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In Defense of God, Part 1

January 4, 2015

Portia from Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice”, Painting by John Everett Millais, Metropolitan Museum of Art (PD-ArtlOld-100-1923)

If there were a God – a good God, Who really loved His children – no little girl would ever again die of cancer or little boy be molested. In fact, there would be no illness or pain at all (none, at any rate, impacting good people). There would be no poverty, no crime or corruption. There would be no racism or injustice. There would be no war, no terrorism, no weapons of mass destruction. There would be no natural disasters, no aging, and no death.

The Case Against God

This is the case against God. It is how many of us who have been deeply wounded reason. We lash out at God, holding Him responsible for all the evil in the world.

And there is some truth to this. God is the author of our existence. He knows the end from the beginning. While He does not inflict evil upon us, He does allow it to exist in our world.

When we feel overwhelmed, when our losses seem too great to bear, and we realize our helplessness in the face of calamity, we may rage at God, even deny His existence. This is, in effect, our way of striking out at Him. If we can do nothing else, we can deny Him our allegiance.

And God does through His permissive will permit trials to befall us. Believers though have God’s assurance that “…all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

Free Will and the Sin Nature of Man

The case against God overlooks the human tendency to sin (what Christians call the “sin nature”or fallen state of man). God is not the rapist or the concentration camp commandant. He did not profit from the slave trade or cause the Twin Towers to collapse on 9/11.

The evil originating with human beings could be removed from this fallen world only if free will were eliminated, as well [1]. God did not make us automatons, required to love Him. Love only has meaning, if given voluntarily. Mother Teresa’s devotion and sacrifice were made possible by free will. But Cambodian leader Pol Pot’s “killing fields” were, also. That is the dilemma of free will.

Perfect Justice

The Book of Revelation speaks of countless martyrs “under the altar” awaiting justice from God. The perfect justice for which we, too, long can only be attained against the backdrop of eternity. The fate of a criminal who escaped punishment in this life will be decided at the Last Judgment, from which there is no escape. The child who died young will have an eternity to spend with those who loved her here. Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and their ilk will spend eternity in hell.

Comfort v. Self-Delusion

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Cor. 1: 3-4).

Some would argue that this is self-delusion, that we long for comfort in this harsh world, and so fashion it for ourselves. God, in other words, is an imaginary friend; and religion, the “opium of the masses” as Karl Marx called it.

Those of us who have experienced God can say without reservation that He is real, not a mere construct of man’s. Atheists might argue that Christians are all the more deluded for this. But we have watched Him work powerfully, both in the world and in our lives.

The full text of that quote by Marx is relevant, on this point. It reads: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions.” Intentionally or not, Marx has given us an accurate description of the human condition without God. The longing expressed all over the globe for millennia is, itself, evidence for His existence [2]. Christians would say it is the imprint of His hand on our hearts for all time.

Secular humanism, New Age belief, and religious hypocrisy are discussed in Part 2 of this article (to be posted next week).

[1] Illness and natural disaster are, in a spiritual sense, the side effects of sin on this world. This is not to say that those who become ill (or suffer from natural disasters) have sinned, and are being punished. See, Luke 13: 4 regarding the Tower of Siloam.

[2] It is hardly worth mentioning that the “aliens” some credit with our existence these days are merely a substitute for God. They beg the question: Who then created the aliens?

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  https://avoicereclaimed.com

10 Comments
  1. This is beautiful, and brings me joy.

    • Thank you so much! That’s a high compliment, Kimberly, especially coming from you. You are such a fine writer, yourself. I always enjoy visiting kimberlytownsendpalmer.com.

  2. Very good post. In speaking with many lost people about God I hear these arguments often. Lord bless you Anna. I look forward to part 2. Have a great week.

  3. Attempting a theodicy? Brave.

    Thank you for the full quote from Marx. That is most illuminating, and should prove to be useful in discussion, down the road.

    A very good article, and I’m looking forward to part 2.

  4. Great post! I look forward to the second part!

  5. Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before
    but after browsing through some of the post I realized
    it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back often!

    • Thank you so much, Lucinda! I am sorry it has taken me such awhile to get back to you. I was away and “off the grid”. (Actually, that term makes me think of griddle cakes, rather than technology.) I hope we’ll cross paths again soon. :0)

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