Recently I posted a link in my sidebar to a post regarding how to become a Christian. A sometime visitor to this site, Nicholas, left me a comment with that post. He said:
If God created us, then he created us with curiosity and strong will. And then he punishes us for being true to our nature. That is a truly evil thing to do. No wonder I find religion to be life hating and degrading.
Here is my response to Nicholas:
Perhaps you find religion to be “life hating and degrading” because you are still perplexed about how we were created since you began your comment with the phrase “If God created us…” For me there is is no “if”. We are all part of God’s creation. I believe this just as firmly today as I did when I first was taught this in Sunday school and by my parents so many years ago. With all of our understanding of history today and with all of our scientific discoveries there has been nothing presented to date which proves God doesn’t exist.
Greek mythology often portrays the gods as looking down on us from Mt. Olympus where they move games pieces around on a chess-like board manipulating man for their own amusement. While your comment didn’t specifically describe a scenario like that it made me think of it. We were not created to serve as some sort of diversion for God to play with when He’s bored.
Nicolas, the way you explain it God is playing some cruel joke on us by giving us certain characteristics such as curiosity and strong will, and when we investigate something or we make certain life choices we are then punished. I really wish you had given me some examples to work with because I’m not getting the “punished for curiosity” idea unless you are talking about being curious with drug use or something like that. We need to remember that when we choose to do drugs, steal, or speed in our cars we are utlizing our curiosity through our strong will, or as I would rather refer to it…..our free will. These choices can result in bad things happening. We are at fault.
Wouldn’t it be so much simplier if we had no free will…if we had no choices to make? Fortunately we were given free will. The same freedom of choice Adam and Eve had. Without it we would be puppets, and what good would that be to us or to God. I certainly wouldn’t want someone to follow me because they had to. I would want them to follow me because it was their choice.
You relate that because bad things happen in this world God is evil. Nicholas, God is anything but evil. While there is an evil one, it is not God. Look at this post if you want to know what God is like. God is often referred to as our Father. I believe that He is.
We know that God does permit bad things to happen. We only need to look at Job 1: 6-19 to see this. One of the main points concerning what happened to Job is God is sovereign. He is in control. It’s important to remember even though He is in control it doesn’t mean He’s responsible. We are responsible for the choices we make, and God has the right to work out his own purposes in our lives.
When bad things happen we are very quick to judge God in our limited nature. We decide things are fair or unfair….we judge God. Think about the story of Joseph. In our limited way of thinking God allowed Joseph to be sold in to slavery. When Joseph was reunited with his family he was questioned about punishing his brothers. Joseph’s reply is found at Genesis 50: 19-20…"But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” If Joseph had not been sold into slavery he would not have become the powerful man we see in Egypt. He would not have had the power to feed starving people from his homeland.
Perhaps your comment regarding religion being “life hating and degrading” comes from the fact that if the Bible is followed there are absolute standards that should be followed. In our limited understanding these standards can be interpreted as limitations on our free will. But I argue that everyone has to make a choice sooner or later regarding a standard to follow. The decision is made based on the values you have. You submit to a set of values in life that either follow God or you don’t based on Romans 6. Either way you have a standard. Either way…bad things are going to happen when you make poor choices.
Christians choose standards that are well proven over and over in the Bible. They decide to model their behavior after the behavior of Christ mainly because when you get down to the nitty gritty He had the most free will and power of anyone who has ever walked this Earth yet He followed His Father.
He made that decision of his own free will….free will His Father provided...the same free will you and I have.