Last post, I explored how people outside the Church often think that being in the Church is all about being good. I said I believe God is good – and good on our behalf – so there isn’t any requirement for being good to get yourself in the door.
I often find another question that follows heavy on the heels of that one, is: If God is good, why does he let bad things happen? Personally I find this one interesting for a few reasons; mainly because of the ideas about God that are inherent in the question.
- God has the power to control good and bad things
- God should only let good things happen
If we think God should only let good things happen then, I think an earlier question should actually be – where did I get that idea from? Reason being, that such an idea creates a god who is basically ‘genie in a bottle meets Santa Claus’. I don’t see God presenting himself to humanity as that sort of deity anywhere in The Bible.
So if you’re thinking that’s what the Christian God is like, perhaps it’s time to read The Bible and see what he says about himself instead. We can’t expect to know what a person is like if we never take the time to listen to what they say about themselves. Right?
Back to point one.
I’m used to hearing people say that they don’t believe in God. So, to then hear people imply that God has power to control what happens all over the planet, for me that is a huge intellectual (and spiritual) leap. With one small question they’ve gone from ‘The guy upstairs doesn’t exist’ to ‘The guy upstairs runs the joint’.
But are we actually letting him run the joint in our lives? All too often humanity ignores God’s existence and design for living. Then when things go wrong, he suddenly exists and we blame him. Then when things are going right again, we forget about God and thank our amazing skills and personal autonomy for the good things in our lives.
We don’t thank God. We just blame him.
Interesting. Why is that?
So as you can see, I haven’t actually answered the question at all. In part, this is because I don’t think there is a ‘pat answer’ and I find it insensitive to pretend there is one.
No one wants neat, unrealistic and simplistic theology when they’re in pain.
Instead, I’ve deconstructed the question and got a little Socratic with it and asked questions back. I think it’s a deep question in the first place, but even deeper when we explore the suppositions and associated behaviour sitting behind it.
Maybe you might want to reflect on that this week.
Whatever God does in the world, I believe that ultimately it is good, even if I can’t feel it, and when my current reality seems about as far away from it as possible, and when it is painful to even think with that perspective.
Yours in still trusting in the darkness,