I’m going to try REALLY hard to avoid my typical ‘stream of consciousness’ type brain barf that I usually write. Please read the whole way through and forgive any inconsistencies that may pop up. I am not a philosopher, well, not a talented one.
Here’s something I’ve been gnawing on lately. Don’t miss this.
God is either wonderfully merciful, just, and kind, or He can’t exist.
Obviously, I make the argument that He is wonderfully merciful, just, and kind. With this comes the assumption that He is all powerful, the premise and foundation that this is all built upon. If God wasn’t all powerful, if He wasn’t the creator of all things, if He didn’t know everything, and exist eternally in each direction- forward and backward- what would make Him worth worshipping? He would be inconsistent and this entire argument would be shredded to pieces. I might write a post more about this later, because the little one’s nap time is only so long.
Let’s go back to square one. God makes the world and says it is good. It is all good. Then God makes man, looks over His creation in full and says it is VERY good( Genesis 1:31). It’s a happy story until man starts deciding what is good. Then, sin enters the perfect world that God made. Let me be clear- God did not make sin. God gave man free will ,the ability to make choices for ourselves, and because we used free will, a gift that God gave us, in a way that disobeyed God and made a bad choice, sin was birthed. Sin=disobedience to God, not choosing to honor God. This is the stripped down, kindergarten version of it but for now it will have to work.
Because Adam and Eve, the first humans God made, chose to disobey God, we now all have it in our nature to disobey God. Think about it. Even as a baby, it is in our nature to disobey. Kids want to be independent, to rule themselves and make their own decisions. They don’t have to be taught to be angry when someone threatens their selfishness; otherwise, sharing wouldn’t be so hard and two’s wouldn’t be so terrible, you feel me? Why is it that these sweet precious little humans who have had nothing but love in their life so far feel the need to retaliate and throw a fit against them when you tell them no? Because they want to do what they want to do; they want to be in control of their own life and make their own choices regardless of the consequences of their choices, like Adam and Eve. Babysit a toddler. It’s a theology lesson in sin nature, but also in the loving kindness that God has imparted to us and upon us. Kids are also snuggly and warm and loving. They want your attention, praise, and friendship- isn’t that also like God? Since we’ve been made in His image, wouldn’t you think that we reflect Him since birth? Since our creation in our mothers’ wombs we reflect God(Psalm 139, Genesis 1:27).
Can we agree that we all are sinners? All people sin. This is also not what we were created for. Us sinning brings no joy to God our Creator, just like a kid acting out brings no joy to the parent. Yet still, we aren’t punished. Romans says that the wages of sin is death(Romans 6:23). We’ve established that we all sin. Then, shouldn’t we all die? At any point after sinning, death is a fair consequence that should not come as a surprise. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord(Job 1:21). If anything, this makes me think that every day is even moreso a gift, right? In asking oneself “What have I done to deserve this day, when in fact I should be dead according to my actions?” the answer is clearly nothing. Nothing has been done to guarantee another day of life. The deciphering of this knowledge only points to the MERCY OF GOD.
Mercy: compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.
I can’t think of a more perfect way to use the word mercy than when talking about God’s relationship to sinners. It is merciful to allow, nay, to give someone life when they don’t deserve it. It is merciful to give someone a child, a happy spouse, financial security, the joys of friendship, a home to dwell in, health and wellness, happiness in general, etc. when that person deserves no good thing.
If God is in ultimate control, if He has all the power(which, remember, is the foundation of this argument), then at any point in time, He can squash any person whom He chooses. Looking at God simply as a figure of mightiness and control, that would make sense. I would be terrified of God. Yet, here we begin to see how He is merciful for not squashing anyone. What about kind? How is He kind to us?
Have you been outside lately? Has the sun warmed your skin? Have you had a good night’s sleep? Have you had a peaceful, quiet moment when your heart was stilled, if only for a second, a slight moment that all was right? Were you able to take a breath and exhale the tightness that had been building in your chest and feel grounded? HAve you smelled a flower lately, or seen the colors burst forth from the night streaming behind the sun in the morning? Or have you watched the oranges and pinks swirl as the day ended and the clouds floated away for the night? Have you drank a glass of water and chased away your thirst? Life could go on without any weight given to these experiences. They are not necessary to life. We could breathe and not have any emotion attached to it. We could sip water and be unchanged. We could have sex and not enjoy it. Flowers could simply be acknowledged as part of the ecosystem without beauty or a pleasant aroma. But God, in His GLORY and MAGNIFICENCE chose to make these things good. They smell good, they feel good, they taste good. We have to admit then that God is kind in giving us good gifts.
God is merciful, God is kind. Life is wonderful, even on our worst days, and it is by no doing of our own.
The LORD is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. (Psalm 145:8)
God is also just. We see this in the Bible. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they were cursed to die(There is no mention of death in the Bible before Adam and Eve ate the fruit). When the world was acting continuously immoral, the flood came and killed all on the earth but Noah and his family. It was never in God’s plan for man to die. God intended for us to live forever with Him in perfect harmony. Yet Satan in his lowly schemes tempted Adam and Eve with pride, with knowledge of good and evil, of right and wrong. Unfortunately they chose wrongly and the consequences followed. God doesn’t want us to die(1 Timothy 2:4), but He is just in distributing the consequence allotted for sin. When a child is sexually molested, we want the offender to be punished, if we’re being honest, don’t we? If someone killed your mother, spouse, child, you’d want that person to be punished wouldn’t you? Because you want that person who was in the wrong to suffer the consequences that come with their actions. That is why we have a judicial system in place. That system guarantees to the best of its ability that criminals are brought to justice, that a wrong is punished and made right. Isn’t our love for justice simply further evidence that we are made in the image of God, that our love for justice mirrors His? It isn’t our place to determine whether or not God chose a correct punishment in prescribing death as the result of sin. It is our place to understand that our merciful and kind God gave us the choice. If a+b=c, and I add a and b, then I get c. That’s just life with free will(remember that was a gift from God too). On the opposite side, God is just in the GOOD things of life too, in more than just punishment. God rewards those who love Him! When we confess, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins(1 John 1:9)! He gives good gifts to His children(because of His kindness)(Matthew 7:11, Luke 11:13). God is good and fair and just.
What is God’s ultimate evidence of His goodness, kindness, mercy, and justice? The pinnacle of everything; Jesus. The virgin birth, so that sin would not be passed from man onto Christ; His sinless life, so he would not have to die and face the result of sin; His obedience to the Father God, to willingly lay down His life and die on the cross so that sinful man wouldn’t have to, thus atoning for our sinfulness that He carried with Him onto the cross; His resurrection, to prove that He defeated the death he chose to die and overcame the sins of every person in the world, ever; His ascension into heaven, that God is God and is unaffected by sin and still all powerful over everything, and because He is all powerful, He is able to free us from the curse sin put upon us when we drew our first breath.
How is it fair that we had no choice in becoming sinners, thus essentially being born to die? Let me ask you this- how is it fair that you were born with the eye color you have? Or the hair color? Or the genetic disposition that you have? It isn’t particularly relevant. I would be incredibly upset if I was born a sinner and left there. But the KIND, MERCIFUL, JUST, GRACIOUS, LOVING GOD who we are talking about sent Jesus to reverse the curse. YES, REVERSE THE CURSE OF SIN. We aren’t bound to the grave. Because of the death of Jesus on the cross, because His death substituted where ours should have been, we are given the gift of life(2 Corinthians 5:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:10; 1 Peter 2:24). We can wake up daily knowing that we have an incredible, extraordinary gift in front of us. Because living life to serve and live in adoration of a God who would take my place on the cross is a glorious and beautiful thing, it really is the least that I can do. Trying my best to relate and learn more about this inviting and warm Almighty Being seems like a pretty good way to spend the rest of my life. It also seems that I can trust Him to have my best interests in mind.(And from personal experiences, I haven’t once ever been disappointed when I obeyed God. It has always ended better than I could have imagined. I dare you to try it.)
Can you see how if one piece of this puzzle was missing, the whole premise of God would crumble? If He wasn’t all powerful, than He would just be some big jerk who allowed us to be sinners forever and never saved us. Cool(sarcastically). If He wasn’t kind, He would have no care about saving us. He wouldn’t want to give us good gifts, or even see a reason why. If He wasn’t kind, He sure couldn’t be loving. Also, if He wasn’t kind, could He truly love justice? Can you desire justice for someone and not be kind or moved to compassion? Even if it was possible to be kind and fair simultaneously, would He still show mercy? You can’t have mercy without justice. If justice didn’t exist, mercy wouldn’t exist either.
Does this all make sense? Thus the only answer HAS TO BE the Gospel, the good news that Jesus Christ is the son of God who came to die the death that we deserved, to conquer sin and its consequences and spend eternity with us.
Doesn’t this sound good to you? It makes me reenergized thinking about it, that’s for sure! What’s stopping you from serving God and obeying Him? His commands can be summed up in this: Love God and love people. Go love. You can do it.
For further study and resources, please check out the following:
Letters From A Skeptic by Greg Boyd
A Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
The Reason for God by Tim Keller
I pray that this will turn your heart to God. I pray that you will be blessed by this and find hope. I pray that this is understandable to you, that God has or will open your eyes. I pray that He will continue opening mine. And again, this is such a small itty bitty bit of the whole picture so please please contact me if you have any questions or comments, constructive criticisms, or just general ideas.
PS thanks for reading this all. You’re the real MVP. and forgive my typos.