Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Three major questions about God - WHOA!! Abandonment, punishment & Killing


Had such an interesting and I'm afraid futile (as far as I was concerned anyway) conversation with a beautiful person on social media just recently.

This lovely Person had turned away from Christianity because they couldn't reconcile the God of the Old Testament to the God of the New.

We chatted and chatted for quite some time and we have left it to both consider the others viewpoints.

Afterwards I was left with this person's questions and actually they are quite good questions and deserve a thorough answer.

Question one evolved something like this
"If God is all-powerful and supposedly all-loving why does He condemn people to hell?"

Thinking about this question caused me to ponder some facts anew - I must admit I had come to that very question in my early life following Christ and it was surprisingly refreshing to think again on why does God send people to hell.

The thing to consider here in my opinion is the fact that God cannot and will never look on sin. He won't and in fact He can't. God is so holy that His very presence is righteousness itself - a bit hard for us even to contemplate because we are living in such a fallen and evil world.

We often try to put our minds into the minds of God and we often tend to think that God's mind runs along the same track as ours - so wrong - in fact we couldn't be more wrong. Isaiah 55:9 says
" As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways 
and my thoughts than your thoughts."

So God's ways are so so different than our ways - His thoughts are so so different from our thoughts.

God cannot and WILL NOT tolerate sin. God also gave us a free will - not a robotic will. He leaves us free to travel our own road - to deny Him or to accept Him. None of us NEED to be lost to Him NONE of us!

So would He allow a person to be lost?

Because of His great love God did everything He could so that we ALL could be saved. Sending Jesus to pay the price was that ultimate gift.

NO! He doesn't want us to be lost - any of us ever. But God does leave us free to pursue whichever way we choose.

the second question involved feeling "Abandoned by God" .

My social media friend had prayed and prayed about this and to them the heavens above were as steel. None of their prayers were answered in fact the opposite seemed to be more the truth. Instead of comfort there was stony silence and disaster.

OK so you are distressed, worried and have come to the end of your rope. Maybe a child is sick, your job is redundant - a myriad of things can go wrong in an instant - we have, most of us been there and done that.

We Pray - we feel God isn't listening - the silence is deafening - everything screams out to you that God is simply not there.

If it is any comfort here - We are not alone - many amazing Christians in the past have felt the same - C.S.Lewis and C.H.Surgeon are just two who have written copious amounts on this very subject. You just have turn to the Scriptures and read Psalms to realise that they are filled with cries of help to God.

Have you ever considered that you may be going through this trial for a REAL reason?
In 1 Peter1:6-7 we read this amazing bit of Scripture:-

 "In this rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been 
grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith 
more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire 
may be found to result in praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ."

So maybe you are going through this terrible trial period for a reason - the thing is, that we shouldn't fall away and shirk such trial periods but keep pressing on with Christ and relying on His promises and reassurances.

Please take heart knowing that sorrowful/sad/horrible times and even feelings of abandonment by God are all very important times of growing in your Christian walk. God has promised He will never abandon us - Keep walking the path by faith with Jesus the very author and finisher.

Question 3 was "Why did God allow such terrible violence in the Old testament?"

Great question and one I reckon such a lot of Christians have struggled with over the years.

My mind travels to the Canaanites - massacred by the Israelites - men, women and children. The Bible record is very clear that God commanded that they kill everyone.

For hundreds of years the Canaanites were disobedient to God - aware of His power but choosing to live immoral and disgusting lives - child sacrifice and incest etc.

We are all guilty of sin - each one of us - all born into sin but surely God doesn't condone infant killing? Just a thought on this - maybe God's very presence here in taking those little ones actually spared their lives to live with Him - maybe just maybe when grown they would have reverted to the culture of their day. Interesting thought.

At the end of the day, the issue of God actually commanding this violence in the Old testament is a truly difficult question for us to tackle.

My personal answer to this one is that it is entirely up to God, the giver and taker of life, to justify why these things are done and the consequences of that action.

The thing is that through his grace and mercy, those who are willing can repent and turn to Him and be saved.

The main thought to take away from the Canaanite experience here is, I feel, that God is a God who will NEVER tolerate sin. He is JUST yet HOLY and LOVING, GRACIOUS and MERCIFUL.

Turn to Him today - accept this amazing offer and start pressing on with Him.













2 comments:

  1. Hi Bruce,

    Great post once again & these are tough questions that are always thrown up when talking to those who have walked away from the church, as well as those who simply oppose God for any reason.

    If I may add a couple things to these.

    Re Q1. God does not condemn people to hell. People condemn themselves to hell. God established a path (two actually) by which people can be saved from hell. 1. Keep the Law. 2. Follow Christ. When people choose to reject & oppose God that is when they choose sin over grace & as we know, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23)

    God consigned all men to sin, NOT to condemn them to hell but so that He could have mercy on all & so that the promises of salvation & eternal life through faith would be given to those who have faith & believe. (Rom 11:32 & Gal 3:22)

    Re Q2. God never abandons His people. Sometimes though He says “No” in answer to our prayers. God even said “No” to Jesus when Jesus prayed in the garden that if possible He would not have to go through death. “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matt 26:39)

    God is always with His people & in spite of what we may think or feel, we must trust & hold fast to our faith. As He says, “I will never fail you nor forsake you” (Heb 13:5) And also remember that as we MUST go through trials for our growth & strengthening, The Lord also promised, “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, and strengthen you.” (1 Peter 5:10) Plus we must remember too that when we are tempted, we will only be tempted to the point we can handle. “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength” (1 Cor 10:13)

    Re Q3. This is the hardest of all but the reason the Canaanites & other nations were destroyed & dispossessed was because God promised the land to Abraham & those peoples were great sinners. They always did what was evil in his sight, just as Sodom & Gomorrah sinned greatly & were destroyed. God did not do random acts of violence. It was the evil of the people who rejected Him that caused their own demise. Just as it will be the evil of every individual who rejects God that wll be their downfall unless they repent & turn to God.

    Anyway, just thought I’d add my two cents worth (although it got a bit long winded…more like two bucks worth! LOL)

    All the best…John

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    1. HI John - thank you for your reply - Must admit they are hard q's but God is amazing and wonderful - His forgiveness overwhelms me and I can only thank Him for all that he has done for me. Thanks for you two bucks worth

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