@robertkwendt || lead pastor
I'll never forget when I was leading a student ministry, I was asked this question..."Why does a good God allow for bad things to happen?"
This is a very good question. In fact, it's one that we should be asking ourselves. How can a God who we believe to be good be both justice and mercy? We can even read through the Bible and point to ways in which God seems inconsistent.
For example, he rains down sulfur on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:23-25).
Later on, King David sings praises to the very same God saying that he is good to all of creation (Psalm 145:8-9).
How can this be? It seems to be inconsistent. But it's not. Like any story, we cannot just look at a sentence or a chapter; we must read the entire book. So, here are some things to know about God.
god is god.
In Exodus 3:13-15, Moses asks God to reveal to him his name. God's response..."I AM WHO I AM."
Could you imagine being Moses? My first thought would be a sarcastic remark..."Thanks, God, for that clear explanation." However, God was being very clear. He was making a very strong statement. In other words, he was saying, "I am God, and there is no one or thing like me."
I love this quote from A.W. Tozer:
"Whatever God is, and all that God is, He is in Himself. All life is in and from God, whether it be the lowest form of unconscious life or the highly self-conscious, intelligent life of a seraph. No creature has life in itself; all life is a gift from God."
We must begin by asking ourselves: Was God ever created?
Answering this question helps us gain a better understanding. God was never created. He always was and always will be. In other words, God doesn't have a birthday.
This is important because we do. I have one. You have one. Dogs, birds, and even trees and plants have birthday. All of creation has a birthdate.
God doesn't. He was never created.
Created things rely on other created things to survive. We as created beings rely on other things which have been created. For instance, we need food to eat. This comes from other created things.
We need water to drink and air to breathe. Both of which had to have been created.
God was never created and so he doesn't need other created things to survive.
God doesn't need us, but He chooses to love us.
Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases." Psalm 115:3 ESV
god is just.
God is the only one who is truly just. When someone does something that is wrong, then justice must be carried out.
Here's the reality. We have all done something wrong. We have all told a lie or hurt another person. We have dishonored God and our parents. So, we deserve a punishment. God's punishment for all of mankind is death.
This hurts. It's the ultimate pain, the ultimate ending. It's a reality we all face, but seldom want to talk about.
Death is a real deal and it exists because of the justice of God. What has been wrong (both large and small) deserves to be punished.
"Everything in the universe is good to the degree it conforms to the nature of God and evil as it fails to do so." A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, p. 87
We must understand that God cares about what is best for God.
Do bosses accept workers who talk back? Do they allow for poor attitudes? Do they keep employees who do not contribute to the company? Not usually. Most of the time, they are given warnings, write ups, and—in the worst of cases—removed from their position.
Why would we expect something different of God? We are made to worship Him and live for Him. He wants and desires our praises. We are His creation, after all.
I love how the Westminster Shorter Catechism states it: "Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever."
While God is just, there is something else we must know...
God bends over backwards for those who love Him.
god is mercy.
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life." -Titus 3:4-7 ESV
In writing to Titus, Paul makes something very clear...Jesus saved us because Jesus wanted to.
While we deserve all the wrath and justice of God, He in His goodness made a way for us to not have to experience such pain. In fact, we are able to experience and worship him forever. This is not because of what we have done on our own, but fully because of what God has done for us.
We see this through Jesus.
He lived a perfect life (nothing anyone else can do), but voluntarily went to a cross where he died. He didn't have to. He didn't deserve justice. BUT HE CHOSE TO. Why? Because that is how much love he had for us. He wanted to. He showed us mercy.
is god consistent?
Why would a good God allow for bad things to happen?
Well, if there wasn't justice, there would be no need for mercy.
If there wasn't bad, we wouldn't know what is good.