Why Does God Hate Me?
Genesis and the big bang
Young Earth - Old Earth, what does it matter?
Science and the Bible can be harmonized
The Bible and Science in Conflict
Understanding Genesis Chapter 1
Scriptural Evidence for Long Days
The Origin of the Universe
The Creation / Evolution Controversy Part 1
The Creation / Evolution Controversy Part 2
The Creation / Evolution Controversy Part 3
The Creation / Evolution Controversy Part 4
Entropy, the Fall, and Adam
The Tree Of Life
What I learned at an Answers in Genesis Conference
What's Wrong With This Picture?
Science finds a purpose for the appendix
Flat Earth - A lesson to all of us
Why are young people leaving the church?
Why Does God Hate Me?
Suffering in the absence of God
Links to the World and Beyond
Take a trip with me back in time. Its 1962, a simpler more peaceful time it is not! The Berlin wall was ordered built the previous year. The Soviets have just placed nuclear weapons in Cuba. America has nukes in Turkey pointed at the Russians. In the White House, Kennedy is recommending American families build fallout shelters in their backyards. The world has the fearful sense that the finger is on the button and we are merely seconds away from total annihilation.
Meanwhile, in rural southern Indiana a six-year old boy is being dragged into church on a Sunday morning. I'm sure the parents were thinking that given the mess the world is in a little fire insurance couldn't hurt. Or could it? The truth is it would take thirty years to undo the damage of this experience. This little church turned out to be a bigger threat than the Russians for the six-year old. That boy was me.
I only recall going to church for around a year. That was long enough to develop a really warped understanding of God that I carried with me for years. Apparently I wasn't alone. It was decades before my parents or any of my three brothers began regularly attending worship services again.
God became one of those subjects that we never really talked about. During the summer there was a monthly 10-minute devotion we heard around the campfire when we belonged to a camping club. My primary other recollection of God in my youth was Mom occasionally singing along with a Tennessee Ernie Ford gospel record while doing housework. What was the problem? For me it wasn't that I didn't believe in God, it was that I didn't think God believed in me. I thought He hated me.
Now there were other issues I remember observing during my short church stay such as the hypocrisy of double standards and the legalism of their religion (yes I was only six - it was that obvious) but the one thing that most disturbed me was how mad God was at all of us. The preacher would shout fire and brimstone warnings from the pulpit and point directly at us screaming that we were all going to Hell. My image of God was one of this big angry giant standing over us with his terrible swift sword raised over his head. He was standing there fire in his eyes just waiting for us to mess up so he could cut us down and scrape us off the edge of the earth into the fiery pit of Hell.
The preacher had an open Bible in his hand at all times so I concluded his sermons were an accurate reflection of what the Bible really said and what God really thought.
Even at the age of six I knew I couldn't live up to the standard he said God demanded. So what was the point of wasting my time in church pretending I could? I spent the next thirty years trying not to offend God any more than He already was, and at the same time trying to avoid any direct contact with Him. Why risk it?
I believe there are many people today who have the same view of God that I held. They secretly long to know God but try to stay out of His radar because they are afraid He will squash them like a bug. Maybe you are one of them. I have news for you. There is no place you can hide that God won't find you, but it is ok because you don't have to be afraid to come to Him.
A common form of the argument against God, for people with my former view, goes something like this - "This God thing just doesn't make sense. I mean, if he created me then why is he mad at me for not being perfect? After all he made me this way."
Notice the assumptions in the argument. God did not create us perfectly yet he demands perfection; therefore God is being unfair in judging us. This is followed by an attitude of avoiding God until He comes to His senses.
If this argument were correct would it mean God was being unfair? No. As I type this article what if I decide I don't like the last sentence, would it be unfair if I erased it? No, because I wrote it. What if I delete the whole article and start over? Again, it is mine I can do with it as I please. I control the article it doesn't control me. I am not being unfair. As the Author of life, God does have the right to do what ever he pleases with us. I think most people realize this is true. God is God and we are not. So if he chooses to scrape us into the pit of Hell, he has that right. That's why we avoid him.
This is nothing new it began when Adam hid in the forest after eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God did not ask, " Adam where art thou?" because he didn't know, he asked so Adam would realize his plight. Adam could have taken his failure to obey before God and asked for forgiveness and help. Instead he chose the path of self-sufficiency and hid. This is an act of pride, which was Satan's sin. Pride and rebellion are two sides of the same coin.
Was Adam created perfect? Despite popular opinion to the contrary, I do not believe he was perfect. I also think this was intentional. The very hands of God formed Adam and God Himself breathed the breath of life (spirit) into man. God was pleased with His creation and called it " very good", so many assume this means man was perfect. Yet Psalm 8:5 says man was created a little lower than the angels. Since a third of the angels rebelled against God by trying to exalt Satan above the throne of God, one should not be surprised by mankind's propensity to rebel against God's authority. God knew this would happen.
God provided a very real opportunity for Adam to have eternal life by the work of his own hand. If Adam would obey God he could partake of the tree of life. If he didn't obey he would be denied access to the tree. Adam failed to be faithful as God knew he would. Why? So God could have mercy on him and ultimately us. We know this is true because in Revelations 13:8 Jesus is referred to as "the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world ." Before Adam was created, the plan for Jesus to die for our sin had already been decided.
Man was created very good but not perfect. Just like Adam each of us will fail to be faithful proving we cannot save ourselves. As the blood of the Passover lamb applied to the doorframes in Egypt saved the Jews from the destructive death plague so the blood spilled on the cross will save us from our sin. The Passover lamb was a one-time event that protected the household through one night. The Lamb slain on the cross was a one-time event that will protect us for all eternity. In neither case was anything demanded of the ones the lambs would cover except belief in the promise given by God that the individual would be delivered. It is by faith we are saved.
I remember at six years old picturing Jesus on the cross and thinking, "yes this is something I understand, I believe this." Then I saw the religion that appeared to accompany Him which didn't make any sense to me, so I walked away. Today I understand that there is a wrath of God that is to be feared. It is reserved for those who will not admit they need help. It is for those who remain proud and self-sufficient. It is for those who are counting on their religion, money, brains, or whatever else to save them. God is not mad at us. He loved us enough to send His son to be nailed to a cross to save us.
As a child in the sixties I grew up in a culture that feared the Russians and nuclear destruction. Today the fear is terrorism from the sky and orange alert warnings. I guess things haven't changed so very much. What has changed is my image of God. Instead of an upraised sword and an angry scowl, I see the open arms of a loving father longing to embrace a wayward son. He knows I am not perfect but instead of condemning, he tells me he will cover me with his perfection. What's the catch? Simply that I believe he will do what he says and admit what I cannot do for myself.
A great many have responded to this article. for that reason I have written a follow up that deals with the subject of suffering in the seeming absence of God. It attempts to answer the question many have asked. Where is god when my world is falling apart?
Suffering in the absence of God
God, Genesis and the big bang
Copyright © 2004 by Kevin Sluder
Latest revision 2009
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