Blaming God

Here’s a good post on the inevitable efforts of some Christians to explain why God would allow – or even actively cause – terrible things like the Las Vegas shooting.

This is nothing new – for Pat Robertson or for any number of other well-intentioned Christians who want to make sure that people are doing the right thing and repenting and changing their hearts.  As such, catastrophes are an opportunity to preach the vengeance and anger of God against sin.  Those catastrophes may be national or personal in scale, but it’s the same basic sermon.

Now this is a thoroughly Biblical sermon, to be sure.  There are plenty of places in Scripture where God discloses what He’s going to do and why He’s going to do it.  It isn’t that God can’t and won’t work through world events to draw people to repentance.  The problem is that the only time we can really know that this is what is going on is when He tells us.  If He doesn’t explicitly tell us, then we can’t explicitly claim that God caused or allowed such-and-such to happen for such-and-such a reason.  At least not in anything more than the vaguest of language.  God always desires that we should repent and draw near to his forgiveness and grace.  So at that level, I can explain my breakfast bagel and tea this morning in those terms.  Or my sleep during the night.  Or that bout of gas I had yesterday.

God is God and we are not.  This irks us and frustrates us and frightens us, but that’s the reality.  We are not going to have a perfect understanding of what God is going to do and why He is going to do it.  I’d tend to listen to Pat Robertson and other people’s explanations of these things more seriously if they were explaining it before it happened.  You know, like the prophets.  When God wanted people to connect the dots, He connected them for them.  Before, during, and afterwards.  To pop up on TV after the fact and declare God’s will and purpose in a particular event is not very convincing or compelling.  It shouldn’t be to those who don’t know God already, and it shouldn’t be for those who do.

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