The“does God…” booth has made its debut on the college campuses at USC, UCI & CSUF! HAVE A QUESTION?—-SEND IT TO US. To stay up to date join our FACEBOOK group!
1. FORGIVE SINS? – Yes, according to 1 John 1:9 (New Testament)–“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Although this particular passage is addressed specifically to the Christian, the Bible is full of passages that offer forgiveness of sins. This truth is made clearer when we listen to the words found in Ephesians 1:7, which says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace…”
2. CHANGE? – In the Old Testament Book of Malachi 3:6 we read, “For I am the Lord, I do not change…” In the New Testament Book of Hebrews 13:8 we read, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” God doesn’t change, but we do. Our understanding of God changes, but God remains the same.
3. CREATE EVIL? – Simply put, no. But it’s a good question. Let’s make some comparisons that will shed some light on this question. The question itself arises out of the King James Version of the Bible, which employs the word “evil.” It should be remembered that the permission of evil is not the promotion of evil. The Hebrew word is actually רַע (ra˓) , which in this context should be translated as ‘calamity’ rather than ‘evil’ (cf. Amos 3:6).
GOD IS NOT THE AUTHOR OF EVIL
In the sense of sin
Actuality of evil
GOD IS THE AUTHOR OF EVIL
In the sense of calamity
Possibility of evil
4. LOVE THE DEVIL? – There is no evidence from Scripture that indicates that God loves the devil. This question many times arises out of an over emphasis of one attribute of God over and against another. The New Testament passage, which states that God is love (cf. 1 John 4:8) is equally as true as the one found Isaiah 6:3, which states that God is holy. Bottom line, we cannot and MUST not take Scripture and misapply it. But, what we do know is that God loves human beings (cf. John 3:16)!
5. ALLOW EVERYONE TO ENTER HEAVEN? – The answer to this is settled in the New Testament Book of Revelation 20:11-15, which says, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things, which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”
6. FAVOR THE JEWISH PEOPLE ONLY? – The Bible is very clear on this matter. God chose the Jewish people and blessed them (cf. Deuteronomy 7:6), but this blessing was given because God loved them, not because they loved Him. The Bible states flatly that, “…there is no partiality with God.” (cf. Romans 2:11). It is God’s heart toward us not our heart toward Him that motivates His kindness (cf. Jeremiah 31:1). Having stated that, the Jewish people do have an undeniable special blessing and unique role in human history that has been BESTOWED upon them. But the question is “Does God favor the Jewish people ONLY?” No, He “favors” or blesses if you please, the whole world through the Jewish people. John 3:16 is not only to the Jews – it’s for the whole world!
7. HATE HOMOSEXUALS? – No. God loves people (cf. John 3:16). In regard to homosexuality & lesbianism, the Bible is very clear – it is identified as sinful behavior in both the Old/New Testaments (cf. Old Testament: Leviticus 18:22, Deuteronomy 23:17 & Judges 19:22 AND New Testament: Romans 1:26-27, First Corinthians 6:9 & First Timothy 1:9-10).
8. FORBID SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE? Yes, He does. In First Corinthians 7:1 we read, “Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.” The Bible is explicit in it’s principles – sexual immorality is sinful and should never be engaged in for any reason. Sex within the context of marriage is blessed by God (cf. Hebrews 13:4). Later in First Corinthians 7:9, Paul instructs the believer to marry rather than “burn” with out of control desires. Sex is God’s idea and it should only be engaged in the way that God intended it to be – within the context of marriage between one man and one woman.
9. CONDONE WAR? -
10. ANSWER PRAYER? Yes! The Bible is full of praying people – Abraham (Genesis 17:20), Moses (Exodus 17 & 32), Samson (Judges 15:18-19), Daniel (Daniel 9:20-23) and Hannah (1 Samuel 1:27) just to name a few. We are encouraged to pray (Luke 18). The answer, however, is not always what we want to hear. For example, Paul the Apostle in 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 desired God to remove what the Bible calls a “thorn in the flesh.” God’s response to Paul’s pleading was “My grace is sufficient for you…” So, does God answer prayer? – YES, He does! There is a passage in Psalms 99:6, which says, “Moses and Aaron were among His priests, and Samuel was among those who called upon His name; they called upon the Lord, and He answered them.” God’s answers are always the best answers. It’s been said that God answers our prayers primarily in three different ways: Yes, No or Wait – I tend to agree with that!
11. DO MIRACLES? Yes! The Bible is full of instances when God performed miracles. What is a miracle? According to Thomas Aquinas a miracle is “…an event that is beyond nature’s power to produce, that only a supernatural power (God) can do.” Another definition is helpful: “A miracle is a divine intervention into the natural world. It is a supernatural exception to the regular course of the world that would not have occurred otherwise.”
12. CAUSE NATURAL DISASTERS? The more specific question is: Does God control natural disasters? Yes, He does. He causes, controls and allows them in the context of judgment (cf. Revelation 6, 8 & 16), yet the very question itself gives us insight—-they are NATURAL disasters, not supernatural ones. A devastating Tsunami, Earthquake, Tornado, Hurricane, Volcanic Explosion, Wild-Fire, etc. are not “divine” they are natural. It is important to understand that prior to Genesis 3 “natural disasters” were non-existent. The introduction of sin into the human race touched off a chain reaction of sorts, not only in humanity, but also in the physical world (cf. Genesis 3:17-18). Corruption and decay entered into the physical world when Adam and Eve sinned. Furthermore, we must not make the mistake of thinking that all natural disasters are the result of Divine judgment, but we must understand that all natural disasters are KNOWN by God but not necessarily CAUSED by God (See Question #3 on this page).
13. CAUSE PAIN?
14. FAVOR MEN? No. The idea that the Bible is somehow “male chauvinistic” in its presentation of women is incorrect. Without clouding the issue with peripheral issues, let’s look and see what the Bible actually says about women. In Genesis 2:18-25 an absolutely beautiful picture is given to us of God’s intended relationship between a man and a woman. From those verses we see that although woman is spiritually equal with man in every way, she is functionally different–complementary to be exact, which simply means that man was never intended to be alone. The fact that Adam realizes this the moment he saw Eve is important (cf. Genesis 2:23). Adam verbalizes what he knew to be the truth about the woman–she is equal with him, she is part of him and she completes his God-given purpose in life–it is exactly as God said it was in Genesis 1:31, “…God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” [Emphasis mine]. All of this perfection was sealed in the God-given, God-ordained covenant of marriage. If I may say, it was, from the beginning, one man and one woman forever. Very good indeed! It is worth noting that throughout the Scripture women factor in prominently in the plan of God. From the Creation of the world to the Fall of Mankind and on into the future Redemption of the Earth–women are not only present, but prominent.
15. CARE ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT? Yes, He does care about the environment–He created it. Biblically speaking, the care of the environment was given to Adam (cf. Genesis 2:15). The truth of the matter is that the entirety of the environment (i.e. the world) was given to Adam to take care of. It not only was to be tended to by Adam; it was actually for Adam and all who would populate the Earth after him. The highest of God’s created order, Man, was given dominion over the world and was charged/commanded to populate it, tend it and subdue it. God does care about the environment!
16. EXIST? Yes! There are at least 6 separate arguments for the existence of God. They are as follows: Cosmological, Teleological, Ontological, Moral Law, Religious Need and the argument from Joy. All of these are skillfully laid out in “Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics”–by Norman Geisler. It must be understood, however, that there are no human “arguments” that can fully explain the existence of God. In Genesis 1:1 the Bible declares, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The blunt and simple truth of this passage is inescapable. The Bible doesn’t try to prove the existence of God, it simply assumes the existence of God. When we speak about anything that has to do with the Universe, Earth or Humanity we must defer to God. Everything except God is created. Everything that God has created has a purpose. The question to ask now—-is ‘Since you exist, what is your purpose on Earth?” The answer to that is found within the pages of the Holy Bible.
17. HATE? Simply put, yes (cf. Deuteronomy 16:22; Psalm 5:5; Proverbs 6:16–19; Isaiah 1:14 and Amos 5:21). But, we must understand “how & why” God hates. The motivation behind God’s hatred is His character. God is holy, righteous, just and pure. This world (i.e. people/creation) is fallen, sinful, corrupt and rebellious (cf. Genesis 3; Romans 1:18-32 and 3:10-18). The Theological Workbook Of The Old Testament is helpful when describing ‘hate’ when it says, “It expresses an emotional attitude toward persons and things which are opposed, detested, despised and with which one wishes to have no contact or relationship.” While that description is very helpful it must be tempered with the truth of Romans 5:8 which says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” In John 3:16 Jesus states flatly that, “…God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” When God ‘hates’ He does not hate as humans hate—-it is not vindictive, malicious, evil or mean-spirited. It is holy, righteous, just and pure. Although this may seem paradoxical from our vantage point, we must reach out for and lay hold of what we KNOW to be true, namely God is love (cf. First John 4:8), God is Holy (cf. Isaiah 6:3), God is just (cf. Psalm 7:11) and God is grieved at what sin has done to His world (cf. Genesis 6).
18. SEND PEOPLE TO HELL? I think this phrase “send people to Hell” is a loaded one. The idea/sentiment behind the question sets God up to be unjust and unfair. By analogy, perhaps we can understand this a little bit better. Consider our own society. When a person breaks the law, there is a penalty. If that person continues to break laws, society will call that person a “law breaker.” Question 1: Should that person be allowed to keep breaking laws in that community? – of course not. Society, and rightfully so, either places that person in prison for the duration of their lives or in some cases even implements the death penalty. The point is that society will not allow a person to run rogue throughout the community. When a person refuses to abide by the laws; lawful society places that person in a prison cell because the person has effectively demonstrated that they are unwilling to live within a lawful community. In reality it is not society that has “sent that person to prison.” – it’s the person who has sent themselves to prison because of a willful refusal to live in a lawful community. God will not force ANYONE to abide by His laws. He offers His path and then allows us to choose. Man by nature is in rebellion against God (cf. John 3:19), but God loves the world and demonstrated His love by paying the price for our lawlessness (cf. Romans 5:8). Does God want to send people to Hell? – No. Does God want a relationship with fallen mankind? – Yes. Will God force us to follow Him? – No. So, the choice is ours. Question 2: Is God expected to be less than just than our own human society? – of course not. God, and rightfully so, carries out justice in perfect form – not because He is heartless – but because He is just. Romans 13:1-5 is key here. It says, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.” Ezekiel 33:11 reveals the heart of God – “Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways!” Bottom line, I’ll trust God’s justice any day before a human tribunal because God not only has all the facts; He is merciful as well!
19. BELIEVE IN EVOLUTION? This is an interesting question to say the least! Simply put, God doesn’t believe in evolution. But the question arises, “Did God use evolution in creating the world?” Again, the answer is, no. According to Genesis 1, God “spoke” the world into existence. The Bible declares, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” – Hebrews 11:3. Christians believe that the world was created ‘ex nihlio’ – out of nothing, NOT ‘ex Deo’ – out of God. God is Creator, not creation. But let’s look a little deeper. A non-theist might object to our view and ask the question – “How can God create matter when He is not material?” Dr. Norman Geisler’s remarks are helpful at this point: 1. “It is certainly no more a mystery for the Christian to believe that ‘Mind’ produced matter than it is for the atheist to believe that matter produced mind! 2. It is no more difficult to understand how an immaterial Spirit (i.e. God) can be manifest in material things than it is to comprehend how our minds can reveal themselves in material things, such as literature, art and technology.” – I like that! By the way, the words that I am typing are my thoughts, which are invisible and immaterial, but they are every bit as real as me, which is material – interesting indeed!