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27.03.2009 Feature Article

Israel took the Susu money and God did not stop him

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The Police have since December 2008 been searching for Israel Aduah, managing director of Blessed God Financial Services, a “susu” collection firm. He is suspected of theft of several millions of contributor deposits, which he collected from Apam, Kasoa, Ashalley Botwe, New Fadama, Israel Junction, Tema and Nkawkaw. His mobile phone is switched off and he packed out of his residence after he collected the money and now he has disappered.

Israel, the name means “Prince of God”, after the Almighty re-named Jacob (Genesis 32:28) is remarkable, in that he is five feet 2 inches tall and a man of the cloth. To steal from a financial services institution named “Blessed God …. ”, trusted by humans, who deposited hard-earned small susu monies with your collection firm, you must indeed be someone with fortitude. This act of crossing over to the “devil's side” I find totally bemusing. If the irony is lost on you, let me elaborate.

In the philosophy of religion and theology, the problem of evil is the problem of reconciling the existence of evil or suffering in the world with the existence of God. The problem follows with the belief that God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent whilst at the same time evil exists. God either cannot stop evil or he will not. If he cannot then he is argued to not be omnipotent. If he will not then he is argued to not be omnibenevolent.

The response to this statement is that we cannot understand God and that evil is merely the absence of good. If a perfectly good God exists, then there should be no evil. But there is evil in the world, demonstrated here by Israel taking the hard earned monies of the poor and down-trodden of society. Because of Israel and others like him, a perfectly good God cannot exist.

This “absence of good” argument was put forward by Augustine of Hippo in the fifth century, much like how darkness is an absence of light, something only exists as a negative form of another thing, what we call “contrast theodicy”. Thus you are left to ponder, why did God not create only good in Israel, but left some evil thought with him, dragging him into this life of crime and creating suffering for the innocent and poor?

So, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Some religions answer that good people simply do not exist. For example, some forms of Christianity teach that all people are inherently sinful due to the fall of man and the original sin. A counter argument is that an omniscient God when he created the world would have predicted this and an omnipotent God could have prevented it.

The Christian bible has many examples, the most notable being the trial of Job and the sale of Joseph into slavery (Genesis 50). God meant it for the greater good, to save many people from famine. Read Psalms 1 and 82 and Ecclesiastes for more examples.

But back to Augustine of Hippo's position, and ultimately that of much of Christianity, that Adam and Eve did much to change nature by bringing sin into the world and that the advent of sin then limited mankind's power to evade the consequences without divine aid. Now, mortal free will is capable of choosing good or evil without divine aid.

Scientologists regard evil as an illusion. Enquiring into the question of what brings about evil tends only to reinforce it; since such an enquiry strengthens the belief that evil is real. In Hinduism, the problem of evil is present but does not exist per se as souls are external and not directly created by God. Thus you have your own Karma to deal with. In Buddhism, there is no theistic “problem of evil” as Buddhism generally rejects the notion of a benevolent, omnipotent god, identifying such a notion as attachment to a false concept. For Islamic theology, the Mu'tazili school identifies evil as something that stems from free will and human imperfection, arguing that if a man's evil acts were from the will of God then punishment would be meaningless. Mu'tazili's do not deny suffering from non-human sources such as natural disasters and explain the “apparent” evil through the doctrine of taklif – that life is a test for beings possessing free will.

As far back as 306BC, the Greek philosopher Epicurus, framed his Epicurean paradox; “Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. If God can abolish evil and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world?” – Epicurus “2000 years of Disbelief”

When the “Prince of God” steals from “Blessed God Financial Services, who has my back?

Sydney Casely-Hayford
Sydney Casely-Hayford, © 2009

The author has 186 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: SydneyCaselyHayford

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