“Even God cannot change the past.”
Agathon

As you may all know in my writings I consistently challenge/question the existence of God. There are times I commit downright blasphemy, yet there are times I show a small crack for God to come into my life. This is the conundrum I find myself in all the time. I do not believe in the existence of God, yet I philosophize on the possibility of the existence of a God. I think with some of the stances or comments I make in a post people misconstrue my stance between believing and non-believing. With my most recent intense anxiety and panic over my own mortality, I have tried to revisit this age old question in hopes of achieving serenity. Armed with this intense fear I have begun to deceive my logic into believing in the prospect of God existing. With that being said I want to confront this statement, and touch on a few other questions.

God is supposed to be all powerful, and nothing is beyond His realm of possibility, or is it. Does God possess the power to go into the past and change the course of history? If he had this power he could undo some of the most horrific events we humans have committed. Now in this question and statement I am challenging the power and as a result the existence of such a God. I can already tell you what the faithful will say to this, they will preach that God does not interfere in our lives because he gave us freewill. With this freewill we ultimately are responsible for our own actions and we have the freedom to define what we become. But hold on for a moment the Bible speaks of many situations in which God interfered with man’s freewill. Why has he chosen to be an absent father and let the world enter into chaos?

If the case is and God has just recently over the last couple thousands of years decided to no longer interfere with humans because we have freewill; I would ask the faithful to explain natural disasters such as the earthquake and tsunami that just hit Japan. Man has no control over nature, but the Bible clearly has stories illustrating that God is capable of such things. God had the ability to either cause or cease this natural disaster, so this means that he either chose to cause this disaster Himself, or knew this would happen and chose to let it happen resulting in the deaths of thousands of people and causing massive amounts of damage to Japan. Man as a result of his freewill had nothing to do with this, so if God existed then He as a result had everything to do with it. What was his purpose for killing so many people? 

I think this argument of freewill is an easy out for the faithful because it wraps everything up in a tidy little bow, and it places blame on man for all the horrors which have happened and continue to happen till this day. Some of the questions I ask myself are where is the divine intervention portrayed in the Old and New Testament? It seems in almost all stories God is very much involved with his most precious creation. We all know how much God hates gay people, so why has he not eliminated them as he did in Sodom and Gomorrah? For that matter why even create gay people to begin with. If homosexuality is a sin, why create people who are born to commit crimes which He hates to his very core? If God’s primary goal is to have all of His creations return to Him in heaven, then why create people who are doomed to hell from day one? This is not just limited to homosexuals we can include in there murderers, rapist, and thieves. I also ask this where was God during the holocaust. The Jews are supposed to be His chosen people, and when they were enslaved in Egypt God sent Moses to save His people. The Jews were in a worse situation during the holocaust then they were in Egypt, so where was the Moses of our time?

The absence of divine intervention in our time is one thing I point to when I am thinking about converting to Christianity. I do not understand how God can be so predominantly involved thousands of years ago, but we have not heard so much as a peep out of him since. Why show such an interest with man back then, but show such a disinterest in us now. Did God just throw his hands in the air and say “fuck it this is pointless! Perhaps I should have thought out the whole freewill thing.” I also point to the existence of natural disasters with no known lesson from God behind the punishment, such as he did with Sodom and Gomorrah or Noah and the great flood. God had no problem telling His people why he was creating such horrible disasters back then, but we have not heard a thing from him with all the natural disasters dating back hundreds of years. Even if there was not a lesson to be learned; why even allow natural disasters in the first place?

In my mind these are good questions I must ask myself to further along my internal struggle behind the existence or non-existence of God. In this case the answer I come to is the non-existence of God. Making a statement of “even God cannot change the past” is the same as saying God does not exist. God is all-powerful and if God existed he should be able to bend and alter the fabric of time, after all this is the man who created the entire universe. The fact that he hasn’t altered the past is yet another notch on the “I am not a believer” column. But hold on for a minute. God may have already altered the past, and if he did we would be none the wiser; since we only know what we know. If God went back in time and murdered your husbands’ fetus for being a douche, you would never know because you would have never met him. God does not have time to kill your cheating husband because he is to busy eating popcorn and watching the destruction caused by natural disasters, and reveling in revenge over the rapid deterioration of the human race.

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Comments
  1. Your Wife says:

    Sometimes, maybe you analyze it to much. With faith there comes the understanding that everything is not tangibly proven. I am sure many could find discrepancies in the Taoism, in Hinduism, in Muslim faith..
    I think what you lack dear, is the ability to just allow…… you have the divine need to be proven that something is exactly as it is supposed to be. Faith is about trust, it does NOT matter what a person’s faith is in, they trust that what they believe is true and real. Their reason for this faith is irrelevant, they don’t need to be shown that every word in the book, they choose to put their trust into, is accurate and true to its core.
    I am quite sure that you will never find the answers to your religious conundrum using the “prove me wrong” method Timothy, because when it comes to faith, religions, or a belief system its something you have to feel and trust it is unconditionally there without the need to tangibly know. I think if you can wrap your head around that concept, the idea of faith or religion will come much easier to you.

    Just a thought from your wife 🙂

    • Wife,

      I have a hard time seeing the gray areas in life. When it comes down to it either things are or they are not. In this case it can only be one or the other. There is no gray area when it comes down to God. Either he is or he isnt

  2. ecreith says:

    Interesting post, Random Thinker. These are questions with which I believe every thinking person of whatever faith eventually grapples. No easy answers, I’m afraid.

  3. gingerclub says:

    Hi,

    First of all thanks for subscribing to my blog and the nice compliment.

    Funny enough, I like very much what you write as well. I have dealt quite a bit with the same questions along God, read Beyond Good and Evil and others of my favourite philosopher. I guess I will subscribe as well. Keep in touch, I am happy that we met.

    Ginger

  4. telove4him says:

    Thanks for stopping at my Victory on the ICE blog–and i like your post here–i too, honestly question “religion”, “faith”, etc–i think it is healthy that we question that of which we believe or not believe–to me “faith” is what we make of it–i do not agree with “religion” though, that isjust my opinion–that is why i often, call myself a believer–a believer in whatever i choose to believe in 🙂 blessings on your journey–i will come back to your blog and read some more–hope you come back to mine

  5. Eric Kemp says:

    I agree, I think the “freewill” reason for human suffering is a cop-out. As you said, it “wraps everything up in a tidy little bow” and the person doesn’t have to do much thinking.

    Since we’re talking about the God of Christianity, I can tell you that the Biblical answer to what is going on in the world is sin. That sin isn’t just negative moral currency, it actually effects the natural world. Romans 8:22, “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.” In the verse earlier, Paul says that nature is enslaved to corruption. God may have created a perfect world, but it has since been corrupted.

    However, I think there is something else deeper going on here in your mind. You are thinking through the issue of human suffering in a humanistic sense. You are assuming that God’s foremost priority is, or should be, the happiness of humanity. That God’s service to humanity should to be to ensure that as few humans suffer as possible. Instead, I submit to you that God’s foremost concern is His Will. And that, although we of course can’t fully understand it, His will is being served in and through these tragedies. Take the Holocaust for example; would His people ever have received their homeland again without the horror of the Holocaust?

    • Eric,

      Welcome to the community. Interesting points on the Holocaust. Gods will is something I have heard many times. I know we are not supposed to be able to understand this will, but sometimes his will seems very twisted at times.

  6. Ruthie says:

    I’m a Christian, yet I also ask these questions. It is only natural for humans to feel confused by these events, however I trust in God and His wisdom. We people as a whole have strayed from His word…perhaps this is His “wake-up call.”

    I feel such confusion in your post, I pray you will find the answers you need to come into the family of Christ.

    • Ruthie,

      Thank you for stopping by and welcome to the community. I am confused. As I said to my wife this situation is a black or white situation and since there is no proof or logical reasoning to confirm the existence of God I reject the idea, but at the same time I have been tormented with questions and my mortality which has caused me to seek answers in the ilogical which I feel is the only place I will find peace.

  7. terri0729 says:

    Oh the twists and turns we take when delving into these types of questions. Been there, done that myself numerous times in my half-decade of life. I agree that freewill is just to tidy of a little package to roll everything up in also, so I won’t say it. I don’t understand these devestations such as what Japan is suffering through right now either. I don’t, however, question my faith over it. The reason I can say that would be way too long to put in this comment. It suffices to say that I have expounded upon it in great detail on my blog. With that being said, I can sympathize with the confusion noted here. I enjoyed reading this and will be following up to see more. Thanks for your honesty.

  8. Wow! You really don’t mess around when you get into theology, do you?
    First, the short answers.
    We live on an imperfect planet, with imperfect people who have imperfect bodies. That, in my opinion, is the major reason $hit happens.
    There is a difference between not believing in God, and disliking/disagreeing/being angry with God.
    Now for the details.
    You have answered yourself as far as God changing the past: if He did, we would never know about it.
    Why does God interfere in some matters and not others? If God is God, that is if He is all that He is cracked up to be and more, then obviously we won’t be able to understand everything He does and does not do, since we are limited and He isn’t. Right there we have a huge difficulty.
    With that caveat out of the way, I’ll take a stab at it. While I agree with Eric that our happiness may not be the focus of God’s will (not that I think he is against us being happy or anything), I believe that His focus may be our growth and development. One thing that the Bible says that God is totally excellent at is bringing good out of evil (Genesis 50:20, Romans 8:28 – because I just knew that you’d want references!). We can either cooperate with God in this process, or not. Rather than always preventing evil then, God generally lets the imperfection here take its natural course, but then gives us opportunities to rise above it and do the right thing.
    In the case of the earthquake and tsunami, we have the chance to do good by helping, which is what God wants us to do, or sit on our butts and get mad at God for letting this crap happen. It is totally our choice.
    Why does God occasionally intervene at some times (and He does sometimes, but you have to be looking for it/tuned in to the right channel) but not most of the time? One answer to this is prayer. I don’t totally get how this works, but if God has told us to pray, it must be because it makes a difference. Maybe the difference is within us, and quite possibly there is power, some kind of force, that arises from prayer. The more people who agree to pray for something that is good, maybe it somehow overcomes the natural with the supernatural. It seems that God lets us play a part, and that is an awfully cool thought, isn’t it? What if bad things happen at least partially because we aren’t part of God’s team, working against it?
    I don’t believe that God killed the people who died in the earthquake and tsunami. Our imperfect world did. Who knows, maybe if we were all united in prayer and working for good it could have been averted somehow, though I’m not sure. All I know is that may be that way, and it certainly couldn’t hurt.
    Okay, so freewill places all the blame on people, so that’s an easy out…that’s your argument. I say that blaming God is an even easier out. It gets us off the hook. We aren’t responsible for anything and there isn’t much we can do about it. (Yes, some Christian fatalists take this line as well, but I think that is a perversion/misinterpretation of what the Bible says. It reminds me of that old Flip Wilson line, “The devil made me do it!” Now that I have revealed my age, let’s get back to the subject at hand.)
    I also don’t believe for a minute that God hates homosexuals, or even murderers, rapists and thieves. “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whosover believes in Him should have everlasting life.” (John 3:16, for those of you who have never seen a banner at a football game, but the emphasis is mine.) Remember how Jesus told the thief on the cross beside him, “Today you will be with me in Paradise?”
    I also don’t believe that God wants natural disasters to happen. It seems to be part of the process that we as humans set in motion by being such boneheads, but I am definitely paraphrasing on that. If God sits back, I believe it is only to weep at how frickin’ slow we are to get the message that He loves us, and how terrible it is that people have to suffer while we twiddle out thumbs and debate why, instead of letting Him work through us. Nor do I believe that God has been silent. I think He is just waiting for us to get our fingers out of our ears and stop saying, “La, la, la – I can’t hear you!”
    As I said at the beginning, there is a definite difference between not believing in God, and being pissed off with Him. I think that you are unhappy with the way He is running things.
    Many years ago, my grandfather got angry with the way one of my cousins was living her life, and he said, “That’s it! I no longer have a granddaughter named L_____,” which I thought was pretty dumb because obviously he still did. He was just mad at her.
    A lot of the time, I think that we people are like my grandfather when it comes to God.
    Jodi
    P.S. If you really want to get down and dirty about this, I strongly recommend two books.
    Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
    The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
    (The second is an easier read than the first, but Lewis’s book is a classic.)

    • terri0729 says:

      Wow, you don’t mess around either! Love what you said!!

    • Jodi,

      Wow! Nice debate return. I wrote a post today that I didnt publish which further describes how I am personally mad at God if there is one. I am unsure why I am so bitter, perhaps it is because I feel God if there is one did exactly like your grandfather did. You bring up many points which are valid and do get me thinking. Thank you for the time you took to write this response.

    • Jodi,

      I also think when I write my theology posts I am in a sense seeking guidance and answers from those who may be wiser than me. Perhaps one time something may click. The one thing I love is the debates back and forth from my readers. I always learn something new and in the debate I start to piece together the answers I am looking for.

  9. Mike Wisse says:

    You ask good questions, and you surround yourself with good people to help you along when you ask these questions. Your wife has a very valid point. Yes I will agree the core question as to whether or not God exists is black and white but beyond that there is a ton of gray. If God does exist how much of him do we truly understand? If God is real, and he could change the past why won’t he? If he did how much of your personality change then? Would be robbed of experiences, both good and bad, that would shape you into the person you are now?

    Suffering is a horrible byproduct of the messed up world that we live in but without it we would not grow. Let me repeat that because it’s really important

    Suffering is horrible but without it we would not grow.

    Think about the ripples that have cascaded your life that, you may have missed if things hadn’t gone just exactly how they went.

    There are many Christians out there who believe events like the Japanese earthquake and tsunami happen so that large amounts of people will witness them, repent and follow the living God. I am not one of those Christians.

    I tend to think that events like 9-11, like the floods in NOLA, the quake in Haiti, the quake and tsunami in Japan happen because our world is all messed up and broken. As I said before it is a byproduct of the more important issue which is sin. Sin is the chasm that keeps us from total fellowship with God, which was the way things were intended to be in the beginning.

    I don’t know WHY it’s this way I can’t even begin to provide answers for that because I am not God. All I can do is hold close to my God and my family and friends. Understand that we’re traveling in choppy water and have faith that at the other side it will all make sense.

  10. There are a lot of points that need to be addressed here. To start, I would argue that calling freewill or the concept which is most recognizable as the common definition of freewill an “easy out” is made in haste. Our ability to choose right from wrong is not as simple as that, for we are bound to misdeeds and selfishness or, if you prefer, sin. The matter is deeper, for the issue of sin is an issue that regresses to the beginning of man, where man disobeyed God by eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, which was forbidden. Because of this sin, the earth itself was cursed (Genesis 3). Looking forward, though, we see the time in which the original way would be restored: the wolf and the lamb resting and feeding together and the old ways of death and mourning being taken away (Is. 65:25; Rev. 21:4).

    Next, where God “intervened,” He provided rewards and punishments for faithfulness and disobedience; this is common in the Old Testament. Can God change the past? Well, He certainly could change things about what we know about the past, but they are not the past to Him. If you know much about the Scripture, you may remember 2Pe 3:8, wherein Peter refers back to what is now our Old Testament when he writes that “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” To God, moments are not passing as they do with us. More than this, though, we have to understand that God is unchanging in His decisions.

    “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” – Numbers 23:19

    There are several more verses to support the Scripture above, but for the sake of space, I will refrain from providing them. God does not change His mind. If He says that He will do something, He will do it. Often, though, He gave His faithful servants choices and the consequences that would follow (think David when he counted the fighting men [1Chr 21:1-17]). Finally, for this point, God certainly does not cater to man’s desires. To sum up: Can He? Yes. Will He? No.

    Finally, where is God now and what are His positions on the deeds of man? I will address the latter first. God does not hate [gay people], but He does hate the sinfulness. Man was in need of a helper, for which woman was made and, for this reason, “is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:18-24). Man and woman were made for each other and, as Jesus spoke in John 3, God does not hate us, but loves us so much that He gave His only begotten Son to bear the punishment we were supposed to have. All sin, from the lowliest lie to the greatest of murders, is enough to bring condemnation and, for this, Paul writes that “[all] have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rm. 3:23). Why have we not heard a “peep?” We have. Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets and His revelation is the only thing left that we need to know absolutely. A profound day of judgment is coming and the faithful will be saved. From this period, though, countless among the faithful receive instruction and guidance in the form of door openings and feelings, which is the most common, and a small percentage of others who hear things or see visions (not all who say they have heard have actually heard and not all who say they have seen have actually seen). I, personally, have been blessed with an audible instruction on November 21, 2009, when I was told, “Phillip! Listen to my word.” The following year would become one of the hardest years for me in the way of trials and temptations like no other year since I came to Jesus.

    If you ever have questions or want to talk more about this, please email me at the address on my site @ http://www.ministeringinlove.com.

    Gloria in Excelsis Deo.

  11. I’m sure you already know my answer. The god that was so involved in the days of old didn’t exist then any more than he exists now.

    • Trey,

      I am surprsied you didn’t chime in on all the comments. When I started to receive several comments I sat here wondering what you were going to say. I was counting on you to pull me back.

  12. Noel says:

    Random Thinker,
    Thanks for visiting t my blog and commenting. I really enjoy reading this post and all the comments. I agree with Eric and Jedwardswright, our primary purpose is not to be happy, but to grow and develop. Expecting God to do and don’t do things to me is like telling God how to be God. I am in no position to do that. I get angry at God many times, but that is ok, at the end of the day, I understand that I don’t know everything. My understanding of free will is simply giving us the opportunity to freely love God, instead of being obligated to do so (which would not be love). I can identify with you when you wrote that the questions that torment you make you seek answers in the illogical, because I believe that life is not black or white, even if we would rather it be like that. I have to agree with your wife, life is a set of grays, and we just have to accept it. I also recommend the books that jedwardwright mentioned, plus “A Friendly Letter to Skeptics and Atheist” by David Myers. I hope you find peace. God bless.

    • Noel,

      Welcome to the community. I hope you continue to stop by and comment

    • To all who took the time to comment on this post,

      I started to respond to each comment individually but I apologize I had to stop as it would take me some time to give a thoughtful response to each one. I appreciate everyones words and information you have provided me. It was eye opening.

      • terri0729 says:

        Don’t feel bad, I have come to the same point some days. That’s why occasionally I will do the blanket responses like the one to the University Readers. We do the best we can. Oh, no reply necessary, lol.

  13. mattknight says:

    Hey, I see you’re dishing out some big questions. I appreciate you stopping by my blog earlier and I know I’ll be interested in checking yours out again soon.

    I also appreciate what I perceive to be your genuineness in asking questions. I think a lot of people throw out some questions like “where is God?” but don’t really want to engage in meaningful dialogue. It’s refreshing to see someone who’s interested in discussing the issues.

    Jodi, Eric, and Phillip have already given some good thoughts along the lines of what I would say. Keep searching, and keep an open mind.

    Thanks,
    Matt

  14. Ron says:

    Hi there, I’ll try to patch up an answer to as many of your questions as possible…God doesn’t just watch us suffer, as a Christian I believe He put His Divine Son on the earth to experience catastrophe at almost every level on our behalf – physical(the brutal 9hour murder at the cross), mental & emotional (the pain of having your friends desert you at the hour you need them the most, being humiliated by your creation), social (He was made infamous – they substituted a rebel rouser for Him even though He was innocent) etc.
    God grieves over people Isaiah 63:9-10 “In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them.” For argument’s sake, if God dealt with us according to a strict, you-sin-you-die basis project Universe would have wound up long ago! God accounts for sin at the thoughts level…so if anybody thinks God is unfair then they are probably right…He is biased towards humanity.
    God no longer intervenes as much as He did simply because the world has moved on from where it was. We are more scientifically advanced, we have more information and knowledge (maybe not much more wisdom) than our predecessors albeit just a bit lost spiritually. I believe we are getting to a point in history where Adam & Eve were – they were complete in wisdom before they fell, and their interaction with God was purely relational. Adam was in charge of the earth back then…mankind retained a bit of that nature in them but alas mother nature started biting back!
    Would the earth be habitable if God intervened against evil consistently – I think not. If God were to stop every child from falling over, every exam candidate from failing (despite them not having studied at all) – there would be no competition, no incentive for doing right or for doing more. I believe failure and pain at some level are motivating factors, they help us to understand goodness when we see it…go to some parts of Africa; people understand the value of water because many walk 10 miles to get it or risk dying of thirst. Let me ride with that point a little more…if God stopped people from sinning against Him – from lying to others, from hating their contemporaries (even in their minds), if God got rid of all evil (which He eventually will) who would still be here?? Blank canvas this universe would be….
    As for God creating homosexuals only to doom them, I’m not sure that is the case…I stand to be proven wrong. But my opinion is that people probably grow into their sexuality because of the way they were nurtured maybe in a one-parent household, bad experiences with the opposite sex or some mid-life crises, sexual experimentation which culminates into a lifestyle. Parts of our brain grow with use and some patterns & habits become permanent. I could be wrong but there has not been any gay-gene discovered in all the research that has been carried out…I concede my ignorance on the matter I am open to enlightenment, but my input is God doesn’t hate gay people (neither do I) or anyone for that matter, what He hates is wrongdoing/sin…including all extra-marital sexual activity.
    Then there’s the point about God creating people who He knows are going straight to hell…ouch. I really struggled with that one – if I was God I would get rid of hell. Then again, hell is a place is where God is not, without a trace of God. If God is infinitely good, gracious, loving and embodies all the goodness in the cosmos – if anyone is thrust into a place completely devoid of those qualities they would be in…hell with pain, fear, suffering, despair etc. As grotesque as it is, if someone decided they think religion or belief is not for them then they find themselves there especially for lack of effort to try and find the truth…is it God’s fault. I think most people who don’t want God would find it extremely boring in heaven…maybe not…but I think they would, there’s no unholiness there which is what passes for an exciting lifestyle in contemporary modern culture – no swearing, no drinking,nothing…just being in God’s presence and worshipping Him!
    I’ve been a Christian for about 8 years and in that time…I’ve been shaken to the core by questions I couldn’t answer but what gets me through is those answers to some prayers which I prayed which makes me hold on to Him…it’s the answers I do have that surpass the ones I don’t.

    • Ron,

      First welcome to the community and I want to thank you for taking the time to lend me so much information to ponder. I hope you choose to come back and lend your two cents when the subject comes up again.

  15. DP says:

    As usual, great post and discussion. More and more I lean towards the fact that we humans back then ascribed things to “GOD” that we didn’t understand.

    If this tsunami happened thousands of years ago, perhaps it would end up in a book as a theological tool to teach us something. Today, we explain it with shifting tectonic plates, etc. This isn’t to suggest there is no God, but only that science has also come along way.

    I got to get back to writing some decent stuff on my blog… been busy spending time with a new young lady I met 😉

    • DP,

      Congrats on your new lady friend! I enjoyed and learned many things from all the comments on this post, but as always you came through with something which made perfect sense to my mind!

  16. Johanna says:

    Tim, I just saw this article that discussed just what you were talking about. http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics/heaven.htm

  17. wdednh says:

    just the fact the you are one way or another thinking about God and His existence, tells me you are on your way to God.

  18. Hi Random Thinker, Something about the fact that you are searching for what is true and leaving your mind open is very refreshing. A lot of what you asked in your message was answered here by those who do have some understanding. God’s ways will always be higher than ours so none of us will have full understanding. But we who search know that Jesus Christ paid the price so that we might have eternal life. I will know and believe that to my death.

    I hope you continue to search. I am praying for you, my friend. Somehow I believe you will find the truth you are seeking!

  19. […] “Even God cannot change the past.”  -Agathon […]

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