What sort of God is worth believing in who has no control?
I was disheartened by Leigh Waggoner’s column “Gods are no longer responsible for every natural event” (Saturday, Aug. 18, page 8A), especially since she is supposed to represent the Christian faith. She expresses no confidence in the Christian worldview when she says, “Oddly, I think some of us do still live with a world understanding akin to the worldview of much of the Bible.” It seems that between the lines we are supposed to think, “Yeah, the Bible is clearly antiquated and no longer relevant for today’s sophisticated world.” She states later that the Bible is a “faith history” whereby we can learn what our ancestors thought about God. But the Bible is not a “textbook about God.” These statements undermine any confidence that the Bible is divinely inspired. Of course, if the Bible is not divinely inspired then we should have no confidence that it accurately reflects anything that is true. It is just someone’s opinion.
So when the Bible makes it clear that God is indeed the sovereign God of the universe, we don’t have to take it seriously. It is not what God has revealed about Himself, rather it is someone’s ill-formed opinion. Miss Waggoner appears to agree since she says, “God is not in control of everything at all. God is not all powerful.” Miss Waggoner has rejected orthodox Christianity which expresses the belief in an omnipotent God. Such belief is rooted in the belief that the Bible is divinely inspired.
Part of me sympathizes with Miss Waggoneer because she doesn’t want to blame God for tragic events in the world like earthquakes and tsumanis and the like. She can’t imagine how anyone could believe in a God who allows or causes such things to happen. I realize such a thought can cause a lot of existential pain.
However, from a true Christian and Biblical perspective, it is inconceivable if we think otherwise. No matter how loving and compassionate you believe God is, what sort of God is worth believing in who has no control over the universe He supposedly created in the first place? The truly scary thought is that God created a monster more powerful than himself. When faced with tragic events, are we supposed to be comforted with a God who sits in the heavens wringing his hands as he mutters in a pitiful voice, “I am so terribly sorry this tsunami killed 250,000 people. There was nothing I could do! The forces of nature are just simply too powerful for me to control!” If God is impotent then evil has won and we have no business believing in God. We’d all be better off as atheists.
Fortunately that is not the case. God is all-powerful and he has a sovereignly controlled plan. He also has a good plan because God is all-good. Yes, that plan involves evil and of course here is the rub. How can an all-powerful, all-good God allow or cause evil? We are not supplied with all the answers to that question, but one thing we can be assured — God has a good and just plan for the evil He has permitted in the world. And because God is also all-wise, I can trust Him to have a good purpose in the evil He allows. For this reason, an all-wise, all-good and all-powerful God is the only God that can let me rest easy every night in a world full of evil.
Scott Christensen is Pastor at Summit Lake Community Church.