Welcome to tomthinking.com Tuesday, January 23 2018 @ 05:51 PM UTC
I've never know anyone to give an emotionally satisfying answer to the question of why God allows or uses suffering. But, this assumes that assuaging our feelings is the goal of such an answer. It's as if we expect an answer during suffering that results in, "The pain is terrible but I feel good about it now." That's just silly.
There's a difference between the experience and emotion of suffering and what we know, intellectually, about suffering and God's role in it. So, allow me to make a few sweeping observations about what we know, not what we feel.
I bet more than a few Christians clicked on this article after reading the title, possibly incensed. After all, doesn't the scripture say in Psalm 27:14 and elsewhere to, "Wait on the Lord?" Yes, it does. But now that I have you in my web let me clarify what I mean. I don't mean the fully biblical practice of waiting on the Lord to act. Rather, I'm referring to the modern practice of waiting in silence during prayer for the Lord to speak. I'm willing to bet that most people who have tried this have been met with one thing.
This will be my last word on the controversy regarding Eagle TV's abandonment of neutrality and fairness in its political reporting.
Eagle news өөрийн замаа алджээ. Гэхдээ найдвар байна.
I have been reminded that most TV stations in Mongolia report with great bias. But I am not concerned with most stations. I am only concerned with Eagle News. I was the co-founder of Eagle Broadcasting Company in 2003 and served as President of the company until April 2011. I love Eagle TV. I gave Eagle 9 years of my heart and soul. The staff at Eagle TV were like my family. And I still love Eagle TV today.
After my recent post, God Is Obligated To Love You, a friend challenged me with this question: "Bill Maher is always pointing to the genocide God initiated [in the Old Testament]. You seem to go around this sort of objection to talk of God's love. If you could give a direct answer to Maher, what would you say?"
Here's my answer. I'd dramatically roll my eyes at Maher and say, "Puuulleeease, just go to commercial."
Just kidding. Actually, every objection deserves an answer. But for something like this, I think there are multiple answers to the challenge some people throw out when protesting the idea that the God of the Old Testament is a God of love. So, I'd like to provide five answers to the challenge above.
I heard this question this morning during church. The pastor described those who see the judgment or more violent stories in the Bible as proof that the Bible is a book of hate. The implication is that God is therefore hateful, especially the God of the Old Testament. But I think this view of God in the Old Testament is like looking at a road in the forest, always looking at the road and missing the beauty of the trees.
I'd like to offer up a concept on God's character, from the Old Testament, that I think most of us have missed. Here it is: God is obligated to love you. In fact, God is obligated to love you, in a legal way. Let me explain what I mean.
The secular concept of environmentalism and climate change activism is based upon the idea of nations exercising rights through occupation and proximity. If a people group occupies territory or is in proximity to territory, then it has a "right" to that territory and even possesses ownership. But this is not a biblical idea.
Imagine that space aliens came to settle on the earth. By our "being here first" we would say that the alien has no right to settle here without permission. In our way of thinking, we "own" the earth. But what if the aliens wanted to settle on the moon? Does man own the moon because it is in proximity to the earth? The earth needs the moon to maintain its weather patterns and eco-systems. Our proximity to the moon and our need for it would seem to imply that it belongs to us. The same can be said for the other worlds in our solar system. If they did not exist, life on earth would be impossible. Thus, our need and proximity imply right and possible ownership. If we are the only life in the solar system, does that mean man possesses the solar system?
President Trump's recent decision to abandon the Paris climate accord has many people on the left and the right screaming. I have to confess that I'm tired of the political railing from both sides of the political spectrum. I want to be concerned with things far deeper. Yet, as a Christian concerned first with the Great Commission rather than my secondary conservative political views I think there is something that conservative Christians are missing regarding climate change.
Paul recognized the State's right to execute when he said, "I do not refuse to die" (Acts 25:11).
Paul recognized the State's right to punish in Romans 13:1-7, but also our responsibility to be agents of mercy. We agree with Paul's description of a State's rights in Romans 13, but do we forget the next set of verses which command us to love our neighbor (verses 8-10)? Perhaps even the neighbor the State punishes whether in crime or in war?
People are not the enemy. Democrats are not the enemy. Republicans are not the enemy. Atheists, Muslims, and Buddhists are not the enemy. Liberals and conservatives are not the enemy. The media is not the enemy. Communists, socialists, and millennials are not the enemy. Obama and Trump are not the enemy.
Would it surprise you to learn that Jesus was usually nice?
Sometimes Jesus said some not so nice things. But to whom did he say them and why? It wasn't to any of the above.