Last night I met James sitting at the bus stop in Bellevue. I asked him if he had a few minutes to take the intelligence test and he said he would. He did better than most people – he answered half of the questions correctly. When we reached the questions about God at he first stated that he was unsure if there was a God. However the other questions pertaining to the qualities of God he had definite opinions about.
He said that he does believe that God cares about right and wrong (good and evil), that there is a Heaven and a Hell, that you cannot get to heaven by living a good life and that God’s standards are not the same as ours.
When I questioned him about a his uncertainty about the existence of God he used a common argument that he doesn’t understand why an all-benevolent God would allow “Bad” things to happen. He said he has seen a lot of bad things and he doesn’t know why God would allow that to happen.
As I was on my run this morning I reflected on our conversation and gave some thought to the proper response to that type of question or uncertainty. I guess my question to James or anyone who has that question would be “what would you expect or want God to do?” and also “Have you done any “bad” things? Should he take away everyone’s ability to choose so that no bad things would happen? Should he put down his hand and stop those “bad things” from happening in every circumstance? Should he only allow bad things to happen to bad people? Should only good things happen to good people? This ultimately brings us back to the big question: How good is good and how bad is bad? Whose standard should we use? If we each go by our own standards then there is no one who could actually determine the difference between good and evil. Perhaps God should just put an end to everything right now and send the righteous to Heaven and the unrighteous to hell. So now the real question is: Are you good enough to go to heaven? Or have you done “Bad things”, too. So now the question comes down to not “what should God do?” But, rather “what should you do?” Will you confess your sins to God and accept his complete and total forgiveness through the sacrifice of his son, Jesus Christ? Or will you continue to blame God for the bad things that happen in this world and therefore reject his offer of free forgiveness through Christ and be condemned along with all the other people that have done “bad things”?
As I was discussing this with some of my other friends a last night I thought about what people are really saying when they blame God for evil things happening. This came up because Andrew also had a conversation last night with a man who claimed to be an atheist yet at the same time was angry at the attributes of God, namely, that he called for the “massacre” of people in the Old Testament. I believe when people speak like this they are trying to make God look worse than themselves in order to justify their sinful heart. If they can make God look worse than themselves then they can justify their own behavior and, therefore, call themselves “good” and God “bad or evil”.
Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, But who can find a faithful man? Proverbs 20:6