There are certain arguments that some might think are “silver bullets” in the debate against the true God, the God revealed to mankind in the Bible.  One of these arguments goes something like this- “If the God of the Bible is real, then why does He allow things like deadly tsunamis that have the potential to destroy hundreds of thousands of people?  If He can’t stop them, then He is weak and if He can stop them, but chooses not to, then He’s a monster.”  At first listen this seems like one of those questions that might be irrefutable.  However, instead of being a strong argument, it is actually weak and serves as a disgraceful attempt to malign the true and living God; the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Let me explain further.

This kind of  “silver bullet” argument is designed to move the listener quickly to the defensive position.  After hearing the question, the one listening will most likely be inclined to defend God’s character.  But instead of moving to the defensive, stand your ground.  There are a few weak points/assumptions worth lovingly pointing out to the person you are talking with.

First and foremost, this “silver bullet” can be used in any direction, not just at the God of the Bible.  For example, if a person believes in some spiritual energy or force, he is left with the same dilemma.  Either the force is too weak to stop a natural disaster, or it just doesn’t care.  Of course energy can’t care anyway since it’s completely impersonal, but that is for another post. For the person who claims to not believe in God, he is really saying his ultimate trust and hope is in the natural and its processes.  This person is faced with the same problem.  If nature can’t stop natural disasters, or at least intervene for humanity, then it remains hopeless as well.  In short, ANYONE asking this “silver bullet” question is faced with the same supposed dilemma.  When talking with people, there may be times to make this point.  Showing that someone is seeing things incorrectly is sometimes beneficial in the long run.

Secondly, it is crucial to note that this question is clearly cut from a moral cloth.  The moral fabric actually makes it quite easy to respond to the questioner with your own difficult, yet exposing question.  But before asking the difficult question, there is an important  preliminary question.   Sometimes it seems the question of whether God is weak or just doesn’t care comes from those who are very angry and unwilling to hear anything in the way of an honest answer.  The person asking this question is sometimes hoping to silence  the person he’s talking with.  So to somewhat disarm and open a door of discussion, the first question worth asking is this- “Are you willing to hear an honest answer?”  If he says yes, then go on to the primary question which goes something like this- “Listen, your question is really this-  Why do bad things happen to good people? In other words, you’re asking why there is injustice in the world. But herein lies the bigger question, injustice according to who? My question to you is this, “Who actually determines what is just or unjust?”

You see, everyone recognizes concepts such as fair, right, just, and unjust, yet we don’t always stop to think about where the reality of these terms originated from.  The immaterial concept of justice did not originate from thin air, nor did it come from matter, nor was it birthed from us.  A rock, which is clearly a solid piece of matter, cannot even think, let alone conceptualize whether being thrown through a house window is just or not.  When someone asks what kind of God allows atrocities, he is actually revealing the fact that there must be a true and ultimate source of justice.  Logic itself dictates that we could only acknowledge the reality of justice and injustice if the One who created mankind is Himself totally just. The moral fabric of this question actually proves that there must be a moral God, a just God that originated all justice in the beginning.  Instead of the question proving God must be non-existent or a ‘monster’, it in fact proves the opposite.  “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways…” Ezekiel 33:11  But if God created all things just and fair in the beginning, then what changed?  Have things remained the same since the creation of all things or have things changed?  Good question. This leads to our final points.

Lastly, there are two more assumptions built into this “silver bullet” question worth examining.  First is that we, that is to say people, are actually undeserving of anything but good.  This belief reveals the heart of the issue.  “I’m really not that bad” is definitely a default mode for many.  Truly, it is sad to see natural disasters that affect the helpless, however we need to remember that things didn’t stay the same from the beginning.  Things did change from the way God originally created them. We need to factor in the history of sin entering God’s perfect creation through the rebellion of Adam and Eve.  Death has passed unto all men because all have sinned.  (Romans 5:12)  We have ALL sinned against God, making us all rebels, deserving of God’s judgment. (Romans 3:23)  Creation is broken and groans for a time when it will be perfect again. (Romans 8:22) Jesus explained that He came to save the world, not to condemn the world.  He clearly declared that the world is condemned already.  (John 3:17-18) In other words, we are all born under the condemnation of this present, broken world.  Even though the current world is filled with much pain and suffering, sorrow that reaches every human born on this planet, this is the world the first man and woman wanted. They wanted life apart from God.  They desired to live apart from God as their King.  They wanted to be their own gods. After rebelling against Him, God graciously only gave them a taste of what life without God would be like.  We are now some 6,ooo years on a planet that is groaning and broken, a planet that daily reminds us of just how much we need the Lord. The assumption that there are truly innocent people who don’t deserve anything but good is perhaps well-intentioned, but not correct.  Understanding mankind’s true history definitely helps add light to this issue.

The second assumption is the belief  that God does not intervene in the affairs of men.  This is nothing more than an assumption. Usually the person wanting to know why God does not intervene is really asking why God doesn’t intervene the way he thinks God should. The most crucial and historic intervention occurred almost 2,000 years ago when God the Son stepped into history, born as a man, never stopped being God, died on the cross for the sins of mankind, and rose from the grave on the third day.  This unique and pivotal event fully proves that God does interact and intervene in the affairs of men, even men that do not care about God. (1 Corinthians 15:1-8)

In conclusion, the question about a weak God is really at best a weak question.  By lovingly standing our ground, not getting defensive, we can carefully and thoughtfully challenge questions by exposing the person’s own assumptions.  Remember people are not the enemy. We do not fight against flesh and blood.  We are called to pull down strongholds, “casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-6.  In our effort to win the lost, may we seek to point everyone to Jesus Christ, the One True God; the God who lovingly intervenes in our lives every day. “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways…” Ezekiel 33:11  “And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8  “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served…as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15