Refutation of a unscholarly individual 2
by, Jan 20th 2009 at 12:59 AM (480 Views)
So why is there all this cruelty in the world, which did God let the genocide occur in Rwanda why are there children dying from AIDS in Africa, why is Mugabe in Zimbabwe letting inflation skyrocket? If God is so omnipotent why does he let all this happen? What I aim to achieve through this is explain why an omnipotent God might let this injustice occur in our world.
So anyway, in introduction…Charles Templeton was once a very strong believer who was great friends with Billy Graham perhaps the greatest evangelist of the modern world. In Charles Templeton was once said to even surpass Graham in the pulpit (there’s a word you don’t hear too often Mr Warren) He was a very inspiring speaker from God’s word and on the cusp of a very successful career.
But something happened in the late 40’s, he began to doubt his faith. First sign of disintegration was his criticism of Graham’s view of the authority of God’s word. Then his faith crumbled like the walls of Jericho when he saw a picture in the LIFE magazine, he describes it as so:
“It was a picture of a black woman in Northern Africa. They were experiencing a devastating drought and she was holding her dead baby in her arms...and looking up into heaven with the most forlorn expression. I looked at it and thought, 'Is it possible to believe that there is a loving or caring Creator when all this woman needed was rain?' How could a loving God do this to that woman? Who runs the rain? I don't. HE does-or that's what I thought. But when I saw that photograph, I immediately knew it is not possible for this to happen and for there to be a loving God. There was no way. Who else but a fiend could destroy a baby and virtually kill its mother with agony...when all that was needed was rain?”
These questions crumbled his faith and he duly quit from speaking and evangelising and took up politics and writing various books. One of his books was called Farewell to God: My Reasons for Rejecting the Christian Faith, which was released in 1996, which we get our quote from. His views are very common with the views that the person I was refuting but the general argument of most atheists.
So in this writing I will address why this all happens and why God lets all this suffering continue day after day on our planet.
Alright, this is going to be hard…hmm to start let me define you a word which not very many Christians ever talk about…Holiness. Holiness in its meaning is twofold, one, it describes the moral perfection of God and two, the transcendence and literally the distance between God and man. So that is holiness in a very short sentence. This holiness is continually applied to God in the Christian faith as according to the Scriptures:
Revelation 4v.8: Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to
Psalm22v.3: thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.
So basically, what I am trying to say is that God is a Holy God. And he alone is Holy.
Now on the sixth day of time, God created man in his very own image and he was very good. Man was a perfect creation, and a holy creation in light that God is essentially holy and therefore his activities are all holy. He breathed the breath of life into him, and thus gave him a conscience that discerns right from wrong because he breathed into him the Holy Spirit.
Man was free to roam in the Garden of Eden, which was a paradise of sorts with “trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food”. Man was given some power, they were allowed to name the animals, he had dominion over all the animals. But man was not happy enough with this, Adam and Eve were both tempted to take the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil by the crafty serpent. The Bible recounts the serpent’s words:
“You will surely not die…for God knows that when you eat of it…you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3v.4.
The Devil here undermines the word and authority of God. He convinces Adam and Eve that somehow God was mistaken when:
The Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die”” Genesis 2v.16-17
You must see that the promise of God is this you will surely die, as it is known that “The wages of sin is death” Romans6v.23. You must see that sin isn’t a sterile quiet gentlemen, it could be, but it changes form it can be in the beggar’s rags as well as in the rich man’s garments. It dwells with the rich and with the poor.
So anyway the first bite of the fruit that Eve took, it is symbolic of the refutation and ignorance of Man of the goodness of God. Adam by partaking of the fruit in effect proclaimed that he deemed the words of the wily serpent to be true over the words of God; he rejected God truth in place for the world’s truth. The Adamic covenant was broken and the Lord God had as much right to destroy and decimate Adam as easily as he gave life to Adam he could as well end it, for the Lord is holy and is sure to carry out his promises.
So here comes in the grace, unmerited favour, he did not strike man. God in his holiness had the right to cause man to die; he spared them from immediate death and even killed a lamb to clothe them of their nakedness. But he placed Curses on the Devil who tempted and the woman and the man.
To the woman he said, I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children, your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you. To Adam he said…Cursed is the ground because of you through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you and you will eat the plants of the field, BY the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return. Genesis3v.16-19.
So the whole point of the past few paragraphs was to ascertain the cause of death and suffering into the world. Man, man alone brought this all on himself; he was the one who partook of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. He was the one who disobeyed the commands of a Most Holy God and wilfully rebelled.
So why is there all this death and suffering? Because it is the wages of sin that man earns as he continually despises God. God did not design us to be bloodthirsty, self indulgent killers. God didn’t make us all destroyers of dreams, child-killers, authority-haters, God-haters, self-worshipers, he created us holy and in his image. Sin mars the image of God in us and we, as a result, are a truly fragmented people.
So: If you had a child and he cheated on his girlfriend would you give him aids or famine and then when he died, when his horrible treatment during life seemed like enough punishment, you throw him into the fiery furnace of hell to burn forevermore?
Well no I wouldn’t because I am not God. God is holy and I’m afraid we do not fully know the full effects of sin. Just one point, sin has made man a mortal creature, man would have lived for ever but the Fall caused man to lose the Holy Spirit in him, the bible says: “for dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3v.19). The entrance of sin into man’s soul caused him to be nothing more than dust. The disobedience against God means that we were no longer slaves to God to take care of the Garden of Eden, but rather we are now slaves to sin. Sin is the transgression of a very good law, which God instated. The power of sin is great and I am afraid humans can never know how much evil and venomous sin is. God hates sin for it has infected his creation, just as a gardener pulls out the weeds God will destroy all that are infected by the sickness of sin, but will keep those who are pure.
People often accuse God of really doing nothing to help the people in Africa; he is doing nothing to stop the children from dying from cancer. But Jesus during his time upon this earth addressed this as according to the word in Luke 13v.4 when he is asked
“Those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them – do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?
“I tell you, no!”
You see Jesus here says that suffering is often not related to personal sin. Many children die from AIDS everyday, many more die for the convenience of their mothers. And why? Not because of sins that the individual has done but because God does so choose to end their lives before others. So I am saying the children that have done nothing wrong literally, they are still under the wrath of God and no one can question God’s holy timing.
Yes I know it sounds tyrannical but what can clay say to its maker if the maker discards it? God is wholly holy and righteous, no man can question him at all. I am speechless I cannot explain it but know that God has blessed me to let me survive for 16 years under his grace alone, and most of you guys for a lot longer. I think why atheists always use this argument because of their pride. They think they are so big and significant, they think they are on an equal level with God. But this is faulty with the Christian for the atheist has forgotten the holiness of God i.e. the sheer distance between God and man. Man is nothing but a slave to God or to sin. The holiness of God is perhaps the only thing that prevents these events from appearing as pure tyranny and autocracy. Whereas suffering is to produce the reverse effect and humble man and make him realise that God is the only one that heals and breaks.
Furthermore, there is suffering in the world because God withdrew some of His sustaining power from the world. Romans 8:22 tells us that the whole of creation is groaning and travailing in pain. Everything is running down because of sin. God has given us a taste of life without Him and surprise, surprise, a world full of violence, death, suffering and disease results. If God withdrew all of His sustaining power, the creation would cease to exist. Colossians 1:16–17 tells us that all things are held together, right now, by the power of the Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ. However, in one sense He is not holding it together perfectly, as He is deliberately letting things fall apart to give us a taste of what life is like without God. In other words, God is allowing us to experience what we wanted—life without God. So all the calamities that happen in the world are so many demonstrations of the wrath of God; and hence we learn what an awful destruction awaits us, if we do not turn and repent. For Christ said after the above verse that: “But unless you repent you too will all perish”. And I’ll tell you what after death you will surely be put in hell a fiery place with eternal suffering.
Also, as just a side point, suffering causes man to be more desperate. The people in Africa I am sure are so much more receptive to the gospel than say the arrogant Americans (lol and oh I put an alliteration there). As an analogy, the GM Motor executives didn’t need help till the economic crisis occurred, so as too, God needs to strike fear of death and what is on the other side to cause us to take notice of Him. Human hearts are hardened toward God and his goodness, and he needs to break the façade that we so often have that everything is all right. God allows the suffering to cause us to realise our own insufficiency to atone for the sins that we have committed.
So perhaps what I take issue so much with this form of argument is the assumption that humans and God are on the same level. When in reality God is infinitely above us and we are actually servants to him and at that unprofitable servants.
Finally, a refutation of atheists in general. I am not an atheist for they have no hope, no meaning in this life. What hope is there for an atheist? Like honestly I can’t wait to get rid of school, but after that there is uni and then if that isn’t enough you work for the next 50 years till you save enough to retire and your kids might even buy you a apartment at Malvina Major. What hope is there, what meaning is there to living your life like a machine? The Christian brings to the table hope of life beyond this world: eternal life in heaven. The Christian has a meaning: to spread the love that was lavished upon them to the rest of the world. To a terminally ill child an atheist can only say, “Sorry man, you’ve used up all your lives.” Or something like, “Aww that’s good, survival of the fittest, Haw, Haw.” But the Christian can confidently say in Christ you will not perish but have everlasting life for God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son to die on the cross for you. For you.
So do I think that a murderer or a rapist can be a child of God? Or perhaps even a child molester? No I don’t believe so, I would believe unequivocally if it was a penitent child molestor but a good tree bears good fruit and a bad tree is cut and sent to the fire. I don’t deny that their sins are great but the blood of Christ easily covers all sins. Just as the lambskin covered Adam and Eve, God covers Christians in the ‘skin’ of Christ, which causes us to be blameless in his sight. So God’s wrath is settled and we are holy in God’s sight once again, our image not broken by the effects of sin.
So finally, to just self-destruct this whole argument this all up: Ravi Zecharias, a leading Christian apologetic whom I don’t necessarily always support, he says: One cannot disprove the existence of God by introducing the reality of evil. Evil exists only if an absolute moral law exists...but an objective moral law exists only if God does. [So] to raise the question to disprove God is self-defeating.