Why doesn’t a supposed loving God make it obvious what beliefs are right or wrong? People who love God aren’t sure what beliefs about God are correct or there wouldn’t be thousands and thousands of different religions or denominations with different doctrines as to what is important to believe. I won’t pretend I can answer for all who feel that if one is sincere in their beliefs about God but wrong, isn’t that on God? I only desire to offer plausible explanations for consideration as to why God doesn’t write in the sky for our morning devotions.
The Bible suggests in the beginning that God communicated much more directly to avoid getting the message wrong.
I am convinced God decision to advise Adam to not partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was an act of love (Gen. 2:17). The tree may have only been used to illustrate the importance of listening to God’s voice then our own. God was suggesting their voice, rather than our voice sometimes, in a world of choices always has our best interest in mind. The first couple hid after failing and God approached them (Gen. 3:8). God may have come to comfort than shame them. We don’t always assume the best when we have failed others.
It is plausible God had to pull back from how God communicated in the beginning, when freedom went awry, for our best interest.
Freedom was necessary so authentic relationships could develop. It isn’t true love if forced. God may have surmised that their continued presence in our lives could create an overwhelming sense of guilt or obligation to obey. Getting in the face of disobedient older children isn’t always the best approach. Obligatory choices don’t always lead to lasting change. In an imperfect world being totally unselfish beings may only be possible when God interferes less and allows greater degrees of independence.
God is accused of approving slavery among the Israelites by allowing laws around the practice of slavery. Why didn’t God simply demand slavery be abolished? God surely wished people during OT times make laws to eliminate slavery. But, long lasting change isn’t always best accomplished by controlling love. The Apostle Paul in the New Testament, much like God with the Israelites, perhaps understood to change society within requires independence. There may be steps necessary to accept God’s perspective – “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).
Most people can agree on right from wrong, such as lying, stealing, or murder, which suggests God is more of a communicator than believed. Many disagree what beliefs are necessary for life after death, but that wasn’t Jesus’ fault.
When asked directly about how to have eternal life, Jesus only said to love God and love others as yourself (Lk.10:25-27). How simple is this! Jesus didn’t advise a set of beliefs necessary to be accepted by God. Jesus simply said what we know in our heart is true – striving to live life lovingly – leads to a life worth living forever.
But, so many good people not understand God in the same way!
Some good folks declare you must be baptized to go to heaven. Some say we will burn in Hell and others deny that Hell is real. All such beliefs have one thing in common. They are interpretations of what they think the Bible teaches. Interpretations are fallible yet we claim we are right and you are wrong. I have done it and will probably do it again. What if God had wrote in the sand “Mike, don’t act like this.” I believe my journey, though not always pleasant, was the best path for not reverting back to old ways. Others tell us things that really are in our best interests, but sometimes we must learn on our own. Some of us take longer than others.
I wonder how much this matter of God’s communication would be cleared up if we slayed the idol of certainty.
We can’t know what the right interpretation is. Some could argue we would be better off without the Bible, but God is not responsible for how we handle such stories in our relationships. Those without a Bible may argue they would have been better off with a Bible to confirm feelings having about a Reality greater than themselves. God decision to communicate to as many as possible through human means may have been best for us in the long run in an imperfect world. We can know in our heart Jesus’ main message – love others like we want to be loved. For anything else that doesn’t violate the right of others thus immoral, what if all had the attitude you may be right, I may be right, we may be wrong.
If only we lived by the Law of Love which somehow most know to be central for a better world!