Wednesday, January 26, 2005

IS HE OR ISN'T HE? PART 2. Wow, I should post on sovereignty more often. I received two good comments on the one post. ChelleBelle takes me to task for assigning to God responsibility for the Tsunami and other points. She is a perceptive and intuitive person who asks the right questions. Here is my reply to her comment. My replies are in italics.

This is the problem I have with Calvinists. I too believe in the sovreignty of God, but I just cannot swallow that he is responsible for thousands of deaths in the Tsunami.

This is the problem I have with non-Calvinists. They say they believe in the sovereignty of God, but then tell you all the reasons they think he is not sovereign. Sometimes they do this out of good intentions: they do not want God held responsible for what happens, or they do not want to have to explain it. But, you either believe God is sovereign over all things or you do not. The problem is, believing in sovereignty leads you to things that are difficult for the human mind to understand. You go forward from there in faith, however, not in re-definition or retreat from the scripture. In Isaiah 55:8, God said "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." He knows what he is doing, we do not. We simply trust him.

You compared that part of the world being destroyed to Sodom and Gomorrah and the sinful city that Noah lived in.

No, I did not compare that part of the world to Sodom and Gomorrah. I used Sodom and Gomorrah as examples of God using his power to judge and to destroy.

Yes, he destroyed the world before, but how can you say that these people, not just the natives trying to eak out a living, but the tourists and even humanitarians there, deserved to die?

I cannot say they deserved to die, only God can. I trust him to be just as he claims to be in the Bible. We do not know God’s purpose. It might have been judgment. It might have been redemptive. It might have been both. He reserved the right to deal with men as he saw fit. He described himself to Moses by saying "I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show merc on whom I will show mercy." (Exodus 33:19; Romans 9:15.

And how do you explain that He promised never to destroy the earth by water again?

He did not destroy the whole earth by water this time, and he will not. He did promise in Matthew 24 there would be earthquakes and famines in various places. The book of Revelation contains pictures of all sorts of catastrophes.

It is not denying the sovreignty of God to say that he did not cause the Tsunami. The earth's plates have been moving for thousands upon thousands of years. Maybe God set them in motion or maybe not.

It is denying the sovereignty of God if you are denying his power over the earth. It is either within his power or not.

The point is, He is a fearful God but he is also loving. Jesus came to show the world that. He said "The theif comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I have come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly." Shall I go on? You know all the verses about the love and life that comes from the Lord.

That is exactly the point. There are two sides to our Heavenly Father. There is the One who abhors sin and pours out his wrath on all who reject Him. There is he who loved us so much he sent his Son to die for us.

The Tsunami has caused innumerable deaths, not to mention the horror of what is happening in the wake of it all, such as child-trafficking, disease, newly orphaned children with nowhere to go, inconsolable grief. I don't understand how a person who is filled with God's love say such cold things in lieu of what has happened.

It is not cold to ascribe to God the traits revealed about him in his word. It actually is praise. He often works through bad events to accomplish good things (Romans 8:28). They are still bad events and it is still his working.

And as for the "soul mate" thing, find me a verse that says that God plans who we each will marry, and I'll believe it.

There was not much problem with that idea as the Bible was written, because most marriages were arranged. You will not find much advice on courtship or looking for a mate, because you did not get to do it. But, as the original post showed, there is much in the Bible that shows God in control of the events of our lives. We make plans and choices, surely. But, that is why Proverbs 16:9 says the heart of man plans his way but the Lord establishes his steps. That is why I prayed every day for a couple of decades that God would lead my little girl to the right man to marry and why I believe he did that. And I thank Him for it.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

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