Monday, April 26, 2010

Fair? Just?

Some of you know I've had this ongoing conversation with an atheist who sometimes attends Eastview (go figure) about the reality of God, Jesus, etc... It honestly is frustrating most of the time because I know Who I believe in is real and he doesn't. So there you go.

Recently, he viewed our "cardboard testimonies" from our Easter service. He callously questioned what kind of fair and just God would do miracles in some people's lives and not others. Why would he let millions of kids die, etc...? Actually, aside from insulting my God and my people (Eastview) he has a great question. Many have asked it. Why isn't God fair when He claims to be? Below is my response to him...hope it is helpful to you:

"Think about this...if God is the God that I believe in (and you don't, but just go with this) then there are two things he has besides ultimate power that neither you nor I have:
1. Eternal perspective - he sees all of eternity (past and future), all human kind (the six billion living now and all the billions from the past), all human history (every act as it really happened and not as historians recorded it). You and I have 80-90 years tops, which is a very limited perspective!

2. Internal perspective - he sees and knows every heart. Where as you and I can say, "she's a good woman" or "he's a good man" we are easily deceived because we have only outward realities to judge people by - we don't see the heart. But God knows the motives of every heart and can't be faked out. He sees every motive and evil thought and wicked plan. He's not guessing like you and I do when it comes to people (how many times have you heard the interviewed neighbors of a mass murderer say, "He seemed like a really good guy"?). God knows every thought of every heart.

These two realities give him unique ability and privilege to determine what is "fair" or "just". You and I simply are disqualified because we don't know the complete story. God's perspective and power allow him to do what is "right" and "just" based on his knowledge of EVERYTHING! In comparison, you and I know nothing. How then can we possibly say that something is fair or unfair with such limited knowledge? It's like a juror making a fair decision on a trial after hearing only one of 120 witnesses of a two month trial. Our limited knowledge disqualifies us for sound judgment. I'm not arguing for God's ability to judge fairly (which I believe and you don't). I'm simply saying that you and I are far worse judges than God!


Josh said...

Good Stuff. At least this Atheist comes to church occasionally. Most agnostics and atheists detest the very idea. Thanks Mike. Always a pleasure reading your insights.

Ashley said...

I'm glad to hear that your friend is asking questions. Sometimes I think God doesn't do things because they are "fair" or "just" - sometimes they are simply necessary for His purpose and plan. I'm sure it doesn't make God happy for children to be killed or people to die of cancer. We're his family - His creation - and he loves us. I take hope and comfort, however, in knowing that the Lord knows what is necessary for our good and what will give Him glory.

Mike Baker said...

I appreciate your faith - trusting in his knowing what is good and what will give him glory. But I want to reiterate that "justice" and "fair" is who HE IS. God always acts in fairness because that who He is - even when we don't see it as "fair" from our perspective.
God bless

Anonymous said...

Always appreciate your insight into these questions.

I don't know the exact references your friend made with regard to the cardboard testimonies, but sad that he saw them as God performing miracles in the lives of some but not others.

The cardboard testimonies in my perspective were hope and encouragement that God still performs miracles in our lives today. From my limited knowledge of the Bible, the people that Jesus performed miracles for, first demonstrated faith in who Jesus was and then obeyed what Jesus commanded.We want to see then believe instead of believing first.

Those two steps sound simple, but from my own personal cardboard testimony, I know it's not that easy.

To question God's character (though human) demands no take a step of faith does....and it doesn't stop with that first step.

The cardboard testimonies are encouragment that there is triumph in the suffering.

Your friend sounds like Nicodemus...asks good questions and is seeking/wanting more, but can't figure out how to get there.
God Bless!