It’s often said that there are two ways to learn a lesson. One is by direct experience, the other by the observing of the experience of others, which would include second hand revelation. When God offered mankind a choice of directions represented by two trees, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the path that the human race took. This is nothing less than the school of hard knocks, or ‘we choose to learn by direct experience rather than believing instruction from God’. People ask: “why does God allow evil?” The simple answer is that if God interfered with the cause and effect relationship between actions and outcomes, the school may actually teach a lie. God in his wisdom alone knows when his intervention will not dilute the final evidence from which a final verdict can be drawn.
The lessons of cause and effect aren’t only for the ones caught up in the current of events. The river of events will provide a virtually infinite supply of data for education for all time to come. It’s written that, Isa 9:7 “Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.” It’s also written, Rev 21:4 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
I think that it’s reasonable to believe that all the experience of the lives of men and women throughout all ages are not only written down, but recorded in every detail Rev 20:12 “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.” A book was a means of recording that could be understood in ancient times, but we might take it metaphorically in the light of our technology. What we can do only serves to stir the imagination as to what God can and is doing since he is able to do infinitely more. God is able to record every moment of every life, Matt 12:36 “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every careless word they have spoken”. Is there any reason to doubt that God is doing this?
The actions of his chosen ones are exposed for all to see, for the education of all that were to follow. Does this apply to all the other called ones? Such a thought may not be too comfortable; Lu 12:48 “To whom much is given, much is required.” Perhaps this is one of the requirements. If the kingdom of God expands indefinitely and there is no longer any evil, does God leave all future generations ignorant, or does the story of man (his-story) stand as an expose’ of what is truly evil to contrast and emphasize what is truly good? I think so. God doesn’t interfere very often in the lives of people, in the lessons being recorded for all those generations to come. If he did, how could he expect the correct conclusions to be drawn?
God gave one small nation harsh and unmerciful laws as I exhibited in Does The Law Teach Us How To Love with a list of infractions in which the death penalty was required. I also showed that this was not truly representative of the nature of God. The Old Covenant law conflicts sharply with 1 John 4:8 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”Legalistic cults seem to not notice the conflict, rationalize their way around it, ignore it, or are completely ignorant of it as is the case with the largest of legalistic cults which portrays God’s Character exclusively through a paradigm of OC intolerance. Here I’ll add another example of the intolerance of this law, Deut 13:12 “If you hear it said about one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you to live in 13 that wicked men have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, "Let us go and worship other gods" (gods you have not known), 14 then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done among you, 15 you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. Destroy it completely, both its people and its livestock. 16 Gather all the plunder of the town into the middle of the public square and completely burn the town and all its plunder…”
What I see when I consider what God did by his ‘eye for an eye’ law and his command of extermination is a God who is conducting an experiment. Not for himself but for us and all who will follow. Jesus showed that this harsh tact was not the desire of God in his dealings with the women caught in adultery, John 8:7 “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her; “and it is backed up by Gods proclamation that: Hosea 6:6 “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offering.” Which Jesus repeated: Matt 12:7 “If you had known what these words mean, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the innocent.” I believe that the experiment required the sacrifice of these people for the good of eternity because the proof of the need of God’s divine nature to change the human heart is illustrated in the example of Israel. The land was decontaminated by the harsh law, but God knew it wouldn’t work and the record makes the point clearly. This lesson will be available for all eternity.
Unfortunately the believers in harsh law, be they the more mild cherry pickers like Herbert Armstrong or more intense followers of other legalistic cults or religions, miss the point of the experiment. It doesn’t work; and since God was not ignorant of this fact, I have to conclude that he commanded this repugnant thing to expose this fact to the ignorant; but now the very planet is threatened by people who just don’t get it. The heart needs to be changed. The gospel of salvation through Jesus is condemned by legalists as a whole as some kind of (to quote Ron Weinland) syrupy rubbish intended to make people feel all warm and fuzzy inside. These people deny that the one word law of God is sufficient, that one word law being 'love’. They insist that there must be harsh rules and penalties, and detailed directives as to how ‘love’ is to be implemented.
Legalist cults in the world continue to make the point that the Old Testament eye for an eye type of law through its various mutant forms is not the way. God is not interfering to bring these poor people out of the grips of their deception. At least as far as the majority are concerned. I have much empathy for the enslaved people because I too was deceived, and it was a fight to be freed from its grip. These people are allowed to be a sacrifice, but the lessons of their misery will be available to promote wisdom in all generations of people throughout the universe for eternity. The suffering of the world’s people will not be in vain. Untold generations will be blessed to learn by observing the mistakes rather than by experiencing them. If this were not true, God’s promise that there will be no more tears would be false.
God does not make his own an exception from living with cause and effect results of the sinful acts of humanity. Jesus said, to his disciples, that when the bride groom is taken from them they would mourn. (Mark 2:18–22 Luke 5:33–39). I doubt that this refers only to the hours after his crucifixion. The Parable of the Wicked Tenants speaks of abuses against God's servants that he doesn't prevent during the time the Lord is away, it speaks of the time previous to, and including the time of Jesus’ coming, but I think if it applied to his prophets, the principle applies now, Matt 21 :35"The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third.” (Matt 21:33-45; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-19). The servants of God suffered unjustly; they are portrayed by Jesus as the victims of the wicked, not as reapers of what they had sowed themselves.
The Parable of the Talents (Matt 25:14-30) shows that God leaves his servants to do as they will without interference, for good or evil, while the Lord is off in that far country to receive his kingdom. Nothing makes the point better than the following parable, Luke 12:42-48 “The Lord said, "Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his lord will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the right times? Blessed is that servant whom his lord will find doing so when he comes. Truly I tell you, that he will set him over all that he has. But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My lord delays his coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken, then the lord of that servant will come in a day when he isn’t expecting him, and in an hour that he doesn’t know, and will cut him in two, and place his portion with the unfaithful.”
Which of Gods servants of scripture was always protected against abuses? They even struggled with uncertainty of truth as we can see in Job, Psalms etc? The bible is filled with the reality that God allows people to do what they will, to abuse and cause real damage. Why do people always expect that God should do otherwise? As the above parable exemplifies, justice comes when the King comes, and not before. Until that time, the lessons of man are gathered, and I’d say they are more precious then we can imagine, for they will produce the fruit of wisdom forever. It’s often quoted that the Lord can take all the lemons and he makes lemonade; the value he can produce from the grotesque ugliness of human sinfulness is the greatest example, Romans 8:28 “All things work together for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to his purpose.”
God is not cruel; he didn’t spare his beloved son from the suffering and sacrifice. Those who accuse God of being a monster don’t see the big picture from God’s perspective. God is love, and his love is extended to those who won’t be born for another million years. Can you fathom the immensity of what God is forming; Why God allows evil is so that eternal good can exist.
It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom.