Many God-fearing Christians who know and love God, still struggle with some of those “hard questions.” We all have doubts from time to time, but in an attempt to strive for faithfulness, many well meaning Christ followers stuff those doubts into the corner of their minds and decide that they have to wait to ask Jesus when they see Him face to face. There are certainly questions that we will not know or understand the answers to while on this earth, but some of those “hard questions” do have answers that can be found now. God wants us to bring Him our doubts and worries and isn’t surprised by them. With some exploring, understanding and guidance, most solutions are discovered within God’s own Word.
One of the most common questions I have come across is why do bad things happen to good people? That is a great question. If God knows everything and is all powerful, why does he allow things like rape, murder, abuse, loss of a loved one, and horrible sicknesses? Other questions exist like why is it okay for the men in the Old Testament to have multiple wives, or why does God kill so many innocent people in the Bible? Or, why are there terrible catastrophic forces of nature? Many struggle with the question of why a loving and righteous God would cause or allow these things. As Christ followers, we need to know how to respond to these questions. There are others around us who need these answers and need to understand that we have a good God before they will accept Christ. If we are struggling ourselves, we will not be equipped for a proper response.
At the heart of most of these doubts, is a basic mistrust of God’s good character. If we begin with the core belief that God is righteous and holy, then when we encounter a situation in God’s Word or in life that does not seem to align with this, then we will be compelled to explore further and find the explanation. For example, most people know the story of Adam and Eve. They know the Sunday school version of how the serpent tricked Eve into eating the forbidden fruit. She fed it to Adam, and then God banned them from the Garden of Eden. If we stop right here in the story, and are honest, most of us have probably wondered, was God being mean when He banned them from the Garden? Or, if we back up even further, was God being unfair when He prohibited them from eating from a specific tree. To some, this may even confirm in them the idea that God is an iron clad rule maker and that He is just waiting for us to mess up so He can punish us. But, a deeper look into this historical event will reveal the opposite. It will prove that God is good and just, and that He is always looking out for our best interests. It will show that it is really us who went astray from His perfect plan, and as a result, a lot of bad and unfair things happen in the world today.
In Genesis 1 we find the account of creation. With only God’s spoken word, the whole earth was created, and after each day of creation, God declares that what He has made is good. I have to stop here and ponder what it must’ve looked like the first time trees arose from the ground, and plants of every color and shape took form. I wonder what the wild animals were like as they roamed the earth freely and lived peacefully. Even Adam and Eve must have been beautiful and perfect in the eyes of God. Genesis 2:1 states, “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.” What a sight it must have been! What an awesome God to make something so splendid. What is around us today must grossly pale in comparison to the beauty that once was here. Like a pair of old faded blue jeans, the earth has lost its original richness of color and form.
In fact, in Genesis 3:17, after Adam and Eve sinned against God and the curses were pronounced, the earth itself began to change. God said that it is going to produce thorns and thistles for Adam so that Adam has to work hard for his food now. Before, Adam and Eve just ate whatever grew in the garden. But now, being banned from the garden, they would have to work the fields. God also lovingly clothed them with the skin of an animal. Here is the first sacrifice made to cover for sin, and it is made by God Himself. From this point on the earth is different and the relationship that man has with creation has also changed.
As we look on throughout the Bible, we see verses that point to the slow deterioration of the actual earth, such as Isaiah 51:6, which states, “The heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and its inhabitants die out like flies, but my salvation will last forever and my righteousness will never fail.” In Romans chapter 8 we learn even creation waits “in eager expectation, for the creation was subjected to frustration,” it is in “bondage to decay,” and it has been “groaning as in pains of childbirth” as it awaits its own deliverance. God has a plan to relieve the earth, to rebuild it, and to start over with his righteous chosen (Matthew 24:35; 2 Peter 3:10-13; Rev 21). Until the day the New Heavens and the New Earth are formed, this earth will continue to deteriorate and move towards destruction. As a result, we will see the battle scars of its turmoil more and more as it nears its end.
In Hard Questions: Part 2 Relationship, I will further explore the account of Adam and Eve and how it reveals the loving and protective nature of God, which will bring to light many answers to those hard questions.