There is no God.
There is no God.
The Biblical God is in complete control of everything. In the book of Ephesians, we see that God "works all things after the counsel of His will" (Ephesians 1:11; Romans 8:28; 1 Corinthians 12:6; Psalm 135:6).
With God being the singular cause of the beginning (John 1:3), and given that He knows and has always known every detail about the future, He has clearly caused (at least in the ultimate sense) everything that has ever come to pass, knowing full well that that was exactly what He was doing.
"But what about sin?" one might ask. "Does God cause people to sin?"
According to the Bible, God caused the murder of His Son, Jesus (Acts 4:27-28). God caused the Israelites to stray from His ways (Isaiah 63:17). God caused marauding Sabeans and Chaldeans to murder Job's children and servants (Job 1:21-22). God caused King David to take a census that He then condemned Him for taking (1 Chronicles 21:1-8; 2 Samuel 24:1). God caused Eli's sons to disobey, dishonor, and disrespect both their father and God Himself (1 Samuel 2:25). According to the Bible, God certainly causes people to sin.
"But doesn't this make the Biblical God evil?" comes the reply.
Humans are commanded to obey certain laws by God, but the only reason we are obligated to obey these rules is because God has commanded us to. No rule is binding on a human being if it does not ultimately come from God Himself. The same is true for all of the rest of creation.
But because a rule is binding on humans, this does not even remotely imply that the same rule is binding on God Himself, the authority behind all rules.
In other words, even if we were to agree that it would be wrong of me to cause you to sin, that does not mean it would be wrong of God to cause you to sin.
Sin is disobedience to the law (1 John 3:4). Therefore, in order for God to sin, there must be a law that binds Him, and He must disobey it. To suggest that the Biblical God commands Himself to do something and then flatly refuses to do it is absurd (2 Timothy 2:13)! Therefore we see that there is no circumstance when the Biblical God disobeys His own commands for Himself (Philippians 2:8), and therefore there is no circumstance in which the Biblical God sins (Hebrews 4:15). We also see that He causes people to sin as shown in the scriptures above; therefore we can conclude that He has not commanded Himself not to cause people to sin, and thus, it is not sinful for Him to do it.
You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?"
Fortunately, that question has been answered already by the Apostle Paul.
On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.
God works to glorify Himself. He works through you to do it, and He works through me to do it.
He will either glorify Himself through you by demonstrating that He cannot tolerate sin, and condemning you to an eternity in hell, or else He will glorify Himself through you by demonstrating that He is compassionate and forgiving, and will take on the penalty for your sin through His only Son.
He will do this based upon your faith and trust in Him, or your lack thereof.
If you trust Him as your Savior, thank God for the faith He has given you. If you do not trust Him as your Savior, good luck fighting off the flames by yourself.
@Timothy - the problem with this argument is that Christianity loses out either way. If God has a divine plan, he must (indeed, cannot not) influence every decision we ever make. We choose to sin or not to sin because God chooses. This denies free will and, as a consequence, any responsibility that we can have for our actions. And this makes Jesus completely pointless.
But the alternative isn't really much better. We have free will means God's plan is either "wind it up and see what happens" or, at best, a loose aim. Either way, whatever we do cannot have any serious impact on the plan - otherwise, God would have to step in, and this is saying we have free will to do anything we like as long as it doesn't actually matter. And it's worrying just how far we can go before it matters.
No. No more than a matchmaker can control how the people get on together later, or whether it all ends in tears.
Dr. Carrier and I appear to agree on the issues of the existence of human free will and the existence of human responsibility. If your claim is that these positions he and I share cannot both be true, why limit the accusation of contradiction to monotheism?
The denial of free will is not the denial of personal responsibility. The two have never been related, let alone equivalent; thus to deny the existence of the one has no bearing on the existence of the other.
Further, how is Jesus completely pointless apart from free will? On the cross, He Himself said "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do". If they didn't even KNOW what they were doing, did they INTEND to do it? If they did not INTEND to do it, how is it the result of "free will"? Yet, according to Christ Himself, it was a sin in need of forgiveness -- the very purpose of His sacrifice.
So Christ died for my sins before I do them? Then if I don't do them when the time comes? Would he have died in vain?
In my opinion one could call this God's game that he plays with himself for self confirmation that he rules everything, which before he created the game, was nothing. What did God do before he created everything? Did God create God?
And one final question, why isn't God's word easier for everyone to understand? Just part of the game?
God is not incorrect when He acts as though He is God. Those who are not God are incorrect when they act as though they are God. This is what I said (and it is, I think, incontrovertible) and if that is your point exactly as well, then I fail to see why you still seem to think that you disagree with me.
Do you think God is just some human person who should not act like who He is? Do you really think God should not act like God, or else He is a jerk?
Treating God as though He is merely a created man like you and me, the way that you are doing, is a sure way to come to incorrect conclusions about Him.
Now since God controls everything, then He should be the one to pay the penalty of death for all the sin and evil in the world, not us.
And He did. God made Himself the sacrificial lamb and took away the sins of the world.
Again, God said "I will not share my glory with another" and then He quickly made us One with Him in Christ. We are the body of Christ and are one with Him and are glorified with Him. Rom 8:28-29
God created us, or caused us to exist. He created or caused everything about us, including our inclinations, preferences and desires (James 1:15). Since He is our creator, since He is the creator of the devil, and the creator of everything other than Himself, He is the uncaused first cause of everything that happens.
The devil was created to serve whatever purposes God has for the devil to serve, including tempting us.
I apologize you are frustrated. Do you believe God created everything other than Himself? If so, the idea that He has caused everything is simply another way of saying the same thing. He is the creator; He is the uncaused first cause.
God controls us in the way that we are God. God is the total sum of All That Is, and we are crumbs of the same cookie. We have forgotten this so that we may have free will, which is to say caused ourselves to be separate to enjoy a limited perspective on our unlimitedness. Everything that is possible is possible because God, all good and all evil. What is also possible is which timeline we choose to bring into manifestation. Think of a CD-rom. Everything that is possible on the rom can be thought to be God, and the one playthrough is ourselves. All things that have, can or will happen have already happened all in this present moment and our illusion of a separate consciousness only follows one string of all these possibilities, but there are many versions of ourselves following all the strings and it is all only One thing. God's divine plan is that in which we desire for ourselves.