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Re: a bit more on good and evil

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  • jamcconney@aol.com
    Thanks Jan and Trudy for your fascinating posts. I m sorry not to respond sooner, but I ve had three fairly big projects all coming due on the same day...so it
    Message 1 of 5 , Jun 12, 2002
      Thanks Jan and Trudy for your fascinating posts. I'm sorry not to respond
      sooner, but I've had three fairly big projects all coming due on the same
      day...so it goes.

      I probably wasn't clear enough when I wrote about human free will and said we
      were all endowed with free will and that it's the one thing God will never
      take away from us. Far from being what some may believe, this is standard
      theology. But maybe we ought to pause and simplify (over-simplify?) this
      problem of good and evil as it relates to theodicy. Either you believe that

      1) God is omnipotent and therefore responsible for everything good and bad in
      the universe,
      or
      2) there is an evil force that God cannot control and that therefore negates
      God's omnipotence.

      2) is the Manichaean position.

      Judaism and Christianity, on the other hand have been quite firm on the side
      of God's omnipotence. "...I am the Lord, there is no other. I make the
      light, I create the darkness, author alike of prosperity and trouble. I the
      Lord do all these things."
      Isaiah 45:6-7

      The above is from the New English Bible, which is the version I have handy
      right now. I rather like the older translation--"I make weal and I make
      woe"--however; it seems a more uncomromising view of the problem.

      All this, of course, has nothing to do with human free will, since humans and
      all their gifts are created by God--who presumably foresaw that they would be
      misused. God, therefore, by creating humans with free will, creates the >
      potentiality< of evil but not the evil itself. I'm sorry if I worded that
      badly in my last post.

      Jamaq
    • Jan Theodore Galkowski
      On Wed, 12 Jun 2002 at 22:25:59 EDT jamcconney@aol.com ... Thanks, Jamq, you re most kind. [snip] ... Jamq, well that s that I thought, too, until I read the
      Message 2 of 5 , Jun 13, 2002
        On Wed, 12 Jun 2002 at 22:25:59 EDT jamcconney@...
        wrote in part:

        >Thanks Jan and Trudy for your fascinating posts.

        Thanks, Jamq, you're most kind.

        [snip]

        >2) there is an evil force that God cannot
        >control and that therefore negates God's omnipotence.

        >2) is the Manichaean position.

        Jamq, well that's that I thought, too, until I read
        the piece on "Was Tolkien a Manichaean?" in Amon Hen.
        It's not that simple at all, and that's why I felt
        the designation of the view as heresy by the Church,
        whenever that was done, was based upon a misrepresentation
        of Manichaeanism.

        >Judaism and Christianity, on the other hand have
        >been quite firm on the side of God's omnipotence.
        >"...I am the Lord, there is no other. I make
        >the light, I create the darkness, author alike of
        >prosperity and trouble. I the Lord do all these things."
        >Isaiah 45:6-7

        >The above is from the New English Bible, which is
        >the version I have handy right now. I rather like the
        >older translation--"I make weal and I make woe"--however;
        >it seems a more uncomromising view of the problem.

        Yes, Isaiah 45:7 is precisely the passage I deal with at

        http://www.algebraist.com/isaiah45_7.htm

        From my look at that, I'd say any substitution of
        "the darkness" or "woe" for what's really in the passage
        is running from its direct statement and its
        implications. It says EVIL. Similarly, the use of
        "prosperity" in the New English Bible, which I've seen
        before, is completely off. "Weal", too, has too much
        a connection with prosperity. Surely, what happens to
        Job in terms of loss of prosperity is one aspect, but
        almost anyone would cite his loss of his children as a
        more important loss, and that's just not covered by
        the use of any translation of the Hebrew "ra" which
        means primarily "prosperousness".


        [snip]

        >God, therefore, by creating humans with free will,
        >creates the ">potentiality<" of evil but not the evil
        >itself. I'm sorry if I worded that badly in my last post.

        Obviously we can disagree, but evening "potentiality of
        evil" sounds like dancing around the issue to me.

        --Jan

        [snip]


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      • jamcconney@aol.com
        In a message dated 6/13/2002 1:12:40 PM Central Daylight Time, ... Yes, I think so too. Jamaq [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        Message 3 of 5 , Jun 13, 2002
          In a message dated 6/13/2002 1:12:40 PM Central Daylight Time,
          disneylogic@... writes:


          > . Similarly, the use of
          > "prosperity" in the New English Bible, which I've seen
          > before, is completely off.

          Yes, I think so too.
          Jamaq


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • trudygshaw
          ... From: Jan Theodore Galkowski To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2002 1:11 PM Subject: [mythsoc] Re: a bit more on good and evil ... the
          Message 4 of 5 , Jun 14, 2002
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: Jan Theodore Galkowski
            To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2002 1:11 PM
            Subject: [mythsoc] Re: a bit more on good and evil


            >>2) there is an evil force that God cannot
            >control and that therefore negates God's omnipotence.

            >>2) is the Manichaean position.

            >Jamq, well that's that I thought, too, until I read
            the piece on "Was Tolkien a Manichaean?" in Amon Hen.
            It's not that simple at all, and that's why I felt
            the designation of the view as heresy by the Church,
            whenever that was done, was based upon a misrepresentation
            of Manichaeanism.



            This is probably also an oversimplification, but my understanding of this part of Manichean thought isn't just that there is an evil force outside of God's control, but that a power other than God created the evil that exists--that is, to put it in "Tolkienist" terminology, there is another power besides God that is able to accomplish primary creation. Would the article agree with this, or would this be another misrepresentation?

            --Trudy

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            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • jamcconney@aol.com
            In a message dated 6/14/2002 6:34:51 AM Central Daylight Time, ... Haven t read the article but yes, this is exactly the point. But of course there s also the
            Message 5 of 5 , Jun 14, 2002
              In a message dated 6/14/2002 6:34:51 AM Central Daylight Time,
              tgshaw@... writes:


              > there is another power besides God that is able to accomplish primary
              > creation.

              Haven't read the article but yes, this is exactly the point. But of course
              there's also the theory that, since God is good, evil has no real existence.

              There's a wonderful passage in the _Revelations_ of Julian of Norwich where
              the Lord speaks to Julian saying "All shall be well and all shall be well and
              all manner thing shall be well." When Julian protests that the church teaches
              that some will be condemned to Hell, the Lord simply replies "What is
              impossible to you is not impossible to me."

              Julian BTW is very big on the non-existance of evil ("...it hath no
              substance..."). And no, I'm not going to go off into what 14th century
              mystics meant by the word "substance." It would try the patience of the list
              members far beyond the legendary patience of saints ;-)
              Jamaq


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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