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If God created a universe in which bad things happen is God also responsible for those things happening, even if another agent is involved in the actual execution of the 'bad thing'?...here are my thoughts....
the Christian position ( leaving aside the young earth/ old earth debate) is that when everything was created by God it was initially almost all 'good'. ...the ONLY thing in the created (pre-Fall) universe described as NOT GOOD was the isolation and loneliness of the human being. The remedy for this isolation was the creation of a partner human being with whom a real relationship could be experienced.
It follows that if there is no free will, there are no decisions, no choices, no reality of love and no relationships, (which I believe was the essential requirement for perfection of the universe and of the happiness and fulfilment of humankind - )
So if we agree that the ability to choose to love or not, and to be in relationship or not are fundamental to the happiness and 'goodness' of the universe, as experienced by each individual, it MUST follow that those choices are real, not pretend or pre-decided by someone else. The alternative is a universe of perfect peace, tranquillity and absence of evil.....populated entirely by robots.
This leads me to conclude that God has equipped human beings with the ability to exercise genuine free-will, in order to allow them to experience genuine love and relationships. To deny human beings free-will (including all the negative consequences of those choices) would deny them this dignity. You cannot have one without the other.
In my opinion this leads to the conclusion that God
1. is omnipotent
2. values dignity and freedom very highly
3. is willing to take the risk that at times our choices will be bad ones, in order to preserve our integrity as sentient beings with genuine freedom of choice.
ok I look at it this way. If someone had been standing beside the drunk guy they would have seen him drinking, seen him get into the car and drive it and seen him crash into me. But that person wouldn't have caused any of that behaviour - they would merely be an observer of it, agreed?
Well ( in my understanding) God is omnipresent - not just in space but also in time ( that is, as well as being everywhere, God is also everyWHEN lol) - God is not just actively 'here' in every physical and spiritual 'place' but is also 'here' in every moment of time - past, present and future. In that way God would be aware, an observer if you will, of everything occurring in every moment of time.. Not the same as being the cause of each event though....
Now one problem with this thesis is that it appears to imply that God is merely a passive observer of events, which I don't believe ( mainly due to experiences ) as I believe God is active. It does raise the issue of why does God permit certain things to happen, if s/he is not only omnipresent but also omnipotent? Another fascinating theological debate!!
We can discuss that aspect of this further if you like? I don't pretend to have all the answers, but am happy to discuss the subject and present my opinions. I stress that these are only my opinions and I'm not going to be dogmatic about anyone else sharing them if theirs are different.
ok this is a fascinating subject and a basic conundrum of theology for centuries. My take on it ( for what its worth) is that " knowing" and "causing" aren't the same.
Let's take my accident as an exmaple - God knew that the drunk guy would drive his car full speed into the back of mine at the traffic lights last week, but God didn't MAKE him do that - It was the driver who decided to drink, get into a car and then plant his foot on the accelerator instead of the brake at the junction. The fact ( in my view) that God knew this would happen isn't the same as God MAKING it happen.
- it seems to make sense to me that being aware of actions and causing them are two distinct things.