Disagree with me or balance my statements if you feel you must; I’d not be unhappy with that. I don’t pretend to have my views worked out to a final decimal point or anything that approaches such a mindset but I’m a bit weary of christianly “vagueness” in profoundly important areas where at least some degree of clarity is clearly possible.
God bless you and me as we reflect on the suffering of our human family.
- God doesn’t micromanage human life. In making humans humans He knowingly and freely, with fatherly sovereignty, created all that goes with being a human as a human. Humans become hungry and thirsty because God chose to make them humans. He asked no one’s opinion about what to create or how they would best be created. But He doesn’t micromanage their choices on what to eat, how much or how often or at what times. He created them with the capacity and (within limits) to make decisions about countless things that not only affect the chooser but also affect those who do not make those specific choices.
- In creating God created the means and methods of human procreation. This He did in the initial moment of bringing humans into existence and He sustains those means and methods as His will and way to continue to bring humans into being. But with the Fall, with (as the Holy Scriptures teach us) humanity’s chosen alienation from God the procreation process developed weaknesses and deformations and genetic and other faults so that humans suffered and now suffer from abnormalities that are passed through the processes which God set in motion and continues to keep in motion. That which was good (that is, suited His overarching purpose) became the very means of passing on disability, abnormality and all the painful, heartbreaking consequences experienced by humans.
- God is the Creator and sustainer of the biological/physiological “laws” that make such agony-generating occurrences possible. The same “laws” that govern the production of “normal” and healthy humans govern the conception and birth and condition of the hurt and “abnormal” babies. That is, if a “seriously bad gene” is there it will result in a seriously hurt human. Say it better than I’m saying it, say it more carefully than I’m saying it and with more knowledge and understanding than I have but in the end the same physical/biological “laws” govern biological development. “Bad genes” (or whatever) produce hurt humans and “good genes” (or whatever I should be saying) produce healthy humans.
- Let me repeat that God is the creator & sustainer of the “laws” and conditions of human procreation. There would be no two-headed little babies or little girls who are “normal and healthy from the waist up but look like an octopus from the waist down due to the development in the womb of more than one human. (Forgive me please if my speech here is too crass. Her condition is too distressing to make less of it.)
- We know this and God’s critics hold Him responsible for the results in a world like this. Even His friends in their heartbreak will cry out like Job. And many of God’s other friends shush the protests and work to show that God is not responsible for the result. They don’t want Him to get “bad press,” don’t you see! But God won’t have it! He, Himself, claims ultimate responsibility. Christians who take the Holy Scriptures seriously will allow God to say what He says rather than what they wish He had said.
- I understand the dilemma. They believe for many good reasons, that God loves the entire human family with a love that knows no limit in a God like Jesus Christ. Since that’s true they don’t want to believe anything that casts Him in a cruel light! So everything is laid at the door of human sin and corrupted free-will and in this way God is exonerated.
- Well not everything! The Devil is the main culprit and is granted miraculous power that beggars description and he is made to appear almost equal with God in power and wisdom. And so once again, God is not responsible for the disease, death, cruel and brutal abuse that exists in the world–it all the Devil’s fault!
- And who is the Devil who does all these unspeakable things? Where did he come from? God created him? God keeps him alive and operational? God gives him life and power to do what his inexpressibly evil heart does to a human family that God so loves that He gave His Son to save them? God gives life and power to that one and that is how we plead God’s “innocence”?
- In various ways we say, “God has nothing to do with these hurts and losses that humans experience—He is not responsible!” Why is it then that He says He is responsible?
10. God says I am responsible!
- In Exodus 4 we have Moses trying to squirm out of the job God is calling him to; but God isn’t having it. Moses says he is not a good speaker so God is calling on the wrong person. God brushes the excuse aside by telling Moses that He knows all about such disabilities (real or pretended). God says it this way in 4:11: “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?” (ESV)
- Some years ago I asked an Old Testament scholar about the text. He said it meant that God “allowed” them to be mute, deaf and blind. I remarked that it would have been nice if that is what God had said instead of what he actually said. “Allowed” is a good word and in some texts it works well but God knows how to say “allowed” when that’s what He means to say (Acts 14:16).
- Then there’s this text in Amos 3:1-8, particularly 3:6. The prophet Amos has traveled north to bring a warning from God to a spectacularly wicked kingdom, Israel, who was God’s chosen nation to teach and bless the world by honoring God and who instead degraded Him before them. For this God would come in chastisement that would finally result in 722/721 with the dismantling of the kingdom and exile. They would see signs of that chastisement but would offer various explanations for this or that national setback. Any explanation but God’s work would do but God won’t have it. In light of their evil and in light of this warning He says (3:6), “Does disaster come to a city unless the Lord has done it?” (ESV)
14. Finally for now there is Deuteronomy 32:23-30, with the entire chapter. It is a scathing denunciation of Israel’s treasonous, traitorous, persistent rejection of the God who took them for His own. He was faithful to His promises, He delivered them from Egyptian slavery, saved hem in battle, endured their lack of trust and brought them to a home of their own. And so He rages in His anger because they dishonor Him and hinder His purpose to bless all the nations through them. To underscore the depth of their apostasy He says this (32:23-30), “I will heap disasters upon them…they shall be wasted with hunger and devoured by plague…outdoors the sword shall bereave and indoor terrors for the young man and woman alike…” (then note this particularly)…”I would have said, ‘I will cut them to pieces; I will wipe them from human memory,’ had I not feared provocation by the enemy, lest their adversaries should misunderstand, lest they should say, ‘Our hand is triumphant, it was not the Lord who did all this.’ (then He goes on to say of the enemy nation)…For they are a nation void of counsel and there is no understanding in them. If they were wise, they would understand this…How could one have chased a thousand, and two have put ten thousand in flight, unless their Rock had sold them, and the Lord had given them up?”
***Here is an interesting thing! Many lovers of God are afraid of God’s enemies thinking God did these things and He is afraid that they will think He didn’t do them. ***
(To be continued shortly, God enabling.)