Answering Those Same Two Objections
I'm not real sure if this is where you're supposed to write with questions, but here goes. I was very glad to find your page. I am a 15 yr old, and I enjoy looking at conflicting religions, as I find in fact that they have much in common. I had been looking at some atheist links, and, as an ex-agnostic (I suppose) sometimes I find myself wondering again about the validity of my faith in Christ. I came to Christ about 2 yrs ago. Anyway, it was neat to see your answers to atheists. On to my question: Many times, I hear classmates talking about Christianity, and why they don't believe, and it always seems to boiled down to a couple basic questions, and I was wondering how to respond to them:
- Why would an all-good God (if He exists) allow suffering in the world?
- How could an all-good and all-loving God damn anyone to hell?
Thanx. I look forward to your answers.
I'm glad to see you're investigating all there is to know about your faith. It isn't wrong to question a belief, as long as you remain unbiased enough to look at all the facts before drawing your conclusion. I think that a lot of classmates at your school are throwing out those questions as smoke screens when they really don't want to know the answer; that way the objection (question) to Christianity becomes a convenient excuse.
As to your first question, I just finished responding to a man named Adam about God allowing suffering. I will include his letter as well as my reply. I think you'll get the basic idea. Just remember two basic things when responding to their objections:
1) What makes you think God isn't doing anything about suffering? The whole point of the Bible is God dealing with sin, suffering, and evil; and the Bible says that a day will come when Jesus returns to this earth to completely wipe all pain away.
2)If God were to judge all who were evil right now, He would have to judge anyone who has sinned. Are you ready to be judged right now? Do you really want God to banish all who sin this instant? Where would that put you?
I think these two responses will at least get them thinking a little more before they throw out that type of question.
As to your second question, it too is misleading. God DID NOT create hell for people! He created it for the devil and his angels(Matt. 25:41). When man chose to follow Satan in the Garden, he also chose to not follow God. Therefore he follows the devil to the devil's place of judgment.
It is true that God is all-loving, but God must also be all-just! Would you want to follow a god who saw wrongdoing and just said "Oh, that's O.K., I'll just ignore that mistake"? I wouldn't! God is righteous and in order for us to fellowship with Him, we must also be completely righteous.
Now, Christians are not any more righteous by their own merit than anyone else, they just have accepted Christ's atonement for sin, and His righteousness is imputed to them. Let me give you an illustration:
In a small town, there was a judge. He was a very fair judge and all the townspeople knew that he would be completely impartial and base his verdict on the evidence. he was also a very hard judge in sentencing. If you were found guilty, you received the maximum penalty.
Now, one day a case was brought before the judge of a young man who was driving recklessly. More than that, he was drunk and speeding, endangering other peoples' lives. When the judge saw the man, he was troubled, for before him stood his own son. Everyone in the town came to the trial to see how a judge with such a good reputation would handle such a difficult case. Would he sentence his own son? Did he love him? Would he give him a strong sentence?
When the time came to deliver the verdict, the crowd was hushed. The judge pronounced "Guilty!" and then handed down the strongest sentence allowed by law. The onlookers were amazed! The judge then did something no one expected. He took off his robes, stepped down from the bench, and said "I will now pay the fine for my son's crimes". In so doing, he was consistent with his nature to be fair, but also showed his love for his son, and the law was satisfied.
You see, God has done the same thing for us. Jesus came down to earth in the form of a man, took our sin on Himself, and died on a cross as judgment for what we've done wrong. That is why Christianity is so vital, it saves us from being the ones who are judged.
The next time someone brings up this argument, ask if the men who torture babies should go to hell. If they say yes, then you respond "So you agree that God should send some people to hell". Most of your friends wouldn't object to someone like Hitler going to hell. They don't like the idea of being judged themselves. That is just an issue of degree, not whether an all-loving God would ever do such a thing.