Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Peace about the big questions

Big Questions:

(1)  Why would God ever create the Universe, when He knows everything, and He knew sin would come in and wreck it, and He knew He'd have to send a Redeemer to die an excruciating death to restore it?

(2)  Since God is sovereign, almighty and in control of everything, how do our choices play into our destiny?  Where does responsibility lie? 

(3)  If God loves the whole world and has compassion on all He has made (as the Bible says), if He desires that all men come to saving knowledge of the truth (as the Bible says), if He is not willing that any should perish (as the Bible says), and if He is also sovereign, almighty, perfect in power and able to do whatever pleases Him (as the Bible also says), then why doesn't He save all men?

These questions roil around in my mind.  I don't have good, solid, tight answers for them.  I have some raw ideas about them, thoughts about the non-coercive nature of God, thoughts about whether or not every human is called by God, thoughts about the necessity of contrast for definition.  Half-baked, unsatisfying thoughts.

Sometimes I almost figure something out, but the answer isn't simple.  I read a book that explains things, but when I set the book down, I can't remember the explanation.  The same perplexing questions surface again and again.

A hostile person asks me, "Why does God get credit when we do something right, but it's our fault when we do something wrong?  How is that fair?"  I think that in this case, it comes down to the origin of all things and the difference between a Holy God and a sinful mortal man.

God, the Creator, made all things good.  Every wrong thing is a result of the entrance of sin into the world, and humanity (at the urging of Satan) brought sin into the world, where it now pervades and perverts God's originally good creation.  No longer is anyone ever born good (except Jesus).  All humanity is born into sin, in need of a Savior.  In our flawed flesh, we naturally sink to do the wrong thing, every time.  Whenever anyone does the right thing, it is a miracle of God, overcoming the evil that besets all creation.  This is true whether the person knowingly obeys the Lord or not.  God allows His beauty--in physical nature and in the hearts of men--to surge forth and remind us that He is real.  So I guess I do have an answer for this particular question, although the hostile person is not open to it.  Also, I understand his struggle with the paradox.  It hinges on being able to comprehend that we are not on an equal footing with God; He is God, and we are not.

How do we find peace in a Universe that is too huge, too paradoxical, too frightening and confusing and beautiful and complex?

I read Psalm 131:

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
    my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
    too great and too marvelous for me.

But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
    like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the Lord
    from this time forth and forevermore.


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