Judging our Judge, Part 2
In my slightly silly, futuristic fantasy Do you believe in man? I tried to depict the incongruences of Darwinism by putting the theory in the “minds” of man-made computers. Though it fails as a perfect analogy, I hope it demonstrates the self-imposed limits of naturalism which hamper true scientific inquiry, and the ridiculousness of the theory that intelligence rose from non-intelligence.
I also intended it to show the futility of the attempts of a created being of a certain order or dimension to fully apprehend the higher order or dimension of its creator. And the arrogance in thinking itself uncreated because its creator is not apprehendable by its limited processes.
Such futility and arrogance applies to our cross-examination of God in his dealings with men. We may ask the questions…How can a good God have ordered the killing of innocent children?…Why would an omnipotent God allow such wholesale destruction from natural disasters?…Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will? (Romans 9:19)…but in the end we must admit and accept that our understanding of one so much greater than us will always be incomplete and less than we would like. This is not a cop-out or a plea from ignorance. It is a totally rational conclusion from the obvious reality of the hierarchy according to cognizance and capability that we see in the created order, and which we can and must apply, to an even greater degree, to the relationship between the created order and the creator.
That being said, God does not discourage nor frown on honest questions borne of our human nature as reasoning creatures. The Psalms and Job are full of them, and God himself says in Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, let us reason together.” There are truths we can ascertain about him and he commends us for seeking them (Jeremiah 29:13).
One of the clearest and simplest truths that should guide our understanding is that since God created all life, he has the right to do with that life as he will. We may not like it, we may charge him with unfairness, but we cannot deny that he has that right. But this should always be balanced with the truth that he is good. This truth, of course, is called into question when his deeds appear nothing short of evil. But the operative word there is “appear.” We “see through a glass, darkly” (1 Corinthians 13:12). Our vision and understanding are clouded, for a variety of reasons, oftentimes because we really don’t want to see.
I refer you to a simple illustration which I shared with one of my readers and which you may have heard before. Suppose your sister or wife was 8 ½ months pregnant and she experienced a dramatic event, only the barest details of which were given to you. All you were told was that a man with a knife slit open her abdomen to get at her child. Was this the horror of a murderous, cold-blooded, child-stealer? That conclusion would fit the facts. But an opposing conclusion also fits: the man was her obstetrician who, with the aid of anesthesia, performed an emergency C-section to save her life and the life of her child.
So when we look at passages in the Bible that seem to paint an image of a God who is callous, indifferent, vindictive, unjust, or otherwise evil, we must approach them with the acknowledgement that our vision is limited. Those who are unwilling to accept that will never arrive at a totally coherent conclusion. If they reject God outright as nonexistent because of perceived evil motivations or deficiencies in power or concern for his creation, how do they reconcile that with the clear revelation of his compassion and love? How do they even know what to expect God to be like?
If they acknowledge some sort of god but reject the God revealed in the Bible because he cannot account for all his actions to their satisfaction, what can they know about this god that does satisfy? And how do they account for the transformative power of Jesus’ life, death, and apparent resurrection that changed the course of history?
If they stubbornly refuse to believe unless and until they have answers to all their questions, they must be content with an explanation for the origin of the universe and the beauty, complexity, intelligence, and apparent design of all life within it that is void of any prior intelligence or purpose. I know many will say they’re fine with that, but it is an incoherent conclusion.
Well, this is already long and I didn’t get to much of what I wanted to say. I appreciate you struggling through these issues with me. Feel free to share your insights as I continue endeavoring to express what I believe God has shown me.