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Thread: Intmacy with God vs. The Evil We Experience

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    Intmacy with God vs. The Evil We Experience

    Here is a quote from the book, Philosophy of Religion, edited by Michael Peterson, William Hasker, Bruce Reichenbach, and David Basinger on page 371. It is an excerpt from the book, Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God, by Marilyn McCord Adams.

    Where the internal coherence of Christianity is the issue, however, it is fair to appeal to its own sort of valuables. From a Christian point of view, God is a being a greater than which cannot be conceived, a good incommensurate with both created goods and temporal evils. Likewise, the good of beatific, face-to-face intimacy with God is simply incommensurate with any merely non-transcendent goods or ills a person might experience. Thus, the good of beatific face-to-face intimacy with God would engulf (in a sense analogous to Chisholmian balancing off) even the horrendous evils humans experience in this present life here below, and overcome any prima-facie reasons the individual had to doubt whether his/her life would or could be worth living.
    Face-to-face intimacy with God (which would be in heaven) is far greater than any evil, trial, or suffering we go through. It is so much greater than the evils we experience that it would overcome any reasons a person had to doubt whether his life was worth living. I agree with this. Romans 8:18 says, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us." Paul is saying that the glory to be revealed in us is far greater than any suffering we experience in life.
    Last edited by Jaxb; 02-14-2017 at 04:10 AM.

  2. Amen Jedidiah, Thoughtful Monk, Rushing Jaws amen'd this post.
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    I suspect that any hesychast, having experienced the uncreated light of Christ, would agree with you. Having experienced that light, the withdrawal is pretty intense, though.
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    Thanks for your post.

    I was talking with a friend about some problems I was going through. I said I wish I would have some form of encounter with the presence of God. That might not solve my problems but it would put them into perspective.
    "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post
    Thanks for your post.

    I was talking with a friend about some problems I was going through. I said I wish I would have some form of encounter with the presence of God. That might not solve my problems but it would put them into perspective.
    It certainly does put trials and suffering into perspective. God comforts His people. A face-to-face encounter with God in heaven will outweigh any evil that we have experienced on earth.

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    There's a lot to be said for this. But there are limits to it. If nothing that happens on earth is commensurate with the beatific vision, why bother to do good to others on earth? Why not spend all our time trying to cultivate mystical experience?

    Jesus claimed that his mission was to establish the Kingdom (God's rule) here. (E.g., the Lord's prayer.) He also said that what we do here matters eternally. This doesn't seem consistent with saying that people's suffering here doesn't matter in the greater scheme of things. The idea that earthy suffering doesn't matter seems in some sense more Buddhist than Christian. Christianity has generally said that the world matters to God so much that he sent his son into it. Suffering is normally seen as our participation in that. If Christ's suffering isn't part of our view of the significance of suffering, I think there's a problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hedrick View Post
    There's a lot to be said for this. But there are limits to it. If nothing that happens on earth is commensurate with the beatific vision, why bother to do good to others on earth? Why not spend all our time trying to cultivate mystical experience?

    Jesus claimed that his mission was to establish the Kingdom (God's rule) here. (E.g., the Lord's prayer.) He also said that what we do here matters eternally. This doesn't seem consistent with saying that people's suffering here doesn't matter in the greater scheme of things. The idea that earthy suffering doesn't matter seems in some sense more Buddhist than Christian. Christianity has generally said that the world matters to God so much that he sent his son into it. Suffering is normally seen as our participation in that. If Christ's suffering isn't part of our view of the significance of suffering, I think there's a problem.
    This world is temporary, finite, and mortal; God is permanent, infinite, and immortal. Nothing I experience on earth will ever be commensurate with the beatific vision. It doesn't mean that I should spend my time cultivating a mystical experience. A mystic experience is a gift from God and no something I can cause to happen. I should spend my time cultivating a relationship with God.

    One of Jesus' missions was to establish the Kingdom here. Part of that would include reconnecting God with man in relationship. So everything we do should help reconnect man and God. Then it would matter eternally for both ourselves and the others we help.

    Regarding suffering, I agree with your point about Christ's suffering. My experience is too much of the world and church try to deny it, relieve it, or fix it. We don't seem to be called to go through it for the growth it provides.
    "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

    My time to be on TWeb is unpredictable. It may take a few days for me to see your post and respond.

  8. Amen Rushing Jaws amen'd this post.

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