RE: 10 questions that every intelligent Christian must answer

What follows is my logical, educated, and intelligent response to 10 questions I recently saw posed in a video critical of the Christian faith called 10 questions that every intelligent Christian must answer. As the questions attempt to approach the Christian “in spite of” their faith, I will attempt to approach the answers in the same manner.

Question #1: Why Won’t God Heal Amputees?

Though not constrained by them because of His omnipotence, God tends to work within the bounds of natural laws governing our physical world – in fact, there are solid cases for scientific (rather than “magical”) explanations for almost everything He has ever done, including Creation. Most occurrences regarded as miracles (at least, those which are detectable by humans) could be explained away by secular means – they are, however, usually extremely improbable by rational measures, and over a series of occurrences, are recognized as more than just patterns of coincidental, infinitesimally small “chance” encounters of good fortune by those who are not blinded by doubt.

Of course, before Jesus’ birth (in the Old Testament), God did reveal Himself in much more direct ways – however, because of Jesus’ salvation, God no longer had a need to physically manifest Himself in our world – Jesus paid the price for our sins, and God leaves the onus of whether to believe on us (at least, in a manner of speaking). And, during his time on earth, Jesus healed a leper and a blind man – both miracles of the same nature posed here – both well-documented, eyewitness cases.

Specifically regarding amputees, it is important to realize that God does not create miracles – at least in the modern age – that fly in the face of measurable, natural laws. This question is a clever twist on the age-old paradox “Can God create a rock so heavy that even He cannot lift it?”. It is not a question of God’s power or whether He answers prayer, but instead a deceitful manner of asking “can 1 = 0?”, and the answer is, of course not.

It is important at this point to establish a principle that can be applied to this as well as many of the rest of the questions going forward: it is up to God to decide how His justice is best done – in this specific instance, whether or not to grant our requests – since He is the perfect Creator and we are not, and much (perhaps most) of the time, what we think is “best” (our requests) are not in line with His perfect will. This can perhaps best be summed up in the quote, “God always answers our prayers, but sometimes the answer is no.”

Question #2: Why are there so many starving children in our world?

Because of Satan’s choice to turn against God and his subsequent fall from God’s grace, sin exists. Because Satan deceived humans who in turn chose to turn against God, sin was introduced into the world. Because of the existence of sin, there is pain and suffering – including starvation. In the absence of sin, nobody would ever suffer, including children. However, God does not promise His children the absence of sin in this world, but instead, after it is gone, along with its pain and suffering. It is important to note that the Creator is the only entity among us qualified to judge His own justice – for as the Bible teaches in Romans 9:21, “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?”

The asker implies that if God existed, He would answer the prayers of all who pray for an end to child starvation. But as we established earlier, God always answers our prayers – but sometimes the answer is no, for the reasons we’ve just set forth. It is important to realize that the reason many children in our world starve is not because God makes them, but because Satan does. This in no way belittles the very real and distressing fact that there are are children suffering even at this very moment – but Christianity, via the Bible, teaches that it is not this life that matters or that will be remembered, but the next.

Question #3: Why does God demand the death of so many innocent people in the Bible?

The issue here is in the presupposition of the question – that everyone is “innocent”. The Bible in fact teaches that all men are born in sin, and therefore guilty before our perfect God. The Bible verses specifically quoted pertain to commissioners of particular sins for which God has specified a penalty – however, these penalties are issued in the Old Testament. Christ’s death changed everything. Because Jesus paid the ultimate penalty for our sins, we are no longer commanded to issue such penalties upon others, in accordance with grace – however, ultimate justice will be God’s.

Question #4: Why does the Bible contain so much anti-scientific nonsense?

Again, the question makes an errant presupposition – that all of the events which it subsequently refers to are “anti-scientific”. The first in question, Creation, is of course supernatural. However, did matter itself not come into existence “supernaturally”, no matter what the source? Either matter always existed (implying infinite history), or matter did not exist and then did (conservation of mass?), or matter was created by God (whom always existed). Any way you slice it, mere existence is “anti-scientific”.

The asker then makes a number of claims without evidence and which he could not know – and, in fact, specifically contradicting actual testimony from the Bible. The claims in question are “The Flood”, “Jonah and the Whale”, and “the Creation of Adam”. There is actually a significant amount of scientific data supporting The Flood. It is not impossible that a man lived inside a whale for days – it may be considered a miracle, but even at that, the story never contradicts any natural laws. The Creation of Adam goes along with Creation, above.

Question #5: Why is God such a huge proponent of slavery in the Bible?

From the first two verses the asker refers to in support of this supposition, we can understand what he is implying. Said verses are:

20 “Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.

Exodus 21:20-21

22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Colossians 3:22-24

The first thing we must do is address the fact that the asker is being intellectually dishonest. Nowhere in these verses is God portrayed as “a huge proponent of slavery”. God is simply addressing the reality that, because men are of sinful nature, slavery exists. Therefore, because of sin and slavery, God commanded that the masters show justice even towards their slaves, and that even the slaves be joyful in all that they do, because they do it not for their masters, but for God.

Question #6: Why do bad things happen to good people?

If there was any person whom “bad things” did not happen to, we would say that person has “a perfect life”. God does not give “good” people – or even His children, Christians – a perfect life, and as sinners, we are not worthy of such. Even Christ, the only man who ever walked the earth without sin – a perfect man – endured a life of much hardship, culminating in an extremely painful death. In fact, to suppose that bad things should never happen to good people would be to imply that good people should never die.

Christians do not believe that only good things will happen to them – in fact, the Bible teaches that because of their faith, Christians will endure much hardship and persecution. One must look no further than Job, whom God calls “blameless and upright… the greatest man among all the people of the East.” (Job 1:1-2). Because of his great faith, Job endured a series of trials and tribulations, carried out by Satan, that left him a broken man – however, because his faith did not falter, God rewarded him many times over.

Faith in God does not magically make good things (in the worldly sense) happen to anybody. Faith in God, though, allows us to deal with the bad things with the knowledge that His will is being done and through it all, He will be praised.

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”

Job 1:21

Question #7: Why didn’t any of Jesus’ miracles leave behind any evidence?

As mentioned earlier, Jesus performed miracles such as healing a leper and a blind man. This is fact was empirical evidence; the leper overcame leprosy, the blind man overcame his blindness. It is unclear what kind of evidence the asker requests; no, Jesus did not miraculously create a timeless art piece to endure all generations, but to require the such is a bit silly. Frankly, Jesus has nothing to prove to man – dying on the cross for our sins was quite enough.

Question #8: How do we explain the fact that Jesus has never appeared to you?

With all due respect to the asker, this question appears to be simply a misunderstanding of the Christian faith. Christians do not believe that Jesus is still on earth or that he “appears” to people here and there. Jesus lives at the right hand of his Father, God, in Heaven, where he will stay until his return.

Question #9: Why would Jesus want you to eat his body and drink his blood?

Some religions – Catholicism being the major one – believe that the bread and wine of Communion literally “become” Jesus’ actual body and blood. This belief is known as transubstantiation. However, we must make a distinction between Catholicism and Christianity, as the former does not believe in salvation via Christ’s sacrifice and God’s grace alone, but alongside works.

Most Christians believe that Communion is symbolic instead of literal. However, either belief does not necessarily make one a Christian or not. Jesus said “This do in remembrance of me.” What is important is simply that Christians follow this command in taking Communion.

Question #10: Why do Christians get divorced at the same rate as non-Christians?

Let us first establish a truth that can be applied to people who commit all sorts of sins, but whom call themselves Christians. The Bible plainly states that some who outwardly call themselves Christians are in fact not:

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Matthew 7:21-23

The Bible tells us the difference between the wheat and the chaff:

Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.

Psalm 1:4

And the Bible implies that faith without works is dead:

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

James 2:14-17

So we know that some who live in sin yet profess Christianity are hypocrites and in fact remain dead in their sin. Yet there are still many true Christians who still fall to sins such as divorce every day. How can that be? Well, we have already established that no man is perfect, including Christians. We are all born of a sinful nature and while the Christian faith redeems us, it does not change our outwardly worldly nature. Christians are still exposed every day to the same sins, the same temptations, the same struggles as the unbeliever.

But, even after all that, we know one thing: Jesus’ sacrifice and God’s mercy is greater than any sin that any man could ever commit. God knows that no man can or will ever live up to His perfection. But in His infinite love, He has given us only one requirement in order to partake of eternal salvation: believe. If we do so with a true heart, He will never leave us, and though we will continue to stumble every day, we know that He will be there to pick us up again and again and again.

Conclusion

I hope that this has cleared up the Christian response to these questions. Please leave any additional comments below!

sources:
  1. http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/articles/what-is-the-biblical-evidence-for-original-sin
  2. http://www.ministryhealth.net/mh_articles/016_principles_of_suffering_outline.html

6 Responses to “RE: 10 questions that every intelligent Christian must answer”

  1. Tom Fretts says:

    What you really need here is a post of the full text of the Westminster Confession, since it would take all of that and then several more volumes of discussion to answer these questions. But I’ll take a highly abbreviated shot at it.

    1. I agree that God does “tend” to work within the bounds of the “laws of physics”, which themselves are man’s way of describing the ways in which God causes things to happen within His creation. But I disagree that there are solid scientific explanations for the “miracles” we see in the Old Testament, especially for Creation, in which solid physical matter was created from absolutely nothing. If the definition of a miracle is something that flies in the face of natural physical laws, and I’d say that it is, then God is still doing miracles, and I’ll find some examples for you later if you want me to. The answer I’d give to this question might come through in the next nine but if not I’ll address it later. I haven’t read the last 8 questions yet, or your answers, so I may have to come back to this later.

  2. Tom Fretts says:

    2.The question here is really “why does God allow pain and suffering?” and I’d agree with your first paragraph. I think the answer here really comes down to man’s freedom to choose, overshadowed by The Fall which caused man to become self-centered rather than God-centered. Without the freedom to choose, man would have no capacity to love, since love is a choice man makes. Forced love is not love. Scripture calls love “the greatest good” (“the greatest of these is love”). Had God not allowed man to choose, He would have disallowed love, the greatest good known to man. A case could be made that not allowing love to exist would itself have been evil, which cannot proceed from God. Without God’s love, shown in Christ, man would have no hope of reconciliation with God. It’s also important to note that God Himself suffered: the God-man Jesus, especially on the cross. And don’t think that God the Father and God the Holy Spirit didn’t also suffer, watching God the Son suffer a tremendously horrible torture and death, and then having to literally forsake and abandon the Son, with whom they had enjoyed perfect communion and fellowship from eternity past, as He carried the sin of the world, since God cannot look upon sin. If the perfect and holy Creator of the universe is willing to suffer so great a death because He loves us, we should be willing as well to suffer for His sake as believers. And the Father originally intended for all of us to be in relationship with Him, to be believers.

    God permittance of suffering in our lives can actually be percieved as a manifestation of His kindness (sounds odd, but) because it might be used of God in order to draw us to Himself. Suffering can draw an unbeliever to a saving knowledge of the Lord, and can draw a believer into a closer relationship with the Lord. Suffering can also be a consequence of one’s disobedience to God, but again, hopefully drawing the suffering person to seek the Lord. Most people have some understanding of what the word “hell” means in the Bible, and most know that they don’t want to go there. The pain and suffering in this world can be seen as a very VERY mild preview of what may await an unbeliever in the depths of hell, thereby hopefully turning their hearts to a loving God who does not seek their destruction, who offers them redemption, but who will never force them into subjection to His will, if their desire is to reject Him and live as their own “god” and “king”.

    It’s noteworthy that suffering, pain, and death entered into the world with the fall of Adam, as a result of Adam’s sin and disobedience, yet God, who is never the author of sin and never causes one to commit sin, nevertheless uses the sin to cause sinners to seek after Himself. What a great God!

  3. miles says:

    Question #2: Why are there so many starving children in our world?

    God allows suffering, I do not understand why. Your explanation does not make sense to me, please break it down so I can understand.

    From what I understand, we can either have free will or eternal bliss. What? Freedom opposes bliss?

    God does not love man. The Fall is ridiculous. For disobeying god, man was cast from Eden to an eternity of suffering?
    You would not do that to someone you love. Adam knew god. Literally, physically; he was living proof of god. But he still disobeyed him. How can the people of today be expected to follow him? We’ve never met.

    The dark one challenged god. He opposed the natural order, had man tossed from Heaven and established his dominion. Satan deceived and defeated God. No matter how you read the tale of the Fall, doesn’t Satan pretty much get what he wants? Isn’t it like that for most of the old testament? Or would it make more sense that God is Satan? He is omniscient/omnipotent, how could he ever be opposed?

    See, I do not understand. I may be misunderstanding biblical canon, but I refuse to accept a God that is satisfied with the world as it is.

  4. frettsy says:

    Miles, thank you so much for your comment, those are some great questions and I’ll try to address them to your satisfaction.

    God does allow suffering (though He does not create it) because without sin (which causes suffering), all men would be perfect and therefore uniform. We would all have the exact same opinions, same thoughts, and basically be robots – no diversity. More importantly, if we were all perfect, we would have no reason to rely on God. The reason we are allowed to sin is because, when we choose God even through our sinful nature, He is glorified by that.

    Free will and eternal bliss can certainly coexist, and in fact did on earth at Creation. But Adam chose to reject God, and God’s punishment for that was to take away that perfect bliss for all Adam’s progeny. Further, if God is the Creator, and He is all that is perfect and good, then His version of justice is unquestionably perfect and good, whether or not it seems to make sense to us. For example, when we have children, we don’t tend to give them everything they want, even if they believe it’s what they need. If my child wants a car, a treehouse, and a pony – and even if I *could* give her those things – I may instead choose to give her one or two of those things, but she needs to get a job and *work for it* if she wants the whole package. Does that make me bad? Of course not – I created the wealth, I get to decide how it is used, and I am in no way obligated to give her *anything* that she wants.

    People of today are expected to follow Him because the Bible is a record of empirical evidence proving His existence. I never visited ancient Rome, but I can still have faith that it existed, right? Because there is a strong historical record to show it was there, and because I can see effects it created (such as the Colosseum) still around today.

    Satan did not defeat God. He challenged God, and he lost – which is why he was expelled from Heaven. Satan does not get what he wants – he wanted to BE God, instead, he was removed from the glory of Heaven and cast into death and Hades, a dark prisonous underworld. So of course God is not Satan, they are diametric opposites. Satan is inferior to God, but God allows him to exist, because when man chooses God over Satan and his promises of earthly gain, God is glorified.

    Lastly, God is NOT satisfied with the world as it is. He wants us ALL to admit and come to know and love Him, to strive to be more perfect, and to love one another in every way imaginable. We have gotten lost along the way – of our OWN error, not of His – but each of us can reconcile that error in His eyes, not by our own doing, but by faith that He is God.

  5. jrad says:

    I like this post! Good explanations & discussion calen. Keep resounding truth!

  6. frettsy says:

    Thanks for the good word jrad! Glad you liked it!


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