Seco Fett wrote:
Well, first off, nothing in the Bible was meant to be ignored!
Indeed. Which is why the symbolic point of view has a problem as it is hard to make everything into a symbol. That said however If someone cannot accept a book no matter what, is it not better to take what they can from the book rather than ignore it completely. Obviously you disagree with the whole idea of not accepting a book no matter what, so I suppose my suggestion is void in advance.
Seco Fett wrote:
But if Genesis is all symbolism, then why would God create a world in which Death, Pain, Disease, and Suffering are present. That would be a terrible god who would make us go through all that evil from nothing!
He didn't, He created a world with good in it which by default had to include a deficiency of good in it. A deficiency in good is bad.
Allow me to provide an example. How would you know you were happy if you had never been "not" happy?
Surely you would just consider happy to be "normal" if you hadn't experienced an alternative that was not as good as happy.
A metaphorical reference to this is "How would you know you were alive if no one died?" If there is no other option to consider it is just considered "normal"
Likewise God cannot create a good world without bad. How would we be able to know when what is good is good if there is never any bad to compare it to.
The classic comeback to what you have said is why would God have created man if he knew he would sin? Why did he not create man so he did not sin, then there would not be death, pain, disease and suffering? Better yet why did he create the forbidden tree? These are similar questions. Surely if God created a world in which there was temptation to take fruit from the tree then God created a little bit of bad in there. It depends whether you consider temptation bad.
At the end of the day, I don't think any of these questions matter. You can take one of two responses to this
The first I call the Ivan way (after Ivan Karamazov from The Brothers Karamazov)
There is evil in the world. This evil can be against people who by human standards are innocent and undeserving. Therefore I reject God, God is unfair, unjust and does not deserve worship.
The second is the Job way (after Job in the Biblical Book: Job)
There is evil in the world. This evil can be against people who by human standards are innocent and undeserving. However I am not God, I do not know what God knows, all I have is faith that God is good. Therefore I trust God is doing right and worship him as a result of this trust.
So some big things to consider there. Once again I'm not trying to cross any lines here, I respect your beliefs. I just enjoy philosophical and therefore theological discussion.