How Do Free-Willers Explain Tragedies?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by KenH, May 28, 2002.

  1. KenH

    KenH
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    How do you free-will advocates of salvation handle your explanation of tragedies, such as the bridge collapse in Oklahoma this past Sunday since you do not believe that God is totally sovereign in all things? Would you tell those affected by this tragedy to chalk it up to back luck, bad timing? Would you say God could have chosen to prevent this but for some reason unknown to us He didn't choose to do so? Or would you encourage these people that God is totally in control and this tragedy will work out His purposes - we may never know how but we have full trust and faith in God that this tragedy is not senseless but will ultimately be used to God's glory?

    One redeemed by Christ's blood,

    Ken
     
  2. Eladar

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    My views might be considered a little cold, but I would take the route that what happens to us in the material world really isn't important.

    We are not to fear the one that can destroy the body, but the one that can destroy the soul. If we are caught up in the material, then we are missing the boat when it comes to the spritual.

    We are all going to die. The important thing is, what's going to happen to us after we die. Each of us is given the opportunity to accept God or not while we are alive. Take the inncident as a warning. What would have been your destiny if you would have died in the accident? If it is not a good one, then why not turn your life around right now?
     
  3. connieman

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    Many would say that you just aren't living right, or praying right. They say God didn't want anything "bad" to happen, but if you don't do your part, He can't do anything. Or, sometimes it is said, the devil did it, and God just couldn't stop it. :rolleyes:

    connieman (a former "free-willer", before I was converted)

    [ May 28, 2002, 09:24 PM: Message edited by: connieman ]
     
  4. Helen

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    We live in a hurt and dying world because of sin. And while we do have the choice of asking Jesus to take over our lives or not, we do not have a choice about most of the circumstances that surround us or the tragic mistake others can make, as in the case of the bridge disaster. However all Christians have the knowledge and the faith that God has not abandon us or lost control and that He doesn't look down, either, and say "Whoops!"

    In the meantime, there is a difference between His perfect will and what He allows to happen, which, often tragic, will always result in benefits for His children in one way or another and always bring Him glory. I have seen it happen that He will sometimes use horrible accidents to put us in places where we would not have otherwise gone. A good example is Phillip Johnson, one of the driving forces of the Intelligent Design movement (author of Darwin on Trial, etc.). He had a severe stroke last July. And everything that has happened that I can see (and we are good personal friends) as a result of that stroke has been positive!

    1. Phil's faith deepened appreciably, and his own sense of priorities changed.
    2. His marriage was never weak, but became stronger. Kathie is not only his love but his constant support and companion.
    3. He began to get curious about parts of the Bible he had not paid much attention to before.
    4. He knew, when he had to spend time in a rehab center, that that was precisely where God wanted him at that time for the benefit of several people there.

    And I'm sure that there is far more than I listed above or even know at all about.

    It hurts to see people hurt or killed. I am not at all like Tuor, I guess. I know that sin has done horrible things to the world God created and to all of us. My comfort is that God simply does not allow the evil in hearts to be expressed in all the ways it is dreamed of. He allows only what He can use. But then, that is why He judges the heart, too!

    So let me ask you a return question, connieman: I understand your view of God's sovereignty (and although we both know God is sovereign, we seem to have different understandings of just what that means), which means that God is essentially responsible for everything that happens, not just allowing it, but causing it. How do you reconcile that with the knowledge that God is merciful and loving, just and fair?
     
  5. tecwar

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    Ken Adam had free will to eat the fruit or not and look at what Adam brought forth on the earth.Death destruction and evil. But even so God had a plain to save all men if we would surrender to Him.
     
  6. Eladar

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    Helen,

    My rather callous view on our material life comes from God's amoral stance on the institution of slavery.

    Do you have a problem with God's judgement that a Christian can own a slave?
     
  7. connieman

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    Helen...I would feel that I was insulting your intelligence to answer such a question, except that you did ask it, so apparently an answer is necessary.

    God is merciful to whom He will be merciful, but not to all without exception. God is loving to whom He will be loving, but not to all without exception. He loves the righteous, and He hates the wicked. He loves those who love Him, but He hates His enemies. When you can understand these things, you will have been Divinely enlightened, I think. (You may use any standard concordance to find the scripture verses upon which the above statements are founded.)

    God is just to all, except those to whom He is gracious, for Christ's sake. To them, He is merciful, Christ having satisfied God's justice in their stead. In this way, God can be both Just, and the Justifier of him that believeth, without compromising His righteousness.
    God is all those things you said, without ever getting confused, or contradicting Himself, or doing wrong.

    As for God allowing evil so that good might come, and permitting slavery, murder(in the heart0, lies, etc., for His eventual glory, just consider the story of Joseph and his brothers.
    I would not claim to know the mind of God in all of this. But, I am taught that God is love, and good, and righteous, and wise, and He does as He pleases, and that He proclaims His own Glory in ALL things, and shows His care and goodness toward His chosen children, His sheep.

    Tuor...He that allowed slavery, within certain limits, also said, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
    and "I love justice", and "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

    In the Name of Him Who does all things as He pleases, and does all things right, and for the good of His elect, and for His Glory, but I don't know HOW,

    connieman :rolleyes:

    [ May 29, 2002, 01:01 AM: Message edited by: connieman ]
     
  8. Helen

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    I don't think that you are following the entire Bible through on that one, Tuor. I know this is another topic, but let's take a quick look at it anyway. All through the Bible God works with people DESPITE cultures. The only 'culture' He set up was the theocracy of Israel. The Israelites had been slaves and slavery of one people by another was a norm at the time. So while God did not change that cultural tradition, He did put bounds on it and He did use it to give a physical demonstration of what would later be explained in the New Testament as slavery to sin or slavery to righteousness/Christ.

    In the New Testament Paul consistently cautions those who come to Christ NOT to try to change their status, lest they dishonor the name of Christ (see 1 Tim. 6:1-2 for example). In Ephesians 6:5-9, slaves are told to obey their masters as they would Christ, serving wholeheartedly as unto Christ AND "masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him."

    So while the institution itself was not challenged -- and neither was polygamy for David and Solomon in their time, etc. -- the operation within the institution of slavery was redefined in a Christian context.

    You might also want to keep in mind that when a slave was freed, if he was freed, he had to make his own way somehow. That could be very, VERY difficult! Under a good master, slavery could be preferable.

    Perhaps, though, it is 1 Corinthians 7:20-24 is probably the definitive word:

    Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him. Were you a slave when you were called? Don't let it trouble you -- although if you can gain your freedom, do so. For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord's freedman; similarly, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ's slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to.

    God is not changing the world or our ways of going as cultures, Tuor. He is changing the hearts of individuals and then he will destroy this world and create a new one for us.

    Please don't forget that the second part of the Great Commandment of Christ is to love your neighbor as yourself. And unless you are impervious to your own pain, discomfort, illnesses, etc., please do not be impervious to theirs.
     
  9. Scarlett O.

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    God's being sovereign in ALL things does not mean that He moves us like puppets on a string.

    You can better believe that my parents were "sovereign in all things" (ha!), nevertheless, I was allowed to think critically for myself. I also made mistakes that I paid for. Sometimes my mother would "head me off at the pass", so to speak. Other times I got away with things (so I thought). In actuality, I paid a stiff penalty many times and on occasion, my folks paid a price too.

    Nevertheless, their authority was the final word.

    Absolute idiocy APPEARS to reign on our planet because of sin. God, IN His sovereignity, is allowing our sin nature to take its course, for a while.

    Yet, He is totally sovereign at all times. Who knows what tragedies that he averts and we never know about?

    Who knows what unseen and unknown blessings can rise up from a tragedy. I know that sounds trite and probably stupid, but it is true.

    God's Sovereign hand is not an iron hand. He is not a God of force or a universal puppet-master.

    God's Sovereign hand leads and guides. He holds our hand. He doesn't pull our strings.

    Peace-

    YSIC
    Scarlett O.
    &lt;&gt;&lt;
     
  10. Eladar

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    Helen, like Paul I'd like to find contentment in all situations. Like Job I'd like to love God no matter what happens. In other words, I don't think I am being hypocritical here. I started a slavery thead in the 'Other religion Forum'.
     
  11. tyndale1946

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    First of all I don't believe God causes tragedies but allows them to happen. To blame God for the tragedies is like Adam blaming God for Eve who sinned. The Woman you gave me... God works in tragedies but doesn't cause them. The reason they exist in the first place is because of sin and that is the only reason. Using something for his glory and causing it are as different as night and day. I think it strange sometimes that God gets the blame if it doesn't happen and the blame if it does. Yes God is Sovereign but will not go against his nature to bring something about... Brother Glen [​IMG]

    [ May 29, 2002, 11:57 AM: Message edited by: tyndale1946 ]
     
  12. rstrats

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    Tuor,

    re: “Each of us is given the opportunity to accept God or not while we are alive......... why not turn your life around right now?”

    Are you suggesting that a person has the ability to simply CHOOSE to believe that someone or something does or doesn’t exist or that a certain proposition is or isn’t true?
     
  13. Primitive Baptist

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    "There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." (Luke 13:1-5)

    In this discourse, Jesus reassures us that bad things happen to good people. Just because something bad happens, do not suppose those who were involved were sinners. Mortal man does not know the mind of God nor all His will. "The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law." (Deuteronomy 29:29) It is not the responsibility of man to know the secret things of God because they do not belong to us. We should seek to do the will of God and take comfort in the words of Paul the apostle; "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)
     
  14. KenH

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    Primitive Baptist,

    I agree with the gist of your post. But the first Scripture passage that you quote is actually saying that those who suffered calamity were sinners just like everybody else, not that they were good.

    Of course, outside of Christ's righteousness being imputed to His people, none of us is good.

    One redeemed by Christ's blood,

    Ken
     
  15. Primitive Baptist

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    Jesus said, "...Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?" (Luke 13:2) In other words, "Why do you assume those who suffered were necessarily great sinners?" Jesus was clearly teaching that sinners are not the only ones who suffer, but also the righteous. At the same time, we all understand that none are righteous apart from the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. There is no contradiction here. The reply of Jesus was not a statement, but a question.
     
  16. Naomi

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    What about just saying, "I don't know why this happened".
    I know we can trust God to carry us through anything, but, due to the fact that we do not possess absolute knowledge, we just cannot explain everything. We need to trust God, even when we don't understand. How? by putting our faith in Him, and not leaning upon our own understanding. (easier said then done) [​IMG]
    Naomi
     
  17. Primitive Baptist

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    Naomi,

    100% totally agree [​IMG]
     
  18. connieman

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    To All....if fallen, sinful man were to have "free-will", which naturally he does not, would not God have free-will, also, and would not the will of God be superior to the will of the creature? This should be self-evident.

    In the Name of Him Who said, "Let there be light, and there was light",

    connieman
     

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