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Bible Questions
Letters Table of Contents | Bible Questions

If God is our heavenly father, why doesn't he punish evildoers must like a good, loving father punishes a child for misbehavior or misdeeds?

Laura

Our Answer:

Hello Laura:

Thank you for writing. I'm happy to answer your question.

Please read the 73rd Psalm. It asks a related question, Why do the wicked prosper?

Your analogy of thinking of God like a father is an excellent analogy. However, we are no longer His little children. With the birth, death and resurrection of Christ, you could say that we have "turned 18" and are now adults who are somewhat out on our own.

If you look at history you can see that in the beginning God did directly and immediately punish some people for their sins. For example in Numbers 16:31 Korah, Dathan and Abiram were immediately punished by God for turning their backs on the Lord by starting a rebellion. Just like a parent, God was teaching His children (the Hebrews) how they should live. As we do with our children -- once they become old enough to understand -- God laid down some strict "house" rules (the laws given through Moses) he expected His children to follow. As his children grew older, we can see in the Bible how the Hebrews had more independence, and as a result more opportunities to make mistakes and learn from their mistakes. The Hebrews were still punished when they went seriously wrong, for example, the 70 years of exile in Babylon. But, God gave them many years to straighten themselves out before He punished them.

Just like we all individually become adults and become responsible for ourselves, humanity has matured and has become (to some extent) responsible for itself.

We have the free will to decide how we will behave; to decide whether we will make a better world; to decide how we will treat other people; and to decide whether we will do good or evil. God still cares about us, and just like a parent who has grown-up children, there are times when He offers advice or help. Sometimes, He helps us and sometimes He knows that it is better for us if He does not, but instead lets us learn from our mistakes.

Like good parents, God allows us the freedom to live with the consequences of our decisions.

Sometimes the consequences of evil result in riches for the evil-doer -- for example someone become rich by stealing money from elderly people. My question isn't why hasn't God done something about this evil? My question is, what have you done about this evil? As Christians we should be stepping in and helping those who have been hurt. We have been provided with an opportunity to show our compassion and love. We have been provided with an opportunity to grow in our love for others; to teach others how to do the same; and to show the glory of God through our actions.

I'm not saying God has abandoned us. He is still very active in our lives; in society; and in blessing (or not blessing) nations. But He has given us a lot of responsibility for ourselves and others. A responsibility we can choose to live up to, or turn our backs on.

And we can be at peace knowing that justice will be done. We are here just for a short time. As we face eternity we will be judged by the Son of God and we will know that, in the end, justice has been done.

Yours in the love of Christ,
Steve
Move To Assurance
web site: http://www.evangelical.us

P.S. We should be very aware that God still does punish nations. He does this not by making bad things happen to that country, but by withdrawing His blessing. If we as a nation move away from God, then God moves away from us--opening the door for evil, wickedness and all sorts of bad things to happen to the nation.

   

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