When Bad Things Happen to Good People

This is a missive about hope. An intense, brilliantly shining hope that penetrates even the darkest hours of despair. My sincere wish is that after reading this post, all the reasons you might have for being depressed have evaporated.

I am going to try to answer the question: If God is good, and all powerful, why does He let bad things happen to good people?

It may be helpful to review some of the existing theories in the literature. For that, I did a quick search on ChatGPT, which is an excellent aggregator of the internet. It returned, among other things:

The question of why bad things happen to good people is one of the oldest and most profound questions in human philosophy and theology. It’s often referred to as the problem of evil and has been discussed extensively by theologians, philosophers, and thinkers of various religious traditions.

Then it lists some perspectives, some of which have a tiny bit of merit. It concludes:

Ultimately, the question of why bad things happen to good people remains a profound mystery that continues to challenge and inspire exploration of faith, ethics, and the nature of the divine.

The greatest minds in theology throughout the centuries have grappled with this question and come up short. There seems to be no answer to this question. I will try to answer this question for you today, here and now.

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:45–46.)

Before we start, we should, at a minimum, attempt to adjudicate one really important question: was Jesus Christ the Son of God? It’s a question with a very digital answer: either He was, or He wasn’t. There is no in-between, no grey area. If He was the Son of God, we should believe what He said to us in the Bible. If He wasn’t, you can stop reading here, as there’s no need to read further. This post assumes that Jesus Christ was the Son of God as He said He was. It’s important. If you are not sure, you can read on, and perhaps some of what I have written will suddenly make sense to you. God has an incredible plan for us.

The Universe

The universe we live in is an astonishing place. We live on planet Earth. The Sun, our nearest star, is approximately one million times larger than our planet Earth. In our galaxy, the Milky Way galaxy, there is estimated to be between 100 billion and 400 billion stars, many similar to the Sun, some much larger, and some smaller. There are all kinds of other celestial bodies in great numbers: nebula, neutron stars, quasars, white dwarf stars, and one supermassive black hole at the center of it all. It’s mass is estimated at four million solar masses.

The nearest neighbor galaxy to our own, Andromeda galaxy, about 250 million light years away, contains approximately one trillion stars, with it’s own supermassive black hole at the center estimated to be 140 million solar masses. After some observations, astronomers were stunned to learn that Andromeda galaxy is moving directly towards us at an incredible speed, about 110 kilometers per second (250,000 mph). This is a truly astonishing amount of kinetic energy, and it is just one galaxy. It will collide with our Milky Way galaxy in about 2.5 billion years. But don’t worry, the chance of any stars coming close to each other or colliding is actually vanishingly small.

Expanding further outward, scientists estimate there are some one trillion galaxies in the observable universe, each of which has on average one trillion stars, some more, some less. The largest galaxy we know of, IC 1101, contains an estimated 100 trillion stars. Beyond the observable universe, no one knows what is there. Some astronomers suggest the idea of multiple universes, the multiverse theory.

When the universe was created, the math and science theories proposed by scientists to explain it all predict equal amounts of matter and anti-matter. In reality, matter was created in over abundance, while almost no antimatter was created. This abundance of matter is called the baryon asymmetry problem, and we don’t know why this happened. It’s a good thing too, because when matter touches antimatter, both are annihilated in a huge nuclear explosion. Without this asymmetry, the Universe couldn’t exist, as matter and antimatter would have annihilated each other entirely, leaving behind only radiation.

Consider now that all of the matter we can see and detect in the observable universe is only 5% of what’s actually there. Scientists have calculated that 95% of the mass and energy of the observable universe is mysterious dark matter and dark energy. Dark matter is not made of any of the building blocks of normal matter that we know and love: protons, neutrons, electrons, photons. It is made of something else, but we are not sure what. Whatever it is, it doesn’t interact with normal matter at all. Since we use interactions of matter to detect things, up to now we have not been able to detect it directly. We don’t know what it is, and it doesn’t show up on any of the detectors we have tried so far. We just know it’s there by it’s gravitational effects.

On a side note, could dark matter and dark energy be related to the spiritual world? It may sound fantastic, but please remember that everything we already know, or think we know, already sounds pretty fantastical.

Scientists believe the universe began as a quantum fluctuation about 1020 times smaller than a proton (btw, that’s really, REALLY small), of unimaginable, almost infinite energy. In the first instant of creation, from 10−36 seconds to between 10−33 and 10−32 seconds after the Big Bang, scientists theorize that the Universe experienced what is known as “cosmic inflation”. During this brief instant in time, the theory is that the Universe expanded by a factor of at least 1026 in all directions. This implies a volumetric expansion of 1078 .

These are incredible numbers. It would be comparable to a single bacterium instantly expanding to the size of the Milky Way galaxy, in all directions. Since the size of the Milky Way is about 100,000 light years across, it would normally take about 50,000 years for this expansion to happen if it expanded at the speed of light in all directions. But it is theorized that it expanded to this size instantly. This is trillions of times faster than the speed of light, the commonly accepted speed limit of the universe. There is no proof that inflation actually happened as postulated. Inflation theory was invented to explain a couple of features of the universe that are really hard to explain without it. It is still controversial. There’s only one problem with the cosmic inflation theory: scientists have absolutely no explanation how it happened, they merely theorize that it did.

The Universe is governed by several fundamental laws. These laws, in turn, rely on certain atomic constants, such as the charge on an electron and proton, the ratio between the strong and weak nuclear forces, gravity, etc. The values of these constants were set an instant after creation and appear to have been carefully fine tuned to allow our Universe to exist. If we change a value by even a tiny fraction of a percent, the Universe as we know it cannot exist. This is called the “fine-tuned universe” hypothesis. Scientists have no theories how these values were chosen so deliberately and precisely, but probability theory strongly suggests the values were not set by random chance. If not set by random chance, then how?

DNA

We’ve spoken about huge things, like galaxies and the universe. Now let’s discuss tiny things. DNA is a fantastically complex molecule that serves as the foundation of all life on Earth. Located in the nucleus of cells, within its design it carries the instructions necessary for the development, function, and diversity of all living organisms. Without DNA, there would be no life.

The amount of information stored in DNA is astonishing. At the moment of conception, that single cell, too small to be seen with the naked eye, contains all the instructions to assemble a human. Think about it. How should we go about assembling a human brain from protoplasm? A skeleton? Eyes and ears?  Muscles ? The instructions for doing this are all coded in DNA. It is truly amazing.

Now, let’s pile on some real complexity. Not only does the DNA contain all the instructions to build a person, it contains all the instructions on how to build a factory for the production of people. In other words, the instructions on how to make sperm and egg cells. Let’s see if I can communicate the grandness of the complexity here. The microscopic sperm and egg cell contain all the instructions on how to make a person PLUS how to make more sperm and egg cells. It’s quite impressive.

DNA is capable of exactly reproducing itself, a very complex process which occurs effortlessly whenever a cell divides and multiplies itself, which is trillions of times in our lifetimes.

DNA is made up of smaller units called nucleotides, which are assembled in very specific patterns to form genes. It’s not the chemical properties of the nucleotides which determine gene properties, it’s the pattern of assembly, similar to a code. Scientists have studied genes and they have gotten pretty good at gene sequencing. We can determine which genes results in certain characteristics of the organism. We can identify which genes make us susceptible to certain diseases.

We know which genes result in a light skinned complexion. Two genes are SLC24A5 and SLC45A2 that lead to skin depigmentation and, therefore, Europeans’ pale skin today. The third gene, HERC2/OCA2, causes blue eyes, and it contributes to light skin color and blonde hair. While we know the genes and their expressions, scientists don’t know the process of exactly how those genes manifest as light skin, blond hair, or blue eyes.

Now, let’s complicate things ever more. Tilapia is a breed of fish that are mouth breeders. The female keeps the eggs in her mouth for about ten days during incubation until the fry hatch and are strong enough to live on their own. During that time, the female fish doesn’t eat anything. Who taught the tilapia to stop eating and mouth breed?

A baby spider is born and it immediately knows how to spin a web. Who taught the spider how to spin a web? These mysterious behaviors are species specific, and we call them “instinct” for lack of a better word. Where could these instincts possibly come from? There is only one place: the behavior information must be coded somewhere in the species DNA. This is very complex behavior, and we have no idea how it is encoded in DNA.

Now, let’s pile on even more complexity. The male and female tilapia have distinctively different behaviors. It means there are in reality two different behaviors encoded and they manifest differently depending on the sex of the fish.

Let’s continue to add even more complexity. Hypothetical experiment: let’s say we assign a group of scientists to create a small spider DNA from scratch and grow a spider in our lab. We have an unlimited budget, ie. all the money in the world.

The scientists would have a very difficult time to generate a spider DNA from scratch and grow a spider that knows how to spin a web (we’ll ignore the fact that we actually need male and female spider DNA). Furthermore, even if we could create the spider DNA, our spider can not survive without hundreds of other life forms: small insects which it uses for food, the insects needing in turn fruits or flowers, which in turn need soil organisms and worms and countless other life forms. So, we can’t just create the spider DNA. We need to create ALL DNA at the same time. We would have a difficult time to create one DNA, but in reality the problem we face is to create a million different species DNA’s, each one being highly complex, all at the same time. This astonishing feat is what God has accomplished on Earth, without any intervention.

In summary, the maker of the Universe created a sub-microscopic fluctuation of almost infinite energy, then stood back and didn’t intervene for 14 billion years. Cosmic inflation, the Universe, the Milky Way, black holes, dark matter and energy, DNA, spiders and mouth breeding tilapia, and you and I, are the result. It’s quite the achievement.

Now, we are asking the question: how could a God be good and all powerful, and yet allow bad things to happen to good people? To innocent people? I believe it unlikely that the maker of all this majestic power and complexity made a mistake in this one area. There must be another reason.

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

In the Biblical story of the Beggar Born Blind, this was the response of Jesus when His Disciples asked Him: who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind. His reply puzzled me for a long time. What could it mean?

One of the crucial elements that allowed Jesus to prove that He was the Son of God causing multitudes to be drawn to Him were the miracles He was able to perform. The definition of “miracle” is:

Miracle: an extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributed to a divine agency.

Jesus was able to restore this man’s sight almost effortlessly. He spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on his eyes, then instructed him to wash in the Pool of Siloam. Even today, with our modern medical technology, we would be unable to perform such a feat. THIS is what defines a miracle. We have no chance of doing it, then or now. If we can explain it, it’s not a miracle.

Let’s say that suddenly a doctor figures out how to spit and make mud and restore someone’s sight. Suddenly, what used to be a miracle is no longer one. Now, it has become easy, common. It no longer has any impact. It’s the contrast between how easy Jesus did it, and how impossible it is for us to do it, that makes a miracle.

We must realize that these handicapped people are paying a price for all time to set the stage for Jesus to perform His miracles. If they were not there, handicapped, for all time, with no possible remedy, then Jesus would have no miracles to perform. If we can easily cure them, then there is no miracle. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude.

“Among them that are born of women there is none greater than John the Baptist” – Jesus

Jesus Himself said that John the Baptists was the holiest man that ever lived.

From ChatGPT:

According to the New Testament accounts found in the Gospels of Matthew (14:1-12) and Mark (6:14-29), John the Baptist was executed by order of King Herod Antipas. Herod had John imprisoned because John had publicly criticized Herod’s marriage to Herodias, who was the wife of Herod’s brother, Philip.

During a banquet held by Herod, Herodias’ daughter (sometimes traditionally identified as Salome) danced for the king, pleasing him greatly. In return, Herod offered her anything she desired, up to half his kingdom. Prompted by her mother, she requested the head of John the Baptist on a platter.

Although Herod was distressed by this request, he felt compelled to fulfill his promise in front of his guests. Consequently, he ordered John to be beheaded in prison. John’s disciples later buried his body.

My conclusion is: John the Baptist, the holiest man that ever lived, was beheaded for a dance. How could a good and all powerful God allow this to happen? And what does it say about our (being ordinary people) suffering? With all sensitivities and as harsh as it might sound, I don’t think it is reasonable for us to expect any special treatment. But, as you’ll see in a moment, things work out really well in the end.

Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. – Revelation 2:10

From ChatGPT:

In the Book of Revelation, crowns are given to God’s faithful servants who have overcome adversity. Crowns symbolize various aspects of authority, victory, and honour. Here’s an overview of the different types of crowns mentioned in Revelation:

Crown of Life (Revelation 2:10): This crown is promised to those who endure trials and remain faithful to God, even unto death. It symbolizes the eternal reward of salvation and the triumph over spiritual adversity.

Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8): Though not explicitly mentioned in Revelation, this crown is often associated with the righteous who eagerly await the return of Jesus Christ. It signifies the reward for living a life of faithfulness and obedience to God.

Crown of Glory (1 Peter 5:4): Like the Crown of Righteousness, this crown is not explicitly mentioned in Revelation, but it represents the honor and recognition bestowed upon faithful leaders in the church. It symbolizes the reward for faithful service and leadership.

Victor’s Crown (Revelation 3:11): This crown is promised to those who overcome trials and remain steadfast in their faith. It signifies victory over the challenges and temptations of the world.

Many Crowns on the Rider on the White Horse (Revelation 19:12): In this passage, Jesus Christ is depicted as wearing many crowns, signifying His supreme authority and sovereignty over all earthly powers. It symbolizes His victorious return to establish His kingdom on earth.

Throughout Revelation, crowns serve as powerful symbols of spiritual truth, divine reward, and the ultimate triumph of God’s kingdom over the forces of evil. They reinforce the themes of faithfulness, perseverance, and the assurance of God’s ultimate victory.

If we take a closer look at the Crown of Life, it is promised to martyrs. I think it reasonable to assume the conditions for martyrdom (intense persecution) must exist for crowns to be awarded, and furthermore, that God wants it that way. Allow me to be more clear. God doesn’t want us to be persecuted and martyred. God wants us to have joyous and peaceful lives filled with love. But, if there is going to be persecution, God doesn’t intervene, as it allows us to show our resolve, and our forgiveness. God will reward us for it with eternal life, crowns, and even more authority and responsibility.

Do You Prefer an Easy Exam? Or a Difficult Exam?

When I was in school, I was a good student. I always preferred difficult exams. Now, as a teacher, some students in my classes prefer easy exams. Some prefer difficult exams. Which students will prefer an easy exam? And which students will prefer a difficult exam? It is usually the smarter students that prefer a difficult exam. Why? Answer: because it allows them to show their skills and differentiate themselves from the ordinary students. If the exam is easy, everyone gets an “A”, the result being no differentiation. As a teacher, if I want to differentiate my students, to reveal the good students, I MUST give a difficult exam, sorry about that, it’s not personal.

God must give us a difficult test. That’s a good thing. It’s not personal. It presents the conditions which allow us to demonstrate our ability to overcome adversity with grace and forgiveness. God wants to give out many crowns. He can’t do that with an easy test. He can only do that with a difficult test.

The MV Sewol Ferry Disaster

There is no shortage of natural and man-made tragedies we can discuss that have caused tremendous human suffering. Each of us may be traveling life’s road wounded by our own tragic experiences. Each of these experiences is real, with all due respect and homage, and with no attempt to minimize them here. Humans are wired to bond to people close to them. When these bonds are broken, and people we love are stolen from us, suddenly and cruelly, it can cause tremendous emotional pain. This pain is real, it never goes away while we live, and certainly not discounted here.

I was visiting S. Korea in 2014 with my daughter. The atmosphere in the country was somber. Offshore, the horrifying MV Sewol ferry disaster was unfolding. An overloaded ship carrying 325 high school students on a day trip to a resort island capsized and sank after the load apparently shifted in the cargo bay. As the ship was listing badly, any seaman with any experience would have realized the ship was going to sink. The captain should have called for an immediate evacuation. But video evidence recovered from student cellphones shows that the students were repeatedly and sternly told over the PA system to remain in their cabins. They did as they were told, and paid with their lives. The captain and crew abandoned ship to the rescue boats, leaving the students to die in their cabins. They were arrested and charged with murder.

The S. Korean Navy refused assistance from several countries in a demonstration of pure incompetence. The stricken ship slowly capsized, then sank. The hull remained above the water, but the students were trapped in their cabins, below the water line, upside down, in the cold and darkness, as the water rose.

Tragic stories from the ship shocked and enraged the nation. The bodies of two students were found with their life vests tied together so they wouldn’t drift apart. The terror in these young students at the last moments must have been unimaginable. One student was seen without a life vest, assisting other students to safety. Rescuers shouted to him, asking him where his life vest was. He replied he had given it to another student. Sadly, this heroic student was not seen among the survivors.

Most bodies were recovered. Some were not. The recovery divers suffered greatly from the haunting scenes in the cold, dark, murky waters. One recovery diver committed suicide two years after the tragedy. Parents of missing students lived in anguish, powerless to do anything. After three years of government stonewalling, the sunken ship was finally raised. 250 high school students perished, each and every one precious. A truly grim tragedy by any measure.

How can a God who is both omnipotent and good allow this to happen to innocent school children? There must be an answer to this question. What are we missing?

“I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint.”

Crucifixion was one of the most brutal forms of execution practiced in the ancient world, characterized by intense suffering and agony. It was designed in every detail to cause the most horrific tortures during the process of death. Crucifixion is unmatched throughout history for the severity of torment it brought. It’s not a nice way to pass. Here are some of the horrors associated with crucifixion:

From ChatGPT:

Scourging: Soldiers prepared condemned men for the cross by scourging – 39 lashes from a whip called the “Cat-o-nine-tails.” This was a rod about a foot long with nine leather straps. Attached to the end of each strap was a piece of broken bone or rock with sharp edges. The aim of the scourging was to remove every bit of flesh from the back without killing the man.

Extreme Pain: Crucifixion involved nailing or tying the victim to a wooden cross, typically with nails driven through the wrists and sometimes through the feet. The position of the body on the cross put immense strain on the arms, shoulders, and chest, causing excruciating pain and making breathing impossible. Over time the tendons can no longer support the weight of the body, gradually dragging the shoulders from their sockets.

Slow Death by Asphyxiation: The weight of the body pulling down on the arms made it difficult for the victim to breathe properly. As a result, death often came slowly through asphyxiation, as the victim struggled to draw breath.

Dehydration and Exposure: Crucifixion could take place over several hours or even days, depending on various factors. During this time, the victim would suffer from severe dehydration and exposure to the elements, exacerbating their physical torment.

Infection and Blood Loss: Nails driven through the hands or feet could cause significant bleeding and increase the risk of infection. The wounds would become sites of intense pain and potential complications.

And to a notable but lesser extent:

Public Humiliation and Shame: Crucifixion was often carried out in a public place, serving as a deterrent to others. The victim would endure not only physical torment but also public humiliation and shame, as they were displayed for all to see.

Loss of Dignity: Crucifixion was a form of punishment reserved for slaves, criminals, and enemies of the state. It stripped the victim of their dignity and humanity, reducing them to a mere object of suffering and scorn.

Psychological Trauma: The anticipation of crucifixion and the prolonged agony inflicted both physical and psychological trauma on the victim. They would experience fear, despair, and a sense of abandonment.

The horrors of crucifixion serve as a stark reminder of the brutality of ancient punishment systems and the depths of man’s cruelty to man.

“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

Throughout history, to be sure, many people have been crucified. But, how many would have stayed on the cross until the end if given the option to come down? Only Jesus Christ, the maker of all things, the knower of all knowledge, who was completely innocent of any wrong doing, He had the power to come down off the cross at any time, yet chose not to, enduring a horrible death, and stayed faithful to the end.

The maker of the Universe, in all its infinite power and grand complexity, sent His Son to live among us and die a cruel death by crucifixion, allowing Himself to be totally powerless, and innocent, the lowest of the low, the Lamb, accepting the torment and never uttering a complaint or cross word against his tormentors, and praying for their forgiveness instead. In return, He is exalted above all others, the King of Kings, worthy of the title. What is the lesson here?

“But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.”

Understand this: things will reverse. The person who demonstrated the most self control and forgiveness under persecution and adversity will receive the most authority and power in Heaven. Jesus Christ is at the top of the chain of command, and He demonstrated to all that He is worthy of it. There is a reason for this (read on, dear reader).

Our Glorified Bodies

While the Bible doesn’t describe in detail the glorified bodies we will receive in heaven, we know that they will be like that of Jesus’ resurrected body. Our human bodies are described in 1 Corinthians 15:42–53 as perishable, dishonorable, and weak, all due to sin. Our glorified bodies will be imperishable, honorable, and powerful. Our new bodies will no longer be “natural” bodies, subject to decay and death; we will live in “victory over sin and death,” won by Christ on our behalf (1 Corinthians 15:57).

As imperishable bodies, they will no longer suffer from sickness and death, nor will they ever be subject to heat and cold or hunger and thirst. Our new bodies will be honorable in that they will not be shamed or shameful because of sin. When Adam and Eve sinned, the first thing they felt was shame because of their nakedness (Genesis 3:6–7). Although the Bible doesn’t portray glorified bodies as being naked, but rather clothed in white garments (Revelation 3:4–5, 18), they will be pure and undefiled by sin. Our earthly bodies are “weak” in many ways. Not only are we subject to the natural laws of gravity and time/space, we are weakened by sin and its temptations. Our glorified bodies will be empowered by the Spirit that owns us, and weakness will be no more.

Just as our earthly bodies are perfectly suited to life on earth, our resurrected bodies will be suited for life in eternity. We will have form and solidity to the touch (Luke 24:39–40). We will likely be able to enjoy food, but will not be driven to it by necessity or fleshly desire (Luke 24:41–43). And like Moses and Elijah, we will be able to bathe in the glory of our Maker in the fellowship of His dear Son (Matthew 17:2–3; Philippians 3:10). The bodies we inherit will be more like what God originally intended, rather than what we now abide in. Gone will be the infirmity and weakness of our sinful flesh; rather, we will be glorified with Christ, and that glory will extend to the bodies we will inhabit.

We are not told exactly what we will look like in the next life, what age we will appear to be, or if we will look thin or fat. But, while many believe we will bear some resemblance to what we look like now, and we absolutely will recognize friends and loved ones (Luke 16:19-31), we do know that in whatever ways our appearance or health has been altered as a result of sin (whether because of overeating or not eating right, hereditary malformations, injuries, ageing, etc.), these traits will not be carried over into our appearance in the next life.

“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child: now that I am become a man, I have put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know fully even as also I was fully known.”

In the Greco-Roman world, mirrors were fashioned out of polished metal discs that reflected a blurred, distorted, imperfect image. They were nothing like modern glass mirrors, or seeing someone up close, in vivid, eye-to-eye clarity. Things in our current world may seem confusing and contradictory, but everything will become crystal clear later.

Parable of Ten Talents

In the Parable of the Ten Talents, a landowner gives different amounts of money to his servants, then goes away on a long trip. When he returns, he asks for an accounting. The servants who returned more money were put in charge of ten cities. The servants who returned less were put in change of one city. The servant who returned nothing was cast out.

This shows that there will be different levels of responsibility in Heaven. It is clear that some people will have more authority than others. How will Jesus decide who to give more power to? The answer is: He will look at how you lived your life. And the example to strive for was demonstrated by Jesus Himself.

Hypothetical situation: if I was going to be giving out eternal life, eternal bodies, and limitless power, I would certainly want to vet the people I was giving it to. If I give limitless power to the wrong people, there will be arguing and fighting in Heaven, a gigantic headache. Your life here on Earth is God vetting you to receive eternal life and limitless power. He won’t just give that to anyone. You must demonstrate worthiness.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?”

If God has given you a mortal body, and you lie, cheat, steal, seek revenge, and cannot be obedient to the commandments, why would He trust you with an eternal body and limitless power? Answer: He wouldn’t.

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. “

It is possible that you have read this missive to the end and you are not convinced about anything I have said, and that’s ok. It would be an indictment of modern clergy for their failure to communicate this message effectively.

If, one day, you see Jesus Christ with wounds in His palms from crucifixion, as this passage promises, please consider what He has accomplished, as explained in this post. The maker of the Universe suffered and died a horrible death at the hands of evil men, didn’t raise a finger or cross word to resist them, and prayed for them instead. No anger or revenge, and all the while able to come down off the cross at any time of His choosing. Truly amazing accomplishment. The closer you can come to this example, the more power and authority you will be trusted with.

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

When a child loses a favorite toy, or falls and scrapes a knee, it may seem a very serious issue to the child. Adults have a bigger perspective. They know that it is not a big issue, all things considered. Not to minimize our individual experiences of tragedy, and always giving them due respect, I believe that on that day, when you rise in your eternal body, realize where you are, and that you will never feel pain, or die again, and you are with your loved ones, who also have their eternal bodies, you will be filled with such a sense of joy and gratitude, that the former experiences, no matter how terrible they seemed at the time, will fade in intensity and become more like a footnote of an ancient, long forgotten history. And since we practiced copious forgiveness, and this is one of our main traits, we would have already forgiven anyone who wronged us, no matter the level of transgression, as Jesus did while hanging on the cross. That’s good, because there is a good chance we will see the people that wronged us also in Heaven, and we must forgive them. We have practiced forgiveness while on Earth, we have already forgiven them, and nothing that happened before will matter at all.

This concludes this post on Why Does a Good God Allow Bad Things to Happen to Good People?

On a side note:

Helium Flash of the Sun

The Sun’s energy output is relatively stable over long periods of time. Recognizing the importance of our nearest star, NASA has launched several spacecraft to provide detailed measurements of the Sun’s energy output and it’s effect on Earth and space weather. They have determined that the energy output forms a gentle cycle with a period of about eleven years between maximum and minimums and sunspot activity.

“The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.”

I was mystified as to how this could happen. Then I did some research. Apparently there is a normal phase of evolution of small mass stars like our Sun, when they transition to fuse helium instead of hydrogen. The energy output of the Sun would increase by five to ten times for a few months before stabilizing at lower output levels. Astronomers don’t expect this to happen any time soon, but it is a bit surprising that the Bible predicted this event over two thousand years ago.

“And the earth, with all the works in it, shall be burnt up.” – 2 Peter 3:10

Astronomers have learned a lot about stars like our Sun. As the Sun nears the end of it’s life, it will grow in size and become what is known as a “red giant” star. The Sun’s diameter will grow so large that it will engulf the orbits of Mercury, then Venus, and then Earth. First, the oceans will boil away, the atmosphere will be blown out to space by the solar wind, and later the planet will be absorbed by the Sun. This passage demonstrates an eerie knowledge of astronomy written before such knowledge existed.

Posted in Religion.

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