Written by Paul J. Bucknell on September, 09, 2021
The Error of Blaming God: Examining the Righteousness of God
Blaming God for suffering and life troubles reveals an inadequate belief of God.
“To declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” (Psalms 92:15 NASB)
The Psalmist rightly expresses that one of mankind’s chief purposes is to declare God as righteous. Interestingly, we discover more than ever that people blatantly disregard their Creator’s upright nature. They blame and disdain Him for the difficulties in their lives and speak against and think evil of Him.
Consider how a parent might curse God in their heart for taking their seven-year-old son. It’s tragic, no doubt, but why blame God?
We all know people, situations, and shocking events beyond comprehension, but we shouldn’t blame God for them.
- God created the boy and gave him the years that He saw fit.
- Parents assert their insights and judgment superior to God’s.
- And even worse, they consider themselves more holy and wiser than God by replacing God’s standards with their own. (If I were God, I wouldn’t have….)
Those guilty of blaming God reckon themselves as more righteous than God and condemn Him as the cause of the injustice. Let’s consider a moment man’s case.
Man’s Case Against God
Here are a few slanderous accusations brought against God, the Keeper of Justice. (How can people prove God’s unrighteousness when they know so little about God or the spiritual world!)
There are many other distortions of God’s nature, but these provide an adequate sample to understand man’s spurious case against the Lord. Instead of relying on God’s character revealed through His Word, they use their limited understanding and bias to slander God.
- God is unfair because people get sick and die.
- God is partisan, making some rich while others are poor and destitute.
- God is unrighteous because He permits unjust decisions.
- God must be evil to allow evil in the world.
- God is unfaithful, betraying His promise to love us.
What is the common element behind these statements? People question God’s righteousness—even if they don’t use that word. We will come back to each line and reveal the presumptions hiding behind these conclusions, but let’s first look at God’s claim to righteousness.
God Declares His Righteousness
God is just and tells us so, both through His creation and in His Word. God did not need to communicate these things to us. But because He did, it shows His desire to foster proper and healthy mutual understandings.
God interweaves His revealed Word (i.e., Scriptures) and His Son’s life into the history of humankind so that people everywhere would be well warned of the devil, the Accuser. Even Jesus’ mandate to bring the Gospel around the world (cf. Mat 28:18-19) serves to resolve the questions surrounding the accusations of injustice. Just days before this mandate, unrighteous men falsely accused Jesus—even when Pilate tried to convince them otherwise. Jesus the righteous One died unfairly at the hands of unrighteous men. “But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you” (Acts 3:14).
(1) Revealed to People Everywhere
Several places in the Word of God declare the revelation of God’s righteousness to all people, believer and unbeliever alike. Perhaps Paul speaks the clearest here in chapter one of Romans.
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:18-20 NASB).
Note that God expects everyone to be aware of His righteousness, an invisible attribute, from how He has made them. The Lord made human beings in His image—being “evident within them”—making His righteousness quite visible. The presence of courts and trials across the world indicating a person’s innocence or guilt proves this consciousness, though often their judgments are perverted due to bribes (Ecc 5:8).
People, crafting their wrong and crude notions of God, accuse Him wrongly, putting God on trial in their imaginations because they believe they better understand justice.
These accusations, forming part of their excuses, become the way people suppress this awareness. But no matter their excuses, Paul, without reserve, states that all people are without excuse. They know better than to blame God, but still, in their audacity, make it sound like God is at blame.
Before continuing, I should clarify that God takes full responsibility for judging people for their wrongs. God is righteous and can’t unjustly treat anyone.
(2) Revealed to His People
God’s people, at times, also maliciously accuse God of wrongdoing, silently or aloud. This should come to a complete stop, starting with a prayer of repentance. Only then will our minds and words cease functioning as a convenient back alley for Satan’s untrue, accusatory remarks to enter the world.
I used to be open to people’s criticism of God, telling them that it’s okay to state such things. I no longer consider this the best way to handle bitter grievances against God, having better thought through these comments and the purposes for our lives.
For us to withstand the accusatory lies of the evil one, we need proper knowledge about God, providing strong insulation from the evil one, the Accuser, who diligently keeps us from relying on our professed Lord (Rev 12:10).
The Lord uses His Word to deepen our understanding of the spiritual world. We, like sheep, need to be guarded by our Shepherd’s words (1 Peter 5:4). After all, what do we know about the spiritual world? The Lord sees all things and specializes in paving the “path of justice” in real space and time.
“With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding? And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge and informed Him of the way of understanding?” (Isaiah 40:14 NASB)
No one can teach the Lord anything, let alone lessons on what is proper and correct. God is the supreme Judge.
Faith in Christ allows our minds to understand the creation, the fall, the selection of God’s people, the judgment of God’s people, the prophecies, the cross, Judgment Day, and Jesus’ return. It’s all so marvelous when we step back and deliberate on God’s supreme knowledge. What are we to learn?
“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Being Light, God is fully transparent and just. God is transparent as possible without destroying us but welcomes the righteous into His presence (Heb 12:14).
The cross becomes an emerging focal point, a centerpiece of God’s manifestation of love in history. By applying the redemptive grid (above) to our lives, we get to look at time’s focal point when the Son of God died for the lost. The dots symbolize unjust and unfair experiences in our lives. For Old Testament saints, this means all of these experiences would occur before the cross, while the cross becomes the backdrop of all the affairs of the New Testament saints, including the evil they face.
This is not a minor statement. I think we can safely assume hundreds of unjust cases take place in one’s country—every year. If we in include domestic rudeness, impoliteness, beatings, etc., we probably need to lift that figure to the thousands—every day in every country. The pain is incalculable, but God sees it all.
He discerns the pain deserved and received. He equally sees these actions in light of people’s past, accompanied by their evil motivations. Jesus is Judge and purposes to come soon to straighten out these matters.
“He gave Him (Jesus) authority to execute judgment because He is the Son of Man” (John 5:27).
The Lord reveals His Word so that we can better understand who He is and how He operates. God wants us to have a proper understanding of Himself so that the Accuser does not dupe us.
The cross removes any of the arguments that God doesn’t understand pain, poverty, and suffering. As the Righteous One unjustly accused and served an unjust sentence of death, we no longer have a right to question why He allows unjust cases, bribery, payoffs, etc.—even if we don’t understand.
“But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death.” (Matthew 27:20)
“And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”” (Matthew 27:29)
Just consider one war, where, perhaps, one million people perish or are wounded on the field fighting for what they thought a just cause. These statistics don’t even account for the psychological wounds from war, personal loss, physical affliction, etc.
So why does man, plagued with sin and unrighteousness—even those who deny God’s existence—so confidently blame God for the world’s problems?
People often blame God because they end up losing someone or something along the way. Perhaps some aren’t thinking and just shout out the pain of their loss. Others believe God was responsible for interfering or not interfering. After all, they prayed for the now lost one. Or they might have hoped that something so evil might never have happened. All sorts of trauma interject great pain.
Blaming God is not the correct response, however, no matter how tragic the affair. Seek justice. Be just. But don’t blame God for the evil that otherwise has resulted. He is our only assurance of true justice and can fully trust our just God to set things right on Judgment Day rightly—a day He repeatedly asserts is coming.
The phrase “Day of the Lord” and many phrases about judgment are scattered from Genesis to Revelation. It is in this sovereign, just, and wise time that Jesus will fully exercise His judgment and sentence people for their sins. “But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:7).
I believe, however, that many will no longer want God’s righteous judgment when they see themselves standing across from the Lord’s throne appointing their sentences.
Five Cases Needing Judgment
Let me return to the earlier cases brought up. I do not pretend to be a righteous judge but only share insights from God’s Word on life’s tragic affairs.
People get sick and die because of their own sin (Rom 3:23). All have sinned. Sin came into the world through man’s sin.
God positions people as He wishes. As the Potter sitting at the wheel of creation, He makes some rich and poor (Rom 9:21). God decides what is good and acceptable. The Father chose to have His Son, the Righteous One, Jesus, to live as the poorest.
No unjust decision will miss God’s scrutiny. This is an issue of patience. For Him, patience brings further mercy into the world; He and we all must endure more injustice (1Pet 3:20; 2Pet 3:15).
Quite the contrary. “God is light, and in Him, there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). From the Scriptures we read of the most favorably treated angel, Lucifer, alias Satan and the devil, who turned to the dark and lured mankind into sin (Ez 28; Isa 14).
- God is unfair because people get sick and die.
- God is partisan, making some rich, while others poor and destitute.
- God is unrighteous because He permits unjust decisions.
- God must be evil to allow evil in the world.
True, God made man in His image with a will, but this is not to be taken as contributing in evil. People have a will and are liable for the exercise of their wills.
We long to have the best for our children. This emotion and love are understood. God does too, but He does grieve over many of our foolish decisions which bring negative consequences (Eph 4:30). God places us to plead, seek, and create fine things for our loved ones but also our enemies (Mat 5:44). God’s grand perspective includes His good purposes for our lives (Eph 2:10).
- God is unfaithful, betraying His promised love to me.
God is Righteous Altogether
Instead of leaving a bad taste, just barely tolerating God’s righteousness, we should admire His justice and righteousness. The Psalmist declares,
“The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether” (Psalm 19:9).
It’s erroneous to attach the patience of God with disregard. God introduces Himself as righteous and just. Perhaps, we don’t understand His purposes or timing, but this breach of understanding of God’s purposes does not give us the confidence to blame God.
“Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me.” (Isaiah 45:21)
The Lord asserts there is “none except Me.” He alone is righteous, perfectly carrying about His plan and people in a just way.
“O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous; For the righteous God tries the hearts and minds” (Psalm 7:9)
The trying of hearts and minds speaks of the thorough nature of His righteousness; nothing escapes His notice. God takes note even of the plots of evil against you or another. All will be held accountable on that Day (2 Peter 3:7). The settling of accounts is necessary and right; God’s righteous nature assures this (1 John 4:17).
Evaluating Our Responses
We need to seriously consider, however, our response to God for our sins and ways.
“Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Rom 2:4)
Many people blame God for the wrong of others but never considered how patient God has been with them. The Lord has been very patient. He has delayed the pouring out of His wrath.
Consider the evil city, the center of violence in Assyria that God sent Jonah. Jonah withdrew his willingness to serve God when asked to preach repentance to warn the evil city of Nineveh. Jonah believed His sense of judgment was more accurate than God’s. In the end, Jonah did preach repentance and the people repented. God spared those people at that time; His divine patience brought an opportunity for evil people to correct their wrongs.
“Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him” (Isaiah 30:18).
Here’s an exercise. List the number of good things you experienced because Jesus delayed His return. If God judged me at my first sin, I would have died and never have found salvation. But here I am with many millions, all who have experienced this wonderful forgiveness of our sins.
“For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said, “In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength.” But you were not willing” (Isaiah 30:15).
To wish for justice is fine but also pray for the lost that they might repent and come to know the Lord. We need God’s mercy as God’s severe judgment is coming.
“Behold, the name of the Lord comes from a remote place; Burning is His anger and dense is His smoke; His lips are filled with indignation and His tongue is like a consuming fire” (Isaiah 30:27).
In conclusion, let me warn you of the sin that we hide behind our condemnation of others. If we hated sin, would we not also dislike our sin? Why is it that we end up condemning others, wanting quick retribution, but easy on ourselves?
“Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things” (Rom 2:1-2).
It appears that we overlook our sins when condemning others. Is this not why everyone blaming the woman caught in adultery left (John 8:1-11)?
God has a careful eye for all injustice.
Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and the justice due me escapes the notice of my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable.” (Isaiah 40:27-28)
The Lord is not impartial because we think we are better than another. He will equally distribute His hatred on our sins. Don’t hide your unrighteousness by pretending righteousness. “His understanding is inscrutable.”
We rightly want injustice to be vindicated, the wrong turned to right, but we also wish the abounding mercy of God to spread His skirt of salvation over those that are perishing.
Let’s not miss this opportunity, like the Psalmist, to put aside any faults in God and find Him wholly righteous. God’s righteousness means that we can put our full confidence in Him as Savior and Judge.
“To declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” (Psalms 92:15)
Discussion Questions on God’s Justice
- What is justice?
- Is it wrong to long for justice in this evil world? Explain.
- Who is the Accuser? Name the verse that identifies him.
- What are a few reasons people blame God for evil?
- Pick one case (of the five) and write a biblical response.
- Why is God’s patience so important?
- Why is God’s judgment so crucial?
- How do God’s patience and judgment interplay?
Other readings by Paul Bucknell on God’s Justice
On Blaming God
Consider how some believers quietly blame God for the hard situation that they have to endure. And so, although, they are humbled by their ...
We blame God for not understanding. Those who reside in self-pity have not faced severe enough consequences to make them really want to face reality.
James’ chief point is to move us from blaming God to putting the full blame for sin on our own lives. If I lusted for a woman, then it was not Playboy, ...
God wants us to know what happens behind heaven’s curtains so that we will never blame God for the difficult things that come into our lives when we seek to ...
God ordained your circumstances (though you can’t blame God on your foolish decisions!) He works through weakness. God can instill a joyful song in my heart ...
Samuel first discussed how God made Saul, an unknown personality, head over the tribes of Israel. Then the Lord made him King. God even sent him on a mission ...
God’s greatness and power is not dependent upon my feelings. He is loving even ... When trouble occurs, we get confused and usually blame God. In fact, we ...
I suggest that Moses even believed his way supported God’s purposes. ... blame ( outward accusations from others), self-righteous people must ...
Is God to blame for all that goes on in life—especially the bad? Why should he allow evil to happen? Sometimes we talk as if God is the only player in our world!
Suffering under God’s Watch
They also chose not to blame God for their situation but that God’s treatment as just. To be honest, no longer should the world esteem our country or our dollar.
Injustice, the opposite focus of principle and love, ushers in this decline. ... Dark deception enables them to accuse others of injustice while …
Our ‘revenge’ would bring about more injustice! Those who carry out revenge directly disobey the scriptures. They interfere with God’s rule when they try to carry …
A. Distress [Nehemiah 5:1-6) Three Desperate Cries Injustice B. Action ( Nehemiah 5:7-13) One Lonely Voice Confrontation C. Preservation (Nehemiah 5: 14-19) ...
Purpose of Luke 8:11-15 A sad picture of social injustice and fatherlessness reveals through statistics how when the word of God does not grow up nice ‘crops ‘ ...
His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.” Deuteronomy 32:4, NASB. “For the word of ...
God would soon satisfy this great injustice. Isaiah 53, the fourth and last of the Servant Songs depicting the Messiah, paints a very confusing picture. We cannot ...
They see suffering and injustice. They accuse God of powerlessness, lack of compassion and even being unjust. Puzzle pieces These opponents of the Lord are …
Theology of Suffering and Injustice
People often complain of the injustice of judgment, but in fact, judgment brings justice to its zenith because justice is completely served. Sinners have no idea ...
Finding Peace in Terrible Times shows a few steps through which one can find peace in times of horror and injustice.
While others wonder why God hasn’t done more to stop the increasing injustice about us. Let’s see what the scriptures say! This biblical study on God’s wrath ...
Satan and what we now call demons are formerly ‘good’ angels. They are now ‘bad’ angels. (Isaiah 14:12-15, Ezekiel 28:12-19; Jude 6).