Monday, October 1, 2007

My Feeble Answer to the Question

In the beginning, when God created the universe, he looked at all he created each day and declared that it was good. When he created man and woman, he declared that it was very good. But things didn’t stay that way. The man and woman disobeyed the only rule God told them to follow, don’t eat from one certain tree. Of course they did not keep that rule, and everything changed. The Apostle Paul noted that when Adam sinned, it affected us all. Death entered into the human condition (see Romans 5). We get sick, not because God decrees it, but because humanity is flawed and infected by sin. And not only that, but if you look at Genesis 3 closely, it says “Cursed is the ground because of you…” The earth is under a curse because of sin. Paul tells us in Romans 8 that creation itself is longing for redemption from the bondage of sin. That, to me explains natural disasters. Something is wrong with our earth.

Now, why does God allow some of these things to happen to some people and not to others, I do not know, but I do not believe that God decrees that we get sick or for tornadoes or floods to strike us. I do believe that God can shine through our calamity for his glory and for our obedience. John 9 shows Jesus confronted by a blind man. His disciples want to know, "Whose fault is this?" It has to be someone's fault. He must have done something. Jesus replies that it wasn't his sin that caused his blindness, but his blindness was an opportunity for God to be glorified. In this case, God was glorified through the display of his healing power through Jesus. But, is it possible for people to glorify God without healing? I believe so. We see people like Joni Earickson Tada serving God in mighty ways in spite of an accident that left her a quadriplegic. I have talked to familied who have been blessed by having a sibling with Down's Syndrome. These are just a few examples of how God can be glorified through calamity or disability. Anyway, that is my reaction. I am sure if I was diagnosed with cancer tomorrow, I might have a different answer, but for now...

I am curious for any of your reactions.

10 comments:

Legitquestions said...

[Blind] Singer Ginnie Owens tells a particularly mind-engaging part of her testimony on the cd "Night in Rockettown." In response to the old saying "what doesn't kill me can only make me stronger" she quotes a magizine columnist who said, "It isn't the struggles that make us stronger, but what we choose to do with them." Someone who lived through war only to commit suicide wasn't made stronger by the obstacles he or she faced, but anyone who faces adversity and takes their struggles to the Lord will surely become stronger for it.
At the risk of this response becoming a book, I have discovered something of the Mormon religion which actually makes some sense to me. One of my friends, who is Mormon, told me the origins of man through her faith. She says that we all began in Heaven and told God over and over again how much we loved Him and would always be true to Him. One day He asked us if we honestly thought that if conditions were bad we would still turn to Him, and we promised "Yes, Lord, we will always turn to you and worship you. Test us. Test us." So at our insistance God sent us, His children, to Earth. And some of us, true to our word turned and turn to Him at all times. And others of us have fallen away, as He feared would happen. (Of course this is a HUGE oversimplification of the story, but it illustrates the concept.) We asked God to test our love for Him and now He has and is and we are responsible for our reactions to the tests.

billy v said...

Thanks for the very thoughtful response. Thanks also for continuing to check in.

Legitquestions said...

No problem. I've missed your classes.

Legitquestions said...

Sorry I was MIA for song long on your posts, life has gotten busy, but every so often I need a breath of fresh air, and it's good to find it here.

billy v said...

No problem. I took it down for a while for political reasons (not SBU related). I miss not teaching at SBU right now.

Legitquestions said...

Where are you teaching this semester?
I have a job at SBU now. I gave up my work study position in the library to take on a part time job there. So I have an office in the library and I take care of all of the books that come in and go out to and from other libraries.
Are you still living in Nixa then?

billy v said...

I am working for the mo baptist convention doing collegiate ministry for them. I over see the campus ministers in the central region of missouri. I could have probably continued to teach at SBU, but I am located in Columbia now and that would have been to far to drive.

Crave The Word said...

What about the sins of our fathers? We suffer sometimes from what generations before have done. Guess God could be glorified in this as well.

TheMAN

jon said...

Bill,
I know this is an old post, but in regards to who is causing a calamity, is there any logic to the idea that a calamity may be attributed to God though it may have not been directly caused by God? For example, Job was obviously tormented directly by Satan, but after he is stricken with boils he calls his wife foolish for receiving good from God but not evil. The writer goes on to say that Job did not sin with his lips. Likewise, couldn't a cancer, for example, be attributed to God even though the direct cause may be the "sickness" of the earth?

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