My sunday school class is going through the “Jesus Among Secular Gods” Study, and one of our members is taking the conversational goals seriously. When reaching out to one unbeliever he was asked, “If God was who every believer says he is, do you think he would let the world be so divided as it is?” I’m thinking through this, and just not sure how to respond to the question. How would you respond to this?
I’m thrilled your class is using JASG and putting it to use with non-Christians!
As you think through how to respond, remember to test the logic of a question. A great way is to ask the question - So what? Often, we see that an objection doesn’t have as much force as we initially thought. So what if God let’s people divide? Is that really inconsistent with what the Bible teaches us about the nature and character of God? The question doesn’t really pose a logical challenge to Christianity because whatever answer one gives doesn’t affect whether Christainity is true or not.
First, assuming that God does allow people to be divided (because he gave them free will, people are imperfect, and/or people will often interpret obvious truths in ways that they prefer rather than in ways that are simply true), what then? Does that mean that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead? The history remains the history no matter how much people divide over it, split into factions, or even hate each other.
Second, the fact that the world is actually consistent with God being who Christians think he is. He creates us for relationship with himself. We have free will, which entails the possibility of rejecting that relationship and of rejecting each other. We use that free will to reject God and reject each other and create a divided world. But God has done something about it through the cross. Not everyone will trust in what God has done and even those who do will go through a process of sanctification over the course of their lives. But in the end, there will be a unity of believers in heaven. God promises to restore a fractured world.
In fact, Jesus predicted that people would not only divide, but they would divide over who he is! See Matt. 10:34-39. And Paul tells us that people and creation itself are groaning until they are restored (Rom. 8:18-23). So the fact that the world is divided in’t inconsistent with what Christians believe, but completely consistent with Christian belief. I love how God predicts our questions and sometimes even answers them before we have them!
As you think through how to respond, remember to test the logic of a question. A great way is to ask the question - So what? Often, we see that an objection doesn’t have as much force as we initially thought. So what if God let’s people divide? Is that really inconsistent with what the Bible teaches us about the nature and character of God?