I've thought a lot about the subject of God ordaining evil over the past week…and what I decided was that I don't have the answers…it's all a little confusing for me. I would, however, still like to continue this discussion.
For starters, this whole concept of God Ordaining Evil is obviously offensive to some, but the problem is that no-one has been able to tell me where "evil" came from. Now, maybe we should just refer to it as "the mystery of iniquity" and say we don't know where evil came from…which I could accept, but that doesn't really help this discussion…so I'd still like someone to take a stab at explaining how God can be all powerful and the Creator of the world and yet take no responsibility for "evil" showing up.
One of the most interesting parts of this discussion for me is the issue of trusting a loving God. When I sit back and say "God is the author of all the good, bad, and ugly on this earth and I have no way of knowing His plan and purpose due to the fact that I am an ignorant fool in comparison to His great glory" it makes me feel comforted…comforted to know that there is a reason and a purpose that I may not understand…but by faith I can believe that God will work all this out for his own Glory.
Others seem to be saying, "How can you have peace and trust in a God who would ordain such evil".
Here's where I am at: This world is NOT about me, and it's NOT about you…or anyone else for that matter. We are simply here to bring Glory to God, and when I hear people say, "It's not in God's nature to ordain evil", I say "Who are you to say what is and what is not in God's nature?" There have been many scriptures listed that show "God's nature" being one of wrath and anger in which He clearly ORDAINS a lot of horrible sounding things (at least horrible in our human reality)…but do any of us want to stand before God and tell Him what He should and should not do?
It sounds to me like we want to apply our ideals to God when maybe, just maybe, God is bigger than we can even imagine. For instance, we define "love" as "a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person"; we than see that the Bible claims that "God is Love" therefore God must exibit "a profoundly tender and passionate affection for mankind"…but who are we to tell God what Love is?
Should we apply our limited knowledge to a limitless God?
I'm not sure if I am being very clear at all or if I've just lost my mind…last night, Negro-D said to me "This is really a conversation that should be had over beers…it's to complex to discuss in this forum"…and I think he's right. Still, it's fun to try.
Let me leave you with a few comments from a man who amazes me every time I read his stuff:
But in reality our pain and losses are always a test of how much we treasure the all-wise, all-governing God in comparison to what we have lost. We see this merciful testing of God throughout the Scriptures. For example, in Deuteronomy 8:3 Moses said, "And [God] humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord." In other words, God ordains the hard times ("he . . . let you hunger") to see if good times are our god. Do we love bread, or do we love God? Do we treasure God and trust his good purposes in pain, or do we love his gifts more, and get angry when he takes them away?
We see this testing in Psalm 66:10-12, "For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water." And we see it in the life of Paul. When he prayed for his thorn in the flesh to be taken away Christ told him what the purpose of the pain was. "Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness'" (2 Corinthians 12:8-9). The test for Paul was: Will you value the magnifying of Christ's power more than a pain-free life?
We see this testing in 1 Peter 1:6-7, "In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, as was necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." God ordains trials to refine our faith and prove that we really trust his wisdom and grace and power, when hard times come. Similarly in James 1:2-3, "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. . . . Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him." Do we love God? That is the point of the test. Do we cherish him and the merciful wisdom of his painful purposes, more than we cherish pain-free lives? That is the point of God's testing.
Our trials reveal the measure of our affection for this earth – both its good things and bad things. Our troubles expose our latent idolatry.
For those who believe that God rules purposefully and wisely over all things, our response to loss is a signal of how much idolatry is in our souls. Do we really treasure what we have lost more than God and his wisdom? If we find ourselves excessively angry or resentful or bitter, it may well show that we love God less that what we lost. This is a very precious discovery, because it enables us to repent and seek to cherish Christ as we ought, rather than being deceived into thinking all is well.
Oh, and David Mackin, I'm sure you've got good reasons to keep silent on this subject, but I'm just dying to know…what are your thoughts?