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Presentation Outline

(Slides available here)

Session 7: What Would You Do If You Were God?

 

In this presentation, we look at the “Enduring God” as consider the issue of pain and suffering in this world from a biblical perspective.

 

Key Points

1.    Accusations against God

  • While the Bible says that “all things work together” (Romans 8:28), the fact remains that there is pain and suffering in this world.
  • Some have quoted Epicurus, who apparently even goes so far as to say that God is malevolent if he is able to prevent evil, but unwilling.
  • Society seems to put the blame on God on many things that happen, either directly (“act of God”, i.e. natural disasters) or even indirectly.
  • Atheists like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris argue that the world would be a better place without religion and God, which they claim to be the most prolific source of violence in our history.
  • While religion has of course played a part in the wars, the fact of the matter is that wars motivated by religion only comprise 6.98% of all recorded wars in history. Robin Schumacher explores this in detail (http://carm.org/religion-cause-war) and concludes that religion is in fact NOT the main cause of war (far from it for that matter!)

2.    Who’s to blame?

  • The Bible makes it clear that it’s the devil who’s at fault.
  • We can see this in the parable of the wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24-30) and the woman who was sick and bent over (Luke 13:16)
  • The best example of this is of course Job, whom God allowed the devil to attack (Job 1)
  • Job lost everything, and yet he trusted God even though he didn’t understand it all.

3.    The beginnings of sin…

  • Why didn’t God just wipe the devil out and solve all our problems?
  • Consider that the devil was Lucifer, a beautiful angel that was the anointed cherub that covers, perfect in beauty and full of wisdom (Ezekiel 28:12-18).
  • However, he wanted to be like God (Isaiah 14:12-14); taking his eyes of God and focusing upon himself.
  • Sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4), and the essence of the law is loving God with all your heart and soul and loving your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 22:37-40).
  • In taking his eyes off God, and severing his love from Him because he wanted to exalt himself, the devil chose to be absent of God.
  • Just like darkness is the absence of light and “cold” is the absence of heat, so sin basically an absence of God.
  • The devil and his angels were then cast out (Revelation 12:7-9)
  • He still wanted to be like God, and since there is no dirt to dig up about God, he chose to lie (i.e. Genesis 3:1-13)

4.    God’s response

  • God could’ve just wipe the devil out, but how would everyone feel if He did? That would only validate what the devil has said.
  • And moreover, God is love (1 John 4:8), and love necessitates free choice. He can’t just reprogram everyone.
  • Since God can’t wipe the devil out, and He can’t reprogram everyone, He endures and chooses to let things play out, watching as a parent watches a hurting child.
  • But the enduring God takes it a step further – He comes down to die for us on the cross so that He can relate and understand and support us (Isaiah 53:3).
  • Ultimately, His goal, His will, is that we will believe in Him and have everlasting life, and that we will be raised up in the last day.

 

As we journey through life, like Fred and Diana Adams (video available online), we can draw strength from the Bible in knowing that we have an enduring God who knows and understands what we’ve had to go through. When He comes again, ALL will be realized and there will finally be an end to this great war between good and evil. As we journey through these Ancient Words, it can certainly not only change our lives in the present, but it can give hope for eternity, for our struggles and suffering now are but temporal. 

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