Dr. Mohamed Elmasry
November 6, 2016
What is wrong with humanity? Why have people from time immemorial been clinging to the absurd notion that God is to blame for everything bad, from personal suffering to the seemingly never-ending evil in this world?
The real question to be asking in the here-and-now is: should a heaven-like Earth have been part of God’s design from Day One, or was it always meant to be an achievable state on the part of decent humans?
The three Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – subscribe to the latter, the hands-on approach if you will, expecting their adherents to do the hard groundwork toward peace and justice.
In various ways and expressions, they all understand humanity’s role as being that of stewardship, representing God’s will and design through freely chosen action and thought.
These same kindred faiths also make it clear that each individual is credited not for any checklist of lifetime achievements or successes, but for having tried their best in living out their beliefs.
Only God can judge. And only God has the power to reward those who try their best with blessings in this life and the hereafter.
In that vein, scriptural revelation helps a great deal and offers some explanation or reassurance when one is caught up in difficulties; to others, however, divine revelations down through history count for little more than theories or ancient myths.
It seems these days that the concept of a distant, cruel God, arbitrarily “allowing” wars and natural disasters in which the innocent (especially children) die and the livelihood of countless thousands is destroyed, has become popular.
It certainly makes the blame-game easier to play, since the idea of such an irrelevant God is not worth thinking about.
Another concept is modelled by those who suggest that if humanity deliberately chooses evil, then God – if he or She exists – should intervene directly to stop it.
Since this hasn’t actually happened in black-and-white textbook fashion, and since we ourselves often have difficulty in determining just how “intentional” evil has to get in order to expect divine “damage control,” the alternative seems to be a world designed and created entirely according to human parameters. Such a world would of course have a “perfect” God – a collective human one.
But the divine revelations of all three Abrahamic faiths have a radically different idea of how good and evil happen and seem to co-exist in creation.
They teach us that the essential goodness of the universe is a fact, not a wishful concept, and that we must constantly keep this principle in mind for our faith to have meaning.
All the evil in this world cannot and has not destroyed the goodness of a single person.
“What?!?” exclaim some of my academic colleagues. “You really believe in that revelation stuff?”
Indeed, I do, because “revelation stuff” can help explain the condition in which today’s world finds itself; after all, the choice between good and evil is a grave concern.
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