But how do we know God’s character? When skeptics point to the world and declare that things are not as they should be, believers can bellow a spirited “Amen!” But when the skeptic then points up and accuses God of injustice and wrongdoing, the skeptic and believer must part doctrinal ways.
Few skeptics affirm simultaneously (1) “God exists” and (2) “the god I genuinely believe in is unjust.” Accusations typically come from those who hope to expose a clash between the existence of God and unjust tragedies. But an essential difference exists between man’s responsibility under God’s law and God’s relationship to laws He creates and reveals. Created laws are divinely forged for particular, earthly, sometimes temporary circumstances. God does not find Himself answerable to some higher “law” separate from His nature. The skeptic who holds God accountable to laws He created fatally misunderstands the Creator-creature relationship.
What about the skeptic who observes injustices in the Bible? How does God’s perfect, just nature harmonize with all kinds of stories and events in Scripture where God’s people—and even God Himself—appear to approve of or command injustices?
The Old Testament unfolds act 1 of the battle for ultimate justice. As judgment day got postponed after Eden, injustice would often thrive. God cast down only temporary, earthly shadows of the pending, ultimate judgment. Compare the conquest narratives in Joshua with any chapter in Revelation. Joshua sounds tame compared to Revelation’s dragons, beasts, and fire. Though Revelation delivers its message in veiled symbols and fantastic imagery, the message is not just for show—the world will end violently. Before its end, God’s covenant people cry out for Him to end injustices involving betrayal, slavery, exile, and death. You cannot read the Psalms without echoing what Old Testament saints felt: “Will my cries ever be answered?”