Hi, My name is Eric, I am 19. I have been a Christian for 3 years now and just recently I have started asking my self some very tough questions which in turn has left me very doubtful of my faith and left me often times in despair. Such as couldn’t God have saved us another way, why is there evil, did God create evil. These question have left me paralyzed and in despair. I question my faith, and that leads to anxiety and deep sadness. I don’t want to fall into indifference and give up. I even wonder if I am even elect because I am even asking these questions. I fear that through these thoughts I may lose my faith completely but I keep asking for grace and understanding. I don’t expect these questions to be answered but it would be nice to know if anyone else has gone through this and what I should do to get through this. Is it wrong to ask these questions? It has produced tons of apathy in my spiritual life…
Yes, others have asked similar questions, myself included. One of those questioners was John the Baptist. You will remember that John the Baptist had the assignment of preparing the way for the Messiah. He was busy doing that when he got thrown into prison because he spoke out against King Herod who had taken his brother’s wife and married her (Mark 6:17-18). You can readily see how difficult prison life would be for anyone, especially someone like John who was an outdoors-man. He preached in the open air and baptized people in the Jordan River. John ate locusts and wild honey (Mark 1:6).
Matthew records John sending his followers to Jesus to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” (Matthew 11:3, NIV). This question was put to Jesus while John was in Herod’s dungeon. It must have been a dismal time for John. He wasn’t where he wanted to be and he wasn’t doing what he felt he was called to do. Negative thoughts no doubt plagued him. John, like all of us, had to battle the flesh, the devil, and the world. His incarceration made those battles all the more difficult.
So, what did John do? He took his doubt to Jesus. He went ahead and asked the question burning in his mind. In the process John also asked the right person, Jesus Himself, and Jesus answered him (Matthew 11:2-5).
For you and me, Jesus is still the right person to ask for answers. He gives us answers to life’s questions in the text of the Bible. The Bible is “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16). Therefore, we prepare our hearts and minds for Jesus’ answers by gaining a thorough understanding of the scriptures. So, prayerfully read the Bible. Ask the holy Spirit to illumine its words to your heart and mind (John 16:13-14).
As to your question concerning salvation, remember that God is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). Since all of us are unholy (Romans 3:23) and cannot make ourselves holy, we need help because “without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14b). God solved this problem at the cross. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV). “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, NIV). When we place our trust in Christ alone for salvation, His righteousness is transferred to us and we become children of God (John 1:12). “…if Christ is in you…your spirit is alive because of righteousness” (Romans 8:10, NIV). We are justified (made right before God) by faith in Christ. This salvation is available to everyone (John 3:16).
As to your question about evil, God did not create it. Lucifer chose to rebel against God, which is sin. Lucifer then became Satan and tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve listened to Satan who was disguised as a serpent. They chose to disobey God and sin entered this world.
God did not create evil, but He does permit it…for a time. It will not always be so. Evil will be put away forever in eternity (Revelation 20:10; 21:3-4; 22:14-15). The triumph of Jesus at the cross reveals God’s love and justice. God’s love for us was on full display as Jesus laid down His life for us and sin was judged.
What an amazing God! What an amazing plan! And now, “to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ!” (Romans 16:27, NIV).
~ Pastor Chris