Jeremy Puma posted this friday, “Tsunami and Theodicy”
at his fantastic Planet weblog.
As I wrote earlier today, I wished that I could contribute some words concerning what has occured. Mostly I just wish to keep the tenderness in my heart that came to my attention at the Requiem service for the dead, on December 28th, in our community in Oslo.
But that would mean to actually keep entirely silent, also with regards to the written word.
I am very happy Jeremy took the time to pursue such a grave matter with the qualities he has demonstrated he possesses to the full,
“if God is all good, how could He/She/It allow such a monstrous thing to occur?” he asks.
“This is pretty much the Ultimate Question when it comes to monotheism.”
The claims made about God knows no end. Some flatter God, others drag God down to such a level as most living mortals, whatever their walk in life, would step abruptly one step back just so as not to be confused with whatever common denominator is at work. The flailing pride in the sneer we find in the Book of Job, a biblical scripture curiously neglected by most of the Gnostic scriptures found in the Nag Hammadi find – gave pause to much reflection in Carl Gustav Jung’s work “Answer to Job”, and apparently disturbed William Blake profoundly also in his Bible Studies. Most of these words ascribed to God, is no answer at all, it appears to continue an inglorious monologue with no subject at all, except perhaps the appreciation of own self the orator might be intoxicated with. It is not difficult to imagine a certain fear in those words as well, since Job is quite content that as a mortal he may and can only die, and after such a bloodied and senseless martyrdom, such an effective infamy as was visited upon certain great cities in the old ages, by angelic or human hands – what could its perpetrator accuse its victim of?
It is, without exception, poets – they be prophetic or not, historians and theologians who rushed to the task of recording to posterity whatever might be the words and utterances of this wilfull God.. It appears to me that such a task, so as to truthfully report what goes on between the eternal world and the realms of mortals, and provide the readers with a means of comprehending what it is and how it is, and … why, the most difficult question of them all, in these matters – is damn near impossible to most, also those who have gone before us, and attempted the same.
The Bishop Preses of the State Church here in Norway replied that he thought one of the more popular hymns which glorified the earth and the perfection of God’s creation in very suggestive tones should better be understood as beseeching God to understand what has happened, since all these words now ring untrue, harsh and false.. like the glories spoken by the priests whose hearts are empty of praise, in the accusation made by St.Stephen against those who judged him and put him to death, otherwise.
“The “answers” people give to this perfectly valid question cover pretty much the entire spectrum. Some twisted individuals celebrate the tsunami as a display of God’s wrath against “America-hating” Muslism and the Indonesian sex trade. Other almost-as-twisted individuals see the tsunami as more evidence that the rapture is almost at hand. These answers, though perhaps emotionally satisfying to the inner-hatred set, are pretty blatantly based on the individuals-as-objects premise, from which Evil actions tend to spring. The abstract “They” are being punished for some kind of human transgression and, since it’s all part of “God’s plan,” therefore deserved what “They” got. “We,” on the other hand, are “Good,” and so God’s on our side and blah blah blah.”
I try to listen and see if I can comprehend what I hear, when I hear these things, I mean – can someone just say that, what kind of values does these statements betray? Am I living in the same universe as them, and lastly, If I am not, should I not consider myself very fortunate indeed.
“These arguments are, of course, absurd. A Good God *wouldn’t* kill 150,000 people for any reason whatsoever. A Good God most certainly wouldn’t cause the kind of devestation we’ve seen over the past few weeks.”
Amen to that. But what God are we left with then? That is indeed the question which ired so many in the first centuries.
I recently read Jose Saramago’s book “The Gospel of Jesus” and was left with the impression that he was picking at that particular scab in the collective consciousness of Christian civilization.
“Now, of course, some people will claim that it wasn’t God, but Satan who committed these acts. This brings us back to the original question: why does evil exist in the first place? If God is all knowing and all powerful, why create Satan if God knew that he would eventually destroy so many lives with a tsunami? This also opens the door to the idea that nature itself is evil and under the auspices of the Dark Forces, or at least outside of the realms of God, an argument used in the so-called “Enlightenment” to justify environmental destruction and degredation. Besides, if “Satan” thinks he’s gonna win converts or sympathy by destroying so many people, he’s pretty stupid, and I have it on good authority that that’s not the case (not that I even believe in Satan, mind you . . . ).”
I am not particularly bothered to confess that I believe there’s one huge enemy of mankind… but it is quite easy to miss him, since he has insituated himself with the greatest of authority. The accuser is the opposite of the advocate, and necessarely must be found somewhere along the way wherein such roles and such figures have any say and presence at all. I wont go further into it, since that would mean shifting focus on the question of Theodicy, as well as perhaps causing a lot of problems in terms of terminology.
Jeremy, like myself, finds an answer in Gnosticism…
“Gnostic mythology, whether you choose to accept it as literal or not, holds that the world was created not by the God that’s all-Good, but by an insane demigod and his assistants, the Archons, who rely on control of the created world for their continued existence. Now, keep in mind, this insane demiurge (called Yaldabaoth in many Gnostic texts) isn’t *evil* in the way that we understand evil. Rather, it’s mad, schizophrenic even, with a bona-fide God complex (probably the biggest one). It can be quite good, actually, to those with whom it’s pleased.”
“Yaldabaoth is the supreme puppetmaster. It was created by accident, as an improper iteration within the fractal equation that brought about Being, and it resides, with us, within its creation, an imperfect, incomplete, illusory and often insane reality. Yaldabaoth remains in power because people let him do so. Every time someone commits an act based on a selfish, imagined concept of deity, every time someone treats other individuals as mere objects instead of free individuals deserving the respect one gives one’s self, Yaldabaoth and his pals grow a little fatter. Needless to say, most people who worship Yaldabaoth don’t even know they’re doing so.
Yaldabaoth isn’t YHVH, he’s the god who impersonates YHVH and orders murder. Yaldabaoth isn’t Allah, he’s the false image of Allah who commands people to order suicide bombings. Yaldabaoth isn’t Jesus Christ, he’s the illusory Jesus of the Left Behind series who casts nonbelievers into the pit of fire. ”
Somewhat harsh words, but this is perhaps the safest surface scratching you can make when you come near this Saklas.
Precisely such a Saklas and such a Samael – I mean, a fool and a blind god, would attempt to justify blind and foolish violence after the event, instead of exercising necessary restraint.
“There is, however, a real, true God who exists above the illusory reality of the Black Iron Prison. This is the God of the Christos, who is all Good but whose power within the realms of the false reality is “covered up” by the illusions cast by Yaldabaoth and the Archons. This Power can be uncovered by humans, who can actually rebel against the Rulers of this World and their servants. This is the True, Hidden God of the Gnostics, who descends into the limitations of matter to redeem and purify the unreal and insane world of the demiurge.”
And May We Have Wisdom To Perceive and Understand The Difference.
You might be interested in this website (http://www.bookofjob.org) and companion commentary. It argues the undeserved evil in the world (tsunamis included) may be necessary not as a means of punishment or character development but as a necessary precondition for the creation of a completely selfless love of men and women for God.