There are questions and there is tension as to understanding the reality that God is good even though cruelty exists in man and in the world around him. And again, within all philosophic ideas and thoughts on this question…the most realistic answer is that of the Judeo-Christian view as stated in the written record of the Bible. The Bible is God’s communication to man related to the cause, reason, and truth of the existence of what we can see and know. The Bible says that man is not ‘continuous’ with what he has always been. That is, that man as he is now is not what he was; that man is ‘discontinuous’ with what he has been rather than continuous with what he has always been. Or, to put it another way, man is now abnormal – he has changed.
And within this circle of thought, this involves yet another question and choice: If God changed man, or made him abnormal, then does this mean God is a bad God? And the answer as stated in the Bible is that man created by God as personal has changed himself – that he stands at the point of discontinuity rather than continuity not because God changed him, but because he changed himself. Man by his own choice, is not what he intrinsically was. In this case we can understand that man is now cruel, but that God is not a bad God. This is precisely the Judeo-Christian position. There was a space-time, historic change in man. There is a discontinuity and not a continuity in man. Man, made in the image of God and not programmed, turned by choice from his proper integration point at a certain time in history. When he did this, he became something he previously was not, and the dilemma of man becomes a true moral problem rather than merely a metaphysical one. Man at a certain point of history, changed himself, and hence stands, in his cruelty, in discontinuity with what he was, and we have a true moral situation: morals do exist. Everything hangs upon the fact that man is abnormal now, in contrast to what he originally was.
The difference between what the Bible provides as the answer to the story of existence, the answers to ‘why and what’, and the non-Christian philosophical answers are very different on this point. The non-Christian philosophy says that man is normal now, but biblical Christianity says he is abnormal now.
When you come to the Christian answer, that is, that man is abnormal now because at a point of space-time history he changed himself (morally) — we can explain that man is now cruel, without God being a bad God. And the good news, very good news, is that this same story in the Bible says that this ‘good God’, who is love, provides a solution to save man from his fallen state.
We will continue this thought tomorrow 😊
Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – He Is There and He Is Not Silent