First of all, I have little respect for theological jargon like omnipotent (all-powerful) and omniscient (all-knowing.) We labor under the misconception that we can add “ology” to any word like theos (God) and by magic make it Science, and therefore certain.
But I think I understand the problem. It is not that a Supreme Being can’t know everything and be able to do anything. That’s kind of the definition of Supreme Being.
It is that IF he knew everything and could do everything, and is good-why does the world suck so much? Why are people, even at this moment, killing innocents and stealing from one another and betraying each other’s trust? How can there be evil in the world if God knows everything, can do anything and IS GOOD?
O.K. I am soaring way above my pay scale here, back to earth for a little true story.
One afternoon I was lying on the barn roof getting some sun. I happened to look down into the barnyard and saw a tomcat coming from the east. Uh oh, another tomcat was coming from the west. I knew that when they saw each other they were quite likely to fight. I was (sort of) omniscient in regard to the tomcats.
I was (sort of) omnipotent in regard to the tomcats, too. I could have yelled or thrown a branch down into the barnyard, thus scaring them off and there would be no fight. You might think that’s what a good god, such as myself, SHOULD do. I should constantly interfere any time anything we consider to be bad was about to happen.
But in my infinite wisdom and sovereignty I had chosen not to interfere with the free will of tomcats. I would prefer that they not bite each other’s ears off, but I chose to not interfere with their choices. And not interfering was, I had decided, the summum bonum-the highest good, even though they might make bad choices.
The tomcats came around their respective corners and met. They froze. They started growling and arching their backs. They continued this ritual for a full five minutes before walking stiff-legged away from each other.
If we are at all honest, we will admit that most of the suffering on earth is caused by human beings’ bad choices. If we will engage our neurons full throttle for a few minutes, we will admit that we have free will. If we still have the energy after all that neuron-burning, we will admit that WE have freely made bad choices that have hurt other people. I know I have!
Multiply that times seven billion human beings on earth and that is why the world sucks.
It is also why it does not have to suck. We can make better choices. You have made good choices before-even I have. Multiply that by seven billion human beings and the world can be so much better.
One choice at a time. Today give your underpaid waiter a good tip or tell the people you love that you love them or lend a hand when you can or encourage someone.
We must start right where we are. Where else can we start?