Posts Tagged ‘how do we know God is good?’

Bertrand RussellHow’s that for a challenging statement, eh?

When I found this graphic on an Internet atheism community, I knew I had to grab it and explore the viewpoint — as much for me as for you.

To start with, I emailed the graphic to a wise and thoughtful pastor friend. Here’s how Ross Carkner responded:

I would have thought that it would be impossible for a person to sit at the bedside of a dying child and NOT believe in God.  I am hard-pressed to think of a better place in which to find God – amidst the crippling heartache and shattered dreams of parents, siblings and family.

It is the convenience of living in the western world, overflowing with an optimism fueled by a seemingly never ending supply of individualism and materialism, which insists that life is grand!

Life is not grand.

Sure, life is filled with mounds of joy and the pursuit of happiness. But pain, disappointment and death also fall like rain. Every single day.

Sooner or later, we must come to grips with the reality, no matter how painful it is, that we live in a broken and hurting world.

The gift of God is His presence and that in His plan there is a promise of better things to come. This world isn’t all there is, but right now, it is all that we have. We live in brokenness, but God is already working out His plan.

Doesn’t that give you lots to think about?

It occurs to me that behind the statement in the graphic, made by a renowned 20th century philosopher/atheist/writer, is this question: How can one sit by the bedside of a dying child and still believe God is good?

First, let’s remember that no “religion” has ever promised that life would be perfect for even one person. In my faith, Jesus of Nazaareth (whom many people believe is the Son of God) told his followers: “In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!

So what does “I have defeated the world” mean? I like the answer provided by blogger Jack Zavada:

God doesn’t spare us from [our troubles], he doesn’t shield us from [our troubles], but He does deliver us. We may come out the other side with scars and losses, but we will come out the other side. Even if our suffering results in death, we will be delivered into the hands of God.

That’s the key part of the question about the goodness of God. If you believe this world and this life is all there is, then the idea of God delivering you from your ills – and, in the case of the graphic that sparked this essay, your child’s ills – is simply utter nonsense. And you have no hope.

But if you somehow know that 70-plus years on planet Earth can’t be the entire story, then consider God’s gift of His Son. Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection clears the way to eternal life for you, your children and anyone else who accepts that gift and makes Jesus Lord and Savior.

Does this makes sense? Yes or no, post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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