Ever since the fall, or maybe even a few moments before, man has always had a problem with God. Sometimes it’s masked by other questions: “If God is so loving, then why would He send anyone to hell?” “If God is so good and so powerful then why is there evil in the world?” “If God knows everything then why did He create Lucifer is He knew he would rebel and cause all this trouble?” The real issue at hand is we don’t like the fact that God is God.
If there was any mere mortal that we could say went through hell on earth, it would be Job. Job was asked some tough questions and wrestled with some agonizing losses and issues. He tried to give answers for what was going on, and even asserts his own goodness and demanded an audience before The Most High as to a reason why (Job 31).
He gets his audience with God, but he quickly finds it’s not what he had imagined. God goes directly to the heart of it all by asking Job, “Will you even put Me in the wrong? Will you condemn Me that you may be in the right?” (Job 40:8) Ultimately, Job had a problem with God being God. Paul’s audience in Romans 9 was no different. “You will say to me, ‘Why does He still find fault? For who can resist His will?’ ” His response was equal to how God approached Job, “But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ ”And we are no different.
Everyone, including the atheist, is quite alright with a god that functions as they believe a god should. It’s when God refuses to be confined to our devised straight-jackets that we decide we don’t like Him so much; including when all our questions aren’t answered as we would like them to be answered. When our charges of “That’s not fair!” aren’t met with what we accept as a sufficient rebuttal we assume God doesn’t really have an answer, and use that as an excuse to remake Him – for some that means ignoring characteristics we don’t like, for others it produces and attempt to annihilate Him altogether. Either way one has the same result – no real God at all. It’s like a young Johnny who doesn’t like his father’s temperament and philosophy of life, thus refusing to accept him. Johnny could place a cardboard cut out of the dad he wished he had in his room and talk to it as if it were his father. The figure wouldn’t be oppressive or intrusive, as Johnny could place it in the back of his closet when he doesn’t need/want him; he could seek out another “father figure” to take the place his biological father holds, giving him a more substantial substitute; or he deny the actual place of a father figure in one’s life, relegating it to something needed by the weak of today’s society. Either route Johnny takes is essentially the same – a denial of the existence of his real father.
Johnny’s recreation/denial doesn’t change the truth that his father’s existence, it just creates more problems for Johnny.
(let’s jump inside Johnny’s world real quick for a look at what I mean)
A parent-teacher meeting is scheduled. So he brings his cardboard dad to the meeting. Johnny has a difficult time convincing the teacher that this dad really has any authority at all since Johnny can pull him out or stash him away at will -the paper dad having no restrict Johnny from anything without Johnny’s prior consent. Of course Johnny tries to explain to his teacher that his dad is such a loving father that he wouldn’t do anything to violate Johnny’s freedom. Then there are Johnny’s brothers who have accepted their father as he really is. They’re telling Johnny that his cardboard cut out is not really his father. This enrages Johnny to the point of his denial of his real father. Shouting something like “That’s not the father I love!” or “I couldn’t possibly love a father like that!” Shouting the same accusations about yourself your opponent is making as a defense is a rather silly, and massively futile, way to contradict them; but Johnny does it anyway. For some reason he feels this will convince his siblings that his paper paternal figure is the real deal.
On the other side of Johnny are his friends. They don’t like Johnny’s cardboard creation either. They see the fallacy in trying to convince one’s self that the paper image is really one’s father. They didn’t like their fathers either, but they’re not so stupid as to try to create one out of paper. They found a human substitute to take the place of their despised dad. He left them alone, and never controlled anything they did (the man didn’t know he was their pretend daddy). They had all the freedom to do what they wished, yet had something more tangible than a recycled cut out.
A few of Johnny’s friends were more consistent in their refusal of their fathers. They insisted that Johnny just give up the whole thing and admit that there is no such thing as a father; that it’s a position created by those who simply wish to keep “unwieldy” teens in line, or that it should be obvious that since everybody has a different concept of their father (some claim to have the real one, some have cardboard ones, and some find some biological form of a substitute) that there can’t possibly be any such thing as a real father. They assert that only when one accepts this fact will they discover true freedom and happiness.
(Transporting back to reality now.)
One sometimes wonders what commonality Johnny had with his friends. It was a two stranded chord – their hatred of their fathers (although in varying degrees) and their absolute disgust with those siblings who kept reminding them of their real fathers. The odd thing about it all is this: although Johnny, and all those like him, are attempting to live in a world of their own making; it doesn’t change the truth. Their DNA still bears the link to their biological fathers’ (they are essentially stamped with his image), and they are constantly fighting against this ingrained idea of a father-figure, yet don’t know why they have it or where it comes from; not to mention their birth certificates record the fact, and all their siblings who plea with them to face the truth of their real fathers all agree with the other two mentioned proofs of DNA and birth records. Regardless of how they suppress the truth of their father it does not alter his existence nor abolish their responsibility to him.
I guess little girls aren’t the only ones who play with paper dolls.