The basis of this premise is that God is all powerful and all knowing, therefore He is responsible for the condition of the world with all of its suffering.
On occasion I have the opportunity to discuss important and relative subjects with atheists or critics of the Bible. I have found that Twitter is a great platform to start these conversations, though the space provided is limited. The following is the text from a recent conversation I had with a young man over whether the condition of the world is all God’s fault.
I found this opinion very interesting, particularly in view of the fact that this young man had apparently invested a great deal of time in his personal thoughts before arriving at these opinions. Very often atheists simply repeat the thoughts of other atheists but have not given much personal consideration to these ideas.
This young man seems to have really thought about the problem and was fully prepared to argue his points with me.
Original Post On Twitter That Started The Discussion
Jesus said that the world will be like the days of Noah when He returns.
1. Denial of God
2. Believers falling away
3. Lies and deception
5. Preoccupied with self
7. Deny Christ’s return
For the first time in my 45yrs as a believer, these are true.
The above post was answered by a young man called “Zack.” The following is the text of this discussion:
Zack: A lot of these just add up to “people will question God’s existence”, which would be pretty obvious to guess, and the other two pretty much apply to every violent conflict in the history of ever. This is not even a remotely remarkable prophesy.
Rob: How is it that every day you live upon the earth He made for you; eat the food He grew for you; breath air He provided; enjoy the beauty and love of people He gave you, but you don’t see Him in all these things? Open your eyes, He is right in front of you.
Zack: If god made all the good in the world, then he also made all the bad . I see people who are given severe birth defects by God. I see hurricanes that God has spun up. I see horrible people who kill, rape and steal, who were all given the capacity to do so by God.
Rob: Your argument is logically flawed. God made the world perfect. It was man’s decisions to sin that caused the world to become imperfect. This brought sickness, suffering and death. You are blaming God for what we caused. It is we who kill, rape, and steal, against God’s law.
Zack: If God is omnipotent and omniscient, then he created the world with perfect foreknowledge of the grief he was causing and did it anyways, even though he could have made a world free of it. He knew that Adam and Eve would eat the fruit because he created them to do so.
Rob: How does God knowing what will happen, make Him culpable in what people do by exercising their own will? Are you responsible for the evil actions of your children, even though you know when they are born they will sin? You love them and do all you can to redeem their lives.
Zack: The problem arises when god designs the world in such a way that these things must occur. Being omnipotent he could easily create a world where people did not sin If you had a child and you had the ability to remove sin from their lives and didn’t then I would hold you responsible
Rob: Omnipotence does not permit God the ability to make your choices. If He makes you autonomous, out of love for you, it is you who are responsible for what you do. I think you misunderstand what omnipotence is. There are things God cannot do. He cannot lie, He cannot learn, He cannot change, He cannot but love you.
Zack: If my actions are destined to occur before I am born, then I have not made any choices.
Rob: Your actions were not destined to occur. God knowing what you will do, does not cause them to occur. Your actions are your responsibility. God knew you would need a Savior because of bad choices. For this reason, Jesus volunteered to die for your sins before He created the worlds
Zack: If God knows exactly what I will do for my entire life an eternity before I exist, then my actions are fated and literally nothing I will ever do could possibly change that.
Rob: How does God knowing what you will do, cause you to do it? This is not possible Zack.
Zack: Because a choice implies there are multiple options, and if the only option is to follow God’s plan to the letter, then there is no choice.
Rob: You said that choice implies multiple options. Then you said the only option is to follow God’s plan. This is not true. There is a second choice, which you have made; to not do what God has said and remain unsaved. God has not forced you to make either choice. He waits for you.
Rob: God has given you two choices: one to allow Jesus to pay for your sins so that you can go free, or two, refuse Jesus offer of love and reject God’s offer to save you. If God forces people to do what they do not want to do. How is it that you are still refusing?
Zack: 1 man did not make hurricanes. 2 God created humans in such a way that they would sin. If you build a car, and it doesn’t work, it’s your fault, not the car’s fault.
Rob: The earth God originally made perfect, did not have hurricanes. The fall of man also ruined earth, brought a curse to exist on the earth which caused natural disasters.
The car illustration is not an equal argument with a human. Cars are not capable of decisions. If you made a car perfect, it would remain perfect. A human has the ability to choose, a car does not.
Rob: Your argument does not work. No one blames the person who made something if another person uses it for evil. God was good to make the world perfect and let us decide how we would live. It is we who took what was good and made it evil. All that is evil in the world is our fault.
Zack: I disagree, because we were designed in such a way that we were destined so sin long before we were ever born. What about that indicates that we had a choice in the matter?
Rob: The evidence is you. Right now you are making the choice to rebel against God or to deny He exists. He did not make you this way. Your actions and choices are the reason you don’t believe. Did God force you to believe or not believe? No. It is your responsibility.
Zack: Why do so many theists just think atheists are secret believers who try to hurt god by pretending he doesn’t exist. I simply hear arguments for god’s existence and fail to be convinced. Maybe if you had better apologetics I wouldn’t be in this position.
Rob: There are many reasons for why people do not believe. I personally don’t think it is about evidence. Some people are hurt by something they think God allowed, or by a person who claimed to believe in Jesus, but then does terrible things.
These are good reasons to be hurt, but not good reasons to not trust that God loves us. If we understand that sin is the problem and not God, then we can accept that God has done everything possible to redeem us by sending Jesus to die for us.
Zack: While I wouldn’t like it if god were real, if someone ever did provide me with convincing evidence of his existence then I would accept it. I’m not even remotely perfect, but I do try to go where the evidence leads me.
Rob: I think you are an honest man Zack. I would suggest to you that there is tremendous evidence for the person who really wants to believe. It is those who do not want to believe who will never find evidence to believe. I was an atheist before I believed. Evidence convinced me.
Whose Fault Is It? Who Really Makes The Choice?
The idea that God could have created the earth with people who would not sin, is a common argument by atheists and critics of God. The problem is that it is not logical in its fundamental premise.
In order for God to make it possible for human beings to live with Him in heaven, He had to allow a process to ensue that would give people the opportunity of choice. If God made us as automatons who would act by programmed responses, it would be impossible for genuine love to develop, trust to be possible, or a quality of life that was of value, to exist.
We humans understand that in order for us to experience genuine love from a person, this person must—of their own free will—chose to love us and be with us. No human being wants a person to love them because they have to, or are pre-programmed to love us. This would not be love and its result would not satisfy the desire of the human heart for genuine love.
If we can understand this premise as humans, we can certainly understand why God created a world where people can choose whether to love and trust God, or rebel and hate Him.
God Made Us Like Him
The creation of man on earth, as a being who possessed the same qualities of being that God retained, was necessary. God made us like Himself in that we can think, reason, chose, and determine our own destiny. We have the ability to conceive an idea, design and create, fashion and make things that are beautiful and useful, just as God is able to do these things.
We can also choose whether we will believe that God is good, loving, kind, and righteous. We make these choices by our actions in believing what God said and acting on these beliefs. The purpose of the Bible was a communication by human words, preserved throughout human history, where God told us who He is and how we came into existence, and for what purpose we were made.
There is no other revelation in science or human philosophy that tells us these things.
It was through the word of God that we understand how the world was made perfect in the beginning and became filled with sin, evil, suffering, and death. It was by the disobedience of the first man that all men inherited the nature of sin and became imperfect. We cannot blame Adam for our lost state, for each one of us have also sinned and broken God’s laws.
It was the will of God that Adam would not sin and all human beings would live in a perfect world free of sin, evil, suffering or death. God also knew in advance that Adam would sin and this would require a Savior to redeem us back to the perfection God intended. Jesus is described as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Jesus offered His life in exchange for ours, to pay the debt we incurred by our own sins, so that every person could be redeemed.
This entire process was necessary so that each person could make a choice and either be joined with God or excluded from Him. We decide where we want to live for eternity. God provided this present life for us to decide. He provided the evidence of a magnificent universe that displays His power, wisdom, ability, and love. God made all this for us so that we could live and see that He cares deeply for every person.
Jesus died for all of us, even those whom He knew would never believe. He did this so that all creation would understand that God loved us before He made the universe and has done all that was possible to save us.
When we humans each finish our lives upon earth, we will have determined where we will live for eternity. God made it possible for every person to live in heaven in a perfect world, if this is our desire. We must decide to trust God and accept Christ as the payment for our sins, or reject Him and what He has done for us. This is our choice and the consequences of our choice will determine our eternal state.
Heaven is the reward for those who do what God said and believe Him. Hell is the prison where those who have broken the laws of God are sentenced. Just as there are laws on earth that carry a penalty of prison or death for our disobedience, so also are their laws of God that can imprison us or cause our eternal death. If we disobey a human law we can be sentenced for the rest of our life to prison, or be put to death. God has stated that “the soul who sins will die.” If we sin, as we all have, we remain under a sentence of death.
The only exception to this law is that God also established a provision that allows a person who is of sufficient worth to pay the penalty of the guilty.
Jesus came to earth as the eternal God, taking the body of a man. He was born sinless, and lived a sinless life. As God, His life is of infinite value. With a perfect and sinless life, Jesus is the only man ever to live who could act as our Savior. No other religious leader or god was ever sinless, and the Creator-God. For this reason no other could not act as our Savior. Only Jesus possessed these qualities of perfection and the power of an endless life—necessary to redeem all human lives.
Eternal Reward, Eternal Penalty
As the consequence for obedience has an eternal reward, the consequence of our disobedience has an eternal punishment. Both the reward and the punishment are equal in their duration, they last for eternity.
God has proven His love and desire that we do not end up in the prison of hell where all those who have rebelled against His law are dispatched. God gave His Son to take our place at the judgement we deserved. He has done all that was possible to prevent us from being lost. It is up to us to make the right choice and choose Christ so we can be saved.
If a person ends up in the prison of hell, it will be their fault, not God. It was not His will, but even in His great power and knowledge, He could not make this choice for us. We have to decide, and we will each bear the consequences of our choice.
Categories: Atheists, Common errors of Atheists, Common objections by Atheists, Forgiveness of Sin, How Salvation Occurs, Jesus born to die, Jesus is God, Omnipotence Paradox, Robert Clifton Robinson, Salvation is a free gift, Salvation through Jesus, The earth is the Lord's, The Existence of God, We must repent, We must see our need, What happens after death?, What is required for Heaven?, Why God Permits Evil, Why Jesus had to die