Why does God allow evil?

  • Thread starter Laser Eyes
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  • #1
Laser Eyes
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It is certainly one of the questions that people generally have a problem with. Why does God allow evil? Some people even carry this to the point of saying that the evil in the world proves that there is no God. After all if there was a God he would eliminate the bad in the world. Try what follows for a logical explanation.

It is several thousand years ago. All is good in the universe. Man and God live in peace and harmony. The first man, Adam, loves God and has a close relationship with him. Adam and his wife Eve live together in a beautiful garden created by God. God has commanded Adam not to eat from a certain tree because he knows that man does not have the ability to decide moral issues for himself. It is a test of man's obedience. The consequences of disobedience have been clearly spelled out.

God gives one of his most powerful angels certain responsibilities over mankind. This angel allows feelings of jealosy to develop in him. He desires for himself the worship that man gives to God. The angel sets out to drive a wedge between man and God. The angel is smart, far smarter than Adam. He cleverly attacks the man through his wife. He approaches the woman and insinuates that God is holding something back from them. He feigns surprise that God really ordered them not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and bad. He assures her that she will not die if she eats from the tree. The woman is deceived. After eating from the tree the woman goes to her husband and tells him what she has done. Adam is not deceived. He knows what will happen to him if he eats the forbidden fruit. He makes his choice.

Later God confronts the man with his disobedience. Adam (in what has become a fine tradition) blames his wife: "The woman you put here with me gave me the fruit, and I ate it". The woman's excuse: "The snake tricked me into eating it". Their fates are sealed. God announces the fatal consequences and expels them from the garden. They will not die immediately but cut off from God their bodies will slowly deteriorate until eventually their life will end. No, they do not have an immortal soul. They were in fact living souls and God had said they would die and die they shall.

OK, so what now? God's millions of spirit beings have witnessed this incident. The rebellious angel has accused God of being a lier. He has questioned God's right to rule. That has never happened before. Also, the first man chose to disobey God and has been cut off from God. What can be done? Well God could very easily destroy the rebellious angel. But would that solve the problem? After all God's power was never called into question. How can God prove that he is not a lier? Does he even need to prove it? The millions of angels are intelligent beings but they are not Gods. They can not see where the ripples will end. Only God knows for sure what will happen. What would the other angels think if God simply destroyed the dissenting voice? Might they start to wonder if God is trying to hide something? An issue has arisen that needs to be settled. The consequences of disobedience have to be seen.

For the issue to be settled time has to pass. There has to be a period of time where mankind rules themselves cut off from God. Both mankind and God's spirit beings have to see and experience what will happen when we choose to live independently from God. For his part God will, in general, adopt a hands-off policy during this time. But this period of time is limited. God will allow the rebellious angel and those who followed him to rule this world until the appointed day. Man will have the opportunity to choose how he lives. He can choose to do good or bad, he can choose life or death. There will be no room for fence sitters. And when the issue has been well and truly settled God will intervene. A new world will be established to be populated by those willing to follow God and only those willing to follow God. Every injustice will be put right. No longer will evil be allowed to flourish. Never again will opposition to God be tolerated. This is a once only deal.

Does this make sense? Is it logical? Could this be the answer to the age old question why does God allow suffering?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Why ask a question, when you have already created a story to answer it for yourself. That's what religion is, after all; people making up stories to asnswer questions with no obvious answer.
 
  • #3
also, the answer is a bit weak, i don't buy this part:

Originally posted by Laser Eyes
God has commanded Adam not to eat from a certain tree because he knows that man does not have the ability to decide moral issues for himself. It is a test of man's obedience.

i mean isn't obedience a moral issue? considering that, god made a test for something he knew man was not capable of achieving. that would be like some rat-bastard setup, and i tend to doubt that god would be a rat-bastard about things. :wink:
 
  • #4
The Grimmus
200
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if god dose exists i think he would want to see what would happen if... that is why evil is allowed and peopel die i would think of it as the sims X elevendy billion.
 
  • #5
Laser Eyes
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i mean isn't obedience a moral issue? considering that, god made a test for something he knew man was not capable of achieving. that would be like some rat-bastard setup, and i tend to doubt that god would be a rat-bastard about things.
But man is capable of obedience. It is simply an exercise of free will. A choice we can make. And Adam being a perfect man was capable of perfect obedience.
 
  • #6
zk4586
87
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But man is capable of obedience. It is simply an exercise of free will. A choice we can make. And Adam being a perfect man was capable of perfect obedience.

Perfect man, what the hell does that mean?
 
  • #7
Iacchus32
2,313
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Hey lighten up dude!
 
  • #8
well really; if adam was so perfect, how did he screw up?
 
  • #9
Laser Eyes
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Originally posted by Zero
Why ask a question, when you have already created a story to answer it for yourself. That's what religion is, after all; people making up stories to asnswer questions with no obvious answer.
You know that was a pretty useless post Zero. Aren't PF mentors supposed to promote discussion and not stifle it? If you can't say something that contributes to the discussion it might be better to say nothing.
 
  • #10
zk4586
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quote:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Zero
Why ask a question, when you have already created a story to answer it for yourself. That's what religion is, after all; people making up stories to asnswer questions with no obvious answer.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
You know that was a pretty useless post Zero. Aren't PF mentors supposed to promote discussion and not stifle it? If you can't say something that contributes to the discussion it might be better to say nothing.

You're just mad because he was right.
 
  • #11
Satan once sang: Without evil there is no good, so it must be good to be evil sometimes!

Originally posted by kyleb
well really; if adam was so perfect, how did he screw up?
Yeah, that's what I'm wondering. Also, if God is infallable, and all His creations are as well (in principle), how could man be so screwed up?
But I do like The Grimmus's idea. :wink:
Hey, you ever take a Sim and build walls around him and starve him to death?
 
  • #12
that is cruel mouseman!
 
  • #13
Laser Eyes
73
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if adam was so perfect, how did he screw up?
Good question. You have to remember that Adam had free will. That meant he had the ability to do the wrong thing as well as the right thing. He had the power to make choices for himself. God did not create a robot. Adam was a thinking reasoning man just like you and I. Because of the genetic defect that has been passed on to us from the first man and woman we have an inclination to do bad. We have to struggle against our wrong inclinations. But Adam did not have to struggle. It was a relatively simple matter for Adam to remain obedient to God's commands. That is all I meant when I said that Adam was perfect. Being a perfect man does not mean that Adam could not decide to disobey God. When Adam disobeyed God he in effect damaged himself. We too have the ability to damage ourselves in a similar way. Have you ever seen someone start down a path of criminal conduct? Have you noticed how their personality changes? This imperfect analogy is similar to the way Adam damaged himself.

if God is infallable, and all His creations are as well (in principle), how could man be so screwed up?
It's simple really. I kind of answered this question above but I'll expand a bit. We have a genetic defect. You can't make a perfect bowl from a cracked mould. Adam and Eve lost their perfect physical condition after they disobeyed God. They were cut off from the source of all life and like a fan that has its plug pulled out their life would eventually end. That is the condition that we have inherited. Our natural inclination is to do the wrong thing. We still know what is right and wrong because of an inbuilt morality but our impulses lead us in the wrong direction. These impulses can sometimes feel overwhelming, at other times they are easily dismissed. This is the reason the world is so screwed up.

It is not a question of God or his creations being infallible. Part of Adam's design included the possibility that one day he might choose to disobey God. God knew that when he made man but I expect that he hoped it would never happen. If God wanted to create a being that could not err he would have made robots.
 
  • #14
Right I understand what you meant, and the free will He instilled upon us set us on our own paths. But what I meant (and I don't know if this is at all arguable) that if He knew that we would disobey or even consider disobeying His word, then why did He need to test Adam? And if He knew the consequences of giving us free will, why would He give us such choice when it meant we might stray from His decree? That would ulimately lead to man's disregard of Him, wouldn't you say? I don't think God had that intention do you? Intentionally setting loose His children so that they may defy Him in the end? If that were the case, He'd be a masochist.
 
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  • #15
Iacchus32
2,313
1
Originally posted by kyleb
well really; if adam was so perfect, how did he screw up?
Speaking for myself and everyone else, except of course Adam perhaps, we can only come to God through our "practical understanding" of who He is, by which we "substantiate" our experience in Him. Perhaps this is what was missing with Adam? He had no substantial means by which to accept the "reality of God?" And, although he was endowed with the choice of free will, he did not have "the wisdom" to back it up, and hence the fall--"through knowledge." Which is to say, it couldn't have happened any other way.

Knowledge is not Wisdom!
 
  • #16
Laser Eyes
73
0
Originally posted by mouseman
Right I understand what you meant, and the free will He instilled upon us set us on our own paths. But what I meant (and I don't know if this is at all arguable) that if He knew that we would disobey or even consider disobeying His word, then why did He need to test Adam? And if He knew the consequences of giving us free will, why would He give us such choice when it meant we might stray from His decree? That would ulimately lead to man's disregard of Him, wouldn't you say? I don't think God had that intention do you? Intentionally setting loose His children so that they may defy Him in the end? If that were the case, He'd be a masochist.
God did not know that Adam would disobey him. He expected Adam to obey him but he did not know for sure what Adam would do. I think God is something of an optimist. He prefers to expect the best of people rather than the worst. He gave Adam so much, including life itself, he hoped and expected that Adam would remain faithful. God allowed Adam to be tested. He chose not to see the result of the test. There are indications in the Bible that God chooses not to look at the specific choices that individuals will make, not because he can't, but because he wants us to feel the full power of free will. That way there can be no suggestion that our futures are predestined. We truly write our own future with the decisions we make. Nobody, including God, knows what we will do.

It is not an inevitable consequence of free will that we will "stray from His decree". Yes free will means that we can defy God. But can you blame God for the choices we make? God wanted to create intelligent beings who would love him willingly, not robots that love because that is what their program dictates. God did not intend his children to defy him, and he hoped that they wouldn't, but he gave them the power to do so.
 
  • #17
Iacchus32
2,313
1
Originally posted by Laser Eyes
Nobody, including God, knows what we will do.
There are numerous references in the Bible that would suggest otherwise. Actually this is the only verse that comes to mind but I'm sure there's more ...


"Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." (Jeremiah 1:4-5)
 
  • #18
Laser Eyes
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Originally posted by Iacchus32
Speaking for myself and everyone else, except of course Adam perhaps, we can only come to God through our "practical understanding" of who He is, by which we "substantiate" our experience in Him. Perhaps this is what was missing with Adam? He had no substantial means by which to accept the "reality of God?" And, although he was endowed with the choice of free will, he did not have "the wisdom" to back it up, and hence the fall--"through knowledge." Which is to say, it couldn't have happened any other way.

Knowledge is not Wisdom!
Actually Adam had a far more substantial means to accept the reality of God than we did. God was there in the Garden of Eden with Adam. I mean God was there in spirit because God is of course invisible to us. God spoke to Adam in a real verbal manner. He undoubtedly told Adam that he had created him. He taught Adam about the world and about the nature of life. They had a close relationship. Adam had the greatest teacher, God himself. If we accept that God is a loving and caring creator then we must conclude that Adam was well prepared to face the test put before him.
 
  • #19
Answer to the first post: yup, that's it.
 
  • #20
Laser Eyes
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If God knows what we will do how do you explain Genesis 22:12? God instructs Abraham to go a mountain and kill his son Isaac. Just as Abraham raises a knife to slay his son God intervenes.

"And he said, "Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, sine you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me."" (my emphasis)

"for now I know" This phrase clearly implies that God did not know whether Abraham would follow the instruction until Abraham actually tried to kill Isaac.
 
  • #21
Iacchus32
2,313
1
Heaven and Hell

Originally posted by Laser Eyes
Actually Adam had a far more substantial means to accept the reality of God than we did. God was there in the Garden of Eden with Adam. I mean God was there in spirit because God is of course invisible to us. God spoke to Adam in a real verbal manner. He undoubtedly told Adam that he had created him. He taught Adam about the world and about the nature of life. They had a close relationship. Adam had the greatest teacher, God himself. If we accept that God is a loving and caring creator then we must conclude that Adam was well prepared to face the test put before him.
The thing of it is if he hadn't fallen, there would have been no perpetuation of the human race, and you and I wouldn't be here talking about it. Whereas I've also come to understand that heaven and hell "comes" from the human race, meaning the angels of heaven and the evil spirits of hell, were none other than people who had onced lived on Earth (i.e., after the fall) ...

"In the Christian world it is wholly unknown that heaven and hell are from the human race, for it is believed that in the beginning angels were created and heaven was formed; also that the devil or Satan was an angel of light, but having rebelled he was cast down with his crew, and thus hell was formed. The angels never cease to wonder at such a belief in the Christian world, and still more that nothing is really known about heaven, when in fact that is the primary principle of all doctrine in the church. But since such ignorance prevails they rejoice in heart that it has pleased the Lord to reveal to mankind at this time many things about heaven and about hell, thereby dispelling as far as possible the darkness that has been daily increasing because the church has come to its end" (in reference to the end of times as foretold in the book of Revelation). ~ From http://www.swedenborg.com/" [Broken], Heaven and Hell.
 
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  • #22
zk4586
87
1
Because of the genetic defect that has been passed on to us from the first man and woman we have an inclination to do bad.

there's a new one...{sigh}...
 
  • #23
Iacchus32
2,313
1
Originally posted by Laser Eyes
If God knows what we will do how do you explain Genesis 22:12? God instructs Abraham to go a mountain and kill his son Isaac. Just as Abraham raises a knife to slay his son God intervenes.

"And he said, "Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, sine you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me."" (my emphasis)

"for now I know" This phrase clearly implies that God did not know whether Abraham would follow the instruction until Abraham actually tried to kill Isaac.
Do you believe that God is all knowing? If so, then He would have to know such things. Perhaps the test was done more for the sake of proving Abraham's beliefs (to Abraham), and this was more a figure of speech to suggest the personal nature of the God's relationship with Abraham. While here's another quote that suggests otherwise ...

"But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him." (John 6:64-66)
 
  • #24
Originally posted by Laser Eyes
God did not know that Adam would disobey him. [...] Nobody, including God, knows what we will do.
But God is supposed to be omniscient!

Originally posted by Laser Eyes
It is not an inevitable consequence of free will that we will "stray from His decree". Yes free will means that we can defy God. But can you blame God for the choices we make? God wanted to create intelligent beings who would love him willingly, not robots that love because that is what their program dictates. God did not intend his children to defy him, and he hoped that they wouldn't, but he gave them the power to do so.
I didn't mean to imply that the disobedience of man would be inevitable, I just meant it could be a possibility. And I guess I am blaming God for our choices. He is our life-mentor. It's kinda like a homicidal maniac. At first you blame him. Then it surfaces that he was abused by his parents, his father taught him how to use his sniper rifle that he kept from Vietnam, blah, blah, blah... and you end up holding the parents partially responsible for the wacko's actions.

I just want to clarify my reasoning here. All I'm trying to say is that there are so many inconsistancies in religious doctrine and we are all just a bunch of confused nuts seeking the answers. As I have stated before, I am an atheist so I do not believe our choices are influenced by a higher power but as for the Bible itself, it is a good book and has many good lessons in it, but a lot of it is subject to interpretation. And that's when people start to argue. And it comes to my attention that I'm just reiterating a lot of what Iacchus and others have said before. I'll shut up now since I'm losing my train of thought.

BTW can anyone tell me a way or a method to practice keeping your mind on one thing at a time? My brain goes 90 mph in all directions and I end up sounding like a moron because topic relevancy shoots out my left ear.
 
  • #25


Originally posted by Laser Eyes
But man is capable of obedience. It is simply an exercise of free will. A choice we can make. And Adam being a perfect man was capable of perfect obedience.
Adam was a perfect man…

Good question. You have to remember that Adam had free will. That meant he had the ability to do the wrong thing as well as the right thing. He had the power to make choices for himself. God did not create a robot. Adam was a thinking reasoning man just like you and I. Because of the genetic defect that has been passed on to us from the first man and woman we have an inclination to do bad.
Somehow Adam altered his biology and passed along to his descendants a genetic defect. Did Adam change his chromosomes by making the decision to eat the apple, and do our genes continue to be affected in this manner each time we are disobedient?
...We have to struggle against our wrong inclinations. But Adam did not have to struggle. It was a relatively simple matter for Adam to remain obedient to God's commands.
All the more reason why god has no excuse for punishing defective humanity wouldn't you say?

God did not know that Adam would disobey him. He expected Adam to obey him but he did not know for sure what Adam would do.
So god is not all knowing after all? How does this compare to passages in the Bible claiming the opposite?
 
  • #26
Laser Eyes
73
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I didn't mean to imply that the disobedience of man would be inevitable, I just meant it could be a possibility. And I guess I am blaming God for our choices. He is our life-mentor. It's kinda like a homicidal maniac. At first you blame him. Then it surfaces that he was abused by his parents, his father taught him how to use his sniper rifle that he kept from Vietnam, blah, blah, blah... and you end up holding the parents partially responsible for the wacko's actions.

Why do you blame God for our choices? It is our choice after all, not God’s. We are the ones with the power. Whether you like it or not you have free will and you are responsible for the choices you make. God does not look on us as victims of our circumstances. That excuse will only go so far in explaining our actions. Ultimately we are responsible for what we do and God does hold us accountable for our actions.

Somehow Adam altered his biology and passed along to his descendants a genetic defect. Did Adam change his chromosomes by making the decision to eat the apple, and do our genes continue to be affected in this manner each time we are disobedient?

The consequences of being cut off from God meant that Adam did change physically. I can’t give you an exact scientific description of the process. The best analogy I can think of is pulling a fan’s plug out of the electric socket. The fan will slow down and eventually stop running. God is a source of energy and it was God’s energy that enabled Adam to continue physical regeneration and remain youthful. The reason we grow old and die is because we are cut off from the source of all life.

All the more reason why god has no excuse for punishing defective humanity wouldn't you say?

God makes allowances for our defective condition but he still holds us responsible for our own actions. Defective though we are we still have great power to choose what we will do. God does not treat us as victims of the world we find ourselves in. He knows we still have free will.

But God is supposed to be omniscient!

So god is not all knowing after all? How does this compare to passages in the Bible claiming the opposite?

God is omniscient and he is all knowing but he can choose not to know also. That is what he does. God deliberately does not look at the specific choices that we will make in the future. It is not because he can’t do so. He makes a conscious decision not to know. That way there can be no suggestion that our futures are predestined.
 
  • #27
The consequences of being cut off from God meant that Adam did change physically. I can’t give you an exact scientific description of the process. .
If not a scientific description can you give me a theological description of this? I mean, is this written in the Bible somewhere?
The best analogy I can think of is pulling a fan’s plug out of the electric socket. The fan will slow down and eventually stop running. God is a source of energy and it was God’s energy that enabled Adam to continue physical regeneration and remain youthful. The reason we grow old and die is because we are cut off from the source of all life
I thought the reason we grow old is because we are cut off from eating the fruit of the tree of life. Is this tree what you mean by the source of all life, and do you think such a tree can yet be found?
God makes allowances for our defective condition but he still holds us responsible for our own actions. Defective though we are we still have great power to choose what we will do. God does not treat us as victims of the world we find ourselves in. He knows we still have free will.
God also holds us responsible for the actions of others. Isn’t this why we are punished for the sins of Adam and Eve?
God is omniscient and he is all knowing but he can choose not to know also. That is what he does. God deliberately does not look at the specific choices that we will make in the future. It is not because he can’t do so. He makes a conscious decision not to know. That way there can be no suggestion that our futures are predestined.
Far be it from me to claim I knew the mind of god. So when you said that “God did not know that Adam would disobey him…” you meant that god chose not to know. I find this fantastic.
 
  • #28
FZ+
1,599
3
God is omniscient and he is all knowing but he can choose not to know also. That is what he does. God deliberately does not look at the specific choices that we will make in the future. It is not because he can’t do so. He makes a conscious decision not to know. That way there can be no suggestion that our futures are predestined.
But he does, doesn't he? Why else do we have prophets?
 
  • #29
duh FZ+, of couse prophets are in it for the money.
 
  • #30
Laser Eyes
73
0
If not a scientific description can you give me a theological description of this? I mean, is this written in the Bible somewhere?
There are some relevant scriptures. The Bible refers to God as the source of all life, having great energy and never growing tired - Psalms 36:9; Isaiah 40:26,28. It is said that those trusting in God shall run and not be weary - Isaiah 40:31. Adam would lose his connection to God if he disobeyed him: "if you forsake him he will cast you off forever...if you turn away, he will abandon you" - 1 Chronicles 28:9; 2 Chronicles 15:2. God pronounced his abandonment of Adam following Adam's sin - Genesis 3:19.
I thought the reason we grow old is because we are cut off from eating the fruit of the tree of life. Is this tree what you mean by the source of all life, and do you think such a tree can yet be found?
Both the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil were actual trees in Eden (Genesis 2:9) but their fruit was no different to the fruit from other trees. They were just ordinary trees. They were used by God for symbolic purposes. If Adam had remained faithful to God then after a period of time God would have allowed Adam to eat from the tree of life. The tree of life represented God's gift of everlasting life. If Adam had eaten from the tree of life God would have felt obliged to fulfil his promise of everlasting life so after Adam sinned God expelled him from Eden and barred his return to prevent Adam from eating its fruit. - Genesis 3:22-24. God is the source of all life, not any tree. The tree of life has nothing to do with us growing old. I doubt that any tree from Eden exists but even if it could be found it is meaningless today.
God also holds us responsible for the actions of others. Isn’t this why we are punished for the sins of Adam and Eve?
We suffer the consequences of Adam and Eve's sin but it is not a punishment imposed by God. Generally speaking God does not hold us responsible for the actions of others. God judges everyone individually. - 2 Timothy 4:1
Far be it from me to claim I knew the mind of god. So when you said that “God did not know that Adam would disobey him…” you meant that god chose not to know. I find this fantastic.
Yes, that's exactly what I meant. The ways of God are indeed fantastic: "My ways are higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts." - Isaiah 55:9
 
  • #31
I would say that you have some very interesting interpretations of the Bible, why, I would go so far as to say that I like some of them. Unfortunately, the Bible is not something I could ever believe in personally, and the need to interpret it, for me at least, is a proof that it is not what it claims to be.
 
  • #32
what if...

what if god IS evil?
that explains everythng right?

genesis 1:26 and
genesis 3:22

read it carefully and tell me what's wrong.
 
  • #33
Laser Eyes
73
0


what if god IS evil?
that explains everythng right?

genesis 1:26 and
genesis 3:22

read it carefully and tell me what's wrong.
If God is evil why did he create love?
 
  • #34
FZ+
1,599
3
(With a nod to Iacchus - sorry) So he can laugh His head off when it falls apart? If we do not have love, how can we have Lust, Hatred, Adultery, Perversion and all those things that God really prefers?
 
  • #35
Laser Eyes
73
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If we do not have love, how can we have Lust, Hatred, Adultery, Perversion and all those things that God really prefers?
FZ+
I noticed that in another thread you said, "I am an agnostic/atheist." It is curious that you would debate the nature of a God that you don't believe exists. I suspect that you use the notion of an evil God as an argument to convince yourself that there is no God.
 

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