Accurate answers to any “Why did God __________?” questions

I’m paraphrasing here, but Greg Koukl made some good points on an old Podcast of Stand To Reason that I thought were useful in answering common questions from both Christians and non-Christians.  The question from the show was, “Why didn’t God just kill Adam and Eve after they disobeyed God?”  When we get questions like that the following answers are usually accurate, even if they aren’t completely satisfying to the questioner.

  1. I don’t know.
  2. Because He wanted to.
  3. For his glory.

Sometimes the answers are in the Bible, but not always.  But that shouldn’t rock your world.  It can be interesting to speculate on the answers based on what we do know about God. In this case, Koukl noted that by letting humans live and ultimately coming to earth as a substitutionary atonement for our sins that God was able to demonstrate more of his attributes.  It would have been completely legitimate for him to kill Adam and Eve for their rebellion, but He chose not to.

It is often more productive to focus on what we do know than on what we don’t know.  The end of Job is in the Bible for a reason.  Ask all the questions you like, but don’t pretend that God didn’t reveal everything to us that we need to know.

And don’t get spooked if there are tough questions you can’t answer, whether the questions are your own, from other believers or from skeptics.  In an even greater sense than how a toddler can’t understand why his parent does something, we don’t know near enough to explain why God is or isn’t doing something in every situation.

5 thoughts on “Accurate answers to any “Why did God __________?” questions

  1. I’ve never really understood this question. I mean, why ask? I can’t tell why Neil did something unless he tells me. In fact, I’m not always sure why I do something. But I’m expected to explain to someone without any input from God as to why an Omnipotent, Omniscient, Sovereign Being does what He does? How is that a reasonable question?

  2. 4. Does it matter?
    5. Do you really think you can comprehend the motivations of the Almighty?
    6. Does it in any way change our obligations toward Him or toward each other?
    7. Where do you get the right to even ask the question?

    Gods give Job a fairly long speech at the end of the titular book, which can be summed up as, “I am not obligated to provide answers to you. I’m not going to explain it to you. You either trust Me, or you don’t.”

    What we frequently (well, me anyway) find out is that God does something that doesn’t make a lot of sense at the time, but some time later (centuries, decades, years, months, even days or hours sometimes), the answer to “why” either becomes clear, or at least there’s a hint of explanation.
    Sometimes so-and-so had to die before something else could happen, for instance. Stuff like that.

    Notice too that people rarely ask this question when the divine intervention appears to be “positive” or beneficial to the asker in some way. Would that people could see negative or “harmful” events in the same light.

  3. I’ve learned that “I don’t Know” is often the best answer I can give. Otherwise I start babbling out answers that make no sense and just further than non-believers stance against Christianity.

    • I completely understand your perspective, but if you say that to more than a couple of questions, nonbelievers may say, “He follows a God whose reasoning is apparently alien to him. Who worships a deity like that?”

      Personally I often take a stab at it, with the caveat that I could be wrong, and with the additional caveat that God possesses dominion over life and death itself and is morally permitted to take action that is off-limits to us, all other things being equal.

      Nonbelievers who make a habit of sitting in God’s chair (agnostic/atheist types do that pretty much by definition) will not like that answer, but sometimes it is best. Those who can’t submit themselves to His rule can’t be His followers – pretty much is that simple.

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