Who’s to Blame?

Blame God’s lack of existence

Back in my college days, I went to hear a debate between an apologist and an atheist philosopher. I don’t remember much about what the apologist said, but I do remember that the atheist’s argument seemed very strange to me. He basically said, since there is evil in the world, there must be no God.

On reflection, the problem of evil really is a big deal. The atheist was right to focus on it. However, it is a poor argument against God. What he was really saying could more accurately be couched like this: there may or may not be a God. Since there is evil in the world, and I don’t like it, I’m going to pin it on His lack of existence. However, I got the picture that he would rather there be a God, so he could blame Him. He was quite passionate about his anger against the God who doesn’t exist. He wrote several books about God not existing – go figure!

Blaming is the right thing to do

It seems crazy to blame God for everything doesn’t it? God is loving and kind and good. Right? Of course He is, He really is. The real question is, why are we so driven to decry evil and fix blame? Isn’t there some fundamental truth to be found there? If we were mere meat machines and there is no designing mind behind existence, what difference does it make who dies and why they died? Marilyn McCord Adams has argued convincingly that the existence of evil is actually a proof of the existence of God, not a defeater.

As Christians, we want to think that we are not the kind of people who are looking to fix blame. We are kind and forgiving and full of love. However, love doesn’t work like that. If it did, it would trivialize the suffering that evil has caused. Love sees the harm that evil causes, and resists. It is indignant. It is angry. It seeks to afix blame so that justice can be upheld. Justice is love, spread across a bunch of evil sinners. Justice says, no suffering will be marginalized or ignored.

Your big decision: Who will take the blame?

So, if you think about it, when Jesus went to the cross, He took the blame. All of it. In a sense, ultimately, God takes all the blame for everything. If you believe in Christ, you give up your control of yourself and of everyone else, and let Him take the blame. You give up being your own God (Genesis 3:5), your own controller, you give up blaming yourself. You let Him take the blame.

That is the difference between the believer and the unbeliever. It isn’t that there isn’t blame to be fixed. It is that the unbeliever still wants to be their own God, and so retains not only control but ultimate responsibility for their actions. The believer gives over their autonomy. They “die”. They say, “to live is Christ.” They let God take the blame and the control, and in so doing, ironically they gain their freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17).

20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.
(Galatians 2:20, NASB).

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