Hawaii 2010

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

God forordains whatsoever comes to pass?

Me celebratin a certificate of learnin.

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.


Kansas Bob said...

I think that you might be interested in this short but helpful book that our pastor wrote a few years ago. Here is a link to, and a brief description of, the book. -Cheers, Bob

Why?: Making Sense of God's Will

Where is God when tragedy and suffering strike? When the ground shakes, and a poor nation’s economy is destroyed; when the waters rise, washing away a community’s hopes and dreams; when a child suffers neglect and abuse; when violence tears apart nations; where is God? If God is all powerful, and if each one of us is a beloved child of God, then how can God allow tragedy and suffering to infest his creation?

In Why?, best-selling author Adam Hamilton brings fresh insight to the age-old question of how to understand the will of God. Rejecting simplistic answers and unexamined assumptions, he lays out core ideas for comprehending God’s plan for the world.


Dixie said...

I like the way you say it at the end, Don. God will make all things right, that is my hope, even if I don't understand it and even if that knowledge doesn't take the pain away.

Another book recommendation. I've just started Greg Garrett's "Stories from the Edge: A Theology of Grief." He goes through people's different conceptions of God and how that determines their ways of coping with loss. Very interesting. Pertinent to not only the end of life stuff I'm studying but to so many other questions we tackle in life. It's also good to have the different views spelled out b/c I think often we do not think of other ways of conceptualizing things like loss.

Lynn Beck said...

I share your puzzles, Don.