What to Say to God’s Critics

by | Aug 31, 2020

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Highlights for Helaman 7-12

Why do we have earthquakes, fires, floods, famines and hurricanes if God is loving and kind? How to answer God’s critics.

A few decades before Christ appears, the Book of Mormon chronicles some major political and social chaos. For a few weeks now, I have come to realize the later chapters of Alma and now Helaman read like a playbook for our time, the year 2020. Just this morning, the news reported on the rioting by Antifa and BLM for 90+ days in Portland, Ore. Sadly, last night a Trump supporter was shot and killed there. Several cities in our nation are now suffering from escalating clashes, the destruction of neighborhoods and businesses, the needless elimination of jobs and a tragic loss of life.

Criticizing God on Twitter

A short while ago I posted a scripture verse on my Twitter account and received a curious response. Here’s a screenshot:

God in Real-Time

Every soul’s worth is great in the sight of God. He has an intentional, individualized plan for each child’s exaltation. The Godhead (all three) are keenly aware of you; they understand you, and are intimately acquainted with you. For instance, they even know the hairs on your head. Every single last one.

To this end, all human beings are put in the way of the experiences and the circumstances they need to develop into the best version of themselves. Despite God’s best intentions, we have the agency to influence different outcomes. We are free to gravitate towards light or towards dark.

How miraculous then, Christ is ready and willing to move forward with us anytime we finally decide to repent and place our trust in Him again. He can work with any starting point we give Him. True, there may be lingering consequences from past mistakes made; they don’t typically disappear. Also, there may be obstacles placed in our path by others. Fortunately, we can find extra strength and power to work through all of them when we finally partner with the Savior and live His gospel.

The Love Behind Calamities

Which brings us to our central point. Those natural disasters and other calamities? Why do we have to endure those experiences? Surprisingly, they serve more as tender mercies for most. Catastrophic events are Christ’s last, pleading chance to get our attention, get us back on the right path – to get us to accept Him as our Savior (so He can give us everything He has). Earthquakes, lightning, floods, pestilence, wars, famine and fire are not about vengeance, anger or cruelty as insinuated by the character assassinations on Twitter.

Greater understanding teaches us that natural disasters, chaos and commotion all serve as a vehicle to a more noble end…a better version of you. Their underlying purpose is to help us prioritize our lives, temporally and spiritually. They ultimately lift us to a higher plane of existence. The recent earthquake in Salt Lake City (March 2020) prompted me to do a careful self-inventory of my existence. This blog is one of the results.

Samuel Explains

Samuel the Lamanite illuminates the altruistic motivation of Christ.

(Note: the verses previous to Helaman 14:28 mention disasters like earthquakes and thunderings, etc.)

28 And the angel said unto me that many shall see greater things than these, to the intent that they might believe…these signs and these wonders should come to pass upon all the face of this land, to the intent that there should be no cause for unbelief among the children of men—
29 And this to the intent that whosoever will believe might be saved...

In other words the Lord is saying, “if I have to get your attention by natural disasters and calamities to finally get you to look, and believe, and be saved…then that’s what we will do and I’m going to make it so obvious that there is no room to doubt.”

…and that whosoever will not believe, a righteous judgment might come upon them and also if they are condemned they bring upon themselves their own condemnation.
30 “…for behold, ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free.
(Helaman 14:28-29)

Summary: Everyone is given the chance to completely understand the plan of salvation and the agency to choose their ending.

Takeaway

God gives us every opportunity and motivation to see truth, accept the Savior and gain the highest prize. Natural disasters, commotion and chaos are chances to re-evaluate our souls, our lifestyles and upgrade our outcomes.

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