God’s Nature Vs. God’s Methods—What’s the Difference?

Is there a difference between God’s nature and God’s methods? I believe that God is infinitely good, but something inside me questions His methods—that perhaps they’re not always in my best interests. So, does that mean I don’t really think that God is all-good, after all?

I sometimes picture God as a mad scientist type, with white hair and a white beard, clipboard in hand and watching over His creation. All of us are like little mice, running to and fro through a gigantic maze. Some of the time it feels that God is controlling all the things going on in the maze. 

“Let’s throw a little rain at them and see how they respond. How about a little cancer here, a little car trouble over there? What do they do then?”

At other times it seems that God isn’t doing anything but standing back and watching everything unfold on its own. I know this deist view isn’t accurate, but sometimes it’s hard not to believe it’s reality. 

Admittedly, it’s hard to picture God as loving when I’m also picturing him as standing back from His creation, aloof and unconcerned about the goings-on of the individuals He is presiding over.

So why do I sometimes see God this way? I believe it’s the sheer silence that we get out of God most of the time. We pray and seek Him, yet for the most part He is silent. At best, we get a barely discernible whisper from within our spirit when He does speak directly to us. 

It seems that if He were interested in us, He would make himself more known to us. Seems like a fair assessment.

I realize I’m being hard on God with this line of reasoning. And I know that his thoughts are higher than my thoughts, so I’ll never understand why He does the things He does and doesn’t do the things he doesn’t. That’s just part of being human.

But just because I don’t understand God’s methods doesn’t mean that I can’t trust him completely. In fact, that is the very essence of faith, isn’t it—to trust God even when there’s no logical reason to do so? I believe that is a solid definition of faith.

In my heart of hearts I know that God is good. I’ve always believed that I think. But that doesn’t mean I always appreciate his methods. Often I feel like things that happen in life ought not to happen, that I go through hardships that I could just as easily do without. 

As they say, “God never wastes a tear,” which means that everything is part of God’s divine purpose and plan. Perhaps I should just accept that and move on. There is no sense getting upset when things don’t go the way I think they should. 

Either I trust God and His methods or I don’t. It’s that simple..

These are problems that I will probably always struggle with; it’s part of human nature to try to figure out the mysteries of life. However, we must not let these thoughts taint our view of the infinitely loving God who created us and who loves us unconditionally.

That’s where faith comes in. 

Just one more question, please…

Am I a closet deist? I think I might be just a little bit. I struggle greatly with the question of how much control God exerts over the world He created.

A big part of me thinks most of the time that God created the natural world and all its many, many systems and now just pretty much lets things take care of themselves.

For example, humans have sex to create more humans. Whether or not a woman conceives is up to one, mighty sperm to break through the walls of her egg. God created all these individual components of the reproductive systems of both the male and the female. Now they do their thing. Conception is totally left up to nature, as are the myriad of other systems in our world, and only rarely does God intervene to change the course of nature (in order words perform a miracle). Why should He have to step in? He set the world up long, long ago, and now it’s running just fine on cruise control.

That’s one theory of mine.

But what if things are not like this? Perhaps God always guides the one sperm He wants to penetrate the egg, having a plan all along to create this one particular individual that He will watch and cheer for from his or her birth, all the way through life, up until the moment of death.

If a lion attacks a group of zebras, snagging a young one in its powerful jaws, is that Providence? Or is it just nature? Or is nature Providence? Does God will that the lion catch the zebra, or is He sitting high up in the stands in Heaven watching all the action take place? He knows what will happen of course, but does it happen because of the excellent programming He put into His world so long ago, or at that moment does He point and say, “That lion will catch that zebra right there”?

Is the world running off of God’s huge program, Universe 1.0, or is God actively calling the shots at each moment for each person?

Perhaps I’m asking too many irrelevant questions. We will never know the answers this side of Heaven, and maybe not even then.