How Can God Be Good?

“(God) desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” – 1 Timothy 2:4

A couple weeks ago I was asked this question; how could a good God order the genocide of the Canaanites, especially women and children? This question is becoming a favorite of the new atheists these days. I call them new because the atheists today militantly attack the church, unlike the old atheists of the past. Richard Dawkins in his book “The God Delusion” is one who raises this question.

There are a few things that strike me as odd with our own reasoning today. First, we live in a culture where nobody wants to judge others, but everyone is quick to judge God. We especially don’t want God to judge us. Does anyone think it extremely pretentious for human beings to judge God on a moral issue, especially when self-professing “humane” beings have now slaughtered over 50,000,000 babies in our own nation alone? Who are we in our limited knowledge, brief experience and feeble reasoning to judge the omnipotence of God? This is the problem that Job faced when he arrogantly argued his case of unfairness before God. He soon discovered that God is God and we are not. His only response when faced with the wisdom of God was, “I have uttered what I did not understand…and repent in dust and ashes.” We need to humble ourselves as human beings. God is God.

Secondly, God does have the right to judge humanity, especially when human beings are committing evil acts. The Canaanites were definitely not victims. They were a disobedient nation who committed every sin in the Good Book. The Canaanites stand as a warning for us all to take our sins seriously for there is a time when God will bring sin to account.

Thirdly, the real question is; how can a good God allow such an evil group of people to go unpunished for so long? Ah, now here is where we see the true nature of God. God is a God of grace and mercy. God is longsuffering with us and forgives the repentant heart. He desires all to be saved. “As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live (Ez. 33.11).” If the Canaanites would have repented, and yes they had many generations to do so, God would have forgiven them and spared them.

The same question correlates with us today; how could God be so patient with us? God revealed His heart in the sending of His Son, Jesus Christ. Instead of dealing with us like He dealt with the Canaanites, He poured out His wrath on Jesus at the Cross. It is on Him that our sin has come to account. He spared us by His grace and forgave us. Let us then walk in obedience and in step with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, all the rest of our days.

God Bless,

Pastor Joel