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The next day, she died.  I'm not sure she even got the chance to hold her babies.
My dad....again, I'm sure everyone was praying for him.  Yesterday morning he died, basically just worn out.  He was 75.  It all happened very fast - between the hospital calling to say "better come today" and calling to say "he's gone" was about 45 minutes.
My sister, my mother, my father.  All good Christians, all good people, with their church praying for them all.

Life stinks.  I am so, so glad that there is no god.  Because a god that would do all that.....

That's all.

Deep and humble condolences in times of such difficulty. If I could, I'd just walk up to you and give you a bear hug for about five minutes straight. Please take no offense at my editing down of your post in the quoted lines above.

I would like to share what I consider to be one of the most important things I ever learned in law school. It concerns causation, an issue that as you might guess is very important in any lawsuit. Typically it is taught in the torts and criminal law courses.

There are two types of causation. The labels most often ascribed are: (1) actual cause; and (2) proximate cause. (Sometimes actual cause is referred to as factual cause, cause in fact, or but-for cause, and sometimes proximate cause is referred to as legal cause, in case you've heard those phrases elsewhere, but I will stick with actual cause and proximate cause here.)

Actual cause is a very easy test to meet: would the harm have occurred were it not for some prior conduct of the defendant? Many, many things are actual causes of harm. If my parents never conceived me, I would not be typing this post. Therefore, their conduct is an actual cause of this post. Relatively few cases revolve around actual cause. To the best of my knowledge, they usually involve whether a particular chemical or prescription drug is ever physically or chemically capable of producing particular physiological results.

Proximate cause is therefore usually where the squabbles are whenever causation is at issue. It is basically a limiting device on actual cause, attempting to decide at what point legal liability should attach and at what point the defendant's conduct is too tenuously or remotely connected to the plaintiff's/victim's harm for liability to still be appropriate. Different courts (and I am speaking entirely from a common-law perspective here, by the way) have devised different tests to determine whether proximate cause exists. Without trying to generalize too much, they ultimately boil down to a question of whether it is really fair to consider the defendant's conduct to be the cause of the harm that the plaintiff/victim suffered.

Here, in your situation, and in the tragic situations of any of us, I would say - as a Christian - it is entirely reasonable to ascribe any and all earthly suffering to God (now here's the caveat) but only to the extent of what I've just described as actual cause. If, as the Bible describes, God created Lucifer/Satan and all demons (collectively, for convenience, I will simply refer to Satan) knowing in advance that Satan would rebel, and if God created Adam/Eve knowing they'd plunge the world into a fallen state for millenia, then God is the actual cause of everything that Satan and mankind have ever done, including all evil and tragedy, because none of us would be here doing anything if it weren't for him.

However, it does not stand to reason that God can rightfully be described as the proximate cause. He did not directly kill your sister or dad. Granted, he most certainly allowed it to happen. But that does not mean that he wanted it to happen or couldn't have prevented their deaths. After all, God did not want Satan to rebel or Adam/Eve to fall. But he seems to have established "rules of the game" so to speak, which he will not violate the vast majority of the time.

Death exists because this is a fallen world, not the world as God intended it. Someday, it will be restored. And there will be no more sadness or death. I urge you not to blend actual cause and proximate cause. I urge you not to become irreversibly bitter towards God or even the concept of a God. I know these sentiments will likely fall on deaf ears on a site like this, but I'm here to say it as tenderly yet resolutely as I know how: God exists, and you shouldn't let even the most emotionally traumatic moments in your life persuade you that he doesn't love you, care about you, and want to spend all of eternity with you, blessing you with abundant joy, indeed rejoined with your dad and sister once again.

Again, I am deeply saddened by the passing of your dad and sister, even though I obviously never knew them personally. It would be an enormous trial for anyone in your shoes. My maternal grandmother has dementia, and she's in a pitiful state currently. God is allowing it. God also allowed diabetes to take my paternal grandfather and cancer to take my paternal grandfather. Is God an actual cause of my grandma's dementia, and was he an actual cause of my grandfathers' deaths? Sure. But I'm not angry with God, because he's not the proximate cause. Nor did such things cause me to no longer believe God exists. It simply shows the fallen state of humanity, which someday will come to a close.

Thank you for taking the time to read, and I sincerely hope you are able to emotionally cope more and more each day that passes. I submit to you each and every sentence I've typed in this post with the utmost respect and brotherly love for you as is in me and with as much humility as I could try to muster through the impersonal veil of written words.

Very truly,
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Hatter23 "fallen world" crap October 02, 2013, 07:11:54 AM