The question is complex.
As part of our Ask Me Anything series last Sunday, a question was asked – How can God be both all good and all powerful? Look at what happens in the world that God does not stop. If God was good, God would intervene. So either God is not all powerful or not all good.
Boom! Big question! Two thoughts.
First, I believe God does intervene. I have had too many ‘moments‘ to believe otherwise. I also believe, though, that God intervenes along the lines Jesus teaches, as a servant. If we are looking for handwriting in the sky, this is not God’s style. Jesus gives us the clues. If you want to see God intervening every day – look in the humble, serving, lost, meek…God is there all the time, intervening every day.
Second, I also think the divine set some ground rules that we do not talk about enough in church. Natural events – tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes – God is not in the business of causing these phenomena. In Genesis, creation is made by God but is also separate from God in a sense. Creation has a relationship with the creator. Now, God surrounds, works through, watches, and is intimately connected but nevertheless creation runs by its own set of rules. It was made this way. We experience this most profoundly, I believe, in our ability to choose. We were created with the ability to say ‘yes‘ or ‘no‘…another truth Genesis goes to great length to point out. We ate the fruit, and exposed the gap for all to see.
This leads us also into a more nuanced understanding of sin. In church, we talk about sin most frequently in regards to choice. We make a bad choice and that is a sin. A deeper understanding of sin has to do with the broken nature of creation itself. We are trying to thrive in a broken system, if you will.
Back in the day I drove a six-cylinder Jeep Cherokee. I wanted a Wrangler, but Deborah insisted we might have children….but that is another story. It had a habit of frying one particular spark plug cable, and all of a sudden the car would be going down the road on five cylinders, not six. It worked. You could get somewhere. But it was not smooth, or as designed.
This is our creation. We make it work, but look any direction. World events, in your heart, your thoughts, violence, hate….sin devastates. It is a far deeper problem than one choice.
All of which leads us back to our Maker. Saying ‘yes’ to Jesus is the only way I know to answer the question. God sent his son into this world to fix this broken place. And as Jesus heals my heart I know that same love will also heal this world.