I heard a man the other day say that there are some things that God cannot do. Is that so or not?
<ANSWER>–In the very nature of things there are some things that it would be impossible for God, the great Creator, to do. Some say that it would be impossible for God to create two hills without a valley; however, we believe this could easily be accomplished by putting one hill on top of the other. The Bible itself tells of some things beyond the range of Divine possibilities. For instance, the Apostle Paul (`Heb. 6:13`) says that God could “swear by no other greater than Himself.” Since the Lord God is the Supreme Being of the universe and none therefore greater than He, the truth of the Apostle’s words is evident. Again we are informed that “He cannot deny Himself (`2 Tim. 2:13`). Because of His immutability or unchangeableness (`Jam. 1:17`) it would be impossible for the Lord God to deny Himself, or to do any wrong in any sense. The Divine character of Wisdom, Justice, Love and Power could never be altered or swayed in the slightest degree. This gives us confidence indeed that all of the Divine purposes will be accomplished exactly as prearranged from before the foundation of the earth. “Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world.” (`Acts 15:18`.)
If God is a God of love, as the Bible tells us, how can we understand His command to the children of Israel to utterly destroy their enemies, men, women, and children? (B.R.)
<ANSWER>–The Land of Canaan belonged to the Israelites as it had been given to Abraham and promised to his seed as an everlasting possession. The Philistines, Amorites and others who inhabited the land at the time when Moses under Divine direction led the Israelites out of Egypt, were a semi-barbarous race whose sins and iniquities had come to the full. It was because they had become so depraved that the Lord saw that it would be best to destroy them. Let us suppose that a people, occupying the land of Canaan today, were to become so degraded and corrupt that they were a menace to civilization, robbing and massacring innocent people, and in all ways being obnoxious both to themselves and to other nations. Would it be thought an unwise, unjust, or unloving arrangement for the Lord to cause their removal and entire destruction in order to make way for the establishment of the Israelites in their own land? Many of the prophecies of the Scriptures clearly indicate such a development of affairs, and that the Israelites have been gathered back into their own country from the uttermost parts of the earth. (See `Jer.32:36-44`.) Reverting to the question: we see women and children, young and old, dying off in multitudes every day with but very little evidence of the Lord’s love in any direction. However, the Lord has arranged in His plan of salvation a time and a way when all the race shall be delivered from the death conditions–`Isa. 35:8-10`; `Rev. 21:3-5`.
Can you explain these two passages of Scripture: `John 1:18`, “No man hath seen God at any time;” and `John 14:9`, “Ye that have seen me, have seen my Father also?” (L.M.)
<ANSWER>–The first expression should be understood in the concrete sense. No mortal being could see the Lord God and live–“Whom no man hath seen, nor can see.” The last expression, to be understood in harmony with the first, should be considered in the abstract. As it was impossible for the Lord’s followers to actually see God, the Heavenly Father, the only way then in which they could see God was in the representative sense. Our Lord Jesus, fully and perfectly represented the Father. He was God manifested in the flesh. The Father’s love, and mercy, justice, and wisdom, were all manifest in the Life and teachings of the Lord Jesus. Those then, who became acquainted with the Lord Jesus, were made acquainted with the Father. The Lord Jesus never claimed to be the Heavenly Father personally; but always taught that He was the Son of God. The Scriptures declare that God sent His only begotten Son into the world. God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself in the same sense in which He will be “all in all” when the Son shall have delivered up the Kingdom to the Father at the close of Christ’s millennial reign.–`1 Cor. 15:17,28`.
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart; and the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created, from the face of the earth.” If God is omniscient, knowing the end from the beginning, how could He REPENT of His course in creating man?
<ANSWER>–The word “repent” means “To change the mind, or course of conduct, on account of regret or dissatisfaction with what has occurred.” The question then is, Did God change His mind (plan) or His course of conduct? We claim that, knowing the end from the beginning, God’s mind could not be changed; hence “repent” in this text must signify change of conduct. That is, God did change His course of dealing with man because of man’s wickedness, which grieved Him, but He did not change His mind or plans, because these plans had from the very first recognized the corrupting and degrading tendency of sin, and provided (in purpose of mind) the Lamb of God–“slain from the foundation of the world” — as the redemption price. (`Rev. 13:8`; `Rev. 17:8`.)
Please explain why the Scriptures refer to God’s special care over the fatherless and the widow and says nothing about the widower and the motherless? It seems to me that where the wife and mother is taken away it is much sadder than where the husband and father is removed from the family circle.
<ANSWER>–In many places in the Scriptures the expression “fatherless,” in the original language in which the Bible was written, has the significance of bereaved or orphans. The thought is that the Lord’s special care and compassion are over the weak, helpless and the bereaved ones, and not that He has less consideration for the motherless than for the fatherless. We read “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion; slow to anger and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all; and His tender mercies are over all His works. The Lord raiseth them that are bowed down: the Lord loveth the righteous, and preserveth the stranger; He relieveth the fatherless and widow; but the way of the wicked He turneth upside down”–`Psa. 145:9,10`; `Psa. 146:8,9`. Again we read “A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” (`Psa. 51:17`.) All those who are mourning and sorrowful, who will draw nigh unto God through Christ, will be comforted whether they are motherless or fatherless; widowers or widows.