Saturday, December 8, 2018

Life Is A Test

Vox Day had an interesting article the other day discussing what the Bible really has to say about God's omnipotence and omniscience. His discussion was rooted in the more general issue of how a loving, all-knowing God could allow pain and suffering be inflicted upon us, or, as some people think, intentionally cause us to suffer. Day writes:
But if God exists, it is a basic theological error to attempt to place the blame for earthly tragedies on Him. In fact, it is not only a theological error, but also a fundamental error of logic to conclude that God, even an all-powerful God, must be to blame for every evil, accident or tragedy that befalls us.
Day then discusses whether God is omniscient, at least in the way that many people seem to urge.

       I want to approach the issue of why we must suffer from a different perspective: that life is a test. LDS readers are familiar with this concept, as are, probably, most other Christians.  This is why we read in the scriptures that we will be judged on our works. (See, e.g., Rev. 22:12 -- "And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be."). This is because those that been faithful in following the commandments will be rewarded with glory and power far beyond what we can imagine. "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son." (Rev. 21:7; see also Matthew 5:5). Peter wrote that the faithful shall receive "a crown of glory that fadeth not away." (1 Peter 5:4; see also 2 Timothy 4:8, James 1:12 and Rev. 2:10). He also explained that "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." (Romans 8:16-17). But we must also prove that we can be trusted with such power and glory.

      Thus this short mortality is a test, but not to see what we would do if God was constantly at our side reproving us and protecting us from the consequences of our mistakes or even the evil and ignorant acts of others. Instead, this is a test to see how we act when there is no constant instruction or succor, not even knowing with a certainty as to all things, but having to depend on faith. But such test requires that we must suffer our own bitter cup (see Matthew 26:39-42). This is not to say that the Lord will not give us strength or comfort--in fact, we are expressly promised a comforter in the Holy Ghost--but that we must be given a chance to exercise our free agency, which means suffering the consequences of our free agency as well as the free agency given to others.

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