Does God Allow Suffering?

I get emails like this a lot.  They always break my heart and I hope my answer to this woman will help others struggling with the same question:  Does God allow bad things to happen to us?

Most Christians think so. They’ve been trapped in a false and simplistic theology that concludes that because God is all-powerful he either orchestrates our pain, or at least allows it.  He could stop it, but for some reason he chooses not to.  Their thought is that God allows horrible tragedies to happen to his children, either because they either loved something too much, or they needed to really learn a lesson, or through the tragedy he would save a hundred other people.

I know I’ve been banging this drum for awhile, but that’s because believers as well as scholars have viewed the Bible as a legal document and one out of which we can draw any principle we want out of it as long as we can find a prooftext or two to back us up.  That leads to some brutal misunderstandings about God.  They fail to see the Bible as a story of God’s unfolding revelation in the world and one huge element of that story is the fall of humanity, the subsequent subjugation of the creation in futility, and how God is winning that back through the work of his Son.  We live in a dynamic story of the new creation rising up inside the old, and as we live in this world we are often victims of its pains and excesses.  

God is all-powerful, and completely loving, but that doesn’t mean people who follow him get a free pass from tragedy or pain in the world.  Jesus clearly told us that, as did every writer of the New Testament.  In fact, the life of faith will encounter greater difficulty than those who coast along plaing the world’s game.  We are told that God works incredible good in the tragedies of this world, but that does not mean that he orchestrates them.  The world provides trouble enough.  

What we must never forget is that he is the redeemer and rescuer in the story, not the one passing out pain in the interest of making us better people.  What a horrible God he would be if he did!  

Here’s the email I received:

I have been listening to the podcast with Kevin Smith.  After listening many times and mulling over it  I  need some clarification.  My confusion lies in God sending or allowing pain.  We lost a grandchild 11years ago due to being stillborn.  She was a beautiful 5 lb, fully developed baby girl.  I struggled with God allowing it and settled that He did.  Her death caused me to rethink who is this God?  I thought I had been so faithful in doing what He expected of me—daily quiet time, prayer, involved in the church, etc.   Why did He allow this to happen?  This is when He started untwisting my thinking about legalism and religious obligation.

However, when you and Kevin were speaking it was unsettling to me.  Isn’t God the blessed controller of all things?  I believe He could have prevented her death, but He chose not to, thus allowing it to happen.  Am I viewing God as superman as Kevin mentioned?

I didn’t understand what you were saying as to how we should view God in painful circumstances.  It is apparent that your view is different than what I believe or have been taught.   I am sorry to bother you, but would appreciate your help in helping me see God differently in painful circumstances.

This was my response:  This is not an easy conversation to have, since it touches something so deeply in you and because I don’t know you enough to speak into a specific situation.  It’s even worse trying to do it in a few words in an email.  This is a heavily nuanced conversation that involves God’s love, power, and sovereignty.  Most people have come to learn those things out of the Christian religion that looks for a logical explanation for everything as if God is not present with us in the world. 

That’s why you struggled with God “allowing” your precious granddaughter to die.  It didn’t make sense that a loving Father would make such an intentional decision in your case.  Well I don’t think it did.  That’s an answer Christianity has used for years to give people a false sense of security.  We’re OK because every event comes through God first.  But I think the Bible actually teaches us that we are safe because God is with us and will work all things together for good.  There is much that happens in our world that wouldn’t be God’s specific choice.  Though he could control everything and make us his robots, he does not.  This world is out of synch with it’s Creator and because of that it’s natural state is chaos.  It is broken and under control of the evil one.  Sin, sickness, and tragedies are part of all of our lives as we live in this world awaiting its final redemption in Christ.  God is in the world to redeem it back to himself and has plan that will bring all things together under Christ. He will get the last word on everything, but he doesn’t have it yet.   That’s coming in the day when all things are summed up in him.   He works toward that fulfillment even now as I write this email. 

To think that God would “allow” your granddaughter to die, in my view, disfigures him.   I don’t see how it makes it better for God to be behind the deaths of our loved ones as the agent of their dying or making an active decision not to intervene and stop something that hurts us so deeply.  It is the devil who steals, kills, and destroys.  Death is God’s enemy according to I Corinthians 15, not his friend.  Sometimes, for purposes beyond our understand God will intrude into our circumstances and in miraculous ways right some wrong.  That’s the kingdom of heaven making itself known here.  Jesus walked in that reality and invited us to as well, but even with that he knew incredible pain and tragedy as well.  We get to be part of an unfolding kingdom with him, but since it is HIS kingdom, we don’t get to control the outcomes.   God doesn’t work miracles to make our lives easy and comfortable circumstantially.  He does them to advance a far greater purpose in the world.  He wants to unfold the kingdom in our midst and work through us as we learn to listen and respond to him. 

We can enjoy the miracles when they come, and when they don’t, we learn to lean more deeply into him.  For he is in our tragedies and heartache every bit as much as he is in the miracles.   He’s there to comfort us in our pain and draw us more deeply into himself so that we can be more transformed to think and live consistent with the new creation in us, rather than be manipulated by the brokenness of the old creation around us.  We can’t do that if we begin with God as the cause of the bad things that happen to us.  

I’m so sorry your grandchild died, but I don’t think God allowed it in any overt way.  That wouldn’t be his nature, any more than you would have allowed your child to go through that loss if you could have stopped it.  There are mysteries about God we won’t understand in this life, but the fact that he loves you, loves your child, and loves that little girl who was stillborn is the one thing we do know.  And as we grieve the pains of this world, we keep finding a life in him that goes beyond this age participating in a greater redemption that is unfolding in the world.  So in the chaos of our lives today, we get to look for the seedlings of that new creation popping up around us, like grass poking through the asphalt in a parking lot.  We get to grieve with him (and each other) where we hurt, and we get to rejoice in his goodness as he does extraordinary things in us.  And all the while his kingdom of light keeps growing even among the kingdom of darkness.   It’s what makes the unbearable, bearable. 

And some day when you sit with that little girl in the kingdom of our Father this will all make sense far more to us all than it does today. 

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32 Comments
  1. Paul Fitzgerald June 25, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Excellent response to a very persistent misundertanding about the character of God.

  2. Joy June 25, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Dear friend,

    Thank you so very much for this post.  You have susinctly relayed what my heart has been screaming at so many of my Christian friends since we lost our beloved son Seth 5 years ago.  So often I have heard how it was ‘God’s Will’ that he leave us in such a tradgic and early way, and I have silently weeped behind my sad smile and nod back to them.  Your words confirm to me that my God understands my pain and the daily yearning I have to see my son just one more time.

     I cannot express to you adequately how important this message is to those of us out here who struggle with this kind of loss.  Just accept my simple thoughts of appreciation today.

    Much love to you and your family.

  3. Ray Peters June 25, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Thank you Wayne for the way you handled this – you were gentle and yet direct and allowed God to retain His proper place.  How you answered really seems to reflect Job’s situation and how God handled it.  God is sovereign but also still a mystery for we cannot always explains God’s actions, but He does love us more than we know and He will work within us in the person of His Son so that through suffering He will be seen as loving, good and sovereign.

  4. Mike June 25, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Excellent! I to struggled with seing my circumstances as “God’s will” and sometimes still do. But once I married myself to the belief that He is not my circumstances but He is with me in them I was able to hear Him more clearly. All a part of healing our image of an incredible Father.

  5. Paul Fitzgerald June 25, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Excellent response to a very persistent misundertanding about the character of God.

  6. Joy June 25, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Dear friend,

    Thank you so very much for this post.  You have susinctly relayed what my heart has been screaming at so many of my Christian friends since we lost our beloved son Seth 5 years ago.  So often I have heard how it was ‘God’s Will’ that he leave us in such a tradgic and early way, and I have silently weeped behind my sad smile and nod back to them.  Your words confirm to me that my God understands my pain and the daily yearning I have to see my son just one more time.

     I cannot express to you adequately how important this message is to those of us out here who struggle with this kind of loss.  Just accept my simple thoughts of appreciation today.

    Much love to you and your family.

  7. Ray Peters June 25, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Thank you Wayne for the way you handled this – you were gentle and yet direct and allowed God to retain His proper place.  How you answered really seems to reflect Job’s situation and how God handled it.  God is sovereign but also still a mystery for we cannot always explains God’s actions, but He does love us more than we know and He will work within us in the person of His Son so that through suffering He will be seen as loving, good and sovereign.

  8. Mike June 25, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Excellent! I to struggled with seing my circumstances as “God’s will” and sometimes still do. But once I married myself to the belief that He is not my circumstances but He is with me in them I was able to hear Him more clearly. All a part of healing our image of an incredible Father.

  9. Chris June 25, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Your argument is contradicting.  If God is all-powerful then he does, in fact, ALLOW pain and suffering to exist.  There is no other explanation.  Otherwise God is not all-powerful.  I would agree that God likely does not cause tragedy to befall mankind because I agree with your point that the fall of man has altered the state of God’s original creation.  I also agree that it is the Devil who steals, kills, and destroys.  But there can be no doubt that any power Satan retains is the result of God allowing it.

  10. Jeanne June 25, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    Hi Wayne, Once again a message that you have relayed has spoken to my heart.  My biggest struggle right now spiritually is this very subject.  I also lost a grandchild when my sweet grandson was stillborn 2 years ago. Thank you for sharing.  I am still trying hard to wrap my brain around some of the thoughts but the truth of the Fathers love stands out.  This is what we have to hold on to.  His Love endures forever.  I would recommend your book He Loves Me to the woman that contacted you.  This book helped me so much to understand the Father’s love for me along with your recorded teachings and podcasts.  Thank you for answering my prayer and shedding more light on this hard to understand subject.  Bless you!

  11. Chris June 25, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Your argument is contradicting.  If God is all-powerful then he does, in fact, ALLOW pain and suffering to exist.  There is no other explanation.  Otherwise God is not all-powerful.  I would agree that God likely does not cause tragedy to befall mankind because I agree with your point that the fall of man has altered the state of God’s original creation.  I also agree that it is the Devil who steals, kills, and destroys.  But there can be no doubt that any power Satan retains is the result of God allowing it.

  12. Jeanne June 25, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    Hi Wayne, Once again a message that you have relayed has spoken to my heart.  My biggest struggle right now spiritually is this very subject.  I also lost a grandchild when my sweet grandson was stillborn 2 years ago. Thank you for sharing.  I am still trying hard to wrap my brain around some of the thoughts but the truth of the Fathers love stands out.  This is what we have to hold on to.  His Love endures forever.  I would recommend your book He Loves Me to the woman that contacted you.  This book helped me so much to understand the Father’s love for me along with your recorded teachings and podcasts.  Thank you for answering my prayer and shedding more light on this hard to understand subject.  Bless you!

  13. Tom June 26, 2013 at 1:40 am

    I suspect I’m just a little thick, but I don’t get the distinction you are making. I don’t have a problem with God allowing pain and even tragedy in my life because I trust Him and His purposes (many of which I have little if any real clue about) and part of my trust is that He works in the midst of all of it for good (and I also don’t understand that dynamic a lot of the time, but I also don’t need to understand it all – I have experienced much good from His hand in the midst of circumstances that most would not characterize as good).

     

    Because He allows something (which ostensibly He could prevent or change) does not in any way corelate with His approval of it, nor causation on His part. Let credit be given where credit is due – falleness, Satan, sin of others and so on. Also when one commenter mentioned Job, it seems to me God certainly allowed those things and even set the boundaries of what could be done. Again, I don’t struggle with not understanding all He does, and “doesn’t do”, I think mainly because I understand, know and experience His love in an ongoing dynamic of abiding rest, knowing I am in Him (can’t get closer than that).

     

    I find many who “get angry or at least frustrated with God” are confused because they are superimposing how they would do things if they were God. All that I do know about Him, and all that I experience in the relational knowing of Him, invites, and even compels me, to trust Him. Living inside “the big soul” is so much more than living inside “the small soul” of the life that I died to when “I moved into Him”.

     

    I too am lokking forward to understanding more on the other side, but for now, He is sufficient. I mean, after all, He’s God!

     

    I don’t like the suffering and pain of some circumstances, and I don’t understand why, but I do sufficiently understand the One that does know why, because I know Him personally.

     

     

  14. Tom June 26, 2013 at 4:40 am

    I suspect I’m just a little thick, but I don’t get the distinction you are making. I don’t have a problem with God allowing pain and even tragedy in my life because I trust Him and His purposes (many of which I have little if any real clue about) and part of my trust is that He works in the midst of all of it for good (and I also don’t understand that dynamic a lot of the time, but I also don’t need to understand it all – I have experienced much good from His hand in the midst of circumstances that most would not characterize as good).

     

    Because He allows something (which ostensibly He could prevent or change) does not in any way corelate with His approval of it, nor causation on His part. Let credit be given where credit is due – falleness, Satan, sin of others and so on. Also when one commenter mentioned Job, it seems to me God certainly allowed those things and even set the boundaries of what could be done. Again, I don’t struggle with not understanding all He does, and “doesn’t do”, I think mainly because I understand, know and experience His love in an ongoing dynamic of abiding rest, knowing I am in Him (can’t get closer than that).

     

    I find many who “get angry or at least frustrated with God” are confused because they are superimposing how they would do things if they were God. All that I do know about Him, and all that I experience in the relational knowing of Him, invites, and even compels me, to trust Him. Living inside “the big soul” is so much more than living inside “the small soul” of the life that I died to when “I moved into Him”.

     

    I too am lokking forward to understanding more on the other side, but for now, He is sufficient. I mean, after all, He’s God!

     

    I don’t like the suffering and pain of some circumstances, and I don’t understand why, but I do sufficiently understand the One that does know why, because I know Him personally.

     

     

  15. pamela June 26, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    I agree with Tom and Chris’ comments above.  Maybe it is splitting hairs, but if Father is all powerful, all knowing, (He is!) i.e. He has the ‘ability’ to stop pain and suffering, and yet, His children suffer that very pain and suffering, He must ‘allow’ it, otherwise, it could not happen.  I do not believe He orchestrates the pain and suffering – that is our adversary’s role.  Why doe He allow it?  Because we live in a broken and sinful world – maybe – I  will leave the why’s to Him and just trust His love and care through it all.  Maybe I’ll ask Him one day, and maybe when that one day comes, I won’t care – I’ll just enjoy being in His presence.

  16. waynej June 26, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    I’m always amazed that people want to push back on this.  You seriously think God chooses to allow harmful things into our life on a case by case basis? Or, you think his being all-powerful demands that conclusion no matter how distasteful it might seem.  Either way, you’re welcome to believe that if you want, but be careful about pushing that view on others.  Telling a young mother that God allowed her child to die for his higher purpose, disfigures the God of the Bible.  

    God wouldn’t any more do it for me than I do for my own grandchildren.  They’re visiting this week and they are learning to be free-will creatures living in a dangerous world.  Of course I could keep them from all possible calamity today by making them sit on the couch all day and do nothing.  But by letting them explore this world, we risk skinned knees, bee stings, and even some hurtful disagreements between them.  I wouldn’t “allow” any of that to happen to my grandkids.  I don’t think he does either.  But allowing us to live as free agents in a broken world means we’re caught up in a host of broken processes that can do us great harm.  

    It is too simplistic to say that just because he is all-powerful he makes volitional decisions about who suffers and who does not.  That misunderstands so much of how the world works and how God works inside of it.  All of our suffering impacts him and that’s why he’s at work in the world to redeem it all and in the meantime teach us how to live in him so that even when we go through difficult times, we’re still learning the joy of relying on him.  

    Just because he is all-powerful doesn’t mean he that everything that happens to us was “allowed” by him.  You can’t figure out how that works without knowing him as a personality in the universe. Defining him by theological proof texts and the “logic” we apply to them, misses God as he really is…

  17. pamela June 26, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    I agree with Tom and Chris’ comments above.  Maybe it is splitting hairs, but if Father is all powerful, all knowing, (He is!) i.e. He has the ‘ability’ to stop pain and suffering, and yet, His children suffer that very pain and suffering, He must ‘allow’ it, otherwise, it could not happen.  I do not believe He orchestrates the pain and suffering – that is our adversary’s role.  Why doe He allow it?  Because we live in a broken and sinful world – maybe – I  will leave the why’s to Him and just trust His love and care through it all.  Maybe I’ll ask Him one day, and maybe when that one day comes, I won’t care – I’ll just enjoy being in His presence.

  18. waynej June 26, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    I’m always amazed that people want to push back on this.  You seriously think God chooses to allow harmful things into our life on a case by case basis? Or, you think his being all-powerful demands that conclusion no matter how distasteful it might seem.  Either way, you’re welcome to believe that if you want, but be careful about pushing that view on others.  Telling a young mother that God allowed her child to die for his higher purpose, disfigures the God of the Bible.  

    God wouldn’t any more do it for me than I do for my own grandchildren.  They’re visiting this week and they are learning to be free-will creatures living in a dangerous world.  Of course I could keep them from all possible calamity today by making them sit on the couch all day and do nothing.  But by letting them explore this world, we risk skinned knees, bee stings, and even some hurtful disagreements between them.  I wouldn’t “allow” any of that to happen to my grandkids.  I don’t think he does either.  But allowing us to live as free agents in a broken world means we’re caught up in a host of broken processes that can do us great harm.  

    It is too simplistic to say that just because he is all-powerful he makes volitional decisions about who suffers and who does not.  That misunderstands so much of how the world works and how God works inside of it.  All of our suffering impacts him and that’s why he’s at work in the world to redeem it all and in the meantime teach us how to live in him so that even when we go through difficult times, we’re still learning the joy of relying on him.  

    Just because he is all-powerful doesn’t mean he that everything that happens to us was “allowed” by him.  You can’t figure out how that works without knowing him as a personality in the universe. Defining him by theological proof texts and the “logic” we apply to them, misses God as he really is…

  19. Ana Figueira June 27, 2013 at 12:58 am

    “But I think the Bible actually teaches us that we are safe because God is with us and will work all things together for good.”

    Thank you for this sentence, Wayne. “God with us” is one of the names of the Saviour, and when we read the Gospels and see how Jesus lived with people, shared in their joys and struggles, how he loved them in tangible ways, sometimes raising the dead, healing the leper and the blind and helping them to find a relationship with the loving Father he knew, this “God with us” becomes real. Today his Spirit living in us and the way he wants us as his children to live as brothers and sisters, reminding one another that he is with us and using our own “being with people” as a tangible expression of his invisible presence. The best thing Job’s friends did were to BE with him, silently sharing his pain…

    I guess that much of the “explaining” we do is fear based – my life right now is quite “chaotic”, no job, probably moving to another part of my country, saying “good bye” to what I know without yet knowing what will come – part of me hates it and part of me is excited to see how Father is present in the chaos, how he invites me to relax into his love, trusting him to sort out what is too complex for me and at the same time giving me the strength to do “the human part”, writing another job application, making another phone call, preparing to move…

    I am grateful for people who are “with me” and listen, care and share their own struggles – I am sometimes hurt by those who need to “explain away” the chaos but I guess it makes them uncomfortable and afraid it might happen to them… and am thankful that God choses to be with us and that one day we will be with him forever.

  20. Ana Figueira June 27, 2013 at 3:58 am

    “But I think the Bible actually teaches us that we are safe because God is with us and will work all things together for good.”

    Thank you for this sentence, Wayne. “God with us” is one of the names of the Saviour, and when we read the Gospels and see how Jesus lived with people, shared in their joys and struggles, how he loved them in tangible ways, sometimes raising the dead, healing the leper and the blind and helping them to find a relationship with the loving Father he knew, this “God with us” becomes real. Today his Spirit living in us and the way he wants us as his children to live as brothers and sisters, reminding one another that he is with us and using our own “being with people” as a tangible expression of his invisible presence. The best thing Job’s friends did were to BE with him, silently sharing his pain…

    I guess that much of the “explaining” we do is fear based – my life right now is quite “chaotic”, no job, probably moving to another part of my country, saying “good bye” to what I know without yet knowing what will come – part of me hates it and part of me is excited to see how Father is present in the chaos, how he invites me to relax into his love, trusting him to sort out what is too complex for me and at the same time giving me the strength to do “the human part”, writing another job application, making another phone call, preparing to move…

    I am grateful for people who are “with me” and listen, care and share their own struggles – I am sometimes hurt by those who need to “explain away” the chaos but I guess it makes them uncomfortable and afraid it might happen to them… and am thankful that God choses to be with us and that one day we will be with him forever.

  21. David Takle June 27, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Wayne is right on here. Being in charge of the planet is not the same thing as micro-managing everything that happens. “For He must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1Cor.15:25-26). “But we do not yet see all things subjected to Him” (Heb.2:8). The NT writers understood that overcoming evil in the world would take time, partly because God chose to include us in that process. So there are indeed many things in this world that happen precisely because they are NOT in subjection to him. Death and sickness are among those things.

    Wayne, keep it up!

  22. David Takle June 27, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Wayne is right on here. Being in charge of the planet is not the same thing as micro-managing everything that happens. “For He must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1Cor.15:25-26). “But we do not yet see all things subjected to Him” (Heb.2:8). The NT writers understood that overcoming evil in the world would take time, partly because God chose to include us in that process. So there are indeed many things in this world that happen precisely because they are NOT in subjection to him. Death and sickness are among those things.

    Wayne, keep it up!

  23. John June 27, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Even if we agree that He does not send the disease and He does not “allow” it, nevertheless, He does choose to heal some and not others. So, in a sense, we could just change the question to, “Why didn’t He heal me?”. He could have intervened in my disease/circumstances, and He has done that for others. Regardsless of your theology, each person still has to answer the same question, “Can I trust Him?”. Therein lies the source of all our problems, and the answer to all our soul searching for peace with God. Yes, we can trust Him. We have to come to peace with Him on that.

     

  24. John June 27, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Even if we agree that He does not send the disease and He does not “allow” it, nevertheless, He does choose to heal some and not others. So, in a sense, we could just change the question to, “Why didn’t He heal me?”. He could have intervened in my disease/circumstances, and He has done that for others. Regardsless of your theology, each person still has to answer the same question, “Can I trust Him?”. Therein lies the source of all our problems, and the answer to all our soul searching for peace with God. Yes, we can trust Him. We have to come to peace with Him on that.

     

  25. Phebe W June 28, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Oh yes, “Can I trust Him?” . . .   I think Paul says it best . . . “We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!  But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.“  1 Cor 13:12-13 (The Message)

  26. Phebe W June 28, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    Oh yes, “Can I trust Him?” . . .   I think Paul says it best . . . “We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!  But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.“  1 Cor 13:12-13 (The Message)

  27. Wabitt_007 June 30, 2013 at 2:10 am

    coolcool

    Thank you Wayen for your insite. I agree with you. In my studies I found these things that exspands on this topic. 

    Let’s go to death because that is the worst case scenario. God DOESN’T KILL PEOPLE, in fact even though some people say “God takes a life”, the bible says differently. It says “GOD DOESN’T TAKE A LIFE…”(2 Samuel 14:14). Death is God’s enemy, that’s why Paul says “the last ENEMY that will be destroyed is DEATH”(1 Corinthians 15:26). How then does God kill people? When Adam was commanded to not eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God said “if you eat it you will DIE”(Genesis 3:11), not “I will KILL YOU”. Death in the last day will be judged and put in the lake of fire(Revelations 20:14). winkcool God bless, Robert

  28. Wabitt_007 June 30, 2013 at 5:10 am

    coolcool

    Thank you Wayen for your insite. I agree with you. In my studies I found these things that exspands on this topic. 

    Let’s go to death because that is the worst case scenario. God DOESN’T KILL PEOPLE, in fact even though some people say “God takes a life”, the bible says differently. It says “GOD DOESN’T TAKE A LIFE…”(2 Samuel 14:14). Death is God’s enemy, that’s why Paul says “the last ENEMY that will be destroyed is DEATH”(1 Corinthians 15:26). How then does God kill people? When Adam was commanded to not eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God said “if you eat it you will DIE”(Genesis 3:11), not “I will KILL YOU”. Death in the last day will be judged and put in the lake of fire(Revelations 20:14). winkcool God bless, Robert

  29. John July 2, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    God doesn’t just let us live our lives as best we can. He does intervene in our lives. What God does allow, and send, to us, is His healing and His new creation resurrection life, and His presence inside of us. He is always with us.

  30. John July 2, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    God doesn’t just let us live our lives as best we can. He does intervene in our lives. What God does allow, and send, to us, is His healing and His new creation resurrection life, and His presence inside of us. He is always with us.

  31. Marty July 6, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Thanks to Wayne for capturing some difficult ideas. I wrestled with this many years ago, recognizing a kernel of truth in what the atheist philosophers said, that if God was really sovereign, he was not good, and if he was good, he was not sovereign.  If all is from the hand of God volitionally somehow, then should I work against injustice?  Should I try to alleviate suffering?  We become like Muslims – “it is the will of Allah” and there is no recourse.

    In addition to verses mentioned – I Cor 15:26 is precious, and Revelation 20:14 – Rom 8:35 asks, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”  These questions by Paul and the paragraph that follows (“conquerors”) make no sense if these difficulties are FROM God somehow.  He would have written, “trouble and hardship and persecution and famine and nakedness and danger and sword are precious gifts from him!”  But Paul did not write that.

    Gen 3 records how mankind willfully moved out from under God’s benevolent and active sovereignty and brought in a brokenness from which we are not yet fully released.  I feel agony in God’s voice in Gen 3:13a “What is this you have done?”, where he sees his precious children have run out onto the busy highway contrary to his clear instructions, are now lying there bleeding and broken, and he has to tell them that they will never run again.

    Today, just because a cloud has a silver lining, that does not change its nature.  And so when the love of God shines on something horrible, it may come to have beautiful results, but that does not change the nature of the events, nor imply that God brought it about for the purpose of those good consequences.  He is a redeemer and rescuer, but does not need to redeem or rescue us from himself.  

    I do not believe God “plays God” with our lives, tweaking the knobs bringing pain to this one or that one for some “greater good” purpose.  Yes, “time and chance happen to them all” (Eccl 9:11), but as Francis Shaeffer once put it, “the universe is not ultimately impersonal.”  The one who wept at the tomb of Lazarus, and withdrew when John the Baptist was beheaded is there for us when the pain comes.
     

  32. Marty July 6, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    Thanks to Wayne for capturing some difficult ideas. I wrestled with this many years ago, recognizing a kernel of truth in what the atheist philosophers said, that if God was really sovereign, he was not good, and if he was good, he was not sovereign.  If all is from the hand of God volitionally somehow, then should I work against injustice?  Should I try to alleviate suffering?  We become like Muslims – “it is the will of Allah” and there is no recourse.

    In addition to verses mentioned – I Cor 15:26 is precious, and Revelation 20:14 – Rom 8:35 asks, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”  These questions by Paul and the paragraph that follows (“conquerors”) make no sense if these difficulties are FROM God somehow.  He would have written, “trouble and hardship and persecution and famine and nakedness and danger and sword are precious gifts from him!”  But Paul did not write that.

    Gen 3 records how mankind willfully moved out from under God’s benevolent and active sovereignty and brought in a brokenness from which we are not yet fully released.  I feel agony in God’s voice in Gen 3:13a “What is this you have done?”, where he sees his precious children have run out onto the busy highway contrary to his clear instructions, are now lying there bleeding and broken, and he has to tell them that they will never run again.

    Today, just because a cloud has a silver lining, that does not change its nature.  And so when the love of God shines on something horrible, it may come to have beautiful results, but that does not change the nature of the events, nor imply that God brought it about for the purpose of those good consequences.  He is a redeemer and rescuer, but does not need to redeem or rescue us from himself.  

    I do not believe God “plays God” with our lives, tweaking the knobs bringing pain to this one or that one for some “greater good” purpose.  Yes, “time and chance happen to them all” (Eccl 9:11), but as Francis Shaeffer once put it, “the universe is not ultimately impersonal.”  The one who wept at the tomb of Lazarus, and withdrew when John the Baptist was beheaded is there for us when the pain comes.
     

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