Should We Question God?


I'm taking this morning's post from a fellow blogger.  I'd love to hear you opinion...

This morning I was skimming through the conversation on this post and there were several people who seemed to think that to question God is out of line.

Granted, I am no theologian, but I personally disagree.

I think if we don’t question God - if we don’t ask Him why he does the things he does sometimes - we will never come close to understanding the nature of God.

Because why he does what he does reveals His character to us.

I think about some of the things Jesus asked.

“If this cup can be taken from me…”

“Why have you forsaken me?”

Will we find all the answers?

Not in this life. But I do think it’s important to ask, and to be open to exploring our faith on a much deeper and personal level. Sometimes, maybe even a desperate level. Because I truly believe God wants us to discover his character.

What do you think? Should you question God?

24 comments:

  1. To ask is it okay to question God is a vague thing to ask in all fairness. Let us assume from both ends the question you've asked. God "why are you allowing XYZ to happen?" This statement can from both a good heart or a heart that has resentment over the sovereignty of God. Job for instance was chastised in the end for his wondering why God allowed this to happen to someone who loved Him so much. God's basic response was who do you think you are to question me. "Where were you when I was making the world, did I seek your counsel?" From this standpoint we have to say that it was wrong to ask God. When we begin to have a sense of entitlement in asking God "why" as if He needs to answer us we are in the wrong. But from the other end of the spectrum, we observe in James 1:5 that if any man lacks wisdom let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. This verse specifically deals with people who are going through trials and are wondering what does it mean or what is the purpose of it. In this context we are within bounds to ask of God. Does it mean He'll answer in a timely matter? Not always. In fact sometimes it would seem that He doesn't answer since He has already given us plenty of answers in His word. The end result though is that He does answer us if not already before it has happened.

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  2. In agreement with Aubrey, I have to say that the question is just too vague. Plus within our vernacular the word "question" is subjected to a mental connection to a court room. Within that, the person question becomes lawyer, jury, or judge over God. That type of disposition, for the a believer, is incorrect as well as disrespectful. BUT, to "ask things of God", our vernacular associated with it, conjurs thoughts of children asking questions of their parents, which is not only appropriately respectful, but also accurate to the relationship of a believer with God.

    Beyond this, we are encouraged to ask wisdom in the face of trials, as Aubrey sited, in James 1:5. We are also to test the teaching of men under the light of the word of God. Otherwise though, God has revealed himself through his Word to us. Sorry I don't have references for these statements but, we read of Christ saying the He Himself is truth, that His Word is truth, and elsewhere that truth frees us.

    Most of the time, the attitude of "questioning God" is unfortunately a hardened one. Search the Word? yes... Ask God to reveal Himself to you? yes... Honestly telling God in the face of trials that you need His wisdom imparted to you to see how and why things work for good? absolutely... But ought to never place ourselves as judge of our Lord.

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  3. What about Abrahm's 13 years of silence?

    "God had not spoken directly to Abraham now for thirteen years - ever since Abraham took matters into his own hands and fathered a child by Hager. Ishmael was his name.
    In Genesis 16:16 Abraham is 86 years old.
    Now in Genesis 17:1 Abraham is 99. That is 13 years — 13 years silence. Probably Abraham thought the silence was because of his sin and God was not going to speak to him ever again.
    This would have been a difficult time for Abraham, a period of spiritual doubt and drought, a desert of the soul. God was silent. Abraham had no Bible to read or refer to, to get assurance. Imagine that – not being able to hear from God by reading the Bible for 13 years; not sensing the promptings of the Holy Spirit for 13 years; being on your own amidst a pagan culture with your faith shaky from the start. How do you think you would cope with that?" (http://www.bcchurch.co.nz/sermon-archive-2007/s-20070805.html)

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  4. Ah, but to put ourselves in Abraham's place is futile. We do have the Bible and so much more from all the great people that have come from before us. Let us not forget that Abraham's relationship with God was a special one. One that allowed for clear exact speaking and hearing from and to each other. Abraham did sin and he could presume that in his sin he may have never heard from God again being that he did get the special privilege of hearing the Creator of the Universe speak to him! Once again, the proper thing would have been to repent of your disobedience and wait on the Lord (if you were living back then). At that point in time, Abraham should have realized one thing...I should fear God. If He has told me to do something then I should do it. Hence we have the confirmation of that process in proverbs. "Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."(Prov. 9:10) By knowing who God is by default we begin to understand much about His nature. If He created the world...we know He should be feared.

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  5. So is it safe to assume you are saying that if I, in protest to my circumstances in life (for instance, the death of a child) present myself angry to God with questions of why? that this would be the type of disposition not congruent of that of a believer?

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  6. whoa whoa whoa... that's reading something into what was stated. What's being said is that "asking God questions" is different from "questioning God".

    Let me highlight something though... the question you just posed has two parts. The second part, to ask God why is absolutely congruent with James 1:5. The first part actually needs further clarification though. Is the believer angry at God? or just angry? "Be angry, but do not sin"... this is fine. But to be angry at God is a sin, because it supposes you have the right to be angry.

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  7. oh... on a side note. The phrase... "congruent to a believer". I get what you mean, but believer or not, we're all still sinners and to sin in anyway is congruent... but this is getting semantically technical... I was just saying...

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  8. Looking at what you said, let's say in this instance as you've put, the death of a child. Who's child was it? Was it not a gift from God? Is not our life in His hand? Clearly for one person to mournful and distraught is one thing and is to be expected but going from sadness to anger at God is to be out of line. The questioning then moves into accusation. You begin to ask God and the intent behind it is God you're wrong and I'm right. What You have done has wronged me and I'm wondering what your excuse is for doing his to me. We all have things that we don't feel God has done us right about and we're left wondering why. We can ask because He is loving and has made it possible for us to come to Him as a child. But hasn't He already told us what He desires for us (to prosper us, to carry us through the valley of the shadow of death, to work all things out for good). God has told us much and there is much to glean already from what He has said.

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  9. ..."But to be angry at God is a sin, because it supposes you have the right to be angry."

    I don't think it's a sin to be angry at God. If it's for a season.... I see God like a father. There is a healthy fear and respect for a father. That doesn't mean that because I am mad at God means that my reason is correct, but it does mean that I need to think about myself and why I am asking that question of my father. This allows me to grow as a person and mature in my understanding of life and about my father's ultimate goal: to bring life and life abundant.

    What if it's my child? I would be mad in general that they would be gone. I think questioning God's purpose for something out of sorrow is quite the same as being angry. Because of the season in life, it might come out differently, but I see neither as a sin.

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  10. ok then... question... are you basing your opinion on subjective reason? or scripture?

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  11. also... almost forgot. People like to forget about the one sin of Job... that's right, Job sinned! He questioned God. When God spoke to Job in a whirlwind he corrected him AND Job repented in sackcloth and ashes.

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  12. "my father's ultimate goal: to bring life and life abundant"

    Just caught that statement... do you think that the reference in John 10:10 supports that that is God's "ultimate goal"?

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  13. To add to this, God is like a father. The best and most perfect Father nothing like a fallable man that we know. He makes no mistakes and always has our best intentions in mind. When we get mad at God over something such as this, we have stopped having our complete satisfaction in Him and Him alone. In sorrow you come to God asking why is good because God understands your brokeness. When you come to God in anger over this you have brought antagonism into the picture. You have said God you're wrong and I oppose You for it. Now you can still ask but you've made yourself a judge to God. And no man should be a judge over God's decisions.

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  14. ok... I'm sorry... I keep leaving mini messages... but dude... if you choose to look at God like a father... and really like you know... you dad, you make Him like fallable man when God is infallable. It's one thing to be angry at your dad (though many times children are mad at their parents when they have no right to be)... he's a sinner. But God is not, so the application of that concept has to be limited, you know?

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  15. In response to the ultimate goal question: Yes, I believe that Jesus Christ came to earth to give us an abundant life and save us from the destruction of satan. It was to show his love, main case and point in my opinion.

    Can you have ultimate sorrow with anger? I believe it is very hard not to have an ounce of anger.

    "if you choose to look at God like a father... and really like you know... you dad, you make Him like fallable man when God is infallable. It's one thing to be angry at your dad (though many times children are mad at their parents when they have no right to be)... he's a sinner."

    My response: One personification of God is a father and because he has only given us the human level of understanding of a father then I believe it is completely okay to view God as a father. The thing is, we also have the Bible to support that view which is far greater than a human father, yet the personified application of what a father is, is at what I believe God intended. Sure, every dad is a sinner, but the viewpoint of the characteristics of a father is what I am talking about. The application is only limited when you focus on the sin of your father, not the true Father's characteristics personified within "dads".

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  16. Ok... because I think this thing is most key to the original topic, I want to respond first to what you said about God as a father. (by the way... I love you girl!)

    "One personification of God is a father and because he has only given us the human level of understanding of a father then I believe it is completely okay to view God as a father."

    Personification is the wrong term to be using here. The term assumes that you are giving personal qualities to something that otherwise does not possess them OR is inanimate. So it is NOT a personification. God the Father is one of the three persons of the Trinity sharing the essence and substance with the Son and the Holy Spirit.

    "The thing is, we also have the Bible to support that view which is far greater than a human father..."

    Yes and amen!

    "...yet the personified application of what a father is, is at what I believe God intended."

    Not the way your putting it... you put the cart before the horse by letting your perception of earthly fathers affect your perception of God the Father.

    "Sure, every dad is a sinner, but the viewpoint of the characteristics of a father is what I am talking about. The application is only limited when you focus on the sin of your father, not the true Father's characteristics personified within "dads"."

    And after saying all that, the problem still remains that in your previous comment you communicated that your view of God as a father was one of the reasons you think it's ok for Christians to be angry at God. My argument is that the viewpoint of God as father the way you put it is insufficient to label anger at/towards/with God as not sinful.

    Just so I don't assume too much though, tell me, what you think anger is, and what causes anger? Differing opinions on term definitions can make this kind of discussion tedious. But sorrow vs anger... I don't understand why you think they can't be mutually exclusive. For example... Isn't that the very reason we can have both sorrow and JOY at the funeral/death of beloved brother and sister? And do we not under those circumstances praise God for His goodness that He saved us?

    Now, secondly, on the topic God's ultimate goal... you're pulling John 10:10 out of context (if that's where you're pulling from that is). The first half of the sentence reads:

    "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;"

    and the second half reads:

    "; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."

    Here Christ compares Himself to "the thief". It contrasts the actions of "the thief" vs His actions. This is not a declaration of the purpose of God pertaining to His dealings with His creation.

    For an answer to the question of what God's purpose is, read this:

    John 17:1-4(NASB) - (1)"Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. (2)For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. (3)Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. (4)I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. (5)And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began."

    The wondrous glory of God is what was accomplished by the work of Christ.

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  17. All good arguments!

    In response to: ..... on the topic God's ultimate goal... you're pulling John 10:10 out of context (if that's where you're pulling from that is). The first half of the sentence reads:

    "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;"

    and the second half reads:

    "; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."

    Here Christ compares Himself to "the thief". It contrasts the actions of "the thief" vs His actions. This is not a declaration of the purpose of God pertaining to His dealings with His creation.

    This is the part I would tend to ehh maybe not agree with as whole heartedly. Yes, He is comparing himself to the thief, but in that statement he also represents who HE is and WHY he is. When God uses the word "THEY" it means his creation, so this is an area we might have to digress in....

    love you too girl!! Good conversation!! :) Although sometimes I wish these could be in person because they get lengthy!

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  18. As with all good debates we have to take a step back and examine some 1st principals.

    All of creation was made for one reason and one reason only. To glorify God.

    1 corinthians 10:31: weather you eat, drink, or whatever you do, do to the glory of God.

    can you question God? Yes, but the proper motive has to be there. It should glorify God otherwise you're out of line.

    Can you be angry at God and be righteous and glorify God in your anger...certainly not.

    I say that definitively.

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  19. I wish we could do this in person too... much easier that way... MUUUUUUUUUUCH easier that way.

    Either way, as to your last comment... you're making a dogmatic statement based on a debatable interpretation of a single text(unless you have others - please cite!). Creation's purpose to glorify God as it's central function and reason is throughout the Word. But, the view that God values life above all else is not. Personally, I see danger in that kind assertion. It elevates creation and moves one from a worldview that is God-centered to one that is man-centered. It's the same kind of problem in my eyes that has driven so many churches to be glorified community service support groups instead of preaching the gospel to a lost and damned world in the name of being compassionate and tolerant. Hipocracy!

    But as for the anger thing... I really am interested in knowing how you define anger and what anger is a reaction to. To me, to be angry with/at/toward God is to judge God and say that what He has done is unjust and wrong... and from what I know of you, I can't imagine you doing that... ?????

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  20. I would say that anger would be defined as = displeasure with God, not a judgement which is a formation of an opinion.

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  21. Two small points:
    1) What about my last comment?

    2) In your displeasure with God you have said I do not like the will of God and do not agree with it. That is making a judgment. It's the post modernist that says I can tolerate something without having a view on it (no feeling of good or bad or judgment about it). This is faulty thinking. In order to be tolerant of something you must have an opinion of what you feel is right and to say that you tolerate it is to then say you disagree but you tolerate it. To sum up then, when you are displeased with God it is because you have declared to yourself that you are right and He is wrong. This in fact is judging.

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  22. I am beginning this response imagining God as the closest friend I could ever have. With that in mind, I think the relationship would be mutual, compassionate and caring. And like with all healthy relationships, each partner should challenge the other. I think God can handle any questions and any emotion or mood. So I think and believe this is not only ok, but expected, because otherwise I think the relationship would be disingenuous and inauthentic.

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  23. "I think God can handle any questions and any emotion or mood."

    The questions isn't whether God can handle it, the question raised was whether it is sinful to have anger towards Him. Don't forget He's our King and Righteous Judge as well. God is not fickle, nor is He a sucker. He is perfect, all knowing, and to drive the point further, He is never... repeat NEVER wrong.

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