Questions about God’s knowledge

I have been asked a few questions that I have had a hard time answering and am hoping to get some insight from members who have encountered such questions or some similar questions that can lead us to doubt.

  1. Why would God have to sacrifice His Son if he
    was the all powerful creator of everything that is?
  2. Why didn’t God just put to death Adam and Eve
    and start over rather than allowing sin to multiply
    throughout the world, leading to the death and
    destruction of so many?
  3. The world is much worse now than it was in the
    times before due to technology and increased
    population. Why was the sacrifice of a savior
    more necessary then than now? Why not before
    the flood and Noah?
  4. How can we feel or appreciate the pain if Jesus
    if He is a God and could possibly be resistant to
    pain? God would be immune to physical pain
    that mere mortals experience.
  5. Are we mere puppets of a “puppet master” who
    knows our thoughts and actions before we even
    perform them? If He is all-knowing then our lives
    make no sense and we are not in control of our
    thoughts and actions. We either have free will,
    which makes no sense in the sight of an all
    knowing God who already knows our ending well
    before we do, or we are puppets in the play. The
    fact that Jesus knew that Judas was going to
    betray him illustrates this question well because
    He knew what Judas would do before he even
    conceived doing it. Was Judas really guilty of
    betrayal or was he a pawn in the plan of the
    sacrifice of Jesus?
  6. The universe and the galaxies within it is vast.
    Why would a God who created this enormous,
    complex system spend so much time on a less
    than perfect organism such as humans or even
    deep-sea slugs for that matter? Why even have
    simple organisms such as the bottom dwellers of
    the ocean which more than pale in comparison to
    a human as we pale in comparison to a great
    God?
  7. Did God make Satan? If He made everything
    then He had to make satan which makes no
    sense at all if God is pure and hates evil. How
    could an all-knowing God with unlimited powers
    allow such an evil entity as satan to even exist
    within His garden of eden?

Questions such as these make believers doubt Christianity, as the contradictions that are present within the questions seem to make more sense than the answers that are hard to come by. Please share your knowledge to help better equip us who are trying to believe The Word as true when we are asked these questions. I know that God exists because he has allowed me to do things I couldn’t do on my own but I have doubts that arise from these questions that make me feel inadequate to witness to others who think Christianity is a fairy tale. Thanks for all responses.

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Hello Brad, may I first say Happy Easter to you and yours. May the blessing of the resurection, a sign of His great love for us be yours as you move forward in your relationship here at RZIM connect. I welcome you and encourage you to seek, knock, ask, because all questions deserve a genuine answer. Perhaps as a basis for each question could you share your opinion on each one for clarity of thought and to better know who you are the questioner. Take care and be safe my brother.
Mike

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Thanks Mike! Happy Easter :latin_cross: He is a coworker who is has vast knowledge of many subjects and especially opinionated on his point of views which mainly revolve around science, politics, and different religions. He has a genuine dislike of Christianity which stems from his Mom passing away from cancer years ago in spite of his earnest praying for her, stating now that it was fruitless to pray to an entity that is no more than a Santa Claus or Easter Bunny.

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Ah - so really, these questions - excellent as they may be - aren’t his actual problem! If you answered every one of them with the wisdom of Solomon, if you stopped his mouth with unassailable explanations, none of it would ever begin to touch the source of all his pain.

Don’t get me wrong - these are all worthy questions, and we can explore the answers (but perhaps just one at a time) - but his unanswered prayers on behalf of his dying mother sound like the real issue after all. At some point, that issue, which has been left out of the questions listed here, is going to have to be addressed, I think. But, of course, you’re the one on the ground with him, so you’re probably in the best position to make that call.

And thank you @mgaplus4 for that very helpful and clarifying question!

Well, let’s think about your first question - Why would God have to sacrifice His Son if He was the all powerful Creator of everything that is?

The connection between God being an all powerful Creator and Jesus sacrificing Himself for our sins is not entirely clear. Is he implying that someone as powerful as God ought to be able to rescue mankind from sin without having to sacrifice His Son to do it? That there should have been some easier way for an all-powerful God?

If that is his point, then I’d say it underestimates the catastrophic nature of sin. Sin isn’t just very bad - it’s infinitely bad!

You see, God’s holiness is infinite. Therefore, any sin against His infinite holiness is an infinite crime, which demands infinite justice which can only be satisfied through an infinite payment. No finite mortal (and certainly no sinful finite mortal) could ever pay the penalty for a single sin committed by even one person. Only an infinitely holy sacrifice could accomplish that. Only the infinite Son of God could do it on our behalf. So actually, God’s infinite power is the very thing that qualifies Him to satisfy the infinite demands of divine justice. For something as catastrophic as sin, there really is no easier solution.

But here’s the thing - the same infinite payment needed to satisfy a sin committed by one person also satisfies the penalty for all the sins committed by all people. Infinite for one is infinite for all.

Now the ball is in our court - will we accept the fantastic payment Jesus made to rescue us? If we want to be reunited someday with our loved ones in heaven, then God has lovingly provided a Way!

Please let me know if I’ve interpreted the question correctly or if I need to try again. Also if this makes sense to you or if you have any questions about it. If it looks okay, then perhaps we can explore the next question.

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@Smisdarb

Hi Brad,

Good questions! Very thoughtful; these are toughies.

Let me take a crack at the following, and see if it helps at all.

Hope this helps some. Thanks again for your deep questions.

in Christ,
Anthony

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Hello again Brad my friend if I may call you that. Sorry I took so long to respond, I make no excuses.
Let me say thanks for the clarification to the plethora of heart searching questions, that to me reveals your heart and love for this man who is very bitter towards God as he has felt abandoned and left hanging by who he believes is full of love, healing, and compassion. I say that because all His questions validate his opinion of someone who dropped the ball in his mind. Trying to justify his genuine anger and hatred for two things, anger at God and himself.

I have faced this myself on occasion, I prayed, and prayed ,and asked God to intervene and He didn’t, and then questioned myself what did I do wrong.

In my pride i would say it wasn’t me I asked, I seeked, I knocked, it wasn’t me.
God didnt answer, you are the one that has the power and why, why didnt you consumed me.

During one period many heard me ask why. without finding a viable answer in my opinion.
Wrestled with this for a long while, close to a year.
To give some clarity I was healed of leukemia and friends i made during that time with the same sickness did not and they died, :sleepy: it was truly upsetting and discouraging.

I have shared this before but not the backstory.

I worked on a large property that was full of trees 13 years ago, that also has a prayer garden. Sitting there one day the Spirit whispered and said see that leaf, I picked it up and He spoke to me “that leaf is the knowledge you have of the bigger picture” and it hit me I cant and wont ever know all the answers to it all, I cant I am finite. No man can know the mind of God in every situation.

Answers to those questions boil down to why.
Why didnt you hear me what did I do wrong?
Why didnt you do what I asked you to do?
Divide again and hatred, anger, and resentment. Broken only by Unconditional love and real forgiveness.
What can you say or do to help him?
You are already praying for him.
He knows the truth it is still there buried under a pile of guilt, fear and shame. help him to see the truth in life through you and the word in him will break up his fallow ground so seeds of faith will grow and bloom greater than they were.
Hope this helps bring some peace to your troubled heart for this friend? Be safe and take care.
Mike

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Regarding ‘Why did God create Satan?’; Ravi and Vince answered this here. It’s important to consider the 4 possibilities that Ravi starts with.

  • God creates nothing
  • God creates a world in which there is no such thing as good or evil (amoral)
  • God creates a world in which only good is possible (free will is eliminated)
  • God creates a world in which there is genuine free will;

Ravi then builds on why this world exists (4th option), and love is the supreme ethic. Hopefully that’s a helpful starting point?

you may also find this helpful:

I position the sequence of fact and deduction in the following way: Love is the supreme ethic. Where there is the possibility of love, there must be the reality of free will. Where there is the reality of free will, there will inevitably be the possibility of sin. Where there is sin, there is the need for a Savior. Where there is a Savior, there is the hope for redemption. Only in the Judeo-Christian worldview does this sequence find its total expression and answer. The story from sin to redemption is only in the gospel with the ultimate provision of a loving God.
https://www.rzim.org/read/just-thinking-magazine/think-again-deep-questions

You might also share with your co-worker this video; just ask them what they think of it, to get them to think about it themselves… don’t give them answers; try and leave them with questions that they cannot push away. Ravi explains that in the atheistic worldview, that there is no actual free will, and everything, including us, is subject to determinism.

As you have said, your friend has deep personal pain from unanswered prayer from his mother passing away. Intellectual questions may be the barriers that are put up to hide the hurt - and we all need both intellectual answers (for our mind); and emotional answers (for our heart).

It may be too early for emotional answers just yet; but the most comforting answer to the ‘Why suffering?’ question that I have heard is from John Lennox who asks a new question “What is God doing on a cross, suffering and dying at the hands of his creation?” God (Jesus Christ) is not a distant observer of our suffering, He has experienced it fully and entered into our suffering. To really stop and consider this; that the Creator of the Universe cares enough for his creation to go to this extent. Talk about love is the supreme ethic (as Ravi says)!

God bless and keep you as you gently reach out to your co-worker and reflect Christ’s love to him/her.

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@mgaplus4

Thanks for sharing with us Mike. Have you ever read the following book by Marilyn Adams; it is quite good. A much deeper dive into the problem of Evil than we usually get through popular level apologetic’s writing.

in Christ, Anthony

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Anthony, thank you for sharing. No I have not read that one but I will check it out. I appreciate your kindness.
Mike

Hey Brad, I pray the Lord strengthens and comforts you with his Spirit!
If you don’t mind me asking, what is your background, before you encountered Christ? Atheist?.. Agnostic?..
I’m asking because I have had the same struggles you have brother! Doubting to the point of feeling like I’m being torn in two somehow. I actually, as a Christian, told my pastor once that “the Christian life is psychotic!” The doubts can tear at you, almost crush you. Depending on how you answer, I may have a perspective to offer you…
For now, remember Whose nail-pierced hands hold you, Whose hand you cannot be snatched out of!

Concerning your question number 5, I guess I’ve personally never understood the logic of the assertion that foreknowledge somehow cancels free will. The latter doesn’t logically follow the former. @anthony.costello did a great job of simply illustrating this point. But even in Scripture we have explicit proof that God’s foreknowledge does not negate man’s free will. In 1 Samuel 23 Saul is, as usual, hunting down David to kill him. David finds himself in a certain city, and Saul thinks he’s cornered David. David asks God in verse 11 if Saul will come there for him, and if the men of the city will surrender him to Saul to save their own skins. God says Saul will come and they will sell David out.
See? God knew exactly what Saul would do; God knew exactly what the men of the city would do.
So David leaves the city before Saul gets there. When Saul hears about it, he gives up the expedition. He never even makes it to the city.
So was God wrong? Did He lie? By no means! That is exactly what Saul would have done. Saul simply chose differently, based seemingly on David’s choice.

I don’t know if it’s the greatest exhibition of wisdom to deflate something as mysterious and complex as the relationship of free will and the infinite and incomprehensible knowledge of God to the point that it fits in such a tiny reductionist box.

I think you’ve already got some good responses here. I will chime in again if I think I can offer something. In the meantime Brad, I’ll pray for you man, and for your co-worker.
Take heart! Trust the Lord, trust His Word, even when it seems crazy!

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@Smisdarb I just have one thought to share in addition to all of the other good stuff that others already have contributed.

The fact that I do not understand something does not mean that I cannot believe it. All belief involves a leap of faith from the comprehensible to the incomprehensible. We do not understand gravity, but still believe in it based on our collective experience. Your coworker needs help to make this leap of faith. One way to help is not to buy into his understandable yet self-centered vision, but to give him something outside of himself to observe. Is there anything that you can share with him about your own walk of faith with Jesus?