We continue with our discussion on Jainism, God, and Christian philosophy:
Jinasenna’s 5th Argument:
If he is form-less, action-less and all-embracing, how could he have created the world? Such a soul, devoid of all modality, would have no desire to create anything.
The word form-less in Jainism is used to describe a Siddha, or a soul who has achieved permanent liberation from the cycle of birth and death. These form-less souls reside in Siddhashila, a place at the corner of the universe.
Action-less is another term used to describe a Siddha. When a soul becomes a Siddha they live without action. They do nothing. They simply sit there, free, but doing nothing, because to do would mean to be attached.
All-embracing refers to the infinite knowledge which the soul contains. The liberated soul possesses infinite knowledge, but does nothing with that knowledge, because they are action-less.
The Bible makes it clear: “God is not man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19) The Jain religion confuses God and Man. God is God. Man is man.
Therefore Jinassena’s initial statement, categorizing the Creator God as form-less, action-less, and all-embracing as he would categorize a liberated soul according to Jain Dharma is a logical fallacy. Specifically, it is known as redefinition – where you take a word and redefine it so that you can better refute the argument.
In this case, Jain philosophers are imposing their view of God upon the idea of a Creator God. The first two sections clearly illustrate the attributes of a Creator God. This God has created Creation purely out of love, which can only be expressed through desire and attachment.
Jinasena’s 6th Argument:
If out of love for living beings and need of them he made the world, why did he not make creation wholly blissful free from misfortune?
In the previous section, I explained why a perfect Creator must make an imperfect creation. We take this step a bit further to explain why such a loving God would allow such suffering to befall His creation.
Before we answer this question, it’s important to understand how Karma Theory is used to address this question in Jainism. Jain concepts are a response to the problem of suffering. The logic is as follows:
- Life is suffering
- The origin of suffering is bad Karma attached to the soul which attracts suffering
- The way to remove suffering is to limit the suffering you generate upon others, including physical and emotional suffering. You must control your thoughts and your actions.
- Desire is the root of all actions which causes suffering.Therefore, the key is to end all desire and detach yourself from all worldly things.
The theory of Karma also holds that the fruits of your labors will not be seen in this life, but instead in the next life. This appears to answer the question: why would a good person still experience suffering in this life? If you experience suffering in this life despite following Jain philosophy, it is because you were most likely bad in your previous life.
Jinassena is right in assuming a connection between suffering and the actions of humanity. However, this doesn’t necessarily refute the existence of a Creator God. In fact, the Jain concept of past lives are a replacement for suffering which can not be directly connected with human action.
Let me explain, there are certain events in our lives which you may be able to connect together. For example, suppose you were speeding on the highway. This a reckless action because 1) you are breaking the law and 2) you are placing others at risk. If an accident were to precede your speeding, causing harm to your body and vehicle, then you can not place this blame on God or Karma, you can only place this blame on yourself. The accident was caused because you were speeding.
Jinasena and other Jain philosophers would agree with me up to this point. Suppose that a second person was involved in the accident. A mother of three children suffered bodily injury due to the action your speeding. Now who is to blame?
Jain Dharma would state that although it is the person’s speeding that caused the accident, the mother was there at that time because of her Karma. If a Creator God existed, then He would stop the suffering of the mother. The logic would then follow that since the accident was not stopped, He does not exist. This is only the cause of the mother’s bad Karma.
In this view, God is compared to a type of superhero who’s job is to stop all evil in the world. The idea that no bad things could ever happen to you because God exists is based on this false idea.
Imagine if God actually did intervene in this point – that somehow your car automatically slowed down. Suppose also that the mother of three was set on a different path. In both situations the car would now be in complete control of God, and He would be the one driving.
Considering all the possible situations which could cause accidents, God would most likely have to be in control of multiple cars at once, perhaps even all the cars and vehicles in the entire world.
If this was truly how the world ran, then perhaps instead of doubting God’s existence, you would instead be cursing at God, much like an unruly teenager rebelling against their parent. The charge would be that God does not allow you to exercise your free will.
So we must choose: free will or a God which does everything for us so that nothing bad ever happens to us.
Karmic philosophy was erected as a crux to explain why bad things happen to good people, and whether or not we can ever achieve a point where no bad things would ever happen to us.
Let’s quickly address a common question related to this very point:
There is an immense amount of extreme poverty in the world. God can do something about it, why doesn’t He?
Charitable and government organizations agree that there is enough food to feed everyone in the world. For the past two decades, the rate of production has far exceeded the rate of population growth. There is enough food to feed 10 billion people, and the world’s population has not even reached to that point yet.
It is not that God has not provided for all, but instead that His provisions are not reaching those in need, primarily due to the corruption of man. Political and cultural differences and conflicts in particular are a major cause of this.
So then why doesn’t God do something about this?
Once again, to do that, God would have to violate your free will. Therefore, He works through organizations and peoples who have a true desire to aid those need. There are numerous Christian organizations who have taken up the cause of fighting hunger including Compassion International, World Vision, World Help, Feed the Hungry, and Samaritan’s Purse.