Several years ago, I was giving a lecture on the existence of God in a university science auditorium in downtown Chicago. I had made my presentation on the evidence from creation and had shown the strong evidence that the cosmos was not the product of chance. At the beginning of the question"answer session, an atheist jumped to his feet, ran to a window on the edge of the auditorium, drew open the curtain, and pointed to the ghetto that surrounded the university. "If there was a God," the atheist shouted, "He would never let a mess like this exist!" He then went into details about the pain, disease, loneliness, and poveny that was so dominant in the inner-city neighborhood we were in.
Over my head in the front of the university auditorium where we were meeting, there was a huge sign apparently left over from an inner-city high school career day. The sign said, "Take the High Road out of the Neighborhood--Get an Education." I asked the atheist what the sign meant. He responded that it meant that the university offered programs that would help young people develop their talents so that they could get a job that would enable them to work their way out of poverty and all the evils that proverty brings. "Does that take any effort or involvement on the part of the young people themselves?" I asked. "Of course," he replied; they have to take advantage of the opportunities offered to them and work to succeed." "God has never done for man what man could do for himself," I replied. "If you want to really find the high road out of the grip of poverty, drugs, abuse, prostitution, or any other destructive influence on this planet, you have to take advantage of the opportunities given to you or you will never make it." The road to destruction, the low road, is a road of inactivity. This is a road where we expect God or other people to solve our problems with no activity on our parts. If the low road is followed, it not only is unlikely to solve the problems, but it is sure to produce a blizzard of consequences for those who have followed it--poor self image, lack of appreciation, lack of satisfaction, lack of identity, poor self-esteem, lack of commitment, etc. There are so many applications of this to welfare, foreign aid, and other problems of our government that volumes could be and have been written on the subject.
When mankind looks at the problems which plague our society today and asks the question of how God fits into the solution to all the bad things that happen, there are two fundamental principles that apply. The first is that God is not the source of our problems. Ephesians 6:12 tells us that there is a spiritual battle going on between good and evil, and Job, chapters 1 and 2, gives us a picture of what is involved. The bad things that happened to Job did not happen because God did it to him, but because Satan did it to him. Galatians 6:7-8 also tells us that a huge percentage of what happens to us is our own doing. John 11 tells us a beautiful story of Jesus weeping. A man had died and, even though Jesus knew he was going to raise the man from the dead, he wept. Why? It is obvious when you read the story that Jesus saw the pain that death and disease and loss bring to a human being. As God in the flesh, He was troubled in spirit and wept. God weeps with us at tragedy and loss. The purpose of our existence requires us to have the choice between good and evil, but with that choice comes negative consequences the natural fruit of evil.
The second fundamental principle is that God expects man to be involved in overcoming the destructive forces in our lives. I firmly believe that my journey out of atheism and my ability to cope with a severely damaged child did not come about because of any strength of my own. By the same token, God did not step in and force a solution on me in either of these situations. It was necessary for me to make an effort and do everything I could do. Once I had done all that I could do and had gone as far as I could go, God did the rest. You will not see a single case in the Bible where a solution was forced upon a person.
A vast percentage of the good things that are happening in the ghettos and substance abuse clinics are happening because the people doing them have tapped into God and believe that God will make things happen when they do all that they can. The high road to the solutions to mankind's problems involves work and a dependence upon God to supply what you cannot do yourself. If you have not truly tried it, please do not knock it because it works.
(Note: An audio cassette tape titled Why Did God Create Man? is available from us. It goes into the subject in more detail than space in this anticles allows. For a copy of this tape, send $2.00 to us and we will be happy to mail it to you postpaid.) John N. ClaytonBack to Contents September/October 1995