Wednesday, August 7, 2013
God forordains whatsoever comes to pass?
I love and respect truth, reverence God, and respect all efforts at living the Christian life. But when I revisited the pillars of my own early years of learning some of them began to tilt. The title is a statement in the Westminster Confession of Faith and it speaks of the omnisciece of God. He must be able to know what happens.
It is balanced by a second statement that declares the reality of second causes in creating the things that come to pass. Things like storms, or falling trees, or people who defy gravity by driving off cliffs. God will not interfere normally in the results of acts of evil, or things that go wrong.
The logic of such thinking was defended, and the result is a pretty harsh view of God and God's ways.
This week a python escaped its cage, slithered up a story and strangled two sleeping children. The python was hunting and hungry, the children were innocently sleeping, and a huge tragedy for a family. Not the place where you declare that God forordains whatsoever comes to pass.
I have read the other ways of thinking about how God watches and sometimes intercedes and sometimes does not in human history. I have wrestled and will continue to wrestle with the reality of theodicy, evil and pain and suffering in the world where a powerful and omniscient God gives us a few fragile decades of life. I like to think that God feels our pain when things go tragically wrong and whatever freedom we have been granted in this world is undergirded not so much with constant divine intervention, but with a healing and gracious conclusion to the great drama of life.