Why Doesn't God Do Something?
--Pastor Jamey Nichols
Last month I wrote about something theologians call the omnipotence of God. The expression means that God is all powerful and He can do anything He wills to do. This truth is easily understood from the stories preserved for us in the Bible.
Each one of us knows people who are skeptical about the existence of God. In fact, some folks very proudly define themselves as atheist—that is, they do not believe God exists. Sometimes, an atheist will try to “prove” his point by attacking God’s omnipotence. The argument goes like this: “If God exists, then why do children starve to death by the thousands? Any powerful god who had any decency at all would certainly do something about it.” And, if the person making the statement does so with passion and fervor, we might stumble backwards finding our tongues in front of our eye teeth so that we can’t see what we’re saying. (Huh?) Exactly! Words are powerful. How we arrange them, spin them, and how we speak them can make us appear correct even though we’re miles from the truth.
So, then, what about the atheist argument against God? Let’s take a closer look and see that the atheist, by his own words, proves God exists. “Any powerful god who had any decency at all . . .” assumes something—it assumes the existence of some sort of standard for decent behavior. If a standard of decency exists—some standard that is so obvious even a powerful god would keep that standard—where exactly did the standard come from? In other words, how can anything be absolutely decent or absolutely indecent if there is no Higher Authority to guide us into an understanding of moral absolutes?
An educated atheist would answer, “Our society agrees together on what is right and wrong and everyone agrees that to let a child starve when you have the power to prevent it is indecent.” Well then, first off, if the atheist is wearing nice clothes, driving a nice car, or living in a nice house—if he spends even $1 for anything beyond the bare essentials for living—he is guilty of gross indecency according to his own words. After all, when he pays money for a Netflix subscription he is choosing to spend his money on his own leisure rather than food for starving kids.
Furthermore, the fact that he possesses moral intuition is proof that his life is more than just the result of a freak cosmic accident (a.k.a. Evolution). Blobs of primordial slime crawling from the ocean millions of years ago have no intrinsic moral sense of anything. Why would they? Where would that moral sense come from? God. When God created man in His own image, He imprinted standards of decency into the hearts of the people he made (Romans 1). Across the globe and throughout history, people have, by their nature, a general sense of right and wrong.
You may be saying, “OK, it makes sense that God exists. But, it doesn’t explain why he permits suffering.” I’ll address that topic next month. In the meantime, if you want to learn more, do an internet search on arguments for God.