“If you pray to God for peace does God give you peace or give you opportunities to be peaceful?”
One of the hard problems of theology and religion is the presupposition that God is all loving and all-caring and His Will for us is perfect peace and love; and yet we live in a world where evil, pain, and suffering exists. How can this dichotomy be? Why would an all-loving God allow for these conditions to exist?
The last few months of quarantine has provided me the opportunity to ponder this problem more deeply. It has always been a challenge to endeavor upon giving my life to Christ while living in a world that seems to reflect the opposite. The struggle is real. However, while sitting with my literary collection, I was guided to pick up the Urantia Book.
Within its pages there is a wide variety of wisdom and narrative that ties together some important aspects of God, His attributes, and how the Universe has come to be designed for further emergence of his Children. A specific part of the third paper outlines, what I feel, brings to bear the model by which we can have an all-loving God and a phenomenal experience begot by what seems to be the opposite.
3:5.5 The uncertainties of life and the vicissitudes of existence do not in any manner contradict the concept of the universal sovereignty of God. All evolutionary creature life is beset by certain inevitabilities. Consider the following:
1. Is courage—strength of character—desirable? Then must man be reared in an environment which necessitates grappling with hardships and reacting to disappointments.
2. Is altruism—service of one’s fellows—desirable? Then must life experience provide for encountering situations of social inequality.
3. Is hope—the grandeur of trust—desirable? Then human existence must constantly be confronted with insecurities and recurrent uncertainties.
4. Is faith—the supreme assertion of human thought—desirable? Then must the mind of man find itself in that troublesome predicament where it ever knows less than it can believe.
5. Is the love of truth and the willingness to go wherever it leads, desirable? Then must man grow up in a world where error is present and falsehood always possible.
6. Is idealism—the approaching concept of the divine—desirable? Then must man struggle in an environment of relative goodness and beauty, surroundings stimulative of the irrepressible reach for better things.
7. Is loyalty— devotion to highest duty—desirable? Then must man carry on amid the possibilities of betrayal and desertion. The valor of devotion to duty consists in the implied danger of default.
8. Is unselfishness—the spirit of self-forgetfulness—desirable? Then must mortal man live face to face with the incessant clamoring of an inescapable self for recognition and honor. Man could not dynamically choose the divine life if there were no self-life to forsake. Man could never lay saving hold on righteousness if there were no potential evil to exalt and differentiate the good by contrast.
9. Is pleasure—the satisfaction of happiness—desirable? Then must man live in a world where the alternative of pain and the likelihood of suffering are ever-present experiential possibilities.
Clearly the design of the universal intelligence is to provide the opportunity of evolutionary creatures to grow within a contextual matrix so as to facilitate the potential for choosing for God. How else could God love us so completely, which insinuates bestowing free-will, while at the same time giving us the means to choose, freely, to “be ye perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect”?
The World Shifts around your Aim
Here is an interesting question to ask yourself. In the face of diversity, or circumstances that you would perceive as “bad”.. or just “not optimal”, how do you respond?
Does the situation itself define for you the parameters of your world view? For instance, if you see something tragic on the news, are you led to the idea that life is tragic? Or do you perceive the potential for bringing more good into the world?
The video below touches on this idea of how we are aiming creatures, and that what we aim at determines what we see. Think about your own aim or begin with what you see when you look into the world.