God’s Way?

Based on my previous post and comments, here’s a couple of questions:

Does God still destroy wicked people today as he did in the Biblical story of Noah?

Are hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes and other natural disasters God’s way of dealing with wickedness in our world?

32 thoughts on “God’s Way?”

  1. Calvinism is dangerous in my mind. Interesting points. I guess I am not at all a Calvinist except that I think its harder to fall away than most non-calvanists do. I lean more to arminianism but I could be a calvamanian. Oh well I will save the rest of my theology for my own blog and not here. Sorry if I got too out there.I think the belief that God predestined some to go to hell and others is sick and twisted and as far from a loving God as possible.Now back on topic, Why would a perfect God predestine disasters that punish his “elect”? I dont know. I cant think a loving and perfect God would do such weird things. Not to mention unfair to the saved and children. God created nature and likes to let things do what they will. At least that is how I see it. Those who choose to follow him to do so out of love. Those who dont had the chance.

  2. I have always thought that the earth was cursed after the fall, so maybe they were the consequences of sin.But I could be wrong.-Demo

  3. In general, I agree with ha kohen. Shit happens. And we, as sinners, have to take it and move on, thanking God that we have eternal life to hope for. I don’t know what to tell people who think bad things happening to anyone is beyond a loving God…it’s a cute idea but the Scriptures seem clear we deserve nothing but death.I don’t think God necessarily sends natural disasters to punish the wicked, but because of the curse and due to His sovereignty, we have to at least admit that He allows them to happen at the very least.I like that God is mysterious and multi-faceted…it makes Him God and makes me small…

  4. señor jefe, I liked how simple you did this. You seem to know the words of your Bible very well. However you have again missed a surrounding context (I wish I could say that this is due to your use of The Message rather than a Bible but that is probably is not true). The problem here is that you are missing a common debate among rabbis’. It was known to Jesus just as it was to the religious leaders, that the Decalogue reveals a God who may visit the sins of the Father again the sons. This would not have been in question. But what was a common question of debate was whether a person could sin in the womb. The underlining question here is essentially “did this man sin in the womb or is it his fathers’ sin that caused him to be born afflicted”. In this particular instance Jesus tells us (and does not tell us that this is so in all cases – and in fact it could not be) that neither his fathers’ sin nor the sin of the unborn caused this blindness but rather this happened so that Jesus could reveal a sign. This of course indicates that God did in fact cause this mans blindness (and this very closely relates to the original question posted). The point is not that sin has no affect on people or that some things are out of Gods hands but rather that this particular individual’s infirmity existed solely for the purpose of revelation for Jesus’ mission. Now for Nugget… I guess you are a far better person then everyone else here. Try laughing when your 3 year old is dying of Cancer! Pain exists; you had better learn to deal with it.

  5. “All things for the Glory of God”. You are right. But I don’t think God can sin nor do anything that could be considered a sin simply because He determines what is sinful and what is not and also because the laws are for us and not for Him (although I do believe as you do that He may choose to limit himself). But it is still an interesting issue. I am writing a book on this right now. For example in 2 Kings 22 – God has the devil cause people to “sin” for Him. The midwives in Exodus lie for God (and are rewarded by God for their lie). It is actually a more common theme then most people care to think about (but we can’t ignore scripture just because we don’t like it). Still I believe we in fact do agree on what is essential. Neither has denied that God is all-powerful (a common problem for those who propagate “free will” without barriers). You on the other hand said that you believe God allows others to take control. This is fine. This does not contradict what is an essential of the Christian Faith (and I do mean THE faith; not only my own, but this is how it has historically been seen. The sovereignty of God is very much central). In fact we agree much more than you think. I only stress Gods control over all things, even the ones He seems to have (or as you would say Has freely) given up. Now I’m done for a while. I think I have changed the mood around here a bit. I’ll go back to just reading for a while and I’ll drop in at a later date. Blessings, Ha Kohen

  6. ha kohen: is your 3 year-old-old dying of cancer? if so then I’m sorry. if not, then who are you to lecture me on pain?Pain is relative. Some prisoners have a high ole time in prison for 30 years. 3 square meals a day, comfortable bed, friends, yadda yadda. Pain is relative. Do you understand that? The richest man in the world feels pain. The most glaring example of success feels pain. Don’t lecture me on pain. Pain is a gift from God.

  7. I promise this will be my last post on this. I just got fired up.True Calvinism believes that Jesus didnt die for everyone but just for the “elect”. Now picture this. God up there in heaven with a hat full of names, Ok. Joe goes to hell, Steve goes to heaven, Julie goes to hell. Eeenie meenie miney moe maybe.On a serious note. Modern day heretics and hatemongers such as Westboro Baptist Church (the God hates fags freaks) and Harald Camping of Family Radio are probably the only ones who come right out and say this but heresy is heresy. Just because its old heresy doesnt make it any less heresy. These whackjobs are also the best example of people who think that every time a dog pisses on a tree its “the wrath of God” and the end is near. I am SICK OF IT.If God wants to end the world, we would never know what hit us.Here me. God loves everyone NO EXCEPTIONS.Narrator: In the background, Spiritbear puts on his flameproof suit with Bible bomb protection. I cannot believe the Jesus I serve would do such a thing. I could quote scriptures, but Bible bombers bug me. Peace and love to all.

  8. You must remember that I am a stanch Calvinist. For me, to deny God’s control over anything is to deny that He is All-Powerful and is to deny that He is any kind of God at all. A perfect and loving God cannot let sin go unpunished (either in this life or the next).The answer to the question then is both yes and no. All evil and all death in the world is the result of sin (however that might be) and no person is innocent (and therefore able to avoid the results of sin in this world). God has every right to put His judgment upon us (in our personal history, our future death and at the time of Final Judgment) however He might determine to do so. The Bible is extremely clear that there is a connection between sin and calamity. (Job 4:7; 8:4, 20; 22:5; Ps 1:4; 37:20; Exodus 20:5; John 9:2–3 – also see 1QapGen 20:16–29 from Apocryphon of Qumran Cave 1) This was a basic tenet of the faith and Jesus does not seem to dispute it nor does any other part of the Bible (they only add to it). At the same time we must also except that God chooses to spare people and chooses to show mercy (to whomever He has predetermined to do so and at his own leisure). When Jesus is confronted with this exact question in Luke 13:1-5 he does not even question this reality; instead offering up a chance for repentance. It reads, “Some were present at that time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate mingled with [the blood of] their sacrifices. In response hesaid to them, “Do you think that these Galileans were greater sinners than all the [other] Galileans, because they suffered these things? I tell you, no! But unless you repent you will all perish in a similar manner. Or those eighteen on whom the tower fell at Siloam and killed them—do you think that they were greater debtors than all the other people living in Jerusalem? I tell you no! But unless you repent you will all perish just as they did.” The point is that God is in control and that all people fall short and deserve punishment. In the end however, we have a God who shows mercy (though we, the shortsighted, rarely see it this way). At the same time, Jesus suggests that those who died did not die for the specific “political sin” the crowd might think. Instead he admits that they were sinners and that they were punished and that nothing is out of Gods hands and yet he also calls people to recognize that no one is innocent (pointing out that a punished will eventually make its way to them). So… Does God punish us with “natural disasters” (or better yet, Acts of God)? Yes”. At the same time… the answer is No, in that they are no more punished for their sins that anyone else (even those who’s knees shall bow). In the end, the point is turned to repentance. All people sin, all people exist in a world of sin and so all suffer its consequences (and part of the consequence is that the punishment does not always seem to fit the crime when it comes to the corruption of nature). Ultimately the point is that we must all repent and call upon our lord so that we might reach a time and place that is not corrupted by sin and where Final Judgment ends all punishment.

  9. “Does God still destroy wicked people today as he did in the Biblical story of Noah?”I don’t think so. Wicked people in the Old Testament are those that lived in opposition to what God had deemed acceptable behavior. Maybe like the agnostics and atheists today, they didn’t think God was real. And there’s certainly nothing to fear from an imaginary god.“Are hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes and other natural disasters God’s way of dealing with wickedness in our world?”No. Because these phenomena while devastating and destructive are not anywhere nearly as destructive as the judgments God delivered in the Bible. Look at Sodom and Gomorrah. Two cities reduced to rubble and ash. No hurricane, tsunami or tornado is going to do that. Look at Lot’s wife, turned into a pillar of salt, again no way any of the three calamaties mentioned will do that to someone. For an act of God to have occurred in my opinion it must be an act of supernatural origin or it must be an act of a natural nature, but so severe and intense that we are left scratching our heads as to why this hurricane, tornado or tsunami was so uncharacteristically violent while others weren’t. The destruction of S & G was really specific, no other regions were affected, as far as I know. Also, there is usually a prophet or messenger that goes ahead and declares on behalf of God that destruction is imminent, unless they turn from their ways. Jonah, is one such prophet who leaps to mind. He went forth and warned the Ninevites about the impending judgment they would face from God if they didn’t repent and turn from their ways. We don’t know what God would have done to them, because they did turn from their ways.Look at Hurricane Katrina. It’s not like this was an unexpected event. They knew the storm was coming, not because of a prophet but because of developing weather patterns that were being tracked by satellite and radar. They knew it would be bad, but people stayed where they were regardless of the consequences because they couldn’t leave their homes. This was all they knew, much like the people in the days of Noah and Sodom and Gommorah. Where could these people go? Plus flooding in New Orleans is not exactly a newsflash. That place naturally floods, they have a levee system in place to deal with it, it’s not a surprise to have a flood there. If God were to wipe out N.O. it would probably be with something uncharacteristic for the region like fire from Heaven. Now, I also believe that God can manipulate nature to wipe out some people or a city, but I haven’t seen that kind of destruction yet. Doesn’t mean it will never happen. Alot of the judgments in Revelation are of the natural order. But a global earthquake as predicted in Revelation is supposedly scientifically impossible, it can’t happen. Nothing is impossible with God.For me, God has dealt with the issue of wickedness. Those who are wicked and live in opposition to God will not be raised to eternal life on Judgment Day or will be sent straight to Hell to burn for all eternity. The second one though is a form of eternal life, so I’m not sure which one God will opt for, or He may have another punishment in mind altogether. I’m still working through the issue of what happens to people who live in opposition to God.

  10. “If it’s good, it’s from God; if it’s bad, it’s from the devil.” Reads a little dualistic to me. That said, I’m not sure that I can offer up much of an explanation myself.

  11. If you would please… let’s do this again, (Write and X on one hand and a Y on the other hand and put a small coin in each one) Say I know the future. I offer you X and Y. I know you will choose X. I choose to offer you both X and Y. Is Y really and option? No, because you won’t choose it? So did you? No because it was the only option I chose to grant you according to by good graces. But still you did chose X even if it was the only real option right? Yes (even though the other choice didn’t really exist). At the same time who controls all the “options”? God does and could have changed them at any moment. Is it surprising to know that God can accomplish his will though our “choices”?You do only what you are allowed to do and only from what is offered to you. (You cannot choose an option you are not given and God controls the options so no matter what you choose God was still in control). But choice still exists in this controlled environment. You choose X yourself (as you were offered it and allowed it). This is called a paradox. It is a very common theme in Judeo-Christian thought. More explanations for when this concerns choosing God or not:All people are lost in sin and cannot find God without being called first. Jer 17:9 John 6:44, Rom. 3:1-23, 2 Cor. 4:3-4, Eph. 2:1-3All things are for the Glory of God according to His good will and pleasure. (He need not answer humanity for His choices). Rom. 9:20-21, Eph. 1:5, Phil. 2:13, Rev. 4:11God has chosen people through Grace and by nothing we have done. John 6:37, 44, 65, 15:16, Acts 13:48; Rom 9:6-24, Eph. 1:4-5Election is necessary or else God is not sovereign and is not worthy of praise. His power is the reason for faith. Eph. 2:8-10Election is certainly effective and all God chooses will come to faith or He is not sovereign. Rom 8:29-30Election is from all eternity. It is immutable. Eph. 1:4, 9:11 At the very least God foresaw those who would believe and chose to offer faith to them (as an option – or rather the only possible option) and choose to elect them (not by their works but by His own reasoning). Rom. 8:29I hope you know that I’m not trying to argue. I am attempting to explain something that is essential to the faith and that seems to have been lost (though just in North American Christianity) or misunderstood in the last 80 years. (A big part of the problem was a horrible bible translation with commentary called the Scofield Bible. In the U.S. many began to treat the Scofield commentary as if it were the end all; be all. It caused great confusion in regards to this issue. It is also the reason for the prominence of the pre-millennial, pre-tribulation rapture idea that is constantly rejected by scholars on all sides. It also pushed the idea of the Platonic view of the Soul – this is why most Christians in North American don’t understand that the Bible teaches of our future physical resurrection.) If you would like to talk about it further just say so and I will e-mail you instead of taking up all this space.

  12. steve and everyone else: all of your presuppositions about natural disasters, wars, etc. are based on your idea that these things are “bad.” Since when is a disaster “bad?” Why do we view hurricanes as punishment? Since when are trials so bad? You people make me laugh. If anything, “hard times” are when we stick to God like glue. 3 weeks ago I had a bad fever and prayed to God for some alleviation. When was the last time I prayed before that??? couldn’t tell ya. So much for punishment. I thank God when I stub my toe.

  13. Coincidentally, I recently read a couple of essays/studies that kind of go along with this discussion.http://www.goodnewsaboutgod.com/studies/otkillergod.htmhttp://www.goodnewsaboutgod.com/studies/judgment2.htm<>Does God still destroy wicked people today as he did in the Biblical story of Noah?<>I would say no.<>Are hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes and other natural disasters God’s way of dealing with wickedness in our world?<>I would say no to that, too.

  14. “We’re terrible animals. I think that the Earth’s immune system is trying to get rid of us, as well it should.” – Kurt Vonnegut

  15. Amos 3:6 (New International Version)When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble? When disaster comes to a city, has not the LORD caused it?Isaiah 45:7 (New International Version)I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things. I’m sorry you don’t get it but not being able to understand something does not make it go away!

  16. Does God still destroy wicked people?” I think wicked people destroy themselves! I can think of a few who I would want to see destroyed sooner rather than later…oops, but does our faith not tell us that we are all sinners? So does God destroy all who are sinners – or is there some degree of sinfulness that is worse? My reading of the teachings of Jesus shows me a God who longs to change all wickedness into good. And so God is in the business of transformation, and not destruction,We human beings on the other hand, just love destruction. And want to see people destroyed. And even impute these motives to God when we are writing our sacred scriptures.

  17. As a side note: the word elect is used 17 times in 17 different verses in the Bible. Election is not a theory or a proof text. It is a Biblical reality. But not to worry, you have made a very common error. Jacobus Arminius also believed that people could not come to God but must be sought by the Lord first (“total depravity”). He also believed in the elect (as does the Wesleyan version). Arminius simply thought election happened later than Calvin did (making it seem as if salvation is based on works righteousness – though this is also a misconception). It might also be interesting to note that the Arminius 3 volume set was denounced by the Canons of Dort as heretical because it denied Gods power to rule over all things (done just after his death). Later in his life, Arminius accepted even more of Calvin’s views and sought to modify his works.

  18. Normally this is where I would go into a long discussion about what “choice” means when it comes from a God who offers you “choices” all the while aware of what you will or will not “chose”, who is still in control of the “choices” being offered and who determines what “choices” you have in the first place. (In other words if God know you will pick A and “offers” you A and B is B really a choice?) This goes much further but I will leave it at this. So as for an answer – both! Calvin believed in Free Will (along with election, predestination and foreknowledge). The Westminster Confession teaches Free Will (along with election, predestination and foreknowledge), and I believe the Bible teaches it as well (along with election, predestination and foreknowledge). I think God determines all things but also that Free Will somehow exists in some way. For Christians who already believe that God is Three and One and that Christ is both fully God and fully Man, this should not be any surprise. We are a faith built on paradox.

  19. I honestly dont think so. Many Christians were affected by Katrina. Though New Orleans may be a “sin city” isnt every place. I guess its hard to make a generalization some could be of God.I mean God could use weather to curse people. Though I tend to think God allows nature to take its course and doesnt mess with people who mess with nature. It may be our fault (as people) for not taking better care of the earth. Global warming or whatever, but thats not the same as God punishing us directly. I hesitate before blaming God for bad things.

  20. seems like a stretch to me. and, didn’t you just imply that God controls everything in the response to Mr. Grassow? If God controls everything, how is there free will?

  21. Calvinism aside…A pastor I know put it simply: “If it’s good, it’s from God; if it’s bad, it’s from the devil.” It sounds too simplistic, maybe superstitious. Another pastor relates the “Good/Bad formula,” explaining that hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis and the like are sort of pains that the earth is going through because of humanity’s wickedness. Take the world as a human body. It’s a system that needs a certain equilibrium in order to exist and function properly. Sin, then is like an imbalance of sorts that has its repercussions. (like karma, or a nasty fever)So, no.btw, there is a huge-ass storm coming our way at this part of the world. I know we’ll be safe, but there are others that have to deal with the aftermath of it, if not the actual storm. It’s reported to be strong, but it’s moving slowly.

  22. Pete grassow, “inpute these [human] emotives to God” – That was very smart. But… I’m not so sure the answer is as easy as anthropopathism. I think it is more about recognizing who is in control. In the end, either God is all-powerful or He is not.

  23. recovering said, <>I just blogged about extremism. It’s Christianity’s biggest problem as far as I’m concerned.<>what the?? just when I thought I was feeling you. Extremism is spun as something only vile in our society. This is THE biggest problem. The media overuses “extremism” in the worst way.I got one sentence: Jesus was an extremist. Being an extremist doesn’t make you a murderer or unintelligent. It means you adhere to a philosophy so strongly that you deny a sovereign “state’s” power over such truth. If your truth just HAPPENS to include Faith, Hope, Love, and I dunno, the BEATITUDES then you ain’t got shit to worry about being an extremist. This is a common misconception and I don’t fault you for it. It makes me angry though.If your truth just happens to include “Jesus was not the son of God”, “Kill the infidels”, or “I have bombs tied to my torso” then, yes, extremism is quite a problem for the rest of us. Christian extremism, however, is key. It’s necessary and imminent because christian extremism is TRUTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!AM I WRONG?????

  24. Although I would have put it differently, I am in aggreament with ha kohen on most everything he said.I used to be a pretty hardcore Arminiest but after my daughter died I really had to wrestle with the subject. I have come to the conclusion that most of my arguments I used against Calvinism (much like spirit bear’s) were more propaganda and the failure to take off my evangelical filters when reading the Scriptures than anything.I would encourage any non-calvinist to get their hands on “The Five Points of Calvinism” book and read through it. I think I’ve blogged about it before. You’ll be amazed at what you don’t know about John Calvin and Calvinism.That said – Calvinism is like anything else – you can take it to the extreme. Where extreme Arminianism often breeds doubt and fear, extreme Calvinism often breeds arrogance in its extreme and has even led people not to share the Gospel because of the fear that they may give someone who is not chosen false hope. Craziness…I just blogged about extremism. It’s Christianity’s biggest problem as far as I’m concerned.

  25. Every good and perfect gift comes from God.Simple if is good, perfect, or a gift its got the fingerprints of God all over it. If not then – well NOT.I’m not a huge fan of over complicating things myself.

  26. Sounds like we disagree, which is fine.It’s when you say things like “I am attempting to explain something that is essential to the faith” that I take issue with (and, maybe that’s just me). What you are explaining is central to your interpretation of the Biblical model of faith, not everyone else’s.For me, I have free will, in all that those two words entail. Why do I have them? Because God chose to abandon some of his sovereignty so that he may have relationships with humans and not puppets.And your “options” reasoning seems to imply that God, in fact, causes bad things to happen and determines when people do bad things (i.e. sin). So, by this, if I’m not mistaken, God hates sin, yet only allows people to “choose” to sin when it’s good for God.

  27. Calvin said, “We call predestination God’s eternal decree, by which he compacted with himself what he willed to become of each man. For all are not created in equal condition; rather, eternal life is foreordained for some, eternal damnation for others. Therefore, as any man has been created to one or the other of these ends, we speak of him as predestined to life or death.”Now does this garbage sound like the nature of the loving God we serve?

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