Monday, December 10, 2007

God Kills Worshippers

This is the message of Peter Pike at Triablogue.

And he intends this to be a comforting thought.

According to Peter, God did this for a good reason known only to himself. Every specific thing that happens has been orchestrated by God before the creation of the world. All the seemingly free choices that people make have been predetermined by God. Everything happens exactly as God wants it to. God could have designed human history without people being shot at the New Life Church in Colorado, without planes flying into the World Trade Centers, and without millions of people being exterminated by the Nazis.

Peter writes, "I simply do not understand how anyone who is not Reformed could deal with this situation without falling into despair."

Let me explain.

God is sovereign. But he doesn't exercise exhaustive control over the tiniest of details. It is a rather impotent God who can only accomplish his purpose by rigging the system. He is on the level of a chess player who can win only by scripting the moves of his opponent.

Jesus Christ defeated sin, Satan and death, and God's ultimate victory is secure. I find it absurd that God would imitate his enemy in order to produce some good result.

The God of the Bible does not suffer from Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. He does not create problems so that he can solve them and make himself look good.

God did not cause sin so that he could send his own Son to die a brutal death on a cross to satisfy his own wrath for something that he himself decreed must happen.

Peter writes, "Without the sure knowledge of the overall sovereignty of God, how can one rest in the promise of Romans 8 that all things will work for the good of those who love Christ and are called according to His purposes?"

If God exercises exhaustive control, then everything happens just the way he wants it to. It doesn't matter whether we believe that it happens that way. It doesn't matter whether we "acknowledge his sovereignty." It doesn't matter what we write on blogs. If Peter were right, then he wouldn't be trying to convince us that he is right.

This system has God saying, "Everything that happens has been orchestrated by me and will result in good for those who are fortunate enough to be among the called."

Instead, I hear Paul saying, "No matter what happens, God is resourceful enough to make it result in good for those who love him and trust in him."

Peter writes, "But if things can happen that God did not want, at some level, to have happen, how can we trust anything He has promised? How is He able to bring about His plan if events like this can thwart His purposes?"

Ah, here is where the logic fails. Just because some things happen "that God did not want" doesn't mean that they "can thwart His purposes."

Back to our chess player. Does a grand master need the novice to make any specific move in order to win the game?

Imagine the master saying, "Ah, I didn't expect that. Well, then I guess I'll move here."

Interestingly enough, the Bible is filled with God making several similar statements.

Yet the master wins the game. And God accomplishes his purposes.

Peter makes his biggest logical leap with this: "We [Calvinist] pray because we do believe in a sovereign God who can do as He pleases in His world. And we pray because we know that He will make all things work out for the good of His people, just as He has promised."

Let's get this straight. According to the Calvinists:

  • God has predetermined the tiniest detail of human history. The movement of every molecule has been charted out in advance.
  • There is nothing anyone can do to change a single one of these details.
  • These people pray to this martinet of a God because he is going to do what he would have done anyway.

Not only is this illogical, it is contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture.

Let me say plainly, God did not cause the deaths of those churchgoers in Colorado. God did not decree the massacre of millions of human beings for some greater good.

God will accomplish his purpose.

  • But our choices are real.
  • We can influence the shape of the future.
  • Our actions do make a difference.

Don't be mislead by these caricatures of God that depict him as a selfish tyrant.

Don't be paralyzed by the evil actions of individuals thinking that they were predetermined by God for some hidden purpose.

Fight against evil in every form it takes. And you'll never have to worry about working against God or his purposes. Fight knowing that the final outcome is certain.

Pastor Rod

"Helping You Become the Person God Created You to Be."


Joel said...

"God will accomplish his purpose."
"But our choices are real."
"We can influence the shape of the future."
"Our actions do make a difference."
"Fight knowing that the final outcome is certain"

Are you for, or against, Calvinism? These words are perfectly in line with reformed/calvinistic theology. I could not have explained how predestination works any better. Thanks.


Pastor Rod said...


You said, "These words are perfectly in line with reformed/calvinistic theology."

This is true only if you redefine the words to mean something different than what everyone else takes them to mean.

Having real choices means that we have the freedom to decide between two or more options. Our choices are not determined by our "strongest desire." This kind of a choice doesn't even qualify as a Hobson's choice. At least that allows the customer to hire no horse at all.

I understand why it is necessary in Calvinism to redefine "choice," "will," "freedom," and "sovereignty." But its adherents should be honest and explain that they are using specialized meanings.

For Calvinists to say, "We believe in free choice," is essentially the same as for Mormons to say, "We believe in Jesus Christ." Both statements are technically somewhat true. But in each case the main terms have a specialized meaning for the group that is radically different than the meaning those terms have outside those groups.