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Recent thoughts on Job...

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Re: Recent thoughts on Job...

Postby mattrose » Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:07 pm

steve7150 wrote:What do you think it meant that God put thorns and thistles in our life


It doesn't actually say that God put thorns and thistles in our lives. It says that 'because of you' (Adam) the ground is cursed. You are automatically reading this as a specific act of God, but to me it makes more sense to read it as a natural consequence of sin. Since Adam had been put in charge of caring for the earth, it makes sense that sinful Adam would not care for it well and suffer the consequences.

and brought pain to childbirth?


It does say God would greatly increase the pain of childbirth. It is not my position that God isn't allowed to directly dish out consequences to sin. But this thread isn't about that. It's about whether God specifically says 'yes' to Satan on an evil by evil basis. It's worth noting, though, that the major consequence for Eve was not the pain in childbirth (that's a very temporary pain), but the fact that there would be friction between man and woman. That is, once again, more a consequence of sin in humanity than a direct act of God. Do you envision God specifically creating quarrels between men and women or sending Satan to do so?

Why did God create the flood to kill everyone?


I'll push back here too. While God is willing to take responsibility for the flood (6:7, 17), we need not assume that He directly caused it. Everywhere else in the story we have no mention of God being active in the flood. The flood waters came (7:6). The springs of the great deep burst forth (7:11), the floodgates of the heavens opened (7:11), the rain fell (7:12), and the flood kept coming (7:17). Given what we know now (from further revelation), we'd have good reason to suppose that demonic forces were responsible for the flood. God is willing to take responsibility because He did choose to withdraw divine protection against their evil intentions. It seems to me it's very possible to read the flood story not as God's doing, but as the undoing of God's creation by hostile forces. They were able to undo His creation (bring it back to the state it was in at Genesis 1:1... just a bunch of unruly water) because He withdrew. Chaos is the natural consequence of God's grace and mercy being removed from a situation. What was God actively doing in the flood? We're told that God was grieved by the situation (not in a state of fury/wrath). God created a plan to save Noah and his family. God remembered Noah and covenanted with him.

My overall point is this. God set up a world in which loving relationship with God and others was possible. This setup required freedom to choose love. This requirement included the possibility of evil. Some angels and all humans chose evil. All who choose evil maintain their God-given abilities and responsibilities... it's just that now they mis-use their abilities and neglect their responsibilities. This leads to a huge number of negative consequences. If angels who were delegated authority over the weather use their freedom for evil, floods (and the like) can follow. If humans neglect their call to care for the earth, the earth will begin to fall apart. Our merciful God often... even usually... keeps these consequences at bay. But there are times when it is actually better that our Heavenly Father withdraw and let sinful nature take its course. Every parent knows that there are times to discipline (when the child is receptive to discipline) and there are times to withdraw (when the child is not receptive to discipline) and let them have their own way.
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Re: Recent thoughts on Job...

Postby Homer » Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:26 pm

Quote of Steve7150:

To your first point, if i had the power to stop the robbery and didn't i would be complicit, so God is either complicit in evil, or the allowance and also the causing of it on occasion is for a greater good IMHO.

To which Matt replied:

You would have the power to stop the robbery by not letting her have freedom. But once you decide to let her have freedom, you loose some level of control. The 'greater good' here is the possibility of love... the robbery played no necessary role.


The problem with the reply is that when you allow your child to go out with friends you are usually not present. God is always present and has a veto over anything that may occur.

I think something that is missing from the discussion is that God's will is complex, not simple, and we are unable to fully grasp this. I believe God has a desired will and also a determined will.

I agree completely with Steve's comments.
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Re: Recent thoughts on Job...

Postby mattrose » Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:21 pm

Homer wrote:The problem with the reply is that when you allow your child to go out with friends you are usually not present. God is always present and has a veto over anything that may occur.


Yes, all analogies have short-comings. The point of the analogy, though, was to show that there can be a difference between ALLOWING something and CAUSING something. This is even true in God's case because no one argues that the doctrine of omnipresence means that God is present in every situation in the same way.

And the whole point of this thread is not to suggest that God doesn't have veto power, but to ponder how God utilizes (or chooses NOT to utilize) veto power... and when. Most seem to believe that God is constantly using veto power as Satan asks to bad stuff all the time. I suggest, instead, that God basically chose NOT to use veto power at the beginning of time, but instead set up parameters within which He could still accomplish divine goals. God isn't micromanaging evil. God is simply good enough and wise enough to bring about His purposes in the midst of evil.
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Re: Recent thoughts on Job...

Postby steve » Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:49 am

Hi Matt,

I am not sure what is gained theologically by seeing God's permission of evil as more general than specific. In either case, the character of God is the same. The difference is in the daily assurance given to the disciple. In seeing God's intervention as personal and specific, we are affirming the meticulousness of God's concern for His individual children.

Certainly Christ's statement that "the hairs of your head are numbered" and "not [a sparrow] falls to the ground apart from your Father" are intended to convey the impression of detailed, individual, personal care—even in the context of Christians being persecuted and put to death (Matt.10:28-31).

The classical, personalized view of God's care (which is the most natural one that can be read from the Bible) gives the believer justification in receiving all things, "the evil" as well as "the good," from the hand of a loving Father, who does not miss a detail. Job saw it this way, and Job's narrator goes out of his way to tell us that Job did not misrepresent God in his statements (Job 2:10; 42:7).
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Re: Recent thoughts on Job...

Postby Paidion » Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:41 am

Steve, you wrote:Similarly, there were many attempts against Paul's life from which God delivered him: Once, when people lay in wait for him at the gates of Damascus; once, when he was stoned (seemingly to death) at Lystra; once, when 40 men swore not to eat or drink until they had murdered him (in which case, the deliverance was spectacularly providential). Even when he was in danger of being condemned to death by Nero, at his first trial, he escaped. He specifically attributed this outcome to the Lord's deliverance (2 Tim.4:17). Yet, at a later trial before Nero, Paul was not delivered, but was executed. Why did God deliver him on previous occasions, and not on the final one? Certainly, it has nothing to do with God's inability to intervene this final time, as He had done so many times before. It was, rather, because God wished for Paul to die on that occasion, and delivered him over to the plans of the wicked—as He had not willingly done previously.


This sounds as if you regard God as capricious. First He protects Paul because He wants him alive, and then He doesn't protect Him because He wants him dead. But if you don't think God is capricious, why would He WISH for Paul do die on that latter occasion? Would would be His motive? Or do you think as many do that God has a particular time for each Christian's death and "takes him home" at that particular time?—and has some unrevealed motive for doing so.
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Re: Recent thoughts on Job...

Postby steve » Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:03 pm

There is nothing capricious in God's wishing to postpone a person's death to the most opportune time. That was going to die sometime was inevitable. There is nothing capricious about God's decision concerning the right time for that to take place.
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Re: Recent thoughts on Job...

Postby Paidion » Tue Oct 09, 2018 5:54 pm

Steve, you wrote:There is nothing capricious about God's decision concerning the right time for that to take place.

Yes, that is correct if God "chooses" the time of each person's death. But that is the very idea that I question. I think that the causes of death are similar to the causes of many other, if not all events. Death is caused by murder, sickness, the break-down of bodies in old age, dysfunction due to extreme worry, electricty, either lightning or man-made, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc.

If I understand you correctly, God appoints a time and place for every person to die, and then allows or permits the cause of death to operate and bring about that person's death at the appointed time and place.

Please correct me, if I have an incorrect understanding of your belief.
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Re: Recent thoughts on Job...

Postby steve7150 » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:14 pm

If I understand you correctly, God appoints a time and place for every person to die, and then allows or permits the cause of death to operate and bring about that person's death at the appointed time and place.

Please correct me, if I have an incorrect understanding of your belief.










I think Steve only referred to Paul not every man and even Jesus didn't die when they tried to stone him because it was not his time yet according to the bible author.
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Re: Recent thoughts on Job...

Postby steve » Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:39 pm

Paidion,

I have not made any comments regarding the deaths of non-believers. What I have said is that the believer is the recipient of many promises of God, including promises of protection from gratuitous harm. That God allows some harm to befall us for a purpose and protects from other instances of potential harm is a fact which is so often repeated in scripture that one would have to be using a different Bible to miss it. If these promises of God are true, then no one can kill a Christian until such a time as God chooses to remove such promised protections. If the promises of God are not true, then the Christian is a fool to believe anything God says. Since some of these very promises come from the lips of Jesus Himself, the denial of their truthfulness removes any room for believing in Jesus at all.
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Re: Recent thoughts on Job...

Postby mattrose » Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:20 pm

steve wrote:Hi Matt,

I am not sure what is gained theologically by seeing God's permission of evil as more general than specific. In either case, the character of God is the same. The difference is in the daily assurance given to the disciple. In seeing God's intervention as personal and specific, we are affirming the meticulousness of God's concern for His individual children.

Certainly Christ's statement that "the hairs of your head are numbered" and "not [a sparrow] falls to the ground apart from your Father" are intended to convey the impression of detailed, individual, personal care—even in the context of Christians being persecuted and put to death (Matt.10:28-31).

The classic, personalized view of God's care (which is the most natural one that can be read from the Bible) gives the believer justification in receiving all things "the evil" as well as "the good" from the hand of a loving Father, who does not miss a detail. Job saw it this way, and Job's narrator goes out of his way to tell us that Job did not misrepresent God in his statements (Job 2:10; 42:7).


Hi Steve :)

I thought I responded to this yesterday, but I guess I never hit submit.

First, a note about how I use this message board. I mostly use it to 'test-out' ideas. I believe theologies should be formed in community... and I like this community (and others). Though I sometimes state my ideas/views aggressively (because I believe views are best refined by being expressed with vigor and subjected to scrutiny), much of what I say is actually only tentative in my mind.

Second... all that being said... I do believe something is gained by seeing God's permission of evil as more general (operational) than specific (occasional). If God made the decision to create a world of freedom from the beginning, there was the possibility that it would not go awry. Of course, God was prepared that it might go awry. But there is a difference (to my mind) between permitting the potential for evil and permitting specific evils.

Third... of course, you might respond by saying "But isn't God still specifically choosing NOT to intervene on a case by case basis?"... That's true. I do believe God is an active agent in creation. He did not give away more power/authority than He kept. I do believe God sees a purpose(s) to not intervening in many (most?) cases. But, again, to my mind at least, there is a moral difference between not over-riding freedom and consequences by intervening and specifically permitting evil. I don't claim to be explaining myself well at this point, just brainstorming.
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