Have you ever been in the middle of working on a project at school or work or even for pleasure, and either wished you could or really did scrap it and start over? Or you simply have to deal with the unpleasant realization that things are just not going to be how you want them to turn out? It’s never fun to be in those situations, is it?
Imagine working on a project, finishing – feeling like you did a great job – then having someone else mess it up – how would that make you feel? Upset? Angry?
Can you imagine how God felt after creating the world and proclaiming it good, (Gen 1:31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.) giving Adam and Eve the earth to live in and power over its creatures, only for man to rebel against him? We see in Genesis 3 the results of that rebellion – not only was man cast out of the Garden, but we were given some pretty severe consequences as well. But, surprisingly, God didn’t scrap the project altogether.
Fast forward about 1600 years to Noah’s day: Genesis 5:5″ The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” That weighs pretty heavy on my heart to know that God at one point was so disappointed in man that He regretted even making us. There is not very much documentation in the Bible about what evil was on the earth at that time – it just says that it was corrupt in the Lord’s sight, but it makes me cringe to think what God could think of the human condition today. But, there was something to be salvaged in God’s eyes – vs 8 & 9 say that Noah found favor in the eyes of God and that he was a righteous man who walked with God. Noah and his family were spared when the flood came and wiped away everything from the face of the earth. Because Noah walked with God, he was part of His plan to repopulate the earth and start over.
Theses are just 2 early examples of God’s judgment of mankind. Yes, they are seemingly severe or harsh. As are other examples throughout the Bible. But when looking at those examples you must also examine the reason for the judgement to begin with, as well as the numerous ways that God is merciful in judgement. Many times before judgment of a people, they are given multiple warnings through prophets. Oftentimes there is a span of many years that a people is given to repent before they are judged or exiled. God Himself has said that He is “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,”(Ex 24:6), and He has demonstrated that more times than not when it comes to handing out His judgment to people who deserve it more than deserving His mercy.
This question “Is God good?” has been asked by the world because of the fact that there are those instances of judgement in the Bible as well as what people have proclaimed as God’s judgement on the world in today’s times, whether it be natural disasters, war, economic decline, etc. What I would like to focus on for the moment is the reason why I know God is good. I know that God is good because even though His project didn’t go the way He would have ultimately wanted it to – because He gave us free will and we blew it – He didn’t scrap us. He knew that Adam and Eve would sin and He had a Plan in place to fix us.
I think we often have read/heard Romans 5:8 ” but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” by itself. Wonderful verse – but read the verses before it and it almost takes on new life (at least it did for me) “6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Think about it – you pour yourself into something that’s going well, and it might be actually worth finishing – but, when it starts to mess up, or for sure when it’s all trashed and not worth anything – you lose motivation to work on it or finish it, right? Verse 7 says perhaps for a righteous/good person, someone would actually step up and die for them, but for someone sinful, why in the world would anyone die for them? But that is exactly what Christ did, He took mankind – weak and unworthy, soiled and broken – and saw man as worth salvaging…He saw you and me as worth salvaging – and He gave His life to do it! I’d say that’s good, wouldn’t you?
Romans 5 (The Message) – I love this translation of these verses also.