Throughout my life, I have had numerous conversations with people who have been through painful circumstances and ask how God can be good, yet allow bad things to happen. I always dreaded these discussions because I had no words to explain anything that made logical sense. My knowledge of God being good was based on faith alone and when someone is searching for an answer to that question, faith is not the answer they want to hear. They are searching for solid evidence. Something tangible they can grab hold of and cling to in the wake of a heartbreaking tragedy. I have even experienced that type of tragedy in my life and my faith was what held me together and gave me strength to live on.
As disciples of Christ, we should be able to explain this phenomenon to those searching for reasons to believe that God is good. Yesterday I came across this conversation and it changed everything.
Professor: You are a Christian, aren’t you, son?
Student: Yes, sir.
Professor: So, you believe in God?
Student: Absolutely, sir.
Professor: Is God good?
Professor: Is God all powerful?
Professor: My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to God to heal him. Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill, but God didn’t. How is this God good then? Hmmm?
(Student was silent.)
Professor: You can’t answer, can you? Let’s start again, young fella. Is God good?
Professor: Is Satan good?
Professor: Where does Satan come from?
Professor: That’s right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?
Professor: Evil is everywhere, isn’t it? And God did make everything. Correct?
Professor: So who created evil?
(Student did not answer.)
Professor: Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the world, don’t they?
Student: Yes, sir.
Professor: So, who created them?
(Student had no answer.)
Professor: Science says you have 5 senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Tell me, son, have you ever seen God?
Student: No, sir.
Professor: Tell us if you have ever heard your God?
Student: No, sir.
Professor: Have you ever felt you God, tasted your God, smelt your God? Have you ever had any sensory perception of God for that matter?
Student: No, sir. I’m afraid I haven’t.
Professor: Yet you still believe in Him?
Professor: According to empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?
Student: Nothing. I only have my faith.
Professor: Yes, faith. And that is the problem science has.
Student: Professor, is there such a thing as heat?
Student: And is there such a thing as cold?
Student: No, sir. There isn’t.
(The lecture theater became very quiet with this turn of events.)
Student: Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat. But we don’t have anything called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat, but we can’t go any further than that. There is no such thing as cold. Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy. Cold is the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.
(There was pin-drop silence in the lecture theater.)
Student: What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?
Professor: Yes. What is night if there isn’t darkness?
Student: You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light. But if you have no light constantly, you have nothing and its called darkness, isn’t it? In reality, darkness isn’t. If it is, well you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?
Professor: So what is the point you are making, young man?
Student: Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.
Professor: Flawed? Can you explain how?
Student: Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is life and then there is death, a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can’t even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing.
Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it. Now tell me, Professor, do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?
Professor: If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes, of course, I do.
Student: Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?
(The Professor shook his head with a smile, beginning to realize where the argument was going.)
Student: Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor. Are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist but a preacher?
(The class was in uproar.)
Student: Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the Professor’s brain?
(The class broke out into laughter.)
Student: Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor’s brain, felt it, touched or smelt it? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established Rules of Empirical, Stable, Demonstrable Protocol, science says that you have no brain, sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures, sir?
(The room was silent. The Professor stared at the student, his face unfathomable.)
Professor: I guess you’ll have to take them on faith, son.
Student: That is it sir…Exactly! The link between man and God is faith. That is all that keeps things alive and moving.
Faith is all we need, thus the reason it is so hard to explain why we believe what we believe to non-believers. But my point of sharing this conversation was to share something deeper that I learned. The next time someone asks me how a good God can allow bad things to happen, this is how I will respond.
God created the world and everything in it was good. He created Adam & Eve and they were given free will; the ability to choose. Once the choice was made to have the knowledge that only God had up until that point, sin entered the world and everything changed.
The conversation between the student and the professor uses the example of death being the absence of life, dark being the absence of light, cold being the absence of heat, so therefore, evil would be the absence of good. God is not evil. Because of free will, God lets us choose and that choice opens the door for evil to wreak havoc on the world around us. That is the double edged sword of free will. God is always good, always loving, and always merciful. Because of sin, bad things happen to good people and when that occurs, God always uses it for His glory to shine through.
Think about it this way. A man has cancer. He is a Godly man, praying every day for God to heal him from this disease. God decides to answer this mans prayers and brings him home to be with him in Heaven where there is no more pain and no more sickness. Because of sin, we see things from a worldly prospective and think that God didn’t answer this man’s prayers when from a Heavenly prospective he did.
We will never understand God fully until the day he calls us home where we belong. Heaven is our home and earth is temporary. We were never meant to live separated from God, but the fall of man opened that door and until God returns we will have pain, suffering, and heartache on this side of Heaven. Our faith is the only thing that will keep that hope alive and God in our hearts. It is our choice to believe and to attempt to see from His prospective instead of one that is void of Him.