If God is infinitely good…

by Matt Slick

I received the following paragraph in an e-mail.  It was copied from a post by an atheist on a discussion board.  I have reproduced the paragraph, and then attempted to show how the atheist’s complaints about God are invalid.  To do this, I will dissect the paragraph point by point.  Here is the original paragraph:

“If he is infinitely good, what reason should we have to fear him? If he is infinitely wise, why should we have doubts concerning our future? If he knows all, why warn him of our needs and fatigue him with our prayers? If he is everywhere, why erect temples to him? If he is just, why fear that he will punish the creatures that he has filled with weaknesses? If grace does everything for them, what reason would he have for recompensing them? If he is all-powerful, how offend him, how resist him? If he is reasonable, how can he be angry at the blind, to whom he has given the liberty of being unreasonable? If he is immovable, by what right do we pretend to make him change his decrees? If he is inconceivable, why occupy ourselves with him? IF HE HAS SPOKEN, WHY IS THE UNIVERSE NOT CONVINCED? If the knowledge of a God is the most necessary, why is it not the most evident and the clearest.”

Following are my responses:

If he is infinitely good, what reason should we have to fear him?

  1. To say that God is infinitely good is somewhat misleading.  I am not saying that God is not “infinitely good,” but the point is that God is not only infinitely good.  God is also just, righteous, holy, forgiving, gracious, and a host of other moral purities.  Therefore, when addressing an issue dealing with God’s behavior, if someone were to select a specific and very narrow aspect of God’s character and then build an entire argument upon that “sliver of truth” (while ignoring other aspects), then the argument that follows is not representative of what God truly is and cannot accurately represent the character and actions of God.  Therefore, the argument and its conclusion are highly suspect, and the conclusions are naturally in doubt.

    Nevertheless, God is not only good.  He is also righteous.  He has stated that he will punish those who are unrighteous.  “Thus I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity,” (Isa. 13:11).  Therefore, those who are unrighteous should fear God since he has the right and ability to punish.

    Also, if God is infinitely good, should he not also be infinitely righteous?  Isn’t righteousness a good thing?  Of course it is.  Therefore, if God is by definition good, then he must also be righteous.  Then we can ask, if anyone is unrighteous should God punish him for his unrighteousness? Would it be a good thing to let someone do bad things and not get punished?  I would hope that even the atheists would realize and accept the premise that people who do bad things should be punished and held responsible for their actions.  If our judicial system were “infinitely good,” we would have no prisons because we would have no justice.

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