Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti ~ Did God Do This?

Over the holidays I decided to tackle some of the more difficult assertions that the New and Reformed atheists are setting forth these days. You know those assertions that seem to make sense on the surface but fall apart upon examination? In this post, which will also be followed by an upcoming radio podcast, I plan to do just that.

My heart goes out to all of the many thousand men, women and children who are suffering through the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake. I have been in prayer most of the day as I have read the reports and God quickened my spirit to speak to those of us who also now travail for these our fellow human beings. Please let's continue to pray for them now.

The Tragedy

In what can only be described as one of the worst tragedies imaginable, we observe Haitian devastation that has shaken many of us to our core:



In what is one of the most devastating natural events in recent history, it is estimated that an earthquake with a magnitude of at least 7.0 hit Haiti along the fault line, known as the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault zone. The quake shook Haiti claiming what preliminary estimates say could be hundreds of thousands dead.

Its currently reported that Haiti consists of approximately 9 million people 80% of whom are Catholic, and that 1/3 of its population is said to be directly and severely affected by this devastation. There is an outcry from all sectors of society. The wealthy and the poor have suffered extremely in this devastation. The Prime Minister's palace, which once stood proudly in regal and grand fashion, has been destroyed and cast aside similar to a rickety shacks and inadequately built homes that housed over 60% of this population.


The devastation has also effected those that are in Haiti to help others in large numbers. A group of approximately 800 physicians and medical service personnel, named Doctor's Without Boarders, whose top mission is to provide humanitarian medical services to the destitute, has itself been stricken, leaving most of its staff unaccounted for and and all of it's locations nonfunctional.

Neither religious nor secular humanitarian leaders have been spared the effects of this devastation by any means. The Roman Catholic Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot, 63 was found dead in his office and UN Leaders such as Heidi Annabe along with at least 100 other UN employees and officials are missing and feared to be dead also.


So far, it's also been reported that there are also schools with children inside of them that are either collapsed of in serious danger and of collapse.

All of this is shades of the devastation of New Orleans and the damage of hurricane katrina. The problem with the equation is that katrina is estimated to have claimed less 2,000 lives. So although katrina may be a point of reference, it is a poor one when compared to what is actually going on in Haiti.

It Has Been Worse:

Unfortunately, it has been worse in times past. According to CNN News, the last major earthquake near Hispaniola, a magnitude 8.0 in 1946, caused a tsunami and left 20,000 people homeless, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The last large earthquake based on historical records in the Port-au-Prince area was in 1770. My hear has been in deep prayer






To The Criticism


Many top religious critics such as Christopher Hitchens, author of 'God Is Not Great' asks if God responsible for this and other types of tragedy, and if so, offers two primary critiques on Christian sentiments regarding events such as this. He often says:

1- If God exists, and he is an all powerful as Christians claim, and a loving God who cares for his children as is the claim, then he would not allow such tragedy to fall upon his children. Tragedies such as these fall upon his children, therefore God does not exist and Christians by virtue of their persistent belief in God do the world harm.
or

2- If God exists, and he is an all powerful as Christians claim, then he would intervene as to not allow such tragedies to fall upon his children. Tragedies such as these fall upon his children, therefore the character and nature of God is contrary to Christian belief. Therefore the Christian is deluded for worshiping God and God is unworthy of worship and certainly no greater than any mythological counterpart of history.
Then, when confronted with arguments for design, Hitchens uses a slight variation. He says something like this:

3- If God created a world like this then he created it with built in evil and destruction. Therefore, he has done the worse evil by creating a world with tectonic plates that slip and kill people in earthquakes and that belief in a God that would do those things intentionally and on purpose, as Christians claim, is delusional.
On the other side of Hitchen's arguments is a sword that he thinks cuts the Christian's head off no matter what he/she answers. It goes something like this:
In the aftermath of tragedy, how can Christians say that it was God that spared survivors? If God is responsible then why does he kill some and leave others? Why not save all? The one that has both killed and let another live arbitrarily isn't worthy of praise IF he could have saved all. If he is all powerful he certainly could have done so. In addition if God is not responsible then how can he be God?
A Christian Response:

As you can see the critique is carefully layered and structured but philosophically bankrupt and full of assumptions pulled out of thin air. To the novice these assertions may even look intimidating, but to those who have not only studied the bible but also the tactic of deceit through men like Hitchens and other radical critics, it becomes easy to read through the mass of confusion and air hung assumptions that are presented.

"If There Is A God He Would Act Like Me"

First of all Christians should note that critics such as Hitchens offer a reconciling of events according to their world. In this case, if God exists the world should operate like it should according to Christipher Hitchens. So in essence Christopher Hitchens and others like him assume that God would act like them or that he has adopted their sense of moral right and wrong. Therefore they replace and interpret the actions of God  based on their own twisted philosophical assumptions and presuppositions.

"If There Is A God He Would Think Like Me"

Secondly, the God that Hitchens and others like him would accept, is a God whose knowledge is limited to the current events and a God that creates nothing with and for any alternate purpose other than which he communicates within a temporal here and now. Even God if he were to exist is a materialist no matter how good he made the world.

"If There Is A God He Would Only Know What I Know"

Third, Hitchens, like many critics, operate on a system of superior moral judgement and intellectual capacity. Any and every individual that I know readily admit that any one individual can only know relatively little about all knowledge in the world. I would venture to say that if one can get to 5% of all knowledge that he/she is considered to be a genius. Critics like this make their assumptions based on the further faulty assumption that their intellectual capacity (which they admit is very little) allows them enough knowledge to make a moral judgement about every action including the actions of God. 


They go one step further in this faulted line of reasoning when they simultaneously reason that things that happen in a world where God exists are automatically produced by the actions of God. eg: Back to the original faulted assertion, God exists therefore he caused this. So in essence the original assertion is flawed either way...God neither created the tragedy, neither did he construct it nor did he sit still while it was occurring.

For example, in this case, according to CNN.com as far back as 2004 scientists warned of the dangers of this particular fault and a possible impending quake. The question is not whether these scientists were Christians, because mature Christians learn to hear the voice of God in many ways, the question is did God allow a warning to be sent even if that warning was delivered through sound scientific research? Further, could this have been a warning for the country to undertake a new plan of building homes and buildings making them more safe if something like this happened? Was there time to address the problem even with the limited resources of the government?

"There Is NO Sin And No Effect From It Upon Our Natural Condition"

What is totally overlooked by the critic is the effect of sin upon the natural and moral world. This leads us to a fourth point regarding that sin and death entered into the word with the rebellion of Adam (Rom. 5:12) . Up until that moment the earth was unfamiliar with tragedy. Tectonic plates that were created by God for some purpose of the material earth, were no threat to man, mankind, or other forms of life until man openly rebelled against God and let the tragedy of evil overtake even the physical and material world.  It was at that time that death was actualized both in and upon the earth.

"If There Is A God He Would Move So That Everybody On The Earth Could See Him Move"


Dr. Richard Carrier in a debate with Dr. William Lane Craig raised this sort of sentiment stating that if God exists he would have personally appeared to all to convince each one of his realness. Hitchens argues a variation of this argument. This goes hand in hand with the fifth point that God at no time simply sat by. Before the world was formed he provided a way of salvation and restoration for man (Rev. 13:8) throughout the ages of mankind he has revealed himself to man both through human conscience and the spoken word of his prophets. (Heb. 1:2)   Further, he has demonstrated his association with the world and the people in the world by coming to the world (Rom. 8:3), living in voluntary submission to the elements of the world, dying on the cross (Phil. 2:8)  and exercising his power over the arch enemy of mankind, namely death itself. (1 Cor. 15:55) In fact God has always revealed himself to man through and by conscience.(Rom. 1:20)

At no point do we see any inaction from God. So once again, the critic bases part of his argument on a faulted assumption, and erects a shoddy tower of sticks that provide no shelter for his ramblings.

"God Doesn't Care If He Doesn't Act Now"

Point 6: Hitchens, like many critics base their criticism on value ethics, saying what God would have or should have done if he were God and cared. Once again the assumption is that, unlike the Christian who only claims to know the part of the mind of God revealed through scripture, the critic claims to know the complete mind that God must have if he is God, and assumes his place as a universal dispenser of human justice. In all cases that we know of in the natural world, there is usually no such thing as preemptive justice. In other words justice can only be granted in response to an action or crime not before. Does anybody see anything wrong with this picture?

"What Do We Want? Justice! When Do We Want It? Now!"

I'll conclude with Points 7 & 8. The critic does not take into account any proposition of afterlife. In other words, the biblical construct is wholly based on the fact that this life although full of tribulation and pain (Job 14:1, Jn. 16:33) is only a part of the life that we have been given. Though we should value it and hold on to it because God gave it to us, and it is a gift, when we are forced to give it up we enter a new dimension in which these sufferings are made null and void and are only counted toward our reward:

Romans 8:18 ~"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be REVEALED IN US."

Pt. 8: Finally, because God is sovereign, in all things we are to give thanks. We may not thank him FOR all things but we certainly give him thanks IN all things.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 ~"In every thing GIVE THANKS: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

Life is full of faith propositions. Starting your car in the morning is one of them. Your employers giving you a good check on payday is another. Serving God is simply another faith proposition, however one with eternal consequences. Since we can demonstrate that every individual on this earth has purpose and has not randomly appeared our faith leads us to the conclusion that every circumstance in this life is working together with other circumstances happening in our lives and in the lives of others, setting the stage for us to ultimately accomplish the will of God for us and for others:

Romans 8:28 ~ "And we know that all things WORK TOGETHER for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose."

With that knowledge and understanding, the survivors and all of us that do pray, have a right to praise God for their survival, not out of boasting, but out of the fact that the will of God continues in this world for those that live and the fact that the author of life hasn't arbitrarily spared life, he has purposefully made choices and decisions, that we will only know in eternity. All wrong, including the wrong of natural evil will be rectified and set straight in eternity.

The Alternative:

In conclusion, the critic is left speechless with providing an alternative answer if God does not exist. For if God does not exist, the tragedy of Haiti and all other natural disasters are totally meaningless, mindless and without any necessary or essential purpose. If God does not exist there will be no reconciling of the hurt and pain of those who have lost their loved ones through this tragedy. If God does not exist the only reason that we, living comfortably in our part of the world, should care is for reasons that suit and fit our own rational self interest.

In essence, under the materialistic view, any satisfaction gained from assisting others in the time of need is only illusionary. But as atheists Dr. Will Provine says and Christopher Hitchens affirms, there is only the grave to look forward to and when you die...you rot...and that's it!

What a hopeless and helpless worldview. Do they wonder why Christians continue to preach to them? they need it!

Blessed!  

News:






50 comments:

  1. I placed this under another comment section but I thought it was perfect for this post:

    All these folk going down to Haiti to collect an offering, NOW go and do some REAL ministry. Come out of them suits and put them mic's down and come out of them hotels with those illicit lovers that they meet up with and SERVE the people!

    God's trying to call a nation to repentance and these folk are playing around, caught up over who they are, what they preach and how they sound...totally STANK!

    Yea I'm boilin' and I can't do enough to serve God. All I think is how can I further the message and these charlatans, have the opportunity and all they can think about is looking good, driving nice cars and receiving big offerings! WORTHLESS!

    The time is now that the world needs not only the message but teh actions of Christ. the healing power and healing salve needs to be applied. There must be a difference between clean and uncelan and between the righteous and unrighteous. If we would do what god says as a church we would be much more impactful. God HELP these people, In Jesus name we pray!

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  2. Hi Pastor Harvey. My prayers are for the people of Haiti, especially those who are trapped and alive.

    If you don't mind, I'd like to take a shot at the question "Did God do this?"

    Yes.

    Now I know that it's not politically correct to say such a thing, but I think it's time that we stop ignoring God or downgrading Him to a helpless bystander. If God is omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient and sovereign (and He is), then He did this.

    If we're going to get real about this, and say that yes, this was God, we have two choices, maybe more that I can't think of right now, on how to look at it.

    1. Did God do this TO THE PEOPLE of Haiti? You say that Haiti is 80% Roman Catholic, but that's the state religion. With perhaps 50% or even more practicing voodoo, how many are actually Christian? The country has constantly been towards the top of the list of the top most corrupt counties in the world.

    I'm not saying that they deserved this. I'm only asking, when did we start ignoring what could be a wake-up call from God? Should we pretend that God doesn't hate voodoo enough to send a message to Haiti and New Orleans? Should we not examine ourselves and repent? Or should we bury the dead and rebuild, all the time telling ourselves that a loving God would not cause the destruction of lives when we know better.

    2. Haiti, New Orleans, California, New York - all are time bombs and only by the grace of God do days continue to go by without event. People live in these places knowing the risk they take in defiance of nature. "It won't happen to me" - the smokers mantra, and when it does, we wonder "where was God?" Pack a half million people on the coast at 15 feet below sea level living safely for 200 years, then question God when one day it doesn't work out so well?

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  3. And in Haiti they live on a fault line. If California is next, with a huge loss of life, will we ask "where was God?" Seems to me that God keeps getting the short end of the stick. Ignore Him until something bad happens, then blame Him when it does. Never examine ourselves.

    Structures can be rebuilt - the tragedy is the great loss of life. When I was praying, and I'm sure I'm not the only one feeling helpless, the best prayer I could say was that those who are yet to perish would cry out to Jesus.

    Death came by way of Adam, and we will all face it someday. Repent, and be saved.

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  4. Pastor Harvey said; God's trying to call a nation to repentance and these folk are playing around, caught up over who they are, what they preach and how they sound...totally STANK!

    I don't know where you posted this, but I totally agree! The corruption of the clergy is reaching epidemic proportions, especially on the airwaves. I thank God for you, Pastor Harvey, and good men and women like you.

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  5. May The LORD have mercy on the survivors and may many come to Christ. I agree can we have the millionaire preachers do something.


    Actually these things point to Christ and the truth of scripture. The bible tells about these great disasters does it not?

    http://www.shalomjerusalem.com/earthquakes/bibleprophecy.html

    I dont know if God did it but we know he allowed it. Laura could be correct for all we know.

    I think the notion that God can do or doesnt have to do whatever He wants for the most part is too difficult to get with.

    Its really simple, we live in a fallen world and these folks cant get that. Why does God save some and not others, I would say because He has the right to do it, why do I need another explanation?

    The funny thing to note is that mankind on a whole takes not notice of God until something like this occur. SO we live our lives with no thought of Him, unthankful, sinning like we dont care and when something many turn to faith who wouldnt have without the situation. Is that not what happened with 911? and so it was in my life.

    Blessings!!

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  6. I think that before one makes a case too strongly that God did it, we should consider the implications of that statement and the equability of God as a supreme judge.

    I acknowledge the mysticism and all of the southern hemisphere of the globe, but we need to look further than this in my opinion and I'll tell you why.

    1- These are poor people and where there is poverty there is a disproportionate amount of social ills. God in the word positions himself in partnership with the poor and those that are destitute. There is a great wealth of scripture pointing to such a union and relationship and empathy of God toward man and especially them of Low estate. The Lord said in Ps. 103 that he considers our frame and hasn't dealt with us according to our sins.

    Now, for me that's vitally important and leads to #2

    2- If we are to base these acts on sins committed, America shouldn't exist. Enslaved a foreign people, many of whom were traded and died on the shores of New Orleans, America~ Stole the land from the inhabitants of it after making bogus promises, and glorify sin as a nation. Our President makes $400,000 per year while white collar criminals make millions and in some cases billion in the light of day.

    America has a "party city" called Las Vegas that calls itself "SIN CITY". This is the epitome of idolatry and false worship and certainly a violation of God all together.

    So IF there is a judgement, we can certainly say that America will be judged much greater. America isn't isolated, there are other countries who have legislated God totally out such as Scandinavia and others.

    3- To my knowledge there was no open word of the Lord to this country. Biblically speaking, there was always a word from the Lord before destruction and a time to repent. Can we say Ninevah? There was no great production of righteousness from Ninevah outside of their repentance at the preaching of Jonah. Further, even Sodom was warned as wicked as they were.

    The judgement of God was usually (with some exception) placed in the hand of men to do against Israel, not in the hand of great natural events.

    So to construct this or New Orleans, or even New York, as a message of God to the people or the nation may have some merit in it's overall impact of calling people to serve God who may not have otherwise, but I don't find it either plausible or in line with the revealed nature of God or his interaction toward mankind and especially them that are already oppressed to say that God was judging the people for sin eg. they were being judged, while many of the criminals have gone and continue to go free.

    Now as Paul said, God allowed it, but I don't think his allowance creates endorsement. The biblical critic wants that assertion to be the case, but it's not all of the time. Sometimes it may be, but never to the oppression of the poor.

    So I understand the biblical answer, but there's no balance in that answer and I think in tragedy we should temper our sentiments.

    One thing it tells us clearly is that NONE of this belongs to us and we shouldn't get too comfortable nor exalted because everything we have could be gone in less than a few minutes. That fact alone drives me to my knees.

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  7. Pat Robertson...A Pact with the devil 200 years ago? What the heck is that?

    It's sentiments like these that give the atheists traction...

    What pact did America make with whom over 400 years ago? Where is the justice in that? Not only that, but lets look at other nations...what pact have they made?

    Robertson is off his rocker!

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  8. I see where you are coming from Pastor, It may not be the best thing to through a blanket statement out.

    In all of these things we serve a God whose mercies endure forever.

    The true judgment of God will be the be when time ends. We can look and see that many times the good suffer, how do we then equate that? If the wicked suffer then the righteous shouldnt but that is not what we see in this life.

    David was confused regarding the prosperity of the wicked.

    Its a time for prayer, help and for those who dont know Christ to turn to Him.

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  9. The Lord has mercy on whom he will. We cannot demand his mercy, its his to give or with hold.
    Did he with hold mercy from Haiti? Does he have mercy on the US (Las Vegas, et al)? Did he punish Haiti and let America go free? The answer is not clear because there is much we can not know or see.

    There are many factors that come to bear in the great loss of life there. Density of people, condition of buildings, poor infrastructure, etc, etc.

    One thing is clear, while his mercy endureth forever, he alone determines who receives it and if he chooses to with hold it for what ever reason he did, trust that he is completely justified.

    The questions about human tragedy always prompt people to question God in one way or another. We say no one deserves it, but the truth is that no one is innocent before a holy God. He is a God of vengeance and love, of hate and of love. He will destroy and yet he will heal and abundantly pardon.

    We should be affected by the suffering of fellow humans, but not without understanding that God is somewhere in the picture.

    Its over now. Its happened. I think there is a lesson as nothing is a "freak of nature". God is sovereignly in control of all things.

    A day is approaching when the tsunami and the Haiti tragedy will pale in comparison. The day of the Lord will be like no other and the wicked will not escape.

    May God help us all to be ready.

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  10. Pastor Harvey, I think you're being too hard on me. I'm not being critical of the people of Haiti as much as I am trying to show that God is not on the sidelines wishing this didn't happen.

    Paul pointed out that God allowed it, and gmwatch said what I feel - that we should be affected by the suffering of fellow humans, but not without understanding that God is somewhere in the picture.

    I agree that God forewarns, but what are you looking for - a prophet to speak up? Do you not believe that America is under the judgment of God as we speak? Huge numbers of people have lost their jobs, lost their income and homes while the National Reserve Bank makes more money than any company in our nations history. Lying leaders, lying politicians, corruption and evil.

    Do you think that God's people are immune? Why? Because we are thankful for all God has done? I speak from current experience when I say we are not immune, and God will show mercy on who He shows mercy. It is not ours to question. I would advise against holding on too tight because we are just passing through this world. If I join the ranks of the homeless in a few weeks, it will only solidify what I once heard - that when you have nothing, you realize that Jesus is all you need.

    I just don't know what to say when one doesn't sense that the day of the Lord is quickly approaching. Fear the Lord as our Highest Authority, call a nation to repentance and know that He is not sleeping.

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  11. Laura,

    Thanks for the commentary and I'm not intentionally singling you out so much as your comments represent how many view this issue.

    I'll say that I'm aware of God's chastisement and that we (everyone) should be aware of such type things. Judgement does take different forms etc, but I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the thought that God in his sovereignty will only chastise the weak, poor and beggarly while allowing the wealthy and them that have the guilt go free.

    I believe that's a western concept and view that's damaging to understanding God's judgement and other things like this.

    I mean the whole of scripture is filled with just the opposite...

    Lev. 19:10,Lev. 23:22, God provides for the poor so they won't be left out of the gleaning

    Lev. 19:15, God warns against unrighteous and unbalanced judgements against the poor.

    Deut. 15:11, God says open all resources to the poor and treat them well and fairly

    1 Sam. 2:8, Hannah, in her prayer talks of God's faithfulness to the poor in raising them up, not casting them down.

    2 Kings 24:14, 25:2, God doesn't displace the poor in his judgement. In fact he leaves the poor to have an inheritance and dress the land. Their seed are the same who would be in the land upon the restoration of the land.

    Job 5:15-16, God is understood to protect the poor from the user and abuses as well as themselves. In fact the whole of Job is a discourse against usury of the poor in mistreatment etc.

    Ps. 10 and 9, both describe how the wicked seek to destroy the poor, not the righteous.

    Ps. 12:5, God rises to the call and needs of the poor

    Ps. 14:6, God says he is the refuge of and for the poor ie: he protects the poor

    Ps. 41:1, God blesses those who consider the poor and their needs

    Ps. 69:33, God is close to the poor in prayer (hearing) and doesn't despise them.

    Ps. 72:4, God blesses the poor and promises destruction to their oppressors

    Ps. 82:3-4, God promises to defend and deliver the poor and needy

    Ps. 109 promises condemnation to the oppressor of the poor and to those who do not assist in their deliverance.

    There are tons of other scriptures that I can point to but one, that I believe is specifically on point is this:

    Proverbs 17:5 ~ "Whoso mocketh THE POOR reproacheth his Maker: [and] he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished."

    In the NT: Jesus comes to a lowly people and does what? Heal them, minister to them, feed them, lifts them up, all the while judging their elite leaders. When judgement comes, sure all are dispersed, but who leads in revival of the nation and carries the message to the world? It's the poor that pool their resources together and cause Christianity to rise.

    What I'm saying doesn't negate God's sovereignty as the word reveals God's nature and how he uses that sovereignty. I believe that it's an incorrect view God's sovereignty as something arbitrary and so mysterious that at times he reverses the nature of himself as revealed within scripture. Now that's a fault that I find with the application of most reformed epistemology and the effects that it has upon those who don't ascribe to it point by point.

    see 2

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  12. 2

    God's sovereignty isn't a scape goat apologetic to claim that God can do anything. That's not the case. What is a violation of his word is contrary to his nature and a logical impossibility of God.

    What I'm saying is that the church needs to look deeper and understand what's happening here. Matt. 24 is being fulfilled. "Divers places" Yes wee see a reminder that God's word will be fulfilled. However what do we say of the political system including that of the US in NOT helping these people sooner? Is the only judgement in dollars and sense? Now, I believe in a much more full judgement in the end and these people are not simply pawns in the picture, neither are they chess pieces.

    Now we claim that they were filled with idolatry and voodoo worship etc...Since the establishment of Brenton Woods, what has most of the world done? These people didn't originate sin and unrighteousness...it's been here.

    These type of tragedies happen under God's view, but NOT with God's endorsement and I can't see a scriptural case for justifying the view that God did it in any way shape or form.

    The judgement is upon the US because for all the billions of dollars given to this gov't over the years, we should have REQUIRED adequate education for a nation that's 50% illiterate, adequate construction for a nation that 70% under-housed, adequate services for a nation that's mostly unemployed or underemployed. The only inroad that was was made was in the slowing of HIV/AIDS which was a good thing, but our nation took the position, pay 'em the money and out of sight, out of mind...horrible.

    Not only us but other nations too. So, the justice of god is being served, only not in the way that we think...these people are being used to place things in the right perspective, not to prove a point that "everyone better watch out, because God doesn't pity unrighteousness" we already know that, but we also know he has pity on them of low estate.

    That's what I mean by balance...Pat Robertson was wrong and ungodly in his assessment too. Like I said that's a product of westernized Christianity, not biblical Christianity.

    So take no offense at what I'm saying as I invite the convo and the pondering at God's word and will. We should be able to talk about these issues and we need to, because the critic is taking our God to task while we sit silently and don't address it. So good job and I appreciate all comments. I hope you all appreciate mine also.

    Thanks, continue and let's be blessed!

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  13. I believe God allowed it to happen for moraly sufficient reasons. I don't think He was punishing the people by allowing it to happen though. I'm a partial preterist and my view is that since Christ came in wrath and destroyed the temple in 70 A.D. the Jewish Age came to an end and we now live in a new age where God's Day of Wrath is future after we die. I don't think God punishes His creation today. He especially doesn't punish His children. All His punishment for His children was laid on Christ at the cross.

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  14. CNN's coverage of the events and situation on the ground has been fantastic. Dr. Sonjay Gupta deserves and award for what he is doing. Last night Dr's were "ordered" to evacuate a makeshift hospital full of patients. He was there all night by himself tending to the wounded.

    Today 1/16, they (the Dr's) came back suddenly. The UN says they don't know who ordered them to leave etc...nevertheless a news correspondent went back to his original profession and helped these people. Not to mention the 15 day old baby I called Baby Hope.

    In all I thank God that good people are there helping and really wish I could be on the ground. One thing is for sure our prayers can be there and I believe God is answereing prayer in favor of the people.

    Now, this all poses and interesting dilemma for anyone believing that God did this. One question among many is that IF God did this why should you (as God's servant) pray for or help these people? I mean this is a can of worms that I can't see how or why a believer would want to open and or how anyone could reconcile scripturally. I've got a post and podcast coming up on this tomorrow, but I believe we should pray.

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  15. Pastor, I'm not trying to be argumentative, but I DO want you to look at this from all sides since you asked the same of me/us.

    When you say "These type of tragedies happen under God's view, but NOT with God's endorsement", aren't you doing the same thing that Pat Robertson did? Claiming to know?

    I don't know...maybe I look for God TOO much in all situations. But one thing I know for sure from my studies - God IS omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient and sovereign, so if you want to face reality, if you want to fight the good fight of faith, you can't say that God didn't do this.

    My question was, did God do this TO the people, or were they in the wrong place at the right time. I suggested that we not underestimate how much God hates voodoo. You say no, because they are poor, but yet I can see where, if things are handled correctly, the poor can be lifted out of their present situation because of this tragedy, a mess of a situation that no earthly power and $$ has been able to affect for over 30 years.

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  16. Cole said "I'm a partial preterist and my view is that since Christ came in wrath and destroyed the temple in 70 A.D. the Jewish Age came to an end and we now live in a new age where God's Day of Wrath is future after we die."

    Hi Cole. I've never understood this. The "Bible Answer Man" on the radio is a preterist, but he gets mad and sarcastic when callers question his views. Maybe you can help me understand what you believe.

    Do you believe we are living in the Millennium now? What about the 3rd and 4th Temple? If Jesus already came, shouldn't He have set up His Temple in Jerusalem like Daniel, Thessalonians and Ezekiel say? Do you believe in the rapture? The Second Coming? When will the earth be flooded with "peace righteousness and justice"?

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  17. Wish I could be in Haiti too. I could move blocks. More than I'm doing around here.

    My friends son was sent over yesterday - Army.

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  18. Laura,

    You Said:"But one thing I know for sure from my studies - God IS omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient and sovereign,"

    These attributes are not in question and should not be confused with the situation at hand. But here's the real point:

    so if you want to face reality, if you want to fight the good fight of faith, you can't say that God didn't do this.

    This is a type of God of the gaps argument for tragedy. I say that we clearly know from scripture that the revealed nature of God does not produce arbitrary tragedy among men. In addition God is a strong God, he doesn't fight the weakest among us, he fights them who believe they are the strongest and exalt themselves against him.

    Read the book, you'll see it over and over again. Men were brought down throughout biblical history because they exalted themselves against God, not because God moved in his sovereignty to prove some type of point.

    The proud GOd resists, but grace is given to the humble. (Jas. 4:6, 1Pet. 5:5) Now the practices of voodoo are no worse than the practices of the same and more in the US. Now, of assurity, we can say that God will judge the US, which I certainly believe he is judging the nation and the nation won't escape judgement, but to view this tragedy as some sort of retort because the people were so sinful is well beyond the facts and certainly against God's word so far as what we know about how the destitute are viewed in scripture.

    See, these people fought for their liberation and have tried to be free for years. In almost every report you see people praising God , having prayer and calling upon his name. If God was going to spare Sodom for 5 then I certainly know he didn't do this for all the many thousands who serve him in Haiti.

    In this country, the only thing that spares us is the people of God. We (as a nation) are MORE SINFUL than Haiti could ever be, but what withholds God's wrath...NOTHING but the prayers of the Saints.

    I simply say it's time to stop using God's sovereignty as a weapon against the weak and underprivileged and as an apologetic when terrible things happen. Although God is the awesome judge, God IS NOT the author of confusion nor tragedy.

    And yes warning does come BEFORE destruction. Did he not warn Ninevah? Did he not warn Israel multiple times? Did he not even warn Egypt? And if God was rising to destroy a nation because of it's sins then NONE of us should help that nation because we would be fighting against God. If we imply that God moved in his sovereignty to destroy then ANYONE that helps fights God's purpose.

    That's an ugly result of the sovereignty of God defense, that's yet ANOTHER reason that I reject that type of apologetic for this and simply stand on the fact that God certainly didn't do this type of destruction in Haiti and fail to find a biblical case to be made in support of those assertions.

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  19. Happy Sunday, Pastor!

    Three of several choices:

    1. God did this TO the people.
    2. God did this, but the people were just in the wrong place at the right time.
    3. God did this for His Own purpose.

    You said "I simply say it's time to stop using God's sovereignty as a weapon against the weak and underprivileged and as an apologetic when terrible things happen. Although God is the awesome judge, God IS NOT the author of confusion nor tragedy."

    No one is using anything as a weapon. What you're saying is God didn't do this because there are poor people in Haiti. You can't say that. You are supposing to know the mind of God.

    You say that God doesn't destroy without warning, yet we have His permanent warning which replaced the prophets - the Bible. This verse covers "acts of nature":

    "And the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice.

    If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;

    If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

    ~2 Chronicles 7:12-14

    God always has a plan, and I don't think Christians should be so quick as to say this was definitely not God when we know the evil doings in Haiti, and for the sole reason that the poor and innocent where effected by His act. That's not using His will as a weapon, only magnifying Him in all situations.

    Would you make no call for repentance in Haiti when the greiving is over? Much good can come from this tragedy, but ignoring the evil and curroption pretending that God winks at that, and it will be business as usual in a few years. God can do what man cannot and has not been able to do there, but not if we ignore Him.

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  20. You said "In this country, the only thing that spares us is the people of God. We (as a nation) are MORE SINFUL than Haiti could ever be, but what withholds God's wrath...NOTHING but the prayers of the Saints."

    There is no doubt that you and I don't see eye to eye on this, and that's ok. IMO, the only thing that holds back God's wrath on this country is is everlasting mercy. If/when tragedy befalls us and many perish, the saints will be taken up into heaven, and the lost will go to await judgment. Like the saved of Haiti, the dead will be alive where there is no more suffering and tears.

    God is patient because He wishes that all will come to repentance and know Him. So, what's the most important thing the saints can be doing?

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  21. Laura,

    Thanks for the dialogue on this issue. You said:

    Three of several choices:
    1. God did this TO the people.
    2. God did this, but the people were just in the wrong place at the right time.
    3. God did this for His Own purpose.


    I think that there is at least a 4th. This incident was a product of sin in the world and as being so certainly wasn't done by God, however was not without or apart from his knowledge.

    The only problem I have is that you're suggesting (not exclusive to you by the way, so I'm more or less focused on the argument that you've laid out) that God was moved to judge these people because of their sin.

    Now, in laying that out, I hold that we (church folk/bible folk) need to be much more careful than that. Why? Because these individuals were the weakest amongst us and certainly no more sinful than the rest of us.

    Why is that important? It's important to understand God's nature in dealing with sin and humanity. As I laid out previously, God always dealt with the "strength" of the people. In other words, if there was a nation who exalted themselves against God, he dealt with them in judgement. I've already given biblical examples for which you offer no retort, so I won't rehash that.

    Beyond that however, we see all throughout scripture the devil himself addressing and attacking the people in their weakness or when they were weak. This is a characteristic of the devil. Why did God tell Samuel to judge Amalek in 1Sam. 15? It was because Amalek attacked Israel in the wilderness, NOT in their strength, but in their weakness. What did they do? Instead of fighting Israel where the army was, they continuously did sneak attacks where the old and less strong individuals were. This was an egregious thing to God and he judged Amalek, how? By sending PEOPLE to defeat and destroy them...not a natural disaster etc...

    Another characteristic of the enemy...look at the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. When did the devil appear? When he was weak. The devil deals and fights in weakness and makes desolate. I mean I can go through all kinds of biblical examples.

    When God judges he does it himself by allowing another to rule over. Canaan was judged. What happened...Israel...PEOPLE drove them out, not a natural disaster...

    We muddy the water by claim God's prerogative and although we know God means business, those thoughts automatically set up a false sense of comparative righteousness and NONE of that is biblical.

    What I'm pointing out is a principle.

    The scripture affirms that all have an appointment with death. The question is to what extent is that appointment fatalistically determined? Certainly God knew this would happen. Certainly some were born and would die on that date. These are the questions to ask and discover, NOT whether God moved against these people.

    To declare that God did this for his own purposes is again off base and leaves us scratching our head as to what intervention that the church should have then. IF God did this, how should we govern ourselves and that's not how we should think of this in the least bit.

    Now, I don't disagree with you simply because I want to, I disagree because I don't see a supportable position for your belief within scripture. There is no favored nation status, and to claim sovereignty of mercy is an ungodly notion that simply avoids the issue. We can all say that "God has mercy upon whom he will" and that would be accurate, but the bible also says that he does not despise a broken spirit and a contrite heart (Ps. 51:17)...

    Now, I'll end where we agree...something good will come out of it, even if it's the fact of setting the church loose and free from ideas that don't fully represent the nature of God. The world is looking on, and here we say, God did it for his own purpose and offer help at the same time...that's inconsistent and that's what I mean by confusing.

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  22. BTW, the scripture also says that we can FIND grace and mercy. We can obtain it. So God has it and he can give it to us. It's not arbitrary as man of those that preach sovereignty maintain. This is what God says:

    Hebrews 4:16~Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may OBTAIN MERCY, and find grace to help in time of need

    In addition we can do things to get mercy:

    Matthew 5:7~Blessed [are] the merciful: for they shall OBTAIN MERCY.

    This principle of reaping and sowing is not arbitrary. God's grace and mercy is not arbitrary also. That's why I say that the apologetic appealing to God's sovereignty is a weak one. We may not know his plan in allowing things to happen, but that's a totally different question and statement from saying that he did it or was the cause of this destruction.

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  23. I was under the impression that Pat Robertson didnt say God did this to Haiti. I will have to look at the video again, but I think some people hate Pat Robertson and even though in the same remarks he called for prayer, assistance for the Haitans. So they are going to pile on no matter what.

    I would still like to see his evidence of this so-called pact with the devil. But his big picture premise is correct biblically.

    With the relooking at this nation of 9 million I really wonder where over the years has all the millions and millions of dollars in aid gone to? There are like 10,000 charities actively working in Haiti, but it all seems to be going into a black hole. Is there a plausible explanation for that?

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  24. Gcmwatch,

    Thanks, I'v posted Robertson's commentary on the new post, Have You Read This Book?

    What's happening is that two questions are being confused. The question of "Why?" Is fused within Christian circles to the commentary of God committing this destruction of the poor and the weak.

    This is the breakdown. Yes, God has a purpose at the end of it all but to say that he will destroy the weak isn't biblical.

    The Haitian government was HORRIBLE and thieves of the people. America has given money and there has been some progress, but there should be a greater responsibility to the weak.

    Instead, America will rebuild Iraq because of oil interests and Afghanastan because of Herroin and drug interests sending thousands of fellow American's to their death for less than a righteous cause.

    I mean there's a whole history of unrighteousness and if judgement is based on corresponding actions we should be a spot in the ocean by now. There are problems and hopefully the governement will rethink it's approach.

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  25. Pastor Harvey said "I think that there is at least a 4th. This incident was a product of sin in the world and as being so certainly wasn't done by God, however was not without or apart from his knowledge."

    Pastor, that's a warm and fussy which castrates God Almighty, and is not biblical. God is in control of all His creation. Yes, the world is in decay because of sin, that is true.

    You seem to think that looking for God in this situation is akin to pointing fingers at sin! A little more PC than I would have thought of you. God knows my heart and I have no fear in looking for Him no matter how politically incorrect that is. You said:

    To declare that God did this for his own purposes is again off base and leaves us scratching our head as to what intervention that the church should have then. IF God did this, how should we govern ourselves and that's not how we should think of this in the least bit.

    and I have to ask, Why not?

    BTW, I did not declare that God did this to the people of Haiti as you declared He did not. I put out possibilities, and you refuse to look, as far as I can tell, for the sole reason that there are the poor in Haiti. There are also gangs everywhere that take anything of value anyone has. I heard on the news a story talking about before the earthquake, where a warehouse of supplies kept getting broken into. So they posted guards. The next morning, all the guards where dead with one nailed to the door. Haiti is not towards the top of the list as the most corrupt counties without reason.

    "Things just happen" thinking is a cop-out more than what you are suggesting of my guesses. If we put God in a box and make Him somehow less powerful, we don't have to examine ourselves. So what makes Christians different from the the unsaved world? Maybe I read these Christian books from the 1800's too much and see a real difference in drawing the hard line back then compared to where we are today, where everything is subjective.

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  26. IF God did this, how should we govern ourselves and that's not how we should think of this in the least bit.

    Oh! Ok, you're back to talking about interfering with something God did. I dismissed that the last time you said it without comment because I don't consider that an argument. God never said to NOT have charity, love and support. If we are His, it's the most natural thing we can do. Even the unbelieving have charity, but it's up in the air if God blesses it. That's for another thread, or rather a question I have for God when I get to heaven.

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  27. Laura,

    Now talking through this I hope is helping someone. You said this:

    Pastor, that's a warm and fussy which castrates God Almighty, and is not biblical. God is in control of all His creation.

    Yes, God IS in control of all his creation. In my view he is certainly not castrated...in your he picks on the most weak and beggarly to prove a point...the biblical view of God is that he only fights them that think they can go a round with the champ...So in my understanding, not only does God have the power, he is willing to display it in FAVOR of the downtrodden, y'u-know that same group of people he came to deliver (Mt. 11:5, Lk. 7:22) Under your rubric we shak 'em all up in a bag and whoever he pulls out is fair game...THAT my friend isn't biblical!

    So far as his control...Let's look at this...You work for a multi-billion dollar corporation. you are a regional manager. You do your work excellently and make plenty of money. You've never met the owner/CEO of the company.

    Out of all that you do or have the ability to do, at any point, are you in control of that corporation? Out of all that you do, can you arbitrarily on your own decide to close the corporation? NO. you can quit, leave or get fired maybe even get promoted but no matter what you do the OWNER/BOSS/CEO is still in control isn't he/she?

    Now, is that boss/owner/ceo responsible for everything you do?

    Are they in any less control because you do you everyday at work and create your own business environment?

    I don't think so Laura.

    Hands off or DOES NOT mean lack of control. In God's case he simply knows and has already made provision as well as decided what he will do (or has done) in the midst. He's totally in control.

    The only thing we don't know is why he didn't stop it, because he could have, but he certainly didn't cause it. I conclude what I do because the possibilities don't line up with scripture and or how God reveals his nature and dealings with mankind.

    As bad as you can say Haiti is/was we can point to American injustices that entrapped and enslaved families treating them like animals, claiming that they were mere property, shedding blood of innocents for their own convenience. I saw the place that Obama visited in a picture years ago...i didn't know what it was or where it was at the time but I felt the pain from the pictures...I cored THEN somebody told me it was a slave port...The sheer atrocities that went on there were unfathomable and...PEOPLE treated like pigs!!!These are the people who were further traded and separated from what was left of their families and humiliated in front of people buying and selling them based on body parts and functionality like pieces of furniture.

    In America a nation that has killed babies by the droves....in fact killed more babies in America than there are citizens in Haiti...8 million Haitians to 50 million children murdered what kind of comparison can we draw???

    NONE! The weight of the balance does not favor us if we look at comparative sins...To look at tragedy as if God has his hands on it or is responsible for it is a wrong epistemology and one that fuels idiots like Hitchens and makes his arguments appealing because he focuses on a brand of Christianity that does not distinguish any of these differences.

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  28. Laura,

    You said:God never said to NOT have charity, love and support.

    How can we have love, charity, and support for ANYTHING that God has cursed or sought to destroy? Where is the command for that under any circumstance?

    I seem to remeber a certain lady named LOT'S WIFE who had a similar compassion and turned to salt...

    What was 1 Sam 15:22 about? was that Saul displaying, love, charity or support? take your pick. Either way he lost his place and was REJECTED by God wasn't he.

    If we Christians think God sought to destroy Haiti or anyone else, it would be totally backwards to help now...as I said REMEMBER LOT'S WIFE???

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  29. Pastor Harvey said "How can we have love, charity, and support for ANYTHING that God has cursed or sought to destroy? Where is the command for that under any circumstance?"

    That's not a question based in reality. The unsaved world is under a curse based on the words of Moses and Paul. Would we leave them be? Of course not!

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  30. "The only thing we don't know is why he didn't stop it, because he could have, but he certainly didn't cause it."

    We are at an impasse here because I can't see how you can say this for sure. You site the many atrocities in the world, human atrocities of great injustice. I sited voodoo and likened it to Katrina and voodoo that was rampant in New Orleans. I ask again...might we be underestimating how much God hates voodoo? I can ask this question while still having great sympathy for the poor and innocent of Haiti.

    I don't know anything about epistemology or whoever Hitchens is. The closest thing I can come up with to make you correct, is that maybe God has ceased His judgments on the world post-Christ, until He returns. But that's a guess to make you right, and not scriptural, as far as I know.

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  31. Laura,

    Name a world religion that isn't practiced in the US? I mean go on a listing and you will find every atrocity including satan worship in the US. We even have a resident witch that frenquented this board...there are muslims, hindus, buddhhists, etc... and the list goes on and on...There are open idolaters, greek god worshippers all kinds of what the bible calls perversions of the spirit and you're stuck on voodoo...what is it, the supreme form of ungodly worship???

    THERE IS NO comparison to false worship and idolatry of America to Haiti.

    You think Katrina was about judgement of "mardi-Gras" and mysticism?...There was a much greater message for Katrina and I'm sorry you missed it, but i got it...1- this land isn't ours...2- the plight of the black man in America is not based on the government or what it can do, it's based on God, that same God that kept our ancestors on the boat and on the shore through all that humiliation, and 3- as a nation we should repent of the atrocities that I named in the last post.

    For instance, the US Supreme Court has NEVER issued and apology for their determinations supposedly of law in the 1800's, claiming that my forfathers were basically cattle and less than human...neither have they apologized to teh Indians for making false laws and stealing their land...they cover up with casino money but who wants profits of gambling and destruction?...There was much more than voodoo at steak in Katrina.

    And my question was based on reality and it's already been answered:

    Gen. 19:24-26~"24-Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; 25-And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. 26-But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. 27-And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD: 28-And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace."

    AFFINITY for what God destroys is unbiblical and condemned by God. If the church community believes God did this to Haiti, how dare any of them assist in any way...

    So far as lot's story, THIS wasn't going to happen for how many righteous? I believe that number was 10...In Haiti they had church service today and multiple locations throughout the devastated cities...calling on the name of the Lord.

    What I see is God on the side of the Haitian people not being an undercover antagonist of their situation then making them worship him...that's noplace close to what I see.

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  32. There are open idolaters, greek god worshippers all kinds of what the bible calls perversions of the spirit and you're stuck on voodoo...what is it, the supreme form of ungodly worship???

    Ok, maybe the communication problem is that I keep what I know in my head instead of expressing it well on paper, lol. I apologize.
    No! It's not JUST voodoo, it's CHRISTIANS practicing voodoo. Same as New Orleans. THAT'S why I draw the comparison. I have artist friends that used to live in NO, christians, and they found no fault at all with voodoo and took pride even, in knowing it and like to teach it. It was huge down there!

    By your own statistics, Haiti is suppose to be 80% christian. Let's say that's true - that means at least 40% of that 80 practice voodoo.

    Personally, I wonder how much God concerns himself with the lost and what they're doing based on Hebrews 11:6.

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  33. Pastor Harvey said AFFINITY for what God destroys is unbiblical and condemned by God. If the church community believes God did this to Haiti, how dare any of them assist in any way...

    This is being over dramatic. If God sought to destroy the people of Haiti, He would have/ could have wiped them out. Nobody has said or suggested this, so again, with all due respect, this argument has no merit.

    ...not being an undercover antagonist of their situation then making them worship him

    God can, and does, bring great good out of terrible tragedies brought on by His will or a fallen world. And let's be clear - when you say He "let it happen", then you are saying it was His will.

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  34. Pastor Burnett, then I guess the question is, based on the sins of the American government (war, corruption etc), do you think America should be destroyed or is deserving of destruction on the same scale as Haiti?

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  35. Laura,

    What's happening and hope all is well and thanks for sticking with me on this one.

    You said:"If God sought to destroy the people of Haiti, He would have/ could have wiped them out"

    That's true. So in essence God did NOT seek to destroy the people of Haiti. Is that true? Or did he just want to punish them a little bit? I only ask that because your next statement...

    God can, and does, bring great good out of terrible tragedies brought on by His will or a fallen world.

    God can bring good out of anything and that point is well taken. It's the rest that I now question.

    You refer to "his will" then you go on to ask me to affirm that this was "his will". The problem I have is that you are inferring that tragedy is somehow and sometimes the will of God.

    Now if I didn't know this I would think you have a supportable position:

    2 Peter 3:9~The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any SHOULD PERISH, but that all should come to repentance.

    Now one could say that this only refers to the ultimate destination of men in eternity and I would concede, but on the other hand the scripture also says:

    John 16:33~These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall HAVE TRIBULATION: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

    On the other hand we see a man within scripture born with an infirmity for the purpose of a miracle:

    John 9:1-3~1-And as [Jesus] passed by, he saw a man which was blind from [his] birth. 2-And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? 3-Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him."

    So the christian is not insulated from the tribulation which includes the tragedies of this world at times. However it's another argument to say that God causes the tragedies or that tragedy is his will.

    Last I knew, death was still an enemy and God did not tempt anyone with sin or evil.

    James 1:13~Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted WITH EVIL, neither tempteth he any man:

    Now if we are to interpret the word "tempted" like it has always been traditionally interpreted to mean trial and trying, how can we then say that God has tried man with evil situations such as earthquakes, tornadoes and other natural disasters etc?

    At the same time, none of this has escaped God and he is more than just a bystander. So the Christian is left with providing an accurate description of God's involvement in situations like this.

    I believe that to brand these tragedies as "his will" should be examined more thoroughly.

    Is tragedy ever his will? Is cancer or other disease ever the will of God? So this is another step further than just the traditional problem of evil question. This deals directly with the causation of that evil.

    I don't know, but this type of question may be suitable for another post.

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  36. Gcmwatch,

    I think that if we assess or base tragedy or destruction on the cumulative amount of sins etc, that America can't escape.

    That's partially why I can't see the thought that God moved to destroy Haiti because of this nations sins. On a cumulative basis we certainly have more...I mean we can say they had voodoo...but we now have people who call themselves Christian and who are homosexuals, pedophiles, pimps in the pulpit...etc...I mean we've got it all and then some.

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  37. Hi Pastor Harvey. I'm glad you're sticking with me on this one too, because I have some definite ideas about God, but so far nothing that has changed my thinking or understanding.

    2 Peter 3:9 is too much of a stretch for me, because all men die if we come to repentance and salvation or not, so that verse as an example doesn't help me change my understanding .

    John 16:33 is not specific enough to use as a definitive. Now if Jesus had said "sometimes my creation will turn on you". See what I mean? Just because we will have tribulation in the world, doesn't mean He was speaking about His creation.

    John 9:1-3, the man born with the infirmity fits and yet it doesn't. In this example, it was certainly Jesus' will that he was born that way so God could be glorified in his healing. We could say the same thing of Haiti.

    There's no question that God doesn't tempt man with evil, so I don't know what you're getting at there. But then you said "However it's another argument to say that God causes the tragedies or that tragedy is his will."

    I read "When Bad Things Happen To Good People" back in the 70's, and I didn't buy the good Rabbi's "chaos in the universe" theory then or now. God cannot be both omnipotent and powerless. If it was not His will, you would have stopped it.

    Let me think about it a bit and see if I can remember scripture that would back this up. Off the top of my head, I'm thinking of Jesus saying we can do nothing without Him. That's a bit of a stretch, but if you think about it, nothing can do anything without Him, including His creation.

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  38. Gcmwatch, I thought all of Nahum 1 was interesting, but mostly this one:

    The mountains quake before him
    and the hills melt away.
    The earth trembles at his presence,
    the world and all who live in it.
    ~Nahum 1:5

    We know that earthquakes, more and more, are a sign of His return. In this verse, we get a glimpse at WHY more earthquakes. Because of His presence, drawing more and more near.

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  39. Ok, I think I've got it, though it's not definitive:

    "What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses,
    "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
    and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy.(I said this earlier)

    For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

    One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?" But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

    What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath — prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?
    ~Romans 9:14-24

    The objects prepared for destruction - I think that's us too. Looking at the question Gmcwatch asked, as believers looking for God, and the soon return of Jesus, I think the best thing we can do is be so grateful in His patience and mercy on us.

    But see, in this day and age, that's not pc, because no one wants to look at God as being capable of wrath and judgment. It's all this soft-shoeing around the issue of anything but lovey-dovey, when we know that He is the same today as yesterday. We might scare potential believers away! So we have made-up a God that is incapable of warnings, judgment and wrath.

    That's my two cents. Let's hear yours.

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  40. I forgot one place I marked, but Gmcwatch already mentioned it, in that the fullness of God dwells in Him:

    "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."
    ~Colossians 1:15-17

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  41. Laura,

    Thanks again Laura. You've been so beautiful around here and I'm glad you know I'm not trying to simply bury you or fight you. I think a lot of people are considering this question and after listening to both you and I some may come up with even some alternative ideas, but this certainly gets things going.

    First, Nahum was prophecy and poetry so we can't take it as a literal, "the closer he gets the more the earth trembles"...I mean by the time he got here we'd be in a shambles,-LOL. Plus his presence has never left as the Holy Ghost dwelling in the earth. Now as I said to Gcmwatch in the other post, I do believe that the earth responds not only to natural law, but also to spiritual law.

    If our bodies being made of the earth can respond to spiritual law, then certainly the earth itself can respond to this. i laid out the case that "naturally" there is no reason for death. In the material existence death does not have to occur, there is no trigger. However spiritually SIN brings forth death therefore evil and death occurs because of SIN not God nor the devil. (in the present tense)

    Is the devil active now? Of course... Is God active now? Of course. however the difference is vast as night and day. the devil is neither omnipresent nor omniscient. God is.

    To the point God is not "passive" as you claim but is active in both redemption and help and assistance. But outside of his judgement, which will not leave us wondering as to what happened, God is not in the business of destroying his creation.

    I mean look at the signs...he warned the earth through Noah over 120 years...he warned Ninevah, he warned Sodom...so his judgement isn't ambiguous and these things not being directed at his hand does not mean that he does not know, has not made provision, and even acted in such a way to provide opportunities to avoid this type of thing all together.

    Now Pharaoh's hear was hardened because he hated God, not because God physically set his spirit that way...Pharaoh saw what God did and hated him the more for it...there fore God said, "I hardened his heart"...Similar to a man that hits a woman and claims "she made me do it"...No he did it because his heart was was full of hatred, same as Pharaohs toward God.

    You also said:Just because we will have tribulation in the world, doesn't mean He was speaking about His creation.

    It also does not EXCLUDE it either. His creation is in the world and therefore must be a part of it. Example, there is still heat and cold death every year. Is that not tribulation?

    I guess the whole point of what I'm arguing is that God's judgement is not some obscure thing. It is exact and specific. When he judges he lets the world know. Whether that's a nation or whatever. There would be no ambiguity. Now you fly a little closer to Calvinistic predestination than I follow or endorse but that's another lesson all together. Unlike Calvin, I don't believe anyone has been created for destruction...that's confusion and certainly not the act of anyone to be called a "loving father".

    Now the real question is what do we do with this verse?:

    Isa. 45:5-8 ~ "5-I [am] the LORD, and [there is] none else, [there is] no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:6-That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that [there is] none beside me. I [am] the LORD, and [there is] none else.
    7-I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these [things]. 8-Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it."


    I think I'll handle that in another post, because that's the most significant scripture that can be yielded against what I'm saying.

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  42. Hi Pastor! Glad you're hanging in with me. I don't think this is a right vs wrong thing, because if it was wrong for me to consider God in Haiti, He would have shown me. If it is right, or I am right, I wouldn't be asking so many questions, lol. I like to think that I will always be up for correction, but it's gotta match God's word, so I can be very picky and precise when it comes to changing my belief and understanding.

    You said "his presence has never left as the Holy Ghost dwelling in the earth." I hadn't thought of that. :-( Thought I had discovered a gem.

    You said "i laid out the case that "naturally" there is no reason for death." Yes, but...God has numbered our days, so natural or not, God's will still has dominance, even over sin&death.

    "To the point God is not "passive" as you claim..."

    What a minute...I never claimed God was passive. You said God always warned, but what would you call a warning today? He has not raised up any prophets since Christ because 92% of Americans (for one) have His warning on their bookshelves.

    Are you also saying that God would never warn us of His wrath through His creation? Because that's not biblical, if that's what you're saying. I've searched the scripture for anything that might suggest that He no longer warns to repentance post-Jesus, and came up empty. If you know, share it with me because it would be an belief changer for me.

    I wasn't going to take you to task on the "tribulation in the world" verse, but you have accused some of fundamental literalist interpretation, and here you are doing the same. "Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." I don't think His creation - the earth itself - hates me. We fundamentalist have a saying, "If the plain sense makes sense, I would look for no other sense, lest I end up with nonsense."

    You said "When he judges he lets the world know. Whether that's a nation or whatever." You mean the world that denies Christ? Help me think of a time when anyone in history post-Jesus knew they were being judged by God.

    You said, "Unlike Calvin, I don't believe anyone has been created for destruction...that's confusion and certainly not the act of anyone to be called a "loving father".

    I know I should read up on Calvin, but I really don't know a thing about the man. I've never taken a theology class, I just go by the Word. You know that I spent my time in the trenches with atheists, and I learned to believe every sentence of God's word. That's all I've got to bring to this discussion.

    Paul said in Romans 9 "What if...the objects prepared for destruction...even us". That's probably where Calvin got that. :-)

    Isa. 45 appears to be God's wrath against the nations that come against Israel in the end, not so much for Israels sake as for God's good Name. I would be very curious as to the Hebrew on "create evil". The NIV says "destruction". Interesting...

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  43. Laura,

    Thanks again. You said:What a minute...I never claimed God was passive.

    Yes, you're CORRECT. I worded that wrong. The claim was that I had basically said that in the construction of my comments. Sorry about that.

    You said:"Are you also saying that God would never warn us of His wrath through His creation?"

    No. I believe that God stated that clearly in Mt. 24 that the elements (physical earth) would display signs of God's impending judgement or appearing. I simply say that's because of the sin in and on the earth.

    So far as the term "the world" is concerned I said it can be understood to be inclusive of all. So the system of the world, the people of the world and the earth and universe itself...So each verse should be taken in context, I only add a dimension that you hadn't previously applied to the physical earth. It's not an either or proposition in many places.

    Sa far as the Calvinism is concerned I've done a pretty thorough critique regarding Reformed Theology. That will at least be a beginner resource that you'll want to add as your study of that particular subject.

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  44. Laura,

    I lean towards Postmillennialism. First, I think the messianic kingdom was founded on earth during the earthly ministry of Christ in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. The New Testament church has become the transformed Israel, the "Israel of God" of which Paul speaks in Gal. 6:16.

    Second, the kingdom is essentially redemptive and spiritual.

    Third, The kingdom of Christ will exercise a transformational socio-cultural influence in history.

    Fourth, The kingdom of Christ will gradually expand in time on earth.

    Fifth, There will be a Christianization of the nations.

    Sixth, There is an extended period of spiritual prosperity which may endure for a time after which history will be drawn to a close by the return of Christ when He will judge and usher in the eternal form of the kingdom.

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  45. Well I know now why I never studied Calvin!
    Listen, Pastor...I don't really care about all that head-stuff. I could read my Bible through 50 times and still learn and see things I've never seen before. I'll leave the theology to the non-believing professors and left-brainers while I continue on in my relationship with God.

    I read your two articles, and I don't see a reason for this comment you made to me:
    "Now you fly a little closer to Calvinistic predestination than I follow or endorse but that's another lesson all together." After reading all that, I can't see how predestination has anything to do or bear on the Haiti subject, or why you would think of Calvin based on my posts.

    I suspect it has more to do with YOU'RE idea of the nature of God as only being lovey-dovey, when we know that's just not the case. Perhaps you remembered your arguments against the reformers of God being all love, then equated that to my post and Calvin.

    Seriously, I look at all the off-shoots of christianity as mudding the waters, only driving us further away from what is important. I just don't "do" religion, nor do I care to. If I have to pigeon-hole myself, I would say I'm a fundamentalist. I believe in:
    The inspiration of the Bible by the Holy Spirit and the inerrancy of Scripture as a result of this.
    The virgin birth of Christ.
    The belief that Christ's death was the atonement for sin.
    The bodily resurrection of Christ.
    The historical reality of Christ's miracles.

    I don't believe that God is found in religion, but through His Word and the Holy Spirit living inside us. I would be one of those that say Christianity is a relationship, one where we are (hopefully) becoming more and more like Him - a life-long (sometimes painful) roller coaster ride that will only be completed when we stand before Him. Along the way, we grab as many people as possible because it's not about us - it's ALL about Jesus. There's Laura's theology 101. :-)

    My question you might have overlooked was, How does God warn us today?

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  46. Cole, thanks for replying.
    So, do you think this world is getting better? Man! I'm looking for Jesus every day because I've never seen it so bad.

    I have a friend that's in the Manifest Sons of God group with the teaching that the church has taken over for Israel. You really do have to throw out all of Romans 11 to believe that. Actually, Romans 9 through 11. Paul gives a stern warning to the church not to exalt themselves against Israel because God has a future plan for them.

    Anyway, where is Jesus in your theology? Do you thinking He's reigning over the nations now? 'Cause if He is, they sure seem to be in rebellion of Him. In reading your list there, my thought was "how sad", because you have been robbed of the hope to come. Hugs.
    (((Cole)))

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  47. Laura,

    I still have hope for Christ's return. I have hope that things are going to get better. I don't look at the world as being all bad. I think there's alot of good in the world. Jesus is at the center of my theology. I focus everything arround Him. And although you disagree with me with the end times I'm okay with that and I don't think it's a sad situation. We just disagree. That's all.

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  48. Laura,

    Thanks again, you said this in your commentary:The objects prepared for destruction - I think that's us too.

    Calvin said this (from the article):(John Calvin stated) “…(God) does not create everyone in the same condition, but ordains eternal life for some and eternal damnation for others.”(Cited in Alister McGrath, Christian Theology, p. 396)

    That's what you said and why I saisd that you fly too close to calvinism for me...

    Short of teh long there are serious problems with simply understanding God if you believe that he is the author of tragedy. I'll be expounding on that in another post, but that's a non-biblical concept that's damaging to Christianity in general and rightefully so. If God cares for his creation then he doesn't destroy them by mass...you don't do that with your children how can you think God does?

    So far as warning...yes we still believe in the bible which says:

    Amos 3:2-7~ 2-You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. 3-Can two walk together, except they be agreed? 4-Will a lion roar in the forest, when he hath no prey? will a young lion cry out of his den, if he have taken nothing? 5-Can a bird fall in a snare upon the earth, where no gin [is] for him? shall [one] take up a snare from the earth, and have taken nothing at all? 6-Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done [it]? 7-Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."

    So fas as religion Laura you have a religion it's just not within other organized groups. You preform it outside of the context of those groups for your own purpose and reasons and some of those may be due to location etc and that's not problem atic but please don't spin it as if something is wrong or bad with religion...it's not the bible also says:

    James 1:27~PURE RELIGION and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.

    Religion especially that which is pure is not condemned by God in fact he consideres it as being "undefiled"...so that's what we strive for, that's the objective standard of our servanthood.

    I am amazed when I hear non-denominational folk set forth the though they they aren't a part of a denomination...yes they are...it just has a different name.

    Nevertheless, I'll do that other part today as the most damaging scipture to my argument isn't as powerful as it appeared.

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  49. Hi Cole. I know we're cool. So if/when things go differently than you think/expect, we can both point at each other after the rapture in heaven and say "Hey! I know you!!" and have a good laugh. :-)

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  50. Hi Pastor Harvey. I re-read Romans 9, and there are objects of wrath AND objects of mercy, so that all came from me mis-reading the verse, but at least I understand now where you were coming from with the Calvin thing.

    Yes, I know I have "religion" but non-denominational is too much to type and not what I was getting at. I have done in-death research and have determined the KJV is pure, and I have ventured into the leading denominations forum and determined that everything else only muddies the water and gets me off track. I'm still trying to get eight years of all that Word of Faith twisting of scripture sorted out, so no, I just don't care about Calvin or even the theory of predestination. As with everything else, I have to ask "what does this have to do with Christ dying for our sins?", and somethings we just see through a glass darkly.

    Been a bit on edge lately, I should say. Off my ADD meds for $$ reasons. Which blogs had a spell-checker.

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