This is an expanded version of a talk I gave to Sandra Champlain's Sunday Service on May 17, 2020.
The question of why there are pain and suffering is an old as humankind itself. In this bonus, I take you back to my Sunday school days with a metaphysical interpretation of the Creation story. Is what we are living really God's Plan B? What if we got the lesson of that story exactly backward?
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Hey everybody, a few people have asked me to make more individual videos with myself because you can't, I don't get a chance to do a lot of talking sometime in my interviews because I think you're there to hear from the guests. So I'm going to be making a few more of these. But to let you know, there are also individual videos of me on my Patreon. What Patreon is a way that you can support the podcast financially by making a monthly donation. And if you donate $5 or more a month, you get access to those bonus videos that I put on Patreon. So this will give you an example of what those videos are like. what I want to talk to you about today is a universal question that's been around since man has been around. And that is, why do bad things happen? Why is there pain in the world? Why is there suffering in the world? Why would why would the world be this way? Let's go back to the very beginning when I was a little kid, I grew up in a fundamentalist Pentecostal church that was led by my grandfather who I call Pop. And actually a lot of people refer to him as Pop even though he was my grandfather, didn't like that. But so
When I was growing up in Sunday school, we learn Sunday school lessons. Of course, one of the first lessons is from the book of Genesis, which is the first book of the Bible. And the first story in the book of Genesis is the creation story that we some times known as Adam Eve story. Now, the interesting thing about that story, a couple interesting things. One is there are two creation stories in the Bible, which a lot of people don't realize, but there are two, and there's some slight contradictions between the two. And in the story of Adam and Eve, we were taught this was a literal story, that there was a man named Adam woman named Eve, Adam was created from the dust, there was a talking snake, there is a tree of the knowledge of good and evil. There's an apple in the tree, even though the Bible didn't say Apple, and etc, etc. I think you probably are very familiar with the story.
The thing about that story, there's some some problems that the story is actually literal. First of all, Adam and Eve in the story had two sons that doesn't mention daughters. So how did they progress
Create from that point on what happens when you have all the inbreeding, you'd have to have to populate the earth from one couple. You have a talking snake, you have a supposedly idyllic place where there's no death. And I was actually taught this there was no death before Adam and Eve sin. Imagine a world where things are being born and created, but nothing ever dies, or quickly become overpopulated. So let's set aside the problems with the literal interpretation. And let's talk about the metaphysical interpretation. The story, which I didn't even know existed for several decades after I was taught the literal interpretation. And the metaphysical interpretation of the story actually, really makes a lot of sense. So let's think about that for a minute. What if we got it wrong? What if the story wasn't about Original Sin, being in a fallen world coming into this world already have been marked by the mistake that Adam made, so that we come in as sinners were put as enemies of God
That's why all the bad things happen. What is the story is a story of birth, a story of going forth, a story of adventure of, of growing and obtaining knowledge on our own. What if Adam and Eve, the story it says, For example, Adam is created from the dust of the earth, what does that represents? Adam coming from a physical from a spiritual perspective, which we all are spirits before we become physical, and then kind of being married with the earth by being literally created from the earth, and having this physical incarnation, where Adam gets to make choices. And in the story of Adam and Eve, Adam represents, for example, the rational side of us or the thinking part of us. And even the story of Adam and Eve represents our feeling side of us, our love our emotions, and these things come together to create us as a whole human being. The snake in the story always gets a bad rap, but what is the
snake represents the desire to, to experience the physical, to be able to learn from our senses, because that's how we take things ends as human beings we take things in through our senses. And what if the tree of the knowledge of good and evil represents the choices that we make as we go as we navigate ourselves through this physical world, because in every experience, we have choices, we have a choice, we can choose fear, or we can choose love. We can choose compassion, or we can choose greed, we can choose to become better, or we can choose to become better. And we if we didn't have these physical experiences, we wouldn't be able to make these choices, and we wouldn't be able to learn and grow from them. Now another thing I think is really, really interesting in this story, is when Adam when he was created, Adam was put into a slumber and evils are created from his rib now, it's interesting also, the atom was created from a dust but he was created from Adam when
Adam was put into the slumber What if this is kind of forgetting that we are these spiritual, you know, beings and just really becoming kind of asleep to that and we become totally immersed in this world that we're in. So what is this world? And is this is this plan A as I think it is? Or is this plan B, as I was taught originally that that God created this world that was going to be perfect. He puts Adam and Eve in the garden, for some unknown reason he puts a tree in the garden says you can have anything, anything in this in this garden except for this tree. But if you eat from this tree, you'll die, which they didn't die on that day. You surely die on that day. And we're going to go to plan B, which is what we're living through. But what if it wasn't designed that way? What if it was designed to be the way that it is? What if we look at school, Earth as a school, or as a gym, or as a boot camp, or maybe even as an obstacle course a lot of times or going through life, we feel like we want to get from point A to point B and there's all these things in
way all these obstacles? What if this, like those obstacles actually are our path, but they're not in the way of our path blocking your path. But they are a path if you can imagine. obstacle courses, if they didn't have any obstacles on them, they wouldn't be much good. I mean, Shane, and I used to love to watch American Ninja Warrior, which was one of the most tough obstacle courses there are, you know, can you imagine the contestants going through the obstacle and saying, why is this rope wall here? Why is this ladder here? Why is this water here? Get the stuff out of my way. So I can just run the course no one asked, of course, the obstacles are there as part of the design. They're there for the challenge. They're there to so that we can test ourselves. So while we're here on this earth, we are here to develop as fully grown human beings, developing love developing compassion, and remembering and going back to kind of where we are as spirit beings. So for myself, as I said, I started off
I had this fundamentalist background which really caused me a lot of pain and anguish, thinking I was enemy of God, that I was a sinner that deserving all the other punishment that I was going through wondering what's gonna happen to me after I die. And because of all those fears I had, I did a lot of research on the afterlife on life after death, on frankly, other religions to see if every other religions taught this stuff. And I learned quite a bit I learned about this metaphysical viewpoint, I learned that God was a loving God or if you want to call him God or creator spirit or whatever, so I was feeling pretty good about all that stuff. And then it happened. As you are aware, probably my daughter Shana, who passed away when she was 15 years old and 2015. As of today, it's been 1700 and 89 days, not that I'm counting, but I am I count every day. She was 15 years old, as I said in 2015. And she suddenly passed away when Shana passed away, that
Really, as you can imagine, knocked me off my feet. I had to start questioning everything again. Why would this happen to me?
Why, you know, what am I going to do now? Do I even really want to be here anymore? Frankly, this is this is too much. I can't I can't deal with this. I will say that I will always miss Shana I miss her to this day. It'll be five years in June, recording this extra five years next month and the coordinates of May of 2020. I will always miss her. But after Shana passed, some things started happening to me. All these synchronicities started happening. I started meeting people. I started being becoming aware of different events, a path kind of opened up before me. That led to things like I started working with the organization called helping parents heal, an organization that helps parents whose children have transitioned. I found I ran into a guy named Mark Pittston, and start working on the soul phone project. And ironically one of the first books I
Read after saying no, after saying well before Santa transitioned about 15 years before, was a book by a guy named Dr. Gary Schwartz and I'm actually working with Gary Schwartz now. So all these things started coming together that put me on a very different path that I would have been on if Cena hadn't passed. If Cena hadn't transitioned when she did, I wouldn't be doing any of those things. And finally, through this whole series of events that I can't even
articulate to you right now, about a year ago, I got the idea to start grief to growth and grief to growth is what I'm doing today. It's while you're listening to this video, I started thinking, What if I was planted? What if I was not buried as I felt like that I was been crushed under all this and I would never come out from under it. But what if I was planted? What if I was given an opportunity to take this and to grow and become a bigger and better version of myself? never to return? It's interesting when I deal with clients who are going through grief a lot of times will ask me When will I
back to my old self when the group be over. And what I tell them as, frankly, you don't want to become your old self. I mean, why go back to where you were before when you can go forward. And in a way of putting it is, Why waste the pain. If we're going to go through all this pain, we might as well use the pain to grow to become better versions of ourselves. So we're not going to go back to where we were, we're going to we're going to come for, we're going to blossom, we're going to be bigger and better people. So as part of grief to growth, I am a life coach, a grief partner, I work with people that are going through grief. I'm an author and author of the book grief to growth, as you're probably aware of, and I'm a podcast host on tour right now. And none of these things would have happened if it not been for Shane is passing.
So as we go through these challenges in life, they do changes and they are part of the design. So I wouldn't be doing pop justice. If I didn't throw in a couple of Bible verses. I don't log I no longer identify as
Christian, but Bible as part of my background, there's still a lot of great stuff in the Bible, a lot of wisdom in the Bible. One of my ancestors is Thomas Jefferson. And he made the comment that the Bible is I'm going to paraphrase. So diamonds and dung, and frankly, there is some dung in the Bible, there's some stuff that, you know, just can't be justified, you know, slavery, misogyny, you know, racism, etc. But there's a lot of really good stuff in the Bible as well. And there's a verse that people quote, and I do happen to agree with this. And I've learned this the hard way. Romans 828. And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love them, those who have been called according to His purpose. Now, interestingly enough, back in my years I was going through I was studying the Bible. I was reading the Bible. I read that verse, And frankly, I didn't believe it. I didn't seem to be like that's the way the world works. Ironically, after Shana passing, after the worst thing I could imagine possibly ever happening. I actually do believe that verse now. I've been
Got a whole different perspective on life, why we're here. It's not just to be easy, and cushy, it's not just to be like a vacation. And for everything to be perfect, we're here to learn and to grow. And all these things, even the things that even the obstacles, even the things that we see as bad, are here for our own good. And they will eventually work out to the best good, highest good and I truly, truly believe that. I'm going to tell you another real quick story from the book of Genesis. Awesome. And it's a story of Joseph and you may have heard this story, Joseph and the many Technicolor code or something, there was a Broadway play about it. But Joseph was a character in the Bible. He was like, I think 11 of 12 children and he was loved by his father. He was the favorite of his father. And his brothers were jealous of Joseph the father gave Joseph this coat to kind of set this kids my favorite. Joseph had this ability to to interpret dreams in a way that was really life changing. And the brothers got jealous. So frankly, they
They took Joseph, they killed him, they smeared his coat with blood and said he didn't kill him sorry. They threw him in a pit. They spirit his coat with blood, they sold him into slavery, and told his father that he was dead. So Joseph is taken off to Egypt where he's a slave. But Joseph was not to be held down, Joseph still kept interpreting dreams and his reputation grew. And he finally became an advisor to the king. And they interpret a dream for the king that predicted the upcoming famine, and that famine because they knew the fam was coming. They could plan for years in advance, they stored up food. So when the famine hit, they had food to survive the famine. And so Joseph's fame is now known throughout the land, it gets back around to his brothers. They're scared to death because first of all, Joseph is alive. And secondly, Joseph is now in a position of power where he could destroy them. And what Joseph says to them is, do not be afraid. I mind the place of God. As for you what you intended against me for evil god in
tended for good, in order to accomplish the day like this, to preserve the lives of many people, therefore do not be afraid I will provide for you and your little ones. This is what Joseph said to his brothers, Joseph realize that had not his brothers thrown him into that pit, sold him into slavery, he wouldn't have been in the position later on in life, to do the things that Joseph was sent here to do to save the people that he saved. So I also want to tie this back into the near death experience, which I think we can learn a lot from. And this is one of the lessons from the near death experience. I recently interviewed Heidi Craig who had a near death experience. And she told us that, you know, she's basically learned three things. One is all as well. Whatever we're going through is where we're supposed to be, I will be well, so whatever we will go through, and this is kind of follows as what we're supposed to go through and it's all for our good. And the third thing is we were unconditionally loved and we are never alone. So I know that life
often seems confusing. It seems pointless, and it can seem seem insanely difficult.
We all go through that. And as I said, that's part of the design. And one of my favorite Danish philosophers is Soren Kierkegaard fact he's the only Danish philosopher. I know. That's why it's my favorite. But I love this quote, it says life could only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward.
And I want to talk to you about an exercise I do with my clients that kind of reinforces that. So think about the tragedies that you've gone through in your life, the worst thing that's happened to you, maybe it's losing a job, maybe it's a divorce, maybe it's the death of a loved one. I remember when I was a little kid, my parents transferred me from one school to another. And I felt like I was losing all my friends and I, to me at that time, seemed like a major disaster. But all these things that we go through in life, think about one of those things and make it a few years ago if you can, because we get perspective as we get farther out from the event. If it's something you
going through right now you really can't see it. But think about anything good from that. To come from that don't learn anything from that, am I in a better position because of what I've been through. And I think almost every single time, if not every single time, you're going to find that some amount of growth came out of that, that it puts you in a position that you would not otherwise have been in. And because you're in that position, you're actually a better person for it. So to wrap up for me now, this is all come full circle, from the trauma that I got from hearing the Genesis story, when I was a little kid and how it made me feel like I was a terrible person from the tragedy of China's passing at those things hadn't happened to me to put me on the path that I'm on now. I wouldn't be sitting here having this conversation with you that I'm having. So I want to encourage you as you're going through trials and tribulations, and it seems like this world doesn't make any sense.
That all as well. All will be well. You're unconditionally loved and you will never be alone and everything will be okay. So I hope that helps you out. Some of them make some sense to you. If you have any questions if you want to ever want to reach out to me visit me at www dot grief to growth calm. It's www.grief2growth.com I'd be happy to answer any questions you have. Thanks a lot and have a great day.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Grief Guide | Life Coach | Consultant
Brian Smith is a certified life coach, a grief guide, and a small business consultant. Brian's mission is to help others by sharing lessons he has learned from decades of experience and study.
Brian became well acquainted with grief in 2015 after the sudden passing of his fifteen-year-old daughter Shayna. After Shayna's passing, Brian felt his life was over. He had to learn to survive for the sake of his wife, Tywana, and their daughter, Kayla. Brian has studied the nature of life and death and how to progress through grief.
In his grief work, Brian provides a safe space where you can safely share what you are experiencing. Brian shares techniques that he discovered and developed after his devastating loss. Perhaps most importantly, he can help you understand that death is not goodbye and that your relationship with your loved one can continue. His understanding is not a religious-based belief, but a position arrived at based on reason and evidence.
Shortly after Shayna transitioned, Brian discovered Helping Parents Heal, a non-profit peer-to-peer support group for parents of children who have passed. Brian volunteers with Helping Parents Heal and is a leader of the Helping Parents Heal Online group. Brian has worked with hundreds of parents who have lost children. Brian is a member of the Board for Helping Parents Heal. He volunteers for the SoulPhone foundation.
Brian is on the board of the SoulPhone Foundation and Helping Parents Heal. Brian is the author of "Grief 2 Growth: Planted. Not Buried." He is the host of the Grief 2 Growth podcast. You can find Brian at www.grief2growth.com.