Powerless or Not Good?
Last week’s article has undoubtedly raised a centuries-old question about God. Is God all-powerful and all-good? If He is good and powerful we would think that He would not allow the innocent to suffer, so He must be lacking in one of them. This is a difficult challenge. I will not pretend to have all the answers for that question. I would, however, ask you to consider the following principles taught in the Bible. If you disagree you’ll have to argue with God about it or discount the Bible as untrue. There is uplifting and encouraging news in this!
- God loves everyone. Psalm_145:9 “The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.”
- On His list of priorities the most important thing is that we also love sincerely. Mark 12:29-31 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
- Since such love is the most important, what would be the very worst sin we could commit against God? Many would list murder, oppression, torture, injustice and the like as being the worst. On a person to person level that applies, but the question asks about our relationship with God. I would conclude that the worst sin is not practicing the most important commandment God gave us, which is love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. Is there any human being on earth that has ever done that?
- God is at work everywhere in the world to everyone by way of the witness of creation, conscience and circumstances in life. This leaves us all without excuse according to Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
- WAIT!! The good news is that God is willing pay the penalty for all sin by everyone for all time in the Person of Jesus on the cross. The physical torture was not the big issue, it was bearing the sin. 1 Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross…” Isiah 53:6 “…the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” That offer is ours to accept or reject.
- Regarding the suffering of the innocent consider Heb. 11:35-38. “There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated–the world was not worthy of them.” We need to remember that the last chapter of their story is yet to come.
We now have a choice to make. We can acknowledge God as the Creator, Owner and Sustainer of all things, admit we are the sinners and accept His offer of forgiveness by paying the penalty for us. Or we can decide that there is no God to be accountable to, but if there is we can measure up to the requirements or handle the consequences ourselves.
Still learning what it means to love,