There comes a time in every person’s life when the tough questions must be answered. My time came when I was six years old. With firm resolve and unwavering determination I trekked down to the garage and presented the challenge to Dad, who was working on his car. It was time I got some answers and they had better be good.
“Dad . . .” I paused for dramatic effect. “Where did I come from?”
Without lifting his head from beneath the hood of the car, he dished out my first setback. “Go ask your mother.”
Not quite what I was expecting— nor something I had a comeback for, at that age anyway.
At least I knew where to refocus my attention—back up the stairs and into the kitchen.
“Mom . . .” dramatic pause number two. “Where did I come from?”
Mom turned away from her flurry of kitchen activity and looked into my eyes. Bingo. The quest for truth would be accomplished. “Go ask your dad.”
This was all too much for the processor in my six-year-old head. I had just been sent on an infinite loop and I didn’t know how to handle such complexities. This was far more than I could deal with and I sadly had to postpone my quest until later.
Of course, later was only five minutes away when I bumped into my older sister. At seven and a half, she was bound to have all of life’s answers. I quickly fired my question— no more dramatic pauses. “Where did I come from?”
“The birds and the bees,” she answered with confidence and a touch of self-importance. Of course— the birds and the bees. So simple! Why hadn’t I thought of that?
With my questions answered, it was time to get back to work— my Matchbox cars were in need of a long-overdue maintenance round.
The “Why” Questions
We chuckle at recollections of childhood memories but are grateful for the many sensible answers we find along life’s journey. But while many questions are answered, the passage of time seems to bring even more queries. While children ask questions relating to the “how,” “when,” and “where,” as adults we begin to ask questions in the “why” sector.
Why did I end up being who I am, as I am, where I am? Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? Why do bad people seem to prosper? Why is there so much pain and suffering? Why, why, why?
Yet as adults, who can we turn to with these myriad questions? Science can’t answer our “why” questions. Philosophy only confuses the issue. Psychology sends us into ourselves and our past. All too often we come up empty.
Bible alone offers hope. Yet it doesn’t answer all our questions. It tells us who we are—children of God (see 1 John 3:1); where we came from—created by God (see Genesis 1:27); and where we are going—to be with God (see John 14:1–3).
But some of the “why” questions, especially relating to our individual lives, remain unanswered. For such questions, the Bible simply tells us to trust in God because He has all the answers. And just as parents might not go into the “birds and the bees” story with a six-year-old, so too God does not give us all the answers in this lifetime.
So will we ever find answers to our questions? Will we ever understand Why? The Bible responds with a resounding Yes. God, in His infinite wisdom, has provided ample question and answer time, when every question we have will receive a fair hearing and an honest answer.
The Bible’s Answer
The Bible clearly reveals that when Jesus comes back the second time to put an end to sin and suffering, He will take those who know, love, and obey Him to heaven (see 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17). But what will we do there?
The last book of the Bible tells us. The prophet writes, “I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge” (Revelation 20:4).
So who is it that will be allowed to judge? The verse continues: “And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.”
Those who judge are human beings who have been faithful to Jesus. They have trusted Him in spite of the fact that they didn’t have all the answers. And now, in heaven, judgment is entrusted to them. But who and what are they judging? Doesn’t God already know everything? Does He need humans to judge anything or anyone?
Who Does the Judging?
The truth is that God does know everything, and He doesn’t need our help to make up His mind about anything. However, the judgment spoken of about here is not a time for us to condemn and pass sentence on anyone. The purpose of this judgment is to provide us with time to review God’s dealings with humanity—His fairness, His justice, and His methods. God will open heaven’s “books”—the records of history and of each human life— and we can ask every “why” question we ever had.
Why did I get cancer in the prime of life? Why did you let my child die? Why didn’t You make me a millionaire? Why did all those children in Africa die? Why was there so much pain and devastation, and where were You amidst all that?
For an entire millennium, God will provide answers until all our questions are exhausted. And His answers will satisfy us. He won’t send us elsewhere to find answers to our questions. He will show us His marvelous work in our lives and His overwhelming effort to get us home to heaven with Him. Only then will we begin to understand His patience, love, mercy, and grace toward us.
I also expect that, as our present list of questions is answered, a few new ones will arise. For example, as we enjoy the wonders of heaven we will begin to look for family members and friends. Some will be there, but others, we will sadly discover, are not present.
Where are they? Why aren’t they here? We may shed tears over these missing loved ones. God’s response will be to let us see matters from His perspective. As we review the lives of these loved ones in heaven’s record books, we will see the merciful way He has dealt with them. God will show us the countless appeals He has made to them. We will see the many times He knocked on their hearts’ doors and the repeated rejections He received in response. We will see how those who are lost spurned every invitation for salvation, and we will understand they are missing from heaven because they refused to trust in Jesus.
And as God shows us the reasons for the absence of our friends and loved ones, our tears will be wiped away. Though at times the investigation will be painful, it will bring healing to know that God did everything possible for the salvation and happiness of our loved ones. As our questions are answered one by one, a single question will loom large in the hearts of everyone in heaven: “How did we get into this terrible mess of sin and death anyway? Who started it and why didn’t God prevent it?”
The Origin of Evil
Again, God will let us investigate how the great controversy between good and evil began. We will view Lucifer’s original rebellion in heaven when he and his supporters (see 1 Corinthians 6:3) willfully rebelled against God and brought pain and misery to our planet. We will see how God encouraged Lucifer and his army to repent, but they refused.We will see the ultimate result of selfishness and the pain it has caused throughout world history.
Then we will fully understand why God must put a final end to Satan, sin, and unrepentant sinners. Then we will completely comprehend the need to exterminate this vile cancer of sin before it destroys all life. Then we will have all of our questions answered, and we will be able to rest content knowing that God is love and God is fair—every time, all the time. And with one voice we will sing: “ ‘Just and true are your ways, / King of the ages’ ” (Revelation 15:3).