Modern radical skeptics and atheists seem to have a great issue with God not explaining Himself fully. They react to passages where God declares things, makes judgements against people without taking the time to explain. One example is how God treats the people of Canaan, where God declares capital punishment against these people without taking the time to spoon feed the answer so that every atheist will like it. (There is a clear explanation, however, which you can find here, and here, and here. )
We can learn a few things about how God operates from the book of Job. At the beginning of the book, the heavenly beings, including Satan, are presenting themselves before God. God approaches Satan and brings up the subject of Job, asking “Have you considered my servant Job?” Satan protests that God has protected Job, so God says Satan can attack the things around Job, but not touch Job. Satan does his dirty work, then God again approaches Satan with the same question, “Have you considered my servant Job?” Satan protests against God’s protection of Job, so God lowers the protection, only protecting Job’s life.
Job then spends three dozen chapters essentially saying the same thing as the modern skeptics and atheists: if God would only show Himself and let me ask a few questions, we could work out why all this pain is happening. Well, God finally shows up in all His power and glory. Job is so overwhelmed that he is unable to respond. But what is most interesting is that God does not explain Himself. If we were to give a summary in modern vernacular, God is saying ‘Who do you think you are, questioning Me?’
What’s the point? We can learn several things. First, at the beginning God is in complete and total control. He controls how far Satan can go, and Satan cannot cause evil unless God allows it. Second, God brings up the subject of Job. Third, Satan is doing all the evil, but God appears to have some purpose for His actions of allowing it. Fourth, the bulk of the book has Job and his friends giving very similar arguments as people do today. Fifth, and most importantly, God does not explain Himself. He merely responds as if to say ‘trust Me.’
This is no surprise, nor do we question it with ourselves. Imagine the following conversation, which would happen countless times:
Mom: Johnny, please do what I told you.
Mom: Because I said so.
Johnny: You’re not fair!
Johnny swears he will never say this when he grows up, yet when he does grow up, he finds himself saying the same thing to his kids. Why is this? Because children cannot grasp all the reasons why parents do things, and even if we gave them an explanation, they would not accept it. So if we as human parents can easily understand that we do not give the child an explanation because they would not understand nor accept the answer, why is it a surprise when we hear the same from God? We as parents have very reasonable explanations for giving unexplained orders to our children, and we are not surprised when they rebel against our commands. Yet when God does the same to us, somehow we accuse God of being arbitrary and evil. We are like four year old Johnny, telling our Father He is unfair, and all He responds with is “Trust Me. Do it because I said so.”
Is it really a surprise that an infinite God does not give full explanations to finite, rebellious beings? The atheists are correct in one thing: God will maintain His authority, and not bend to their demands.