Big Questions Section
This section includes answers to some big questions. We don’t claim to have the answers (only God has all the answers!) But we hope and pray this helps you and the young people you work with. These are not definitive and you may way disagree or be able to add more, but they hopefully act as an inspiration or starting point.
There are 18 questions answered here. We must credit “When Skeptics Ask” by Norman Geisler and “Cosmic Codes” by Chuck Missler, “It makes sense” by Stephen Gaukroger and the website http://carm.org/ (Christian Research and Apologetics Ministry). We’ve tried our very best to give easy answers to the questions and then more advanced / detailed answers and even further study.
If God is so good then why did my Grandad (or someone close) die?
In the Bible there are many verses that show that God is good. Being good is part of his character. In fact every good and perfect thing comes from God. God is love and so everything loving also comes from God – whether we believe this or not! The Bible also tells us that the truth about Jesus is ‘good news’. So why then does so much bad happen? Well, we live in a world that is decaying and dying away. Right at the beginning of time, mankind broke the perfect friendship and relationship with God. People made this choice and God allowed them to make this choice. But the consequence was that everything that was perfect began to decay. In a way it’s like buying something that tells you exactly what you can do with it and how you should care for it. If you use that thing in ways you shouldn’t, abuse it or don’t care for it, then it will break and no longer work. We live in a very broken world where bad things happen.
The earth is an absolutely incredible place that is perfectly balanced in hundreds of ways so we can live here. But the earth is gradually decaying and falling apart (one day God will make everything new and completely perfect in a universe that will never again go wrong). But until them, things happen to both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ people because of a bad world. Often we ask where God was when bad things happen. He is there and often brings good out of bad. But people do bad things, people don’t do what they should (eg some houses don’t get repaired or are done by bad workmen) so they collapse etc. But this isn’t God’s fault. And there are millions of times when God does help and amazing things happen – in those times we need to be saying ‘that was God’. If something bad has happened to you, I’m really sorry. God feels your pain (Jesus cried when his friend died). But if you ask him, he will help you, comfort you and work to turn things around for good.
A post on Facebook put up the following picture. Our response will hopefully help us to react well to things like this.
The first thing to say is that the person who posted this is very angry with God and hostile towards God. When someone says something, you should always investigate the motives of the person making the statement. If someone is openly hostile, their thoughts should be treated with caution, especially if they’re talking about God who they want to reject!
However, the picture is completely unfair. If you were beaten up, no-one would post a picture of you saying, ‘How can you say your dad is good?’ because your dad wouldn’t be responsible for other people beating you up! But that is what this picture is doing – it is blaming God for the evil that man does which is wrong. It was man who rejected God. Yet God keeps on stepping in to help us. God is good, no matter what happens around us. You may have a good family but sometimes things happen that aren’t good – that doesn’t change the nature of your good family. Nor do bad things change the good nature of God!
Sometimes people say that God created mankind and that he knows everything and then blame God for sin as he knew what was going to happen but created mankind anyway. This doesn’t represent God properly and tries to take the responsibility for what people do away from them and blame God. And this is a lie from satan. While God sees the decision mankind will ultimately take, everyone still has a choice about what to do. A parent may know what a child could do but they still bring them up and love them. God showed his goodness in that when we were against God, he showed his love for us through Jesus.
Actually, the meme above should say something like, ‘how can atheists say mankind is inherently good when you see pictures like this?’ The fact that there is poverty and evil in the world shows our need of God and shows how mankind cannot cope on its own.
All the Christians I know are (in one way or another) directly or indirectly feeding the hungry, helping the poor and the needy – showing God’s love and fighting the work of evil in the world. So where is God? God is right there – among his people who are often there longer, later and doing more than others or there when others have long since gone. People (wrongly) shout at God when there’s bad – but (wrongly) don’t design ‘there was God, thank you God’ memes when we see good!
It’s really sad, but unfortunately we live in a world where people die. Sometimes these people die before we think they should. My brother was killed when he was just 18 and doing some amazing things to make a difference in the world. It seems unfair to us and maybe it is. But it’s important to know right away that it wasn’t God who killed your Grandad. It was a sad and horrible thing that happens in this world.
This world is a difficult place and there are lots of wrong things that happen. The Bible (God’s written words) tells us lots about this. Some people think the Bible is irrelevant, but it actually has loads to say on everyday issues like life and death. So let’s take a look at how the Bible helps us…
The Bible tells us that in the beginning, God made the earth and it was perfect. God didn’t need to make mankind but the Bible tells us that God created man and then woman. He made them in his own image (so in many ways we reflect God’s character). He looked at man and woman and said, ‘they are perfect’ and made them to live in paradise with God forever. He gave them all kinds of amazing things and gave them complete freedom. God warned them that they shouldn’t eat the fruit off just one tree, otherwise it would kill them. This was just one thing they were told not to do! (God isn’t a God of loads of religious rules!)
But the Bible also talks of someone called the devil who exists only to kill, steal and destroy everything that God made perfect. So we read that he tempted man and woman to eat the fruit off the tree. But by doing this, man and woman did what was wrong – which the Bible calls ‘sin’ and meant that man and woman’s friendship with God was broken. As God had warned them, this meant that death was introduced to the human race – a consequence of doing wrong (everything we do wrong has a consequence, whether we care or realise). So in this world today, we still have this problem. First, man and woman sin and do things that are wrong. Second, there is an enemy of God called the devil who kills and destroys (he hates man and woman because God created us). Every pantomime has a good person and a bad person. (The devil isn’t just bad, he’s so evil he only wants to kill).
So unfortunately, we live in a world that is in a mess because of sin and death is one of the things that results from sin. But God is a good God. He did not kill your Grandad. In fact he wants everyone to be restored to a friendship with him. A Bible verse, 2 Peter 3.9 says, “The Lord isn’t slow about keeping his promises, as some people think he is. In fact, God is patient, because he wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost.” Another version says, “God is… holding back the End (of time) because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change.”
The Bible also tells us (in John 10.10) that God came to give us an abundant amazing life! So the truth is that even though there is death, God made a way for us to live. When you think about the death of your Grandad, it’s good to feel sad and you need time to recover. But also think about how none of us know when we may die. When you’re young you think you’re invincible like some Marvel Comic Hero. But I had a close friend killed at 17 and was nearly killed myself in a car crash. So choose Jesus and choose life today!
In June 2014, the famous singer Elton John said that Jesus would approve of gay marriage because ‘he was all about love’. It’s great that Elton is thinking about what Jesus thinks! But while Elton’s statement seems to be true, it’s not the complete picture. Jesus loves us with a burning love of purity – he loves us so much that he doesn’t leave us in our mess, but changes us to become more like him. Holiness is a fruit of becoming a Christian. The love of Jesus will include a return to this earth and a day of judgement. The love of Jesus is so powerful that he will warn us if we’re about to walk into the road or put our hand in a fire. So God’s love isn’t a romantic love. It’s a burning love of knowing what is good for us and what isn’t.
In February 2015, Stephen Fry said that he wouldn’t want to go to heaven because he felt that if God was real, then he was a horrible and spiteful being. But he’s totally wrong about God and is looking in the wrong direction. When we see so much evil in the world, we don’t blame God who made the world perfect and who’s the one working to put things right. God isn’t persecuting man for doing wrong, he’s working to make things beautiful after man messed up.
This perspective is all wrong. The object of Stephen’s anger is all wrong. Instead we should look to the devil who is the one who destroys, kills and brings disease and all evil. It wasn’t God who created a messed up world – we are also to blame. There is so much good and so much that doesn’t go wrong in this world. Instead of ‘blaming’ God for all the ‘wrong’ (and it’s not his fault anyway!), why not thank God for all that is right. People never say things like “God saved that man from dying… helped that woman’s rescue…”
if there is no God, then being an atheist (or humanist) is illogical as there is still an evil sick world – so without a god, the blame must lie with humans and humanism. So why not blame humans? The one ‘humanist’ state in the world is the most evil, oppressive and poor – North Korea. Humanism and atheism leads nowhere – in fact, it was what motivated evil people like Hitler and Stalin to kill millions.