Ask Your Preacher
God is the Creator, and if He wanted to create people on Earth, He could have made people know who He was really easily without all the pain and suffering. Why didn't He just appear and let people see Him and talk to them or make it easy? Why does there have to be so many punishing rules? I just don't get it.
Can’t See It
Dear Can’t See It,
The answer to your question is that God did appear to mankind. God appeared to mankind through the signs and miracles given to the Israelites and the patriarchs, and lastly, He appeared to mankind through Jesus (Heb 1:1-3).
The fact is that when Jesus walked this Earth, most people didn’t believe in Him. He was perfect and without sin (Heb 4:15), He spoke like no man had ever spoken (Jhn 7:46), and He performed miracles like raising people from the dead and giving sight to the blind… and yet, the Jews still killed Him. The problem isn’t that God hasn’t made it easy enough; the problem is that most of us don’t like the implications of having a Creator who is in charge.
You see, those punishing rules aren’t punishments; they are instructions for living from our Designer. God created man in His image (Gen 1:26-27), and He gave us the Bible as an instruction manual for how to properly function. Not following the manufacturer’s instructions for a table saw can break the saw and cause injury to yourself and others. In like manner, when God made us, He gave us an instruction manual, so we wouldn’t harm ourselves, others, and cause Him sadness. The Bible is God’s power for salvation for us (Rom 1:16). The rules are for our salvation; the punishment comes as a natural consequence of living without those rules.
I know I need God in my life, and I want to believe, but I keep getting stuck on things like how God existed before everything, heaven, hell, and eternity. I can't wrap my mind around those concepts. I know the Bible is real; it proves itself, but how do I comprehend God when we've never seen miracles, visions, Jesus, etc.? All today's Christians have is the Bible; is this fair for us today when people back then had all these signs?
Hard To Believe
Dear Hard To Believe,
Miracles had one very specific purpose – to give evidence that the apostles, prophets, and Jesus were from God. Paul called miracles “the signs of an apostle” (2 Cor 12:12). Heb 2:4 states that God bore witness to the apostles and prophets through “signs and wonders”. Even the enemies of Christ agreed that miracles were a sign of divine approval (Acts 4:16).
Ironically, even though you and I often think that miracles would make more people believe, we know that isn’t true. During Jesus’ life, He performed more good deeds and miraculous acts than could be written down (Jhn 21:25)… and yet, they crucified Him because they didn’t believe. Moses parted the Red Sea in front of an entire generation of Israelites who walked through on dry ground… but all of that generation died in the wilderness because they didn’t believe (Heb 3:17-19). Generations of Jews saw miracles, heard prophecies, and still turned their back on God’s will.
Miracles don’t make people faithful. It takes an honest and humble heart to turn to God… and miracles or no miracles, that has never changed. As you said, you know the Bible is real, and it proves itself. What you do about it is a matter of examining your character, and a miracle wouldn’t change that.
No one can comprehend the totality of God or His invisible greatness, but the evidence is all around (Rom 1:20). Even the greatest mathematicians can’t wrap their brains around infinity, but we understand the basics of the concept, and that is enough to know that we need to begin preparing for it.
The Bible says in the old times men had two or three wives. How can that be true because of the Ten Commandments?
Dear Two Many,
The Ten Commandments, which are found in Ex. 20:1-17, never address the issue of polygamy and polygamy was part of life in the Old Testament. The New Testament teaches that Christians should honor God through monogamy (1 Cor 7:1-2, 1 Tim 3:2). There are scores of examples of monogamy being God’s preference for man:
- Adam & Eve were designed monogamously (Gen. 2:24).
- No polygamy existed until 7 generations after Adam (Gen 4:19).
- Noah, the last righteous man of his day, had only one wife (Gen 7:13).
- Qualification for an elder (Tit 1:6)
- Qualification for a deacon (1 Tim 3:12)
- Qualification for a worthy widow (1 Tim 5:9)
- Every New Testament command for a husband or wife assumes monogamy in the commandments (Mk 10:12, 1 Cor 7:3, Eph 5:33, etc.).
- The comparison of Christ and the church to a husband and wife relies on a monogamous design for marriage (Eph 5:22-23).
I have had a very tough life since childhood. I am thirty-three years old now and still find life difficult. Could you please tell me why God allows this to happen?
Dear Constantly Struggling,
Some people suffer greatly, and others face relatively few problems. All suffering is a consequence of sin in this world, but there are several reasons that someone might have a greater portion of trials.
- We reap what is sown (Gal 6:7-8). The choices we make have consequences in this life – and in the next. What people do affects them and those around them that they come in contact with. When we behave godly, certain things happen; when we behave sinfully, other things happen. That is a universal principle of life. If a woman drinks while she is pregnant or a child is neglected and malnourished because of ungodly parents – they will suffer the consequences of the choices their parents make. Some children face health issues that were totally avoidable if the parents had simply lived moral lives. Satan is sowing disaster wherever he can and we are all affected by our own choices and the choices of others around us.
- Sometimes bad things simply happen because they happen. Job suffered greatly, and his children died, but it wasn’t his (or their) fault. Job hadn’t done anything wrong, nor had his kids. It all happened because Satan wanted to do evil (Job 1:6). As long as we live in this world of sin, there will be troubles. Sometimes, there isn’t anyone at fault… just time and chance wreaking havoc in a sinful world (Eccl 9:11).
- Sometimes people suffer so that God can be glorified. Jesus’ disciples asked Him why a certain man had been born blind, and Jesus answered, “So that God’s works might be revealed in him.” (Jhn 9:1-3) This man’s ailment provided an opportunity for God to show His glory. There are times that we suffer, so God can teach us and teach others through our pain (Eccl 7:2-3).
This world isn’t fair – if it were, it would be heaven. Instead, we live in a fallen world where man has been exiled from paradise. This world is not our home; christians await a better world (Heb 11:16). When Adam and Eve sinned, they introduced sin and death into this life, but God designed this world perfectly and gives us hope for a better future in Jesus (1 Cor 15:22).
I have been struggling with this for some time now. I could make this a much more detailed question, but I will try to shorten it the best way I can. When it comes to dating and meeting someone we hope to spend the rest of our lives with, is it wiser to allow things to happen on their own or to engage in things such as online dating? I realize that God allows us to help ourselves, but I often feel doing things such as online dating is perhaps just a way that individuals try to speed up the process and that it might inhibit natural occurrences (i.e. the real deal) from happening. Any feedback would be great.
The Bible gives no specific statements about how to look for a future spouse. Online dating is neither condemned nor endorsed by God’s Word. Rather than advocate one particular way to find a spouse, God instead speaks to the attitudes we must have and the dangers that exist in the world of romance.
- Don’t force it. Song of Solomon is an entire book devoted to romance and marriage. The chorus of that book is the same over and over (Songs 2:7) – it is a warning to avoid forcing relationships merely for the ‘fun’ of romance.
- Avoid all appearances of evil (1 Thess 5:22). Make sure to never put yourself in a situation with someone of the opposite sex that would compromise your (or their) reputation or morals.
- Who they are matters more than how they look. The Bible praises godly spouses for their character (Pr 31:10). Beauty fades, but one’s values endure. Make sure you are spending your time getting to know the person for who they are and for what they find important.
- Treat them with respect. The Scriptures tell us to treat people of the opposite gender like brothers and sisters (1 Tim 5:2). How would you want your siblings to be treated? Make sure you are behaving in a godly way toward anyone you are dating or courting.
- Surround yourself with godly advice. When we are in the here and now of a romantic relationship, we often get caught up with our emotions and lose perspective. That makes it especially important to get the advice of those around you who are wiser and less biased. Parents, grandparents, and other trusted advisors should be sought out as you search for a mate. Surrounding yourself with many good counselors protects you from making a emotional decision that has lifelong consequences (Pr 11:14).
- Last, but not least, we are told to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). God wants us to bring our concerns to him, and our desire for a godly spouse is no different. Pray that God sends you someone to faithfully be your mate for life.
Marriage is one of the greatest blessings that God gives mankind. If we do it God’s way, finding a spouse can be a joy and lead to a lifetime of happiness.