GOD

"Does God exist? Is there evidence for the existence of God?"

Does God exist? I find it interesting that so much attention is given to this debate. The latest surveys tell us that over 90% of people in the world today believe in the existence of God or some higher power. Yet, somehow the responsibility is placed on those who believe God does exist to somehow prove that He really does exist. To me, I think it should be the other way around.

However, the existence of God cannot be proven or disproved. The Bible even says that we must accept by faith the fact that God exists, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). If God so desired, He could simply appear and prove to the whole world that He exists. But if He did that, there would be no need for faith. "Then Jesus told him, 'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed'” (John 20:29).

That does not mean, however, that there is not evidence of God’s existence. The Bible declares, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world” (Psalm 19:1-4). Looking at the stars, understanding the vastness of the universe, observing the wonders of nature, seeing the beauty of a sunset – all of these things point to a Creator God. If these were not enough, there is also evidence of God in our own hearts. Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us, “…He has also set eternity in the hearts of men…” There is something deep down in our beings that recognizes that there is something beyond this life and someone beyond this world. We can deny this knowledge intellectually, but God’s presence in us and through us is still there. Despite all of this, the Bible warns us that some will still deny God’s existence, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Psalm 14:1). Since over 98% of people throughout history, in all cultures, in all civilizations, on all continents believe in the existence of some kind of God – there must be something (or someone) causing this belief.

In addition to the Biblical arguments for God’s existence, there are logical arguments. First, there is the ontological argument. The most popular form of the ontological argument basically uses the concept of God to prove God’s existence. It begins with the definition of God as “that than which no greater can be conceived.” It is then argued that to exist is greater than to not exist, and therefore the greatest conceivable being must exist. If God did not exist then God would not be the greatest conceivable being - but that would contradict God's very definition. A second is the teleological argument. The teleological argument is that since the universe displays such an amazing design, there must have been a Divine designer. For example, if earth were even a few hundred miles closer or further away from the sun, it would not be capable of supporting much of the life it currently does. If the elements in our atmosphere were even a few percentage points different, every living thing on earth would die. The odds of a single protein molecule forming by chance is 1 in 10243 (that is a 10 followed by 243 0’s). A single cell is comprised of millions of protein molecules.

A third logical argument for God’s existence is called the cosmological argument. Every effect must have a cause. This universe and everything in it is an effect. There must be something that caused everything to come into existence. Ultimately, there must be something “un-caused” in order to cause everything else to come into existence. That “un-caused” something is God. A fourth argument is known as the moral argument. Every culture throughout history has had some form of law. Everyone has a sense of right and wrong. Murder, lying, stealing, and immorality are almost universally rejected. Where did this sense of right and wrong come from if not from a holy God?

Despite all of this, the Bible tells us that people will reject the clear and undeniable knowledge of God and instead believe a lie. Romans 1:25 declares, “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator - who is forever praised. Amen.” The Bible also proclaims that people are without excuse for not believing in God, “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 men are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

People claim to not believe in God because it is “not scientific” or “because there is no proof.” The true reason is that once people admit that there is a God, they also must realize that they are responsible to God and in need of forgiveness from God (Romans 3:23; 6:23). If God exists, then we are accountable for our actions to Him. If God does not exist, then we can do whatever we want without having to worry about God judging us. I believe that is why evolution is so strongly clung to by many in our society - to give people an alternative to believing in a Creator God. God exists and ultimately everyone knows that He exists. The very fact that some attempt so aggressively to disprove His existence is in fact an argument for His existence.

Allow me one last argument for God’s existence. How do I know God exists? I know God exists because I speak to Him every day. I do not audibly hear Him speaking back to me, but I sense His presence, I feel His leading, I know His love, I desire His grace. Things have occurred in my life that have no other possible explanation other than God. God has so miraculously saved me and changed my life that I cannot help but to acknowledge and praise His existence. None of these arguments in and of themselves can persuade anyone who refuses to acknowledge what is so plainly clear. In the end, God’s existence must be accepted by faith (Hebrews 11:6). Faith in God is not a blind leap into the dark, it is safe step into a well-lit room where 90% of people are already standing.

"Is Jesus God? Did Jesus ever claim to be God?"

Jesus is never recorded in the Bible as saying the exact words, “I am God.” That does not mean, however, that He did not proclaim that He is God. Take for example Jesus’ words in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” At first glance, this might not seem to be a claim to be God. However, look at the Jews’ reaction to His statement, “We are not stoning you for any of these, replied the Jews, but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God” (John 10:33). The Jews understood Jesus’ statement to be a claim to be God. In the following verses, Jesus never corrects the Jews by saying, “I did not claim to be God.” That indicates Jesus was truly saying He was God by declaring, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). John 8:58 is another example. Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!" Again, in response, the Jews take up stones in an attempt to stone Jesus (John 8:59). Why would the Jews want to stone Jesus if He hadn’t said something they believed to be blasphemous, namely, a claim to be God?

John 1:1 says that “the Word was God.” John 1:14 says that “the Word became flesh.” This clearly indicates that Jesus is God in the flesh. Acts 20:28 tells us, "...Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood." Who bought the church with His own blood? Jesus Christ. Acts 20:28 declares that God purchased the church with His own blood. Therefore, Jesus is God!

Thomas the disciple declared concerning Jesus, “Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Jesus does not correct him. Titus 2:13 encourages us to wait for the coming of our God and Savior - Jesus Christ (see also 2 Peter 1:1). In Hebrews 1:8, the Father declares of Jesus, "But about the Son He says, "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom."

In Revelation, an angel instructed the Apostle John to only worship God (Revelation 19:10). Several times in Scripture Jesus receives worship (Matthew 2:11; 14:33; 28:9,17; Luke 24:52; John 9:38). He never rebukes people for worshiping Him. If Jesus were not God, He would have told people to not worship Him, just as the angel in Revelation had. There are many other verses and passages of Scripture that argue for Jesus’ deity.

The most important reason that Jesus has to be God is that if He is not God, His death would not have been sufficient to pay the penalty for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). Only God could pay such an infinite penalty. Only God could take on the sins of the world (2 Corinthians 5:21), die, and be resurrected - proving His victory over sin and death.

"God is unfair in that Hitler and a dear old lady (who never accepted Jesus) will both go to hell."

Sinners often accuse God of being unjust, because they assume that everyone will receive the same punishment in hell. God’s judgment, however, will be according to righteousness (Acts 17:31). This verse shows that there will be degrees of punishment. See also Mark 6:11.

"God told Joshua to kill every man, woman, and child, and He killed masses of people in Revelation. If that’s your ‘God of love,’ I want nothing to do with Him!"

God didn’t confine His wrath to the Canaanites, or to those mentioned in Revelation. He proclaimed the death sentence upon the whole of humanity. We will all die because we have broken God’s Law. Every one of us is waiting on death row. Instead of standing in moral judgment over Almighty God, we need to judge ourselves according to the Law of God. We will find that we have a multitude of sins and therefore are deserving of punishment. Yet God, out of love, paid the penalty for our sin so we would not have to.

"Where was God on September 11?"

On September 11, 2001, God was exactly where He always is – in Heaven in total control of everything that happens in the universe. Why, then, would a good and loving God allow such a tragedy to happen? This is a more difficult question to answer. First, we must remember, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9). It is impossible for finite human beings to understand the ways of an infinite God (Romans 11:33-35). Second, we must realize that God is not responsible for the wicked acts of evil men. The Bible tells us that humanity is desperately wicked and sinful (Romans 3:10-18, 23). God allows human beings to commit sin for His own reasons and to fulfill His own purposes. Sometimes we think we understand why God is doing something, only to find out later that it was for a different purpose than we originally thought.

God looks at things from an eternal perspective. We look at things from an earthly perspective. Why did God put man on earth, knowing that Adam and Eve would sin and therefore bring evil, death, and suffering on all mankind? Why didn’t He just create us all and leave us in Heaven where we would be perfect and without suffering? It must be remembered that the purpose for all creation and all creatures is to glorify God. God is glorified when His nature and attributes are on display. If there were no sin, God would have no opportunity to display His justice and wrath as He punishes sin. Nor would He have the opportunity to show His grace, His mercy, and His love to undeserving creatures. The ultimate display of God’s grace was at the Cross where Jesus died for our sins. Here was unselfishness and obedience displayed in His Son who knew no sin but was “made sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). This was all to the “praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:14).

When thinking of September 11, we tend to forget the thousands of miracles that occurred on that day. Hundreds of people were able to flee the buildings just in the nick of time. A small handful of firemen and one civilian survived in a tiny space in a stairwell as the one of the towers collapsed around them. The passengers on Flight 93 defeating the terrorists was a miracle in and of itself. Yes, September 11 was a terrible day. Sin reared its ugly head and caused great devastation. However, God is still in control. His sovereignty is never to be doubted. Could God have prevented what happened on September 11? Of course He could, but He chose to allow the events to unfold exactly as they did. He prevented that day from being as bad as it could have been. Since September 11, how many lives have been changed for the better? How many people have placed their faith in Christ for salvation as a result of what happened? The words of Romans 8:28 should always be in our minds when we think of 9-11, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, and are called according to His purpose.”

"I don’t believe that God is knowable."

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer?

This is one of the most difficult questions for Christians to answer.

The "problem of pain," as the well-known Christian scholar, C.S. Lewis, once called it, is atheism's most potent weapon against the Christian faith.

All true science and history, if rightly understood, support the fact of God. This evidence is so strong that, as the Bible says: "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalm 14:1).

Most atheists, therefore, without any objective evidence on which to base their faith in "no God", must resort finally to philosophical objections. And this problem of suffering is the greatest of these.

That is, they say, how can a God of love permit such things in His world as war, sickness, pain, and death, especially when their effects often are felt most keenly by those who are apparently innocent? Either He is not a God of love and is indifferent to human suffering, or else He is not a God of power and is therefore helpless to do anything about it. In either case, the Biblical God who is supposedly one of both absolute power and perfect love becomes an impossible anachronism. Or so they claim!

This is a real difficulty, but atheism is certainly not the answer, and neither is agnosticism. While there is much evil in the world, there is even more that is good. This is proved by the mere fact that people normally try to hang on to life as long as they can. Furthermore, everyone instinctively recognizes that "good" is a higher order of truth than "bad".

We need also to recognize that our very minds were created by God. We can only use these minds to the extent that He allows, and it is, therefore, utterly presumptuous for us to use them to question Him and His motives.

  "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Genesis 18:25).

    "Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, why hast Thou made me thus?" (Romans 9:20).

We ourselves do not establish the standards of what is right. Only the Creator of all reality can do that. We need to settle it, in our minds and hearts, whether we understand it or not, that whatever God does is, by definition, right.

Having settled this by faith, we are then free to seek for ways in which we can profit spiritually from the sufferings in life as well as the blessings. As we consider such matters, it is helpful to keep the following great truths continually in our minds.

There is really no such thing as the "innocent" suffering.

Since "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), there is no one who has the right to freedom from God's wrath on the basis of his own innocence.

As far as babies are concerned, and others who may be incompetent mentally to distinguish right and wrong, it is clear from both Scripture and universal experience that they are sinners by nature and thus will inevitably become sinners by choice as soon as they are able to do so.

The world is now under God's Curse (Genesis 3:17) because of man's rebellion against God's Word.

This "bondage of corruption," with the "whole world groaning and travailing together in pain" (Romans 8:21, 22), is universal, affecting all men and women and children everywhere. God did not create the world this way, and one day will set all things right again. In that day, "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain" (Revelation 21:4).

Jesus on the cross. Click here to read about Jesus. (Illustration copyrighted)

Learn about how much Jesus Christ suffered

The Lord Jesus Christ, who was the only truly "innocent" and "righteous" man in all history, nevertheless has suffered more than anyone else who ever lived.

And this He did for us! “Christ died for our sins” (I Corinthians 15:3). He suffered and died, in order that ultimately He might deliver the world from the Curse, and that, even now, He can deliver from sin and its bondage anyone who will receive Him in faith as personal Lord and Savior. This great deliverance from the penalty of inherent sin, as well as of overt sins, very possibly also assures the salvation of those who have died before reaching an age of conscious choice of wrong over right.

With our full faith in God's goodness and in Christ's redemption, we can recognize that our present sufferings can be turned to His glory and our good.

The sufferings of unsaved men are often used by the Holy Spirit to cause them to realize their needs of salvation and to turn to Christ in repentance and faith. The sufferings of Christians should always be the means of developing a stronger dependence on God and a more Christ-like character, if they are properly "exercised thereby" (Hebrews 12:11).

Thus, God is loving and merciful even when, "for the present," He allows trials and sufferings to come in our lives.

“For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Who made God?"

To one who examines the evidence, there can be no doubt that God exists. Every building has a builder. Everything made has a maker. The fact of the existence of the Creator is axiomatic (self evident). That's why the Bible says, "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God'" (Psalm 14:1). The professing atheist denies the common sense given to him by God, and defends his belief by thinking that the question "Who made God?" can't be answered. This, he thinks, gives him license to deny the existence of God. The question of who made God can be answered by simply looking at space and asking, "Does space have an end?" Obviously, it doesn't. If there is a brick wall with "The End" written on it, the question arises, "What is behind the brick wall?" Strain the mind though it may, we have to believe (have faith) that space has no beginning and no end. The same applies with God. He has no beginning and no end. He is eternal.

The Bible also informs us that time is a dimension that God created, into which man was subjected. It even tells us that one day time will no longer exist. That will be called "eternity." God Himself dwells outside of the dimension He created (2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 1:2). He dwells in eternity and is not subject to time. God spoke history before it came into being. He can move through time as a man flips through a history book. Because we live in the dimension of time, logic and reason demand that everything must have a beginning and an end. We can understand the concept of God's eternal nature the same way we understand the concept of space having no beginning and end - by faith. We simply have to believe they are so, even though such thoughts put a strain on our distinctly insufficient cerebrum.

If I can't see God, why should I believe in Him?"

Possible Response: "So if you can't see something, you don't believe it exists? Have you ever seen your brain? We believe in many things that we can't see. Have you ever seen the wind? Have you seen history? We see the effects of the wind, but the wind is invisible. We have records of history, but it is by 'faith' we believe that certain historical events happened. Television waves are invisible, but an antenna and a receiver can detect their presence. Do you know that you have a receiver? Your 'receiver' (your spirit) is dead because of sin (see Ephesians 2:1). You need to be plugged into the life of God, and then you will come alive and be aware of the invisible spiritual realm. Do you think that you have kept the Ten Commandments?"

It is amazing how it’s human nature to assume that because we believe or don’t believe something, that makes it true. Some may not believe in the law of gravity, and may feel they have "evidence" to back up their belief. However, gravity exists whether they believe in it or not. The truth is, God is knowable. Jesus testified, "And this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent" (John 17:3). We not only have the testimony of the Scriptures to tell us this, but we have the testimony of multitudes of Christians who know the Lord personally. It is more truthful to say, "I don’t want to know God." Sinful man runs from Him as did Adam in the garden of Eden.

"If God is a God of love, why hasn’t He dealt with evil?"

In Dr. Robert Morey’s book The New Atheism and the Erosion of Freedom, he talks with an atheist about this issue. The atheist assumes that everything is relative, and there are no absolutes (he is absolutely sure of that). Morey replies that the first thing an atheist must do is prove the existence of evil. By what process can an atheist identify evil? He must have a universal absolute to do so. Without an absolute reference point for "good" (which only God can provide), no one can identify what is good or evil. Thus without the existence of God, there is no "evil" or "good" in an absolute sense. Everything is relative. The problem of evil does not negate the existence of God. It actually requires it.

Many assume that because evil still exists today, God has not dealt with it. How can atheists assume that God has not already solved the problem of evil in such a way that neither His goodness nor omnipotence is limited? On what grounds do they limit what God can and cannot do to solve the problem? God has already solved the problem of evil. And He did it in a way in which He did not contradict His nature or the nature of man. We assume God will solve the problem of evil in one single act. But why can’t He deal with evil in a progressive way? Can’t He deal with it throughout time as we know it, and then bring it to the climax on the Day of Judgment?

God sent His Son to die on the cross in order to solve the problem of evil. Christ atoned for evil and secured the eventual removal of all evil from the earth. One day evil will be quarantined in one spot called "hell." Then there will be a perfect world devoid of all evil. If God declared that all evil would, at this moment, cease to exist, you and I and all of humanity would go up in a puff of smoke. Divine judgment demands that sin be punished.

"Does God still perform miracles?"

When God performed amazing and powerful miracles for the Israelites, did that cause them to obey Him? No, the Israelites constantly disobeyed and rebelled against God even though they saw all the miracles. The same people who saw God part the Red Sea later doubted whether God was able to conquer the inhabitants of the Promised Land. Read the account in Luke 16:19-31. In the story, a man in hell asks Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead to warn his brothers. Abraham informed the man, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead” (Luke 16:31).

Jesus performed countless miracles, yet the vast majority of people did not believe in Him. If God performed miracles today like He did in the past, the same result would occur. People would be amazed and would believe in God for a short time. That faith would be shallow and would disappear the moment something unexpected or frightening occurred. A faith based on miracles is not a mature faith. God performed the greatest miracle of all time in coming to earth in the Man Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins (Romans 5:8), so that we could be saved (John 3:16). God does still perform miracles - many of them simply go unnoticed or are denied. However, we do not need more miracles. What we need is to believe in the miracle of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

Another important concept to understand is the fact that the purpose of miracles was to authenticate the performer of the miracles. Acts 2:22 declares, “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.” The same is said of the Apostles, “The things that mark an apostle — signs, wonders and miracles — were done among you with great perseverance” (2 Corinthians 12:12). Speaking of the Gospel, Hebrews 2:4 proclaims, “God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will.” We now have the truth of Jesus recorded in Scripture. We now have the writings of the Apostles recorded in Scripture. Jesus and His apostles, as recorded in Scripture, are the cornerstone and foundation of our faith (Ephesians 2:20). In this sense, miracles are no longer necessary, as the message of Jesus and His apostles has already been attested to, and accurately recorded in the Scriptures. Yes, God still performs miracles. At the same time, we should not necessarily expect miracles to occur today just as they did as recorded in the Bible.

 

"If God is perfect, why did He make an imperfect creation?"

The Bible tells us that the Genesis creation was "good." There was no sin and therefore no suffering or death. Why then did God give Adam and Eve the ability to sin, knowing full well that they would sin and bring death and pain to the human race? Some believe that if Adam had been created without the ability to chose, then he would have been a "robot." A father cannot make his children love him. They choose to love him because they have a free will. Others point out that humanity would never have seen the depth of the love of God, as displayed in the cross, unless Adam had sinned, and that fact could be one reason why God allowed sin to enter the world.

"Does God love everyone or just Christians?"

There is a sense in which God loves everyone in the whole world (John 3:16; 1 John 2:2; Romans 5:8). This love in not conditional – it is based only on the fact that God is a God of love (1 John 4:8,16). God’s love for all of mankind results in the fact that God shows His mercy by not immediately punishing people for their sins (Romans 3:23; 6:23). If God did not love everyone, we would all be in hell right now. God’s love for the world is manifested in the fact that He gives people the opportunity to repent (2 Peter 3:9). However, God’s love for the world does not mean that He will ignore sin. God is also a God of justice (2 Thessalonians 1:6). Sin cannot go unpunished forever (Romans 3:25-26).

The most loving act of eternity is described in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Anyone who ignores God’s love, who rejects Christ as Savior, who denies the Savior who bought him (2 Peter 2:1) – that person will be subject to God’s wrath for eternity (Romans 1:18), not His love (Romans 6:23). God loves everyone unconditionally in that He shows mercy to everyone. God conditionally loves only those who place their faith in His Son for salvation (John 3:36). Only those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will experience God’s love for eternity.

Does God love everyone? Yes. Does God love Christians more than He loves non-Christians? No. Does God love Christians differently than He loves non-Christians? Yes. God loves everyone equally in that He is merciful to all. God only loves Christians in that Christians have His eternal grace and mercy – the promise of His forever love in Heaven. It is God’s love for all that should draw us all to receive His eternal love.

"My God would never create hell."

Those who say that are right: their "god" would never create hell, because he couldn’t. He doesn’t exist. He is a figment of their imagination, a god they have created to suit themselves. It’s called "idolatry," and it’s the oldest sin in the Book. Idolaters will not inherit the kingdom of God. The one true God, however, could and did create hell for those who reject His mercy. They will reap His just wrath. (For the reasonableness of hell, see Psalm 55:15 footnote.)

"Who made God?"

To one who examines the evidence, there can be no doubt that God exists. Every building has a builder. Everything made has a maker. The fact of the existence of the Creator is axiomatic (self-evident). That’s why the Bible says, "The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’" (Psalm 14:1). The professing atheist denies the common sense given to him by God, and defends his belief by thinking that the question "Who made God?" can’t be answered. This, he thinks, gives him license to deny the existence of God.

The question of who made God can be answered by simply looking at space and asking, "Does space have an end?" Obviously, it doesn’t. If there is a brick wall with "The End" written on it, the question arises, "What is behind the brick wall?" Strain the mind though it may, we have to believe (have faith) that space has no beginning and no end. The same applies with God. He has no beginning and no end. He is eternal.

The Bible also informs us that time is a dimension that God created, into which man was subjected. It even tells us that one day time will no longer exist. That will be called "eternity." God Himself dwells outside of the dimension He created (2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 1:2). He dwells in eternity and is not subject to time. God spoke history before it came into being. He can move through time as a man flips through a history book.

Because we live in the dimension of time, logic and reason demand that everything must have a beginning and an end. We can understand the concept of God’s eternal nature the same way we understand the concept of space having no beginning and end—by faith. We simply have to believe they are so, even though such thoughts put a strain on our distinctly insufficient cerebrums.

"Why does God allow evil?"

Why does God allow evil men and women to live? Should He instead kill them before they do evil deeds? Should He judge murderers and rapists now? What about thieves and liars, adulterers, fornicators, those who lust, and those who hate? If God judged evil today, all unconverted men and women would perish under His wrath. Thank God that He is patiently waiting for them to turn to the Savior and be saved from His terrible wrath.

"Why does the Old Testament show a God of wrath and the New Testament a God of mercy?"

The God of the New Testament is the same as the God of the Old Testament. The Bible says that He never changes. He is just as merciful in the Old Testament as He is in the New Testament. Read Nehemiah 9 for a summary of how God mercifully forgave Israel, again and again, after they repeatedly sinned and turned their back on Him. The psalms often speak of God’s mercy poured out on sinners.

He is also just as wrath-filled in the New Testament as He is in the Old. He killed a husband and wife in the Book of Acts, simply because they told one lie. Jesus warned that He was to be feared because He has the power to cast the body and soul into hell. The apostle Paul said that he persuaded men to come to the Savior because he knew the "terror of the Lord." Read the dreadful judgments of the New Testament’s Book of Revelation. That will put the "fear of God" in you, which incidentally is "the beginning of wisdom."

Perhaps the most fearful display of His wrath is seen in the cross of Jesus Christ. His fury so came upon the Messiah that it seems God enshrouded the face of Jesus in darkness so that creation couldn’t gaze upon His unspeakable agony. Whether we like it or not, our God is a consuming fire of holiness (Hebrews 12:29). He isn’t going to change, so we had better ...before the Day of Judgment. If we repent, God, in His mercy, will forgive us and grant us eternal life in heaven with Him.

"Why does God allow evil men like Hitler and Saddam to come into power?"

"Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore, whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same" (Romans 13:1-3). One thing that is important here is that the teaching of this portion of Scripture is not on the ruler but our reaction to whatever ruler is in power. Therefore our focus is not to contemplate why God does what He does but our reaction or behavior to whatever God's decision is.

An interesting thing is that the book of Romans was probably written about 56-57 AD. The Emperor or Ruler at that time in Rome was Nero, who ruled from AD 54-68. Nero was an evil ruler, and during that time it is told that there was a terrible fire in Rome that destroyed a big portion of the city. It is told that Nero himself started that fire so he could expand his building projects. The problem was that he had to put the blame on someone, and he decided to blame the Christians. This started one of the biggest persecutions in the history of the church. Therefore, when Paul wrote this portion of Scripture, he was aware of the evil ruler of Rome, yet he does not wonder why God would put him in power. In fact Paul never mentions Nero at all. This also began to spread Christianity. It seems that throughout history whenever evil rulers came to power the gospel would spread.

"Therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: 'Behold, I am going to punish the king of Babylon and his land, just as I punished the king of Assyria'" (Jeremiah 50:18). God at times has used evil rulers to bring judgment on His people, but many times those countries or rulers would overstep their bounds with God, as did Assyria and Babylon, then God would punish them. God, even though He allows evil rulers or kings, would always set boundaries for them. When they would overstep those bounds, they would be punished. The greatest punishment is eternity in hell, and both Hitler and Lenin, who abused the people of God, have been serving their punishment in hell for a long time.

God does not explain why He allows evil rulers in His program, but He does tell us how to respond to them. If we live right in their eyes, we will often live and prosper as Daniel and his friends. At the same time, Peter and Paul both suffered hard deaths at the hands of evil emperors. Persecution is a part of life, but God can use that for good, as in the spread of the gospel.

"Why does God allow birth defects?"

The ultimate answer to this difficult question is that when Adam and Eve sinned (Genesis chapter 3), they brought evil, sickness, disease, and death into the world. Sin has been wreaking havoc on the human race ever since. Birth defects occur because of sin...not because of sins the parents or the baby have committed, but because of sin itself. The hard part of the question is why God allows people to be born with terrible birth defects and/or deformities. Why doesn't God prevent birth defects from occurring?

The book of Job deals with the issue of not understanding why God allows certain things to occur. God had allowed Satan to do everything he wanted to Job except kill him. What was Job’s reaction? “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15). “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised” (Job 1:21). Job didn’t understand why God had allowed the things He did, but he knew that God was good and therefore continued to trust in Him. Ultimately, that should be our reaction as well. God is good, just, loving, and merciful. Often things happen to us that we simply cannot understand. However, instead of doubting God's goodness, our reaction should be to trust Him. "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Ultimately, the answer to this question has to be “I don’t know.” We will never be able to fully understand God and His ways. It is wrong for us to question why God allows something to occur. We simply have to trust that He is loving, good, and merciful – just like Job did – even when the evidence seems to indicate the opposite. Sickness and disease are the result of sin. God provided the “cure” for sin in sending Jesus Christ to die for us (Romans 5:8). Once we are in heaven, we will be free from sickness, disease, and death. Until that day, we will have to deal with sin, its effects, and its consequences. We can praise God, though, that He can and will use birth defects and other tragedies for our good and His glory. John 9:2-3 declares, "His disciples asked Him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' 'Neither this man nor his parents sinned,' said Jesus, 'but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.'

"Why is there suffering? That proves there is no ‘loving’ God."

Study the soil for a moment. It naturally produces weeds. No one plants them; no one waters them. They even stubbornly push through cracks of a dry sidewalk. Millions of useless weeds sprout like there’s no tomorrow, strangling our crops and ruining our lawns. Pull them out by the roots, and there will be more tomorrow. They are nothing but a curse!

Consider how much of the earth is uninhabitable. There are millions of square miles of barren deserts in Africa and other parts of the world. Most of Australia is nothing but miles and miles of useless desolate land. Not only that, but the earth is constantly shaken with massive earthquakes. Its shores are lashed with hurricanes; tornadoes rip through creation with incredible fury; devastating floods soak the land; and terrible droughts parch the soil. Sharks, tigers, lions, snakes, spiders, and disease-carrying mosquitoes attack humanity and suck its life’s blood.

The earth’s inhabitants are afflicted with disease, pain, suffering, and death. Think of how many people are plagued with cancer, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, emphysema, Parkinson’s, and a number of other debilitating illnesses. Consider all the children with leukemia, or people born with crippling diseases or without the mental capability to even feed themselves. All these things should convince thinking minds that something is radically wrong. Did God blow it when He created humanity? What sort of tyrant must our Creator be if this was His master plan?

Sadly, many use the issue of suffering as an excuse to reject any thought of God, when its existence is the very reason we should accept Him. Suffering stands as terrible testimony to the truth of the explanation given by the Word of God. But how can we know that the Bible is true? Simply by studying the prophecies of Matthew 24, Luke 21, and 2 Timothy 3. A few minutes of openhearted inspection will convince any honest skeptic that this is no ordinary book. It is the supernatural testament of our Creator about why there is suffering...and what we can do about it.

The Bible tells us that God cursed the earth because of Adam’s transgression. Weeds are a curse. So is disease. Sin and suffering cannot be separated. The Scriptures inform us that we live in a fallen creation. In the beginning, God created man perfect, and he lived in a perfect world without suffering. It was heaven on earth. When sin came into the world, death and misery came with it. Those who understand the message of Holy Scripture eagerly await a new heaven and a new earth "wherein dwells righteous-ness." In that coming Kingdom there will be no more pain, suffering, disease, or death. We are told that no eye has ever seen, nor has any ear heard, neither has any man’s mind ever imagined the wonderful things that God has in store for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Think for a moment what it would be like if food grew with the fervor of weeds. Consider how wonderful it would be if the deserts became incredibly fertile, if creation stopped devouring humanity. Imagine if the weather worked for us instead of against us, if disease completely disappeared, if pain was a thing of the past, if death was no more.

The dilemma is that we are like a child whose insatiable appetite for chocolate has caused his face to break out with ugly sores. He looks in the mirror and sees a sight that makes him depressed. But instead of giving up his beloved chocolate, he consoles himself by stuffing more into his mouth. Yet, the source of his pleasure is actually the cause of his suffering. The whole face of the earth is nothing but ugly sores of suffering. Everywhere we look we see unspeakable pain. But instead of believing God’s explanation and asking Him to forgive us and change our appetite, we run deeper into sin’s sweet embrace. There we find solace in its temporal pleasures, thus intensifying our pain, both in this life and in the life to come.