Why The Cards Fall The Way They Do

Theology affects all areas of our lives. It provides, hopefully, trust and reason why the cards fall the way they do. From everything to a job offer we thought we’d never receive to that tragic news that a loved one has suddenly passed away. The following are two articles from two Christian men who both have lost their daughters. One, a New Testament scholar named Dr. Ben Witherington and the second Dr. Fred Zaspel, a Reformed Pastor and systematic theology professor.

Dr. Witherington writes:

“One primary reason I am not a Calvinist is that I do not believe in God’s detailed control of all events. Why? First, because I find it impossible to believe that I am more merciful or compassionate than God. Second, because the biblical portrait shows that God is pure light and holy love. In him there is no darkness, nothing other than light and love. And third, the words, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away,” from the lips of Job (1:21), are not good theology. According to Job 1, it was not God but the Devil who took away Job’s children, health, and wealth. God allowed it to happen, but when Job said these words, as the rest of the story shows, he was not yet enlightened about the true nature of the source of his calamity and God’s actual will for his life.”

He goes on to say:

“The phrase, “It’s all God’s will,” is cold comfort. I believe in a God whose “Yes!” to life is louder than death’s “No!” Death is not God’s will. On the contrary, God is in the trenches with us, fighting the very same evils we fight in this world—disease, suffering, sorrow, sin, and death itself. He cries with us”

Dr. Zaspel says:

“And so we trust his providence. He is too wise ever to make a mistake, and too good ever to do us wrong. And we acknowledge that just as he was free and sovereign in giving Gina to us 29 years ago, so now he is free and sovereign — and good and just — in taking her. He has not wronged us. Indeed, not only do we affirm this great truth — we rest in it.”

One sees this as God’s providential plan: A “free and sovereign” act and one he can rest in. The other rejects that it was “God’s will”.

Dr. Witherington’s article is here.

Dr. Zaspel’s article is here. 

– awretchsaved

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One Response to Why The Cards Fall The Way They Do

  1. Having lost a 19-year-old child in 2002, I am sadly qualified to comment here.

    Job’s words are not good theology? How about 2:10? Then, 2:11? Or, how about 42:11b: “And they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him.” Or Hannah’s prayer of praise after being blessed with Samuel: “The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up.”

    The fact that Satan was the agent by which some – and only some – of Job’s calamities occurred does not remove God from the process. I understand he is trying to protect God’s character – but the problem is that God’s character, and God Himself, need not our protection. Let’s let His own revelation concerning Himself be the authoritative voice.

    If “It’s God’s will,” is cold comfort – which implies little comfort at all, if any – then what DOES provide warm comfort? “It’s not God’s will?” Or, “God didn’t want _____________ to happen?” The consequences of the last two are devastating and remove all basis for the Christian’s hope.

    In April 2002 I knelt at a service inside a Michigan prison and prayed that God break me if he had to in order to use me. One month later our son was killed. He broke me. The story of our son’s death and our journey through the criminal justice system as I related it gave me access and credibility with prisoners that no other volunteer had. Prisoners would seek me out specifically because of our story.

    Was Jon’s death evil? Yes, sir. Was it decreed by God in eternity as an answer to my prayer? Yes, sir. Do I have a problem with that? No, sir. “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is right?” Did Romans 8:28 apply? Yes, sir. It still does.

    To think that God is merely the Ultimate Crossing Guard, giving permission to events in time and space as they may arise – or “allowing” them to happen even if He desires they not(!) is to defame His mighty Name.

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