Response to Oren Piper's primary points on God
Oren Piper's letters to the editor dated June 30, 2021, and July 14, 2021, made two major claims regarding God. First, he claimed that in the Bible, God allows and even directs the killing of people of all ages. Second, that Christians think with corrupt and depraved minds. While I agree with both of these claims, I disagree with the conclusions that Piper draws from them. What Piper concludes is that if God commands the killing of people of all ages, then He is a monster and unworthy of worship, and if Christians think with corrupt and depraved minds, then Christians cannot be trusted. I want to analyze these claims.
First, let's start with his claim about God. If God allows and causes deaths, is he evil? This is interesting because, historically, orthodox Christians have believed it is God's right and role to give and take life as He chooses and such taking of life is not an evil act by God. To presume to know better than God on matters of life and death is not something they would do. For Christians, we understand that death and suffering are consequences of sin -- sin by humanity, not by God.
That's understandably difficult for non-Christians to comprehend. Christians understand God to be God, which means He is categorically different from us, and God to be sovereign, which means that He possesses all authority. We do not have sovereignty; we cannot command things to be different than they are. Only God can do so. Further, God cannot sin, because that would contradict His nature.
So what does this mean about evil? Piper cited Isaiah 45:7 in the King James Version, in which God says, "I make peace, and create evil." That's an Elizabethan era translation -- the word for evil is better translated as "disaster," meaning natural calamities as opposed to immoral action. Again, these exist in the world because of our sin, not God's. In his letters, Piper seems to think he can charge God with evil, and so anyone who follows God must be corrupt. I agree that Christians are corrupt, but so is the whole human race. So should no one have governmental roles?
All Christians are works in progress by God, but that doesn't disprove Christianity -- in fact it proves it, because Christianity teaches that humans are corrupt, but redeemable through Jesus Christ. That redemption is the Christian hope.