A thought experiment was proposed to me the other day. Assume God took a year off and you were chosen to fill in during that time and given for that period of time all powers necessary. What would look different in the world?
Would hurricanes be allowed to hit major cities or would you steer them into the ocean where they could perform the climate-smoothing duties they have without wreaking havoc on people? What about tsunamis and blizzards and tornadoes?
If a building collapses as a result of an earthquake would you save everyone in it instead of allowing one small child to be found under the rubble while 127 die? Would you prevent the collapse in the first place? Or could you move the tectonic plates in a smooth fashion such as to avoid a quake in the first place?
There is no free will involved here, so what would be lost? God just allows nature to run its course, to be what it will and do what it does? This is what I believe, but there are many who assert that the landfall of a hurricane can be affected by prayer, so, to those at least, God does have control over things.
What would you do?
Now for the free will issues. A woman and her small child are being attacked. The infant is killed and the woman raped multiple times over the course of days or weeks. God, they say, does not interfere because of the Prime Directive of non-interference, free -will (which, apparently, is His rule and not put upon Him by anyone else). The problem is whose free will counts? Neither the woman nor the infant are being able to act on their will in the attack, unless one says that they wanted to be attacked, which is nonsensical.
So the true exercise of free will is by the attackers. God allows the attack to go on—by definition, if He is omniscient he knew of the attack actually before it happened, if He is omnipresent, he stood by and watched it happen and if He is omnipotent, he could have stopped it and elected not to. So, in this situation, God can be said to honor the free will of the criminals not the woman? He could have stopped it if it was in His plan, right? If it was in His plan to do so, it would not have been allowed to continue. What would you do?
What would you say to someone who, with the ability to stop what was going on, just pulled up a chair and watched the events? If God is much more than us, and we would stop much of the evil, why doesn’t He?
God does not interfere with human actions, it is said—we make our own beds and are forced to lie in them; into each life some rain must fall; to be able to know good, one must know bad; pain must exist to be able to experience joy. We are made stronger by the adversities we face. Ok, sure, I can buy this, somewhat, but the murdered infant does not live to be stronger. So why? And, then what purpose, what further strengthening justifies brutal gang rape?
God works in mysterious ways. He has a plan. And everything that happens is a part of the plan. He is inscrutable. Boy howdy, that is true. If there is a plan, it is deeply mysterious and inscrutable, so much so that it appears more the result of random elements, of naturally occurring phenomenon than a thought out well-conceived plan. He doesn’t interfere with humans? Not since Bible times, I guess—there was a lot of interfering going on back then. Did they not need to learn and grow and be bettered by suffering as much as do we?
Would the year you are in charge be different? Would acts of God take a holiday and not kill people? Would you stop man’s inhumanity to man? Would it be a year when we could walk down the street without fear? If you were God, what would be different in the world?
Other issues abound. Cancer. Devastating illnesses. Hunger. War.
This is not to say I do not believe in God, but to believe He is Omni Everything and to look out onto the world may, if we are honest about it, cause one to question God’s ethics and morality and His suitability for Worship. Fear, yes, that makes sense in our current set of circumstances where he doesn’t interfere to assist the righteous as He did the Israelites or to stop the wicked form their ways, as He did the .Amalakites, causing the sacrifice of Elijah to be consumed before allowing Elijah to kill the 400 prophets of Ba’al. Fear, and Awe, of course. But respect and worship?
The question I am left with is this: is God God if God is not Omnipresent, Omnicscient, Omnipotent, Omni-loving, and so on?
The picture, from, I believe Monty Pythom and the Holy Grail, was clipped from here