I know that to be a Christian many have to accept that the world is some how fallen from Gods grace and that, because of our sin in Eden, we are struggling to get back to that perfection. However this view of our world presents a problem for me. In that God, the all powerful, must then choose to accept this fallen state.
How can you square the fallen world with a perfect God? In Genisis God seems not to know what happened to Able. If you read this litterally God seems oblivious to what Cane has done. Only after Abels blood calls out to God does he realize what Cane did. I would say that this is a story and not intended as a litterally transcribed interview between God and Cane. But I digress. God must have known exactly what mankind was going to do in Eden. If this is so then He has allowed things to deteriorate in Eden. But that does not bode well for God as creator since as soon as he makes his creation a lowly man screws it up, so much so that it takes the sacrifice of God himself to redeem the world. Free will you say? Ah but that is still saying that it is Gods plan that the world should fall.
Again in Job, there is a bet between God and Satan about Job. This seems to be, on the surface, running counter to the monothesim of Judaism. Here two supernatural powers argue about how much Job will take before he cracks. God lets Satan have free reign over the life of Job, killing his kids, destroying his house, and basically ruining him. Not a very nice God. You could blame Satan but the entity is only able to do to Job what he does because God allows it.
I could go on like this with biblical illustrations about how much God lets happen, or inflicts vicariously through others upon his chosen people. To me this picture of God needs to be rejected. This is the theology of pre-atheism. For there is no surer path to non-belief than to try and fit this kind of Don Corleone God with the world and a desire to worship. It destroys faith on several levels. Firstly it creates a God that does not care about his people. Secondly it limits his power and creates the neccessity of a preisthood to "help" build His kingdom thus creating an aristocracy of the religious where certain brothers or sisters are higher than others. Lastly its illogic drives the unconverted away like the plague.
Only by rejecting the fallen world scenario can we begin to accept the awsome all powerful, all loving, ever living, God for what God is. For rejoicing in the life we have in this perfect world, accepting the calamity not as a devine punshiment or trial, but as aspects of cause and effect, reveling in the little aspects of iintrinsic perfection all around us. Relinguishing our hauty claim to know absolutes in right and wrong, good and evil, and humbly accepting that only God can know this. Far from banishing God to a backwater diety that simply sits and watches creation. We accept his gentle breath moving upon the wates of creation, not creating a more perfect world, but simply changing the world making it neither more or less perfect.
Suffering is real as is joy but these are only responses to situations created by cause and effect. It can take a hammer and smash my thumb. It will hurt a plenty and it is not devine punishment or anything elese but the effect brought about by the causal hammer.
This means that we have to read Bible with an even more open mind and spirit than before. The God in Gensis is now nolonger really unaware of Cane killing Able. He is listening to Cane, knowing what has happened. Understanding all the motivations and consequences, before Cane does. He understands that pain, loss, and what we call evil, is all aportioned as they are in his perfect creation. Where no evil or good really exists at all.