Why Doesn’t God Fix It?

Why Doesn’t God Fix It? April 11, 2018

Yes, Jesus could turn stones into bread and make sure no one was ever hungry again. But then we’d still live in a world where people had too much food and no reason to share with those who had nothing.

Jesus could heal every disease and remove sickness from the world. But we would still live in a world where people cared more about themselves than about the needs of others.

Jesus could step in and prevent every car accident and rescue every innocent child from hit-and-run drivers. But we would still live in a world where people cared nothing about the safety of others, took foolish chances with their lives, and abused alcohol.

Jesus could guide every bullet so that it always missed taking an innocent life. He could turn our guns into candy canes if He wanted to. But we would still live in a world where people wanted to kill each other.

Jesus could appear to everyone and prove that He exists right now. He could float through the air, appear on CNN, visit every human on the planet in person and shoot healing lasers of love out of his eyes. But people would still not love Him or serve Him.

Jesus has the ability to change things and circumstances, but what really needs changing is people and their hearts. 

Now, if we would simply follow Him and listen to what He says and put His words into practice, we’ll see that He’s really telling us the truth:

We really can enter the Kingdom of God right now.
We really can experience God’s perfect peace that passes understanding.
God really is with us – right now – and will continue to be, forever, until the end of the time.
God honestly will never leave us or forsake us.
God actually does love – and everyone else – us as we are, and not as we should be [because none of us will ever be as we should be].

God, help those of us who are called by your Name to really believe in your amazing love. Help us to receive your love. Help us to live and breathe and move and give and share out of this endless stream of living water that you pour into us – and through us – to a hurting world so in need of your refreshing love. 

Help us to admit, first of all, that WE need your love as much as anyone else does.
Now, help us to soak up that love that transcends knowledge and squeeze it out in every human interaction we have today, and every day. 
Until the whole world knows your love.

Amen.

***
Keith Giles is the author of several books, including “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb”. He is also the co-host of the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean. He and his wife live in Orange, CA with their two sons.

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*The Nonviolent Love of Christ: How Loving Our Enemies Saves The World
, with Joshua Lawson and Keith Giles on Saturday, June 16 in Portsmouth Ohio. Register here>

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Keith, I think you’d agree, a coercive God is not a loving God. Could Jesus “fix” everything instantly? Perhaps, but forcing change is not the same as lovingly allow us to choose to change. Like those who espouse “Open Theology,” I believe coercion is just not in God’s nature, love is, and God cannot act in a way that contradicts his nature of love. In Calvinist thinking, God’s love is coercive and selective. For the elect it cannot be resisted, as God’s will is omnipotent. For those not among the elect, God’s justice outweighs his mercy, which, it seems, is not without limitation.

    For Arminians, the takeaway is that God’s love can be resisted, and often is, but again the final solution is that God’s justice outweighs his mercy, and the majority will perish in the fires of hell. In either solution God’s love is never fully realized and his love is not unconditional. His admonition to love our enemies, is simply “do as I say, not as I do.”

    I do not pretend that I have all the answers to the problem of evil (in light of things like the holocaust, there simply are no words), but I believe evil and suffering are a “people problem,” not a “God problem.” One of the things the cross shows us, however, is that God suffers with us. Could God spare us from suffering and evil? Not without removing our freedom of choice.

    “Jesus has the ability to change things and circumstances, but what really needs changing is people and their hearts.” And that can only happen over time, and everyone has a different timetable. Thanks, good article.

  • Bob Foy

    You have seemed to learn the truth and the truth has set you free. Glory glory hallelujah, glory, glory, hallelujah, glory , glory hallelujah, his truth is marching on.

  • Bob Foy

    Love God, for He is good and His mercy endures forever, His mercy endures forever.

  • cgosling

    A non-existent god cannot fix anything. However, if a god (s) does exist, he/she/it/they is/are either evil, impotent, non caring for setting up this indifferent world of ours where the good suffer with the bad, the giving with the selfish, and the loving with the hateful. We cannot ignore reality unless we are cowards. We should live life to its fullest, help and love our fellow humans and nature, and die bravely without superstition and false hopes.

  • cgosling

    Love God although he is indifferent to our worldly suffering?

  • Chari McCauley

    Not indifferent, but no wise teacher does all of a students homework for them.
    Nor is The Father obligated to wave a “magic wand”. How would putting a band-aid on it make the selfishness go away?
    Are we not indifferent and apathetic, unless we get to experience it? Is the white community not…now…getting a taste of being judged for skin color they didn’t even get to choose? We don’t like it, either, do we? Are we seen hanging from trees, yet…for the whole community to see? Like the cross was?

  • cgosling

    Chari – I like what you wrote. A wise and effective teacher also guides his/her students and encourages them to question and discover truths on their own rather than just accepting old truths. As in the sciences, and even in history, old truths often need updating and correction.

    “Are we not indifferent and apathetic unless we experience it?” Not always. Fortunately, primate brains are chuck full of empathy. Without ever experiencing actual suffering, we can empathize and be moved to action.

  • cgosling

    Kirk – “…God’s justice outweighshis mercy.” Is not justice is relative to the society, person or religion which makes up the laws? Justice in one society or religion may not be justice in another. Justice to us may not be justice to them. Even benevolent slave owners had a different sense of justice than their slaves. Can justice exist without mercy?

  • Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
    2 Corinthians 1:3-4 | NIV

    Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
    Romans 8:35 | NIV

    For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.
    2 Corinthians 1:5 | NIV

  • Yes justice differs from society to society, and even within the same society may usually differs dramatically over time. For example, Israel no longer stones those who gather sticks on the Sabbath. They’ve replaced that with shooting unarmed Palestinians instead, but I digress. Human justice can and often does exist without mercy. The question theologically is can God be both “just” and “merciful” at the same time, and if so, how? That is where various atonement theories come in.

  • Chari McCauley

    A wise and effective teacher also guides his/her students and encourages them to question and discover truths

    But, it isn’t the people older than religion who stop us from learning. It is the humans who now have power based upon lying/cheating. We might discover they cheated if we question and investigate.

    The 8 people who hoarded all the wealth don’t want you to know how they got that way.

  • swbarnes2

    I don’t understand how you can read the Bible, read about God warning the Egyptians about the 7 years, read about God giving manna to the Israelites, and conclude from that that the God you love and worship is is helpless to do anything concrete to stop human suffering. Maybe you think the Bible is wrong about God’s behavior and character and actions?

    Are you going to argue that it is coercive to warn someone that their village is going to be wiped out by a tsunami? That it’s coercive to give a research chemist the molecular description of the next anti-malaria blockbuster drug?

  • cgosling

    Chari – I agree, but want to add to your list of guilty power based liars and cheaters. Another category of people who create problems are those who are ignorant of the facts and the truth. They mean well, but may be totally wrong in their take of the situation and its solution.

  • cgosling

    Kirk – Yes, it is so true that God, any and all Gods, have the capacity to comfort those who believe.

  • Jesus showed us what God was like, and we killed him because of it. 2000 years later the church still struggles to understand that God “doesn’t do our homework for us.” And speaking of “hanging from trees,” Christians hung thousands of men and women from trees, simply because they were a different color than them. This is the difference between a legalistic understanding of scripture and reading it through the eyes of Jesus. There is, unfortunately, a strong human broken tendency to return to the “old ways.”

  • Sw, God has indeed given plenty of warnings about the futility and eventual result of living selfishly. Human suffering on the whole, is a man-made problem. The garden of Eden narrative, the instances given where God wipes out thousands of Israelites, women and children, where he commands the Israelites to murder women and children, are all examples of men trying to understand why things happen naturally: famine, disease, accidents and plagues, as well as excuses for taking another tribe’s property and insulating or murdering the inhabitants.
    But God has given US the responsibility of fixing things. And he is not helpless. He has chosen to fix the problems, A. Through the example Christ gives, and, B. Through our living a cruciform life, as did Christ. God is a partner, not only in our suffering, but in our action in the world.

  • otrotierra

    Kirk: Sorry to comment off topic, but I wanted to give you a heads up that online harassment continues over at the Sojourners comment section, as a user has yet again opened a fraudulent Disqus account to impersonate me. This is at least the third or fourth time I have been targeted by a fraudulent Disqus user.

    I write to clarify that I’m the one with 4,507 comments and 13,301 upvotes, and a comment history visible to all since opening a Disqus account in 2011. In contrast, my abuser’s 2018 account is set to private and has 6 comments alone. Just wanted you to know.

    Evangelicals sure are earning their reputation.

  • Sorry to hear that. I think Trump has emboldened a certain type of Christian “thuggary” among certain individuals.

  • “We cannot ignore reality unless we are cowards.”

    I am not quite sure of your point here. It seems you are implying, A. Theists ignore “reality,” and B. Theists therefore are “cowards.” Am I understanding your train of thought correctly?

  • cgosling

    Kirk – Theists reject many superstitious beliefs and yet cling to a belief in a deity of sorts. The next step for many of them is to become agnostic or atheist. That may be a tough decision that some theists don’t have the courage to make.

  • otrotierra

    Kirk my friend, again I must be off topic, but yet another troll mimics me. As if a doppelganger haunts me! I was at my favorite gloryhole yesterday servicing…well, no details, but let’s just say my mind wasn’t on what it should have been on! I was thinking of my doppelganger. Is he dark-complected, I wonder. Is he perhaps an undocumented immigrant seeking a new life?

    I am troubled, Kirk.