Yesterday, I told you that I would refer to good and evil in the simplest terms. Today, not so much, but I’ll still do my best to be clear. My question is this: What do we mean when we call God “good?” And is it really possible to be objective?
One of the people whom I love and respect most in this world (you know who you are!) forced me to consider a truly frightening question a few years ago and it’s bothered me ever since. We were having a conversation about the existence of God, Heaven and Hell. I can’t quote her exactly, but the gist was this:
Even if Heaven does exist, I’m not sure it’s a place I want to go. I can’t imagine a parent who, having the power to stop it, would allow a beloved child to suffer for eternity in Hell, just for refusing to acknowledge him.
Well, to be honest, I can’t quite reconcile that, either. I know the free-will argument; that God allows His children to make a choice, that He doesn’t force our commitment. But drawing the only parallel I can, which is the earthly parent/child relationship, it just doesn’t make sense to me. I can understand it a little better from the standpoint that we all have God within us and to actively choose to Deny that is to submit to a self-imposed suffering.
The other problem I have with the free will argument is that God created all things, including our concept of good and evil. So, can there be any objectivity about the goodness of God? If He had created a world where the rules were different, where stealing and lying were considered “right” we would, presumably, still follow Him. I’m not stating this very well. I know it sounds blasphemous, but it really is an honest question. Let me put it another way.
If God created this world and everything in it, including our concepts of good and evil, does it actually matter if He is “good” or not? Should we accept him simply by virtue of His being The Creator? I know that scripture says that God is love and reveals a number of other attributes of God, but again, He could have created the world to understand love in a completely different way.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading! I know this is one of those irritating questions that might simply be something I have to take on faith, but I really do feel compelled to ask it. Let me close by saying that regardless of my questions, when I look at the world around me – the human capacity for thought and feeling,the incredible variety and color, the beauty of nature, our bodies, the incomprehensible enormity of time and space – I feel God and I feel that God is good, as I understand goodness. I’m incredibly grateful for the life I’ve been given. Thanks again,