Thursday, January 21, 2010

Does God Create Tragedy?


In our post, "Haiti-Did God Do This?" I gladly set forth the notion that God was not the author of the Haitian devastation through earthquake and that God did not rise to kill or destroy the thousands that lost their lives during this tragic event.

As stated in that post, atheists like Christopher Hitchens, suggest that God, if he exists, is responsible for such destruction in either one or two ways:


1- Either he causes the destruction to make people pray to him. Which is somewhat of a traditional Christian  sentiment also.

Or

2- That He (God) causes the destruction according to his will.

Throughout this God is  unresponsive to the people's cry for help therefore, allowing the people to suffer in pain needlessly.  An example of needless pain according to the critic would be a person who dies after laying under the rubble for 5 to 7 days. Why couldn't God have simply put them out of their misery earlier or better yet, protected them from the tragedy to begin with?

There are many worthy and notable questions that arise from these sentiments and  declarations that are certainly worth our attention. Although not popular with some, I believe the church community can be better benefited talking about these subjects and trying to understand just what happened to Haiti and even other countries that experience tragic natural disaster. I would encourage churches and pastors to begin teaching about the character and nature of God to their youth so that they won't be caught off guard like so many are within Christian circles when they are pressed on issues like this. With that said, let us ask and answer the tough questions...y'u-know the ones that critics think we can't answer:

Is All Of This God's Judgement?

While Pat Robertson certainly thinks so, I'm surprised that a great deal of Christians do also. I know "we'll all understand it better by and by" but I hold that God has clearly revealed certain aspects of his nature towards man and while that nature does include judgement, it also includes, justice, parity, and righteousness. In other words God is not unjust in any of his ways, acts or dealings towards mankind.

While tragic events are certainly a sign of the coming judgement in the sense that it reminds us of our mortality, it is a stretch to say that things like this are the judgement of God himself. It is distinguishing that difference that will be discussed in this post.

Job is a book filled with tragedy. The Psalms are replete with questions regarding tragedy and the seeming appearance that the unrighteous was in joy while the righteous was in squander. Jesus was certainly acquainted with tragedy, for he grew up in an area where pain and suffering was common to the day to day living of almost everyone.

During his ministry Jesus feed those that were hungry, healed those that were sick, provided cures for the incurable, raised the dead and exercised his control over the elements of life that sought to make man's existence uncomfortable. Jesus was acquainted with grief and a man of many sorrows. Tragedy was a present reality to Jesus but it was also a picture whereby the future would be framed. Here's what Jesus said about tragedy in and upon the earth as the day of the Lord's judgement approaches:

Matt. 24:4-8 ~ "4-And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5-For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6-And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all [these things] must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7-For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.  8-All these [are] the beginning of sorrows."

Later in the same passage you also see a total moral decay and collapse of society, where norms and what was right was set on its head and turned upside down. In fact he also says this:

Matt. 24: 9-12 ~ "9-Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. 10-And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11-And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12-And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold."

For one to think that earthquakes and pestilences and famines was the will of God, you would also have to think that

1- Being afflicted and being killed was God's will and those who did so were doing God's service
2- Destroying and hating one another was God's will
3- False prophets are doing God's will and being deceived is what God commanded.
4- That the "abounding" of iniquity was God's will
5- That the failure of Christian love was endorsed.

This is the dilemma in thinking that tragedy, especially the tragedies outlined in Matt. 24 and the related scriptures of Mk. 13 and Lk. 21, were somehow ordained of God or sent by God.

What these scriptures and other like them show is a fulfillment of prophecy and a sign of impending judgement, but to say that they are the judgement of God themselves is certainly not in accordance with scripture nor in accordance with God's revealed nature through scripture.

Pastor How Can We Be Sure?

There are a number of reasons that allow us to be sure that God is not the author of modern tragedy nor any tragedy upon earth EXCEPT for those he sends for a specific purpose and to accomplish his will. In those cases as we will find out, the actions and intents of God are made clear as to leave those knowing what God did as opposed to what simply just happened. What do the scriptures say? Let's find out:

Concept I: God Makes His Judgement Known & Clear In The Earth

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."


As I stated, when God moves he will not be second guessed by the critic. His actions are deliberate and indirect response to those who show contempt unto him. In addition he reveals to his people, his acts and intentions. The scripture is full of such actions and intentions.

1- God warned Adam of impending death if he violated his command.
2- God warned the known world through Noah for 120 years before the great flood
3- God warned Pharoah through Moses before the destruction of his army
4- God warned the nation of Israel of their sins and punishment, before their judgements and eventual captivity
5- God warned Solomon what would happen and what he would do in response to loving "strange" women.
6- God warned Belshazzar of his impending judgement when the kingdom was torn from him (Dan. 5:25)
7- God warned Sodom & Gomorrah of their sins before their judgement
8- God warned Israel what would happen to them as a nation because of their rejection of God.

The list goes on and on. The fact is this, God's judgement is not something that has to be wondered about. When God preforms judgement it is in response to the actions or sin response of man. There is a two way path also. If actions are good, man will be blessed. If actions however violate the character of God and that violation is contemptuous God will judge and he will do so clearly and through and by the mouth of his servants.

Concept II: The Lord God Is Strong & Mighty

Ps. 24: 7-10 ~ "7-Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. 8-Who [is] this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. 9-Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift [them] up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.  10-Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he [is] the King of glory. Selah."

God is all powerful. He is strong and mighty. He doesn't need to make an example of the frail. There are champions of unrighteousness that he can deal with and deal with them he will and does.

Now, in school, it was a BULLY that picked on the weak. The bully would pick out a child that he knew couldn't fight back and try to humiliate them. Some of you know because you were either that bully or the one being picked on. Thank God for his grace and deliverance! Nonetheless, you understand that only a bully picks on the weak.

God at no place within his word has described himself as a bully. He is a judge of righteousness who fights for or on behalf of the weak. He is a deliverer of justice. He is a cauldron of mercy and grace, but being a bully is inconsistent with his nature. He is a strong deliverer, a mighty fortress and someone to be trusted but not a bully. For one to think that out of all the nations on Earth that God saw the sins of the most weak, poor and fragile and decided to make them an example is beyond me.

God judges them who have exalted themselves against him:

Proverbs 16:18 ~ "Pride [goeth] before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."


James 4:6 ~"But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble."

1 Peter 5:5 ~ "Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all [of you] be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble."

Though men exalt unrighteousness God does not:

Job 24:24 ~"They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low; they are taken out of the way as all [other], and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn."

In fact the Antichrist himself was to be destroyed and part of his characteristic was that he exalted himself:

Daniel 11:36 ~ "And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done."

Nations take the same plight when they reject God:

Matthew 11:23 ~ "And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day."

The point here is that when God sends his judgement he sends it for a reason and for a purpose and it accomplishes the job of allowing men to see God as high and lifted up and above all that is called god by men. God need not fight the weak. He is far too strong for the most strong nonetheless those that are weak. He has come to deliver and save those who are in such terrible conditions.

Concept III: God Has Not Fashioned The Evil In The Earth That Men Experience

Although many tend to believe that God is constantly fashioning bad situation to bring something good forth out of them, I don't believe that concept is scriptural. Now, we KNOW that God brings good out of evil, that's because he is God and is the only one who can bring joy out of pain and suffering. He can bring better and more fulfilling relationships out of tragedy and is more than ready and able to do so in every situation no matter how bad. In fact he works the circumstances of every situation to our ultimate benefit, even when we don't understand and the answers are hard to find.

God certainly knows that evil is present and that bad things will happen, but what part does God play in causing those things?

The fact is that certain things are indicative to the fallen condition of man. God has provided for but not necessarily set in motion certain actions. God does not cause a husband to hate his wife and take her life. He does not cause a mother to hate her children and drown them. he does not cause a student to strap guns to his body and kill his fellow students. Although these things are not beyond his control, they are not preformed, neither are they constructed or done by him. Tragedy and destruction, unless stated by God according to his judgement, is one of those things that are not preformed or constructed by God but does not escape the provision of God.

Our Common Enemy

Death is the common enemy that we all share. Death is not a friend to any believer or otherwise. We will all die but we should ask, is death the will of God? NO. As stated though we will all die and the bible says it is appointed to all of us to do so, then to be judged by God. (Heb. 9:27) However death was the product of sin and an enemy of mankind:

1 Corinthians 15:26 ~"The last enemy [that] shall be destroyed [is] death."

Is death overseen by God? Certainly. Death does not occur without his permission. In fact God used death to smite Egypt.(Ex. 12:12) but even this act was done in  judgement and not in an arbitrary manner.

Is death constructed by God? NO. He does not construct outside of the spiritual law in which death operates or without specific judgement being pronounced. Since we are born into sin, we will all die until all sin is wiped away. This is a spiritual law that causes all things to change.

Then What Is The Cause For What We Experience?

The cause of the tragedy and evil that we see and experience is SIN in and on the earth plain and simple. When sin entered the earth DEATH came along with it. (Rom. 5:12) That death not only effected the soul of man it effected the natural earth itself. In fact the earth (the ground) was cursed by God (Gen. 3:17) God made the tectonic plates of the earth and those plates had no destructive power until sin was introduced into the earth. From sin and because of sin we see most of the destruction in and upon the earth. Sin is the reason that tornadoes and hurricanes occur. Sin is the reason for pain, death and suffering that seems senseless. Sin is why the earth (God's creation) groans along with our spirit, because of the weight of it in and upon the earth:

Romans 8:22 ~ "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now."

The creation groans because of sin. We see the judgement of God but is is always according to sin and man's indulgence of sin. The judgement of God was delivered and given always because of sin.

The Deadly Assertion:

Wait a minute...You don't know the bible...God is in control of EVERYTHING and if he wants to kill he can...the scripture says:

Sadly, even the fundy atheist believes this. First of all, I'm sorry that it seems that for many, there's a certain sense of pride in God's ability to destroy and kill. I believe people take greater pride in the fact that God can use his sovereignty to execute judgement than God takes in the same set of facts. But this is what we see from scripture:

Deuteronomy 32:39 ~ "See now that I, [even] I, [am] he, and [there is] no god with me: I KILL, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither [is there any] that can deliver out of my hand."

In addition God also says that HE has created the evil wee see and experience:

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."


The deadly assertion is that these scriptures define how God interacts with his people and resulting in the conclusion that God is arbitrary in his dealings toward man. That he can and will kill when he has a desire or a whim. Therefore, God is similar to an uncontrollable force that cannot be stopped.

However throughout scripture he has reveled himself as a personal and intelligent, sentient being with love, compassion, and freewill and a desire and ability to communicate with his creation. So what was God actually saying or suggesting in these verses that have confused so many?

Deuteronomy 32 is a song that actually begins in Deut. 31:30. The song involves God, his people, the heathen nations and the worship of false gods and idol deities. The song is also prophetic in showing how God's people would worship strange gods that had done nothing for the nation. (v.17) and that they would be subsequently judged for this by God  by him shading his presence from them (v.20) and chastising them with mischiefs that he would send (v.23) and also afflicting them with nature such as wild beasts, scorpions and serpents (v.24) In V. 26 the dispersion of his people is made known and in v. 36:

"For the LORD shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when he seeth that [their] power is gone, and [there is] none shut up, or left."
And v. 41:

"If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me."

This whole scripture was speaking of the vengeance of the Lord in judgement for sin and most specifically the sin of idolatry, not an arbitrary killing of people and or destruction of the nation.

Therefore, this scripture is consistent as set forth. God is not using destruction as a communication tool or an oppression of the people outside of chastisement and judgement which he personally takes blame for and personally warns the people of how to avoid said judgement. 

What About Isaiah? God Specifically Said That He Created Evil!

Is that so? Isa. 45:7. Once again this scripture must be understood in context and there are many  scriptural indicators of this verse and surrounding verses as to what it was indicating. A reference to the complete argument can be found at the bottom of this page from Christian Think Tank.

Here's The Short Story:

First, most individuals think that evil means the same in every verse in which evil is used. In this verse, there is sufficient evidence to suggest that the word "evil" does not mean moral or ethical evil and although it is more closely associated with calamity and destruction, it does not involve distress or injury in an arbitrary way or manner. As pasted from our reference here are the facts about the verse:

1- These are antithetic parallelisms: light is the opposite of darkness, and "disaster/distress" is the opposite of "peace".

The parallels are uneven. Light is parallel to darkness, but evil is parallel to peace when there was a more exact word to be placed (good) See point 3:

2- These are also "end-points" on a spectrum: light 'shades' to darkness, and peace would 'shade' to disaster (if "evil" has its most common meaning). As such, these pairs of endpoints would be tantamount to saying "I am responsible for everything"--which is asserted at the end of the verse, of course. [This is known as a merism.]

3- 'evil' (ra') is opposed to shalom (peace) and not to tov (with would be closer to, but not exclusively meaning, moral goodness). This would argue that the ethical element is not present at all (except perhaps as a judgment on Israel's righteousness or unrighteousness).
For example, in Is 5.20 ra and tov are contrasted, in an ethical context, as are light and darkness. And in Ps 34.14, all of the concepts are related: Turn from evil (ra') and do good (tov); seek peace (shalom) and pursue it. By abandoning moral evil and doing moral good to his neighbor, the Israelite would insure peace in the community and in the land. Another case of clear ethical contrasts (ra' and tov) is in Amos 5.15: "Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts."
4- In the series of four "creations" (light, darkness, peace, evil) only ra is an adjective--the others are noun forms!
The vast majority of the adjectival forms of 'evil' relate to "unpleasant" or "disagreeable" or "injurious". The fact that Isaiah departed from the noun pattern--when the noun form was as readily available--is important to note. Besides being less likely to be interpreted as 'ethical evil', the adjective form also yields something more specific--an injurious something, such as event or state (after the pattern of peace). It is accordingly much less likely to be referring to some metaphysical principle of evil(!) than to violent conquest by foreign nations.
5- There is another dimension of parallelism: the first half of the verse with the second. In this, light is paralleled to peace, and darkness to evil. Light and dark are well-known prophetic images for prosperity and disaster, as can be easily seen:

The Jews clearly understood that this verse did not carry an interpretation regarding the abstract or metaphysical principle of evil. A modern Christian interpretation following the same suit is rendered:

John Oswalt in the NICOT series summarizes the verse:
"An important qualification is already implicit in the text. The Hebrew word ra' has a wide range of meanings, much like the English word "bad." Like "bad" it can refer to moral evil ("Hitler was a bad man") or to misfortune ("I'm having a bad day") or merely to that which does not conform to some potential, real or imagined ("That's a bad road"). This is not the case with the common English equivalent for ra, "evil," which almost always refers to moral wickedness. Thus if we read "I ... create evil" (AV), we conclude that God causes people to make morally evil decisions. That this is not the correct translation of ra' in this circumstance is shown by the opposite term used, which is shalom, "health, well-being, peace, good relations, good fortune." The opposite of these would be those connotations that we most commonly ascribe to "bad." What the prophet is saying is that if bad conditions exist in my life, they are not there because some evil god has thwarted the good intentions of a kindly but ineffectual grandfather-god, who would like me to have good conditions but cannot bring them about. They are there solely as a factor of my relations to the one God. They may be there because I have sinned against his natural and moral laws, or they may be there because by their means I can become more like him, or they may be there for reasons that he cannot explain to me. But they are not there in spite of God. He is the only uncaused cause in the universe."
Therefore, Isaiah 45 does not infer that God has created a situation whereby man is placed in tragedy simply for God to then say "now pray to me" That's not the nature nor the character of God. He does however provide judgement whereby the result of that judgement is tragedy and pain. This is the "evil" that men experience at the hand of God. Not a moral or ethical  imbalance. At the same time God will accept the repentant heart that experiences this judgement and turns to God. Repentance and turning is done because one has seen their error and how God can fix it and them. 

In Contrast: In Islam, Allah is said to have every molecule, every atom of existence under his direct control. In other words the atom only preforms as it does because God directly controls it to act as it does. Therefore Allah is in direct control of all tragedy and is the cause of such as he controls the atoms necessary to create all evil whether natural or ethical.

In Christianity God has set his creation to preform his bidding and is active within his creation, the giver of life and the sustainer of life. He has set things in motion and safeguards and cares for all of his creation as it grows, moves and comes into it's own. In other words God is a Shepherd and sustainer of the sheep (as he has described himself to be) as opposed to the factory or mechanism whereby the sheep function. The sheep simply function unto his glory and give him praise out of the free condition of their existence and hearts.

Can God Stop Tragedy? 

Yes he can and often he does. He does these things for his own purpose. I know of people who were shot at point blank and did not die. I know of individuals who shot guns at others and the guns failed and upon examination there was nothing wrong with the weapon. Can can do anything. The Christian, although valuing this life, is however not restricted to it. Contrary to the atheist, the Christian by faith believes that this is not the end of all things, but a beginning that will springboard us into eternity. Death is not a friend, but neither is it to be feared for the Christian.   

Summary:
  • God is not in the business of simply destroying his creation to make them pray. There are other moves of the spirit which are essential to those purposes. He moves upon the heart of men to encourage them to yield and make a change.

  • Comparative righteousness is unbiblical. To think that God would somehow judge one nation while allowing others some sort of judgement/pass on their unrighteousness is horrific. Pat Robertson said that Haiti made a pact with the devil, but if God were to judge for sin based upon unrighteous agreements that have been made America would be at the front of the line, because we have truly been given much. Thank God that we have responded much, in 2 hours Larry King was able to raise almost $9 Million, but we have also worshipped sin and make excuses for it now within the church.

  • God sends warning to his people so that we know that it is him preforming a judgement upon the people. God's judgement is not arbitrary although he has greater purpose in all that he both does and allows.

  • The earth wan't created for sin. Sin has been thrust upon the earth under spiritual laws that have been set in motion and death both spiritually and in the natural realm of the earth itself is the result of that sin.

  • God is not the cause of evil, but is a judge that judges righteously and equitably in the face of sin, in his own time and presence.

  • God responds to the prayers and petitions of his people in holding back and averting judgemnt. Calamities could and would be much worse if it were not for the prayers of the saints.  Abraham held God for 10 people which God did not find, but yet his mercy was extended to Lot and his family. The Church Of God In Christ reportedly had over 300,000 members in Haiti. The Catholic church had much more than that out of 9 million inhabitants and i'm sure that not all of them were idol worshippers as the critic claims many catholics are. You can't tell me that God didn't honor the prayers of his people by allowing some to live miraculously for his own purpose.

  • In every situation including tragedy God's presence is made manifest, but yet he does not construct tragedy.  All tragedy though encouraged by the devil himself occurs as a result of the fall into sin and the earth itself responding to the tragedy of sin upn it. the devil certain comes to destroy, but Christ has come so that we might have life and it more abundantly. 

Blessed!

Reference:

18 comments:

  1. Though God is a mystery and his ways past finding out, God is yet faithful to his word in all things. He is not austere nor arbitrary, neither has he sought to destroy man.

    Man destroys himself with the choice of sin. Thus the mission of Jesus to destroy the works of the devil and remove the penalty of sin from all who will accept his acts.

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  2. Concept IV: God's Will

    1. Haiti was God's will
    2. Haiti was not God's will so God does not have control (as the Bible says) over His creation.

    a. If Haiti was God's will, what might we reflect on about us and this nation? Surely God is pleased of the outpouring of generosity to the victims, but what else might we see of God in this situation? How might lives be changed if everyone acknowledged God's will here and in Haiti alike? What good can come from acknowleging God in this situation?

    b. If Haiti was not God's will, what does that tell us about a God who is helpless to control His creation? (To be clear, we're not talking about man's free will as in your points above, but "Mother Nature")

    "Then Moses said, "This is how you will know that the LORD has sent me to do all these things and that it was not my idea: If these men die a natural death and experience only what usually happens to men, then the LORD has not sent me. But if the LORD brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the grave, then you will know that these men have treated the LORD with contempt."

    As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, with their households and all Korah's men and all their possessions. They went down alive into the grave, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. At their cries, all the Israelites around them fled, shouting, "The earth is going to swallow us too!"

    And fire came out from the LORD and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense."
    Numbers 16:28-35

    God's warning and judgment here was instantaneous.

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  3. "So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the LORD your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul- then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil. I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.

    Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. Then the LORD's anger will burn against you, and he will shut the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the LORD is giving you. Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth."
    ~Deuteronomy 11:13-21

    The Supremacy of Christ
    "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. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

    For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross."
    ~Colossians 1:15-20

    I'm sorry you see it as people's "sense of pride in God's ability to destroy and kill."

    "And to man He said,‘ Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding.’”
    ~Job 28:28

    "The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether."
    ~Psalm 19:9

    The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.~Proverbs 1:7

    Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, They would have none of my counsel
    and despised my every rebuke. ~Proverbs 1:28-30

    The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death.~Proverbs 14:27

    In mercy and truth Atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil.~Proverbs 16:6

    Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.
    ~Acts 9:31

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  4. Now, another thing is certain...ALL MEN are accountable and guilty before God.

    Some Haitians, as you have stated Laura, are involved in voodoo along with their Christianity. I've seen pictures of their posession: Here's some insight I found regarding this:

    "Every year in summer thousands of pilgrims from all over Haiti make the religious journey to the small village of Ville Bonheur and the nearby Saut d'Eau waterfall. It is believed that 150 years ago the spirit of Virgin Mary has appeared on a palm tree close to the waterfall. Haitians wearing only underwear perform a bathing and cleaning ritual under the 100-foot-high waterfall. Vodou followers (many Haitians practise both vodou and catholicism) hope that Erzulie Dantor, the Vodou spirit of water, manifest itself and they get possessed for a short moment, touched by her presence." [Photo Essay]

    Now, that's no better than what is done in the US by some professiong to be Christians, but it does state that this nations is not without its own brand of nationally accepted sins and experience with what I consider to be demons.

    Noone will be able to accuse God of unfairness, rich or poor...sin is the cause of all tragedy and when one walks away from God, as you point out Laura, there are consequesces to pay...that doesn't men that God has actively constructed those consequesces...he stated them and his word does not lie!

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  5. Here's something that Dr. Albert Moler recently said regarding Haiti and this issue:

    "The arrogance of human presumption is a real and present danger. We can trace the effects of a drunk driver to a car accident, but we cannot trace the effects of voodoo to an earthquake -- at least not so directly. Will God judge Haiti for its spiritual darkness? Of course. Is the judgment of God something we can claim to understand in this sense -- in the present? No, we are not given that knowledge. Jesus himself warned his disciples against this kind of presumption.

    Why did no earthquake shake Nazi Germany? Why did no tsunami swallow up the killing fields of Cambodia? Why did Hurricane Katrina destroy far more evangelical churches than casinos? Why do so many murderous dictators live to old age while many missionaries die young?

    Does God hate Haiti? God hates sin, and will punish both individual sinners and nations. But that means that every individual and every nation will be found guilty when measured by the standard of God's perfect righteousness. God does hate sin, but if God merely hated Haiti, there would be no missionaries there; there would be no aid streaming to the nation; there would be no rescue efforts -- there would be no hope."


    That covers many of the points and issues that I try to make.

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  6. That whole statement by the Doctor was bogus. He's only trying to make HIS personal point, and is playing fast and loose with the facts. I happen to know that EVERY casino in NO was destroyed. So he must have been saying there are more churches in NO than casinos, but that's not how he made it sound, so I don't trust what he has to say on the matter.

    Furthermore, he is a hypocrite when he says "arrogance of human presumption" and then runs to make his own presumptions that people believe God is capable of "hating Haiti" when he started out talking about judgments and warnings. How did we get to "God hates Haiti"? Is that what's really in the doctors heart? Or is it simply a man using his pen and words as a weapon to persuade others to his view.

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  7. Pastor, you seem to want to make this a comparitive thing, when you sternly warned me of doing the same (though I had not). If God deals with us on an individual basis, why is it such a stretch to say that He may deal with us as a whole? Doesn't His Word back this, as how He dealt with His people, and the time of the Gentiles coming to an end now?

    I just have one question for you. If God is in control of His creation, and a earthquake strikes of a hurricane or whatever, was it God's will or wasn't it?

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  8. And before you answer that...I'm fixin' to lose my house. I've been given a date. I have to believe that God is in control and knows exactly what He's doing, because if I can't believe that, that what is the point of this suffering? I have lupus, and every day I have to put one foot in front of the other to get anything done. But I have a smile on my face and my days are mostly joy-filled because I know my Heavenly Father loves me and has a plan, and is in control.

    So please, think carefully before answering.

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  9. Laura,

    You asked:If God is in control of His creation, and a earthquake strikes of a hurricane or whatever, was it God's will or wasn't it?

    NO. That's the whole point. His will is NEVER teh destruction of his people or people in general. The bible says:

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

    The problem here is that you think that TRIBULATION is the same as JUDGEMENT and it is NOT.

    We will ALL have tribulation in this world:

    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.

    That's what sickness, eviction notices, financial difficulties and such the like are all about BUT those things are NOT judgement!

    WE CAN'T BE DELIVERED from God's judgement UNTIL HE provides that deliverance. Remember that Israel was judged in the biook of judges and did not rise until GOD sent a deliverer bace to them???

    If Haiti was being judged 1- noone could help until God sent his deliverance and 2- those who would try to help would be fighting against God and come under the same judgement.

    Now, is God calling them to repentance and speaking to them and even the world? CERTAINLY!!! But to think that "judgement" in the biblical sense had arrived upon them simply because they had so much sin and GOd wanted to make a point against it is is too much...

    Then to further think that God fashions devastating situations upon our lives as to beat us to a pulp then say, "Now serve me" is a BACKWARDS theology and I don't care where you got it from...It's wrong and unbiblical...God calls his people to repentance through circumstances and in spite of circumstances and uses all things to work for his glory but God is not in the business of actively constructing evil upon the lives of his people.

    That's NOT how God reveals his nature towards his people biblically. I don't know why you persist to think that God moves so austerely as to destroy his people for his purposes???

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  10. Pastor Harvey said "I don't know why you persist to think that God moves so austerely as to destroy his people for his purposes???"

    Well that's fine because I don't know why we are having such a hard time communicating! That conclusion of what people think isn't any better than the doctor's conclusion that people think "God hates Haiti".

    I never said anything of the kind, so PLEASE get that out of your head!

    Now, is God calling them to repentance and speaking to them and even the world? CERTAINLY!!!

    THANK YOU!! That's all I've been saying from the get-go. God is in control, and control of His creation. It was God's will then, that the earthquake happened. When we face this fact, we can look for God and see Him in every situation, including tragedy. Did we not see God in 9-11? Yes we did. Hundreds of stories. Was this nation called to repentance, all be it only for a time? Yes it was.

    Did we see God in Katrina? No. Not many great stories have come from that situation. Here in Houston, our police force was doubled, as incredible as that sounds, because of all the murders from displaced gangs. It effected everyone from school kids on up the the elderly that opened their door to a stranger. Has New Orleans bounced back? No, they are still pretty much a mess other than the tourist area despite BILLIONS in aid and tax dollars.

    Now, 9-11 isn't the best example I can give because planes flown into buildings is not a "mother nature" occurrence, but the evil of man. But it's the best one I have for this country that has been under the mighty Hand of His protection for so long. Thinking about it now, it seems we are quicker to acknowledge the will of the devil and evil than God's will.

    Well, I'm sorry you don't agree that God is in control of His creation. You site a verse about salvation out of context to this discussion as your reasoning that things like earthquakes happen that are not in His control or will. On this one, we will just have to disagree.

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  11. Laura,

    You said:THANK YOU!! That's all I've been saying from the get-go. God is in control, and control of His creation.

    ABSOLUTELY! but then you spoil it with this:

    It was God's will then, that the earthquake happened.

    ABSOLUTELY WRONG! The earthquake happened because of SIN...SIN does what it does and God being God mevoes within the process and if he WILLS stops it changes it alters it, causes it not to do what it came to do. That's how we see God. Controlling it. Not sending it. UNLESS he says that he sends it. PLAIN AND SIMPLE.

    You mix some concepts that shouldn't be mixed and won't stand correction on those concepts. The two statements abover are proof. Those things do not work togethers even though God is in control of it all.

    Death of his creation is not his will. Death of his sone was for REDEMPTIVE purposes. In other words what God doesn't allow things to mindlessly occur therefore his hand is within those things that are common to man...You construct your belief as a Muslim...In that view God would INSTRUCT the atoms of the earth to make a quake and ultimately destroy individuals...That's not what we find within Christian belief and further that position isn't supported by the bible...

    now you can place all kinds of good things that God does in tragedy in there and that's what we'd expect to find because he's not out of control, but you have yet to present any biblical case to support your claims or assertions...name one passage that God sends destruction upon a people biblically and it wasn't in order to judge or bring judgement upon those people...

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  12. I think there will be earthquakes on land and under the sea in different places because they are signs of the end times, nothing more nothing less. America is not exempt our time will come. This is one of the signs of the times. These are indeed the last days...but I know a secret.....If you can receive it know that we are the last generation, but we're not the last of the last.

    Lawrence

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  13. Pastor Harvey, I'm hearing you, but I'm just not convinced. You said:

    God being God mevoes within the process and if he WILLS stops it changes it alters it, causes it not to do what it came to do. That's how we see God. Controlling it. Not sending it. UNLESS he says that he sends it. PLAIN AND SIMPLE.

    If God wills, He stops it. So if He doesn't stop it, He wills it. Anything else castrates God into less than He is, powerless to change natural events He doesn't will.

    You said "In that view God would INSTRUCT the atoms of the earth to make a quake and ultimately destroy individuals"

    I never said that. This is on the same line as "God hates Haiti" and "God destroys His people" - neither of which I agree with. I already told you this several times, yet you continue.

    You said that death of his creation is not his will. But on the other thread noted that there is no scientific genetic reason we age and die. Would you agree that it's only the will of God that we die? He willed it with Adam and told us so. We decay, the earth and the universe is decaying.

    You said "name one passage that God sends destruction upon a people biblically and it wasn't in order to judge or bring judgement upon those people"

    I could ask the same of you, but it seems this is where you get the notion that people think God hates Haiti. AGH! It reminds me of the awful so-called christians with their God hates (I can't even type it) homosexuals signs. Do God hate THEM? No. Does He hate the sin? Yes.

    Remember this? "Are we underestimating how much God hates voodoo"?

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  14. You know, Pastor, I'm only 51 years old, but I've lived long enough to feel the hand of protection God has given this blessed nation all these years. But I sense that changing. I feel it in my bones that if we don't repent and turn back to Him, all hells gonna break loose. Maybe I'm only sensing that our time here is short in these last days, and this is the coming evil train that has already left the station. I don't know. But I DO know that God is in control.

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  15. I don't want to be a thread-hog, but I have one more question for you. You said on another thread "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...

    You were talking about the United States, correct? What is it you see that makes you believe that God is trying to call a nation to repentance?

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  16. I answered the question for myself.

    2 Corinthians 5:19

    God is not counting even the world's sin against them, post-Christ. It's all Grace. It's all Jesus. Hallelujah!

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  17. God is NOT the author of evil.

    In this case what we are looking at is Passive vs. Active in God's application in Haiti.(Sorry Pastor I'm using systematic theology terms again -LOL)

    So with that being said the catastrophe in Haiti was a result of seismic activity of the tectonic plates better known as an earthquake. God allowed (passive) the planets ebb and flows to occur.

    However, does God punish particular peoples and nations? Of course! God is also active in his wrath and judgment. In cases of wrath and judgment God is not the author of evil but the instrument of justice.

    The problem is when mortal man “assumes” things and applies God’s “active” punishment towards a people. This is dangerous because at that very moment man gives his opinion he is stating things and allegedly speaking on behalf of God. This is dangerous and borders on blasphemy and false prophecy.

    Unless we know for a fact this is God’s divine judgment I suggest we assume the passive position and stick to helping the citizens of Haiti by providing money, food, shelter AND most importantly the Gospel to a pagan nation.

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