Thursday, February 16, 2006

Percy Bysshe Shelley's Naive Questions About God

Atheist Percy Bysshe Shelley said:
If he is infinitely good, what reason should we have to fear him? If he is infinitely wise, why should we have doubts concerning our future? If he knows all, why warn him of our needs and fatigue him with our prayers? If he is everywhere, why erect temples to him? If he is just, why fear that he will punish the creatures that he has filled with weaknesses? If grace doeseverything for them, what reason would he have for recompensing them? If he is all-powerful, how offend him, how resist him? If he is reasonable, how can he be angry at the blind, to whom he has given the liberty of being unreasonable? If he is immovable, by what right do we pretend to make him change his decrees? If he is inconceivable, why occupy ourselves with him? IF HE HAS SPOKEN, WHY IS THE UNIVERSE NOT CONVINCED? If the knowledge of a God is the most necessary, why is it not the most evident and the clearest?
Apologist Matthew J. Slick told me the following answers to the silly questions: Unrighteous people must fear (revere) the maximally good God because He has the right and ability to punish sin. The doubts of we finite humans don’t reflect God’s infinite wisdom and trustworthiness. Prayer benefits the child of God who enters into His holy presence. God is never fatigued. Temples are for worshipping God in truth and spirit, as well as fellowship with other believers. God did not fill creatures with weakness; they were created good but are degenerate due to the Fall, and people freely choose sin. Breaking God's laws offends God because the laws reflect His omnibenevolence. This rejection of salvation through Christ and sinful rebellion results in eternal punishment. God’s infinite reasonableness allows for Him to be upset with those who sin against Him. God doesn’t change His mind because His omniscient mind makes eternal (binding) decrees. God is conceivable or else no one would be able to argue for or against His existence. God is coherently defined (see Joseph A. Sabella). People don’t believe in God for a variety of reasons, but all of them are inadequate and constitute a failure to appreciate the powerful evidence and arguments for His existence. God makes His existence quite clear and doesn’t give into the arrogant and pointless demands of scoffers. God commands us to have faith in Him, and we are justified through faith. The scoffers' hearts are hardened by God subsequently, indirectly, through free choice, and as to their effect.