During a recent theological debate with a friend, who had declared their Calvinist credentials, I was struck by a particular sentiment that all but ended our conversation. It seems that we human beings are not allowed to question God.
In raising issues about God’s character I was, apparently, in danger of being blasphemous. In doing so i was starting to resemble Job and we know that God responded to his predicament with the seemingly dismissive line ‘who is it who darkens my counsel’.
At first I wanted to defend my position by explaining that I wasn’t attacking God but merely questioning a particular view of him as represented by a their theological stance. But then I remembered the many ‘how’, ‘when’, and ‘why’ sentiments raised by the psalmists and wondered if it might, in fact, by acceptable to raise even the most serious of questions.
On the other hand if you consider humanity to be totally depraved then it probably stands to reason that the God of the universe doesn’t owe us anything.
I recently heard a prominent pastor inform his congregation that because we all deserve hell we have no rights and should be thankful that we have been allowed to live at all.
As I look at the frailty of my own humanity there is a temptation to think he might have a point until that is you consider the self revelation of God as Father. In this respect the creator God has offered a relationship to his creatures that allows for communication within the household.
If God had revealed himself to be a distant creator who had remained outside of creation itself then any attempt at raising a question or two would, indeed, be futile.
If, however, this God has indicated that he sees his creative role as that of a parent producing children it could be thought that he has a responsibility to that which he has birthed.
It’s difficult to imagine respecting any parent who would consider that they owe their offspring nothing. Quite the reverse in fact.
God, in his self revelation as Father, has declared himself to be responsible in his love for his children.
In this respect our exploration of this relationship should contain questions that allow for God’s revelation to flow through.
Following this thought I would want to answer that God does have a responsibility towards us and we are allowed to ask even the hardest of questions.
Even the Job passage can stand further reading when you consider that God did actually respond to the questions in a verbal way. It may not have satisfied the complainant’s intellectual faculties completely but God did not stand aloof from the events but became engaged.
God took the time to explain who he was to this frail human being.
There is hope for us all as we continue to ask life’s most difficult questions. We too might see our redeemer in the land of the living. We may start to understand something of the Father heart of God.