What If? (part 1 of 2)

Lake Conroe by Gillham

Lake Conroe by Gillham

What if God is not good?

I realize you have been taught otherwise, but information untested retains an element of speculation, and information untested rattles around in your soul like a bumper-game ball when all “you-know-what” breaks loose.

There is a fundamental difference between information taught and knowledge gained.

I too was taught that God is good—and I believed what I was taught by the vaunted elders in my world. But then life bore down upon me, my world, my theology, and my God. As the labor of life stiffened, I suffered what is called a crisis of belief, about a number of things, but specifically about whether or not God is all He’s cracked up to be.

As my questions grew in number and gravity with the passing of the years and the duty of living, I identified with what Jack Lewis said once: “Not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not ‘So there’s no God after all,’ but ‘So this is what God’s really like. Deceive yourself no longer.’” 

It is very difficult to circumstantially evaluate God and His reputed goodness. You can, but it is a tricky, inefficient, and unreliable business. Life is terribly complex. There are too many variables in our lives and too much time on our calendars weighed against God’s omniscience and eternity’s timelessness to regularly evaluate circumstance and derive a positive/negative formula for goodness.

Personally, I reconciled my doubts about God’s goodness—or lack thereof—by accepting that He is good to others. The rub was that I didn’t see myself as part of the others. I’m me and they are they. The question remained: Is God good—to me?

And, what if God is not good?

If God is not good, then He is like all the other gods in the world of religions. Singularity is an aspect of goodness.

If He is not good, then Israel should have been an historical casualty several thousand years ago. Patience is an aspect of goodness.

If God is not good, then there wouldn’t be the diversity we see in creation. Diligence is an aspect of goodness.

If God is not good, then the steadiness of sunrise, sunset would fluctuate. Dependability is an aspect of goodness.

If God is not good, then I would not have freedom of choice. I would be trapped in a world of “must” and “have to.” Understanding is an aspect of goodness.

If God is not good, then given the mess I’ve made of things on the planet—including my personal life—He would walk away and leave me to fend for myself. Engagement is an aspect of goodness.

If God is not good, He would neither tolerate nor consider the questions I ask. Approachability is an aspect of goodness.

If God was not good, He would remain in heaven. But He did not remain where He was. He came in singularity, with patience, diligence, dependability, understanding, engagement, approachability, and a divine plan for acceptance and security if I desire it to be so.

If God was not good, He would not be casting about, looking here and there across the face of the Earth for anyone who lifts a hand or calls His name. Hopefulness is an aspect of goodness.

And if God was not good, He would insist that anyone calling His name get it just right. But He seems perfectly content to answer any call that hints of His name. Humility is an aspect of goodness.

We could go on, but you get the idea I trust: Goodness is not circumstantial, nor is it attributed as though only relevant to some. Goodness is displayed as part of character. 

But the circumstances I face are pressing in. Doesn't He care? This and more in part two.