Some people reject Christianity because they believe that there is not enough evidence that it is true. Still there are others who do not reject Christianity because of its lack of evidence but because they have doubts about God’s character. In other words, is God really good? We wanted to take a moment to address some of the doubts
and objections that people have in this area.
Objection #1: If God knows everything, has all power, and claims to
“love the world”, why is there so much evil, death, and suffering in the world?
The above question is a good question. Many people, especially Christians have struggled through this issue. The good news is that there is a good answer. One only has to look at the major story line of the Bible, God created a perfect world, humans chose to rebel against him, as a result, sin, death, and suffering became common to all life. The good news is that God provided a way to fix the problem of eternal separation from God, and one day, there will be a new heaven and new earth where there will once again be no suffering, sin, and death, and this time it will be unchangeable.
Basically, the sins of humans are the causes of suffering, evil, wars,
diseases, and death. The fact that evil and suffering is in the world actually is evidence that the Bible is true, instead of being evidence against its Truth. The good news is that God sent Jesus to fix the problems that we as humans have caused. We can read about this in Romans chapter 8 and in other parts of the Bible as well.
Of course there is some suffering that still seems unjustified and
unnecessary such as, the death of a child, a teenager being paralyzed for life, or the murder of a young mother. Still, in those times we can trust that God knows and understands our pain, his Son, Jesus, was beaten and killed too. There are also many examples of people who have suffered greatly but who have grown and been a blessing to others as a result, the teenager who was paralyzed, Joni Erikson-Tada, went on to write many books, compose songs, and speak at conferences, because of her testimony and courage countless lives have been touched. There are many more examples in which God allowed suffering in order to use the suffering for some greater purpose. In Genesis, Joseph was sold as a slave by his brothers, falsely accused, and imprisoned unjustly but God used this as the stepping stones that were necessary for him to become the second-in-command in Egypt, save his family from starvation, and to help them become a nation (Genesis 37-50) In Genesis 50:20, Joseph was able to tell the brothers that had sold him as a slave, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
God is not the cause of suffering, He prevents a lot of suffering, and what suffering that He allows to happen in the world, He is willing and able to use the most painful, humiliating problems in our lives to make us stronger, to give us compassion, and to encourage others. He gives, “beauty for ashes” (Isaiah 61).
Objection #2: If God has all-power and knows everything before it
happens, why did He allow Adam and Eve to commit the first sin in the Garden of Eden? So much suffering, pain, death, and evil has resulted from that event? Why does God allow people to reject Him?
This is also a good question. One thing we need to make sure that we understand comes from Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning, God created…” Does the word “beginning,” refer to the beginning of God or to his creation? The answer to this question is that the word beginning,” does not to refer to God. God is eternal, this means that God has no beginning. The universe had a beginning, and even time itself. If God existed before the “beginning,” he must have created time as well as the universe because time, as we know it, could not have existed, before the “beginning”. If God created time, he is greater than time, he can be outside of time, and he is not limited by
time the way His creation is. This is the reason that God can so accurately inspire the prophecies in the Bible because He sees all time with the same clarity. Imagine that there is a 1 mile long path. If you are standing on the path, you can only see a few yards ahead and behind you with any kind of clarity. But, imagine that you were able to hover in the air above the path and that you could hover at any height over any part of the path you chose at any time. You could see whole path clearly. As a result of this different perspective you could tell people at the beginning of the path about the conditions at the end of the path, with complete accuracy.
The second aspect of God’s creation of time itself is that God can know future events with total accuracy without having to causing them to happen unless he chooses to intervene. Therefore, God did not cause Adam and Eve to sin, he just allowed it to happen and that is where this question comes in, “Why didn’t God, prevent Adam and Eve from sinning? Why doesn’t God prevent all of the suffering in the world?” Many people who ask that question, feel like God either doesn’t care about humans, he is too weak to do anything to help us, or that he enjoys our pain. None of these conclusions are correct.
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son” I John 4:19 says, “We love him, because he first loved us.” It really all comes down to love. God loves us and wants us to love him. If you really love someone you cannot force them to love you. For example, let’s imagine that a young man thinks he loves a certain young woman. Instead of trying to win her heart and her love so that she will marry him, he kidnaps her, holds her against her will in his house, forces her to go through a marriage ceremony with him, forces her to say, “I love you,” to him every day, forces her to bear his children, and forces her to live with him for life. Could a man who would commit the crimes of kidnapping, intimidation, and rape against a woman really love her? Even though the woman says, “I love you,” to the man every day for years, does she really love him? Can she? The answer is no! True love cannot be forced, it must be given freely. Love is a choice but the choice belongs to the giver. God freely chose to love humans. He has been trying to win our love since the moment he created humans. He has proven his love to us by dying on the cross to pay for our sins. Now, consider a second man, he loves a woman, he tries to win her, she rejects him. He keeps trying again and again. Over time, the woman begins to take him seriously, so she willingly accepts his proposal, she willingly marries him, she willingly, says, “I love you,” to him, she willingly has children with him, and she willingly lives with him for life. This is true love. The man may truly love the woman but she may never love him in return. In this case, it is more loving for the man to allow the woman to reject his love, even though this rejection has consequences for her, than to try to force her to love him, and in doing so become a kidnapper and rapist. God had the power to force Adam and Eve not to sin but he chose not to use his power to try to make them and us love him by force. Instead, he has been trying to win our hearts, to win our love. It is our responsibility to give Him what he deserves.
Objection # 3: How can a loving God send people to hell?
This is a hard question but not a difficult one to answer if you understand that God does not force humans to love him. In heaven, those who believe in Christ, will be his bride (Ephesians 5:25-33). In Revelations 19:7 there will be a wedding ceremony. Do you think that God would try to force those people who reject him to be his bride? God has made every effort to win our love, but if we continue to reject Him, he will eventually respect our wishes and allow us to be separated from his presence forever, this is hell, and the Bible teaches that it is a very horrible place. People go to hell by their own choice, not God’s. 2 Peter 3:9 shows this, “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise to return, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so he is giving more time for everyone to repent.”
2 Peter 3:9 also answers the question, why God does not punish sin
immediately. He is patiently waiting for all of us sinners to repent. If he killed every murderer before or soon after they could murder, they would not be able to repent and be saved. Yet, there are many murderers who have confessed their sins, put their faith in Christ, and have done great things to be a blessing to others and to lead others to salvation. While it is easy to ask God to bring swift justice and punishment on the murderers, do we really want God to bring swift justice and punishment for our own sins? Or, are we thankful that he is merciful and patient enough to give us time to repent?
Objection #4: Is Jesus the only way to saved?
Despite the fact that some famous pastors get all nervous and try to sound politically correct when Larry King asks them this question there is a clear and correct answer. Yes, Jesus is the only way. John 14:6 says, “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” Acts 4:11-12 also confirms this, “For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, `The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else! There is no other name in all of heaven for people to call on to save them.” Christians are just the messengers, we did not make this up. If people are unhappy with this, they should talk to God about it. If a doctor gets back a lab results that say, “cancer” it is his/her responsibility to accurately pass on the message, even if the patient does not like it. It would be malpractice for the doctor to say, “Indigestion,” when the lab results say “colon cancer.” Of course, an accurate diagnosis is the first step to a successful treatment and cure. The same is true for Christianity.
Objection #5: Isn’t it God being cruel by only giving one way to salvation?
If you are drowning in the ocean and a helicopter comes to rescue you, would it be cruel for them to provide only one cable and only one rescuer? One rescuer is enough to save you from drowning, if you are willing to follow the rescuer and hold on to the cable that will pull you up to safety. Two ropes and rescuers would actually cause problems because people would waste valuable time trying to choose one. We should be grateful that God, through the sinless life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ provided a suitable ladder for us to be saved instead of complaining about the limited options.
Objections #6: What about the people who live in isolated places who have never heard the Gospel?
This is a good question. In Romans 1:18-21 we read, “But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who push the truth away from themselves. For the truth about God is known to them instinctively. God has put this knowledge in their hearts. From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God. Yes,they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. The result was that their minds became dark and confused.” This passage teaches us that God has put the knowledge about Himself in the hearts of all humans and he has also given us evidence of his existence in the universe that He created. However, people do not want to follow the lights of conscience and creation that will lead them to Christ.
If someone is genuinely seeking after God, God will either lead them to the Bible, lead a Christian to them, and there are credible accounts of God speaking to people directly through dreams that start them on the path that leads them to salvation. Acts chapter 8:26-40 is a good example of this. In Acts 8:26-27 we read, “As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, “Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he did, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the queen of Ethiopia. The eunuch had gone to Jerusalem to worship. . .” Ultimately this man from Ethiopia was led to salvation. Jesus also commanded his followers to “go make disciples of all the nations (Matt. 28:19-20).” In the book, Killing Fields, Living Fields, the author writes about Cambodians who were escaping from the Khmer Rouge in 1979 and in their journey they came across Bibles and evangelistic tracts left behind by Christians years earlier. These Bibles and tracts led them to accept Christ as their personal Savior. God is actively seeking those who will believe in Him and love Him.