6 – If Noah did fit all of these species on the ark for forty days and forty nights, how did the penguins make it from Mt. Ararat to the Antarctic? How did the koala bears make it to Australia with no eucalyptus to eat along the way?
See #5, #1
7 – Why do innocent children have to suffer with terminal diseases such as cancer? What part of ‘God’s plan’ is this exactly?
Children, though innocent of personal sins, are born into a fallen world. Being part of the race of Adam, they are not exempt from the suffering which results from mankind’s broken relationship with God. Why doesn’t Almighty God simply put an end to this suffering? Well, he could (he is God of course), but simply putting an end to the just result of Original Sin would not redeem human nature or forgive sins. Ending suffering would not affect man’s soul or his eternal destiny, so God does something far better. He puts on human nature, sanctifying human nature and bringing suffering upon himself. Thus suffering is made part of the Divine Nature, and transformed from a meaningless appendage of evil into something God-like and redemptive. When we suffer, we suffer with Christ (with God), and this suffering redeems and purifies us. This doctrine, known as theosis in the East and deification in the West, is illustrated in the above Byzantine icon entitled The Ladder of Divine Ascent.
8 – How is it that the bible explains the earth to be 6,000 to 8,000 years old when we know that dinosaur bones are at least 65 million years old? This isn’t the only example of our planet’s age by any means, either.
9 – Why can’t the all-powerful God forgive someone of their sins after they die? Example: A Christian man that is seemingly on God’s good list makes a stupid decision and decides to drink a little too much at the fish fry. On his way home he crashes into a mini-van killing a mother, her two children and his self. This man led a very faithful life and made one stupid, yet grave mistake. If this man did not ask for forgiveness of his sins before the electrical activity in his brain ceased, then God will judge him and send him to hell to burn for eternity.
I think there are two issues to address. I will speak on the second first.
We must not think of people as on God’s “good list” as if God is some cosmic Santa Clause weighing whether his children have been more or less naughty or nice. Nor must we think of good people as those people who have chosen good actions are least fifty percent of the time. Rather, we should think of people (especially the Baptized) as on a path to holiness. If people cooperate with God’s grace, they will grow more and more like him, increasing their holiness. In a moment of weakness, if one chooses evil, this holiness is impeded and (if the action is grave enough, which drunkenness and vehicular manslaughter certainly are) constitutes a rejection of God’s grace and a hardening of one’s heart. If someone dies unrepentant in this state, God gives them what they freely chose, and this hardening of heart continues in eternity. They will not be receptive to the love of God, nor will they grow in his image. Rather they are drawn inward on themselves, railing in hatred at the love of God. This is hell. The fact that Mr. Christian lived a decent life up to his last few hours is irrelevant. Did not Our Lord say, “’Soul, though hast much goods laid up in for many years take thy rest. Eat, drink, and make good cheer.’ But God said to him, ‘Thou fool, this night do they require thy soul of thee!’”?
Now the first question: why can’t God forgive sins after death? Well, some sins can be forgiven after death (St. Matthew 12) These imperfections which are the result of human weakness, yet do not kill the grace of god inside us will eventually be burned away (though painfully) by the fire of God’s love. This the Church understands as Purgatory. But some sins, mortal sins, constitute a turning away from God and a hatred of his law. These cannot be forgiven in the next life because when a person dies their soul enters eternity. Human will, just like Angelic will, is fixed at the entrance into eternity, for how can a soul change its mind when there is only one eternal now and therefor no time which to change it? When a person dies, their choice either to love or to hate is fixed forever.
10 – God wants everyone to worship and follow him and, if they don’t, they burn in hell for all eternity. What does this type of attitude say about his character? By definition, he would be described as a tyrant.
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Hell is NOT punishment for failure to worship God. Hell is where those persons who have chosen evil are eternally hardening their hearts to the love of God, and they gnash their teeth in hatred of him. God is the be all and end all of existence and thus does not need our worship. The reason we are told to “seek first the Kingdom of God” is because God is the greatest possible good, and thus if we seek the greatest possible good all else will fall into place. So we see that it is not for himself that God demands worship, but for us that we may be content in this life and happy in next.