On my previous post (TEN QUESTIONS) I wrote of “ten questions that every Christian must answer,” a video referred to in a comment on the post before that one.
I posted the questions and made some comments, but I did not answer the questions. Here I will make an attempt to do so, though not in the order given.
First, I attempt to deal with what I previously referred to as “nonsense questions.”
Question #1. Why won’t God heal amputees?
Apparently the interrogator feels that this is an extremely important question because this is what he named his website. He tells us that because many, even doctors, believe in miraculous healings, it would seem that God should be able to restore severed members. After all some species do regenerate.
While I referred to this before as a nonsense question, I guess it makes sense if there are many who claim to have witnessed miracles.
Perhaps part of the problem here is in the overuse of the word. Many consider every answered prayer or healing a miracle. I do not. The word as used in the New Testament (Greek – DUNAMIS) describes a powerful work of God that can be seen but not explained. By that definition most of us have not witnessed a miracle. I haven’t!
True miracles are rare. That’s why they’re miracles! As I have often said, if everything is a miracle, then nothing is a miracle.
So perhaps God does heal amputees, perhaps not. He is perfectly capable of doing so. If He has, most of us probably would not have seen it happen.
Question #7. Why didn’t any of Jesus’ miracles in the Bible leave behind any evidence?
I must confess that I don’t know what sort of evidence is expected. Does he want videos of the healings? Does he want to see petrified loaves and fishes?
We do have eyewitness accounts. Are they not sufficient? They’re sufficient for much of “secular history.”
Ah, but there is one miracle with continuing effects: Jesus’ resurrection. He is still alive, though it may be a while till we see Him, at His return. Paul named over 500 witnesses, many of whom were still alive years after the event. Unfortunately as Paul relates “some have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:3-6). (All have by now.)
Question #8. How do we explain the fact that Jesus has never appeared to you?
I guess I’d have to say that it’s because He’s not been in the habit of appearing to folks visibly since His ascension. I really fail to see how this question is even relevant.
Question #9. Why would Jesus want you to eat His body and drink His blood?
Assuming that our questioner is a rational, critical thinking, educated person, I would have thought he understood what a metaphor is.
In John’s gospel, chapter 6, verses 32, 33 and 34, Jesus claims to be the “Bread of Life” or something similar. This is only one of His many “I am” claims.
It should be clear that “eating and drinking” in this context is a metaphor for appropriating Him by faith. He uses the expressions “come to Me,” “believe in Me,” and “eat My flesh and drink my blood” interchangeably (John 76:32-58). Later, in the other gospels, He inaugurates the memorial supper in which the participants partake of actual bread and wine as a symbol. But we can’t expect our interrogator to understand. After all even Jesus’ disciples said, “This is a hard statement. Who can understand it?” (John 6:60)
Now for the legitimate, though slanted, questions:
Question #3. Why does God demand the death of so many innocent people in the Bible?
This is one of the most difficult questions for the person of faith. I do not have all the answers, though I have attempted to deal with it in a previous post, VIOLENCE IN THE OLD TESTAMENT.
Question #4. Why does the Bible contain so much anti-scientific nonsense?
I would like to rephrase the question as “Why does the Bible seem to contradict much of modern scientific thinking?”
Again, I do not claim to have all of the answers, though I have attempted to deal with the questions in WHAT IS TRUTH? and OUR COUSIN THE FISHAPOD.
We also need to remember that the Bible was written to be read by “pre-scientific” readers. It does not claim to be a book of science, though it is not “anti-scientific.”
Question #5. Why is God such a huge proponent of slavery n the Bible?
I don’t find God at all a proponent of slavery in the Bible, even though there are laws concerning slavery in the Old Testament and exhortations concerning slavery in the New Testament. See RACE.
Now for the really tough ones, questions that still trouble me and other persons of faith.
Questions #2 and #6 are closely related.
Question #2. Why are there so many starving people in our world?
Question #6. Why do bad things happen to good people?
We see our world sometimes overcome with evil, both what we could call “moral evil” and what we could call “natural evil.” The first refers to those evil acts that humans inflict on each other. The latter refers to evils that seem to “just happen” – natural disasters, accidents.
The innocent suffer as much as the guilty. Both moral and natural evils seem indiscriminate as to their victims. We could look simply at the problem in #2, but there are other related problems. An examination of the problem of starvation involves not just “natural evils,” as causes, but humankind’s cruelty to one another.
I have attempted to deal with these issues in a number of posts. See:
THE VALUE OF HUMAN LIFE
GOOD GUYS AND BAD GUYS
THE INFINITE ABYSS
JOB, GOD AND SUFFERING -- 7 posts
The more I have thought and written on these topics, the more I realize that I don’t know, so I’m still working on this one and will be till Jesus takes me home.
Finally, Question #10. Why do Christians get divorced at the same rate as non-Christians?
Well, first of all, we live in a fallen world and have to deal with sinners. Sometimes the problems, such a divorce, are caused by non-Christians, but sometimes they are not.
Secondly, it is apparent that Christians still carry their old fallen mature, or as Paul calls it “our old man.” It is too easy to “be conformed to this age” (Romans 12:2), which is why we are exhorted to “present our bodies to God” (Romans 12:1).
Christianity is a religion of rescue. God saves sinners. And we come to Christ as we are. It takes a while for change to take place. But we should note that there are differences in the way Christians live. There should be.
Back to the divorce question. Our questioner quotes Jesus’ saying (Matthew 19:6 – KJV) “What God has joined together let not man put asunder,” as though it were a guarantee that the marriage would last. “God has sealed the deal,” he says. But apparently he hasn’t read closely. It is a command, not a promise. The fact that Jesus commands not to “put asunder,” would seem to indicate that man is capable of doing so.
Perhaps I’ve wasted a bit too much time in attempting to answer questions which the questioner believes cannot be answered. Perhaps not. But I felt compelled to take the challenge.
However, our questioner’s solution to real problems by resorting to denial just smacks of intellectual dishonesty. He hasn’t really answered his own questions. He has rather chosen to take a leap of faith.
The atheist needs to deal with these and similar questions himself. He needs to answer questions of purpose and meaning. If he believes that the world in which he lives has no meaning, then questions of morality, such as he asks, make no sense in a world that just “is.”
See also DAWKINS’ GOD DELUSION, PARTS 1-8.