Sometimes clients sat opposite me wringing their hands in desperation not knowing what to do and might ask: ‘Gavin what do you think we should do?’
I never made that decision for them but occasionally gave them a clue by saying: ‘if I was sitting on your side of the table I would do such-and-such. If it works out then you receive the cheque: if it goes pear shaped you write the cheque’.
Or maybe: ‘it’s better to make a decision and be wrong than not to make a decision at all’. And depending on the situation at hand, as contradictory as it may sound, I sometimes said: ‘if in doubt, don’t’.
I have lost touch with Bob. If still alive he would now be in his high eighties. Raised in a Christian environment he once told me he had wrestled throughout adult life with the concept of the theodicy of God. This refers to the vindication of the providence of God notwithstanding the existence of evil in the world.
‘How can you possibly believe there is a loving God? Why doesn’t He do something about evil like eradicate it? Why doesn’t a big hand reach down and rescue the defenseless child from the appalling harm confronting her, stop the thief from breaking in, or prevent the husband from cheating on his wife?’
Such questions ignore that we were born with freewill which enables doing severe harm to others, including children, and choosing to live lives in total ignorance of God. The power to disobey involves “abusing a divine and good gift which first introduced rebellion and sin” into the world. (A Lawyer Examines The Bible by Irwin Linton @ p109).
The only way our good Creator God could fully love us was by giving us the power and freedom to willingly love Him or openly deny Him. And as parents we must do the same. We can’t force our children to love us either.
As one Christian poet wrote:
God…made us free to disobey yet charged obedience…
He made…and placed within our reach eternity and doom…
Whose heritage was purity, whose tendency was lust…
A masterpiece, a paradox, imponderable man.
…. did Bob need to make a decision? If ever he thought he could fully know and understand the mind of God and His ways, he was to be forever mistaken and disappointed. This side of the grave man will never fully know or understand Him. If we could, God would be just like man.
My thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways My ways declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah chapter 55 verses 8 & 9).
Herein lies a basic sticking point between believer and atheist but this gap, sometimes involving strong emotional opposition is irrelevant to man’s forever limited (though expanding) knowledge of science, astronomy and meaning. Absent any evidence, the mindset of atheism/evolution cannot, and will never be able to, satisfactorily and convincingly explain endless space, clockwork planetary balance and precision, and the existence of all life on planet earth.
Probably very few Aussie parents possess a Bible in their home and read it whilst acknowledging God in their daily lives, regularly pray, give thanks before meals (and otherwise), and in the process teach their children about matters spiritual.
The deteriorating state of society compared to a mere fifty years ago graphically portrays the outcome. Most people: have no regard for the deeds of the LORD, no respect for the work of His hands. (Isaiah chapter 5 verse 12). Jesus did not enter the world in spite of its state but because of it. Nothing has changed as man continues to ignore God…but one day…
We are warned to: Seek the LORD while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the [unbeliever] forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD…for He will freely pardon. (Isaiah chapter 55 verses 6/7).
Back to Bob
Linton wrote: “To doubt is not sin but to be content to remain in doubt when God has provided many infallible proofs to cure it, is”. To forever sit on our hands in self-debate about the existence of a good God in a man-induced deteriorating world is simply weak excuse-making.
Bob didn’t do that when marrying his beautiful wife, fathering children who produced lovely grandchildren even though at the start of married life there’s much uncertainty about the future.
Besides neglect and procrastination, “The only thing that can keep a sane man from accepting [His] invitation and exchanging the wrath of God for the love of God…is the casually accepted belief that Christianity is…mere legend, tradition and fable concocted…for the peace, joy and beauty which it ever fails” to deliver. (per Linton).
The last time we met, Bob still adhered to that “casually accepted belief that Christianity…[was] mere concocted legend, tradition and fable”. He seemed “content to remain in doubt”. A tragically disastrous and sinfully wrong course.
Indefinitely hitting the ‘pause’ button
To meet God in that foggy state exposes us to the same eternal fate of s/he who meets Him in blind ignorance. The middle ground of agnosticism - that nothing is or can be known about the existence or nature of God - is not available. Jesus still says today: He who is not with Me is against Me and he who does not gather with Me scatters. (Matthew chapter12 verse 30).
It’s critical that we be a firm decider not a casual scatterer. The latter is dicing with the never-ending second death.
Gavin Lawrie is a retired Barrister and Solicitor from Tweed Heads NSW Australia and author of the book: 'THE EVIDENCE OF EVOLUTION: Uncovering The Faulty Science Of Dawkins' Attack On Creationism'. He is married to Jan with two adult children and they are grandparents.
Gavin Lawrie's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/gavin-lawrie.html