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If God is All Powerful, Why Does He Allow Suffering?

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez
The Truth Network Radio
December 28, 2020 1:00 am

If God is All Powerful, Why Does He Allow Suffering?

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez

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December 28, 2020 1:00 am

Episode 607 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

CoreChristianity.com

 

Show Notes

 

1. When I remember bible verses, can I trust that that is God’s voice talking to me? Is that what the bible refers to as the “still small voice”?

2. Who made God?

3. After reading a parable that Jesus told in Luke 19:11-27, I found myself a little confused about what it means. What is Jesus wanting us to understand here?

4. I don’t know if you saw that movie Batman v. Superman that came out a few years ago, but in that movie, the villain, Lex Luthor, makes a comment about God. He says that God allows evil because he either doesn’t care, or is not powerful enough to stop it. I know this is a movie but this seems like a good point, especially when you think of senseless suffering, like with children dying. How would you answer Lex Luthor’s question?

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If God is all-powerful, why does he allow so much suffering in our world that is one of the questions will be answering on today's edition of core Christianity hi this is Bill Meyer along with Pastor Israel Sanchez and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. You can call this right now with your question. At 833 the core that's 1-833-843-2673 also post your question on our Facebook or Instagram accounts and you can email us at questions at core, Christianity.com. We love to hear from you. First up today if you love bacon. You will definitely like this. The Hornell meat company is offering fans of bacon, the chance to enjoy the center of their favorite breakfast meat anytime they want with a bacon scented facemask yes Hormel says the black label bacon mask uses the latest in bacon smell technology to give you the experience of smelling bacon. Anytime you don your COBIT 19 mask, bacon, fans can also enter a contest to win a bacon scented basket. Hormel says that for every person who enters they will donate one meal to the feeding America food banks are you a big bacon fan April, yet I am but I know from that much of a bacon fat and I feel like there's an easier way could just cook some bacon and put it inside your mask when you wear it so that's another way to smell the real deal exactly and will do her first question of the day.

This is a call that we received from Elias I heard you were talking to God. The Bible the word of God. Are you heard Bill small voice cards.

My sheep shall hear my voice when I remember Bible verses from the Bible, God's voice will be very being fooled by my own sin. We directly trust was conical committee like that show small voice and what an excellent question. Eliasson thank you for calling with that question of the language of the still small voice comes from the book of Kings first Kings chapter 19, where God is speaking to the prophet Elijah and the text says that the God spoke to him in a low whisper in a still small voice to Christians of taken that and said you know gotten this this idea from from this passage that that's how the Lord is speaking to people today. I really like that you talked about how God speaks in the Scriptures and how yet when we read God's word. God is speaking to us. I don't know that I would. I would say will that's the still small voice brought in another passage that Jesus gives to his disciples in the Gospel of John. We talked about his sheep hearing his voice. I think that the we were supposed to understand this is that the spirit of God uses the word of God in our lives that God uses his word to speak to us to apply the word to us by the power of the Holy Spirit is that the Holy Spirit grants us understanding that we recognize that this is just the word of man, but this is the word of God. This is Christ speaking to us in the Scriptures so it's really important that we recognize that we recognize that the spirit of God is the one who works in this and that it's the Scriptures where we hear God's voice some time ago. My daughter we were taking a walk assist probably couple years ago. Some guess she was 43 maybe and she asked the question just stopped me, who was in the middle of a walk stop me right there in my tracks. He said Poppa Holcomb, God don't talk I was. How was I know it was it was interesting as you note for her. At least you'd heard us talk to God. Quite a bit. We pray before meals. We pray before bed and pray at various times in the day we would talk to God all the time. She wanted to know God hasn't given us an answer yet. Where is that still small voice said that that booming voice from heaven Poppa Holcomb God don't talk, and I think a lot of people is that it's a child's question, but it's also the question of many others. Grown-ups got wired you speaking to me or where is it that I can hear your voice. Isn't that still small voice is that sense that we get that feeling that we get, you know what would something just popped into her mind.

Well maybe sometimes you know God can use his word providentially and that way but I think we need to make sure Elias that were studying the Scriptures that were understanding them in their context and that were letting the spirit praying that the spirit frankly opens our eyes. Our hearts to understand God's word as it was intended to be understood so that in that way it might strengthen us in our own relationship with the Lord so it could be Elias.

That is, as your recalling Bible verses that that is the grace of God the Holy Spirit at work in your life guiding you using the Scriptures to help guide you that I thought I don't want you to discount that I would say make sure as you think about hearing God's voice, if you will. It's always attached to God's word is not something out there coming from left field. It's always God's word and it's God's word rightly understood you studied in context. So thank you again for that question. May the Lord bless you as you continue to hear him speaking to you in the Scriptures, no Elias, we actually have a great resource here core Christianity that could be very helpful to you. It's called how does God talk to us, yet you lies. I want you to get a hold of this resource over the core, Christianity.com and look up how does God talk to us. It is just a study but it's gonna unpack how it is that we as Christians today living in the 21st century hear the voice of God so important for us to understand so lasted or our website core, Christianity.com/offers and get a hold of. How does God talk to us while alive thanks so much for your question. This is core Christianity and if you want to get in touch with us through email. Our email addresses questions at core, Christianity.com Rodney wrote to us and said this, who made God.

I thought about this question myself, and I believe I could answer to put on the spot. But I'm curious to know what your answer would be.

And thank you for that question.

My answer to that question is God is uncreated, so no one made God and God is different than we are were created were dependent upon something else God, namely, you were born into the world and so a lot of people know that they just of assume well that's how everything is put theirs.

Is this really important distinction that we need to understand one of the most important distinction is actually in theology. The distinction between the creature and the creator were creatures were finite were created were dependent upon God.

God is uncreated.

He always was and is he EE never had a beginning. Now that that's really hard for us to wrap our minds around. I understand because were finite creatures, but we need to recognize that God isn't like us this.

This is one of the biggest problems I think in the church today.

For many Christians, we assume that God is just like us and that was sort of you know impute our own ideas of what God should be like on him on the basis of our own experience. We have to be careful that we don't do that, trying to understand God as he is in his essence is impossible like and and and trying to comprehend core Christianity you know on this radio program that kind of things as it is unfathomable. God is the uncreated one and by him all things were made that Genesis chapter 1, when it talks about the creation it depicts God is this great king who who made all things from nothing.

He didn't need anything. John chapter 1 talks about Jesus there at the very beginning in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the word was God's right there you have been the doctrine of the holy Trinity. You know the father the son and the Holy Spirit, distinct persons, the Word was with God. He also was God. Then John says this he was in the beginning with God all things were made through him and without him was not anything made that was made as John is emphatic about this. Everything was made through Jesus and without Jesus, there wasn't anything made that was made as a when it comes to you know these categories creator and creature Jesus is in the category of creator. He too is uncreated. The eternal son of God is so Rodney got us and like us, God was not made, he didn't need to be made, always was, and through him all things were made your listening to core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez and here's a question that came in from Wendell through our email he says what theological books would you recommend who I like that question, boy. There are so many men. Obviously, I would recommend core Christianity which is kind of an introduction to the core Christian doctrines that that every Christian believes or should believe and I want to mention that one man we mentioned on the program from time to time but look so many Christians today don't understand the teaching of the Bible.

One of the things that the book core Christianity, written by my my friend Dr. Michael Horton does it through walks you through these core Christian doctrines that you need understand them and they're not just out there so pie-in-the-sky doctrines of the they relate directly to us to our redemption to our lives to understanding how God speaks to us today it really helpful resource. I'd recommend that book other books that are that are just wonderful books that have been impactful for meters and is an older book the confessions of St. Augustine wonderful book I read in college and it really is. I would talk about it in terms of a theology book, but it really is St. Augustine. This fifth century church father sharing the story of his conversion in one of the things I loved about that book in particular was it was for me at least a reminder of the fact that pay people have been loving and serving Jesus for really long time. The church didn't begin in ghetto 1963 or something like that Christians have been following the Lord serving the Lord studying the Scriptures walking with Jesus for four years and so reading Augustine's confessions is really helpful for me there is something good theology there, but there is this also uses this wonderful sense of why the church is way bigger than I ever imagined I would recommend that book I recommend JI Packer's knowing God, not knowing God is a wonderful book. I think it's a little deeper into some of these doctors we think are a really really important if you're looking for stuff related to apologetics. We oftentimes recommend the story of reality by Greg Koegel yesterday gets into worldview ghetto defenses of various Christian doctrines. In particular, doctrines like the resurrection that's a really helpful book for defending the faith and so is a handful of books you Augustine's confessions that's in a be more church history, but also theology core Christianity and of the introduction of the core doctrines that a lot of us have sort of missed story of reality, more apologetics based defending the faith of those are all books that that I would recommend if you're looking to get started studying theology, Christian theology, no federal Windows question reminds me that there are some pastor some Christian leaders who will say all we need is the Bible and that theology and doctrine are simply the ideas of man's so that their humanistic and their adding onto Scripture and therefore they can lead us astray. How would you respond to that. Yeah you and I'm glad you brought that up.

I remember when I was thinking about pursuing a call to the ministry is going to church and I suggested to the pastor or the pastors that that church that I I go to seminary, and he looked at me with this concerned look and he said seminary is Cemetery. The idea was to unite the that's where you go for your faith to die, the sort of pie-in-the-sky theological mumbo-jumbo is not really can help you grow in your relationship with Jesus. I remember being a little bit discouraged because at least for me at that time as a young man by the sense that I had was boy I want to continue to dig in the Scriptures. I wanted I want to know them as well as I can, so that I can teach them.

For me it wasn't necessarily like study, the deep things of the all.

Just wanted to know God will guess what you can't know God, unless you understand theology now. What I mean by that is, you know it's not about locking herself in a room and and becoming a theological egghead or something like that is just this. As you study the Scriptures you're doing the work of theology. Theology just means the study of God, and there have been many very godly men and women throughout the history of the church will study the Scriptures to and have formulated their thoughts and their ideas and put them together in helpful ways and and in studying these things actually that is not supposed to make you more prideful, more arrogant, it's not supposed to kill your faith what it should do as it should. Kindle a fire inside of you will fire of love for God of love for your neighbor of humility because you recognize the more that you learn that God is greater than you could ever imagine. I encourage people all the time as they look.

Note you want to grow in your understanding of the Lord your relationship with Jesus.

Don't discount the study of theology.

You can't. You have to know God's word. Yet the study it and you have to dig deep, and the deeper you dig the more you realize how this God is amazing. Now there is a danger. Bill and I think that's one of the reasons why a lot of people say all unit study theology.

As you know, why can we just love Jesus. That kind of thing and and that's this knowledge does pop up when Paul says this that there is a danger that you know as people study they can become prideful, arrogant, unloving me think of the Pharisees are people who studied the Scriptures and yet they totally missed it.

Still they didn't understand the Scriptures as they should. We have to be careful that as we study the word of God were also growing in our love for God. That's what the Scriptures are meant to do that theology is meant to do. It's meant to help us fall more in love with Jesus to rightly represent him as we speak to others about who he is and so I got a gun on for a little while about this, but just because I want to encourage you as you're listening to this, you know, we sometimes do get into these deeper discussions and issues and and theological questions and the goal is not to make us prideful. The goal is we want you to know God want you to understand what he said in his word want you to grow in your relationship with Jesus. So don't discount the study of theology, embrace it and pray that as you grow in your understanding will grow in your love for God and humility in the grace the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ great perspective from that think you're a girl.

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I didn't see the movie actually but it it's what's oftentimes referred to is that the problem of theodicy problem was suffering in the world work where we claim that God is great that God is all-powerful and yet they're still suffering in the world and so you know that the question is, and this is what people oftentimes say either God is not all-powerful because there suffering and he's not able to stop it or he's just not good because if he was good when he stop all of this suffering and so you can have it both ways. Christians and what we claim is that God is great and good weaving of a resource over core, Christianity.com called is God great and good addressing this very question which you might want to get a hold of that. That's the claim and the response of people have is sound like it's with the Lex Luther's question. Well if that's the case, how can God be good if there suffering or how can you be all-powerful, but a couple of things one we have to be really careful and and I'm sensitive to this is the pastor that when people experience that the terrible kinds of sufferings that are experienced in the world today that we don't just try to give them the sort of quick fast. I'll theological answers in a sometimes we don't really have a good answer and that's okay. And what I mean by that is we don't have a good answer.

Get in the sense that you people will experience something very devastating will say why did God allow this to happen and it's not always our place, certainly not my place as a pastor. The state will. Here's what God was doing. Here's what God was trying to teach you know sometimes you know what our job is in the midst of suffering is Christians are when we try to comfort someone else who's experienced great pain. It's not to come alongside and try to give them the answers is to cry with them is to weep with those who weep. And actually, that there is a whole category in Scripture for this that there the Psalms of lament throughout the book of Psalms. You have all these different kinds of Psalms, but the lament Psalms actually happened to be the most prominent in the book of Psalms that there are more Psalms of lament than any other kind of Psalm in the Psalms of lament are characterized by crying out to God in times of suffering. Sometimes the psalmist is is saying, Lord, I don't even feel your presence. I don't know why I'm experiencing the things that I'm experiencing the death, the pain, the hunger, the struggle where are you God. And the interesting thing is a lot of times you don't have these sort of quick answers that we oftentimes want is the psalmist crying out to God and and usually there's a glimmer of hope at the end with the psalmist says I'm still going to trust you, Lord. I don't see what you're doing right now but I'm still in a trust you.

Sometimes there is no glimmer of hope. Think of Psalm 88, for example, if you read Psalm 88.

The entire thing is lament and it ends with darkness or the wisdom literature of the Bible and I think one of the things that God is teaching us. There is that sometimes the answer is lament sometimes and we experience great suffering what we do is we just cry out to the Lord and even this is an act of faith was a God I don't understand why you're doing this or why you've allowed this.

I can't see this side of heaven. Your perspective so I don't know what you're doing but I'm going to continue to trust you so II bring that up Michelle because with a question like this, you know, related to suffering. What I don't want to do is say will here's the answer is what God is doing in every instance because we we can't say that. Here's what we do know according to the Scriptures. We know that God is good to promise. We know that God is good and we know that he is able to make all things work together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.

What Paul says in Romans chapter 8. What's amazing about that passages in the context of Romans chapter 8 pulses God is able to make all things work together for the good.

Those who love him all things there. In that context are really terrible things suffering persecution or famine or nakedness, sword. Also, somehow, mysteriously, God is able to make all things work together.

I don't know how that is this side of heaven. I look to him and I trust in him and I can trust that God got you said this so I'm in a take you at your word, and here's another reason why we can trust him and this is one of the things that makes Christianity distinct among all the religions of the world. This is one of the things that we have a claim to that no other religious system has a claim to is the God of the Bible doesn't just say I'm good and great and sovereign and you guys are out there suffering and I'm sort of watching from afar and yet trust in me, know the God of the Bible you know he did. He sent his son into our world to assume humanity and experiences suffering that was on parallel Jesus knows suffering God, we might say in Christ and the assumption of humanity as Jesus assumed humanity. He suffered in the flesh for us so that he could one redeem us from our sins, conquering sin and Satan, so that we might have eternal life but to the op in the Hebrew says this so that he could empathize with the sympathize with us in our weakness so that we could go to him in the midst of our suffering and say got I don't understand this. I don't know why am experiencing this pain, but you can go to Jesus and Jesus knows what you're going through and he can sympathize with you in your weakness, whatever that weakness is Jesus knows the pain of betrayal, a famine of nakedness of sword.

I don't know why certain things happen how God is going to work all these things together but I do know that at the cross, Jesus was able to take the most intense and horrible situation and turn it into the redemption of his people.

God is wiser than we are. God is stronger than we are.

God is more glorious than we are. And so we go to him with our pain and with our suffering and with these questions at times. I'm not sure how this can be.

I'm not sure how your good in this particular situation, but I know both eyes with me in comfortable Jesus at the cross, you and I because nice with you and thanks for listening to court Christianity to request your copy of today's special offer. Visit us at court, Christianity.com and click on offers in the menu for or call us at 1-833-843-2673 that's a 33, the court when you contact us. Please let us know how you been encouraged by this podcast and be sure to join us next time. As we explore the truth of God's word together


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