Saturday, July 11, 2009

Humpty Dumpty Was Not Pushed By God - Facebook Reactions

Friend: The subject of suffering and the problem of evil is quite complex. There exist a number of views regarding T&T.

In the verses I cited, you correctly pointed out that James 1:2-4 & 12 and 1 Peter 1:7 merely state that T&T can result in good for us but do not say that T&T come from God. But NEITHER do the verses say they come because of our doings or the devil.

If we attribute all T&C to our own doings or the devil, I think we give too much credit to the devil and may sound like one of Job's friends. haha

God is in totally in control. He is threading and weaving every thread of our lives including our disappointments and pain into a grand design. Why He SEEMS to send us T&T is a holy mystery. The T&T, I refer to above are extremely painful events which happen beyond our control, either due to mistakes of others or unknowable reasons.

Your interpretation of Isaiah 48:10 is better. I like what you write and enjoy reading them.

Peter: Friend, To insist that He sends us, His sons and daughters in Christ, painful T&T(which cannot be supported by Scripture) may border on blasphemy. It wud be more accurate to say He allows in His sovereignty the T&T that are brought about by ourselves or the devil for our refining for our good.

Kat: When we think that God sent the trials to test us, we may come out of them feeling tired and bitter. We have to rely on our own strength to overcome since the trials are meant to "test" us. When we know Jesus has overcome everything on the cross, we can then fight from victory ground. The outcome will definitely be different.

Friend: Peter, I did not emphasize that God sends us T&T. It may be infer from what I have said but that was not my point. There is a holy mystery when T&T come not because of our doings or the devil. We simply dont know. And because God is in total control, it seems that he send them or as you put it, he allows them to happen.

Are you saying that there is scriptural support to say ALL T&T come from our own doings or the devil?

Abraham was tested. Job was tested. I have read far too many autobiographies of great men of God who faced T&T throughout their lives to accept that all T&T come from our own doings or the devil.

In the "The End of the Spear", Steve Saint wrote that he believes that God purposely arrange for his father and the other 4 missionaries to be killed for the greater purposes and glory of God.

Kat: Hi Friend, I believe Satan was the one who wanted to test Job, not God. Satan asked God not to interfere but God restored Job in the end. If you are referring to Abraham being tested in Isaac's case, I also believe that God was using that as a picture of Himself eventually sacrificing His Son, His only Son, the Son whom He loved. Pls note that the ram was already on the way up even before Abraham did any thing. God already provided a solution for Abraham!He never meant for Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, he was talking about Himself and His own son, Jesus.

Friend: Hi Kat Poon, you are right. But God gave Satan permission to destroy everything that Job had. Why did God do that?

James reminds us to consider the latter end of Job's life ( James 5:11). But that still doesn't answer why God let Job suffer in the first place.

The impossible question which has plagued a number of believers is : If God is love and has all the power to remove suffering, why does He allow good people to suffer?

However, my response to Stanley's excellent article is not about God sending T&T to test us. My point is that not ALL T&T come because of our doings or the devil. And that God does use T&T to test us for reasons we do not understand eventhough at the end the result is for our own good.

My personal view of the devil is that he is a defeated small fly. He cannot bring us any T&T nor do us any harm without God's permission. He is not an equal to God. God is God even if we do not understand the holy mystery of suffering and the problem of evil.

Peter: Friend, I understand your point: 3 sources of T&T, including God. My point (incldg Stanley n Kat Poon) is that God doesn't send T&T to his own though He may allow it.(precisely what you stated in your last para...without God's permission.)
The question of suffering/evil is another thing altogether from Humpty Dumpty falling off the Wall!

Kat: John 10:10 says, "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. " It is very clear here that the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy...that sounds like T&T to me! Precisely because the devil is a defeated foe, no weapon formed against us will prosper (Isaiah 54:17) Guess who was the one who formed the weapons?

Friend: Hi Peter,
(1) Humpty Dumpty falling off the Wall could be due to something not his doings or the devil. An earthquake, for instance.
(2) T&T= the problem of sufferings and our own doings and he devil = the problem of evil.
(3) Whether God "seems to send" and though "he may allow it", is a question of semantics.
(4) Job 42:11 indicates that God is responsible for bringing T&T to Job.

(5) Not all God's children experience T&T in the same measure. Some are tested severely and some are not.
(6) Now we dont understand. But at the end, God will restore and turn all our T&T into his glory.

Me: I read Matthew Henry's Commentary and he had this interesting thing to say - "His troubles began in Satan's malice, which God restrained; his restoration began in God's mercy, which Satan could not oppose."

Friend: (1) While Satan was the instigator of Job's suffering, dont you think that God bore ultimate responsibility by allowing Satan to test Job? (Job 42:11)
(2) Is it not correct to conclude that one of the lessons in the book of Job is T&T are not always the result of our own doings which is the erroneous conclusion drawn by Job's friends? Doesnt Job proves this is not the case?

Angie: My view is that if we can allow even the slightest notion that God is responsible for certain T&T in our life, we can also allow the slightest notion of incomplete trust in Him.

Me: Hi Friend, going by your logic that God bore ultimate responsiblity, then how can we say that God is good when we see all the death in the Szechuan earthquake, the Asian Tsunami, the 9-11 terror attack? How can we then trust a God who is ultimately responsible for all these destruction?

You are giving God the wrong credit (if you can call this
credit)! The lesson in the book of Job is that the devil is the one who brings on all the T&T while God is the one who restores, nay more than restores, for Job received DOUBLE what he had in the beginning!

Friend: Hi Stanley, I am glad that you disagreed. I always assume that I am 50 percent wrong of the time, just dont know which 50 percent.

Yes, there is no logic to it. There is only faith. There is also no logic to say that parallel lines will meet. But they will meet in the realm of infinity. God is above logic, time and space. For many people, there is also no logic to the doctrine of Atonement.

God is good because the bible say so. God is responsible because that is the best biblical view I can accept. I can trust God who is ultimate responsible for these destruction. I have witness his interventions in my life and others.

The devil is a created being and is subject to the control of God Almighty. In the book of Job, Satan is a minor player. What did Job cry out to God? " I cry out to You, but You do not answer, You have become cruel to me; You oppose me with the strength of Your Hand" ( Job 30: 20-21). Job holds God responsible and not Satan for his T&T.

If God is not ultimately responsible than who? Satan? Hardly possible because Satan has extremely limited powers. No where in the Bible can you find a passage which clearly attributes power over weather, natural phenomena or disastrous events to Satan.

God is totally in control of everything. He can cause disaster or he can prevent it. He controls every detail, even the fall of a sparrow. The greatest natural disaster in the Bible, the great flood was God's work, not Satan's (Gen 6-8), where God (not even with Satan's help) flooded the whole world and destroyed practically every living thing.

God causes earthquakes, especially when he is angry (Job 9:5, 28:9, Ps 18:7, 77:16-18, 97:3-5, Isa 2:19, 24:20, 29:6, Jer 10:10, Nahum 1:5, Heb 12:26). He causes the mountains to be thrown down and the valleys to fill (Ezek 38:20).

Can we trust a God who causes natural disasters. The answer is Yes.

Me: Job blamed God for all his troubles, and many Christians are now also making the same mistake as Job - Job 34:35 - ‘Job speaks without knowledge, His words are without wisdom.’

Peter: Friend, God is no more angry... All His anger has been taken out on Jesus on the cross! (Noah's flood... ask Stanley to explain... he is very good in this.) Our view of God needs to be consistently with the over arching theme of Scriptures.

Friend: 1. God is ultimately responsible because the devil cannot do any harm without his permission. As I said, the devil is a created being and is not his equal.
2. To hold God responsible and to blame God is two different things. Our view of God must be so BIG to accept that He is responsible and He can JUSTIFIED and restore everything that have ever
happen. In other words, all mysteries and "why no logic" will be resolved in the end. He will turn our every agony into his Glory.
3. To digress a little, most of us will be surprised if we see people like Hitler, Stalin, or Osama in Heaven. But who can prevent God from extending his Grace to these people? After all, we are saved by grace and not that we have not done wicked things.
4. Isaiah 45:7 is clear: "I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create DISASTER, I, THE LORD, DO ALL THESE THINGS.
5. We have to trust him regardless of anything. And who amongst us can understand the problem of evil and sufferings.

Stanley, if you are in Job's position ( where everything is destroyed and all his children died), you may "blame " God also. Job did not "blame" God but hold God responsible. If he will to blame God, he would have CURSE God. This he did not do. IN ALL THIS, JOB DID NOT SIN IN WHAT HE SAID (JOB 2:10)

In my view, in our desperation, we may blame God
. But God understands and He can accept all our anger. Have you ever being angry with God?

If as you said, Satan is responsible for all of Job's T&T, why doesnt God said so to Job?. I mean, God could have said, "hey, look here Job, this is all Satan's doings and dont you dare blame me.

Me: Isaiah 45:8 -
Rain down, you heavens, from above,
And let the skies pour down righteousness;
Let the earth open, let them bring forth salvation,
And let righteousness spring up together.
I, the LORD, have created it.


Liu said...

Interesting exchanges, what a stubborn friend indeed, mixing OT & NT, mixing before & after the cross, forgetting that Jesus, after the cross now is our High Priests Who SEATS down (not stand up) at the right hand of God, Amen!

Shalom Shalom,

Daughter Of Sarah said...

wah lau

finally read this exchange

This is the reason why manhy people don't live in victory despite being destined to reign.

As humans we tend to want to justify God's unlimitations and complete possibilities with our limited knowledge, understanding and impossibilities. It is supposed to help us accept our defeat when what we most need to do is to reject it and walk in the victory purchased by Christ with His ultimate sacrifice.