***DISCLAIMER*** This article contains followup questions/answers to part 1 of this “Question 2” article (please read part 1 here if you have not done so). These questions did not come as they are shown. Instead, I both parsed them out from an overall response and edited them for grammar. Furthermore, in an effort to obtain better clarity, I list each question with an answer that follows. The questioner essentially asked three followup questions. These answers are far from exhaustive; they simply make a “best effort” in sufficiently answering the questions.
- “What is this sin that Tommy inherited? He had to suffer and die because of someone else’s sins?”It was not a sin per se that Tommy inherited. Instead, it was a sin nature. This sin nature resulted from the fall of man, specifically Adam and Eve (Genesis 2-3; see also Psalm 51:5). Romans 3:23 states, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (NASB). This “all” includes you and me. It also includes Tommy Jones. Romans 5:12-21 explains more:
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. 16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. 17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. 18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.20 The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Adam’s sin brought death and condemnation to all men. This means Adam’s sin brought condemnation to you and me (in addition to the entire human race). As a result, Adam’s sin also brought condemnation to young Tommy Jones. Despite that, Tommy Jones did not have to die specifically because of someone else’s sins. Instead, it was Jesus Christ who had to die. Specifically, Jesus Christ, the infinite God-man, died on the cross and rose from the dead to pay the penalty for the sins of all mankind (John 1:1, 14, 29; Isaiah 53:6; 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8). Jesus Christ died for Tommy’s sins. Tommy did not die for anyone’s sins. Instead, he died tragically as a result of the fallen world we have. This fallen world resulted from Adam’s sin. Tragedies strike because of this fallen world. Unfortunately, one tragedy took the life of young Tommy Jones.
- “You also made God sound like some sort of dictator when you say that He can do whatever He wants and that no matter how awful or wrong we may think that the action is (in this case failing to save Tommy), we mustn’t question it.”
God is anything but a dictator. A dictator, according to Webster’s dictionary, is a “person ruling absolutely and often brutally and oppressively.” A dictator does not love the world so much that He gives “His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). While God can do whatever He wants because of His sovereignty (Psalm 115:3), He does not contradict Himself; He will not contradict His word or His will (Numbers 23:19; Malachi 3:6; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18; 2 Timothy 2:13; 1 Samuel 15:29; Isaiah 40:8). He demonstrated His love to us when He sent His Son to die to take away the sins of the world (Romans 5:8; John 1:29; 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8). A dictator is incapable of demonstrating that kind of love.
As the original reply (henceforth referred to as part 1 of this article) notes, God did not fail to save Tommy Jones. He could have saved Tommy from a premature physical death if He wanted to do so. The reasons why God chose not to do such a thing amount to pure speculation. Tommy Jones’ tragic death is one of those things that believers will have to ask God about when they get to heaven. A re-reading of part 1 of this article may be necessary; it shows the Scriptures that explain how God is merciful to young children.
With all due respect, nowhere in part 1 of this article did it state we mustn’t question God in the midst of tragedy. Instead, we must take into consideration that He is sovereign, just, loving and merciful. Furthermore, as mentioned, He does not contradict Himself. This is far from taking a position that assumes we must not question God. One can question God if he/she chooses to do so. However, it is far better to consider His character.
- “If it were you or me on that mountain and if we had ignored Tommy’s heartbreaking cries, we would be rightly branded a monster, and you say that God’s not like us? I thought that we were made in His image.”
If a believer in that mountain chose to ignore Tommy’s heartbreaking cries, it certainly would be a failure on the believer’s part to do a good work in loving neighbor as self, among other things (Matthew 22:39; see also Ephesians 2:10; Titus 3:8, 14; Galatians 5:14). It would not necessarily mean the one who neglected Tommy Jones is automatically a monster. However, the neglecter certainly would be guilty of failing to preserve life.
As part 1 of this article notes, God is not like us. He is the maker of heaven and earth (Psalm 115:15). Furthermore, He has sovereign control over all things (Colossians 1:16-17; Psalm 135:6; Daniel 4:35). Man cannot claim the same thing, for man, the creation created in God’s image, was made lower than the angels (Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 8:6-8; Hebrews 2:5-8).