Questions and Answers: From the 2014 Ligonier National Conference: R.C. Sproul Jr., Stephen Nichols, Voddie Baucham, and R.C. Sproul.
Transcript (from around the 20 minute mark)
Question: I am trying to reconcile the death of my adult son, whom I believe not to be saved, with my Christian faith. How do I deal with my anger toward God and this long dark night of the soul?
Answer – R. C. Sproul:
Repent and repent in dust and ashes! Crawl over glass in your repentance, if you are angry at God. There’s never been anything that has happened to you in your entire life, including this great tragedy and most painful experience that could ever possibly justify being angry at God. There are ten million reasons why He should be angry at you. God does not owe us a life without pain and tragedy. He’s given us a life of grace and a promise of eternal felicity, and any being that does that for us, 100% graciously, can never righteously be the object of our anger, only of our gratitude. We understand humanly speaking, the anger.. because if you’ve experienced anger, its always caused by some kind of pain. Behind the anger is pain. And you’ve allowed that pain t produce an anger that will destroy you. And it has greater consequences than even the loss of the one that you love so well. So really, you’ve got to deal with this. And understand that God does all things well. And if we were listening carefully to Derek’s sermon where he talked about Genesis 18 and the plea for the sparing of Sodom. you know, the comment that Abraham made, “far be it from Thee, O God, to do that which is not right.” And even Abraham our father, I don’t think even had a clue of how far it is from God to do anything wrong. And when we accuse him of it and are mad at Him for it, then we don’t understand who He is or who we are. Its devastatingly harmful for anybody to be angry with God, no matter what.
Question: Since God is slow to anger and patient then why, when man first sinned was His wrath and punishment so severe and long lasting?
Answer – R. C. Sproul:
Timeout! Didn’t we just have that question a second ago?
(we did, with a little nuance)
God’s punishment for Adam was so severe?
This creature from the dirt defied the everlasting holy God. After that, God had said “the day that you shall eat of it, you shall surely die” and instead of dieing (thanatos) that day, he lived another day and was clothed in his nakedness, by pure grace, and had the consequences of the curse applied for quite some time, but the worse curse would come upon the one who seduced him, whose head would be crushed by the seed of the woman. And the punishment was too severe? What’s wrong with you people? I’m serious! I mean, this is what’s wrong with the Christian church today. We don’t know who God is, and we don’t know who we are.
The question is, why wasn’t it infinitely more severe? If we have any understanding of our sin and any understanding of who God is, that’s the question. Isn’t it?