Thursday, June 23, 2022

All is permitted. Why?

Gustave Doré, The Death of Abel (1866)
 
I struggled with some demons, they were middle-class and tame
I didn't know I had permission to murder and to maim
-- Leonard Cohen, "You Want It Darker"

And Cain said: Truly I am Mahan, the master of this great secret, that I may murder and get gain. . . . And Cain gloried in that which he had done, saying: I am free.
-- Selections from the Book of Moses 5:31, 33

In Joseph Smith's retelling of the Genesis story, Cain feels that as a murderer he has become privy to a "great secret," that he had discovered a hidden truth which others could never guess. What was it? I don't think it was the fact that it is physically possible to commit murder; Abel slaughtered animals, and it hardly requires much extrapolation to realize that one might also slaughter men. No, Cain was using the word may in the sense approved by grammatically strict mothers; his great secret was that he was allowed to murder, that God had given him permission.

"But Cain was punished!" you say. Yes, he was punished -- but not prevented. Imagine watching one of your own sons conceive, plan, and carry out the murder of his brother -- "for these things are not hid from the Lord" (Moses 5:39) -- and doing absolutely nothing to intervene or prevent the crime. Sure, you could later punish your murderous child by kicking him out of the house, but wouldn't you still be guilty of allowing the murder to happen in the first place? Isn't this precisely the accusation that the Problem of Evil crowd level against God himself -- and aren't they right?

Sartre's famous paraphrase of Dostoevsky has it that "if there is no God, all is permitted." Actually, we can dispense with the conditional clause. All is permitted. That is an observed fact. This is a Wild West universe. There is no imaginable atrocity that humans are consistently prevented from committing. If there is no God, that makes sense, since there is no one with the power to do so -- just us humans with our various forms of imperfectly executed vigilante justice. If there is a God, though, the observed fact that all is permitted requires some explaining.

The philosophical Problem of Evil is divided into the questions of natural evil (earthquakes, disease, and such) and moral evil. If we reject the Supergod doctrine, the problem of natural evil is tractable; we live on earth in order to learn, and painful experiences can be a teaching tool. Just as schools are not designed to be maximally pleasant for students, this world is not so designed for us; but it is still "the best of all possible worlds" in terms of what it is designed for.

The problem of moral evil is more complicated because it is by definition not God's will, not really "the best" for God's purposes. Moral evil is that which is destructive of the Good; otherwise it would not be moral evil. It would have been better if Cain had not murdered Abel. Any normal human being who saw Cain trying to murder Abel would try to intervene and stop him if he had the power -- but God didn't, and doesn't.

"Free will" is generally the explanation given for this. Goodness is only meaningful if it is freely chosen over evil, which means evil must be a possible choice. Is it really necessary to allow us to do such extremely evil things, though? Couldn't we all, like Leonard Cohen in the song, just struggle with some demons that are middle-class and tame? It's perfectly possible to go choose to go to hell by, say, being lazy, spreading malicious gossip, looking on a woman to lust after her, or saying unto thy brother "Thou fool!"; is it really so important that people also be able to choose to go to hell by raping children or committing serial murders? So long as we're free to choose heaven or hell, isn't that freedom enough? Is there really any compelling reason for us to have "permission to murder and to maim"?

Even if we consider freedom to be so important that it trumps all other considerations, it is a truism of basic political philosophy that freedom is not maximized when do what thou wilt is the whole of the law. If respect for Cain's free will requires that he be allowed to murder Abel, what about Abel's own free will? He presumably intended to go on living and doing this and that, but his freedom to do so was taken away by Cain. If people are allowed to do whatever they choose, one of the things some of them will choose to do is to force their will on others. We humans protect our liberty by making and enforcing laws; why doesn't God do the same?

Yes, I know that in theory God does make and enforce laws, but the laws have a strangely optional quality. "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord," said Joshua, "choose you this day whom ye will serve" (Josh. 24:15). Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). What kind of commandment is it that you only have to obey if it seems like a good idea to you, or if you love the person who is commanding you? Human laws don't work that way, and if they did, they would not be effective in protecting our liberty. "Cain," Joseph Smith tells us, "loved Satan more than God" (Moses 5:18), which I suppose is why he was allowed to kill Abel.

God's "enforcement" of his commandments -- posthumous damnation -- also has little in common with law enforcement as we understand it. In human law enforcement, the primary purpose of punishment is prevention. Executing or incarcerating a criminal is intended to prevent that particular criminal from offending again, and punishment of any kind also serves to deter would-be criminals in general by making crime less appealing. We punish theft because if we didn't, there would be a lot more theft. Yes, there's also an element of abstract "justice" or "giving them what they deserve," but if that were the whole story, societies with a widespread belief in hell or karma would feel no need to punish criminals themselves, knowing they would inevitably get their comeuppance anyway.

God's punishment, in stark contrast, seems deliberately calculated to have as little deterrent effect as possible. As I expressed it elsewhere, back when I was an atheist:

It's like giving a very young child rules to follow -- but the only punishment for violating them is that the child will be written out of his parents' will if he breaks any of the rules -- unless, of course, he sincerely apologizes at any point before his parents' death. Nothing is done at the time of the violation, not even an angry reprimand and a reminder of the standing threat of disinheritance. This is obviously not an effective way of enforcing one's demands, not the method that would be chosen by anyone with any understanding of human nature.

Let me say that again: God's goal appears to be to punish sins specifically in such a way that it does not unduly deter people from sinning. This is extremely counter-intuitive from the standpoint of human justice, but I think it is undeniable. It is in fact a commonplace of apologetics that the reason God does not make his existence obvious is because doing so would diminish our free will, giving us no real choice but to obey him, just as you have no real choice but to obey the law when an armed policeman is standing right there looking at you.

The closest thing to this in human law enforcement would be something like a speed trap or sting operation, where the presence of the police is deliberately concealed in order to make people feel safe breaking the law. When this is not done merely to generate revenue from fines, its purpose is to catch and punish people who are already breaking the law but might not otherwise be caught. The larger purpose is still deterrence -- to make people afraid to break the law even when no police appear to be present. None of these purposes would make sense if ascribed to God.

The conclusion to draw from all this is that what we refer to as divine "law," "commandment," and "punishment" are fundamentally different from their human counterparts, and their goals are not the goals of human systems of justice. What God does is not the same as what human law attempts to do; if it were, human laws that duplicate divine laws (e.g. those against murder, theft, etc.) would be redundant and unnecessary. Why create imperfect human systems to enforce laws that are already being enforced with perfect justice by God? The answer is that God and humans "forbid" and "punish" in different ways, for different purposes. Specifically, God -- who could easily have saved Abel's life -- does not generally protect people from becoming victims of the evil actions of others.

What is God's goal, then? To restate the paradox in the form of a dialogue:

A: Why does God give us "commandments" but fail to enforce them, instead allowing us to do whatever we want, no matter how terrible?

B: Because human free will must be preserved. We must be allowed to choose good or evil without coercion.

A: But one of the things God allows us to do is to enslave and coerce others. Why would he allow that if preserving free will is so important?

B: True free will -- which is metaphysical, not practical -- lies in the realm of thought, not action, and cannot be taken away by coercion. Physical actions may be restricted or coerced, but the mind remains free. Paul taught that even a slave is free in the sense that matters to God -- spiritually free, free to align himself with Christ or with Satan.

A: But that means God could after all enforce his commandments, and prevent us from doing terrible things, without infringing on our free will -- which brings us right back to our original question.

I think B's second point, that free will is primarily metaphysical freedom of thought and does not require freedom of action, must be true; otherwise, God would not allow some people's freedom of action to be so severely curtailed. Therefore, preserving free will must not be the reason God allows moral evil.

So why is moral evil allowed? There are obviously no blanket answers that will apply in every situation, but I think one of the most important principles to keep in mind is that we are here to learn from experience. Joseph Smith said that Adam was cast out of the garden "to learn from his own experience to distinguish good from evil." That would not be possible if the true nature of evil were systematically disguised by God's constantly intervening to prevent its natural effects from playing out. If serving Satan were artificially made to seem safe -- if God always intervened to make sure that nothing seriously bad was ever done -- then no one would be able to learn (from direct experience, or from observing others) the true difference between good and evil.

Why is it so important for us to learn that sort of thing, even at the cost of allowing all sorts of horrendous evil in this world? As Owen Cyclops puts it in this thread, it makes sense only if Heaven is not an "eternal rest" but an active state in which we do things.

[Mormon theology] also makes the things the individual goes through in this life [meaningful] because there's a post-mortal state. Basically, you "keep going" and doing other stuff in a way that isn't just entering a static afterlife. It obviously totally changes the story. I found this interesting because it would mean there really are ways that suffering in this life could be necessary, for you to learn something or something like that. In general, in our classical situation, it's much harder to appeal to this explanation cohesively. . . . [If] we're all going to Heaven, it's more difficult to imagine how extra suffering here will help you there because you're in Heaven. . . . Heaven not being static but being a full-on post-mortal existence where you do things makes lessons learned here applicable.

If we children of God are to grow up -- and surely that is one of the main purposes of incarnation -- innocence must eventually give way to experience. And it must be honest experience, experience of things as they really are, not an artificially sanitized experience maintained by an overprotective God. There must be permission to murder and to maim. God can and doubtless does intervene in particular cases to avert particular calamities as he deems necessary, but what he cannot do is have a general policy of averting all sufficiently horrific calamities. "Truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come; and whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning" (D&C 93:24-25).

Another possible reason all is permitted -- deeper, if harder to accept -- is that our ultimate destiny is creative and therefore not predetermined. "It doth not yet appear what we shall be" (1 Jn. 3:2). Nothing can be categorically ruled in advance to be a dead end, and so all paths must remain open.

24 comments:

Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm - In general terms (because I don't think responding to a list of specific questions is any use); I think your implicit conclusion is correct that your premises/ assumptions are indeed incoherent!

This, I believe, is because your assumptions are at a kind of halfway house between classical Christian theology and its concepts, which operate at a level of groups, laws and the like -- and a genuinely pluralistic, individualist, developmental Christian theology; towards which Mormonism points, but which has not yet been fulfilled by the CJCLDS (and presumably never will, the opposite way the church is going).

In an oversimplified way, the answer has to do with resurrected eternal life in Heaven - Heaven being God's place, where everything is Good and based on love. Earth and mortal life are - ultimately - means to the end of Heaven.

For individuals who cannot love or who reject love, or who don't want Heaven; then mortal earthly life does not necessarily make sense. Mortal life is not For such people. And, for those capable of Heaven and who want Heaven - the situation wrt the balance (and extremity) of pleasure and suffering is unique to each individual.

We can't reason general principles from individual instances; because in trying to do so we strip-away the complexity that makes each individual instance unique.

I don't think it is correct to regard God as if perfection of earthly moral life was even an option, and then seek to explain departures from this. This world and our lives are what they are: we work with them, and God works with them - but plenty of demons and humans (and other beings) are working against these ideas.

Either we assume and accept that God (the creator) IS our loving Father who wishes us to choose Heaven and learn from mortality; and seek to explain things on That basis. Or else we assume something else, and get a different understanding.

But specific observations on this mortal life will not decide the issue.

Ra1119bee said...

William,

You wrote; we live on earth in order to learn, and painful experiences can be a teaching tool. Just as schools are not designed to be maximally pleasant for students, this world is not so designed for us; but it is still "the best of all possible worlds" in terms of what it is designed for.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

my response; If we live on earth in order to learn, what and how exactly do we apply that lesson learned in one lifetime, especially if we learn the lesson later in life?

And what about the people who , through no fault of their own, live a brief life, perhaps
a tragic one? Are those people on earth to learn a lesson or is their presence on earth
and/or perhaps their tragedy ,a lesson for someone else to learn from?

I do agree however with the perspective that this duality gravity manifestation dimension is a SCHOOL of learning, and a dimension where our Soul incarnates in physical body to ' manifest lessons both for our Soul's growth, and the Soul of those significant persons whose paths we cross, but not for our physical body's growth.

The physical body is in matter therefore it is weak. It can be crushed.
The physical body is needy ( needing physical matter, and someone to provide that matter, be it shelter, clothing, water, food, sex ect ).

For example: If we are in a school setting and we have not been fed or have access to food and water or a bit of shelter from the elements, than the only lesson we learn is survival
first and foremost, and then perhaps Hope and/or Fear.

The physical body stinks, it ages dies and rots, and more importantly through our EGO, and in this duality dimension, the physical body can be and often is MANIPULATED AND CONTROLLED courtesy of our Opponents.

Andrew said...

Fascinating topic, thanks.

I believe one form of evil that God has and will continue to actively prevent is nuclear holocaust. I've even heard some Christian mystics (I can't recall who specifically at the moment) tell of visions where they witnessed angels of God short circuit nuclear launches during the Cold War. This is one reason I don't believe Dr. Charlton's posited giga-death scenario is likely, even if God has to intervene supernaturally through His people to keep things going. When the time comes it will be God Himself who brings things to an end, not man, as with the Flood in Noah's time and the prophesied cleansing of the Earth by fire at Christ's return.

But I don't think this changes your analysis significantly.

-Andrew E.

Bruce Charlton said...

To expand a little: an assumption creeps in with talk of God 'allowing'. My belief is that evil is already in existence from eternity; and God's task and plan has been to create a situation (Heaven) in which creation can continue without evil. This entails a multitude of Beings (Men, and others) with widely varying dispositions to evil - choosing salvation.

Beyond that, it is all a linear process and built around individual Beings; which means that the amount and type of evil is not a constant - neither by time nor place. Nor are the choices of beings pre-determined.

God is always and everywhere working with evil, and trying to turn it to Good; but always with an eye to the Answer to evil: which is found in Heaven and not in mortal life.

Can we understand the details of this scheme? Yes, to the extent it concerns our-selves specifically; and (maybe) to some extent for those we love.

But we can't possibly understand it for everybody in the world, or for big segments of many people, or for places or eras. It is just not the kind of thing susceptible to the kind of summary 'model like' (quasi scientific) explanation that too-many people are seeking.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

@Bruce

"I think your implicit conclusion is correct that your premises/ assumptions are indeed incoherent!"

I don't follow this. Which assumptions have I implicitly concluded are incoherent?

"I don't think it is correct to regard God as if perfection of earthly moral life was even an option, and then seek to explain departures from this."

I'm not talking about perfection. I'm talking about the kind of commonsense limits which earthly parents and societies put on the free will of their children and citizens. We do our best not to let people murder each other, for example, and we think that letting murder go unpunished -- or with a punishment specifically calculated NOT to deter or prevent future murders -- would be wrong. God very obviously thinks differently, and it seems important to understand why.

"Either we assume and accept that God (the creator) IS our loving Father who wishes us to choose Heaven and learn from mortality; and seek to explain things on That basis. Or else we assume something else, and get a different understanding."

Yes, I do make that assumption. If I didn't -- if I assumed that there was no God or that he didn't love us -- then the questions I attempt to address here wouldn't even arise.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

@Debbie

The lessons we learn are primarily to be applied in our post-mortal, resurrected existence ("Heaven"), not here.

About those who live very brief lives, I can only speculate. Perhaps they had less need or capacity for this sort of learning, or perhaps they do reincarnate.

Regarding the physical body, as a Christian who takes the resurrection seriously, I view a perfected physical body as superior to existence as a spirit, though the mortal bodies we have now obviously come with lots of problems.

Ra1119bee said...


William,

You wrote : "About those who live very brief lives, I can only speculate. Perhaps they had less need or capacity for this sort of learning, or perhaps they do reincarnate."

My response: Yes, all of us can only speculate/believe why our existence here, I agree with you about that.

However, I've had a gazillion " learning experiences (in this particular incarnation) especially my esoteric experiences' that has led me to believe the existence of the power of the Soul (which I ''believe' our Soul is connected to God).

And in regard to your answer: "Perhaps they had less need or capacity for this sort of learning, or perhaps they do reincarnate."

So, what you're saying is that a person who dies tragically, say at 5 years old, do not have the capacity or right to learn? Why were they here?
For example : What makes you and I special/different to have learned all that we have?
Are we cursed for our longevity or blessed?

That 5-year-old didn't have time to learn the lessons of good or evil, so where does
that 5-year old's 'spirit/soul go?
Nowhere?


I personally don't believe that a Divine God 'loves or favors or choses' one skin/race/bloodline over another.

In my opinion that attribute of 'picking favorites' if from the perspective of the EGO and lies more in line with a human flaw (much like a parent choosing favorites) which I absolutely do not believe that God possesses human flaws.

I personally believe that much like a school, lessons are learned here in this duality dimension existence where the physical body (being in matter) has the ability to 'manifest lessons the Soul needs to learn/earn to eventually be one with God, which I believe takes many many many lifetimes/incarcerations/incarnations to do, as everything of worth requires much effort to achieve, and as it should be IMHO.

I believe Heaven is when our Soul has learned all of its lessons (good, bad and the ugly) in this dimension and no longer has to 'Fall Down' and incarcerate to this Hell' under the sun in an imperfect blood mortal body and after the Soul has EARNED the right to be one with the Divine and no longer required to incarnate, which to the Soul that reward ( to be one with the Divine ) is Heaven.


A mortal skin blood body is weak. Why would God place any importance on a weak needy skin body?
Our Power is in our Soul, not in our physical body (all of this in my perspective of course)

Maybe that 5-year old's Soul, I previously made reference to, sacrificed its mortal body in that particular lifetime to 'teach someone else' the meaning of Love, or responsibility, or the fragileness and briefness of life.
I believe that we are our brother's keepers and in order to do so, we must walk for a while and miles in their shoes.

Reincarnation, IMO, is just changing shoes. Nothing more, nothing less...

Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm - "Which assumptions have I implicitly concluded are incoherent?"

Well, the assumption in your title, for instance. You assume that God permits.

My assumption is almost the opposite. God (by creation) is the source of good in an originally chaotic reality.

The scope of creation grows, but (as it were) in a boundless ocean of chaos.

Heaven is the solution, and growing - but Heaven is finite.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

@Bruce

God permits us to do things. He has the power to stop us, but he generally chooses not to do so. I don't see how anyone could dispute that.

I agree with all the assumptions you have characterized as "almost the opposite," but I fail to see how they contradict anything I have said.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm- "He has the power to stop us" - no, not as a generalization; absolutely not. Not if God began from scratch, as it were, and is building creation and goodness. So this is a work-in-progress.

One reason is that what 'needs to be stopped' is not a detached chunk of causal reality, but part of a web that ultimately includes all of creation; so that every thing stopped has multiple other consequences - and some of these may be very bad (from the POV of salvation-theosis).

e.g. to stop what we regard as a specific bad thing might actually entail something massive like deleting a family, a city, or some other great destruction. So, God might instead work by alleviating the pain of the bad thing, in a variety of ways (including mortal death of a saved-soul).

My point here is that the lines we draw around segments of reality are seldom genuine limits.

In general; I see you as not completely following through from your core assumptions, but continuing with other assumptions from a different metaphysical scheme - leading to those clashes/ incoherences that form the bulk of the post.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

@Bruce

It is obvious that God, even if not strictly "omnipotent," has the power to stop a great many crimes which he does not in fact stop. I don't think "God let Cain kill Abel because he didn't have the power to stop him" is a credible position.

But I don't think you're really saying that. What you're saying is that, while God does have the power to stop us from committing particular crimes, doing so might often have indirect ("butterfly") effects which would be worse than the crime itself. God allowed Cain to kill Abel because, all things considered -- taking into account indirect effects of which we mortals can have no knowledge -- it was better for the murder to go ahead than for it to be prevented.

But, as I said in the post, I think this has the effect of making moral evil not-really-evil. How could we say that Cain did anything seriously wrong if God himself apparently (as evidenced by his not preventing the murder) agreed that it was for the best? If it was God's will that Abel die, then Cain was only doing God's will. We're veering into Candide territory here.

ben said...

would it not break immersion?

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

@ben

Too telegraphic. Stop. Please expand. Stop.

ben said...

If God kept intervening in human affairs; if there were some kind of ever-triggering mechanism or mechanisms by which something like murder were always prevented, would it not make it too obvious that this world is part of a broader system? Maybe most people need to be strongly mentally immersed in this world to learn from it.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm - No, you misunderstand what I am trying to say.

" I don't think "God let Cain kill Abel because he didn't have the power to stop him" is a credible position."

Life is not about God 'letting' things happen. It is this metaphysical framework that is wrong.

Reality is an interaction of Beings (i.e. living conscious entities, each with agency).

Things happen, ultimately not because God 'lets' them happen, but because this is a universe of Beings, all with motivations, all with agency - all pursuing their purposes.

Then, secondarily, God shapes (is shaping) this life for his purposes; by his work of ongoing creation.

But this-world cannot be Good because it has unGood Beings in it - loads of them - pursuing unGood purposes.

At the same time; God continually *uses* this unGood world to recruit and educate people for Heaven.

(I suppose 'creation' could be regarded as the ways by which God uses this unGood world.)

I think our specific explanations need to be made on such assumptions.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

@Bruce

Of course life is not "about" God letting things happen. I have used words like "let" and "allow" precisely because of their negative meaning, because they denote a passive lack of interference. Things don't happen because God lets them happen -- they are, as you say, the work of various Beings with various motivations -- but it remains true that God does let them happen. Meaning, once again, that he could intervene but generally chooses not to do so.

As an analogy, a government that did nothing to enforce its laws against murder would be allowing its citizens to commit murder. You could say that any given murder ultimately occurs because of a citizen's action and not the government's inaction, and that would be true. You could also say that in a country with "loads of unGood Beings," some murders are bound to occur no matter what the government does, and that would also be true. But neither of those points would negate the fact that the government is allowing its citizens to commit murder and that, if we are to maintain that it is a Good government, that requires some explanation.

I really don't think any of your objections is a matter of a different metaphysical framework; I think we are mostly on the same page metaphysically. I think it is more a difference of emphasis.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

@ben

I don't know. I suppose if the intervention were really consistent, people would just take it for granted as a sort of law of nature.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

@Debbie

"So, what you're saying is that a person who dies tragically, say at 5 years old, do not have the capacity or right to learn? Why were they here?"

At bare minimum, they were here to get a body so that they can be resurrected. Beyond that, God knows. Each individual is different and has different needs, and some may need much more incarnate experience than others. Some may need (or be able to benefit from) many successive incarnations; for others, only a single lifetime is called for; still others, perhaps, can bounce off mortal life like sparks and go on to the next phase.

(I should make it clear that I am operating on broadly "Mormon" theological assumptions: We did not begin in the womb but existed as distinct individuals long before we were born, and ultimately God did not create us.)

Bruce Charlton has written some interesting posts on how to understand the fact that most human beings in history have died in the womb or in infancy.

https://charltonteaching.blogspot.com/2017/10/theological-implications-of-fact-that.html


"That 5-year-old didn't have time to learn the lessons of good or evil, so where does
that 5-year old's 'spirit/soul go? Nowhere?"

Again, I assume that mortality is just one stage in the soul's existence, and a prolonged mortality may not be necessary or helpful for some souls.

"I personally don't believe that a Divine God 'loves or favors or choses' one skin/race/bloodline over another."

God loves us all. But he does choose particular individuals and nations for particular missions and purposes, because we are all different. The Israelite race obviously had a special mission, for example, and I think this is true of others as well. Nowadays, due to evolutionary changes in human consciousness, races and nations have less spiritual reality than they once did, and God deals more and more with individuals.

"A mortal skin blood body is weak. Why would God place any importance on a weak needy skin body? Our Power is in our Soul, not in our physical body (all of this in my perspective of course)"

I come to this question from Christian assumptions which you may or may not share, but for me the Resurrection is proof that the body is important. After living and dying in human form, Christ did not return to a purely spiritual existence but instead incarnated permanently in a glorified body. The resurrection body is not mortal, weak, and needy like the bodies we have now, but it is physical, and its physicality is important. The reasons for this are a matter of speculation, but it seems likely that incarnated spirits have a greater capacity for individuality and agency than discarnate ones.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm I think what you are actually asking is: Why does God Sometimes not intervene miraculously to prevent a murder.

That might be answerable for those who know enough of the specific circumstances.

Because mostly the worst things Don't happen.

In countless ways the world works for God's purposes.

S.K. Orr said...

Thank you so much for writing this, William. One of the joys in my life is reading something that makes me wander off into a room or a meadow and think thoughts and ask questions that I never put down on a page or speak into the air. This post did that for me.

Ra1119bee said...



William,

You wrote: At bare minimum, they were here to get a body so that they can be resurrected. Beyond that, God knows. Each individual is different and has different needs, and some may need much more incarnate experience than others. Some may need (or be able to benefit from) many successive incarnations; for others, only a single lifetime is called for; still others, perhaps, can bounce off mortal life like sparks and go on to the next phase.

My response: ???? .. Some may need more incarnate experience than others? So, you're saying that reincarnation exists?...... or not?

I believe each lifetime/incarnation is different, so yes I agree with you, we are individuals with different experiences which means we've acquired knowledge from many lifetimes( cultures, skins, genders ) which is why and how we Learn From AND TEACH to our fellow man/woman. IMHO

In my previous comment, I made the metaphor of the Soul' changing shoes ", the physical mortal body being 'the shoes'.

I absolutely do not think that our high vibrational Soul wants to fall down (away from Source) to this duality dimension, 'incarcerated in a CELL physical body.
I personally do not think that Earth is Eden, at least NOT from the perspective of
the Soul, perhaps from the perspective of the EGO (which pleasures and protects the physical body ONLY) but not the Soul.

It's interesting how EGO and EVIL, sounds phonically very similar.
As does incarnation and incarceration.

I personally believe that this duality (GOOD AND EVIL) dimension of manifestation
is a School.

When my grandmother passed over in 1965, my sister and I saw her spirit, so I absolutely
believe in the Soul/Spirit, which I believe is one and the same.

It's our Soul that is judged, not our imperfect physical body.

all from my perspective of course...

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

@Debbie

"???? .. Some may need more incarnate experience than others? So, you're saying that reincarnation exists?...... or not?"

It may. I don't know. I don't rule it out.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

@Bruce

"I think what you are actually asking is: Why does God Sometimes not intervene miraculously to prevent a murder."

Close. The question is: Why does he almost never intervene to prevent us from doing any number of horrible things?

"Because mostly the worst things Don't happen."

Because people mostly don't choose to do the worst things. But when they do, God lets them. It's that general pattern of laissez-faire that I'm trying to account for.

No Longer Reading said...

Here's something I just read today:

(https://digital.nls.uk/scotlandspages/timeline/17762.html). An account by Boswell, visiting David Hume shortly before Hume's death. Interestingly enough, Hume observed that many people die in infancy. I would guess other people around that time noticed it, but I don't know of any other old writings talking about this. They are probably out there, though.

Here's the passage:

"I had a strong curiosity to be satisfied if he persisted in disbelieving a future state even when he had death before his eyes. I was persuaded from what he now said, and from his manner of saying it, that he did persist.

I asked him if it was not possible that there might be a future state. He answered it was possible that a piece of coal put upon the fire would not burn; and he added that it was a most unreasonable fancy that we should exist for ever.

That immorality, if it were at all, must be general; that a great proportion of the human race has hardly any intellectual qualities; that a great proportion dies in infancy before being possessed of reason; yet all these must be immortal; that a porter who gets drunk by ten o'clock with gin must be immortal; that the trash of every age must be preserved, and that new universes must be created to contain such infinite numbers. This appeared to me an unphilosophical objection, and I said, 'Mr. Hume, you know spirit does not take up space'. "

Easy Without You

This is one of the most seamless mashups I've ever heard.