I have tried to put my thoughts together in a logical sequence. It all begins with God, who he is, what his nature is and what his purposes are in making men and women. False concepts of God are the root of many hurtful teachings. From understanding God's true nature and his ways correctly, everything else follows. Certainly, we can't expect to understand fully all there is to know about him. But that doesn't mean that he is altogether beyond knowing. We can know and understand much about God. In fact, he wants us to know him and has sent Jesus in order to reveal himself and his nature and purposes to us.
From knowing his intentions towards us we can come to understand why there is so much suffering on earth. It isn't without purpose and the purpose is supremely good! In many ways, understanding why God allows suffering on the earth is central to understanding so many other things. Human suffering is so great, so awful, so humanly-speaking unnecessary in many cases that people rightly ask "If there is a God and he's a God of love, why does he allow such horrific suffering?" More than that, "If he's an all-powerful God, He must actually be ultimately responsible for all the suffering mustn't he?"
These are just two of many questions that religious people refuse to answer honestly. The answers are simple. "Yes he is responsible for everything. He has made everything in all creation and nothing - but nothing has happened or ever will happen that he is not totally in control of and ultimately carries responsibility for. Yes, human suffering is terrible but it will result in something that far outweighs the pain. I believe that God will ultimately redress every imbalance and wipe away every tear from every eye and ultimately we will all say "God has been good to me and his purposes were higher and better than I ever imagined they could be and I stand in awe of him and his love and grace to me."
I want to demonstrate to anyone with an open mind that God has a timetable that he is working to here on earth. Nothing has or could ever stop him from fulfilling that purpose. It's the most incredible purpose for us humans that anyone could imagine. It's so marvellous that it appears blasphemous to some religious people to even suggest it.
Then I want to show you some plain scriptures that demonstrate that it is compatible with the Bible.
Understanding God's purposes and his timetable begins to make sense of the world we see around us. The good things and the bad. The joy and the sorrow. The beauty and the ugliness. Obviously there are many things I just can't explain. Why has God allowed any particular person to endure horrific suffering, for example? Why did he allow Adolf Hitler to draw the world into a war in the 20th Century? Why does he allow famines and disease epidemics to ravage the nations?
Perhaps it's only because I have personally experienced him and his love that I am able to accept that all suffering is redemptive. (Yes, I do mean all. Mine and yours and that of every person who has ever been born.) In the end, it's a matter of faith. Because I have met him in an intimate way and know him myself, he has given me this faith. Deep down in my innermost being I know that I know that God is good and he will bring good from every situation and circumstance. The Bible says that:
"In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)
You may not believe that at the moment, but please don't stop reading here. Eventually he will make himself known to everyone who has ever lived. He isn't dealing with everyone in the same way at the moment but he will ultimately deal with us all fairly because he loves us all equally. Even if you aren't sure that he's there, you can't lose a thing by saying this to him.
God, if you are there, please show me in some way. Reveal to me what I need to know at this time. Open the eyes of my heart so that I can see something of you.
I guarantee that he will hear you and answer your request. Those who are Christians now aren't God's favourites. Some who are total unbelievers today will ultimately be among the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
"Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last." (Luke 13:30)
It all begins with God. Who is He and what on earth is He doing and what is He really like?
God is love. God is a family and a growing one. The Biblical Hebrew word for "God" in the Old Testament is Elohim (Hebrew: ????????) and it is a grammatically plural noun for "gods" or "Deity". The common understanding today, though, of the word "God" is often singular despite the "-im" ending that denotes a plural masculine nouns in Hebrew. The point I'm making is that God is one but in community, or family. Father and Son and Holy Spirit are fully God. Their loving relationship is best understood by us as family.
Jesus' revelation to us that God is our "Abba", Father was wonderful and revolutionary when he gave it. There was no way that it would have been helpful to Jewish people at that time for him to call God, "Mother" because women were considered to be men's property and definitely inferior to men. Today we understand that men and women are equal albeit different and we will gradually begin to understand that God encompasses both male and female characteristics. Actually, I don't personally think that the word "God" is usually very helpful to us either. I prefer to think of God as "Omniscient Loving Parent in whom we all exist", But that isn't adequate either and I am digressingâ€¦
The point I want to make is that I believe that God's purpose in creating the cosmos is to enlarge the God family. I would like to quote from Hebrews 2 in the NIV.
5 It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking.
6 But there is a place where someone has testified:
"What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him?
7 You made them a little[a] lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honour
8 and put everything under their feet."
In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them.
9 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.
11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.
So we are children of God, brothers and sisters of Jesus and we are destined to reign with Jesus forever.
That may seem like a blasphemous statement to some people but it's the truth. Our destiny is to live and reign with Christ for eternity. To qualify for this we must receive the very nature of God ourselves which is LOVE personified. Can you imagine what chaos and evil would be unleashed if human beings without the love of God had godly powers?
To accomplish this God has created the cosmos which is a construct made of space, time and matter, all of which are interchangeable and all of which will perish. The world is made of limited resources and naturally speaking it is the fittest which survive at the expense of the weakest. Nature, red in tooth and claw was created to be this way - a way that is contrary to love, so that we, God's children can choose the way of love. Jesus came to demonstrate that love overcomes selfishness and hate, even to the point of sacrificing one's life for others. It's not humanly sensible but God's ways are far above ours.