05 Apr 2009

Why Does God Let Bad Things Happen?, Part 29

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I’m not saying this is necessarily how things really are, but just suppose you die and go to heaven. You demand of God, “OK, I respect a lot of what You’ve done, but I have a bone to pick with you. What’s the story with the Holocaust? Surely that wasn’t necessary.”

Then imagine God says, “OK I’ll talk you through it. When you were on earth your brain didn’t have the ability to process all of the information I’m about to share with you, but now we don’t have that constraint. First, can you agree that I needed to respect the rules of logic?”

“Sure,” you agree.

“OK, and whatever else I did, can you see why I opted for a physical universe that obeyed a very parsimonious set of laws?”

“Yep, otherwise we would have been overwhelmed by the chaos of it all,” you concede. “People can’t make earthly plans if the natural world is totally unpredictable.”

“Right,” says God. He continues like this for some time. Finally, He has walked you step by step through the planning decisions He made, and then drops the bombshell on you:

“OK, now given what we’re already established, can you see that if the events in Europe had unfolded differently in the 1940s, that it would have been impossible for your parents to meet, and for you to have been born?”

“Yeeeees,” you say slowly, because you didn’t expect the conversation to have anything to do with you.

“Well, I decided that all of the suffering of the 1940s was worth it, since it produced you,” God says. “Moreover, all of those who died at the hands of the Nazis–and who also wished to be with Me when they died–are here. You can ask them. Now that they understand the big picture, every single one of them agrees with My decision. They love you so much that they were glad that their sacrifice on earth was done to allow your life.”

What is particularly interesting is that God could do the above with every single person who goes to heaven and was born after 1945.

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