Has God Forgotten Man?
DESPITE man’s efforts to solve world troubles, conditions continue to grow worse. It is understandable, therefore, that persons might ask: ‘Has God forgotten man?’ Do you ever wonder?
Many persons today believe that God has forgotten. They apparently think that God started humans on earth and then abandoned them, somewhat like a man who fathers illegitimate children and then leaves them. It is understandable that a person would feel no need for a God like that!
But has our Creator really, in effect, done this? Are you sincerely interested in knowing?
Some persons only pretend to want to know. True, they may ask: ‘If there is a God, why does he allow man to suffer so much?’ But instead of searching for an answer, they prefer to believe that there is no God, or, if there is, that he has forgotten man. And such ones often are too proud even to consider the evidence.
In ancient times there were persons like that too. They held personal ideas about God, but they proudly refused to check whether these were correct. King David of Israel said of such ones: “The wicked one according to his superciliousness makes no search; all his ideas are: ‘There is no God.’ He has said in his heart: ‘God has forgotten.’”—Ps. 10:4, 11.
Since some make this same charge against God today, it is proper that we examine it.
Really, Has God Forgotten?
Is the way in which our bodies function, without human control or direction, not an indication that God still sustains our life processes? We still benefit from the wonderfully complex healing process that soon repairs damage if we should cut ourselves. And what about the marvelous process that transforms the many kinds of foods we eat into flesh, bones, hair, nails and other building materials? Do these processes, which continue to function for our benefit, really indicate that God has forgotten man?
Examine further: Consider how we enjoy the exquisite beauty that has been provided on earth—the glorious sunsets, snowcapped mountains, sandy beaches, green valleys, rushing rivers and colorful, fragrant flowers. Observe, too, how tiny seeds grow to produce the amazing varieties of delicious foods. Is God not still maintaining the laws that make possible sunsets and pounding surf, food-making processes of plants? And would you not say that all of this is evidence that God remembers man?
Additional search reveals that God has cared for man in more than material ways. He has also provided humans with moral guidance and advice in his Word the Bible. So fine is God’s law contained in the Scriptures that the famous English judge Blackstone once said: “No human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid derive all their force and all their authority, mediately or immediately, from this original.”
Experience has shown that when humans live in harmony with God’s law it brings satisfaction and improvement to their lives. The early American president Thomas Jefferson wrote: “The studious perusal of the Sacred Volume will make better citizens, better fathers, better husbands . . . The Bible makes the best people in the world.” This provision of his Word the Bible is also clear evidence that God has not forgotten man!
The Question of Human Suffering
Yet human suffering has been so prevalent that even a righteous man was once moved to ask: “Has God forgotten to be favorable?” This man, however, rather than jumping to a conclusion, made a careful search, which led him to exclaim: “O God, your way is in the holy place. . . . You are the true God, doing marvelously. . . . You have led your people just like a flock.”—Ps. 77:9-14, 20.
But in the face of all the wickedness and human suffering on earth, some persons may wonder how anyone could reach such a conclusion. ‘How could a good God who is Almighty allow this suffering?’ they ask.
Think about that for a moment. If God really has irresponsibly abandoned his earthly children, he is no longer good, is he? Yet it is obvious, as we have seen, that God has done and continues to do tremendous good for man! So, does this not indicate that God has very good reasons for temporarily permitting human suffering?
One may at first think that nothing could warrant permission of the suffering that mankind has experienced over the centuries. But is it right to jump to such a conclusion? Why, circumstances can arise where a good parent may permit a beloved child to undergo suffering temporarily. A painful operation, for instance, may be permitted because it is considered necessary.
Reasons for Permission of Suffering
First, we need to identify how human troubles actually began. Was it due to some neglect or oversight on God’s part?
To the contrary, God’s Word shows that mankind’s troubles had their start due to the abandoning of God by the first human pair, Adam and Eve. Created as free moral agents, these two deliberately ignored God’s laws, being influenced to do so by the angelic rebel Satan. Thus a number of vital issues or questions were raised. These included:
Was man made with the ability successfully to govern his affairs independent of God? In short, does he really need God’s guidance and direction? And there was the related question of whether any of the offspring of the first couple would be obedient and loyal to their Creator.
So the issues were moral ones, involving the rightness of God’s way of ruling, and whether man’s success and happiness really depend upon submitting to God’s rule. The issues did not concern whether God had greater strength or power. And they were not just local issues, affecting only humans, but they are ones in which even the heavenly angels are interested.
God, of course, could have immediately destroyed Adam and Eve, as well as Satan. That would have wiped out all opposition to Him; it also would have put an end to the human family, of which you are a member. But it would not have really settled the issues.
For example, it would not have answered the question as to whether any of Adam and Eve’s offspring would choose to remain loyal to God’s rulership. Nor would it answer whether any of these offspring could remain faithful to God if subjected to tests by Satan. Wiping out opposition immediately, therefore, might have left doubts in the minds of onlookers as to whether there was any truth to the charges by Satan.
So since the issues are of such importance, challenging God’s way of ruling and affecting the confidence of his creatures in him, God decided that they should be settled once and for all.
What has been the outcome? Have Satan’s charges against God been upheld, or proved false?
Settling the Issues
Well, what would you say? Have the past 6,000 years of human history indicated that man has been successful in governing his affairs by himself, apart from God? Has man provided good government for the blessing and happiness of all? Or does the record of history indicate that man needs God’s guidance, as God said he does?—Jer. 10:23.
The evidence should be clear to all. Man’s record of governing himself independent of God has been a dismal failure! It has resulted in untold human suffering. “Man has dominated man to his injury,” as the Bible says.—Eccl. 8:9.
How opposite human endeavors have been to the order and precision found in the universe guided by God’s laws! Clearly, man needs God’s guidance in governing his affairs, because ignoring God’s laws has resulted in chaos. Yes, man was created with this need to depend upon God’s laws just as surely as fish were made with a need for water and other creatures were made with a need for air to breathe.
And what about Satan’s charge that, if given the opportunity, he could successfully turn all human creatures away from God? This claim too has been proved a lie, for down through history there have always been some persons who have remained loyal to God, regardless of the circumstances.—Job chapters 1 and 2.
Why So Long?
However, a person might ask, Why has God permitted so much time, nearly 6,000 years now, to settle these issues? Could they not have been settled satisfactorily long ago?
If God had intervened long ago, the charge could have been made that man was not given enough time to develop a workable government and the necessary technology to bring prosperity to all. But now man has had the time to try every conceivable form of human rule and make tremendous technological advances, including harnessing the atom and traveling to the moon. What has been the result? A grand new system for the blessing of humanity?
Far from it! Instead there are more unhappiness and trouble on earth than ever before. In fact, crime, pollution, war, family breakdown and other problems have reached such a crisis stage that scientists believe man’s very existence is threatened! Science magazine of November 28, 1969, observed:
“In the continued absence of better ways of heading off these multiple crises, our half-life may no longer be 10 or 20 years, but more like 5 to 10 years, or less. We may have even less than a 50-50 chance of living until 1980.
“This statement may seem uncertain and excessively dramatic. But is there any scientist who would make a much more optimistic estimate after considering all the different sources of danger and how they are increasing? The shortness of the time is due to the exponential and multiplying character of our problems.”
Yes, after nearly 6,000 years of experience in self-rule and after reaching the ultimate in scientific “progress” mankind is on the brink of catastrophe! How clear it is that man cannot successfully govern himself, apart from God! Nor can anyone now complain that God did not allow enough time to settle these issues.
Yet during these past 6,000 years, what has God been doing to bring an end to man’s troubles? Has he just been sitting idly by, watching mankind flounder and suffer? True, God has wonderfully sustained the laws and processes that make life on earth possible. But will he do anything to satisfy man’s need for peace, health and happiness?
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The provision of God’s Word the Bible is clear evidence that God has not forgotten man. The Bible gives wise guidance that brings satisfaction and improvement to humans, young and old
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A parent with good reason will permit a beloved child to undergo an operation despite some suffering; God also has good reasons for temporarily permitting suffering
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As fish were created with the need for water, and land animals with a need for air, so man was created with a need for God’s guidance