February 2, 2008

Can God Be Trusted? Part 1

Years ago, a popular book carried the title When Bad Things Happen To Good People. The author suggested a number of explanations for the uneasiness and sense of injustice we feel when something cruel, dangerous, or damaging happens to those who seem like good or innocent people.

None of us are as good as we sometimes appear, but the question implied in the book's title requires a reasonable answer. If there is a loving, all-powerful God somewhere in the universe, can this God really be trusted to do the right thing?

We could choose one of three answers to this question: 1) yes, God can be trusted; 2) no, God cannot be trusted, or 3) maybe God can be trusted.

Let's take number 3 first. Maybe God can be trusted to do the right thing, but maybe not. You know when a "maybe" response arises about whether someone is trustworthy or really on your side, answering "maybe" is just a nice way of saying "no." If you are not sure someone is a friend, they're not a real friend. So, let's consider number 3 to be another way of selecting number 2 as our answer.

Let's move on to number 2. No, God cannot really be trusted. Consider this: for as long as records have been kept and for as long as anyone can imagine, the physical world has been upheld by God's power. Perhaps you are thinking the physical world just upholds itself. Consider this: what system or machine or entity upholds itself without maintenance, repair, or a power source?

Scientific progress is possible because the natural world operates according to laws that are reliable and don't change willy-nilly. Humans have made discoveries, but the basic laws of the physical world remain unchanged. Days on planet Earth have always been 24 hours, years have always been 365 days because Earth's movement through the solar system has always followed a dependable schedule. Imagine all of these timetables changing without rhyme or reason.

Imagine the impact on agriculture, wildlife, sea and space exploration, weather patterns, human societies, etc. if the physical world was unpredictably unstable and did not follow a pattern we could anticipate and rely upon.

So, we are left to consider answer number 1: God is trustworthy. Is there any evidence for this?
Yes, and this evidence will be presented in part 2 of "Can God be Trusted?"

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