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FAITH COLUMN: Is God a cruel Creator?

OPINION: Gary Bates on why a loving God would create a world of suffering

The following article is an opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not those of AllOnGeorgia. It has been provided as part of a partnership with AllOnGeorgia and Creation Ministries International

By: Gary Bates


We are “without excuse” (Romans 1:20)

Question posed:

The creation of life on earth might have begun when inorganics melded to form organics, and a creator was not involved.

The origin of life might be another source, such as a creator. The nature of animals on earth is, for the most part, carnivorous. The most common principle among animals in water and on land is they eat other animals. Humankind is the biggest offender. Some wild animals go days and weeks without food. We humans normally eat three times a day. The thought of a loving god, with kindness and mercy forethoughts, would create living systems which kill and eat each other, is disturbing. Nature films and videos often show us birds, reptiles, mammals, fish, etc. hunting, killing, and sometimes, eating their prey. The commentators impart a light, sporting, spirit, to the death. The event was pleasant for the diner, but the dinner didn’t enjoy the meal. Some predators kill their prey before eating it. Some, like the hyena, eat their prey while it is still alive, screaming in pain. Some animals can kill and eat their prey without the prey’s knowledge. God’s kindness and mercy are not reflected in this creation. If there is an infinite number of inhabitable planets in the universe, are their life systems like ours, where animals live by eating other animals? Considering a universe occupied by animals whose religion is kill and eat, or be killed and be eaten, it makes me wonder about the character and merit of the whole system. Considering earth’s kill-eat-live nature it makes me wonder about the character and merit of a creator who developed such a bestial system. How often has god seen hyenas eat living animals? The major mystery is how humans developed senses like talking, writing, and reasoning, which empowered them to rule the earth.

I can understand where you are coming from. For many years, as a young man, the world being full of death and cruelty kept me from believing in God, because why would a loving God create a world of suffering? But this view was based upon ignorance about who God is and the true history of the world. This is information that is readily available from the Bible. And also, creation.com has a plethora of articles to answer some of your ideas. I will link you to some of them as we go along and encourage you to take the time to read them. (BTW before submitting a question to our site there is a check box that says you searched it before commenting.)

You are referring to a process of chemical evolution or completely unguided naturalism. If you think that inorganic chemicals can somehow spontaneously meld to form complex organic life, then a little research will reveal that it flies in the face of everything we actually do know about the very processes of science you appeal to. See this comprehensive explanation of what is needed for abiogenesis (or biopoiesis).

Our whole ministry ultimately deals with peoples’ different views of history. You are assuming that God created a world like the one we live in today. But the world we live in today is radically changed from how God created it. All too often people are quick to judge God for all the wrongs that we see in the world! In short, let’s blame Him for it all, while ignoring the fact that He has already provided information that explains why these things exist. We get this information from the Bible, which we also call God’s Word for very good reasons. See How did we get our Bible? But if one is even unwilling to consider this as a possible valid source of information from a supernatural creator, then it reflects a one-sided summary judgment of the facts. It’s a good job our legal system doesn’t work that way, because it actually works and is based upon biblical principles such as seen in Proverbs 18:17 which says, “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” One should at least consider a reasonable ‘other’ explanation for understanding why the world is the way it is.

For example, if you accept evolution and assume that is the method that God created, then I would have to agree with you that He is a cruel creator—one that has no problem with culling out the weak in some sort of cosmic lottery where only the strongest survive. See (10 dangers of theistic evolution). But this process is completely incompatible with the nature of God and what He said He did in history. We find this history confirmed by science. For instance, you are wrong when you state that most animals are carnivorous. In fact, God created all animals to be vegetarian; most animals are still vegetarian; and even among creatures assumed to be ultra-carnivorous like theropod dinosaurs, sharks, and lions, there are animals that actually ate or eat plant diets.

Moreover, without a Creator to guide us, and if unguided naturalistic processes brought us to this point in history, on what basis do you define wrong or right? I believe our whole concept of morality (e.g. Love your neighbor as yourself) actually comes from the teachings of the Bible. It really has no place under an evolutionary scenario which is all about reproduction to outdo the competition. In a sense, you are using the principles of Christian morality to judge God.

Something is wrong with this world

The very fact that you care and can understand about the suffering of animals is a tacit recognition that something is wrong. This is one example where such a process of evolution, which requires lots of death to ‘create’, is in contrast with what God has revealed to us in His Word when He ultimately proclaimed it all “Very Good.” Bad things in the world and the recognition that ultimately we will all die someday, whether suddenly as a result of an accident or the actions of other people, or whether through illness or aging, should cause one to question our mortality and ask “What happens at the end of it all? Is there life after death?”. If evolution is true, then somehow you were lucky enough to be born, live a few years and then die, with nothing at the end of it all, and there’s not much hope in that. But understanding history from a biblical perspective does supply us with hope.

The Bible’s history reveals God created the world ‘very good’ with no death, suffering, or sin. Creation fell when Adam, thinking he knew better than His Creator, rebelled against Him (sound familiar?), as noted in this article, The Fall was a cosmic catastrophe. As a result, God brought upon a curse of death to all creation (Genesis 3). Now again it would be all too easy to make a summary judgment and blame God for the introduction of death. But again, one needs to understand the big picture at work to understand why. The moment that mankind sinned, he separated himself not only relationally but spiritually from God for all eternity. I.e. because mankind and the original creation was destined to be eternal, we (that’s both you and I) would have been eternally separated from God, and there was nothing we could do of ourselves to be reconciled back to Him. As such, we/you “… were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world” (Ephesians 1:1–2). So, I believe that death and bad things are allowed to continue to help us recognize something is wrong—just as you have done, and it should cause us to look to our Creator for answers. And the good news is the God did do something about it. The solution is Jesus. God in the flesh (Hebrews 1:3) came to this earth and paid the penalty that was ultimately due for our rebellion against God (that’s what sin is). Think of it like a rescue mission from the bondage of an eternal death. A wonderful passage in Ephesians 2:8–9 explains the free gift of salvation that is offered by God:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

This passage reveals that even though we messed up God’s creation (let’s not forget that it ultimately belongs to Him), He loves us so much that He made a way for us to be reconciled back to Him and to be forgiven all of our sins.

Moreover, if God is the Creator described in Genesis then He is more than capable of fulfilling his promise of eternal life in a restored/new Heavens and Earth. This is not going to be some sort of ethereal otherworld without a tangible ‘real’ existence, but a fully restored physical creation where there will be no more death and suffering, including for the new animals that God will create also. See The New Earth.

There are two contrasting histories of death of how death came into this world. One view provides no hope now or in the future. The other provides a correct understanding how death actually came into this world, and it also provides a future hope. I hope you take the time to read some of the links provided and listen to what God’s Word has to say about these issues.

 

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Scott Mitchell Proctor

    October 17, 2020 at 10:04 pm

    God is the greatest serial killer of all time. He makes Hitler look like a choir boy. He says they shall not kill, but those writing must have walked away when he said kill anyone that doesn’t obey him. It is his creations that he created, then later killed because of his lack of of understanding that without his creations of his loved ones that didn’t have a choice of being born killed because he is no better than the morning sun, Satan. Satan was at least honest and a third of the angels felt the same were honest in the act of killing. If God is so perfect, then why is he a murder? Agape love is a fucking front. Satan and a third of his greatest creations evidently knew that he doesn’t mean what he said, or was a mad ass bastard. Today’s church has made god’s bride into a whore. The church is unique in that you have to pay tithes to be judged by sinners. god is a god that doesn’t understand himself. Every church that I have been to are full of so called rightcous godly sinners that try to preach fire and brimstone that do not practice what they preach. Matthew 23.3 Do as they say, but not as they do. I tried to live right, but god and his church are so full of shit. I don’t like fiction book, but those of truth.

  2. dan

    November 9, 2020 at 6:16 pm

    hmmmmm This article dos not answer a question in my opinion. When I’m watching thedarksideofnature on insta, I’m losing my faith that God is good.

  3. 086

    December 29, 2020 at 12:14 am

    The only way I see it for good purpose is to learn what is important. Wantlessness over wanting. Compassion over making the deal to gain whatever from the cost. When you are wanting, this is our universe, it RUNS OFF IT FOR ALL. So only God is removed/above it, only God is good (not wanting)- we are all of us in the sticks in this game to learn it, learn that’s why God is worthy/ what’s really important? I’m reminded of a lung cancer shirt, if you can’t breathe nothing else matters. Everything about the universe is sort of going against what nothing else should matter above- the right thing, because it is/ we are wanting.

    Driven simply by nature by the belly to eat (and kill), driven by loving one above the other (your own kids/cubs over others- ie being a “respecter of persons”- this one > that one) driven in our “advanced human wanting ways”—which don’t need explaining.

    I can think of it like that and agree with the end, but being immersed in the median of the means, of course I despair, doubt, get pissy. Above all, despite loving the idea of that end, I betray it on a daily basis. “Imprisoned in disobedience” as the book says.

    I dislike that about myself and find myself cruel and to blame for that.- Except for the good times which are sadly when “sin” lets me forget. Making the scariest verse imo God will bring all to your remembrance, because think about that. The shit we do by nature and nuture, the whole universe does w/o any forget me now sins which permit things like indifference and entertainment….ouch. You get hell enough here absent those things, it’s why we pursue them SO much and are almost enslaved to their relief because IT IS a horror show and God does seem against you.

    As for God, he’s alien to me. I don’t know, supposedly he has a purpose to this, myself/ everything else be they man or nature seems driftwood. Stuck in it w/o a true clue, failing it up.

    Although I never used to think like this, or care at all really. Was 1000x the monster. Maybe God gives that. It hurts, but I can be honest with myself enough to know I was a desert compassion wise and there is something of an oasis in care present even if all around me is desert, and well that water didn’t wring out from my sand.

    I “hope” it’s God that puts it there and whatever purpose he has is a great one because yes,yes it sucks for all involved man or beast and there are a lot of things like despair which are only nature/ reasonable to have. And I mean clutch onto. Can only clutch to God as a hope as he often seems very far removed/ just not there. But might be. Don’t know really.

  4. John

    December 29, 2020 at 9:24 pm

    God,from my personal life is a cruel and vicious being. My whole family was systematically tormented and murdered by God’s hand. If not Gid, than God is either incompetent or does not care/interfere. I have witnessed first hand the power of God and “his” realm.God is constantly allowing the cleansing of his creation by murder and other methods of warfare. God will stop at nothing to have “his” way. Anything not perfect will be destroyed including me and my entire family,including pets. God is a vicious tormentor and murderer. There is no hope for anyone who is not according to “his” plan. I searched for meaning and help/hope in life, even after savage attacks against myself and my entire family by society. People, the holocaust has not stopped. It always was and will always be in God’s great evil constant purification process. To kill the imperfect. Nature and society testify to God’s evil intents. I wish I was wrong, but time again and again I come to the same conclusion. God is viciously evil. I am beyond disappointment. We are surrounded by evil people, evil businesses, and evil government who justify mass murder and maiming of men, woman, children and babies and fetuses. Poisoning and experimenting and torture. This is God’s way.

  5. Chris

    January 4, 2021 at 3:43 am

    God created man, thus man is only as good as God made him.
    Woman is mislead by Satan….another one of God’s creations.
    Woman….another one of God’s creations then convinces man to sin.
    How does any of this fall on man?
    Truly, God can not be this selfish or short sighted?
    How does any of this make sense if God is all powerful?
    I consider myself a Christian, but the bible makes God just sound like an angry alien to be honest.

  6. Chris

    January 4, 2021 at 3:46 am

    PS-the author didn’t even answer the question. Generic church answers like these only hurt people’s faith. Unfortunately, I see no good answers in the bible to the difficult questions. I guess we can only hope that God is kind and forgiving. Maybe he should tell us? Why is he so quiet?

    • Phil

      July 20, 2022 at 8:53 am

      The Animal Kingdom is like life in a maximum security prison. It is brutal and without pity. The order of the day is GABOS, or Game Ain’t Based On Sympathy. Yet we’re led to believe that its creator is Love. It makes no sense.

  7. john

    May 24, 2021 at 7:10 am

    Thank you for an attempt at answering the question. There is a lot
    of circular reasoning going on above. I am going to make this simple and please feel free to disagree. (a) God made dinosaurs.(b) Dinosaurs became extinct and humans did not coexist with these creatures. (c) Mankind did not disrupt creation and this was not a fallout due to sin. (d) Dinosaurs were made vicious, some preyed on others (the weak) to eat (meat eaters) and some fought each other. Some dinosaurs were designed to kill. Moreover, sharks, lions, and other species are apex predators. The bodies of these animals, if studied, are designed to kill. Hint: one can start with the eyes of a Lion. This was either an evolutionary adaptation or it was intentional. design. In conclusion, something can’t be A and not A at the same time ref: the law of non-contradiction. Some dinosaurs were created to kill. This was an intentional design. Dinosaurs were created long before mankind. Conversely, we did not screw up creation due to the fallout from sin. What does this say about God?

  8. Jesse

    June 4, 2021 at 6:43 pm

    This is the sort of answer which makes me agree with the atheist and believe the creationist is foolish and clings to what he wants to be true rather than what is true. This answers a question I did not come here seeking the answer for, which is why are so many people falling from the faith? With answers like this they SHOULD fall from the creationists idea of faith. This seems right to me. You need to spend some time wandering the desert if the only way you can believe in God is to disbelieve in any difficult observation we have of nature and life.

    Or you could have a tiny bit of humility, open up your bible, go to the book of Job and read how little your little caveman brain can comprehend about the greatness of creation. And stop strutting around like an arrogant pidgin trying to play chess while knocking over the pieces of reality and the faith of others with a harmful and distorted view of life.

    Not every aspect of faith is easy or has a simple answer. You can’t just point at the books of the Bible and say the answer to any detail of life or reality in there. The Bible tells you what you need to know not what you want to know.

    Sometimes the answer is this: I do not know. I find it hard to accept. It makes me question my understanding of the goodness of God. Please wrestle with me on this one God and give me what I need to better believe in you given this cruel and seemingly inept creation we find ourselves observing. I understand the truth itself may be beyond human understanding so please enlighten me in a way that I can understand so I don’t have to fill the blanks of belief in with things which are not true.

  9. John Raba

    November 16, 2021 at 12:26 pm

    Adam and Eve are only symbolic characters used by the writer of those stories to teach a lesson of some sort. All animals from the beginning of time were not plant eaters. There have always been carnivores. Their existence has nothing to do with Eden or the perceived evil created by man. Whoever, our whatever, created the universe did so knowing lions would eventually kill zebras and eat them. They did so knowing full well that carnivores would munch on living plant eaters. To argue otherwise demonstrates ignorance of reality and a blind adherence to a dogma that has no basis in fact. I believe an intelligence created the initial conditions for the universe to pop into being. It is simply too mathematically balanced to think otherwise. Beyond that absolutely no one has any clue as to why we are here, or what happens to us when we die. I am hopeful that our existence has meaning and that my consciousness will continue in some form or another when I die. I have absolutely no assurance that Is correct. I have neither read nor seen anything that convinces me otherwise.

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