This is a comment I saw on a news website in which the reality/identity/nature of God was being flippantly addressed in a featured article. Not surprisingly the following comments included a lot of snide, crude, “smart” and bigoted content; as well as the usual arguments trying to “prove” God’s non-existence.
I thought the following comment was worth addressing.
First the initial comment, then my reply to it.
Let’s take the Boxing Day tsunami, countless children ripped from their mothers arms, god could have stopped it if he wished but decided it was a good thing to let it continue.
I think it is impossible to reconcile this with the idea of a loving god.
That’s quite a leap isn’t it – projecting a moral determination onto God – that He decided it was a “good thing” merely because He didn’t stop it.
You also assume that a loving God SHOULD have stopped it.
But where do you get the idea that God is “loving” and that His love requires Him to wrap every single human being up in cocoon of safety so that nothing bad could ever happen to anyone?
Also, what makes you think that human safety ought to be His number one concern? And that if HE allows anything bad to happen to any human, then He’s either not loving or He doesn’t exist?
In addition to my original reply, I’d like to add the following:
Why should this particular event (the Tsunami of 2004) be considered as a greater challenge to our understanding and expectations related to God than any other event involving human tragedy?
Clearly the matter of scale makes it stand out, but bringing it down to the individual level, is it any more tragic for a family to lose a loved one in a large scale disaster than “merely” losing them in a smaller domestic accident?
How many (or how few) casualties do there need to be within a single event for God’s existence (as a loving God) to be widely questioned? And how relevant are those human expectations that lead someone to raise those questions?
Why is it that so many people can go through their day to day lives giving God no thought at all – but when something bad happens, He springs to their mind, often in a dismissive, accusatory way:
“How could a loving God allow… ?
This is an article my friend Steve recommended.
“Wisdom is crying out to be heard, and is lifting up her voice where we are most likely to be.
This is not the conception we often have of God’s wisdom.”
This brings to my mind a section of scripture that to me has a lot of overlooked significance. It’s a reference I’ve highlighted several times in the past.
“They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved…” (2 Thess 2)
God is not hiding, or making Himself hard to find. He has made Himself known and continues to make Himself known. We need to be sure that WE want to know Him.
Do we love the truth?
Do we want to love the truth?
Mankind can be very inventive in the ways he can devise reasons to reject God.
In recent online discussions I came across a person who asked:
“…whether God would tell his invention that he was God, or if he’d keep it a secret… For, people wouldn’t necessarily believe him – anyone going around screaming that they are God is dismissed as lying””
The implication is that IF there was God, He’d most likely hide Himself from us because we wouldn’t believe His claim of deity anyway.
I really don’t understand how anyone could think there was any reasonable substance to that kind of thinking.
Instead of pondering on whether God WOULD tell His creation about His existence, a more reasonable question is HAS He already done so, and if that’s the case how?
Some of the way’s He’s made Himself known, are through:
1) Creation itself.
2) In Person
3) His deeds
4) His word.
5) His Son
6) His Spirit
7) His people
8) Dreams & Visions
He is not hiding.
The important thing to keep in mind is consistency. No genuine revelation of God will contradict any other genuine revelation of God. For example, in the simplest and most basic of terms, nothing GENUINELY revealed through any of the methods listed above will contradict what God has revealed through scripture.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (Revelation 21: 1-7)
The matter of the new heavens and new earth can be quite overwhelming.
It is God’s ultimate intention.
It is the very last revelation God has given to us.
He has not revealed anything beyond the establishment of that new creation.
We can get very caught up with THIS world and OUR lives that we forget that God is moving towards something beyond the here and now. Even the (wrong) perception of “heaven” being our eternal destiny tends to keep our minds fixed on this world, giving the impression that everything will continue on as always: the only difference being a change of residence from earth to heaven as we each reach the end of our earthly life.
The fact is that this world is coming to an end. This world was NEVER intended to be permanent. It was GOOD when God created it but it was never intended to be His BEST.
From the beginning this world had a limited use. It could never go on forever. This can be seen in God’s command to “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it…”
Has anyone ever considered what the outcome would be if man had never sinned (and therefore death had not been introduced) and had continued to be fruitful, increasing in number… how long would it have taken for the world to become impossibly crowded?
That makes it clear that the maintenance of this world was never God’s intention.
Scripture shows us that God’s ultimate goal has always been a new heavens and new earth which will be the home of righteousness. That is the climax of God’s revealed plan for His creation.
The current creation ALWAYS had a potential for sin. The new creation will have NO potential for sin. The potential for sin was necessary to ensure that God could obtain a willingly obedient people to adopt into His family. Willingness requires the provision of a genuine choice. Such a choice also presents the possibility of wilful disobedience. That of course was the outcome when Adam and Eve willingly disobeyed God’s sole prohibition in eating the forbidden fruit an act that led to condemnation for all men.
Of course God was not taken by surprise. He had foreknown Adam’s sin and a plan for man’s redemption had been ordained even before the world had been created. This plan is glorious beyond our comprehension. It enabled the salvation of mankind without being dependent upon anything within mankind. Sinful man could do NOTHING to bring himself again into right relationship with a Holy, just and righteous God. But God didn’t leave man in that helpless and hopeless situation. While man had no power to save Himself, God was more than able and willing.
It is impossible to adequately describe God’s means of saving mankind. Words like glorious, amazing, brilliant and extraordinary are all inadequate. It has incredible breadth and countless facets, all of which turn the focus back on the redeeming creator instead of the redeemed creature.
He has provided a way through which all of mankind has the opportunity to be freed from the sin that has separated us from Him. That way is an expression of God’s mercy, His love and His justice. It is not arbitrary and favours no individual above another. Mankind is given both freedom and responsibility, making us accountable for our sin but giving us the opportunity to be freed from it. God’s justice demands that sin be punished, and in His mercy He Himself took the punishment for our sin.
All of this is part of God’s grand plan. It all fits together. From the initial creation followed by Adam’s sin right through to the destruction of this world and the creation of a replacement. Every part of the process has a reason. Everything is leading up to God making His home with a family chosen from among mankind; from all ages and from all nations, tribes and tongues.
And who is chosen to become part of this “grand plan”? Those who have trusted in His Son and His righteousness instead of trusting in themselves and their own self-righteousness; those who through the working of the Holy Spirit have recognised how unworthy they are and have sought and submitted to His mercy; those who rely on Him to forgive their sins and to cleanse them from unrighteousness; those who will receive the gracious gift He has freely given.
No matter how much I have tried I continually fail to glimpse the glory of God’s gospel. At times it seems like I’ve almost grasped part of it – but when I try to put it into words no language seems sufficient to translate that partial glimpse into something tangible. I think all of our attempts to put the indescribable into words will continually fail until we meet Him face to face..
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
“Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.(Rom 11:33-36)
An article I originally posted 5 years ago.