Elder Gottlieb reached into his backpack again and brought out a laminated color photo of the Pleiades star cluster that he took himself with his homemade Dobsonian telescope. He was very proud of this photo. As he held up the image, Avatar sat up a bit and seemed to focus on the image. “I took this image with my own twelve inch Dobsonian telescope. For some reason this particular constellation has always intrigued me. Avatar, may I tell you story?”
Avatar settled back in his chair the way someone would do when they getting ready for a story. His eyes remained fixated on the image. “Yes, please tell me a story of the stars.”
Elder Gottlieb continued with a story of Abraham, “A man very long ago was given a device for viewing things past, present and future. One day, he looked into the device and was shown the stars and planets. He saw that each star and planet was greater than the next. He saw the greatest star and a planet revolving around it. He was taught how time is relevant to the place where one stands. He then saw so many stars and planets that he could not see them all.”
Avatar then explained, “Space is immense and the human mind cannot comprehend the size of it. The reasoning that one star is different from another and that there must be one star greater than the rest, is a plausible hypothesis. Please continue.”
Elder Gottlieb continued with, “The spirit children of our father in heaven are like the stars. The matter that makes up the stars have always existed. Stars are broken down into individual components and then reorganized. We can see the remnants of the birth and death of a star with astronomical devices. The building blocks of the stars have always existed.”
Avatar sitting back, closing his eyes quietly said, “Star debris. Everything in the universe is made of the same star debris.”
Elder Gottlieb then responded, “Yes, and the matter that makes up our spirit bodies could be thought about in the same way. Like the stars, the number of spirits are without number and the matter that formed them is without beginning or end. Like the stars, each spirit is more intelligent than the other until you come to the most intelligent of them all.”
Avatar appeared to be thinking and asked, “Gods debris?” Avatar was processing this new information. He closed his eyes and looked as if he fell into a deep sleep. The Elders looked at one another and waited for a few moments. They decided that they should pull up his blanket and leave but before they could get up, Avatar opened his eyes again and continued. “Thank you for this new information. “Why does God care about human souls and why is pain and suffering necessary parts of this earthly life?”1
Elder Jäger responded, “God created a world and a system that allows each of his children to gain more intelligence through experience and become more like him. The world that we live in is a type of learning environment. As a child, while out camping, I learned the hard way that you shouldn’t put your hand in the fire. I did that once.” Elder Jäger held up is right hand to show a terrible scar that he received as a child. Looking at his scar, Avatar asked, “But why do his children need to suffer while learning to become more like him?”
Elder Jäger had responded to this question many times before. “In order for the system to work, there must be rules of justice and mercy in balance. If a person chooses to enjoy a diet rich in sugar and animal fats, they will likely see some bad health outcomes. That is justice. If the person chooses to learn how to eat differently to enjoy fruits, vegetables, grains, and healthier proteins, their health will likely improve. That is mercy.”
Avatar not convinced said, “Or the person is simply obedient to the principles of probability. By making healthy eating choices, that person has a higher probability of living a longer healthier life. Why would an omnipotent and all loving God allow someone, like a dictator or a drug dealer, to inflict pain and suffering on thousands of people in wars or sell dangerous drugs to children? This cannot possibly fit into your model of justice and mercy.”
It fits perfectly into the plan. Avatar, may I tell another story to explain?
Yes, I love a good story. Please continue Mr. Jäger.
Two missionaries like us, a very long time ago, taught the same plan that we are sharing with you. Some people believed in their message and began to follow their teachings. There was also a very influential and persuasive man who convinced the majority of the people in the city, including the religious and state leaders, that the two missionaries had defiled their beliefs and broken their laws. The government and religious leaders decided to put to death, by fire anyone who had decided to follow the message of the two missionaries.
The government tied up the two missionaries so that they had to watch men, women, and children die in a fire. The younger missionary asked a similar “why” question that you have asked us. Why doesn’t an all powerful God simply stop this suffering of those innocent people?
The elder missionary explained that in order for God to preserve his plan of justice and mercy, those government leaders had to have the choice to justify killing those citizens based on their local laws and beliefs. If God had put a stop to the killing, he would have broken his own rules of justice and ceased to be God.
Ok, that explains the principle of justice but it does not explain mercy or love. The people still suffered a horrible death and God just watched it happen?
A loving parent sometimes has to allow their children to make choices in order learn from the their mistakes even if the consequences cause suffering. God also loves his children enough to provide them a way to start over, again and again.
“Love? Do you mean love in the way you understand it as a human, asked Avatar?”1
“As I explained before, God’s ways, thoughts and actions are not like ours. One thing we are expected to learn while here on earth is how to be kind and charitable to others without expecting anything in return. Most people are good to other people and charitable in some ways. Everyone has different capacities to be charitable while one of God’s children is the most charitable and loving.
“If God loves and wants things for his children, are you suggesting that God has a personality like people?”1
Elder Jäger continued, “God is God because he is now perfectly just and loving. We cannot compare his personality to ours. That would be quite arrogant. We are here to become a little more like God. This is the grand mystery that we normally do not share with someone on a first visit … “As man is, God once was. As God is, man can become.”
TO BE CONTINUED …
- Adams, Scott. God’s Debris a Thought Experiment. Andrews McMeel, 2013.