Job was not the first or the last to indict God, charging Him with “injustice.” In fact, such indictments are ubiquitous in Western society today, where any form of punishment is disparaged as “insensitive” and “mindless.” Even now, students at OSU are mourning the death of a terrorist who had knifed and plowed down a number of students with his car. In another case, a woman refused to bring charges against a migrant who had raped her because she felt that he had been driven to commit the rape.
In our moral and intellectual climate, it should not be surprising that God is scorned as a vengeful, medieval deity. “Christian” evolutionist, Karl Giberson, affirmatively quoted atheist Richard Dawkins in this regard:
· [God is a] “tyrannical anthropomorphic deity” and “commanded the Jews to go on genocidal rampages.” But who believes in this [OT] deity any more, besides those same fundamentalists who think the earth is 10,000 years old? Modern theology has moved past this view of God.” http://biologos.org/blog/exposing-the-straw-men-of-new-atheism-part-five/
The late and renowned atheist, Bertrand Russell had been asked, “What if you meet God after you die and he asks, ‘Why didn’t you believe in me?’ How will you answer him?” Russell answered:
· God, there was simply not enough evidence, just not enough evidence.
Is this true? Does God punish without sufficient warning? Scripture gives us a resounding “No.” Why then do people claim that there is no evidence? According to Scripture, humanity suppresses this evidence (Romans 1:18-20) and prefers the darkness to the light of truth (John 3:19-20).
Scripture gives us many accounts that substantiate this claim. For example, Pharaoh continued to harden his heart, even after the horrific 10 plagues. His chariots even pursed the fleeing Israelites into the sea with waters walled up on either side – an unmistakable testimony to the fact that Israel’s omnipotent God was with them.
How can we account for such willful blindness and foolishness? Only in this way: that humanity’s hatred of God is so great that it overrides every other consideration.
The Book of Revelation provides another stunning portrait of the sin-hardened. Even after the plagues that had accompanied the opening of the seven seals and the six trumpets, we read:
· The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts. (Revelation 9:20-21; ESV)
Can we indict God because of our stubbornness? Even after this, God provided many other signs that He meant business. He sent two supernatural prophets to prophesy against the nations for 1,260 days. When they had succeeded in killing the two, humanity gloated over their death and refused to allow them to be buried. However, this worked against them. After several days, God raised them and brought a terrible earthquake upon the land (Rev. 11).
Did they repent? No! Was God finished with His warnings to repent? Certainly not:
· The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire. They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory. The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in anguish and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds. (Revelation 16:8-11)
Instead of repenting and confessing their sin to their Creator and Provider, they “cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores.” Did they not know what they were facing? They must have, but they had hardened their hearts like Pharaoh. They were no longer amenable to reason.
At this point, we tend to raise another objection:
· God, you are omnipotent. You can do all things. If you have the power to change the hearts of men, why didn’t you change all their hearts so that they would come to you? To know to do good and to not do it is to sin.
This objection represents a misunderstanding of God’s omnipotence. While He can accomplish all the things He wants to accomplish, He cannot accomplish them through any means. He cannot sin; He cannot violate His Word. Besides, He is also constrained by His very character. Jesus had prayed that the Father would spare Him from going to the Cross:
· And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)
Evidently, there was no other way. God’s character constrains Him. His holy nature demands that there had to be a sufficient payment for sin. There was no other way.
I don’t understand why there must be eternal punishment, at least, not completely. However, I am resigned to the fact that I only see in part (Deut. 29:29) and that there is much about my Savior that I still do not understand. However, I am willing to wait and to abide with the understanding that He has offered to us.