After yesterday’s post on the God I don’t believe in, here is something on the God I do believe in:
- The God who created the universe out of his love
- The God who made us out of his love
- The God who cares for us out of his love
- The God who grieves for us out of his love
- The God who has died for us upon a cross, and who does everything possible to lead us back to him out of his love
- The God who is love!
Yet the question always arises in any event like the Norwegian atrocities, ‘How can a loving, caring God allow it?’
Eighteenth Century philosopher and sceptic, David Hume, puts it this way: ‘Is He willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then He is impotent. Is He able but not willing? Then He is malevolent. Is He both able and willing? Whence then is evil?’
The Bible takes us back to a world that is perfect in every way. God creates the heavens and the earth, the vegetation, animal life and human life. ‘God saw all that he had made and it was very good’ (Gen 1:31). It describes how God set men and women to rule over the earth. Surely, they would obey God perfectly in such a perfect world? Surely, we would do the same in a world without suffering and pain? But no! Adam and Eve in a world without suffering chose against God! The best of all possible worlds ceased to be the best possible world as sin entered in – and all of humankind ever since has been affected.
God created in love, and you may say, ‘How could a loving God allow sin to happen?’ But love involves freedom. What if God forced us to love him? It is a contradiction in terms, because you cannot force someone to love you. You can attract them, woo them, care for them, appeal to them but you cannot force them! If you force them, what they give in return would not be love. God’s love gives us freedom to love him in return and freedom not to; freedom to obey him and to disobey; freedom to choose life and freedom to choose death! A consequence of God’s love is that the freedom he gave has given us includes freedom to sin, and we see the results of that all around us: in Norway, in Afghanistan, in our own lives.
I hope that I would still believe in this God if, God forbid, it were my own children who died in an act of atrocity. A question remains: where was God when 93 or more people were killed last Friday, by the actions of one man?
May be tomorrow ….