One of the fundamental questions we all struggle with, right up there with “Does God exist?” is the question, “Is God good?” In fact, I think if we don’t reconcile the latter question, we may come to a negative conclusion to the former. With all of the ugly in the world it can seem that God must either be uncaring or he doesn’t exist at all.
I have both struggled with doubting God’s existence and his goodness. I particularly struggle with God’s goodness when I read of the violence he condoned (or maybe I should say: commanded) in the Old Testament. How could a loving father wipe out entire populations of people?
I could get into a lot of theological debate on this subject. I have read many books and articles that address this subject because I wanted to try to understand the God of the Old Testament (aka the God of Now too). Reading from various philosophers and theologians helped me intellectually reconcile who God is. If you’re struggling with this question, I highly recommend that you do some research.
But here’s the thing… No matter how much you research and come to an intellectual understanding of God’s character, you will always have to reconcile it in your heart. There will always be things we will not understand about God. That’s part of being human, unfortunately, being human makes us NOT God by default. Therefore, our understanding of him will be painfully limited.
This is where that awesome (sense sarcasm here) word called: faith, comes in. At some point, we have to make a choice. We have to decide whether or not we are going to believe in God and believe that he is good. There will always be evidence for either side of the debate, but never concrete proof. We have to be ok with that. The nature of our faith is that it requires faith. Funny how that works, huh? Just remember that it takes faith to believe the opposite is true too because last time I checked, God isn’t sitting in a laboratory available for scientific research. So, what are you going to choose to believe?
We must choose to trust that God is good. When our spouse dies or our child gets cancer or we become unemployed, we will have to continue to choose to believe that God is good. It won’t feel like he is and that’s why it is important to have an intellectual understanding of his character. When things feel horrible, we will have our knowledge and our faith to pull us through the darkness of life.
I hope that you will seek to reconcile these questions in your heart and in your mind. The worst thing that we can do is to resign ourselves to confusion and doubt. Remain in conversation with God and other believers. I would even say that it was helpful for me to read the arguments from non-believers. Just don’t settle for being in a rut with God. Continue to seek and ask questions. Stay connected to God. He will help you get through that dark valley of doubt. I can promise you that because he’s done it for me and countless others.
If you’re ready to do some research, check out these resources:
And a blog that Caleb recently found: www.reasonablefaith.org.
Hope these are helpful for you!