Bart Ehrman recently came out with a book about Suffering being God’s Problem. I haven’t read it yet. It’s on my plans of books to purchase and read though. (I have so many books in my waiting list right now and my funds are tight and I’m about to begin a week modular class.) However, a fellow student and friend of mine is reading it and shared how he had it next to him and a professor came up and saw the title and said “Ah. God’s Problem. Bart Ehrman.”
Humorous? Indeed! However, I think there is a grain of truth to it. I think we could say Ehrman is God’s Problem. (Being gracious with my terminology as God doesn’t have problems like we do.) I have recently reviewed John Loftus’s book on here and I could say he’s God’s problem. The same goes for Richard Dawkins.
So I’m listing the atheists and agnostics as God’s problem?
Nope! I mentioned JP Holding of Tektonics on my last blog. He’s God’s problem. Alister McGrath has dealt well with Dawkins as has John Lennox. Each of them is God’s problem. The professor who joked about the book title is God’s problem. My friend who has the book is God’s problem. My roommate is God’s problem. To be even more clear, I’m God’s problem.
Does anybody see a pattern forming here?
Whoever you are, put your name in that line. Whatever human you can think of, put their name in that line. If God has a problem at all, I do not believe it is evil. I believe dealing with evil is not the primary goal in the mind of God. I would say the goal of God is to extend his love, truth, and beauty and he does that in the act of creation.
However, God wants something. He wants creatures who will love him freely. He also wants the creatures to be themselves. Finally, he wants the creatures to be like him. He knows some of them will choose evil and yet, he still thinks his goal is reachable. The topic of evil is still there, but there are secondary and primary aspects to it. God’s primary goal is not to make us happy. Oh that is one of his goals as there is a place called Heaven, but his main goal is to have us be ourselves and be like him and do so freely.
Yep. That sounds like a challenge or a “problem.”
Could it be that when we look at evil, we see the wrong problem? We think that the problem is suffering. What if it isn’t? We’re too quick to say all suffering is evil. Many of us will say much of the good we’ve had in life has come about because we had suffering. The same could be said for pain. I will assure the reader as one who has a steel rod on my spine and has even had panic attacks before, I am no stranger to pain. These events helped shape me in my life though.
What if the universe is not meant to make us happy as it is though? If that is the case, then we cannot say it is not meeting its goal. We cannot say the creation has gone awry if we do not know what the purpose of the creation is. This world was never meant to be a four-star hotel and as soon as we treat it as if it was meant to be, then we are criticizing the way it is for the wrong reasons. We might as well criticize a hammer for not being able to tighten screws.
I believe, and this will come out more when my paper on evil is put up here, that this universe is just fine for the purpose I think it was intended for. God has provided light and I believe just the right balance to see who really wants to come to the light. He has not given too little that we can’t see, but he has not given too much that all are blinded.
Is God reaching his goal? The Bible says we can be sure he is and based on the resurrection of Christ, I believe it’s reliable. The Bible has shown itself to me time and time again to be trustworthy and Revelation tells me of a great gathering that no man can number from every tribe, language, and nation on the Earth that will be in Heaven.
When we get there, we will proclaim that. Yes Lord. Your plan was perfect. Your ways were and are right. You have made us to be like you and made us to be ourselves. You have redeemed us from evil and conquered it by the blood of your Son. You have taken our scars and have turned them into monuments of your grace. How awesome you are.
What a day that will be. Until then, I thank God for doing what he can to deal with this “problem” writing now.