Is Christian God powerless?
A curious statement I heard often during my Christian years was this: “God first needs to break a person before he can bring them to him.” I can remember feeling as though I understood perfectly what was being communicated here. These days, however, I’m not so sure. The statement raises many questions and a couple of red flags. First of all, is God limited in his power? Is he not able to draw anyone to him at any time? Are there only certain conditions under which God can be persuasive? These questions only beg a darker question: if breaking a human is God’s preferred method of drawing his creations to him, why doesn’t he break everyone?
“He does,” you might say. “But not everyone responds in the correct way.” Is that so? Well, doesn’t this suggest, then, that God is somewhat powerless in comparison to us? Doesn’t this mean that we can actually outsmart, outwit, and thwart the intentions of God? Exactly how much does God want everyone to be saved? Or is it that he doesn’t actually want everyone to be saved, he only wants some people to be saved? If that is the case, why bother creating those humans he doesn’t want with him for eternity? Why create a being specifically for the purpose of inhabiting and populating a realm of everlasting torment that you created? Furthermore, if the Bible is accurate in its assertions (a generous statement on our part, which we will not yet explore), then we must also observe that anyone who ultimately comes to God does so because God made it happen (see such passages as 1 Corinthians 12:6, Philippians 2:13 and Ephesians 1:4-5). But this seems to imply that God makes it happen for some but doesn’t make it happen for others. Why? Is this fair? Is this justice? Is this good? Is this love? Moreover, is this really free will?
I cannot speak for you, but I know that I certainly came to Christianity as a result of a terrible need. I was broken and I needed something or someone to put me back together again. At the time, my new Christian friends told me that it was God who had engineered this brokenness. It was God who had orchestrated this need. It was God who was using my pain to draw me to him so I could be healed. I smiled and nodded and agreed—after all, such thoughts made me feel quite special. I never once asked, “Why me?” It never once occurred to me that this special favor being accorded to me wasn’t necessarily being accorded to everyone. And if I had known then what I know now, I would have politely declined the statements of my Christian friends and said, “If everyone can’t have it, I don’t want it. I don’t want to be that special.”