Q&A: Is God dead?

Is God dead?

Question

Is God dead? It seems with so much evil in the world that he must be dead.

Answer

German philosopher and passionate atheist Friedrich Nietzsche is famous for making the statement, "God is dead! God remains dead!" (The Gay Science, Book III - Aphorism # 125). At first glance, this isn’t a very sound statement for an atheist to make as at face value it actually acknowledges that God at one time did exist! However, what he meant was that the "idea" of God was dead, that the Enlightenment had eliminated the possibility of the existence of God. Nietzsche believed that the "idea" of God was no longer necessary because man was evolving and could master his own morality, life, etc.

However, the "idea" that God is dead naturally leads to some perplexing problems for atheists. For instance:

1. If God is dead, there would be no ultimate justice. Indeed, there could be no universal standard by which to judge all men. Therefore, there can never be absolute justice for all the injustices that have taken place in the world. The child molester will never be fully judged. The rapist will never get what they ultimately deserve. In death, the murderer walks free. So, the atheist’s religion is one with no answers to evil, injustices, and all other wrongs committed against all humanity – and God himself. At best, it’s a religion that must ultimately admit it is satisfied with all the injustices in the world.

2. If God is dead then there is no real purpose to life. Sleep, work, play and die. Is that all there is to life? Really? Isn't there something missing? What is the real purpose to life? Why are we here? But we do have purpose. All those called by the Lord are created for his glory (Isa. 43:7, 21). As Revelation 4:11 says, "Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created."

Psalm 14:1 says, "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God'" (Psa. 14:1; 53:1). Nietzsche and others have believed Satan, the master of lies (cf. John 8:44). Peter warned that some would spread "damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction" (2 Pet. 2:1, KJV).

God cannot die. God is immortal (1 Tim. 6:16). He has no beginning and no end; he’s "from everlasting to everlasting" (Psa. 90:2; cf. Rev. 1:8). God laid the foundations of the world (Psa. 102:24-25). He is who continually holds this universe together. Colossians 1:17 tells us, "He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together" (NLT). Consider how we’re not too far from the sun, nor are we too close, but are at the precise distance that supports life. According to the Bible, that anyone can even ask, "Is God dead?" proves beyond doubt that God does exist, because that person couldn’t exist and ask the question if God wasn't keeping everything going! (cf. Psa. 75:3; Job 38:1-41).

Still, some will insist that the earth simply has a stable orbit. But I ask you who made and sustains our orbit? Do you really think it was all just one big, huge happenstance that millions upon millions of different processes just happened and are all precisely coordinated together to make life as we presently know it? Look at the human body. "The heart pumps 6 quarts of blood, circulating three times every minute. In one day your blood travels a total of 12,000 miles... The liver works hard at over 400 functions, including detoxification, protein synthesis, and the production of biochemicals necessary for digestion... Our eyes can distinguish up to one million color surfaces and take in more information than the largest existing telescope." [1] Do you really think all these things (and millions of others) just happened by chance? There is intelligent design and the Designer is at work.

I agree that there is an incredible amount of evil in the world. It’s beyond what even you and I can even measure or imagine. Even one evil has numerous tentacles and, like a snowball rolling downhill, affects countless persons and situations. Though it’s rather long, God keeps a running tab. He’s omniscient. He knows everything. And one day all the evils and injustices in this world – initiated by Satan and put into play by man – will be ultimately judged.

God is faithful (Num. 23:19). He keeps his promises (Deut. 7:9). John wrote in Revelation 20:11-15 (cf. Rev. 22:12):

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

That’s not going to be pleasant. And it’s eternal! But that day is approaching. It’s going to happen. Evil will finally be judged in its entirety.

However, there will also be a new heaven and a new earth (Rev. 21:1) where there will be no evil and absolutely no injustices, and God "will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away" (Rev. 21:4). We don’t know when, but that day is approaching. It’s almost here (Heb. 10:25; 2 Pet. 3:12).

God is not dead.

"He who testifies to these things says, 'Surely I am coming soon.' Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!" (Rev. 22:20).

Footnote

[1] 10 Miraculous Things About Your Body. (https://www.allprodad.com/10-miraculous-things-about-your-body/). Last Accessed 29 April 2021.

Related Topics

What is evil?
Why the possibility of evil in creation?
God can't die, but Jesus died, so how can he be God?
Sin had not reached its full measure?

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).