I’d believe if there was evidence…
If God exists, why does the universe seem so silent?
I have heard the first one from skeptics often. The second one, well, I have heard both Christians and skeptics ask that question. I ask it quite frequently. Why doesn’t God seem more apparent?
The Psalmist begins with similar questions in Psalm 10:
Why, Lord, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
Such questions are usually asked, or especially relevant, when wicked and evil seem to run rampant. Psalm 10:2-11 is all about the unchecked wicked, running through the world as if there never will be any comeuppance. Even in the midst of the evil and suffering in the world, the Psalmist hopes God will act:
12 Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.
Do not forget the helpless.
13 Why does the wicked man revile God?
Why does he say to himself,
“He won’t call me to account”?
14 But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless.
15 Break the arm of the wicked man;
call the evildoer to account for his wickedness
that would not otherwise be found out.
The progression in this Psalm is quite amazing. We go from the beginning, where evil runs rampant, to the middle (just quoted) ask God for help and then quickly end with some words that make it sound like God has acted:
16 The Lord is King for ever and ever;
the nations will perish from his land.
17 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that mere earthly mortals
will never again strike terror.
Where are you in the Psalm?
Position 1 – Somewhere in verses 1-11, asking why God allows evil and wondering if God will show up?
Position 2- Verses 12-15, recognizing the evil and crying out to God to do something?
Position 3 – Verses 16-18, confident that God will not just hear, but that God has heard and is active?
I’d like to be in Position 3, though most days I am somewhere between Positions 1 and 2. Usually I assume that the good I see is God’s work and that, bad as the world may seem, if God stepped back it would be even worse. But honestly, I’d like something a bit more obvious to hang my hat on.
At the same time, I don’t feel much of an alternative. The alternative is simply that evil and death are just as likely to have the last word as good. In a godless world, there is no hope. I’ll hang my hat on hope, that God will answer (position 2) and God is answering (position 3).
So where are you?