It’s Your Choice, I Won’t Force You!
God never resorts to brute force to get us to do anything. He is love. Love doesn’t force another’s will or it isn’t really love. If you want the best description in the Bible on what God’s love looks like, read 1 Corinthians 13. “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a. God isn’t like us. He doesn’t think like us or act like we would. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9.
If God intervened every time someone hurt another person, would you and I have freedom of choice? Would be free? No, we wouldn’t. We have already seen in previous articles that we human beings have a sinful human nature that makes us naturally evil. We are born in rebellion to God and his government. If we trust the bible, we know that God is all powerful and all knowing. There is nothing that is impossible for God and there is nothing that he can learn since he already knows everything there is to know about anything. Now let me ask you this, if you were God and you were faced with beings you created who are in direct rebellion to everything you stand for, what would you do? Would you put up with this? Would you intervene? If so, how?
It would be tempting to react by using force to get your creatures in line with you. After all, God is all knowing and therefore infinitely smarter than the combined intelligence of the entire human race. The problem with using force to deal with rebellion is that while it solves the problem of the rebellion by subjugating the human race it isn’t love. Love and force cannot co-exist. Love must be given freely. A human being must be free to either love God or to remain in rebellion to him. If humans cannot choose to rebel against God, his government and his laws, he cannot love God either. For love to exist, there must be freedom of choice.
Suffering Exists Because of Love
For love to exist there must be freedom of choice. For freedom of choice to exist there must be the option to rebel against God and to sin and commit evil. For freedom of choice to exist God must choose not to intervene in human beings’ freedom of choice unless given permission to do so or until a given human, family, region or country have finally, and irrevocably rejected God’s offer of grace and pardon through the person of Jesus Christ. At that point, God usually allows humans to face the consequence of their actions which results in really bad things happening to them.
So let’s consider once again the question, “If God is so loving, why doesn’t he stop evil and protect the innocent from getting hurt?” Once we understand freedom of choice clearly, we understand that one reason he doesn’t always act to protect the innocent is because to do so would be to violate the freedom of choice of those involved. If God intervened every time an act of evil was about to be committed, there would be no sin in the world but there would also be no love. We would all be slaves of God incapable of rebelling against him since we couldn’t possibly match his smarts or his power.
While God has the ability to pursue this course of action, thank God he doesn’t! God isn’t interested in having thoughtless slaves or robots who do his will simply because they have no choice but to do it. God is interested in a relationship with you and me. He wants our love. He wants us to choose to submit ourselves to Him out of our own free will. He wants us to respect and fear him enough that we will submit to his government and his laws.
Ultimately, suffering will cease only when all human beings who have chosen to continue in their rebellion rather than submit themselves to God are destroyed in the lake of fire at the end of time (see Revelation 20:11-15). In the meantime, we all have a choice. If we choose to follow God we will receive his protection and his blessings. If we choose to remain in our natural rebellious state against him, we cannot expect God’s blessing nor his protection. Ultimately, if we remain in rebellion against him we will have chosen to disconnect ourselves from the source of all life and will have chosen death.
We each have a choice. Will you choose love or death?