Is G-d just?
I was recently asked to watch a movie called “American Gospel: Christ Crucified.” After debating with someone in regards to the nature of g-d. A lot of my arguments against the idea of g-d were “answered” supposedly by conservative evangelical apologists.
I’ll start with the question of suffering. I’ve had a decent bit of discussion with two people regarding suffering and g-d. Why does g-d allow suffering? The evangelical answers are “To teach us about g-d’s love” and to “Give g-d glory.”
Is g-d truly sovereign if he doesn’t seem to interact with his creation? Is g-d sovereign if he allows suffering? The whole concept of g-d working through suffering just sets me on edge. If g-d is all powerful then he wouldn’t need to allow for suffering
This is the evangelical counter to this argument. That g-d uses sin and suffering to bring us closer to him. That we need this suffering to know our own depravity.
Affliction teaches us to know ourselves. In prosperity we are for the most part strangers to ourselves. God makes us know affliction, that we may better know ourselves. We see corruption in our hearts in the time of affliction, which we would not believe was there.Thomas Watson
This so called answer honestly just pushes me even further away from a g-d like this. How can I love a g-d that is forced to use suffering. For the very purpose of showing me how “corrupt” or sinful I am.
As to the questing for why does g-d have to punish sin. The answer there is “His holiness demands that sin be dealt with (John Macarthur).” G-d is so perfect and holy that any deviation from his plan DEMANDS that sin be punished. “God’s justice demands the death of the sinner.” The apologists go on to clarify that g-d does not just hate the sin; he also hates the sinner.” Steven Lawson, “There is a hatred of god towards the sinner.”
Supposedly this is because of g-d infinite holiness. Any small infraction against a perfect g-d demands “justice.” And our human views of justice don’t apply to g-d.
I know I may have accepted this answer at one point in my life. But this “justice” just sounds like a haughty g-d that set the standard so very high that we could never hit it. Then now he wants to punish all of mankind for not being able to hold to his standard. It may be “just” in the eyes of some, but not for myself.
The idea is also presented that you are worthless without g-d. “Because He knows that for us to live for anything other than him will just lead to us being ruined.” – Paul Washer. This idea combined with the previously mentioned idea of man’s “sinful nature” and g-d’s supposed hatred of sinners creates a very unhealthy view of self. Man has literally no worth or purpose without the concept of g-d.
Then after all sense of self worth and self reliance is taken away we are then forced to fully rely on g-d for a solution to this supposed problem. “But it’s only through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ that a person goes from being at enmity with God, under god’s curse, under god’s wrath, to a place of safety and blessing and peace.” Emilio Ramos.
“We are saved from god himself.”Steven Lawson
Most evangelicals also make the point that this is very graceful of g-d to offer this salvation to “unworthy sinners.” How mankind is “hopelessly lost” without g-d. And this is a merciful system.
How is it merciful and just? No amount of theological argument will ever convince me that this system is just, merciful, or kind.
Also the more the apologists talked about g-d, the more I struggle with the whole question of why did g-d create a system like this? If g-d is all knowing and all powerful why did he create a system like this? If he made the who universe and created mankind, then he created a system that needed “Penal substitution.” A system that includes hell, the death of his son, and the wrath of g-d.
For me I think that this just puts the mysterious into a box. People think that they know how “g-d” acts and what rules “g-d” sets forth. This gives people a clear path and way to understand life. But I think life is a lot more complicated than set forth by evangelicals. Simple rules about how g-d acts and how g-d saves mankind sound wonderful, but I think it’s a poor interpretation of scripture.
I take issue personally with the bible being the “inspired word of g-d.” The concept that we have the literal words of g-d. And the entire argument of most conservative evangelicals is based on this concept. But I think that’s a post for another day.
And personally I’m not convinced I need the idea or concept of “g-d” to try to figure out the meaning or purpose of life. The idea of not knowing would have horrified my evangelical self, but I’m moving towards being more and more at peace with the idea. Moving towards making my own goals and purpose in life.