Is it right to question God?

Is God fair? Can He be trusted? Are you disappointed with God? Does He make sense?

Questioning God is marketable. A number of books have become best selling titles by questioning God.

One book, Disappointment With God, ironically offered a 100% money back guarentee for those disappointed with the book! Gratefully, many of the books using these titles (the above mentioned included) help people better understand God.

But the marketing power of such titles is revealing.

It’s nothing new, of course, for people who believe in God to question Him. Many examples can be found in the Bible. God invites people to look to Him for wisdom, grace and peace when faced with trials (James 1:5; Heb. 4:16Phil. 4:6-7). We are specifically instructed to “cast our care on Him,” because “he cares for us” (I Pe. 5:7).

Yet God’s invitations are not to be used presumptuously. Scripture admonishes us to approach Almighty God with reverence and faith — “nothing doubting” (Heb. 12:28-29; James 1:8).

God’s distinguished servant Job asked God a series of questions and received a pointed question back from God: ”Who is this who darkens my counsel with words without knowledge.” Later, God asked, ”Will the fault finder contend with the Almighty? Let him who reproves God answer it” (Job 42:1-2).

These words remind me of the Apostle’s response to God’s sovereign election. “What shall we say? Is God unjust?” ”Not at all!” Then, quoting the words of God to Moses, he wrote, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy …” (Rom. 9:14-15). A little later, he questioned, “Who are you to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?

Are we qualified to call God before our judgment seat and demand an answer from Him? Not at all! There is a fine line between seeking God’s wisdom and assigning blame to Him – a line we as mere creatures do well to respect.

In our confusion about suffering, it’s helpful to understand that Scripture teaches us to allow for a world God prescribed (the goodness and innocence of Eden); one He permitted (the violence and rebellion of Cain) and a world He will providentially make new (the new heavens and earth).

As a young boy, I learned this lesson through a difficult family trial. When I was twelve years old my father acquired a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis. As the oldest son of eleven children, I was keenly aware of his suffering and the difficulties it brought to our family. “Why God?” I asked. ”My dad’s a good man. He has so much responsibility. He’s just trying to meet our needs! You say you love us and you have the power to heal all diseases, why don’t you answer my prayers and heal him.?”

These were honest questions from a young boy’s heart. Refusing to grow bitter, I struggled on with my questions. As my understanding matured, I learned to marvel at God’s ability to bring good out of suffering and I’ve learned to fix my hope on the grace God has in store for us in a place without suffering.

Trials promote the greatest human need – day by day dependence on the living God (Matt. 4:4Deut. 8:1-3). Trials deepen our faith and the joy of fellowship with our Creator as the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles” (II Corinthians 1:3-4).

Sin, sickness, and death were not part of God’s original plan. These things came as a result of our rebellion against God will be removed forever in God’s new world (Rev. 21:1-5).

Honor God as God, Lord of heaven and earth. Respond to Him with unceasing gratitude for the smallest measures of His goodness, realizing that He is debtor to no one. God owes no man kindness. His mercy is evident in how, “He does not deal with us as our sins deserve” (Psalm 103:10).

Yet the truth of Scripture offers far more hope. In flesh and blood, deity and humanity united in the person of Jesus Christ, bearing the just punishment of our sin on the cross. In a way, this one fact answers all questions, perhaps making them unnecessary.

Short audio message here

Steve Cornell

This entry was posted in Apologetics, Doubt, God's control, God's Heart, God's Love, God's power, Problem of evil, Questioning God, Theodicy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Is it right to question God?

  1. Inquirer says:

    If it was not in God’s original plan to have death, pain and suffering, then is he in-fact Omnipotent? Aren’t we to presume that he MUST have knew that man would transgress and have to go through this phase? If he did not know then he could not see our future; therefore there are other things that he does not know.

    He is either omnipotent and KNEW or he did not know and he is flawed. It would be blasphemous for a Christian to believe that God is flawed!

    So… He knew!

    • thinkpoint says:

      You make a well-known point of discussion. Yes, God must have known or he surrenders an essential of deity (from a biblical viewpoint). But God also grieved and if his grief is authentic, it tells us something of his nature and of his planning.

      At a deeper mysterious level, God does not desire that any should perish (II Peter 3:9), yet some will perish. Why didn’t God decree what he desired? Perhaps because of his respect for human responsibility– a gift from God himself. So we can speak of God’s dispositional will as something that conflicts even with his own sovereignty. This is visible in the God-man, Jesus. He prayed “not as I will but as you will”. This was a type of conflict in divine willing. He also stood over Jerusalem and and grieved about how often he wanted to draw them into his protective love but how they would not therefore he did not. Which one comes first? Did Jesus being the God-man know that Jerusalem would reject him? Why did Jesus even offer to receive them? Herein lies a mystery beyond our finite comprehension. His offer was authentic. Their rejection was culpable. He weeps.

      The bottom line is wrapped in two truths we must honor:

      1. God is unconditionally sovereign
      2. Humans are responsible and accountable

      These two truths are presented repeatedly in Scripture as authentic and compatible realities. If we teach either one in a way that diminishes the other, we do not faithfully represent Biblical truth. But the mystery behind this compatibility is not fully known. It is simply and clearly taught and we are called to honor all that the Bible teaches and to live faithfully within what is to us a tension. Passages most illustrative on this include: Genesis 45:1-8; 50:19-20; II Samuel 24; Isaiah 10:5-19; John 6:37-40; Philippians 2:12-13; Acts 4:23-30; 13:38; 18:9-10.

      “The Bible insists that God is sovereign, so sovereign that nothing that takes place in the universe can escape the outermost boundary of his control; yet the Bible insists God is good, unreservedly good, the very standard of goodness. We are driven to conclude that God does not stand behind good and evil in exactly the same way. In other words, he stands behind good in such a way that the good can ultimately be credited to him; he stands behind evil in such a way that what is evil is inevitably credited to secondary agents and all their malignant effects. “ (D. A. Carson)

  2. Dave says:

    I believe the answer to that question is that God loved us so much before he made us that he was willing to die for us before he made us. So he made us knowing that we would fall, and that he would give his life for the life that he made. It was the ONLY way for God to have the relationship that he desired to have with his creation. It was in the plan before the plan was detailed. This also explains why we have the power to choose. God loved us so much that he chose to die for us before he made us, but in order for that to be a unilateral relationship we have to be able to choose to love God the way he loves us. So he made us with the power of choice. It makes our way to God, be God, and it’s the only way for God to have a relationship with his creation the way in which he desires. Think about all the things man can create, we cannot create something to love us the way we may love what we have made. This is what makes God different, he figured out a way to get to us and us to him. There is a cost, and that cost can be cruel, but no matter the cost, the end is that we are able to spend eternity with our maker.

  3. lindalreese55 says:

    God knows the whole story, we only see bits and pieces and our minds cannot wrap around the whole picture and we cannot always distinguish who is telling the whole truth or partial truths, therefore, we cannot come full circle with our small minds and must trust on God’s leading to get us from one day/moment until the next should that be His desire.

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