Who is to blame?  That is a question with which believers, scholars and skeptics alike have wrestled throughout the ages.  When someone suffers, who is responsible? Is it God the Creator of everything? (Gen. 1:1)  Is it sin?(Heb. 12:9)  Is it a matter of chance?(Ecc. 9:11)  Is such some kind of consequence of the spiritual battle transpiring behind the scenes?(Dan. 10:12-13; Eph. 6:11)  Does God, in some way, because He is the Creator and sustainer of it all, sign off on everything that happens?  When I am hurting, how am I to view God?  If you haven’t thought about these things, you most likely will.
A friend turned me on to an intriguing book by Gregory A. Boyd entitled Is God To Blame? In the weeks to come, as I further reflect upon these questions myself in light of his material, I want to share a few thoughts.
Honestly, if you’re going to discuss Evil, Pain and Suffering an obvious launching pad in Scripture is the Book of Job.  Job was a sincere, good-willed man who was essentially a “spiritual experiment” between Satan and God.  Satan placed his bet, so to speak, that Job served God solely for the blessings.  God then allows Satan to inflict Job.  By using problems, painand well-intended people Satan sought to wreck Job’s life.  What’s interesting is that in this dialog between Job and his friends, as they wrestled with the question of suffering, we see just how upside down someone’s theology can become.
At the core of their theological paradigm is this “Mr. Bad Man” view of things.  (The belief that all suffering is due to sin. Such is seen in the N.T. when the disciples inquired in John 9:2 concerning the blind man’s condition.)  On the one hand, Job’s friends looked at their broken, suffering friend as one big sinner who was essentially getting off easy.  On the other hand, however, Job too had a distorted view of things. He accused God of making him in order to destroy him(10:8), seizing him by the neck to dash him in pieces(16:12), hunting him as a lion(10:16) and just being outright “cruel”to him(30:21).  Job makes God out to be as much a“roaring lion”as the devil is said to be(1 Pt. 5:8), yet the reality is we have a God who is said to be our Advocate(Jn. 14:16; 1 Jn. 2:1).
While Job’s friends were attempting to defend Godand Job was defending himself, none of them had it right.   In fact, all of them, including Job, missed it greatly.  Not only that, Job’s theology, although he remained a believer and subsequently proved the devil wrong, eventually led him to despair.  Is that normal?  Is that to be expected?  Perhaps a good question for each of us in all of this is: “Does my view of God’s relationship to evil, pain, and suffering lead me to love and trust Him more…or does it cause me to love and trust Him less?”  More to come…
You are loved!
LB

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Who’s To Blame? (1)

May 22, 2018

05/22/2018

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