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.