WHY DOES GOD ALLOW EVIL TO EXIST?

Illustration from Foster Shannon’s Book, “The Scroll With Seven Seals”: http://www.gogreenleaf.com/the-scroll-with-seven-seals-what-the-book-of-revelation-really-says/

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

One of the questions asked by both believers and unbelievers is, “Why does God allow evil to exist?” We approach the subject of evil with humility. We recognize hat there are multitudes of factors that are beyond our understanding. The arguments from atheists and others go something like this:

  1. A good God would destroy evil.
  2. An all powerful God could destroy evil.
  3. Evil is not destroyed. Therefore God cannot be good, nor can he be all-powerful.

If we insist that God must not allow evil, then He should never allow inconveniences or disappointments. Neither would He allow warfare and disease. Should He not always protect us from traffic accidents and arguments? Should He not be responsible to see that in marriage, we never have a disagreement? If God is good, is it right for Him to deny us any pleasure? How is it that people can blame God for the bad things that occur, yet not be willing to praise Him for the good things that He pours out upon us? Are the atheists sulking, because God cannot be treated as if he were Aladdin’s genie?

God is not our enemy! We commit all kinds of sin, and then we ask why does not God do something about it? The answer is that God teaches us in the Scriptures regarding the kind of life that we should live. Through the new birth, He enables us to live virtuous lives. Reckoning with our sin and our inability to save ourselves, God is calling us to trust in Him for our salvation.

Where does the critic get the moral authority to sit in judgment upon God? Does our behavior throughout history, confirm us as wise and competent judges? Our troubles as human beings are the consequences of our own wrongs and sins. We fight wars. We steal from one another. We murder people whom we hate, or from whom we would take their possessions. Our primary enemy is not society; it is ourselves. We commit sins of all kinds, and then we ask why does God not do something about it? The answer is that God teaches us in the Scriptures regarding the kind of life that we should live. Through the new birth, God enables us to live virtuous lives. Reckoning with our sin and our inability to save ourselves, God is calling us to trust in him for our salvation:

“And there is salivation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts :12)

We live in a world that is in turmoil. We see it in the violence in the streets in many American cities; in the killing that continues in Syria and Iraq, with little hope of resolve. We see it in the governing regime in North Korea. We see it in the city of Chicago with a murder rate that is out of control, much of it blacks killing blacks.

Our future and our hope is with our Savior. He is our teacher. He is our helper. He is the God who will save us. “The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom then shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)

Foster H. Shannon
More about Foster…
Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth. The Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA until recently, he is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. As the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, established in 1981, he publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences.
The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com.
He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.
THIS BLOG IS CHANGED EVERY OTHER WEDNESDAY.
Please ‘LIKE’ our FACEBOOK PAGE!




 

MAKING DECISIONS

decision2

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

All of us must make decisions. What time do we get up in the morning? My dear wife has to decide what it is that we should eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (yes, I do give her some suggestions and some help). What college should I attend? What vocation shall I choose? How shall I dress today? Which bills should I pay first? Where shall we go on vacation?

We have the responsibility to choose what we shall believe. There are only so many options: Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Atheism, Agnosticism, New Age, (Syncretism, a mixture of religions) We should choose the one that is most true, that makes sense, that is most consistent, that upholds goodness and avoids harm. In the world in which we live, we have seven choices. Atheism and Agnosticism are choices of disbelieving in God or questioning the likelihood of God’s existence. Every person has a choice to make, whether they like it or not. There is either the wrong religion or the right religion. I think it is essential to remind people that they only have seven choices, and which choice they make is vitally important!

We live in the world, hoping that all will be good, but to our dismay, we find it filled with much evil: Thievery, jealousy, cruelty, lying, deceit, murder, warfare, adultery, licentiousness. Where is the path to goodness? The Bible makes sense. Its message is the same from beginning to end. It tells us what we are and why we are. It lays out a path for us that we may have a good life. God created the universe, the world that we live in. He created the plants and the animals, and he created men and women in his image.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:1,2)

We know that we need to be better people. There are many people who are incredibly bad. The Bible speaks to this reality. It urges upon us a good life. God seeks our salvation. We find salvation in Jesus Christ, who paid the penalty for our sins. It is only in Jesus Christ that we find forgiveness and new life. The Bible assesses our situation far better than any other religion.

God provides a path of salvation for all who will believe in him and trust him. God understands that we have no ability to save ourselves. Because of our inability, he has taken our salvation upon himself. Jesus came to Earth for the people of this planet. He offered himself up for our sins. God is triune; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ came to Earth in order to atone for our sins. We cannot atone for our sins. The heavenly Father punished his innocent Son for our sins. Jesus is our Savior. With the sacrifice of his life, he paid the penalty for our sin. We are invited to believe in him, trust in him, obey him, rejoice in him. In these matters Christianity is unique.

On making decisions, make sure to watch this special interview with Foster, on the Book of Revelation:
Click on the image above to see excerpts from an interview with Dr. Shannon talking about the book of Revelation!

Click on the image above to see the video.

Foster H. Shannon
More about Foster…
Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth. The Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA until recently, he is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. As the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, established in 1981, he publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences.
The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com.
He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.
THIS BLOG IS CHANGED EVERY OTHER WEDNESDAY.
Please ‘LIKE’ our FACEBOOK PAGE!




 

DANGERS WE FACE

Michelangelo_Fall_and_Expulsion_from_Garden_of_Eden

Detail of Michelangelo’s Fall and Expulsion from the Garden of Eden

By  Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Whether we like it or not, we are contending with the powers and forces of evil. Consider our first parents, Adam and Eve. God put them in an ideal Paradise:

“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” (Genesis 2:16,17)

To fulfill Adam’s life and her life, God gave him Eve to be his companion, his wife. They had plenty of everything. But Satan presented himself in the form of a serpent, who could speak. (She probably thought he was cute.) He told Eve that if they ate the fruit of the tree (God had warned them not to eat) that they would be like God. Of course, that was a lie, but Satan is accomplished in telling lies. God had given them a choice, either Paradise or death! Well, the fruit looked good, it was appealing, why should they not partake of it? The answer is that God had warned them of the danger, and they did not believe him, or thought God was depriving them from something they would enjoy. As a result they were expelled from the Garden.

The Apostle Paul warns us of the continuing battle between the will of God and the deceitfulness of the Evil One.

“For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12) 

I am writing this because many of us are inclined to underestimate the power of evil. It can be made appealing, look desirable, seem innocent. Some of the temptations that we face are power, prestige, wealth, and sensual pleasures. These things, in and of themselves may not be bad. They can even be good. Nonetheless they can be appealing to us, and spiritually destructive. That there is evil in the world can be seen even in the “little” sins that we commit and the awfulness that we see around us: Isis and Boko Haram in the Middle East and northern Africa, cutting people’s heads off and bragging about it, tyrants waging war to increase their power, men using automatic guns to kill scores of people. Husbands who kill their wives and children, and mothers who do the same. If you look out at the world and say, “what is going wrong”—it is that people are disregarding and disobeying God. He gave us the Ten Commandments and the moral teachings of the Bible for our good! Our Heavenly Father wants us to have good lives. Many fail to understand that.

We have good news. Jesus Christ suffered on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. He invites us to come to him and repent and find new life. He tells us where to find strength:

“Therefore take the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod you feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the word of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:13-17)

GOD IS LOOKING OUT FOR YOU AND FOR ME!

Foster H. Shannon
More about Foster…
Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth. The Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA until recently, he is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. As the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, established in 1981, he publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences.
The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com.
He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.
THIS BLOG IS CHANGED EVERY OTHER WEDNESDAY.
Please ‘LIKE’ our FACEBOOK PAGE!




 

WHAT IS THE SOLUTION TO OUR PROBLEMS?

"I am the vine, and you are the branches . . ."

“I am the vine, and you are the branches . . .”

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

We have been doing a study at home on the book of Philippians. It is worthwhile, enjoyable and good. This last week I was struck by one passage:

“that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,” (Philippians 2:15)  

Wow! this was written about 62 A.D. by the Apostle Paul. Who can find anything appealing in “a crooked and perverse generation”? Don’t we want to live in peace among people who are all good? What is happening to us?

We live with a lot of problems: a vicious drug traffic that is doing great damage to our neighbors in Mexico, that is enabled by the people in North America who are buying the drugs. In doing so, they not only contribute to evil, but those who use the drugs do damage to themselves. Mothers who destroy their unborn children; more than one-third of our children being raised in homes without a father; a devastating homicide rate, much worse among the black population; mass killings in public areas by young males, most of whom are white. Overseas, the incredible manifestations of evil seen in the blood-thirsty actions of ISIS in Syria, in Iraq and in neighboring countries. Boco Haram in Nigeria are killing and kidnaping thousands of people, and treating them terribly.

It is proper to ask, Is there a remedy? And the answer is yes. The God who created us loves us and desires for us to have good lives: to rejoice in our Lord, to obey his teachings, to sing and dance in his presence.

What are we to do? We abuse others, steal, lie, and embezzle. We eat too much and drink too much, honoring pagan gods that encourage us to “eat and drink and be merry”. 

We do better to begin with the Ten Commandments, continue with the Old Testament prophets, and regularly study the teachings of Jesus and of the apostles in the New Testament. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are to take care with our speech, that we avoid disparaging others. It appears that many Christians hit their high point when they believe in Jesus and are baptized, which is vital. But we are to grow in knowledge and strength—not assuming that now we can just get along with our regular lives. The point is this: If we want good for ourselves and others, we must draw closer to our Lord, and encourage others to believe in him.

Our God is a magnificent healer, but we have to want to be healed. We do that by reading and considering his word—by doing our best to order our lives according to his teachings—to recognize that we cannot make it on our own; that we need his help.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

Foster H. Shannon
P.S. I have appreciated hearing from a number of you. However, every response that I have made has been returned as undeliverable.
To get in touch with me please use this email address:   fjshannon[at]sbcglobal[dot]net  
Reformat the email address by placing the @symbol where I wrote [at] and a (.) where I wrote [dot].
I wrote it this way to cut down on the automatic robots that look for email addresses to send spam messages to.

 Thank you.

More about Foster… Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth. The Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA until recently, he is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. As the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, established in 1981, he publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences.
The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com.
He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.
THIS BLOG IS CHANGED EVERY OTHER WEDNESDAY.
Please ‘LIKE’ our FACEBOOK PAGE!





To Tell The Truth

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Mars Rover,"Curiosity"

Mars Rover, “Curiosity”

“Truth is the coin of the realm.” We expect people to speak the truth to us, and when they do not we resent it. Our God speaks to us in truth. He is absolutely reliable. He can be fully depended upon. Truth is essential to make things work. Truth is vital between husband and wife. Truth is essential in financial dealings. Truth is the goal, but not always the result in our legal processes. I fear that a great deal of lying goes on in our courts. Think of “Curiosity”, the rover that continues to send back exciting information from Mars. Its creation and building had to be in conformity with principles of truth, or it would never have succeeded in its mission. The plan for The Curiosity voyage to Mars had to be in harmony with the truth. If it were not in accord with truth, it would be wandering off in space with an unknown destination. When a student enrolls in college, he or she properly expects the representations of the college to be true.

Yet in our society we seek to excuse departures from the truth. Many of the advertisements that we receive present excessive claims and are deliberately misleading. Many of our politicians have convinced themselves that they could not “succeed” if they had always to tell the truth. Too many people excuse lying, because they think it to be in a good cause. The consequence is that they prove themselves to be unreliable. To the degree that truth is not valued and observed things don’t work, harmony is broken, and human relationships are hurt and destroyed.
A wholesome and healthy marriage is one in which husband and wife speak the truth to one another.
One advantage of telling the truth is that you don’t have to remember what you said last time! As Jesus taught, the truth sets us free. The truth also has great power—illustrated in Jesus’ ministry. His opponents could not stand against the truth that he spoke. Their only resource was to seek to kill him. The scriptures affirm that it is the truth that gives us protection against the powers and forces of evil. Ephesians 6:14a, “Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth,” If we are looking for spiritual strength—adhering to the truth is a vital commitment. In the long run, truth will always conquer deceit.
John 8:31,32, “Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
WE ARE STRONGER WHEN WE CLEAVE TO THE TRUTH;

WEAKER WHEN WE DEPART FROM IT.

Foster H. Shannon
Please contact Foster directly with any questions or comments at the following address:

Thank you.

More about Foster…

Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note

Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth.
He is currently Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA. He is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. He is the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, which he established with others in 1981. Green Leaf Press, Inc. publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences. The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com. He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.

‘LIKE’ our FACEBOOK PAGE!