RAP SHEET 5/15/22
Series: Know God?
Sermon: No Justice!
ICE BREAKER: If you could only pick one utensil (knife, fork, or spoon) and solely use that one utensil at every meal for the rest of your life - which would you choose?
This week we looked at the most prominent argument against God, "If God is good, why do bad things happen?
Proponents of Atheism have used this objection with incredible mastery and have seen massive results in pulling people away from their faith. On its face, it seems like a defeater in the God argument - AND, we can all feel the weight of this argument since we all suffer in our own lives.
Is this a question you have struggled with?
Have you ever felt like it was unfair that God was allowing you to suffer?
To understand why God would allow for suffering, we have to understand WHY there is suffering in the first place and why God does not step in to stop it from occurring in most situations. This is called THEODICY - Christian beliefs about suffering and pain. We are rooting our Theodicy in proper understanding of two principles:
FREEDOM & JUSTICE
Freedom sets the stage for our understanding of why suffering is permitted in God's universe. God created the world and gave humanity rules to govern them. In the creation narrative, this rule was to not eat from one specific tree. Rules are necessary because:
RULES ESTABLISH RELATIONSHIP
God implementing a rule only makes sense if humans had the FREE WILL to break that rule. Because God is love, and created out of love, he made humans with true FREEDOM because:
LOVE REQUIRES FREEDOM
This is where it gets tricky! The Rules that establish relationship are what keep the world in proper working order. However, we have the Freedom to break the rules, and therefore, to break our relationship with God. That is exactly what happens in the creation narrative - Adam and Eve choose to break God's rule and when they do they break their tie to the Creator. The sin and brokenness in our world is a direct result of this.
Would a world with no freedom be preferable to the world we live in today?
The second principle we have to understand is Justice. The reason we struggle with the suffering and pain in our world is because we see it as unjust. This begs the question, "where do our beliefs about Justice come from?"
Justice is simply getting what you deserve. It requires a worldview to determine what we do, or do not, deserve to be able to measure Justice. If you trace our ideas about morality, ethics, human worth and dignity, and equality back through history you will find it all started with Jesus. Put simply:
In our Freedom, we broke our relationship with God. Because God is JUST that sin must be punished! However, God is also perfect love, and in His love he came to our earth to take the punishment for us on the cross.
The Cross of Jesus teaches us that even the worst pain and suffering can be redeemed and used for good in the world if we allow it to be used by Jesus. The bad things we experience are a result of our fallen world, and yet God is good enough to even use the bad for the benefit of humanity.
How does a higher perspective on Justice and Suffering change your view of the world around you?
In what ways might God be wanting to use your current suffering for His purposes?
There is a lot of pain all around us. Spend time praying for clarity on how God wants to use your life, even the hard parts, to help those in need. Thank God for the freedom he has given us and seek the Holy Spirit's help in living more and more like Jesus.