Is Satan evil?


“If Satan punishes the evildoers – wouldn’t that make him a good guy?”


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50 Responses to Is Satan evil?

  1. Derek says:

    I Hope you’re well!
    I’m wondering where in the bible do you get the idea that Satan punishes “evildoers”?

  2. Derek says:

    No christian who actually reads the bible would ever think that. Job is punished by Satan, and Job was definitely not an evildoer. Nowhere in the bible is Satan described as the one who punishes evildoers; that is God’s job ultimately. I think this is a myth from mainstream culture. I’m kind of curious about its origins. It would seem to share other ideas about Satan like cloven hooves and a forked tail, horns, and the rest.

    • jasonjshaw says:

      I would agree, if anyone is being punished, God is the one responsible for such punishments.

      I suspect the rise of the figure of Satan is an attempt to absolve God of such responsibilities, being that God is supposedly a loving God.

      • Derek says:

        Could be! I’ve thought about the concept of “mother nature” in a similar way. But going back to “a loving God” being unable to punish would mean that people have a strange perception of love in my opinion. I think that in this time, people feel that love means letting people do whatever they want. I (unsurprisingly) disagree with that definition.

      • jasonjshaw says:

        Some punishment can be done in a way that invokes the one being punished to learn and I can agree that it can be seen as loving.

        Eternal punishment, however? There is no love in such a concept.

  3. Derek says:

    I don’t disagree with you on your last statement; however, I think I can see your syllogism forming and I want to address it. I think you are suggesting that if God is loving, he can’t be in favor of eternal punishment. Before we answer that, lets look at other attributes of God. He is also just. He is also perfect. He is also good.

    A just, perfect, and good God cannot tolerate evil. We have all broken his law; therefore we all deserve eternal punishment. It is through God’s supreme love that he sent his son to die for us, to take the punishment we deserve so that we could be with him, undeserving as we are.

    It is not God’s desire to see anyone in hell, but for those who refuse to be with God and accept the gift he is offering, hell is the only alternative.

    2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

    • jasonjshaw says:

      A just, perfect and good God would correct the evil, not condemn it. I thought God was supposed to be all-knowing and all-powerful? If God is, then evil should be fully under his control. If not, then God is not almighty.

  4. Derek says:

    You’ll have to elaborate on what the difference is between correcting and condemning before I can comment to that difference exactly.

    If a judge let a murder go free, is that judge just? I would say no, but this is a silly discussion at the moment because we haven’t started by asking the right questions. What standard of judgement are you comparing God’s judgement to?

    I also don’t understand at what point evil gets out form “under his control” according to your final thought, but you might be heading in a certain direction so I’ll give you an answer on my assumption of what you’re arguing. Evil is bad. God is good. Because God is good, He must hate evil (so far this is all sound). If God hates evil, he must not have wanted it to pervade the universe he created. If the previous sentence is true it brings into uncertainty a number of things about God’s competency, power, and foresight. I wish the answer was complex and intricate so that it would require more explanation, but it’s not. God does hate evil, but God uses evil to glorify himself. If there’s any stronger sovereignty over something than that, I’m not aware of it. I’ve got a lot more to say on this point, and it’s an important one, but that’s my succinct answer for now.

    Your last point I can begin to address. George Carlin famously asked, “Could God create a rock big enough that he could crush himself?” The answer of course is no, but it brings up an interesting paradox. You can come up with similar paradoxes yourself; it’s not much of a challenge, but what we are really doing is bumping into the very nature of God when we consider these paradoxes. God cannot tell a lie; He cannot contradict himself. He is all-knowing and all-powerful but he cannot contradict himself or lie about himself. Is this a limit on his ability to be all-powerful? Does that make him less than all-powerful? I guess if you’re limiting your definition to those ultimately faulty parameters than yes, but those same standards when flipped the other way round don’t really pan out. For example, if I can tell a lie about myself, or build a contraption that destroys me, does that mean that I am more powerful than the creator of the universe, or by extension all-powerful? I think it is obvious that this is not the case.

    Great questions!

    • jasonjshaw says:

      Did God not create everything? Evil is part of everything. If God is all-powerful, He still has control over evil at some point.

      In our Earthly realm where God has supposedly relinquished control over evil, God may not be able to do anything about it.

      Upon death, God has control again. He can educate the deceased about their wrong ways. There is no need for punishment if an all-powerful and all-knowing God is in control.

  5. Derek says:

    God did create everything. God is pure goodness, a problem for us which I’ll explain shortly. Evil is what separates us from God. Evil is the absence of God, not a product of God. God cannot be evil or make evil because it his antithesis. God uses evil for his glory, so yes he is completely sovereign over it.

    He hasn’t relinquished control over evil. He is always in control. He allows evil, but again it’s all for his glory. We have no basis or logical route that leads us to your last thought, unless our imagination is sufficient pedigree.

    Going to back to God’s goodness being a problem. You are not a good person. I am not a good person. Who we are relative to society, or our coworkers is utterly irrelevant because we have all broken the laws of a perfect, good, and just God. We cannot be good enough to undo the evil we have committed. Because God is good and just, he cannot overlook the evil we have done. That would be unjust, and not good. We might think this is unfair, or overly harsh, but our sentiments about the predicament do not make much difference. The judge has ruled, and he says we have violated the law. The wages of sin is death, spiritual and physical. That is justice. God is his grace sent Jesus, not because we are just so lovable, not because we deserved to be saved, not because there is anything redeemable in us, but because He loved us. Those who do not accept the gift of everlasting life will not receive it.

    On your last point about this frantic god who finally gets a grip on the steering wheel as his careening creation finally starts to die off: It’s ironic to me that you attempt to criticize Christianity on the unconvincing grounds that it’s all made up while blatantly making up a baseless religion that suits your personal wishes. I’m not sure if something so overt can be called hypocrisy.

    Please consider your argument. Your ideas are desperate grasps at an incoherent system that has few if any sound pieces of logic. I’m not trying to be mean, but there is more at stake here than coming out on top in an argument. You clearly don’t know who God is, or what you are to him. God says he has given plenty of evidence of his existence. I can discuss this point specifically with you if you’d like because I’m noticing a lot of cracks in your logic that develop because of your flawed world view without God.

    • jasonjshaw says:

      The absence of God is still a part of everything. God created the absence. Everything is due to God, isn’t it?

      Frantic God? Are you sure I’m the one making things up here? I am working from simple concepts that should be easily understandable.

      How can God be perfect and good and creator of everything but not be responsible for parts of it? That makes no sense, unless God is NOT the creator of everything. So is God the creator of everything or not?

  6. Derek says:

    God is the creator of everything; however, you’ve made an assumption that evil is a thing to be created. Evil, as I think I said before is absence of God; therefore it is not a product so much as a deficit. This is an old cliche but whatever: what part of dirt is a hole? A hole is the absence of dirt. No part of the dirt is hole-like anymore than any other. Therefore, something can exist that is an absence of something rather than an essence of something. God is not entwined with sin anymore than dirt is entwined with the hole. God did not create the absence of himself, but rather allowed angels and humans to willfully choose to live without him, to commit evil. If you want to argue that in creating free will for us, God also created evil by extension, I submit I can’t really disprove that. But I might ask why you are so eager to remove culpability from the only parties who actually pulled the trigger on evil. Everything is due to God, but he can commit no evil. He cannot NOT choose himself. He is perfect as I said a few times before. I think this answers your first and last question, but if there’s anything I didn’t address, I’m sure you’ll let me know.

    Your idea of God sounds frantic to me because he can’t do anything to help people until they are already dead, but that’s not so much the issue. The complexity of your ideas on God has also never been the issue, and is not what I struggle to understand. The issue is that everything you say is admittedly your own version of a god with all of the veracity we might expect from something whose origins is the imagination. This god that springs forth from your mind is what you believe in and put your faith in, and then this god you’ve made up who know one else knows, has seen, or heard about, is somehow truer and realer than the living God. You come up with statements you consider “logical” but never logically consider where logic comes from. You write about mercy and justice but reject their author.

    • jasonjshaw says:

      What version of God should I use? Everyone, even within Christianity, seems to have different versions.

      If God can do things to help people in this world, then why doesn’t He? If He does, why is He so selective when He has the power to do far more? None of it adds up, unless God is not all-powerful.

      The dirt hole analogy doesn’t work either if God created everything. The hole is God’s responsibility, but the dirt hole is not dirt’s responsibility. Dirt is a small thing, God is everything.

      If God created everything, then yes, evil is a creation of God by extension, unless evil existed before God – but again, God would no longer be the all-powerful creator of everything if that is the case.

  7. Derek says:

    The only living God. Students in math class get answers wrong. It doesn’t follow that algebra is ineffective at producing correct answers since the majority of students in a given class are incorrect. Surely you know this.

    Great question, but you’re putting the cart before the horse. I can begin to answer that question, but we have to answer some other questions first. It’s interesting that your post here and the other post seem to be angling towards the same place. You are saying that the world is bad, or that people need help. How do you know this?

    “God is everything” is a pantheistic idea, which is not Christian, but I now see why this detail was such a sticking point. God is not everything. If your reply is yes he is, than we’re having a theistic debate. Evil is, I would argue, the primary way we know God is not everything. Is he sovereign over evil? Yes. Is he evil itself? No. Because God is not everything we can call some things evil and other things good. Pantheism cannot do this, which, once again relates to the moral objectivity point that we really need to get through.

    Again, I have to emphasize evil is an absence of goodness and can’t be created. God allowed for the possibility of evil in that he gave humans free will instead of making us automata unable to choose literally anything. Allowing the possibility of evil and creating evil are not the same. With trepidation I offer the following analogy: Architects who design skyscrapers are rightly not implicated when people jump from the tops of their buildings. It was indeed a possibility the height of their structure allowed for, but I’m assuming that they hoped people would not choose to abuse their creation in such a way. God gave us the option to not choose him, to abuse his creation. God knew we would sin, that we would not choose him. That the world he made would be broken because of it. But through Christ he demonstrates His power over evil. Sin is what necessitated Christ. Sin is what crucified Christ. And sin is what Christ conquered. God did not create evil, human rebellion does, but God uses even evil to glorify himself.

  8. jasonjshaw says:

    If human rebellion created evil, then by extension the creator of humans is the one responsible for evil’s creation. That’s God isn’t it?

    Architects aren’t responsible for creating the possibility of high places for people to jump off of. That already existed before architects in the form of cliffs. And yes, there are implications of people using man-made creations to cause harm. Building codes are adapted to prevent such events from being as prevalent, so really, architects do have some responsibility in preventing such events from occurring.

  9. Derek says:

    What is evil? Evil is to not act in the character of God. Before, I said to not choose God; they mean the exact same thing, but I want to illustrate the point with perfect clarity so you understand.

    Can God “not choose to act in his character”? No, of course not. God is perfect and good, he is incapable of not acting in his own perfect character and therefore cannot create or do evil.

    For the fourth time in a row: evil cannot be “created” it is a dearth, a shortage of something goodness, a deficit in righteousness. Evil happens when we go against God’s character. When we say, “I’m not going to do what you say I should do.” When we cut God out of the picture. God, as I explained before simply cannot do this. He allowed humans the possibility of not choosing him or acting in His character through free will.

    If human rebellion created evil, then by extension the creator of humans is the one responsible for evil’s creation. That’s God isn’t it?

    Why exactly aren’t humans the ones responsible? I guess I would say between God and humans, God is second most responsible with a total of 0 responsibility and humans with a total of 100%. Responsible is an interesting word to use. What you’re suggesting is that God’s creation of the ability to choose sin makes him culpable for sin. It certainly gives him power over allowing sin, but responsibility is different. He never sinned, so you’ll have to explain how someone who never does the action in question is more guilty of it than the person that actually does do the action in question. I pointed this out earlier, but you seem to think people who rape, murder, steal, and abuse others should be absolved of all responsibility. I had an analogy, but I decided to delete it because you kind of just get tangled up in them and distracted by the minutia. When we go from theology to suicide prevention in building codes, I get frustrated.

    I’m going to ask this question again: How do you know the world has evil in it?

    • jasonjshaw says:

      God can’t choose to act out of character? So now you are saying God is clearly NOT all-powerful. Which is it??

      God created the opportunity for sin to exist, therefore God created sin. There is no god of sin that I have ever heard of to create it.

      Where have I ever stated that people should be absolved of responsibility? You really like putting words into my mouth, don’t you?

      People who cause harm to a society are responsible to that society – or in the absence of an organized society, they are responsible to whatever retribution may come to them due to their actions.

      • Derek says:

        Basic logic: does 4=6? No. does 5=5. Yes! Does God=God? Yes. Can God=not God? No. This does not place restrictions on God or impact his quality of being all-powerful unless you insist that God should be able to logically contradict himself. If you do insist this, you must apply to all of your logic, not just when you care to invoke this rule in a semantic argument, but at that point we can’t really call it logic anymore can we? This is what I meant earlier when I said God cannot lie about himself. He cannot contradict himself. This does not take away from God; it only reveals a hint of His character.

        No. But at this point you are practically arguing with yourself. I’ll use your own statement as evidence of this: You say God created the opportunity for sin, but it does not follow that the opportunity is equal to existence. I get a paycheck from my job. I’m blessed enough where I have the opportunity buy literally anything in the world for 20 dollars. There are two things at the store. They both cost 20 dollars. I have the opportunity to buy either one, but only one will exist as mine after I buy it. I had the opportunity to buy one or the other, but only one existed as mine. Therefore, opportunity does not equal existence. And for I think the third time now, you refuse to address the fact that man chose sin. Once again, man chose sin with his free will and brought sin into his own existence.

        I don’t think I’m putting words in your mouth, and I’m really sorry you see it that way. All I’m doing is drawing your philosophies out to their bitter conclusions. In most cases, you don’t seem to think that far ahead because you seem to be so surprised when I get there, nor do you seem to be capable of disproving what I perceive to be their final products. If God is to blame for creating sin, than we really can’t hold people accountable can we? If people choose sin, well then whatever they do was done on their own volition and they are indeed solely guilty. If God designed sin, what could we possibly do in the face of an invention so maniacal?

        I’m not sure if your last response was an answer to my final question or not. That’s just moral relativism though. I really need another example, but it’s just so clear I’m going to go back to it for the millionth time. Would someone helping a Jewish family in Germany, 1943 be immoral; but someone helping a Jewish family in Canada in 1943 be moral? And are the retributions here simply coming from society? I hope the answer is no, but I’m not exactly sure what you’re trying to say. I really don’t want to “put words in your mouth” but the way I’m reading that final thought seems immediately illogical.

        How do you know there is evil in the world?

      • jasonjshaw says:

        So all-powerful does not mean being able to do everything?

        You seem to have some odd definitions at play here.

        All-powerful = no capability for evil? That’s like saying 5-1=5, assuming 5=all. Basic logic.

        And then there’s the whole Thou Shalt Not Kill, meanwhile God kills all sorts of people. So is killing a sin or not? What’s up with the double-standard?

  10. Derek says:

    If “everything” includes contradictions, than no all-powerful does not mean able to do everything, like I said. This is logically impossible as I explained. Can you explain how anything could create a logical contradiction?

    Not sure what you mean by odd definitions, but a response or rebuttal is notably lacking. I’m curious to know what you think!

    This is just an offshoot of what I explained earlier. Evil is the option besides God. Therefore Evil cannot be God. Address the actual issue (how a logical contradiction could be created) without retreating into your semantic argument about God that is illogical, as I’ve explained twice now. If you must say “all-powerful to me means being able to create logical contradictions” that’s fine I guess, I would just want you to elaborate on how that’s possible like I asked in the previous post. It seems you are clinging to this argument because you don’t want to accept that the living God is not as silly as you once had convinced yourself.

    Great question! It’s actually “You shall not murder.” So what is murder? Murder is the unjust taking of a life. So does God murder? Well the wages of sin is death. Because we have sinned, death, spiritual and literal, is exactly what we deserve. So is God murdering? No. He is carrying out the penalty that all humans have earned through their sin. There isn’t a double-standard for the obvious reason that God isn’t murdering, but there’s also another important reason it’s not a double-standard: God and man are not in the same roles. If I tried to pull people over driving around the city based on the logic that cops do it and I should be able to as well, it’s not a double-standard on behalf of the police force, we just have different responsibilities. You should read the end of Job for some really poetic emphasis on the difference between God and man.

    It’s fascinating that you can logically make appeals like the problem of a “double-standard” without asking the question, “why are double-standards a problem?” Once again, they would be a problem for me if they existed, but they don’t, and my worldview actually relies on truth and logic.

    • jasonjshaw says:

      Have you ever considered that it’s not a contradiction and that the Bible may be incorrect? It seems you are trying to fit everything into the Bible rather than looking at things reasonably first and then seeing how the Bible compares.

      The logical contradiction is that God is all-powerful, yet evil is not in His power.

      Why is the God/human double standard a problem you ask? So now we go into the dilemma of man being created in the image of God. This is where the God/human killing double standard doesn’t add up. So much for that being an exact likeness!

      If your worldview relies on truth and logic, I am failing to see it. It looks more like connecting things at your own will to make the Bible seem right.

  11. Derek says:

    Yes I have, but reason leads me towards the Bible not away from it. It’s interesting you point this out after not being able to reasonably argue against the Bible. I do look at things reasonably first, that’s why I’ve been using only reason to disprove your non-biblical arguments, which I’ve continually demonstrated are contrary to reason.

    Restatement number 6? God does not create evil, (he just can’t) but evil is under his power. He allows for it. He rules over it. He has sovereignty over it. He uses it to glorify Himself.

    Out of a sincere desire to make progress on this point, I’d like to explain how NOTHING can meet your definition of all-Powerful. For the sake of sheer argument, let’s imagine a deity that CAN commit evil. Are we finally done? Can we end our search for a god that is now all-powerful? Let’s see: Can he be bad? check. Can he be good? check… I guess. Can this god be holy (perfectly good)? argh! So even this capricious, sometimes-good-sometimes-bad god falls short of your definition of all-powerful. Nothing can be all-powerful in your view because there will inevitably be contradictions that cannot be reconciled. That’s what I was talking about when I said unless you can create a “logical contradiction,” you can’t hold your view of “all-powerful”. It’s illogical. Still.

    What? I said it would be a problem if it existed, but I proved that it doesn’t exist. Maybe you’re confused because i said that “without absolute truth, double-standards are not a problem”? Likeness by definition is not exact, only similar in some respects. Man is explicitly lower than God, even before the fall. You also don’t logically address the problem of killing vs murder, or innocent vs. guilty.

    I’m sorry to say your last point is something we actually agree on. You really don’t seem able to see my logic, or so you claim. If my side is so illogical, why are you having so much trouble refuting it? I don’t really think you’ve made any headway on any point since we’ve started these conversations. If I’m “connecting things at my own will to make the Bible seem right” but you can’t begin to point out any instances of this supposed sophistry, it would seem to me, in such a case, that all I’m invoking is reason herself.

    • jasonjshaw says:

      What about pantheism that you mentioned earlier, that seems like an all-powerful version of God. Anything that is powered in any way is God!

      Well, your version of reason and my version of reason definitely don’t connect too well, as you haven’t really demonstrated anything too convincingly. Your examples have been rather … holey.

      But going back to all-powerful God, if God didn’t and couldn’t create evil, who created it? Nothingness isn’t evil. Evil can’t be created from nothingness. There would need to be a parallel power to God to create the yang to God’s ying. I don’t see any logic in evil just magically coming to be. If God is perfectly good, how can he allow for evil? That’s a blemish on His perfect record! He allowed for evil! And apparently that’s God’s way of showing His love for humanity? Why not just keep everything perfectly good to begin with?

      I fail to see the logic in this.

      And isn’t man created in God’s image? Image means exact likeness. I just did a quick look-up and it seems every version of the Bible uses “image”. What version are you using that says “likeness”? Even so, how could a being created in the likeness of a perfectly good being end up being so far from perfectly good? Not so alike!

      Killing is an act of ending a life, murder is a charge laid on someone for killing. Innocent is when someone didn’t to something they are accused of, guilty is when they did do it. I’m not quite sure how that fits in our conversation, but there’s my definitions for you anyways.

  12. Derek says:

    Dude. I just explained a pantheistic god, and it didn’t work. Remember? He was good and bad, but couldn’t be holy?

    Cool observation, but you don’t have any actual proof that my logic is faulty. I wonder why. I appreciate the pun though.

    I cannot bring myself to say the exact same thing a seventh time. You have no argument and are just reverting to this strange tactic of asking me the same questions I already answered. Man chose evil. God created the opportunity by giving us free will. For literally the seventh time. Evil is not a thing, it’s a deficit of righteousness, or goodness. It doesn’t come magically into being, man brings it into being by choosing to disobey God.

    Can you elaborate on where the logic is lacking? Or is it just a version of your second point with less humor?

    You said “likeness in your last post. I was using your language. My mistake I guess? How do we know that image does not mean exact likeness? Well the first entry in the dictionary is certainly helpful: a physical likeness or representation of a person, animal, or thing, photographed, painted, sculptured, or otherwise made visible. We can also use the context to discern that all that was meant is similar. For one, God is far more powerful than man in the Bible, so the author can’t mean “exact copy.” I agree with you that we are not alike when it comes to God’s holiness. That is what separates us form God, and that is why he sent Jesus to die for our sins so that we could have a relationship with Him again.

    Right, so by your own definitions God is not murdering. We are not innocent. He does end our lives on earth, or allow for us to be killed, but it’s not murder because we are all sinners and the wages of sin is death. We deserve the death that’s coming to us, it would not be justice if we did not receive the penalty for our sin.

    • jasonjshaw says:

      I’ve been explaining the faults in your examples, but I guess you must be ignoring that.

      Why does a pantheistic God need to be Holy? I was talking about all-powerful.

      I said “exact likeness” in my first mention of it. You were using a skewed version of what I said, as seems to be a common theme with you.

      You are not explaining the base problems, you are just repeating the Bible narrative. Who created a deficit of goodness if it was not the doing of God? How could humans get such ideas if those ideas had never existed before? If God isn’t responsible for it, then who is? Humans are God’s image, so it can’t be them unless God has a disobedient side.

      Anyways, we aren’t getting anywhere with this it seems. Your points make no logical sense to me, and my points make no logical sense to you as evidenced by your continuing mischaracterizations of my point of view.

  13. Derek says:

    Point one out please that I haven’t answered; forgive my ignorance.

    Because in your definition all-powerful meant capable of doing all things. I love how you phrased it in this post, “So all-powerful does not mean being able to do everything?” (I said no by the way). So if this pantheistic god cannot be holy, he fails the JasonJShaw definition of being all-powerful in that he can’t do everything, specifically, be holy.

    I think explaining what you perceive as “base problems” has been precisely what I’ve been doing. You throw a lot of claims around when we have a transcript of the whole conversation, just saying. Lots of great questions though! God, through giving us free will, essentially provides us with the option to choose his way, or our own way. Our own way, turning from goodness (God), is sin or evil. God is pure goodness, there is no neutral. You are either doing what God wants, being good, or you are not doing what God wants, being bad. It sounds like you’re asking for the exact mechanism that allows us to choose evil instead of God. That mechanism is free-will. I think you’re really overstepping what image means. Image means similar in some ways. We have morality, we are not holy like God, but we are similar to that degree. We have a creative nature, so does God. I could go on, but I hope you see that image never meant exact copy. This is absolutely clear in Genesis. Humans evidently are capable of not choosing God, as free-will allows, hence the existence of evil.

    I really want you to push your thinking here. I’ve defended all of the Bible’s positions, in most cases multiple times from the supposed logical arguments against them. On the other end, I’ve refuted every argument you’ve suggested about the same topics from your worldview. When I claim your arguments don’t make sense I can provide evidence and reasoning. Your claims that my arguments don’t make sense just stop there. You’ve yet to provide any actual evidence of things not making sense. And this is clarity I would love to deliver! I’m not here to make you feel silly. I just want you to see that if you don’t accept God on the grounds that such a believe if is illogical, you’ve been deceived.

  14. jasonjshaw says:

    If God wants us to be good why does he let us not be good? That’s not a very effective way to have us be good!

    Ok then, since holiness matters to you, let’s look a little deeper at pantheistic God’s holiness shall we? How is such a God not holy, as you claim?

    Where is your evidence and reasoning about my arguments? You refute mischaracterizations of my viewpoints, but I haven’t seen you refuting my actual viewpoints. I keep on telling you this too, and it seems to go right over your head.

  15. Derek says:

    Great question! If good is the only option, is it really good? i don’t think that’s the main reason, but it’s a part of the main reason. God did not want to create, as I mentioned before automata. He wanted us to choose Him, not be mindlessly obedient. But the ultimate, and most mysterious answer is that He did it for his glory. Like I keep saying, even the acts of sin people commit ultimately glorifies God.

    Well, what does holy mean? Holiness is complex, but simply put, it is moral perfection. If our pantheistic god we created in the lab was bad, he can’t also be holy because holiness means never doing wrong. Our pantheistic god can’t “do everything.”

    On this particular thread I refuted the viewpoint that you had about Satan punishing evil-doers. From there it became an investigation into the God’s power and sin, where I refuted your idea that God could not be all-powerful if sin existed. From there I refuted your idea that God is immoral, and your minor premise that man is a copy of God (paraphrasing the last one) but that’s how I understood it. If you have counterpoints to bring up regarding any of these arguments, you know I want to hear them!

    I’m still just waiting for any evidence of “refutation” like I asked for in the post before, but you just keep saying it’s there. I know you keep telling me this, I want to see it because I don’t think it exists. I think you’ve brought up counterpoints, but I refuted those and you didn’t have anything else to say. Please share your logical objections if they exist at all.

    • jasonjshaw says:

      He did it for His glory. That really sounds quite arrogant/ego-driven. That doesn’t sound like a very good quality!

      If a pantheistic God is everything, wouldn’t everything be good because everything is God, therefore everything would be holy? Where does the bad come from in a pantheistic creation when there is no absence of God?

      I have no counterpoints because I don’t feel you have adequately refuted those points that I made. What’s the sense of continuing if we’re at an impasse?

  16. Derek says:

    It would be for a human wouldn’t it? But God is not human. If our creator and the creator of the universe, and the source of all goodness doesn’t deserve all of the glory in the universe he created, I don’t know what does!

    We can play that game of course, but if “everything is good” our amoral pantheistic god can now no longer commit evil because according to him evil doesn’t exist. So he’s once again not all-powerful. This kind of god, is truly terrifying by the way. Sexually abusing children? He’s cool with it! Everything is good. This is precisely the problem with pantheism.

    What? So I have to guess what you think the weaknesses in my argument are and bolster them as you watch on silently until I guess that you are satisfied? Come on man. We’re not at an impasse, you just don’t have any logical way of disagreeing with me that I haven’t already explained or disproved several times, but you’re too proud to admit that on these points you cannot prove the God that created the universe is illogical.

    • jasonjshaw says:

      If God is perfect, why would he have a personality deficiency where He craves praise?

      How is pantheistic god not all-powerful without evil? All is powered by Him!

      Your God is cool with sexually abusing children too. He allows it to happen when he could intervene at any time!

      Nice projection of your own pride onto me!

      I don’t have any logical way of disagreeing with you because your answer basically boils down to ‘just because that’s how it is’. There are no consistent mechanisms to explain anything, it’s all just based on how a story goes. That’s not logic to me.

  17. Derek says:

    To be clear, God does not NEED us to worship him. Praise is the logical obligation to the creator of the universe and your maker.

    Using your own definition, which you seem to be unfamiliar with even though I quoted it in my response means being able to do all things. The pantheistic god cannot do all things anymore than the real God can. God can’t commit evil because he is holy, the pantheistic god cannot commit evil because he cannot distinguish between what is good and what is evil.

    Are you saying this bad? Do you have moral stance on this topic? I do, and so does God. I don’t know why God allows child abuse to happen. We don’t know that he never intervenes by the way, but sadly it does happen. The key to this objection is to remember that we can’t have it both ways. Either there is no God and child abuse is not really evil, or there is a God and he thinks child abuse is evil, but for reasons beyond us he doesn’t always stop it. In the second case, there will be justice for all people who were wronged in that their tormentors will be punished. Not so with your worldview unless they get caught in a society that happens to care about such things.

    Is that not what you were asking for? If I’m coming across as prideful I’m very sorry. It’s not my intent. Like I said a few days ago, there’s simply too much at stake here.

    But I used logic! If you’re suggesting that I cite reality and logic to defend my arguments, than I guess I’m forced to agree with you. How can you be comforted to know that reality and logic provide such inhospitable conditions for your beliefs? All of your critiques are baseless. You can’t pick a single thing I’ve said and disprove it logically. You only have anecdotal complaints claiming my beliefs are illogical without any evidence that they are illogical.

    • jasonjshaw says:

      On the other hand, you are the one claiming your beliefs are logical without anything but Bible stories and vague concepts to back that up. How are you in any better of a position than believers of any other religion?

  18. Derek says:

    I do claim they are logical. Not sure what kind of person I would be if I defended them and claimed they were illogical. If they were illogical, wouldn’t you be able to disprove them like I can disprove your illogical ideas, or answer your questions that suggest illogical thinking? Seems strange that for the second or third time you can only say they’re illogical without being able to point out any actual holes in reasoning. Still.

    What vague concepts have I used? I think I’ve provided a definition for every concept I’ve ever mentioned. What has remained nebulous for you? I use the Bible, which you regard as nonsense, and yet you can’t disprove a single thing I’ve said about God. Why is that?

    I love your last question, but it reveals the need to answer some preliminary questions. It’s absolutely wonderful that you’re still engaged in this discussion; more impressive still is the fact that you believe in truth. This is very important. I can tell you believe in truth because you are asking for evidence that Christianity is truer “in a better position” than any other religion. This is not a question I can answer thoroughly in a post, but I’ll point out some key differences. The first difference is that Christianity believes in truth. The literal life of Christ and those in the Bible took place among real people places and events. This is not so with most other religions, a notable exception being Islam. Without getting into the historicity of either religion (for now) we can move on to the truth about us. Authentic Christianity tells us that we are bad. Really bad. No other religion believes this. In Islam, you are bad, but all you have to do is keep the five pillars of Islam. In Buddhism you are not really bad so much as confused, but all you have to do is follow the eight-fold path. Hindu’s don’t really believe your moral situation is that desperate either but in any case you either try to do four things, or nine things depending on the sect. Only Christianity says there is nothing you can do. Nothing. God cannot be bribed with good deeds, because he is infinitely good. Even if you tried to keep the ten commandments really really hard (and we should by the way) it wouldn’t be enough. You would still be a sinner deserving of eternal separation from God. However, God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. All other religions are fundamentally the same except for Christianity.

    • jasonjshaw says:

      You don’t even understand my ideas, how can you disprove something you don’t understand?

      I’m not questioning your claim that it is logical, I am questioning the evidence you have to back up your claim. Everything you say about God is backed up by the Bible, sure, but what backs up the Bible? Jesus doesn’t even fulfil Jewish messianic prophecy.

      Hooray, Christianity has a twist that other religions don’t have! A God that changes from angry and vengeful, to a God that is loving and sacrificial! Oh, you’ve got me there, a new plot twist is all it takes to make a religion into the truth!

      Come on.

  19. Derek says:

    I guess I’m not smart enough to understand you.

    Reason backs up the Bible. What backs up reason? I don’t know. do you? Is this different than any other form of epistemology or do our reasons for believing something extend infinitely? Of course we cannot list infinite things (which are finite) that validate our beliefs. If Jesus did, would you believe in him? I would say Christ does fulfill Jewish messianic prophecy, but we’re back to the truth issue again. Why does it matter if He can or He can’t unless truth matters.

    Why does it matter that God changes from angry and vengeful to being loving and sacrificial? I would argue that the change is based on your limited reading and understanding of the Bible, but I can explain any contradictions in character you think exist. The rest of this section of the post is not really anything I can respond to. You end with a “come on.” as though you’ve actually done anything besides sarcastically ramble for three sentences. Is this the same Jason I’m not smart enough to understand?

    • jasonjshaw says:

      It’s not that you aren’t smart enough. I’m sure if you actually tried to understand my perspective, you could get it, but I suspect your confirmation bias is getting in the way.

      If your version of reason isn’t backed up, that’s a problem too. Reason should be backed up by testability.

      I don’t believe in Jewish beliefs, so Jesus fulfilling messianic prophecy would still be unconvincing. I think if Jesus did fulfil prophecy, it would lend more credence to the idea that Jesus is a purely fictional character. The trouble with all of it is a lack of credible evidence.

      It’s not so much the changes in God that matter so much as how emotional a supposed all-knowing being is. God acts as if He didn’t know the events occurring would occur as they did. That’s another logic problem. I’m sure you’ll provide another loophole to suggest this is perfectly ok, just like all of God’s other character issues.

      I’ll assume your closing statement is due to something you determined yourself, because otherwise it is you once again putting words into my mouth.

  20. Derek says:

    I know when paraphrasing, quoting or expounding on the effects of your logic you have called me a liar. But you have to trust me when I say from the bottom of my heart your logic makes no sense and changes so often I can barely keep up with your latest theory. I explain exactly why your logic makes sense, and you usually change your theory again when you can’t explain around my question or inference.

    Can you explain what backs up reason? I’m not sure what you mean by testability. Testability is only valid if reason says it is.

    Are the other all-knowing beings you know rather somber? These seems like a subjective call to me that has no bearing on the truth of the issue. On your point about God acting as though he didn’t know things would happen. I know what you’re talking about, but even if the Bible is pure fiction, God is clearly all-knowing based on what is revealed in the Bible. Christ’s death being one clear example of the omniscience of God along with the vast majority of everything else in the Bible that discusses God’s power. Tagging any explanation as a loophole doesn’t make it so. Do you have an actual argument or are my points dead on arrival now because they refute what you claim, regardless of their logic.

    Oh you weren’t being sarcarstic? Sarcastic: marked by or given to using irony in order to mock or convey contempt. Here are your sentences below,
    1. “Hooray, Christianity has a twist that other religions don’t have!”
    2. “A God that changes from angry and vengeful, to a God that is loving and sacrificial!”
    3. “Oh, you’ve got me there, a new plot twist is all it takes to make a religion into the truth!”

    Sounds to me like you were mocking my explanation of Christianity to convey contempt. These are all your own words that I copied and pasted.

  21. jasonjshaw says:

    Testability is backed up by having a test produce the same results each time. Reason is based on this.

    Yes, I was being sarcastic. My apologies, my patience is wearing a bit thin.

  22. Derek says:

    Testability (can we please use a different word) sounds to me like the ability to be tested. Correct me if you mean something else. Whether or not something can be tested does not determine whether or not something is reasonable. A test is determined good or bad based on reason. If I do an experiment (test) and say the rats in group A lived longer than the rats in group B, but I admit I didn’t feed the rats in group B, reason would discover that the experiment was bad. Reason is independent of testability in that respect. Tests appeal to reason, not the other way around. Once again, I don’t know that there’s anything in our perception beyond reason.

    No worries, I know how you feel.

    • jasonjshaw says:

      In your example, your reason is based on previous tests that show that inconsistencies cause problems in testing.

      Sunshine feels warmer than shade. This is an observation that would have first been noticed without reason, it would be an observation leading to a test to see if the observation is true. After this tested to be true, it can then be reasoned that moving an object from the shade into the sun should warm it up.

      An observation-based test precedes the use of reasoning.

  23. Derek says:

    I don’t know why we need previous tests to know that my experiment is ineffective. I think we can reasonably say the conditions in the experiment were not equitable, and for an experiment to test an independent variable, consistency is necessary (reason). No prior experiments are necessary, just reason.

    But your example of testing repeatedly doesn’t tell you anything you didn’t already know from your observation. You knew that the sunshine was warmer than the shade in your first observation, and after testing it again and again you only confirmed what your observation told you.

    You can’t come up with a test that is effective and not reasonable. I can use reason to decide if a test is effective. I can also use reasoning on its own outside of experimentation. Reason is clearly independent of testing. But let’s get back to the point. I’m guessing your headed in the direction of, “you can’t test the Bible” therefore how can you trust it?

  24. jasonjshaw says:

    You don’t just automatically have reason. It comes from observation. Observations are essentially the most basic form of testing.

    I was hoping today we might be able to find some sort of common ground to work from, but I am losing hope in that idea.

  25. Derek says:

    Observations by themselves are not reason. Reason is what gives observation power. But observations by themselves don’t do anything. I saw a man eat berries. The man died that afternoon. If we don’t apply reason to those observations, they don’t do anything. They are static. If you say, “Because I saw that man eat those berries, and because he died that afternoon, I will choose not to eat those berries because I do not want to die this afternoon.” You have applied reason to good effect. Your observation on its own could not supply you with the syllogism. Your observation only provided you with the facts, and gave you no hint of their power. Reason suggested that the man perhaps died that afternoon because he ate the berries. You cannot glean anything from the observations until you add reason.

    We need to sort out some very big fundamentals before we get to common ground.

  26. jasonjshaw says:

    You are confusing reason itself with the ability to reason.

    Yeah, somehow I am doubtful we will see eye-to-eye on anything at this point.

  27. Derek says:

    Can you explain the difference please? I guess I only see one as a verb, and the other as a noun. The verb as in the act of attempting to make sense of something, and the noun as the logic you are identifying. If reason is present in observations as a noun, out is only through the reasoning eyes of the beholder.

  28. jasonjshaw says:

    I’m not quite sure I understand what you just said.

    You can’t reason without observation, but observation is useless without the ability to reason.

    I don’t know. I am currently reasoning that finding a way to conclude our conversation would be a wise decision based on the observation that we seem to not be making any progress in any direction after the significant effort we have both put into it.

  29. Derek says:

    If we allow observation to encompass any statement of fact, not just things we can experience with the senses, I think we agree. You can say A=B unless you have A and B.

    Well at the end of this post, you kind of went in a tangential direction with observation and testability, which is fine. On the points you were attempting to make regarding sin, God, and morality, I think I answered all objections. Let me know if you have any more.

  30. Derek says:

    *you can’t say A=B unless you have A and B. Sorry! (I think you knew what I meant though)

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