The atheist, agnostic, and skeptic alike assert that God’s apparent inactivity in the universe support the idea that there is no God. If the New Testament repeatedly encourages Christ’s followers to be ready for His return, and about 2,000 years have passed and still no return it could make a person wonder. Furthermore, if God is good, and there is abundant evil on the planet that God allows to exist without returning to make things right doesn’t it show that God doesn’t exist? Or at the very least, that God is a slacker? This type of argument might cause unrest. But is God really a slacker?
Is God slack in regard to His activity in the world?
In the Creation account, we read that God rested from His work on the seventh day: Thus, the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. 2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made [Gen. 2:1-3].
Deism believes that God created the universe but remains apart from it and permits his creation to administer itself through natural laws. In essence, God started the system, walked away, and is not active in the world. But is God slack in regard to His activity in the world?
Jesus repeatedly affirmed that both He and God the Father had been actively working in the world:
And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” [Lu. 2:49].
But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working” [Jn. 5:17].
We presume that Jesus knows the work of God. What we might not realize is that God is constantly working in the supernatural realm in very natural ways. God doesn’t need to perform miracles to be working. Furthermore, we shouldn’t expect an extensive array of miracles as a normative practice. A review of the Bible reveals that there is marked increase in miraculous events in relation to God signaling a transition to another phase of His redemptive plan. For example, Moses and the Exodus, Joshua and the Promised Land, Elijah and Elisha and the judgment of Israel, Jesus and the Disciples and the New Covenant, and the two witnesses of Revelation 11 in connection with Christ’s return. Accordingly, we can expect a marked increase in miraculous events just prior to Christ’s Second Coming. And in the interim, we should expect God to work primarily in seemingly natural ways to accomplish His supernatural work in the world.
Is God slacking in regard to Christ’s Second Coming?
Preliminarily, I never heard an atheist or non-believer lament the apparent delay in Christ’s return. The believer’s angst is often related to the overwhelming nature of life in a fallen world. There are problems of: false messiahs, false prophets, wars, famine, disease, earthquakes, persecution, falling away from the faith, and unreached people groups that need to be reached, etc. In Jesus’ Olivet Discourse [Matt. 24] He encouraged His disciples that these conditions would exist prior to His Second Coming, but they were akin to birth pangs or labor pains. The existence of these problems is painful but signal a joyous event for believers – the return of Christ.
As believers, we are now “in the club.” So, we are ready for Jesus to come, put an end to wickedness, and usher in a better than restored Creation. Yet, we may neglect to realize that if Christ came 10, 20, 40, 60, or 100 years ago most of us would not have been included among the Church that is spared the wrath of God. Accordingly, what may be perceived as God slacking may more accurately be seen as His patient endurance to allow as many as possible to repent, and be spared,
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance [2 Pet. 3:9].
Although Christ’s delay allows evil to continue, we must recall that the presence of evil in our world is a result of man’s rebellion against God [Gen. 3], and is not God’s fault. God has chosen to delay for a reason. Just as certain as the destruction of the temple, foretold by Jesus and literally fulfilled in 70 A.D., are the prophecies related to His Second Coming. He is not slacking, but providing as many as possible the opportunity to “join the club.”
Is God slacking in providing rest?
God’s promised rest is available as a present reality through an attitude of faith in Christ’s finished work upon the cross, and actions of obedience to Him [Heb. 4:1-11]. In the midst of unrest, it is easy to become anxious. The unrest of our minds, hearts, bodies and souls flows from the sense that God is slacking or isn’t good. We’ve discovered that God isn’t slacking. And we can look to the cross and know that God is good. So, in the midst of unrest we can rest. If we stop slacking and start knowing Him more and yielding more of our will to His [Matt. 11:28-30].