titled “God’s Problem and Human Solutions: How the Bible Explains Suffering.”  It was part of the Foerster Lectures on the Immortality of the Soul.

It is an interesting lecture series.  Established in 1928 by Edith Zweybruck, The series is devoted to lectures that in the words of the founding document) are to be “on the immortality of the soul or other kindred subjects. Such lecture is not to form a part of the regular college course and shall be delivered by some person especially qualified therefore and especially appointed for the purpose.”  My lecture does not, obviously, deal with directly with the question of immortality, but with another question of deep importance, suffering.

I was introduced on the occasion by a very fine scholar of Christianity in Late Antiquity, whom I have known for years, Susanna Elm, Professor in the Department of History, UC Berkeley.

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Comments

  1. Avatar
    rajaspargaonkar  May 16, 2015

    Can’t we pretty much reduce the theistic response to suffering as “God prioritizes something over human suffering”, and have that be a sufficient response? I see too many positive atheists ham-fistedly attempt to refute the existence of any God by saying “suffering exists” without even considering that a God could exist that either values something more than suffering or outright doesn’t care. I’m an agnostic for what it is worth.

    • Bart
      Bart  May 18, 2015

      Well, a God who is all powerful and omnipresent does not need to prioritize!

      • Avatar
        JarheadDaddy  May 19, 2015

        There is also the possibility of a God who is malevolent.

      • Avatar
        rajaspargaonkar  May 21, 2015

        I agree with your sentiment (namely that God really wouldn’t be so mean), but it’s such a slow pitch
        for a talented apologetic (a la William Lane Craig) to simply point out that we are making an assumption about
        Divine priorities, that these assumptions flow from a weakness about our nature, and thus it is merely plausible that we are wrong. The atheist states that something cannot be the case, while someone like Craig would only need to point out plausibility to defend (reminds me of Plantinga vs. Mackie; granted, philosophers have since refined Mackie’s position, but initially as you know it was simply god and evil are simply logically inconsistent). I feel like it’s easier to sit back and let them play offense.

  2. Avatar
    rivercrowman  May 16, 2015

    Great talk in Berkeley. … In my opinion, your best one yet!

  3. Avatar
    llamensdor  May 17, 2015

    As always, your lecture was entertaining and informative. The questioners seem to (largely) represent the left-wing ethos at Berkeley. You have patience with some of these folks based on your years of teaching, which I can’t totally share. The young lady who claimed to be a revolutionary, an anarchist and a communist was especially risible; I doubt she knows what these words mean. You stated there is no reason for starvation, etc.,, and the problem is “we don’t have the political will.” No doubt our science and technology make ending starvation completely achievable, but I don’t know who the “we” is. The U. S., the west, whoever, can’t simply impose freedom and plenty on those who are starving, any more than we were able to impose peace and democracy on Iraq, notwithstanding our good intentions. But I do believe the trend (notwithstanding the dips) is upward, and since the end of World War II, Democratic capitalism has lifted more than a billion people out of poverty. When I hear Pope Francis both scorn capitalism (“evil at the root”) and beseech “us” to aid the poor, I can’t help thinking that capitalism has done much more for the poor than the church across this same time period. There is hope, despite Isis and Putin and Boko Haram, but there won’t be the civil equivalent of the “rapture” any time soon.

  4. Avatar
    RCJCinChrist  May 17, 2015

    Thanks for openly sharing, Dr. Bart D. Ehrman. I’ve watched / listened to this video (summary) and have been thinking about it for the duration of the day / night. Many of the valid considerations you had brought up were what kept me from continuing in the Word for about 10 years since a couple of experiences I had had while doing about a year in youth / adult jail and finally got back a few years ago after meeting a teacher / friend operating in miracles and able to harmonize some of my concerns and apparent contradictions within “Christianity” . (I’ve included some notes, references and questions below.)

    This may take a lot of your time to even (decide to) read through so I’ll in the very least, send a contribution to the cause; as I would have continued to enjoy doing regardless, knowing / seeing / praying that you’re operating in love. I hope that you will find I’m quite serious about finding the truth and speaking to you respectfully on such matters. After some experiences, I’ve given up everything* in order to find / walk in the truth and by no means mean to offend you. I’m just in need of more scholarly answers, laterally, while walking in the Word, praying, et cetera.

    (*A promising career as an aircraft maintenance engineer ($100k+ salary), relationships / celibacy, my home as I entertain guests and sleep on the couch / floor when needed, am smuggling bibles and hopefully people soon, certainly willing to do (more) jail time for the right cause, die, et cetera. The latter two being not so difficult as most are imprisoned and certainly not do much more than existing)

    TABLE OF CONTENTS:
    1. Introduction:
    2. My (Own) Notes / Experience:
    2.1. Suffering – Tornadoes, Tsunamis, Etc.
    2.2 Differences Between Spirit, Soul and Body
    2.3. What I Call “Confused Jew Worship” Among Many So-Called “Christians” Today
    3. Select Andrew Wommack Ministries’ Teachings
    3.1. ‘Spirit, Soul and Body’
    3.2. ‘The True Nature of God’
    3.3. ‘God Wants You Well’
    3.4. ‘The Word Became Flesh’
    3.5 ‘The ‘Sovereignty’ of God’ Article

    ————————————————————————————————-
    1. Introduction:

    After listening to the lecture summary (60 minutes), right away there are a few points of consideration I’ve written about [in the form of an “epistle” while enjoying some prayer, study, listening to the ‘Master And Commander’ and ‘Gattaca’ soundtracks, LOL] that I think you can appreciate, coming from a theological training background that “professes but does not possess” (Moody Bible Institute) and (probably) doesn’t have experience / teach basic applicable topics such as: how to hear God’s voice, how to find God’s will, et cetera, nor give a more human(e) explanation between the OT / NT with respect to suffering, “sovereignty”, et cetera.

    My interest is piqued on how some of your summary compares to Andrew Wommack’s take on the nature of God / suffering, et al. Andrew is a prominent grace (“charis”) teacher whom I’ve seen many fun miraculous gifts (“charisma”) / healing (“sozo”) manifest as a result of his (forthcoming) groups’ teachings.

    Note: I don’t agree with Andrew’s take on “hell”, “lake of fire”, “judgement”, et cetera, and believe the Bible (may) teaches that all Spirit’s are “saved” / return home and God deals / has dealt with physical matters and Spiritual matters differently / accordingly as “God is a Spirit…” (John 4:24). A working model(s) being that: all (flesh) is already condemned and his Word can keep us regenerated until his return. In a sense, an act of mercy: as most of us do not even like our own bodies, it’s limitations, cravings, retardation, et cetera; let alone, the filth and famine, rape, mutilation, et cetera, that has become less (financially) important than cosmetics, entertainment, et al.

    After the experiences noted below, another vision / working model is that all those who do not remain until Jesus’ return will be tested by a “friendly fire”, again, an act of mercy; wherein, Holy Spirit brought me to a place in a vision where people will have their heads touched and shown what Heaven looks like and they have to choose to “jump in” this fire and be released from their bodies (as Holy Spirit is a gentlemen). (John 3:18; John 5:24; 1 Corinthians 3:13). Of course I’m open to being wrong and only hope to find the truth.

    A funny thing is that Andrew also makes a couple of quips on the book(s) you referenced: about Jesus’ return in 1988… What’s crazy is that people bought his follow-up book on Jesus’ return in 1989! Hahaha!

    ————————————————————————————————-
    My (Own) Notes / Experience:

    2.1. Suffering – Tornadoes, Tsunamis, Etc.:

    The fact that we have been given God’s power and authority is a blatant abuse by “Christians”. The Lord commanded us to make disciples, not believers (John 8:31 speaking to the Jews who had already believed!; Matthew 28:19).

    Example: I look forward to rebuking a tornado, tsunami / other and am already starting walking on water (this season). (In fact, as a back-burner project am building an insurance company based on such. In which, we will give back a majority of people’s money and use the net revenues to help elsewhere / causes such as the one in your heart. 1M people investing $1K is $1B per year. Depending on the claims made (20% – 50%, that could mean $500M – $800M in revenues / support per year.) Last rainy season, while in Canada as I have have not returned to Africa / The Middle East yet until a suitable church is built, I had spoke to clouds / wind about 20-30+ times and the (emphatic) only time I got wet was when I decided to bring an umbrella / was operating double-minded as I had a new fancy brown leather duffel bag – dope!

    After simply asking God to reveal the truth about such important matters (judgement, salvation, suffering, teleportation, et cetera) some incredible events occurred (starting in my bathroom) including visions on ultimate reconciliation, revelation on several (laughably simple) applicable verses, the building structure and pipes started to creek as if starting to move (no, I wasn’t on the can, LOL), revelation on the “trinity” compared to: the “quadriinity” or “infinite” and was told to search the scriptures to prove this to others and set them free… At one point, a few intense things happened and it was overwhelming, Holy Spirit even said, “please don’t leave”.

    Later being led to you and your teachings I found at a public library on the “Gnostic” writings. (Since then, I have been praying less-and-less in Jesus’ name and instead: just speaking truths, touching objects / people’s ailments for physical manifestations of the supernatural (Matthew 7:21-23; Genesis: 4:1; John 14:12; John 16:11; et cetera.)

    Scriptures:

    Luke:
    Part of these chapters (among many others) reflects the implicit aforementioned beliefs on universal reconciliation but some applicable verses are:

    Luke 8: 24-25:
    “24 And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 But He said to them, “Where is your faith…”?” (NKJV)

    Note: in Mark’s account the reason they hardened their heart / had fear / (more) unbelief than faith operating was, shockingly, because, “52 For they had not understood about the (miracles of) loaves, because their heart was hardened.” Andrew Wommack has a wonderful teaching on this entitled, ‘Hardness of Heart’ (as most people would right-away it’s sin that hardens your heart but here it was understanding the previous miracle):

    Video / TV: http://www.awmi.net/tv/2015/week20
    Audio: http://www.awmi.net/extra/audio/1003
    Article: http://www.awmi.net/extra/article/hardness_heart

    Luke 10:18-20:
    “18 And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (NKJV)

    Note: The tense in which Jesus had seen Satan fall…
    Note: The expressed difference between physical things / spiritual things
    Note: Implicitly, the (72+) disciples names here were (already) written in Heaven. They didn’t have to repeat a non-scriptural “prayer” of asking “Jesus into their hearts”, et cetera.

    ————————————————————————————————-
    My (Own) Notes / Experience:

    2.2 Difference Between Spirit, Soul and Body

    Andrew has a good teaching on this but I think he is “holding back” some content such as in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 where our whole being can be preserved until Jesus’ return; and, Ephesians 1:9-14 which may mean that – not only are our spirit’s already sealed – but we need to know the truth in order to see the “salvation” / “sozo” manifest.

    In summary, do you think Andrew’s analysis that our “souls” could in fact be what we call in today’s vernacular “our personality? (http://www.awmi.net/bible/mat_22_37)

    If so, then the real salvation would be for the present and applies to the following salvation / sozo, right?! (http://www.awmi.net/god_wants_well/chapter_3)

    – Salvation from sin
    – Deliverence from evil
    – Financial healing / partnership
    – Physical healing

    All things in this “present evil age” which He came to redeem us from (Galatians 1:4)

    ————————————————————————————————-
    My (Own) Notes / Experience:

    2. 3. What I call “Confused Jew Worship” Among Many Co-Called “Christians” Today:

    [Andrew has a great teaching part that harmonizes the OT / NT in the ‘True Nature of God’ teaching series. In summary, stating God was dealing with people differently in the first 2,000 years (no law); next 2,000 years (law); last 2,000 years (law fulfilled).

    These may seem like strong sentiments so please be patient. I also have many great relationships with people who are “Jewish”, gay, whatever, and only see one another as perfect, holy, clean, accepted, et cetera (2 Corinthians 5:16-21). Some of my closest friends are in fact “gay” and they appreciate my honesty in stating that I’ve never truly met a gay friend who is content (not that the world’s view is helping with such).

    I often wondered why so many “Christians” were / are war hungry and only quote a part of some scripture to suit such beliefs (Gen. 12:3 the whole verse; Gen. 22:17-18 the whole verse); meanwhile, evidently, the (U)SA is not blessed. The rest of the world thinks it’s inane to have to live in fear and have to provide bulletproof backpacks to children; have a government wage war on a country and arguably fly planes into buildings as a precipitous (for their resources)… If Cambodia had resources (they / we) needed it would then be the fight to stop the sex trade / dark-economy (with some oil, gold, et cetera, just happening to be there). Or to borrow from China where the total average income is less than ~$2,000 and the average (U)SA “citizens” income is about ~40,000 or less now. Is that the blessing of Abraham?

    Jesus himself rebuked John and James (Luke 9:54) when trying to model Elijah calling down fire from Heaven (2 Kings:1).

    Jesus also rebuked Peter when he cut of the high priest’s servants ear, saying “Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” (Matt. 26:52)

    Meanwhile, hasn’t “Israel” become (akin to) “Nazi’s”? National Socialists, where membership is (largely) based on on genealogy? Imprisoning neighbors in the process.

    In defense, I think that Jesus had to (arbitrarily) fulfill some scriptures and hardened hearts with particular sayings, works, et cetera, and even had to escape situations in order to fulfill such before his time.

    Galatians:
    Isn’t the letter to the churches in Galatia largely corrective, about the regression of mixing faith with works (missing thereby the purpose of the law: to realize we can’t live in God’s standard without seeking His friendship, partnership and way). Isn’t the true Israel of God mentioned therein: Jesus.

    Hebrews: 4:2-3:
    ” For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said:

    “So I swore in My wrath,
    ‘They shall not enter My rest,’”

    although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. ”

    Note: Isn’t it clear that the covenant (in the flesh) was based on their part too?
    Note: Isn’t Dos saying here that they shall never enter his rest?
    Note: Isn’t their mention of this regression in Revelations with respect to the “synagogue of Satan”. (Rev. 3:9)

    ————————————————————————————————-
    3. Select Andrew Wommack Ministries’ Teachings

    Here’s the aforementioned Comparisons from Andrew Wommack:

    3.1. ‘Spirit, Soul and Body’:
    “This teaching is a foundational truth that is essential for understanding how much God loves you and believing what He says about you in His Word. Each person is made up of three different parts: spirit, soul, and body. Learn how these three parts relate to God and to each other. At salvation your spirit is totally changed, but your soul and body is not yet redeemed. This series will teach you how to release the life that is already in your spirit, into your physical body and emotions.”

    Video / TV: http://www.awmi.net/tv/2013/week23
    Audio: http://www.awmi.net/extra/audio/1027
    Article: http://www.awmi.net/extra/article/spirit_soul

    3.2. ‘The True Nature of God’:
    “Often, human perspective and the mechanics of Christianity eclipse the true nature of God – the God who wants nothing more than to share an intimate friendship with His children. If you’re wondering who God is, or if He cares, let Andrew show you The True Nature of God. ”

    In summary, stating: God was dealing with people differently in the first 2,000 years (no law); next 2,000 years (law); last 2,000 years (law fulfilled).

    Video / TV: http://www.awmi.net/tv/2015/week4
    Audio: http://www.awmi.net/extra/audio/1002
    Article: http://www.awmi.net/extra/article/nature_god

    3.3. ‘God Wants You Well’:
    “Health is something everyone wants. Billions of dollars are spent each year trying to retain or restore health. It is a basic desire of all mankind. Anyone who likes sickness must be mentally sick! Yet, religion has told us that God is the one who wants us sick. It even tries to make us believe that sickness is a blessing. That’s just not true. God wants you well. ”

    Video: http://www.awmi.net/tv/2014/week8
    Audio: http://www.awmi.net/extra/audio/1036
    Article: http://www.awmi.net/extra/article/wants_well

    3.4. ‘The Word Became Flesh’:
    “Through His spoken Word, God created the earth and everything in it, put the heaven into place, and formed man. Most importantly, His Word became flesh, and Jesus (God in the flesh) was born. His Word is the most powerful thing on earth and in heaven. It is the absolute and infallible truth. His Word never changes, and He never breaks His Word.

    In this five-part series, Andrew addresses the impact this has in our lives. He explains how God Himself is limited by His own words; the difference between God’s responsibility and ours; the role the devil plays, if any; the power God has given to us; how to conceive a miracle; and more. These messages, recorded live at a recent Gospel Truth Seminar, will change your life.

    The first two teachings lay the foundation for the third (The Word became Flesh), which is the heart of the message. The last two teachings bring further understanding. ”

    Video: http://www.awmi.net/tv/2012/week51
    Audio: http://www.awmi.net/extra/audio/1057
    Article: http://www.awmi.net/extra/article/word_became

    3.5. ‘The ‘Sovereignty’ of God’ Article: http://www.awmi.net/extra/article/sovereignty_god

    ————————————————————————————————-
    4. Side Notes:

    As (/ if) you’re still objectively seeking the truth and one of the foremost objective scholars, critical of the (taboo) texts, promises therein, seemingly contradictory nature of God and the “church”, I can share a few (of many) other brothers’ and sisters’ contacts who are walking in love, releasing the power and promises of God – our dad – and may also be interested in coming to visit you / welcome you here. (Otherwise, you can at least note them and see the testimonies, miracles from them and others.) We may not all agree / have full revelation on some topics but are still operating in love: patience, kindness, et cetera. I personally believe that all Spirits return to God / Heaven, but then I also believe in immortality / salvation now which may be deemed as a juxtaposition to most other statements. At the end of the day, however, am firm that my experiences have been real and am willing / honoured to do (a)nother year in jail (or more), die even.

    As with all of us – and a reason I believe many people turn to drugs / other to cope with the fact that – the world’s sufferings and desires in our hearts to eradicate such are beyond our capabilities… we need another partner to bring us together and focus the needs of the people. Those desires – and thoughts per se – are from God (who is a Spirit / gave dominion to people in the flesh and has worked throughout such, becoming one Himself to fulfill His own standard (nothing no other faith can even claim).

    Objectively speaking, as we are to serve the people, even non-believers, even if it means staying a long time (Acts 14), I’m sure myself and others could come up with the people necessary to assist with your projects: building infrastructure to feed / assist the poor with water, et cetera. These are Godly desires and if we commit the eradication of such to him he will complete it through us (2 Timothy 1:12) All-the-while, seeking the truth (with some healing, miracles and other fun along the way)!

    Kindly,

    Ryan

  5. Avatar
    SteleDan  May 17, 2015

    Great lecture. Watched it about a month ago on youtube.

  6. Goat
    Goat  May 17, 2015

    As I type this post I am sitting at the south end of Masonboro Island, an eight mile stretch of undeveloped coastline between Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach, North Carolina. A comfortable warm breeze is blowing from the south. White, foamy waves are breaking across the sand bars to the south of Carolina Inlet. To the east lies the ocean. To the north I see an endless expanse of dunes covered in sea oats and green marsh behind the dunes. When I turn my face into the wind and breath in deeply I KNOW that I am truly blessed. Logic and intuition instruct me that my benefactor is the creator of all that surrounds me. I call that benefactor God. Why am I the lucky one? I don’t know. But I am grateful and I further grateful that I can express that gratitude through prayer. Every instinct in my bones tells me that God is listening.

    • Bart
      Bart  May 18, 2015

      An, I’m on Emerald Isle as we speak!!

      • Goat
        Goat  May 19, 2015

        Hope it is as nice for you up there as it has been here lately.

  7. Avatar
    Wilusa  May 18, 2015

    Hmm…so even though you didn’t plan to discuss “the immortality of the soul,” you wound up, anyway, having to reveal your own non-belief in it!

    If you’re just discussing *how the Bible treats* the problem of suffering, you seem to have covered all its explanations. Unless…what about “original sin”? I’ve gotten the impression Protestants understand that differently from Catholics – that Protestants interpret it as humans’ being born with a “sinful nature,” a sort of “inclination to sin,” while Catholics interpret it to mean our being *born guilty*, before we’ve done a thing. Is there anything in the Bible to indicate we suffer because of this “original sin”?

    Here’s what I started out to say, before I thought of the “original sin” conundrum. If one is actually discussing “possible causes of suffering,” it’s necessary to go beyond the Bible, and at least consider how it’s been explained elsewhere in the world. That some part of us (whether or not we call it a “soul”) *does* survive death, and people *may* be suffering as punishment for misdeeds they’ve committed in previous incarnations.

    Personally, while I incline strongly to belief in reincarnation, I think it’s *very dangerous* to make assumptions about anyone’s “deserving” bad things that are happening to them in this life. I don’t believe in “karma.” But if people are being influenced – by the problem of suffering – to believe or not believe in a deity (or the “immortality of the soul”), they should consider all aspects of that problem.

    • Bart
      Bart  May 18, 2015

      I don’t think the Catholic doctrine of original sin was shared by any of the writers of the Bible.

  8. Avatar
    Wilusa  May 18, 2015

    Separate Comment, because it’s a totally different thought…

    It seems to me that if ancient Jews believed in either a dismal Sheol or *no afterlife at all*, it must have been a very big leap to get them to accept the notion of unending life, in physical bodies, in God’s coming “Kingdom.” Why don’t we know who originally came up with the idea, and how he sold it to others? I’ve gotten the impression it wasn’t original with John the Baptist.

    Why are there – as far as I know – no records of someone who claimed to have had a glorious revelation? Comparable in importance to the revelations supposedly granted to Abraham and Moses? Actually, “eternal life for humans” should have seemed a *bigger* deal than anything God told Abraham or Moses!

    • Bart
      Bart  May 18, 2015

      I suppose for the same reason we don’t know who came up with *most* ideas from antiquity!

  9. Avatar
    Wilusa  May 18, 2015

    To possibly clarify what I said before, put it a little more succinctly…

    If one becomes convinced there is no “God,” and no “Heaven” or “Hell” (because it can be shown how those false notions evolved from an *earlier* false notion), it does *not*, *necessariiy*, follow that “this life is all there is.” The concepts of a deity, and of some type of “survival,” are in fact completely separate.

  10. talitakum
    talitakum  May 18, 2015

    Too much theology for my taste. And I don’t believe that Christian faith should be threaten by theology. I think that Christians may want to have a look at Jesus’ teachings and deeds for what concerns evil. Theology came after. As an historian, you should see how Jesus actually suffered evil. However, he certainly didn’t become an atheist. Jesus also had to deal with people’ sufferings… and he healed, exorcised, he preached the beatitudes, he encouraged people to help one each other. He didn’t give up when facing evil, he probably believed also in the existence of devil, but this didn’t prevent him to trust in God as his/our caring Father whose divine love and goodness must triumph over all else. He fought evil, for in the end the good undoes the bad. That’s what first Christians knew, and believed, when they proclaimed Jesus’ divinity. And that’s still enough today, in my opinion. Any other issue is due to the fact that we want to apply systematic thinking to everything, trying to solve contradictions and reconcile opposites. I modestly think that we possibly live in a world where opposites cannot be always and necessarily reconciled, and God is not the Father of Logic/Rationality.

  11. Avatar
    Scott  May 18, 2015

    Live Well. Care Much. I needed to hear that again. Thank you for posting this.

  12. Avatar
    shuhan  May 18, 2015

    Hi Dr. Ehrman,

    Why don’t you explore answers from different religions about suffering?
    There is a book by Dr. Sherman Jackson, one of the most influential American Muslims, called “Islam and the Problem of Black Suffering”. I trust you will find it very interesting.

    As for your lecture, I can only say that it was superb! Although, I still don’t understand why you included the answers of the Old Testament prophets on suffering considering they were primarily concerned with Israelite suffering not with global suffering.

  13. Avatar
    Matt7  May 19, 2015

    I am very troubled by how easily the problem of suffering is solved if there is no God.

  14. Avatar
    Sharon  May 20, 2015

    Wow! This was a great lecture. Not because it included so many of my questions and beliefs, but it was so well presented and understandable. Just another example of why I’m such a big fan of yours!

  15. Avatar
    bobnaumann  May 25, 2015

    It would seem to me that a Deist God that didn’t interfere with Natural Law along with human free will would pretty much explain the problem of evil and suffering.

  16. Avatar
    shakespeare66  August 9, 2015

    One common response to suffering is that Christians will say that it “Twas God’s Will.” In other words, it was his desire to cause the suffering, whatever it may have been. That is all sometimes that people can come up with as the cause of suffering. Isn’t this view still in vogue? This is often couples with two other reasons: God has a plan, and God works in mysterious ways. Each of these are supposed to act as a comfort to those left suffering. Are these Christian “inventions” and not Biblically based or are these derivative of the Bible?

    • Bart
      Bart  August 9, 2015

      Oh, yes, there are certainly passages of the Bible that get appealed to for these views.

  17. Avatar
    gabilaranjeira  September 28, 2015

    Hi Bart,

    Do you ever dabate liberal Christians? I enjoyed listening to you talk (as always), and I would have loved to listen to the arguments your opponent if he wasn’t such an arrogant bigot.

    • Bart
      Bart  September 29, 2015

      I would if ever invited! But we probably don’t disagree about much!

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