Hard questions about God even the most devout Christians have — part 5

Sep 2, 2020 | Questions/Searching

Having faith in God is easy for some (it’s described as a spiritual gift in the Bible), but for many, it’s very difficult. People have a lot of hard questions about God, even the most devout of Christians.

Take a look at some hard questions about God in the fifth part of our series.

Has God ever lied to us?

The knee-jerk reaction of every Christian to this question is a simple, “No, of course not!” And then you think about it. And then you look at the Bible. Then you start to get uncomfortable because there are some verses about God and deceit that can be concerning to say the least:

“And that’s what has happened. God filled the mouths of your puppet prophets with seductive lies. God has pronounced your doom.”

  • 1 Kings 22:23 (MSG)

“If a prophet is deceived and tells these idolaters the lies they want to hear, I, God, get blamed for those lies.” 

  • Ezekiel 14:9 (MSG)

“And since they’re so obsessed with evil, God rubs their noses in it — gives them what they want. Since they refuse to trust truth, they’re banished to their chosen world of lies and illusions.”

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 (MSG)

At first glance, it may seem like God is responsible for some lies and deceit or is at least directly involved in them. However, with some careful examination of the history and context, we can see that the text is not so simple.

For example, with the passages above from Ezekial and 2 Thesselonians, God does not lie to the people or practice deceit. In the first, He acknowledges that prophets lie in His name and that He gets blamed for them, but not that He is actually responsible for making them. In the Thessalonians verse, we see God respecting mankind’s free will. When we want lies to make us feel better or justify beliefs and actions, God leaves that to us to pursue. 

The verse from 1 Kings above … that one is a little more difficult. Some people argue that God is not lying here but that He ordains the lie to happen. He does not permit the lie necessarily, but because the universe and therefore all life and sin itself would not exist if God did not allow it to, then it could be said that he at least ordains that a lie can exist.

This concept might be helpful for some, but that verse from 1 Kings is still troubling because it certainly sounds like God directly placed the lies in the prophet’s mouths. A strict interpretation of text would imply that He is indeed responsible for the lies. However, a more critical interpretation can lead to the conclusion that the writer is trying to communicate that God lets false prophets lie and that the consequences of believing those lies lie in those who allow themselves to be deceived.

Yeah, it’s not easy, but these passages warrant careful thought. We encourage you to look further into it yourself and not to just take our word for what you should or should not think.

How could two of every animal fit on Noah’s ark?

Well, since we already took on a doozy about whether God has lied, let’s take on another big one. How could two of every animal fit onto Noah’s ark?

In the account of the great flood in Genesis, Noah is commanded to build an ark that, after some translation, comes to be about 510 feet long, 51 feet tall and 86 feet wide. Then he is commanded to put one male and female of each animal onto the ark so that they may survive the oncoming flood and be able to reproduce afterward.

This is very difficult for many people to take literally because if the ark is this size, it is somehow supposed to be able to hold:

  • Eight people
  • Roughly 2 million animals (when you include every bird, reptile, mammal, amphibian and insect)
  • Enough food and water for all of them for an entire year

Comparatively, the Titanic was twice as big, only held a few thousand people, and carried enough food and water for a few weeks.

So, yeah, you can see how this one is difficult for people. There are different ways to account for how this works. Some simply differ to it being a miracle of God. We suppose that is fair. God does a lot of wonderful and mighty things in the Bible, so it could be no stretch to believe that God was able to somehow alter the space of the ship and keep everyone fed. 

There are others who believe that the flood was not literally global but was global in the sense of the known world to the writers at that time, which is much smaller geographically. It’s more reasonable that an ark could hold a significantly smaller portion of the animal kingdom from that part of the world. 

Then there are those who believe the story is purely metaphorical. There was no literal global flood or no literal ark. The importance of the story is the lesson to understand the extent of God’s wrath we deserve but the mercy we ultimately receive.

What should you believe? That’s up to you, but we hope these approaches help you as you wrestle with this tough question.

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At Unfiltered Radio, we’re all about exploring what it means to authentically follow Jesus and wrestle with the hard questions in life. Check out our podcast to listen to daily episodes about personal growth, spiritual growth and talking about hard questions about God.

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