I was very interested in Bill Hallinan's response to my article "Is Donald Trump A Christian?" It seems that he holds true Christians in very high esteem, and Jesus Christ as a hero! For an atheist, that's huge! He brought up one very good question that I would like to comment on: "I can't for the life of me see how the postulate of an Almighty God helps us in any way. What I do see is that this assumption leads to such unproductive questions as why God allows such misery and injustice, the exploitation of the poor by the rich and all the other horrors He might have prevented."

This is a stumbling block for many people. If one does not know (or believe) the history of mankind as recorded in the Bible, one would be in the dark on this question. God chose to give mankind free will. The first man and woman, Adam and Eve, were given a choice of obeying God or not. God's enemy, Satan, tested them. Of their own free will, they chose to disobey. From that point on, humankind was born into bondage to Satan, by nature doing what he wants, and Satan is described as a one who kills, steals and destroys. Humanity became slaves to God's enemy. The Bible refers to Satan as "the god of this world." All the evil that happens is the result of that.

When Christ came to earth, he did not fight against the abusive Romans. He came to fight and defeat Satan and set us free from him. Jesus taught people about the one true God and about His ways. He is the God of all mercy, but He is also just. He does not exact full mercy or justice until our lives end. He does not grant mercy because we have behaved like Jesus all our lives, but rather because we have confessed that we are separated from God and believe that Jesus came to earth to pay the price for our wrong-doing. Jesus stood in our place at Calvary and took our punishment upon Himself. He represented US when He was on that cross. All who believe in Him are granted mercy. All who refuse to believe in Him receive justice - the punishment for our misbehavior and disobedience to God. He cast down the "god of this world". He defeated Satan's hold on us and gave us the choice of whom we would follow: God or the devil. We are not free agents: we must choose one.

Could God intervene in the misery caused by Adam's and Eve's disobedience? Yes! And sometimes He does. He usually uses people to halt injustice and to bring relief. Christians are called to cooperate with God's plan to help those who are suffering, not just by telling them of Jesus, but also by helping as we are able. But God cannot always find a Christian to do His work and stop the pain.

Does God use nonbelievers, too? Yes. He does. I do not know how everything works in the end, but the Bible tells us that there is a reward for those who help others who are in need. We are not told what that reward will be. But we do know that no one enters heaven unless they have committed their lives to Jesus.

So Bill, thank you for expressing such a high opinion of Jesus and those who truly follow Him! I hope my response answers that one question you voiced.

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Sheri Schofield

Helena

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