Article of the Month
THE GREAT QUESTION OF THE AGES
Philosophers, Atheists, and even the common man have had
religiously-oriented question through the
centuries. This question is of such great consequence
that it has made and ruined the faith structures of
innumerable people over innumerable generations. That
question is: "If there is a God, why hasn't He done
something about our problems?"
It is a GOOD question. But so
very few have ever discovered THE ANSWER, that the
question remains at the very foundation of the thinking
process of reasoning people everywhere. The usual
philosophical argument, reduced to its most simple
terms, is this:
If there IS a God, (1) He must
be too weak to do anything, or (2) he is evil enough
not to do something. We
can see the very pressing
import of these charges. This month's article will give
the answer. This may sound presumptuous, but the
answering, and there is
"If there really is a
why are things as
they are? Why is there terror, sickness, hunger, death,
cheating, war, poverty, fear, confusion, prejudice,
unemployment, pain, inequality...?
There is an answer a rational
one. It is offered as being satisfying, adequate,
harmonious, comprehensive, and well-documented. It is an
answer which, unlike most answers, includes all
men as recipients of its ultimate benefits. It is
not a selfish answer.
Any valid answer must have
legitimate support. Even in the realms of philosophy and
religion, any conclusions not consistent with observable
or recorded fact, any conclusions ignoring major related
questions, are weak. Thoughtful minds refuse to take
note of them, let alone embrace them. The answer
presented here claims total harmony
with observable and recorded facts.
Any stable system of thought
requires an authority. Available authorities fall into
one of two general classifications: (1) men, and (2)
(1) In the classification of men
as authorities, people rely on:
their own preferences;
the ideas or preferences of another man;
traditions established by groups of men.
Each of these "authorities"
presents problems of its own:
Relying on our own preferences and reasonings
as the path to truth assumes that our personal thought
processes are superior to all others.
Relying on the ideas of another man as the path
to truth assumes that his thought processes are superior
to all others.
Relying on traditions established by groups of
men leaves us open to deception by human error.
(2) In the classification of
superhuman sources as authorities, there are two
main categories: (a) personal
revelation (visions, etc.), and (b) written revelation.
Personal revelation is easily fraudulent. It is
frequently inconsistent from one occurrence to another.
It also tends to establish an "elite" class those who
have received such "revelation." It leaves much room for
misrepresentation and lying.
Written revelation has some distinct
advantages. It is recorded in black and white. It can,
therefore, be compared carefully with fact and, thus,
its reliability either established or discredited.
THE MALIGNED AUTHORITY
We are dealing with a major
question. We will give an answer in harmony with reason.
We will give an answer based on a reliable authority
an authority which has been greatly misrepresented and
maligned, even by those who have claimed to be its
supporters. That authority is the Bible but its
contents as paraphrased here are better than most men
could dream. It is imperative that no prior assumptions
be made by the reader as to what this great authority
Because the answer herein
presented is merely an outline or a summary, it will not
be well documented. If, however, the answer is
appealing, complete documentation and expansion
of its many facets is easily available to those who
desire it. We feel that no
question need go without a reasonable, consistent, and
documented answer. The "take-it-on-faith" attitude of
traditional religion is carefully avoided.
THE QUESTION RESTATED
If God does, indeed, exist, why
does He not do something? Why would an intelligent,
powerful Being permit the atrocities, the accidents, the
illnesses, the sufferings (physical and mental) to
happen or to continue?
THE ANSWER OUTLINED
Understanding the answer to this
question depends upon understanding both what God is
like and what His purpose is. His character (a balance
of Wisdom, Justice, Love, and Power) is revealed in His
plans and purposes. Consider a seven-point paraphrase of
His considerations and purposes in creation. (Each point
will consist of a question, an answer, and a summary of
Why did God create?
According to the Bible (which claims to be a written
revelation of God), "God is love." (I John 4:8) If love,
(and therefore, God) has one preeminent need or quality,
that need is GIVING. God created so that He
would have beings to whom He could GIVE the
kinds of delights that He could offer them.
created because He wanted to share blessings with
What qualities would He give His creation?
could have made men like computers or robots machines
programmed so that they could not make mistakes. Had He
done this, there would have been no problems: no wars,
no illness, no mistakes, no fear, no pain, no emotions
yes, that's a problem no emotions! Without emotions
there is no thankfulness, no joy, no love. If God had
made men infallible, they would be incapable of
receiving the LOVE that he wanted to extend to them.
Therefore, it was a necessary part of creation that man
be made free to choose and to think not a cold,
made man free in choice and thought so that man could
receive and appreciate the good things God would give
How can individual freedoms be regulated?
decision to create free beings did, indeed, pose a
problem. Liberty is a peculiar thing. It implies
restraint! If one individual carries his liberty too
far, it robs another individual of his liberty and
liberty no longer exists. God, therefore, saw the
necessity of imposing legitimate restraints on the free
beings He would create in order to guarantee the liberty
and happiness of everyone. He is the author of liberty;
it is only right that He also be its definer. God
determined that man must learn the one simple but
imperative lesson: OBEDIENCE. Without
obedience there would be infringement of liberties. With
infringement of liberties would come chaos. God did not
want chaos in his universe.
determined that His creation must learn the lesson of
obedience to His perfect laws so that the universe would
run smoothly for the ultimate benefit of all
without infringement of the personal liberties of
How could the importance of this lesson be learned?
Answer: It was
necessary that man learn obedience not only to obey,
but the importance of obedience. Man
must obey not just because he is told to, but because he
wants to. This makes him free the
desire to comply rather than the constraints to
comply. God as Creator knew that the available
means of learning were instruction, observation, and
experience. Man could not learn at first by
observation because there was no disobedience
to observe. God would have preferred if man could have
learned without experience, although He
knew that the tendency of a free mind would lead it
toward experimentation. So God first taught man by
God warned man that disobedience
would result in death. He wanted to impress upon man
that disobedience, because it would result in chaos, was
so serious that God's Justice felt compelled to demand
death (extinction) for it.
God's instruction did not
satisfy man. Man disobeyed. He was condemned to death,
and he continues to die.
foresaw that man would never learn the importance of
obedience only by instruction. He knew (but did not
force it) that man would ultimately have to learn not
only by instruction, but also by observing and
experiencing the results of disobedience.
Why die for eating an "apple"?
made man on earth and told him he was free except that
he was not to eat the fruit of a certain tree. (We have
no evidence that it was an apple.) Why was this
seemingly peculiar test applied? Why, instead, wasn't
man given some great moral law to obey? Why didn't God
say: "You can be free except that you are not free to
murder"? God chose the simple, not easily understood
test, because it was not easy to understand! God
was testing OBEDIENCE, not intelligence! God wants to be
certain that man will obey even when man does not
understand. God wants man to want to obey
just because he values the arrangements God has
provided. God wants man to know that disobedience will
cause chaos and, therefore, is justly punishable by
extinction. God wants man to learn to love righteousness
for its inherent beauty. Lack of obedience will injure
others and alter the balance of the universe.
Considering these facts, the sentence of death was not
Obedience is so important that it must be carried out
without question. Extinction will be eternally the
result of disobedience.
How is man to profit from his plight?
disobeyed. Man was condemned to death. Man now
is learning through experience and observation that the
results of disobedience are ugly. God has
permitted evil so that we will appreciate our liberty to
avoid it later. God did not design or cause
evil. Man was warned against it. Man chose it. But God
respects individual liberty; he does not interfere with
the free choice of his beings that, remember, would be
contrary to His original purpose in creation.
God, in Justice, cannot excuse
disobedience. The original man, and we in him, die
because of one original act of disobedience. God's
design appears faulty. It seems like
everything is futile! Man is dying, and God's Justice is
too exacting for us to expect a pardon. We could never
trust a God who changed His mind!
God, however, was wise and
economical in allowing one act to be
the catalyst for teaching us all. Because of this the
love of God could easily provide a JUST remedy. God
wants man to live; that is why He created man in the
first place. So God has arranged a way to remove the
sentence of death from Adam (and from us all who came
from Adam). God sent His son, Jesus not a son of Adam,
but yet a man a perfect man as was Adam no more, no
less. This man, Jesus, had a right to life
because he was always perfectly obedient. But he
voluntarily gave up his human life rights as an exchange
or "ransom" for the life rights of Adam. (I Timothy 2:5,
6; I Corinthians 15:22) Justice is satisfied by this
ransom or exchange ("a life for a life" Deuteronomy
19:21). A human life still is claimed as the price for
disobedience, but Adam now is legally free to live again
and so are all of us!
now is learning the results of disobedience so that he
can choose later to obey a choice which will be an
intelligent, experienced choice. The death of Jesus
guarantees that man can live again that God's creative
efforts with man will not have been in vain. We can now
expect an awakening of the whole human race.
Why is man still dying? Why the delay?
are two primary reasons why the permission of suffering
and death continues. The first reason is population. God
is allowing enough men to have lived (now and in the
past), and enough to have experienced evil, to populate
the earth comfortably (perhaps 20 billion). When the
earth is ultimately perfected it will easily sustain
this size population. At that time even the
"desert...shall blossom as a rose." (Isaiah 35)
The second reason for the delay
is a noble mystery, hidden from the view of most men.
God is in the process of making a "New Creation." The
same love that stimulated the creation of men and angels
also determined the creation of a few beings in
the very likeness of God Himself an intimate family for
God, so to speak. These beings will be
deathproof meaning that they will be
absolutely incapable of extinction under any
circumstances. (While all other beings
will actually live forever, they will be mortal that
is, they will live by God's permission rather than by
being inherently deathproof. 2 Timothy 1:10)
It is manifest that God would
not want to give death-proofness (immortality) without
first certainly establishing the obedience
of the creature, for if God created an immortal being
which became disobedient, the universe would forever be
plagued with the results of disobedience. Therefore, God
determined that He would make His "New Creation" out of
an old creation so that He could first
test character. What an opportunity for such testing
exists on the earth! And God determined to utilize the
earth to develop His "New Creation" which He also
calls His "Church." (Church is from the Greek word
"EKKLESIA" which means "a calling out." God will "call
out" of the earth those characters He wishes for His
A period of about 2,000 years
(between the two advents of Christ) was set aside for
finding a small number of such people people who under
adverse conditions would be faithfully obedient to the
instructions of God. It is God's intention to "CHANGE"
these faithful Christians into spirit beings (like
Himself) before the earth is restored and mankind is
resurrected. It also is God's intention that His "New
Creation" will be the active agents in awakening man
from the dead and bringing man to the point of perfect
obedience. After all, this "Church" will have
been men! Imagine the sympathy they will be
able to exercise toward mankind! (I Corinthians 6:2;
has not yet been restored to life, and God has not yet
stepped in to do away with all ills because (1) the
earth's population must first reach its proper size, and
(2) the candidates from among men for God's "New
Creation" must all be selected.
SUMMARY & PROSPECTS
God permitted evil because it was the only
method by which He could develop an informed and
obedient creation which possess freedom of intelligent
choice a creation who will ultimately worship Him
because they want to.
The seeming failure of God (to human eyes) is due to His
secret work of developing a "New
Creation" which will be used to restore man to
perfection. Meanwhile, the population of the earth has
approached its desirable size.
The prospects for the near future are better than man's
fondest dreams. When the long-spoken, but rarely
understood, prayer is answered, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy
will be done in earth...," the earth
will be an ecological and social paradise. We have
hardly begun to live! We have hardly begun to dream!
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