With the many conversations I’ve had with people about Jesus, I have found there to be many objections to faith in Christ. There are common threads, though, that pop up in conversation that seem to arise because of hatred, suffering or denial of facts. I want to cover these three objections to Christ here:
1. Hatred – Even though every single person on the planet is born sinful and hostile to God – there seems to be a specific hatred toward God for Him allowing certain things to happen to people who want to deny His existence. A hatred exists towards God that is ingrained and prevalent even in the calmest of individuals for various reasons. The very fact that people are hostile to the idea of God being real and His person as revealed in scripture comes as a result of wanting to deny reality in order to cover up or avoid facts about personal sin. God explains this in scripture in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (NIV)
And in Romans 8:18
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (NIV)
And Romans 8:35
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” (NIV)
There are comforts beyond measure from God that come when we know Him. But the unbeliever is completely blind to that fact because they don’t know the Lord. They can be presented with every archaeological discovery of actual Biblical cities that have been destroyed at the exact time the Bible says, the evidence of Caesar’s existing at the exact times mentioned in scripture, the old testament prophecies that were literally fulfilled to the letter thousands of years later (proven with texts from different dates), and the detailed and accurate eyewitness accounts of the true events of the Bible that leave in the failures and sins of the authors; yet remain in unbelief due to the fact that someone they know died, their health is failing, or something awful happened to them that makes them deny God’s very existence. Pain and suffering makes people fail to believe the obvious, like when a loved one dies and we enter into denial mode. It’s the same thing, only it lasts for a longer period of time because the unbeliever is in denial on purpose even after being presented credible, valuable and truthful evidence to answer their questions.
2. Suffering – This question never goes away for the unbeliever – because their nearest and dearest possessions, people and playthings all hinge on them being safe, working, covered and secure. In their mind, God owes them everything in the world and they are perfectly fine without Him. This is despite the fact that God gives them air to breathe, food to eat, love, justice systems, a government, weather and nature… But their hostility and nature is so depraved that they cannot acknowledge that God would require them to come to Him in faith for salvation, and dare not even ask the question of whether or not God is involved in the affairs of mankind – constantly drawing all men to Himself in reconciliation. The hostile mind blames God for everything bad in the world occurring, and then fails to acknowledge the good lavished upon them daily in the most minute of forms. This is a tragedy, but the question always comes up because people hate to suffer. Everyone wants a trial free, cruise ship life without any pain in it. But this is never promised this side of eternity, and quite frankly to refuse God’s offer of salvation and a place in heaven with Him is exactly is the default setting for sinners. Only God can convict someone of sin and judgment to come, and then regenerate their hearts to love God and want to please Him. The person that speaks of suffering always needs to be brought back to the very reason suffering exists in the first place – sin!
Our rebellion against God came with the promise of physical and spiritual death – being environmental or any other source of death for a person is what God promised would happen if we ate that fruit in the garden – and we still want to blame someone else for suffering. God not only initiated the Genesis curse – He offered His son Jesus to die in our place so that we could be forgiven and enter heaven when we die. This gracious gift is freely offered and refusal isn’t something God glosses over on judgment day. He equally is patient with the sinner wanting him to come in faith, and at the same time that sinner is storing up wrath that will one day be revealed on the day of wrath. This cannot be avoided, so the question of suffering really isn’t about why there’s suffering: it’s despite our sinful rebellion – is there hope beyond it? And God has provided the answer.
3. Denial of Facts – I have had conversations with people where every fact that they want presented to cure their desire for truthful answers is given – and they either interrupt with, “yeah? Well, no it wasn’t,” or, “no, what you say isn’t true,” and that’s where the conversations ends. Even with legitimate, well thought out responses and facts from credible sources on creation, archeology, science, history, literature and accounts of the lives of Jesus and the apostles – you can still get an instant shrug off because the sinner wants his sin! I have seen this time and time again with conversations about side issues that don’t relate to the gospel conversation at hand – people simply pick a rabbit trail to go down (God being invisible for example), repeatedly say that everything you’re saying is false with no evidence – and then pretend they’ve won the debate! This happens out of self-defense, not any sense of truth or solid basis of well thought out argumentation. Facts, even when presented well and with credibility, are brushed off out of pure rebellion and denial, rather than after careful investigation, research and humble searching.
God requires a humble, contrite heart that is repentant and broken over sin for forgiveness – not a proud, self-centred and crafty one. Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness are the ones who see God, not those who are puffed up and wise in their own eyes. God wants to forgive those who know they’ve sinned against Him and broken His law and fall short – not those who think they can deny His attributes and works, cleverly getting out of arguments by sliding back into their self-centredness and trickery. Childish avoidance of facts is simply a smoke screen for the much, much larger problem of denying God’s self-provable existence that is clearly seen in all creation. Denial of God’s existence points to the fact that the sinner wants to keep his sin, and hide from judgment of that sin, lest it be exposed and he have to be responsible for it before a pure, Holy God. This is the big picture, and logical conclusion of the denial of the obvious fact that someone bigger than the universe outside of it created it and can be involved in its affairs intimately. God is all-powerful and totally capable of revealing Himself through the written word because that’s how we communicate, and He has also given us the totally perfect means of creation to see His attributes, works and divine nature. There is no escape from the evidence of God historically, scientifically or rationally, yet proud sinners love to deny Him purely out of the innate desire to cover up sin and continue in it. That is the issue that drives denial of facts, their hatred for God and blame for God in the role of suffering and humanity.
Until a person is broken over sin, they’ll never understand the great depths of love and length Jesus went to suffer and die in their place for their forgiveness, and they’ll also continue in selfish, childish denial of sin and judgment. Only God can do a work in their hearts to see these truths for what they are, and only God through the gospel can save a soul.
A true miracle!