If God is All Powerful Why is There Chaos and Suffering in the World?
Bahram R. Shahmardaan, PhD
There is a spiritual law which says, "Will Divine, Wills to be all, in all, through all, but not All in All until ultimately".
The above Law operates because of the nature of the Source of all creations. The Source of all Sources is infinite, limitless and formless. It contains all the stuff that the Universe is made of and much more. Its nature is Love. One of the characteristics of Love is to give unconditionally and not coerce in any way. Love supports all activities and life forms that emanate from it and even those that deviate from its Will. The Source which is Love draws everyone to itself by giving of itself. The freedom to choose is an integral part of love. Where there is no choice, there is no freedom. Where there is no freedom Love cannot be expressed but it is suppressed. Love cannot be suppressed forever. When suppressed for a long time, at some point love will find a channel to break through the barriers that suppress it and if it does not have an outlet, the creation that is unable to properly canalize love will break down. So free will is a gift from the Source and is an integral part of all life forms.
Allow me to explain further.
With freedom comes responsibility. With action come consequences.
Although all creations live and move within the formless, limitless Divine Source of all sources, the Creator does not live and move freely i.e. express Itself in and through all creations. God moves through and lives within those creations that are oned with Him i.e. have surrendered to Him and are living according to His Will. An illustration of this can be seen in nature.
For every creation, there is an immediate source, a remote source and the ultimate source. The ultimate source of all creations is none other than God. To experience harmony in our lives, we must surrender to our source.
For instance, the immediate source of a seed may be the flower or fruit or the tree bearing the flower and fruit. But the remote source of the seed is the earth. Unless a seed surrenders to its source, the earth, it cannot even begin to live and grow. Once the seed surrenders to the earth, it is nurtured by the earth and the nutrients from the earth and the energy they provide flow through the matter that is the seed. The seed grows and becomes a tree and disperses its seeds which in turn will become more trees and the cycle will repeat itself. However the energy of the earth cannot flow through those seeds that do not surrender to it. If at some point in time, the tree loses contact with the earth because its roots either atrophy or are cut off, it will die. So the principle of surrendering to one's source and living in harmony with it is very vital for beginning life, maintaining one's vitality and staying alive.
This is a reflection of the fact that God canalizes His Will only through those creations that surrender to Him and live in harmony with Him. Since God made man in His image, God has endowed man with a limited free will. The free will human beings have, though limited is much freer than the free will granted to other creations on earth. Because creations have been granted a free will, God does not impose His Will upon them and does not come into their lives unless He is invited. Therefore God cannot function through those creations that choose to exclude Him from their lives because they are intent on asserting their own will to satisfy their respective minds.
Just because God has granted creations a free will, it does not follow that He has given up His freedom to express Himself. God chooses to maintain His Free Will and has a Plan for all of His Creations. This is reflected in the life of every creator. Every creator has a plan for whatever it is that he/she has created. Parents have plans for their children. So God also has a plan for every one of His creations. Pain and suffering are a result of the conflicts that result from our decision to follow our own plan based upon our limited understanding rather than fit into the Plan that is in the Mind Divine. Our refusal to surrender to God and live in keeping with His Will is the cause of all the suffering we experience in our own lives and are witnessing in the world.
Because the human body is limited, it succumbs to the cancer and/or other diseases that grow or fester within it. The Divine is limitless. Being limitless, unlike the human body the Divine does not succumb to the actions of its creations that are going against Its Will. But because its creations are going against Its Will, the Divine does suffer. This phenomenon is reflected in nature. No matter how much we pollute the earth, given enough time, nature cleans up the mess we create. In the process nature does suffer. Because of the pollution, many life forms get destroyed but new life forms emerge and thrive so long as they live in harmony with the natural environment out of which they emerged.
Many people think of God as being in a condition of bliss, joy, abundance and full of happiness etc. God is indeed blissful, secure and all of that. But God also suffers. The very first time I became aware of the possibility that God suffers is in the year 1967 when the late Dr. Dinshah K. Mehta, who is my spiritual Master, mentioned it and said words to the effect, "No one can bear the suffering of God. It is beyond the ability of the human mind to even imagine the extent to which of God suffers. The suffering of God is reflected in the suffering of His Servants such as the Masters He sends down to teach mankind. These Masters descend from the spiritual planes of creation to the material planes of which earth is a part. They descend to relieve the suffering of God. They do this by showing human beings how to live in keeping with spiritual principles that will enable them to surrender their will to the Divine and thus live in keeping with the Will of God. These are the Masters through whose teachings the great religions of the world began and which are still going on."
How to surrender one's will to the Divine has been explained in my book, The Journey of Life Eternal.
If we accept that God is everywhere and in everything then it follows that the happiness of God is the sum total of the happiness of all of creation and the suffering of God is the sum total of the suffering of all of creation. Being Limitless, God can bear the suffering caused by His Creation infinitely more than the individual creations can bear their respective suffering caused by their own actions. But all this suffering is not without a purpose. When the creations have suffered enough, then to relieve their suffering they turn towards the Divine to find relief.
Being Limitless, God is much bigger than all of creation which, no matter how vast, is still limited. All of creation lives and moves within the consciousness of God just as everything you experience i.e. your thoughts, emotional feelings, whatever you perceive through your senses etc. lives within your mind. This concept is supported by Lord Buddha when he said words to the effect: Everything arises in the mind, is created by the mind and is sustained by the mind.
So just how does suffering develop within creation which has emanated from Love that is Divine? Suffering is a byproduct of the process through which the Universe unfolds itself.
To explain creation in human terms one could say that the Creator Willed to Be and to become so that It may gain a better understanding of the varied potentials within itself and thus know Itself. Becoming is the coming of the Being. So you have to first Be before you can become.
More than 400 years ago, the great Iranian Sufi Jalaluddin Rumi said words to the effect, "In the material world there is no creation. There is only the becoming of the Being."
Jalaluddin Rumi's statement is supported by the injunction given by Jesus Christ when he is reported to have said words to the effect: "Be ye perfect as My Father in Heaven".
Perfection will automatically flow through those who are perfect. Because you can only become who you are and not who you are not Dr. Mehta used to advise: "Be so ere ye do".
As part of the process of discovery through creation, all the latent tendencies within the Creator, the negative as well as the positive are allowed to express themselves. The Creator supports the good as well as the bad. That the Creator allows the good and the bad to express themselves is reflected in Nature. The Sun shines equally on all plants. So also the rain falls on all evenly. The earth nurtures and supports all seeds that fall into it and surrender to it. Nature supports everything that exists and is non-judgmental. It is man who uses his limited knowledge and prejudices to decide what is good and bad according to his prevailing values based upon his insecurities. Values which change over time as man's understanding and desires change. This causes man to do things that are harmful to himself, other creatures and nature itself.
As the Creator expresses itself through its creations, many dynamic situations get created. Whenever the expression goes against the Will of the Source chaos and suffering is experienced. For the Universe to unfold without conflict and suffering, the consciousness' of the various creations through which the Universe expresses itself need to be surrendered to the Divine Will and thus become linked to the Divine Will. At the same time whatever is being expressed should be under the immediate control of the consciousness through which the Divine Will is being canalized and expressed. Such control can be witnessed in Nature and the movements of the heavenly bodies. When left to her own devices, Nature maintains her balance throughout the world. Predator and prey animals, whose behaviour are controlled through their respective instincts evolve simultaneously as part of Nature's balance.
Man is the only creature who has the freedom of will that allows him to manipulate nature to the extreme. Whenever man has interfered with nature the results tend to be disastrous. We can witness the devastation brought about by man's interference with the processes of Nature in Europe, Africa, Australia, the Amazon, Asia, the Americas, and even the Artic and Antarctic continents as well as the rivers and oceans of the world. Wherever man has interfered in the processes of nature, species of plants, insects, animals, fish and other creatures tend to suffer and many get extinct. As a consequence of his often well intended actions that are directed to increase the bounty nature provides, many creatures including man, suffer. Not all human actions are motivated by good intentions. Man's inhumanity to man and other creatures is well documented and is occurring even now as this document is being written.
In our ignorance and arrogance we are not heeding the advice given by the great and wise Chief Joseph Seattle. More than 100 years ago Chief Seattle reminded us with words to the effect, "This we know: This earth does not belong to man. Man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web he does to himself. Even the white man cannot be exempt from the common destiny. One thing we know, which the white man may one day discover-our God is the same God. You may think that you own Him as you wish to own the land but you cannot. This earth is precious to the Great Spirit, and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its Creator. The whites too shall pass; perhaps sooner than all other tribes. Continue to contaminate your bed and one night you will suffocate in your own waste. …"
As the acknowledged most intelligent and free species on earth, why are we doing this? Because man is out of control. In the pursuit of desires man exercises his free will to satisfy his mind and ego. In fact in the very declaration of independence of the USA, the Founding Fathers wrote that man has been endowed with certain inalienable rights among which are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness. Whenever we strive to satisfy our minds by pursuing our desires, we are out of control. The late Dr. Dinshah K. Mehta, Founding Chairman of Society of Servants of God, used to say words to the effect, "Undisciplined Freedom of Expression will lead to free-doom and not Freedom."
Reproduced below is a Script that was received by Dr. Dinshah K. Mehta in Spiritual Meditation. These messages were dictated to Dr. Mehta by the Divine Mind.
TREND in the present is not as I Will
TO HEAR what I Will grow unto Me
Received January 5, 1968
Bahram R. Shahmardaan, PhD