Posted by admin in June 8th, 2021
Published in Uncategorized

A friend of mine responded to a terrible national tragedy a few years ago, “Well! God is in control!” I’m never quite sure what to do with statements like that. They become clichés and in my opinion, they trivialize the trauma and suffering of others—as if God planned it or intended it to happen. Are those words to help the victims? I’m not sure they do.

I’m wondering if we as Christians have become fatalistic? Has our theology warped our perception of God and God’s perfect divine will? In fact, my friend’s response is actually more inline with Muslim theology than a biblical worldview of suffering.

Nations like the US and the UK were founded on biblical principles. Men, not all of whom had a profession in Christ, understood the rule of law based on biblical precepts and the order of the universe put in place by God. These men wrote laws, rules for governing, and helped form a civil and just society. This is why historically, Christian nations have a clear course of action when wrong is committed – theft, rape, murder, and breech of contract. This rule by law and this type of justice system says that the human race must be held accountable for individual actions of wrongdoing and victims deserve justice. In traditional Christian principles, the responsibility of the individual is clear and distinct. We are held accountable. We are held responsible.

Interestingly however, in the Muslim world, that’s not always the case. For example, theft is always the responsibility of the wrong-doer. Islam has very strict and rigid laws against theft. And the expression, “It was Allah’s will” doesn’t enter into the conversation when theft is the focus. Stealing is a crime with capital punishment—loss of limb and sometimes loss of life. They take theft very seriously.

Murder on the other hand, well that depends on who you kill and for what reason. Oftentimes the accidental killing of a goat (i.e., hit by a car) results in a greater punishment than the taking of a human life (i.e., honor killing one’s own daughter). Why? The Will of Allah. Life and death are in Allah’s hands.  “Everything happens by the will of Allah. Whatever Allah wills happens, and whatever he does not will does not happen,” (Quran, Chapter 6, Surah Anaam verse 59).

Mashallah – God willed it.

Tragic car accident, “Mashallah!”

Death of a new born baby, “Mashallah!”

A man beats his wife to death for disobedience, “Mashallah!”

See what I mean? See how fatalistic that kind of thinking is?

For example, if a drunk driver gets behind the wheel of a car and rams his vehicle into oncoming traffic resulting in lives destroyed—Muslims (and now many Christians) would say, “Must have been God’s will.”

But that would never be God’s will!

By its very definition, sin is the breaking of God’s will—sin is disobedience. Why is that so hard for modern-day evangelicals to comprehend? And wrongdoing is sin. We serve a Redeemer God! A God that is able to redeem all things—our sins, our brokenness, our failures, and even cases when we are the victims of others’ sin—God is able to redeem it all and use our suffering for His Glory and for our good WHEN we surrender all to Him. But that doesn’t mean He wills it.

If everything is God’s will and all that happens here on earth is willed by God, then how do we account for sin? Wrongdoing? Carelessness? How on earth do we hold people accountable for wrongdoing if they are simply fulfilling God’s will?

Which brings me back to my first paragraph—so my friend was trying to biblically respond to tragedy. Lives were lost, people suffered, and families were torn apart as a result of this tragedy. For hundreds of people, life would never be the same and my friend’s desire to make sense of it all was to say, “Well, God is in control.” I think in her heart she was trying to reconcile the problem of pain with the goodness of God. But it is too simplistic and it calls us to resign ourselves to evil and sin. But we don’t have to resign ourselves to evil. Thus, we make laws against things like drunk driving and we penalize individuals who break those laws. And we comfort victims of those crimes and tragedies by declaring that an injustice occurred. We help them to understand that our God is able to heal, restore, and redeem.

We shouldn’t cover over a crisis with this type of blanket statement. When we do this, whether we realize it or not, we push accountability to the side; responsibility is minimalized. Sin is no longer sin–it’s just the will of God being fulfilled.

I don’t believe that is right. And not too long ago the Church didn’t believe it either and once, a long time ago, our nation didn’t believe it. Drawing it out to its only logical conclusion, you don’t punish someone for simply fulfilling God’s will.

We need to get back to a clear biblical understanding of suffering and injustice. We need to leave all the “isms” and “ists” behind and look clearly at what the Bible has to say—not someone’s deep philosophical interpretation of the Bible, but what the Bible actually says about sin, disobedience, God’s will, and redemption.

Unfortunately, Christians have picked up the same fatalistic mantra of Islam. When did we start talking like this? We aren’t Muslims with a fatalistic view of God! We’re followers of Jesus who believe that our God is able to work all things for our good without ordaining evil!

We’re not open theists, of course God knows the end from the beginning, but that doesn’t mean that all things are God’s will or ordained by Him. Saying that God is in control implies that God wasn’t horrified by the tragedy. The pure and holy heart of God is always grieved by wrongdoing. We’ve got to get back to the study and promotion of the CHARACTER of God. Who is God and what are His attributes?!?

He’s holy. He’s sovereign. He’s just. He’s righteous. He’s compassionate. He’s mindful. He’s love. He’s faithful.

Also, God does respond to the act of wrongdoing performed by the human race:

God grieves (Eph. 4:30), God feels indignation (Psalm 7:11), God gets angry (Hebrews 10:31), God gets frustrated (Gen. 6:6), God sorrows (Isa. 53:3), and God sympathizes (Hebrews 4:13).

I will never believe that sin is God’s will or that He ordains anyone to sin. He redeems and even if the tragedy that forever changed hundreds of lives may not have surprised God, you can be absolutely certain it grieved His Father Heart. Peace.


2 users Responded In This Post

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57974. norm said,
June 9th, 2021 at 4:28 am

Once again, you’ve nailed it, just as in your previous post, which BTW sparked conversations for me.
One friend opined that your last post identified how some believers deal with the problem of sin: God ordained it, they say.
Another responded to my appeal, re: Job 1, where from I said that God did not cause the calamities and tragedies that befell Job. Whoa, brother. That hit a nerve to the contrary. This person argued that God “ordained” what happened to Job. When I asked if God also ordained child molestation, I was abruptly shut down and “dis-invited” to continue.
Was God “in control” of what Satan did to Job? Well, yes; but only up to the point where God commanded that Job’s life be spared. God did not ordain, approve, sanction, or promote Job’s plight. It was Satan’s will and power that attacked Job. True: God temporarily removed some of his protection from Job, but it was the opportunistic Lucifer who chose to attack.
Thank you for your post and allowing me the freedom to respond to it.

57978. admin said,
June 9th, 2021 at 5:32 am

My brother Norm, you have no idea how grateful I am for your encouragement. You’ve stated this so well and expressed it far better than I. Thank you! There are 7,000 in the land who have not bowed…I appreciate your words so very much!

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