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I am having such difficulty understanding many things. I am of Baptist faith and was raised in church; however, I have not been attending for a long time. I seem to be the only one with questions. I don't want to be like this, but every time I ask my questions, it seems I always get an answer of, “You just have to have faith and not question things. They are too big to understand.” That doesn't seem to help me at all. ‘Why did God make the devil?’ is one of my questions. I know that he was a fallen angel, but why did God make him knowing that he would be evil, and being He knows everything, it seems He would know the outcome of him turning against Him. If God wanted a perfect world without sin, He could have had it. He is God; He could have done whatever He wanted. He already knew that Adam and Eve would eat the apple, so how did they have a chance not to? He made them and already knew the outcome. I don't see how that is free will or choice when He already knew they were going to mess up.
So Many Contradictions
Dear So Many Contradictions,
The Bible does give answers, and many people have turned away from God because the denominational world has failed to give them those answers. There are some things that we don’t have answers for, but the questions you are asking are fundamental questions that the Bible clearly gives answers to.
All of your questions come down to the same issue – if God knew that people (and the devil) were going to do bad things, how come we are still to blame? God knows our days upon this earth, but He also gives us the freewill to shape various aspects of the world that we live in. Just because God has knowledge of how you and I will behave does not mean that He causes our behavior to happen in a certain way. Foreknowledge is not the same as causation. A doctor may know that a patient is going to die of cancer, but that doesn’t mean the doctor gave them cancer. God gives mankind the freedom to make decisions, but He also has the wisdom to know how those choices will affect the future (Job 12:13). God, having the wisdom to see that freewill also meant that people would have the freedom to choose bad things, doesn’t mean that He is to blame for our choices. Furthermore, God didn’t just sit idly with His foreknowledge. God planned before the foundation of the world to save us by sending His own Son to die (Eph. 1:3-4). Even though He isn’t responsible for our choices, God sent the perfect cure.
What does Galatians 6:8 mean?
Looking For Logic
Dear Looking For Logic,
Gal. 6:8 explains that what we put into life is what we get out of life. If we sow spiritual things, we reap spiritual things. If we sow worldly things, we will reap worldly things. ‘Sow’ is a farming term that means ‘to plant’, and ‘reap’ means ‘to harvest’. When a farmer plants corn seeds, he can expect to harvest corn. If he plants potatoes, he can expect to harvest potatoes.
Our lives are the same way. If we spend our lives on things that don’t matter and things that are sinful, we will reap meaningless and sin-cursed futures. Instead, God wants us to invest in our souls and the eternity that awaits those who plant the Bible deep in their hearts and lives.
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).
Is a congregation responsible for caring for the health of its needy saints?
One of the things the church is told to do is to take care of Christians in need. Acts 11:28-30 shows the saints in Antioch taking care of the hungry brethren in Judea because of a famine. Paul told Timothy there was a time to help out poor widowed Christians (1 Tim 5:9-10). We also see the church in Jerusalem doing this (Acts 4:34-35). When brethren have needs, including health needs that are beyond their ability to care for, the church has the right and responsibility to step in and help.