Monday, June 16, 2014

Answers to Life’s Tough Questions; My Ten Good Questions Against God (Final Part)

                  I submit the answers that have satisfied me to the questions I posted in my previous blog in the hope and prayer that these answers will resonate in you.

            Questions against God either lead us towards HIM or away from HIM. Fundamentally, if we temporarily ignore agnosticism, we have two broad options - theism (belief in God) or atheism (denial of God’s existence). If we choose not to believe in God, then we ought to subscribe to chance or randomness or a similar variant.

            It takes more faith to be an atheist than a theist. Consider a question, “how did the universe come into being?” The theist will affirm God as the creator of the universe with all its minute fine-tunings and splendor. The atheist will posit the universe to have randomly banged into its fascinating existence. When the atheist denies God, he denies causal intelligence, so the only other option for causation is chance or randomness.

            Isn’t it simple and realistic to believe that God created and sustains the universe; an intelligence behind a fascinating creation?  

            Analogically, how did a dictionary come into existence? A simple yet realistic belief is that man’s intelligence created the dictionary. Dictionary did not randomly bang into existence.

            Hence, it takes more faith to be an atheist than a theist. An atheist who denies faith in God places his faith on an obscure aspect such as chance, simultaneously taking great pleasure in it. Rejecting God leads people into murky and muddy waters, more often a quicksand situation leading to the death of their soul.

Q1: Why wasn’t I born in a wealthy home? Why wasn’t I born in a country that’s more sophisticated and comfortable than India?

Q2: Why didn’t God gift me an eidetic memory or the mind of a genius to excel in studies and profession or why didn’t God gift me with incredible athleticism to excel in sports?

Q3: Why didn’t God give me influential friends who would have helped me ascend greater heights?

            Desiring for a better status in birth (wealthy home and a better country) or greater gifts (eidetic memory or being a genius or athleticism) or influential friends presupposes a notion of selfish pleasure via greater good a.k.a. “I want to be better than what I am now.”

            A human mind stakes claim to omniscience when it desires for a greater good. When desiring for a greater good, the mind affirms that it is good to possess a greater good.

            If I am to travel to a particular location connected by air and road, then for the sake of time it would be better to fly to that location. This is the greater good.

            But would I be 100% certain that my flight would reach safely? No, none of us can be sure. Hence, although I desire for a greater good, I would never be sure if that’s the best plan for me, for I am not omniscient. Only God is omniscient.

            God alone knows what is good for me and you. More often, we will never know what is good for us and what is not.

            It’s better to be born in a poor yet godly home than being born in wealthy yet godless home.

            Furthermore, two questions can be asked – one existential and another metaphysical. First, “Has not God blessed me now?” There are people living in poverty - without basic necessities of life. Comparatively, God has blessed me abundantly.

            Second, “Do I know the extent of blessing that would satisfy me?” Given his selfishness, man would seldom be contented with his possessions.

            But if God is a maximally great being, then my life ought to be subordinate to God. If God is my Father, then I am HIS child. So I should learn contentment (cf. Philippians 4: 11b), for HE alone has the best plan for my life.

            However, it would be more legitimate for homeless, who lack life’s basic necessities, to ask this question. But wouldn’t homelessness be extinct if the wealthy share a portion of their blessings to bless the homeless with basic necessities? God blesses the haves for the blessing of the have-nots (Cf. James 2: 14-17). Therefore, the presence of poor is not the failure of God but the failure of the wealthy that are selfish.

            God is a God of love, justice, and perfect knowledge. My birth and gifts are HIS decisions for my life. The foundation of God’s decision is HIS perfect love and justice. Although there is nothing wrong in desiring for something better, I stand satisfied with what I have been given because God has blessed my life in accordance with HIS plan for the universe and me. I trust in God’s love, justice and perfect knowledge.

            Furthermore, when God who rules the heaven and earth is always with me, why do I need influential friends, who are mere subordinates to God? Therefore, when I learn to be content, I would need more of God than influential friends.  

Q4: Why did God give me suffering? More so, why are babies born with birth defects? Can’t the Almighty God prevent this evil from occurring? Does HE not know the demands and the ensuing stress the parents endure?

Q5: Why do the wicked prosper, especially those who perpetrate horrendous evil? Why do the righteous suffer and suffer much?

Q6: Why does God allow despicable upbringing of children that often results in their notoriety in abusing fellow humans?

            Although the God of the Bible offers the best answer to the conundrum of evil, the problem of evil is a question every worldview must answer, be it atheistic, agnostic or theistic.

            The problem of evil does not pose an explicit contradiction or a logical incompatibility between God and evil. In fact a logical consistency between God and evil has been proved by positing morally sufficient reasons for God to allow evil.

            The probabilistic problem of evil can be adequately reasoned out; man’s finitude and the Bible’s reasoning for the plausible coexistence between God and evil are more than adequate. Works of the Christian analytic philosophers Dr. Alvin Plantinga and Dr. William Lane Craig can be accessed for a deeper grasp into this subject.

            God does not cause evil. Evil exists because God allows it for a season and for a reason. The Bible teaches that God will destroy evil once and for all. The Bible also teaches that evil will not be totally annihilated in this time and age. So the question is not if God can destroy evil, instead it’s about why God allows evil.

            This question can be raised from another vantage point. Could not have God created a world without evil? Wouldn’t a world without evil be the best of all possible worlds? Is this world we live in the best of all possible worlds?

            To cut the long story short, I borrow Dr. Plantinga’s thoughts to state that this is the most feasible world available to God with the quantum of good and evil that was, is, and will be present.

            The Bible teaches that suffering is inevitable for man. But how do we endure suffering? Every human being suffers either momentarily or for a period of time. But the God of the Bible never abandons HIS people who are suffering. In fact, God strengthens HIS people to endure suffering (1 Peter 5: 10).

            Personally, I experience God’s comforting and encouraging presence in my suffering.  The key to endure suffering is to stand firm in our faith (1 Peter 5: 9 Cf. Job 1: 21, 6: 10). I see suffering as an opportunity to get closer to God.

            So faith in God is mandatory to endure suffering and to receive HIS strength, wisdom and power, for it is only God who can offer the power to bear the pain. Moreover, we know that this suffering is only momentary and in the world that is to come there will be no more suffering for those who believe in God.

Q7: Why has God made it difficult for people to understand, believe and love HIM?

            Statistics emphasize that theists vastly outnumber atheists. Since most people believe in God, the question whether God has made it difficult for people to know HIM is self-destructing.

            However, the question gains legitimacy from within the perspective of individual worldviews. A Christian may wonder why not all are Christians and likewise a Muslim may wonder why not all are Muslims.

            Since there can be only one maximally great being called as God, it is God’s responsibility to reveal HIMSELF to people. Therefore, if God has adequately revealed HIS presence and activity, then this question becomes invalid.

            The Bible emphasizes that man suppresses truth to believe in the lie and that mankind would be without an excuse on the Day of Judgment (Cf. Romans 1: 18-20). Therefore God has revealed HIMSELF more than adequately for man to believe in HIM. When man denies God, it’s the fault of man and not God.  

Q8: Why do wealthy Christians not part with their abundance for noble deeds?

Q9: Why do Christians hate each other so to harm their own brother and sister who have done no wrong?

Q10: Why are Christian churches corrupt so to render God as non-existent and destroy the faith of God’s own people?

            Evil and Corruption in Christians and in Christian churches are inevitable since all men are sinners. The Bible affirms this fact when it emphasizes that there is not even one who is righteous.

            But Christians, by virtue of their supernatural transformation, are to continually grow in holiness. Once again, it’s not God’s fault that a Christian or a Christian Church fails to grow in holiness, but it’s the fault of the individual and the institution.

            God has done everything for man to be better, but man chooses not to be better. God allows man to sin. Although man can draw power from God to overcome sin, he chooses not to draw this power from God, which then is the fault of man and not God.

            A Christian or a Christian church fails because they do not remain in God. When we do not remain in God, we are devoured by the devil.

            One cannot expect 100% perfection from any Christian church for the church is a congregation of sinners. Although a church may appear to be righteous from the outside, it more often is not righteous when the church’s private is publicized.

            Primarily, the elders of the church of Jesus Christ are to practice love. This love ought to be showered upon those who support as well as oppose them.

            The contemporary church is content to let people walk away from their church. However, the church of Jesus Christ should go after that one (believing) sheep, just as how the Lord incarnate went after that one sheep leaving the ninety nine behind (Matthew 18: 12-14). 1

            What then is the solution for the Christian church? Sadly, I believe this situation will worsen in the future. The Bible affirms much of the Christian church to be an epitome of evil (Cf. 2 Timothy 3: 1-5; Matthew 7: 14). Many Christians and Christian churches will possess a form of godliness, but their godliness will be devoid of God’s power (v5).

            In a nutshell, the majority of Christians and the Christian churches will be lovers of pleasure than being lovers of God.

            How then should a Christian live? First, he should remain in Christ. Second, he should live for the truth by constantly battling the devil by the power of God.

            Christians who live for the sake of God and HIS word will be grossly outnumbered and will live as a minority. They will be persecuted by their own family (Matthew 10: 36) – the biological and the Church family. The Bible affirms, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…” (2 Timothy 3: 12, NIV, Emphasis mine).

            Christ implores us to remain in HIM through the following words, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 10: 37-39).   

            May we realize God’s enabling power to find Christ, remain in HIM, and love HIM always. Amen.  


1 The lost sheep in the Matthean narrative refers to the believers, while the lost sheep in the Lukan narrative refers to the unbelievers. 

No comments: