The “Brave New World” of the 21st Century requires a “Brave New Discipleship” strategy.

If You Reject God, You’ve Only Done Half the Job!

Posted on: March 22, 2016

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YOU CAN’T REJECT GOD UNLESS YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO PUT IN HIS PLACE

In his book Fundamentals of the Faith, Christian scholar Peter Kreeft writes:

The problem of evil is the most serious problem in the world. It is also the one serious objection to the existence of God. More people have abandoned their faith because of the problem of evil than for any other reason. It is certainly the greatest test of faith, the greatest temptation to unbelief. And it’s not just an intellectual objection. We feel it. We live it.

The problem can be stated very simply: If God is so good, why is his world so bad? If an all-good, all-wise, all-loving, all-just, and all-powerful God is running the show, why does he seem to be doing such a miserable job of it?”

Because of the attention if gets in all kinds of media, Holy Week and Easter is often a time that can cause people to question the existence of God or His goodness. Let’s say someone comes to the conclusion that because of pain, evil and suffering, there is no God.

Okay.

Now, what are you going to put in His place to explain reality? You’ve thrown out the God of the Bible. What are you going to believe instead?

Years ago, on a television news program, one of the journalists had just finished reporting on a gruesome and heartbreaking story of something that happened in the war in Vietnam. After it was over he said, “If there is a God, he has a lot of explaining to do.”

I remember being taken aback by that statement. It seemed to put the reporter on the moral high ground and God back on His heels. But the reporter didn’t say what he was going to put in His place if he tossed God out.

And if we toss God out because of our frustration and disillusionment with the problem of pain and evil, what are we going to give as our final explanation for reality? It’s only half the job to throw God out. The job’s not done until you say what you’re going to put in His place.

The Great Philosophical Question is: “Why is there something rather than nothing?”  We tackled that question in an earlier blog: “ Three Reasons Why It’s Safe to Believe in God.”  If you don’t have a counter-answer to those three reasons, then we still have a God… one that we have to reconcile with the problem of pain.

The problem of pain is, indeed, a difficult one. But the answer is not to reject God. If the three reasons to believe in God are true… and I believe they are… there cannot not be a God. So we must deal with Him. We must answer how we can have an all-good and all-powerful God and at the same time have evil and suffering, since the instinctive assumption is that if God were all-good He would want to correct the evil and suffering, and if He were all-powerful, He would be able to do it.

It’s a significant challenge, but I believe the final answer is found on the cross. To begin with, I believe that the God of the Bible explains why there is something rather than nothing. I believe Jesus is the Son of God, the second member of the Trinity. I believe that he willingly laid down his earthly life in order to make it possible for us to have eternal life.

As God, I believe that no one took Jesus’ life, but that He willingly laid it down:

No one has taken [My life] away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it up again” (John 10:18).

When I look at a crucifix… the body of Jesus hanging on the cross… and ask myself what could possibly have motivated him to willingly hang there, the only conceivable possibility is love.

That ultimately convinces me that, while I cannot intellectually or philosophically reconcile the existence of a good God with the existence of all the pain and evil and suffering in the world, there is an answer, and that when we get to heaven, we will know, understand, and agree with it.

So, if you are talking with someone who rejects God because of the problem of pain, take them back to the reasons for the existence of God and the evidence for the resurrection. If those are true, and I believe the evidence overwhelmingly suggests they are, then we cannot reject God, for we would have done only half the job, and the other half – putting something else in His place – is impossible.

So, we can rejoice this Easter knowing that, because of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, in the end all will be well.  May these thoughts draw our minds and hearts to Him at this special time of the year.

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