Okay, girls. Better late than never! Let's get to it on Chapter Four of Spectacular Sins!
I'm not sure to what extent you enjoy deep theology but I have to admit that my mind wants to shut down when I feel myself beginning to think in circles. For me, the sovereign, He's-got-the-whole-world-in-His-hands view of God is the blanket I wrap up in when I can't tie a tidy bow around some deep concept of Scripture. This week, that idea is God's causative will versus His permissive will. When I read Proverbs 16:4 which says, "The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble", the first questions that come to mind are : "Does that mean God creates evil and disease and calamity? Isn't that against all He is?" And when it gets too much to consider, my faith stamps "GOD IS ALWAYS GOOD" on it and puts it to bed.
And that's easy enough for me to do because I've never faced the devastations many of you have. It's easy for me to say because I have faith as a background where many people with these same questions do not. I suppose I love this book so because it gives order to the many beliefs I have but don't quite know how to express to those searching for a true representation of God's character. As much as I don't want to voice the words, I am also aware I am not immune to some unimaginable grief. God forbid calamity happen, but if it does, I want an overflowing reserve of Truth to bandage to my tire-ironed heart.
But there are many of you who have faced the worst-case-scenario. The child is gone. The husband left. The money disappeared overnight. What then? Is there a purpose for the evil or are the details of our lives left to random chance? Worse yet, did God cause it by not preventing it? All difficult but valid questions to which there is but one solution: We believe and trust God and we do not accept any answer to any question that in any way degrades His holiness and/or the fact He is FOR His children always.
I've said all of this to set up what is perhaps the foundational truth of this chapter as quoted from Frances Schaeffer: God is the God who is there. Page 59 states "We don't make Him, He makes us. We don't decide what He is going to be like. He decides what we are going to be like. He created the Universe, and it has the meaning He gives it, not the meaning we give it. If we give it a meaning different from His, we are fools. And our lives will be tragic in the end."
So considering Proverbs 16:4 already referenced, I back up to page 56 which says, "God has done this (made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble) in His own mysterious way that preserves the responsibility of the wicked and the sinlessness of His own heart. We should humble ourselves if we cannot explain how this can be. We are told that it is so. Beware of bringing to the Bible assumptions that are not taught in the Bible. That is how God's word is nullified."
We are told that it is so. When did that stop being enough? God told Eve it was so in the garden and yet she listened to the voice which asked, "Did God really say...?" The most dangerous place in which to find oneself is with one ear to the Word and one ear to the world. The Word says God's goodness and love and mercy and forgiveness and redemption and justice are so. The world tells us we are closed-minded and weak for swallowing an archaic religion without question.
We are going to approach this week's discussion a little differently. I know there was much more to this chapter than what I've presented but I believe this issue of why bad things happen to "good people" is one that is foundational in our arsenal of answers for those who do not yet believe in Christ. It's a huge hangup and one which we need to be able to address biblically.
So here is the one scenario I have for you today:
You are in a coffee shop reading your Bible. A stranger sits beside you and asks, "How can you believe in a God who allows terrorists to fly into towers or children to starve and die?"