A while back, I had put together a post to address a video he had posted on YouTube. This post is a result of some of the questions raised by Jeff after reading my first post. The questions Jeff raises below are valid and could be raised by anyone, hence this post, as opposed to an email reply to him 🙂 With the Lord’s help, I will do my best to keep my responses short and to the point.
Why did God create a universe that would need a “way out for humanity” at all?
God created man with freewill. Freewill means that God does not control our thoughts and actions like a tyrant. God did not make us to be robots or mindless drones. Because of freewill, we are free to do what we want, including disobeying God, which is what Adam and Eve did, which is how sin entered the world. God did not create us to sin, nor did He want us to sin. He gave us choice, freewill, and we chose to sin against Him. Because He loves us and did not want us to perish, He also conceived the way out for us without going against His own nature.
Why was God bound to need a human sacrifice? Isn’t it within the power of God to create a world in which sinners can merely be forgiven?
It is within God’s power to simply forgive everyone, because God is merciful! Mercy is all that is needed to just forgive everyone without them having to face any consequences for their sins. Just because something is possible, doesn’t make it right. If God were to just forgive everyone without judging them for their actions, He would be going against His own nature which, besides mercy, also encompasses justice and holiness. God’s justice requires that those who sin be punished.
Who made the rules that God is presumably playing by here?
God did! There is no one above God. In every way, He is perfect. He created the universe and all the laws that encompass it. God create the universe. God created time. God is outside everything, He is not limited by anything. He is law-maker. He is the law giver. By Himself, He swears, because He is faithful and true.
“When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself,” (Hebrews 6:13)
Doesn’t exercising mercy, by definition, come at the expense of pure justice? Isn’t that what mercy is? Taking mercy means withholding a just consequence in the interest of leniency. Since we are all sinners, justice demands that we be punished (again, this is taking as a given that God would have to, and did, create a universe that was this rigid). However, mercy is a way for the Judge to exercise compassion and allow us to avoid the just consequences of our actions.
God did not leave justice out of the equation when He showed us mercy through Jesus paying the price for our sins. Our understanding of mercy cannot and should not be compared with God’s standard of mercy. Strictly speaking of God and Jesus, one cannot say mercy prevailed at the expense of justice! In our world, mercy means that a person did not have to pay for their crimes (innocent or guilty). Innocent people have paid for crimes they did not commit. The guilty have walked away without facing justice. Not so with God! His justice demands death for sins, so Christ died in our place! Because God loves us, we experienced the mercy of God, while Christ faced the justice of God on our behalf!
However, if we’re talking about a need for rigid justice that cannot be mitigated by mercy, lest God be less than perfect, how is Jesus dying for my sins just?
We should not make the mistake of stepping into God’s shoes with our limited human thinking and understanding. It’s true that Jesus died the most horrible death for us. But, Jesus is justified because God has given Him authority over all creation and one day, EVERYONE will bow down before Him. Those who call on Christ as Lord and Savior, will bow down with joy and delight! Those who mocked Him and denied Him, will be forced to bow down! Christ will judge everyone! I would say that Jesus has been not only justified, but also glorified for all that He endured, wouldn’t you?
“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11)
If you are still not convinced, look at what the book of Revelation tell us:
Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang:
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped. (Revelation 5:11-14)
We shouldn’t expect to know why God does what He does or how the ultimate reality functions.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Ultimately, this is something we should all humbly accept and come to terms with. God does not owe us an explanation for everything. He does not owe us anything. All that we need to know about the Lord is in the Bible. All that we need to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior is in the Bible. While it is human to ask questions and doing so helps us understand and learn, there are some questions we are not meant to ask and some things we are not meant to know.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. (Isaiah 55:8)
I just feel like it’s much more likely that God did not create a universe in which rigid rules of retribution required Jesus to die to prevent us all from going to hell. It seems more consistent with an all-knowing, all-loving God to imagine a world wherein God recognizes that we will often fail at following His instructions for living. It seems more likely to me that such a God would recognize that whatever mistakes we make on this earth are so transitory and fleeting that they could not possibly tarnish God and could not possibly require eternal suffering.
The “just forgive and forget” ideology is a very human thinking. Though God became human in Jesus and walked amongst us, to think that He is just like us in every way and therefore, expecting Him to behave like us in every way, completely clouds our understanding of who God is and will cause us great strife and be a stumbling block in our journey of faith. Our way of thinking and understanding pales in comparison to God’s infinite wisdom and understanding.
Far be it from you to do such a thing–to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25)
In every way, God is perfect in the way He handles the righteous and the wicked. God cannot do wrong!
At the end of the day, unless we have a childlike faith in God and are humble enough to acknowledge our limited understanding and wisdom, we can never experience God, Jesus and the Bible like we are meant to.
And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)
“I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:15)
It is not our understanding or our Biblical knowledge or our wisdom or our anything that leads people to salvation in Christ. It is the Holy Spirit. It is God who makes Himself known to people in different ways.
I warn you that to reject God/Jesus/Bible because you (a mere human) “think” or “feel” a certain way about who God is and how He should behave and be and what He should/shouldn’t do, is to completely miss the point about who Gos id and go down a slippery slope, one which is not easy to climb.
God has given us inquisitive and incredible minds, but that does not mean that with the very ability God has given us, we question Him and His ways and ultimately reject Him because the truth that is already available (in the Bible), is not enough for us and we arrogantly think that we deserve to know everything.
I pray that despite all that I have written here, the Lord’s Spirit will speak into your heart and mind and give you the necessary understanding and faith to take His Word for it and believe!
God bless you all!Thank Sri 🙂