Summary: There are people in this world that hate God. And they don't believe that God is good - they believe He is evil and unworthy of our praise. But is God good? And what does that mean to us?
OPEN: Is God Good? (wait for a reply) Of course He is. That’s what the Bible tells us and that’s what we believe or we wouldn’t be here. But, there are many out there who don’t like God. There are many agnostics and atheists work very hard at painting God as an evil and wicked God – unworthy of our praise.
ILLUS: I read the story about a university professor who challenged his students with this question: “Did God create everything that exists?”
One student replied: “Well, of course he did!”
The professor answered, “If God created everything, then God created evil. And since evil exists, and according the principal that our works define who we are, then we can assume that God is evil.”
Do you see what the professor was saying? He was saying God was evil because God created everything, including evil, and thus God was evil. Now this teacher had done several times over the years. This approach was one of the ways he would attack and undermine the faith of his students so that he could remove God from their lives and begin to build his own philosophy on their hearts and minds and remake them in his own image. And it’s a scene that is repeated over and over again in college classes across the nation.
But this time, another student raised his hand, ‘May I ask you a question, professor?”
“Of course,” replied the professor.
“The student stood and asked “Professor, does cold exist?”
“What kind of question is that? Of course cold exists. Haven’t you ever been cold?”
The young man replied “In fact sir, cold does not exist. According to the laws of physics what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat. Absolute zero (-460 F) is the total absence of heat; and ALL MATTER becomes inert and incapable of movement at that temperature. Cold does not exist. We’ve simply created this word to describe how we feel when there’s no heat.”
Then student said, “I have another question Professor: does darkness exist?”
The professor laughed, “Of course it does.”
“Once again you are wrong sir,” the student responded. “Darkness does not exist either. Darkness - in reality - is the absence of light. Light we can study, but not darkness. How can you know how dark a certain space is? You measure the amount of light present. Darkness is a term men use to describe what happens when there is no light.”
Finally, the young man asked the professor: “Sir, does evil exist?”
Now uncertain, the professor still responded, “Of course, as I have already said. We see it every day. It is in the daily examples of man’s inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.”
To this the student replied “No sir. Evil does not exist - or at least it does exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. Evil is the result of what happens when men don’t have God’s love present in their hearts. It’s like the cold that comes when there is no heat, or the darkness that comes when there is no light.”
Now I have no idea if that story is true… but the point of the story is dead on. Evil is the absence of God, just like cold is the absence of heat and darkness is the absence of light.
The Bible maintains that God is not only GOOD, but that He is the source of our morality. That’s why Ephesians says: “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” (Ephesians 5:1) God is the measuring stick of what is moral. That’s why we’re told to imitate Him. And Ephesians describes what imitating God looks like. We’re told to:
Put away “… all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander… along with all malice.” Ephesians 4:31
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God (we’re told to imitate Him in this) in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
“… walk in love, as Christ loved us (again – imitation) and gave himself up for us.” Ephesians 5:2
“… sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you...” Ephesians 5:3
“Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” Ephesians 5:4
Now, this is just a sampling of what Christian morality should look like. But ALL this morality is based upon imitating our God. God sets the standard (He’s the measuring stick) for what is righteous and good. In Mark 10:18 Jesus declared, “No one is good except God alone.”
When we properly “imitate” God in our lives we end up pointing back to the God’s goodness. That’s partly what Jesus was talking about when He said: “…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and GIVE GLORY TO YOUR FATHER who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16