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From what I understand, the author, a conservative Rabbi, challenges the traditional Biblical view of God’s ‘OMNI’ attributes in his publication. If this is the case, is a God who is less than all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving worthy of our wholehearted trust and worship?”

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    It isn't even a grammatically valid question :-). Jul 2, 2023 at 17:46
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    You are probably looking for questions related to "The problem of Evil". It's been discussed literally millions of times over the last two thousand years, and as part of Judaism long before that. Please have a read of some of the standard literature. Jul 2, 2023 at 22:28
  • @Sam-You might reference the book so others can do primary research themselves. As noted this has been an "eternal investigation" throughout church history. The book of the rabbi just brought again this question to the forefront in recent times. Keep studying about the Providence of a loving God, and reading the Bible; it's great for the soul!
    – ray grant
    Jul 2, 2023 at 23:07
  • @Ray - "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" is a 1981 book by Harold Kushner, a Conservative rabbi.
    – Sam
    Jul 3, 2023 at 3:43
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    It is abundantly clear that judgments fall from heaven as a direct action from God himself. The book of Revelation in particular lists multiple earthly and heavenly judgments falling upon humanity and upon creation as a response to the rejection of the gospel by mankind. It is also clear that the faithful are not affected by such judgments. They may share in them, but they are not affected by them.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 3, 2023 at 9:58

3 Answers 3

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People from all different branches of religion, as well as non-religious people, have wondered for millennia why those whom they think of as 'good' suffer bad things. Atheists are just as entitled to ask it as are those who believe God exists because all humanity is afflicted with this problem. The only difference is that atheists cannot then invoke God as being unjust, or uncaring, or lacking power. The question as to why bad things are suffered by 'good' people only becomes a theological question when it is attached to questioning God's 'omni' attributes.

A good way of approaching the question is to put it in another form, such as, "Why do good things happen to bad people?" followed by, "If bad things happen to good people but good things happen to bad people, and good things happen to good people, and bad things happen to bad people, then what is the point in asking about all of that?" And, "What has God got to do with all of that?" This is the world we live in. As the Bible puts it,

"The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all." Ecclesiastes 9:11 A.V. [emphasis mine]

For "time and chance", could be understood, "untimeliness and unforeseen occurrence".

God should not be invoked in the normal course of events that happen in a sin-stricken world, where men are highly prone to trample on others in order to elevate themselves. The god-fearing wise man who wrote Ecclesiastes never accused God in the matter of unfair things happening to people.

To look at the question from another angle, a biblical definition of 'good' (as applying to people) needs to be detailed, for our human idea of what (or who) is good, rarely squares with God's view. And, if God is going to be dragged into this question, his standard of what is good (and who is good) needs to be the basis for any answer. Given what Jesus said about only God being 'good', Matthew 19:17, the primary question to settle before asking the one in the title of that book is, "Is there such a thing as a good person?" Then the depths of theology will have to be plumbed, the Bible clearly answering it (Psalm 14:1, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 7:18).

Until the biblical understanding of God being good in himself, and the human idea of humans being 'good' from their point of view is contrasted, nobody will grasp the 'omni' attributes of God in relation to this question. The problem with the question the way it is usually put is that it puts man's imperfect view first, in order to cast doubt on God's perfection. When it is put the other way around - God's perfection dealing with people who like to think they are 'good' (but who actually are not) - the question arises, "Why doesn't the all-powerful, all-righteous God not strike everyone dead the moment they fail to be truly good?"

Then it can be seen that God's patience (which is not limitless), and his righteousness (which requires perfect justice), is balanced with his love and forgiveness of people who are humble enough to admit to him their need of his loving forgiveness. Humble people do not go around thinking how good they are, or how undeserving they are of bad things happening to them. Because they trust in the goodness of God, they "know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 A.V. Even if dreadful things happen to them, they can still praise God and not lose faith in him.

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The phrasing of this question has several issues.

Firstly, it can be interpreted as expressing concern only for bad things happening to good people, but not to bad people.

Secondly, it suggests that good people, who are morally upright or innocent, do not deserve the evils of this world.

Thirdly, it ignores the fact that the causes of illness, such as Covid-19, misfortunes, and tragedies like accidents and natural disasters, do not have the cognitive ability to discern who to affect.

Ultimately, this question challenges God’s actions and presence by asking where He is, what He is doing, and why He doesn’t prevent or protect good people from bad things. This implies that God is not the God of “Omni” attributes as revealed in Scripture.

In conclusion, this is not a valid question, especially for a conservative Rabbi who understands sin, the fall, and its effects from a Biblical perspective.

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God's Omnipotence allows Him to limit His own Omniscience.

Our Heavenly Father is thee supreme artist/designer/engineer. In His wisdom of all things that exist, He chose to not know all things that do not exist. If He were to know every last detail of every choice His creation makes, there would be little pleasure for Him. Why did He create? When one begins to know their Father as a child does, many details are revealed.

God created an amazing system that is mostly automated. As any engineer/systems designer does, He is observing His Creation and how it functions independently of His total control. He can change/alter the automated sequence by His Spirit. He has righted the ship many times; Noah, Moses, and finally by sending His son, Jesus, as the final fix in this age.

Matt 21

35 And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them. 37 Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’

God is the beginning and the end.

Rev 1:8

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."

What is left between is mostly up to free will. God knows what He will do and when. He knows exactly when He will till His garden and bring on the end of this age.

It is plain to see that mankind did not live up to God's original intent. Noah and the flood, of course, but also Moses and Abraham both changed His mind by pleading for the mercy of their people.

We see here that YHWH acts based on the free will choices of His creatures.

Jer 18

5 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. 7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; 8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. 9 And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; 10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.

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  • First, the answer doesn’t seem to be directly related to the question. Second, the first paragraph reflects the views of Open Theism, which the author of the book in question advocates.
    – Sam
    Jul 3, 2023 at 22:02
  • The question is about a question. Or is it about a book? The book tackles the question I am answering here. Never heard of Open Theism. The first paragraph is how I interpret the Creator and His ways based on scripture. Jul 3, 2023 at 22:16

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