Is God good? It seems to be a question we're faced with in our minds over and over again as we go through life. Our God concept gets shattered by an event that doesn't fit our worldview, trauma, failure, delay, pain, hardship, suffering and sorrow pepper the lives of our friends and families, people around the world and our first response is usually one of two things, "its my fault" or "its God's fault", and even if its someone else's fault it still comes on God because of our concept of him. "why didn't he stop this?" "why didn't he fix/save/heal them?" are usually the questions we ask, which is fair to ask because we're humans. For the sake of this article I want to explore the latter question of God's culpability rather than our own because it faces us with the biggest question that we continually ask ourselves despite how much He proves the truth to us, "is God good?".
"is God good?" is the only question we truly ask when it comes to it. "if God was good, why would he allow suffering if he's all powerful?". The villain Lex Luthor's assertion that "if God is all powerful he cannot be all good." is an interesting philosophy statement that seems to ring true...but is it? What if the way we've been thinking of God's sovereignty is askew? What if God doesn't make everyone dance on strings like we've been told and probably concluded?
This is the typical God concept of people today who struggle with this question.
"if God is all powerful he cannot be all good because if he can stop suffering, genocide, oppression, and evil and doesn't then he's just as culpable for the calamity as the person/force/organization" to loosely quote the new Batman movie villain Lex Luthor.
Or even simpler "God cannot be good because of the existence of evil"
I'm not going to go into a full good and evil argument, there are people who are much smarter than me who are published and you can read on that from them. I want to explore the way that our God concept gets shaped and how he turns it around and proves himself to be good.
Events that shape our God concept.
Trauma, tradition, teaching, and trials shape our God concept whether we like it or not. When we're young things are simple and we gain a simple understanding of the world but as we grow our thoughts about life and God change and become more dynamic. We make assumptions about the world, life and God, and as we grow those assumptions change. Sometimes they change drastically because the pain of what we experience doesn't fit the way we've thought about God. If we grow up with an assumption that we will never fail at anything or experience hardship because of scriptures that were either taken out of context or teaching that "if you're walking good enough you'll never have trouble or pain" then when life hits you in the face with hardship, loss, or trauma, then it shatters your god concept and you're left broken on the floor with question of what went wrong, how you got there, and how God could've let this happen when "i thought i was doing everything i was supposed to be doing". Again, it's either my fault or God's fault. Either God has been hiding this from me, or someone lied to me, or I failed at what I was supposed to do. Many preachers tout that hardship, calamity and trauma are all evidence of sin in the person's life that has gone on too long and God is punishing them (with which I vehemently disagree because of the cross, but that's another article). They believe that God causes car crashes, and cancer to teach lessons, he instigates suffering and evil to make good. That doesn't line up with the concept of a loving Father. My dad wouldn't give me cancer to teach me a lesson so why would God?
None of this answers why things still happen though..
God never promises us a pain free life.
In fact he promises quite the opposite, especially for the Christian. He says that throughout our life we will suffer, experience hardship and trouble. Jesus himself was brutally attacked and went through hell all the time every day and suffered and died on a cross. But he also promises something else. That we will overcome because He has overcome the world.
So why do these things still happen? Because people choose to be their own gods and inflict their wrath, self righteousness and imperfection on others. God's plan was never pain and suffering but because of us its now accounted for in the plan.
The question of free will.
Why give men the ability to disobey and wreak this kind of havoc? because God isn't interested in robots. he wanted to create a creation that could enjoy how amazing He is of its own free will. If you gave your sweetheart a love potion that made you irresistible in their eyes no matter what the love wouldn't be true, it'd be forced. He never wants to force himself on anyone but be in true authentic relationship with His creation because its what they were designed to experience. In order to do that he had to give us the ability to not choose him and the means to not choose him. to trust him and to not trust him. for him to be their God or for themselves to be their own God and distinguish for themselves what's good and evil. The beauty is that as soon as they made the choice to reject him and trust themselves he had already put a plan in place to restore them to perfect relationship with Himself.
He delegates his sovereignty.
God gave Adam and Eve complete sovereignty over the Earth, handed them the deed and said "go forth and assume dominion over the Earth". When Satan tricked them into trusting him instead of God, that sovereignty passed to Satan. With that said my major paradigm shift that's taken place for me in my life in this area is that I used to think that a drunk driver hitting someone, and the survivors finding out about cancer because of the full body scan was the intended plan all along. But a deeper look at romans 8:28 reveals a deeper truth. "God causes all things to work together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose". everyone is called according to his purpose because we're all made in his image. true not everyone loves him but love comes from trust. as we learn to trust him we learn to love him. God doesn't cause the evil that overtakes us and damages us, but he does promise to take that calamity, that loss, that woe, that trouble and turn it into a perfect healing, blessing and wholeness. he promises to take the things of the world that would normally destroy us and turn it into a good thing. God is the only God who can take someone making their decision to get drunk that night and drive and hit someone, and use it to in the end bless someone. it was that man's decision to get drunk and Jesus had nothing to do with it, in fact i'm sure Holy Spirit was screaming in his ear "DONT DO IT!!! YOU'RE GOING TO REGRET THIS!!! PLEASE I LOVE YOU!!!" But it was his choice to ignore it. and God honors our free will because he doesn't want robots. and i also believe he said "even though you're making this choice i'm going to use this mistake bless someone in the end" only our God is that powerful to take an inherently stupid and foolish mistake and take the bad outcome and turn it for good. It wasn't the plan from the foundation of the Earth and propertied by the hand of God for him to make that decision in order for this good thing to happen, whatever it is. God doesn't make people rape each other, God doesn't inflict cancer on his kids to teach them a lesson.
GOD IS NOT A CHILD ABUSER. We often associate God with an abusive sky bully who is ready to smash us when we do things wrong. Our first God concept is usually developed from our parents and for some excellent reading on that subject read God Distorted by John Bishop. He covers how different kinds of fathers in our upbringings develop our God concept, and the importance of having an accurate concept of a good good father who doesn't abuse his children to get results or ignore them to do the same.
Instead he uses our mistakes, and the consequences of living in a world affected by sin, the natural consequences of our actions and choices, and promises to turn them for good. THAT IS A GOOD GOD. He doesn't interfere with every little thing and I don't know why because his thoughts are higher than mine, but that's something I can trust. Someone I can trust.
He promises to turn evil to good just like he did for Joseph "What you intended for evil God intended for good". I don't necessarily believe that means that God planned for Joseph to be put into slavery, intended him to be abused and rejected, intended him to be sold into slavery and forgotten in order to make him into something better. I believe that people were given the choice to live with God as the Lord of their lives and to make their choices, but all along the way "the Lord was with Joseph". We are never promised a life without suffering, or that we'll never encounter evil because of the choices of men, spirits and nature. But God does promise us supernatural healing, protection, and salvation thru those troubles, trials and traumas. He leans over in our darkest moments and says "I'm with you...Do you trust me?".
John, who lived in the lifestyle for 30 years and returned to Christ full force, and Brandon, a 21 year old straight man also in love with the Lord Jesus. A team of two brought together by God to act as one. One gay one straight both in loving relationship with Christ.