The God Who Discriminates

“Discrimination” is a dirty word in our day, a cardinal sin in a society that worships autonomy, rights, and tolerance as saint-like virtues.  Surely God would not discriminate.  God is about love, acceptance, justice.  This is all true, but I find that as a person who prizes clarity, the way these words are so often tossed around and mixed up makes me uneasy.  So I’d like to bring clarity to a few things.

First of all, it is true that God is very concerned with justice.  However, our idea of justice is perhaps not the same as His.  I think we often take the things that we think are unjust and offensive to our tolerant sensibilities and wrongly assume that must mean that God objects to them too.  But here’s the truth:  God is less concerned with our social justice than He is with His justice.  And His justice is of a very different nature.  So perhaps, if we want to bring God into the discussions of social justice, we should check first to make sure it accords with His justice.

Secondly, let me be clear that God is about love and acceptance.  He tells us to come as we are.  However, “coming as we are” does not necessarily mean that what we are has nothing wrong with it or that God will not require submission to His authority in our lives.  We come as we are, but we come as subjects to a King.  God does freely love and accept us, but He does this on His terms and not ours.

So does God discriminate?  I want to argue yes and no.  To discriminate can have two slightly different meanings.  First, it can mean that one shows a preference for one person over another based on what group a person is a part of rather than actual merit. God does not discriminate in this way.  He does not differentiate between people based on differences that we normally associate with discrimination: race, gender, lifestyle.  God does not prefer any one person over another for these reasons.  He also does not discriminate in this way because to God, we are all part of the same group: the group of sinners.  We all possess the same characteristic of unholiness.  And He certainly doesn’t discriminate based on merit because if He did, we’d all be thrown out the window.

However, discriminate can have a different meaning that people don’t usually associate with the word at least when speaking of issues of tolerance and acceptance.  Discriminate can simply mean to draw a line of distinction between two parties, to differentiate between them.  I want to propose that God does discriminate in this way.  Not between people, but between Himself and us.  Because of His holiness and our unholiness, He draws a clear line of distinction that indicates that we are fundamentally different from Him.

So when people say that God doesn’t discriminate, it is true in one sense and false in another.  God does not discriminate between people, but He does discriminate between people and Himself.  This has implications which are largely ignored.  Yes, God freely accepts and loves us, but this is remarkable precisely because we are discriminate from Him and according to His justice, should not be accepted. Our acceptance and love were bought at a price and they do not come on our own terms, but His.  Thus God will never discriminate between those who come to Him in humility, submission, and repentance, but He most certainly will discriminate between those who refuse to confess their sin and surrender to His authority.  For God, by His very nature, must and will differentiate between His holiness and our unholiness.

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Is Faith Really Blind?

 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

When I am worrying about my future and trying to get some kind of hint at what it holds, this is usually the verse that He patiently whispers to me. Call me blasphemous, sacrilegious, whatever, but sometimes this verse…well frankly, sometimes it’s annoying, like I’m being taunted that God knows what I want to know and cannot know. He staunchly refuses to tell me anything more. God will not let me know everything because He is asking that it be enough that He knows everything. Essentially, He is asking for faith, faith in Him and faith in His promises. 

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of we do not see.” Hebrews 11:11 I am sure we are all familiar enough with that verse. But what does this really mean? Is faith truly blind? Are we merely groping around in the dark, trying to muster up belief out of thin air? I would say no. What I am learning is that faith is not merely walking down a path and blindly hoping that it takes us somewhere good. Faith is not ungrounded hope. Faith does not leap without knowing anything at all. Rather, faith is firmly grounded in what has been revealed so far. Faith leaps with a backward glance at what God has already done.

What I am getting at is that a key part of faith is remembrance. The reason we struggle with faith is because we have the memory of a gold fish. Like the Israelites, all we can focus on is the here and now. We step into the uncharted territory of the desert, immediately forget that God just miraculously led us through the Red Sea on dry ground, and begin to wonder if perhaps, it would not have been better if we had just stayed slaves and died in Egypt.

I am, too often, like the Israelites. Essentially, I doubt because I forget. I think that’s why throughout the Old testament, before He spoke to the Israelites, He would often remind them first, “I am the LORD, the God of Israel,” second, “who brought you up out of Egypt.” God’s call to faith, the opposite of doubt, is a call to remember who He is and what He has done.

So, when I find myself in moments of doubt or worry, I have found it helpful to recount His faithfulness thus far, to revisit times in my life which are clearly marked by His goodness. During many of those times, God’s goodness was not quite so evident as it is now. I could not see clearly at all, but now, I can see and very clearly. When I remember these things, my doubt falls away and my faith becomes grounded.  I know that God will continue to be faithful because He always has been in the past. 

I have been thinking that faith is like a tree. It does not merely blindly stretch up to the vast and unknown expanse of the sky. It also puts down roots. It finds nourishment in the soil so that it can grow higher and bear more fruit. Similarly, we must, as we take forward steps of faith into the unknown, simultaneously put down the roots of our faith into the known, into the rich and tangible soil of what God has already done. If we do that, our faith will not wither and die for lack of nourishment, but rather, being “rooted and established,” it will drink deep of the evidence of His love, flourish, and bear much fruit.

So, I would encourage you, if you find yourself struggling with faith and trust in God, to learn the art of recounting His faithfulness, for this is the food of faith. Before you look forward, look back. Take careful stock of who you have known Him to be and what you know He has done in your life. Tear your gaze from the stark, blank pages of the future and glance back at those pages that have already been filled. Mark the ones that commemorate His goodness and faithfulness and reread them often.

Oswald Chambers said that “faith does not know where it is being led, but it knows and loves the One who leads.” Basically, we do not know where God is taking us, but we do know Him. We know the sound of His voice when He calls and we follow. We don’t know our whole story, but we know that it begins with a cross, an empty grave, and a risen Savior. We don’t know what will be engraved on our final pages, but we do know that He has lovingly and sacrificially “engraved us on the palms of His hands” Isaiah 49:16 We do not see what lies ahead, but we do see what lies behind.  And by looking back on the marvelous tales of our lives, so indelibly marked by grace, mercy and love, we really do find assurance of our hope and certainty of what we do not see. We know Him and He knows the plans. And that truly is enough.

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Why God Will Never Stop Loving You

The Bible has been referred to as God’s love letter to us. Verse after verse assures us that His love is unfailing, unconditional, and unending. We are to be rooted and established in this love, the width, length, height, and depth of which surpasses knowledge. It is also promised that “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height of depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:39 If I’m reading this correctly, it appears that the God of the universe who never lies is promising to us that there is nothing, no sin, no failure, nothing that could make Him stop loving us. What an awesome truth this is.

Yet there are times I’m not quite sure I truly understand this or perhaps even really believe it in my heart. In moments of failure, moments when I see my faults with horribly clarity, I am actually quite nearly certain that God could stop loving me because these things are so totally unlovable. It is in those moments that I scramble to do better, to make myself more lovable or perhaps, just lie to myself and try to pretend that the less than lovable parts of me just really aren’t there. It produces in me a certain anxiety, an absurd fear that God might “find out” that I’m not really that great after all. I think what lies at the root is a misunderstanding of identity and why God even loves us in the first place.

I have been a nanny for the last few years and it has led to several insights that I think are key to understanding God’s love for us. To put it bluntly, children are unabashedly selfish, vengeful, and irrational. They see small and think small, seeking to gratify only the impulse of the moment, without much thought to consequences or the future or anything lasting. Their natures are undeniably sinful and yet, they are also delightful things of beauty. Each one is a unique bundle of personality with the remarkable capacity for love, goodness, creativity, and growth.

Parents know all of this about their children, the good and the bad. They are completely aware of their sinful nature, all the gaps and flaws that come with it and yet, they love them still. They love them even when they are completely unlovable. How is this possible? How can someone love what is not lovable? It is possible because parents do not love their children because they are lovable but because they are their children.  Of course, I have never been a parent, but I can imagine what a thing of wonder it must be to look on a person, complete with a myriad list of faults and shortcomings, and know that you made them, that they belong to you in a way that nothing and no one else ever will. I can imagine how much love and delight I would feel for them, not because they were perfect, but because they were mine. 

God’s love is like this. He created our inmost beings, wove us together in the secret place, knew all of our days before one of them came to be. We are His idea, His workmanship. He delights in all our ways that make us unique because that is the way He designed us to be. He loves us unconditionally because we are unconditionally His.  We are His children and indeed, we are children in every sense of the word. We are selfish, small-minded, and often foolish to the point of destruction. We are inherently flawed, inevitable failures, and daily testimonies to our own imperfection.

God knows all of this, but He is not anxious. He is not wringing His hands, wondering if He’ll have to stop loving us. He does not despair and so, neither should we. Don’t be mistaken. Just like a Father, He will discipline us and He will mold us to work out those flaws of our make up, but He will do it within the boundaries of the unshakable realm of His love, boundaries preset by the very fact that we are His children whom He died to make His own. 

So, I have found that when I do feel a kind of anxiety over my “unlovableness”, it is because I have failed to grasp who I am and why God loves me. I am a child of God. My entire identity, all my hope, and all my assurance of His love rests in the simple, but profound truth that I am His and He is mine. At this realization, all doubts are silenced, all questions answered.

Therefore, be reminded of this: You are wholly, lavishly, and irrevocably loved by God. His love for you was sealed even before the day He created you and it really is a love that surpasses knowledge. It cannot be overcome, but it overcame death. It cannot be shaken, but it shook lose our bonds to sin.  It cannot be changed, but it changes us.  It is the love of God the Father for His children. So, if you find yourself in moments or situations when you are completely unlovable, do not be anxious. For you are not loved because you are lovable. You are loved because you are His.

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How Can a Good God Be Compatible with Evil and Suffering? Part 2

“Christianity is the only religion whose God bears the scars of evil.”  -Os Guinness

This post is the compilation of thoughts that I have been chewing on for the past year or so which now have come together into what I hope is a cohesive and coherent message. It is good news. In fact, I think what I have concluded again and again and again–is the Gospel. It all began with the problem of evil. As some of my previous posts demonstrate, this has been a topic of particular interest to me over the past few years. It is funny, in a way, that this “problem” has driven me, not from God, but towards Him and into a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the Gospel. It is ironic that what the world intended for evil, God meant for good. Pun intended.

Like a good philosopher, I began with the problem posed. I then considered the two possible conclusions: God or no God. First, I examined the latter and quickly found that given the problem of evil itself, this could, by no means, be the logical conclusion. It reduces to absurdity. For if there was no God, there would be no so called “problem.” Evil would be a relative and meaningless concept. The problem itself was its own demise. And so, I found that I could with great rational peace deny that conclusion.

And that, of course, left the only other option: God. I think I would be both an irresponsible philosopher and an irresponsible Christian if I merely accepted this conclusion without considering its implications, especially in light of the problem of evil. Yes, I found that belief in God was more rational, but rationality really only gets you so far in life. What does this conclusion, this God with a capital “G” mean for our lives? What does it mean for both our joys and our sufferings? As Christians, it is not enough to merely answer negatively to the problem of evil. We must also answer positively. We must give an account, a humble account of course limited by our finite understanding, of how a good God can truly be compatible with the present evil and suffering.

 I have attempted to do this, and as I have turned to scripture and thought and pondered, the final answer I’ve arrived at is that God allows evil because it brings Him glory. On this point, He is emphatic and unapologetic. It is a simple, straightforward statement, but it is not a simple, straightforward answer. It is packed with meaning and complexity. Of course, we say it all the time. God does whatever will bring Him the most glory and He is justified in doing so because He’s God and all the glory is His due. But as I related this to the problem of evil, this became a hard pill for me to swallow. I sensed some tension. Can a God truly be called good when He brings Himself glory at the cost of such suffering? Could He not have been glorified in some other way?

 Indeed, the ways of God often seem incredibly strange to our human hearts. It is tempting to simply wave the white flag, to begrudgingly surrender God the right to His glory. Okay, God You win. You’re God, so You get to do whatever You want. But to do this would be to miss a great truth, a precious gem of understanding. Scripture doesn’t say that we give up and surrender to the glory of God. No, it says that “werejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:2 God’s glory is not something we begrudgingly submit ourselves to. It is not merely okay, it is wonderful and liberating for it is at the beginning, the middle, and the end of the Gospel, the good news for the sinner’s heart and this fallen world.

 God is unabashed about His love for His own glory. Throughout scripture, He adamantly declares “I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another.” Isaiah 42:8 Everything He does, He does for His name’s sake. Why is this good news? Why should we rejoice to have a God that is so in love with Himself? It is because God’s quest for His own glory is at the center of the Gospel. It is the ceaseless fountain of our salvation and hope, the bedrock of our faith in Him. For consider the nature of God’s glory.  When has He been most glorified? Surely, it was in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The cross is the place where God’s glory is most clearly revealed. What I have also begun to grasp is that the cross is the single most evil act in history. The crucifixion of the holy and spotless Lamb at the hands of wicked and filthy sinners epitomizes the evil of man as well as the glory of God. What a strange pairing…  

 Essentially, God is justified in allowing evil and suffering for His glory because the nature of His glory, shown at the cross, is so amazingly selfless and sacrificial. Accusations of heartlessness and cruelty simply cannotbe maintained when one truly understands the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the glory of God. “He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 At the cross, we witness the heart of God and we are dumbfounded, first by the evil wrought by our own hands, second, by the fact that He would take that evil, “the iniquity of us all” Isaiah 53:6 upon Himself. And then, subsequently we are blown away by His glory. Somehow, in a mysterious and wonderful way, this strange combination of our all-surpassing wickedness and His all-surpassing love becomes an incomprehensibly beautiful story…

 So I do not pretend to understand the mysteries of God, precisely why the world had to be just this way, why He could not have been just as glorified in another way. But I can understand very clearly the sacrificial love of Christ on the Cross. I can grasp Isaiah 53. And I find that that is enough. With this understanding, the Gospel becomes more powerful and awesome in both its cosmic scope and personal meaning. God’s commitment to His glory rings out in all the earth, speaking of hope to all Creation and it also whispers quietly to the sinner’s heart that He will never forsake us or cease in doing good to us because He will bring glory to Himself. This is His great purpose and we can rejoice in that for “the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.” Psalm 33:11

 What a wondrous truth. God’s glory is both the input and the output of our salvation and our lives. All creation sings of His glory, for “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day, they pour forth speech; Night after night, they display knowledge” Psalm 19:1-2 and yet, apart from Him, we cannot hear and we cannot see because “our thinking became futile and our foolish hearts were darkened.” Romans 1:21 We stand at the Cross, witnessing the glory of His love displayed, and we are unable to perceive it. We scoff. We jeer. But now, we rejoice for God has opened our eyes and drawn us near. He has “removed from us our hearts of stone and given us hearts of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26 For the sake of His name, He has delivered us from the depths of the grave and He Himself has put a new song in our mouths. Where once we stood and spat His name with contempt and condemnation, we now stand and sing His name with reverence and worship. Where once we stood and scorned Him as He gave His life for our sins, we now look upon His sacrifice with tears in our eyes and are moved to repentance. We once mocked His wounds, but now they have become so dear.

 Before the Cross, we find that the conductor of the universe is fine tuning our hearts to join in the song of Creation and of the Cross. He is tightening the strings of our hearts that they might move from the dissonance of their godlessness and sinfulness to the harmony of their redemption and righteousness. As he opens our eyes to the hope of His glory, we stand awestruck, not only that we are forgiven, but that we are also laden with the riches of His grace. Our hearts ask in wonder, “What on earth did we do to deserve this?” To this, He responds, “Nothing. Absolutely nothing.” And that is the wonder of His Gospel. In the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God has sent His glory out to achieve the work of the redemption of sinners and as it does, it also returns to Him in waves of amplified glory on which we ride with joy. And unto God be all the glory, for it is He who opens our eyes to His glory, He who brings us near and forgives for His glory, and He who beckons us onward towards His glory.

 “ And so we do “rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the holy spirit whom He gave us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:2-8 We rejoice because this is our assurance that God will continue to do good to us, that He will again arise to show us compassion, that he will never leave us nor forsake us. For now that He has taken us from under His wrath and placed under His grace, we are called children of God. We bear His name and we know that He will never see His name dishonored. He will not yield His glory to another. And that, my friends, is Good News.

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How Can a Good God Be Compatible with Evil and Suffering?

*Old Post from College*

    Today, when I walked into my epistemology class, the words “The Bible is the word of God” were written on the board, presumably by some professor of a previous class. As some in the class meandered in and saw it, several remarks were made. One boy scoffed, “Yeah, except for the fact that it was written by man.” He then apologized if he had offended anyone, but presumed that “it wouldn’t offend anyone in here.”

     Well, I wasn’t offended, but I was troubled as well as deeply saddened. I am perfectly aware that many people look down on Christians and ridicule our beliefs. This is nothing new. However, what troubled me was the assumption that he made, that his statement wouldn’t offend anyone in a Philosophy class because Philosophers are, by definition, “lovers of reason.” Essentially, he was saying that those who really see reason know that God does not exist. What his statement implied is that faith and reason are mutually exclusive. You have to choose one or the other and those in the Philosophy camp have chosen the path of reason.

      Is this really the case? Have we who have chosen to live by faith, in so doing, forsaken reason? Well, being a Philosophy major and a Christian, for my own personal sake, I certainly hope not. At any rate, I do not think this is the case at all. Of course, I do not think that belief in Christ can be arrived at solely through reason. That would defy several aspects of Christianity. But nor do I think that having faith in something excludes reason. The simple truth is that we all put our faith in something, whether we acknowledge it or not. This motivated me to share some of my thoughts about the rationality of belief in God, specifically focusing on the central objection to God, the problem of evil, a subject of great interest to me. Some of this comes from my thesis paper, but it helps me to refine some of my points as well as address the most important considerations in issues such as these.

      The main objection against belief in the existence of God is what is known as “the problem of evil.” The claim that the Atheist poses is that a benevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent God would not allow such a horrible thing as evil in His creation. Evil and God are logically incompatible, that is they simply cannot coexist. We know that evil exists. Therefore, God does not exist. That’s the main atheist argument in a nutshell. I’d like to make some comments on the supposed “rationality” of this argument.

     First of all, as a sort of overarching introduction to my response to this argument, I must say that I wonder at the gall of people of making such claims at all. Before even addressing the issue of God’s existence, I think it is healthy and important for us to be reminded of the nature of our own existence. We are finite creatures with finite understanding. We are extremely limited in our capacities. Not only are we limited intellectually, but we are limited temporally. Each of our individual lives is a fleeting moment in the vast expanse of eternity. We are obsessed with what we can know scientifically, infallibly, but the irony is, from where we stand, we can really “know” very little. So, I am amazed at our supreme arrogance in imagining that we, from our incredibly restricted vantage point, have a real handle on any of this at all, especially enough to make claims about what God would or would not do. Let us keep this in mind as we continue.

     As for the argument from the problem of evil, I  have concluded that I am more rationally prepared to concede that the compatibility of God’s goodness and evil is true, but cannot be fully explained than that there is no God. On the face of it, the former seems less rational, but I would argue that, at the root, the latter is far more irrational. The atheist argues that there cannot be a good God and evil. I propose that there cannot be evil without a good God. Now, this seems seems puzzling. To clarify, I do not mean that God causes evil or that evil is in any way entailed by God. What I do mean is that the concept of evil itself is ultimately unintelligible apart from the concept of God. As I have thought about the problem of evil, my instinct has been that the very fact that we do recognize evil as evil and perceive it as being such a tremendous problem, instead of disproving God, is actually evidence in support of God.

     In order to support this claim, I will examine the means by which some attempt to disprove God in the hopes of digging up its roots in absurdity. The claim of the atheist is this: God does not exist because there is evil in the world and the existence of a wholly good, omniscient, and omnipotent God is logically contradictory or at least, probabilistically incompatible with the existence of evil. Notice that one of the key premises in this argument is that evil exists. This means that the atheist has witnessed evil, recognized it as evil, and claims to know that it is absolutely true that it is evil. Thus, they conclude God does not exist. However, it seems to me that if they deny God, they can no longer claim that it is absolutely true that evil is evil, the very grounds upon which they deny Him. As C.S. Lewis, a former atheist, put it in Mere Christianity, “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of justice? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line” (Lewis, 38). Yet, if there is no God and the universe and the lives it contains are just meaningless matters of chance, then there is no “straight line” to compare it to. Indeed, if this is the case, the atheist has no grounds for calling anything evil in the first place. For them to do so would be akin to attempting to build a building starting a foot off the ground, an utterly foolish and fruitless endeavor. Evil acts are condemned as evil because they are wrong. However, apart from a “straight line” or standard with which to support why they are wrong, the atheist cannot reasonably declare that something is wrong or evil, a necessity for their argument against the existence of God. 

    So, if it is  true that God does not exist, the more logical conclusion actually ends up being that nothing is really truly evil. Without a standard, all we can be really said to have are private, subjective conceptions of what is good and what is evil. Indeed, this is the hallmark of the post-modern era. In an age of “tolerance” and subjective truth, the only action that can be condemned as wrong is to condemn something as wrong. There is no absolute truth though that is a very absolute kind of statement which, in order to live by, must be believed to be absolutely true. Obviously, the argument is starting to unravel. Lewis sensed this conflict within the atheist’s argument, saying, “Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too—for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust” (38). The problem is that if evil and justice are subjective, there is no reason why man should experience such outrage at apparently evil acts such as the Holocaust or September 11. Perhaps from Hitler’s subjective perspective, it was perfectly good and not evil to exterminate millions of people. On what grounds do we object? For the atheist, it seems that there can be none.

     Yet, we do object. We do claim to know that this is evil and absolutely and inherently so. This existence and recognition of evil is an indication, not that God does not exist, but that He does. Again Lewis seems to capture the argument better than I am able, wondering “if the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did [he], who was supposed to be part of the show, find [himself] in such violent reaction against it? A man feels wet when he falls into water, because man is not a water animal: a fish would not feel wet” (38). If we are really part of a meaningless world where nothing is really good or evil, we would not have such a profound sense of meaning or adamant belief that evil is evil, but “we should never have found out that it has no meaning just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark  would be a word without meaning” (39) just as evil would be a word without meaning.  So, as shown, the the theist can quite happily and rationally  say, “I do not fully comprehend how a good God allows evil, but that is okay. For, apart from God, I do not comprehend evil at all.”

    Essentially, the atheistic argument fails because it relies on the claim that evil is really evil, a claim that cannot be reasonably supported from an atheistic world view. Indeed, this is the fatal flaw of the argument. It begins in the middle. All of our beliefs that we hold about the world are part of our world view. They are bricks that we lay upon a foundation, our foundation being our core beliefs from which all of our other beliefs stem and depend upon. The most foundational belief that we have is whether or not God exists. The atheist is trying to build his house but he is trying to do it starting from the second floor. He begins with the fact that evil exists and from there tries to “build down” to a foundational belief that God does not exist. I’m no architect, but this seems a pretty foolish way to build.

     Alternatively, I propose a method that from what I understand, is generally architecturally approved and that will build a better “house.” We must begin with the foundation and try to build up from there. If the house does not stand, we have built on a bad foundation and must reexamine those beliefs which we built upon. I have built my house upon the belief that God exists. I do not pretend to understand or know the answer to everything that this entails, but my house is still standing. Like Lewis said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” Given my foundational belief that God exists, the world is cast into light. I can make sense of an otherwise senseless world and I have of hope of its and my redemption from evil. Sadly, the atheist has no hope of doing this for from their foundation, they cannot even know they are in the darkness let alone have hope of emerging.  Nor can they build anything of substance, but merely try to conjure up meaning out of thin air.

     In closing, I would like to make another point that is really the most important of all. After I got back from my class, I wanted to write this note to show that reason really does support the Christian faith, a good aim indeed. However, I was reminded of something more important. Upon returning home, I found out that a girl who I knew briefly a few years back was killed by a drunk driver. She was my age, beautiful and sweet. What a tragedy. Of course, this was very sobering and I was reminded that no amount of reason or logic can really answer the problem of evil and suffering. What kind of person would I be if my answer to this girl’s mother’s question of why her daughter died was some kind of attempt at a fancy argument? It does not suffice. Logic means little in the face of the reality of evil and suffering.

     This served to remind me that logic and reason are tools, but they are not the answer. Jesus Christ is the answer. This may seem simplistic or like some kind of cookie-cutter Sunday school response, but it’s not. It or rather, He is the true, complete answer to the problem of evil. As Dr. Peter John Kreeft put it, “the answer, then, to suffering is not an answer at all. It’s Jesus himself. It’s not a bunch of words, it’s the Word. It’s not a tightly woven philosophical argument; it’s a person. The person. The answer to suffering cannot be just an abstract idea, because this isn’t an abstract issue; it’s a personal issue. It requires a personal response. The answer must be someone, not just something, because the issue involves someone-God, where are you?”

      We must aim at the issue that goes deeper than reason, the issue of the heart. And oh, in our heart of hearts, we are obstinate and willfully self-deceiving. We suppress the truth and trade it in for a lie. Coming to terms with the truth of God requires that we come to terms with the reality of our humble state before God and that is not something we do willingly. So, it’s not so much that we just can’t see the truth, it’s that we don’t want to see the truth. No encounter with the finest, most convincing argument will change that. Only an encounter with the person of Jesus Christ will change that, for only He can melt the heart of stone.

     So, while I love reasoning and argument and that is a good thing, it must never be the main thing. Our goal should never be to merely solve a puzzle or win a debate, but our goal should be the same as in every other area of our lives as Christians, that Christ may be revealed in us. He is the logos, the Word, the Reason, the answer at every level and in every instance.  So if Christ is not revealed, then we have accomplished nothing, for Jesus Christ is the only answer, the only hope for this fallen world and the only hope for the fallen heart.

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