In this portion I would like to look at how God "turns the tide" if you will on evil & ends up using it for His glory as He does all things eventually. I am reminded right away of Joseph who was sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers. It was truly a wicked and evil thing that they did to him, but when a famine had hit & his brothers showed up looking for goods & Joseph saw them, after awhile he made a remarkable statement to them about who our God is! In Gen.50:20 Joseph said to his brothers about what they had done: "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. Wow! He really is the God who turns the tide friends! I also think of the women Dorcas in Joppa in the book of Acts who died & then God used Peter to raise her back to life (I firmly believe we are capable of doing these same things today & I point the finger at me why they don't happen as they did then!) and the Scripture states when she arose again, many believed so God used her death & resurrection to bring many to Him, so God used the circumstance of death! May we have the faith of Peter for this day to, as the Scriptures clearly state "perform signs & wonders for they will follow them (us!) that believe, amen! And of course the ultimate use of evil by satan for God's glory was the Cross! Satan surely thought he had defeated Christ on that sad afternoon when Jesus was put to death, but 3 days later God took the pain & torture that Christ endured & totally tuned the tide on all the host of hell when Christ arose! So friends the Bible shows us that God can indeed use the evil in our lives and the sad & bad circumstances that happen to accomplish some good thing in us which is why James is able to say in Chapter 1 & verse 2 right out of the box "count it all joy my brothers when you fall into various trials". James knew that God can work in us that which he desires even through such things! And James goes further to say this in verses 13-15 of Chapter 1: Jas 1:13 "Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death". This makes it pretty clear that it is WE and not God who fall into sin & who create problems in our lives. Let it be known loud and clear that God is a good God! That he always wants the best for us & always has our best at heart & should he allow evil to befall us, He will in some way ultimately "turn that tide" friends if we allow Him too.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Okay, in picking up where I left off, I would like to share with you why I believe that there is a "flow" throughout the Scriptures that tell us that God should not be associated with evil, or be blamed as the cause, etc." One passage that leaps out in this regard is John 10:10a where Jesus states this concerning satan...."for the thief comes only to steal, kill & destroy". This clearly tells us friends that it is the enemy (satan) & not God who comes to steal from us, who comes to destroy us & who intimately seeks to kill us! Yet, so many times we hear people say that God is the cause of their problems....perhaps the reason behind that is this...."well if God is really that powerful & loving, then why doesn't He put an end to my problems".
Well I believe that is a fair question from a person who knows little or nothing about the Bible, don't you? It makes a lot of sense that if God is who He said He is, that He can take care of anything that befalls us. So this leads me to another point in this discussion....."why then does God allow evil?" Now there is a question for the ages! After all, at the end of all this, this is really the "heavy" question isn't it? Because most people I think realize & understand that God is good & that He always wants the best for us, but the best doesn't always happen, so clearly God is allowing some bad things to happen & so there lies that deep question of simply "why". I promise we will come back to that friends, but let's continue to look at why I believe God should not be associated as the cause or source of evil.
If we now go back to John 10 & read Jesus words right after 10:10a, He states "but I have come that you might have life & have it to the full". We also read this in 1 John 1:5: "that God is light & in Him there is NO darkness!" Now that is a pretty clear statement from John friends. In God there is NO darkness, is it a stretch to also say that in Him he can not produce darkness & thus would not have produced the fall of Man in Genesis? I think not! We are further told this by James in chapter 1:16-17: "that every good & perfect gift comes down from the Father of LIGHTS in whom there is no shadow of turning! V.16 tells us not to be deceived, so we must ask, not to be deceived of what? The very next verse tells us, that all that is good is from God, not evil! James is making the point clear that God is a God of light, not of darkness! This goes hand in hand with what we have also read from John friends. Today, we often hear these 2 mutually exclusive words together "God - dam". How did that happen? How did God get blamed for all this, how does He still get blamed for the bad things in life that happen? Now we will visit soon that God can & does use evil for good, this is clear & true, but because He uses something, does not make Him the author of it friends! Here is a statement made by a popular Reformed writer: "If God's chief end is to bring glory to His name and God does whatsoever He desires to do, then the existence of evil must be allowed and decreed by God ultimately bringing glory to his name" This continued phrase by Reformers "God does nothing, but for His glory, or similar statements like "God is all about His glory" must leave some who are examining the claims of Christianity to ponder if God is egotistical no? Scriptures like John 3:16-17 & Phil. 2:5-8 teach us that God is all about us & that we are to bring glory to His name, not the other way around friends! yes, I do believe that God does indeed seek His glory in all circumstances, but not the way some of these Reformers make it sound. For instance a passage like Isa. 43:7 which states: "Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made." is taken to mean that God is only about His glory and yes He created us to have fellowship with Him and for us to glorify His Holy name, but I think this idea of God ONLY being about His glory is a bit out of context.....Now it is also a Biblical truth that God doesn't "share space", just as Jesus doesn't (Isa. 42:8, 48:11, Jn. 14:6) but I think this phrase can be dangerous........and other similar statements like "God is most glorified when".....the fact of the matter is this: The Bible does not clearly state exactly when God is most glorified! That is an assumption, but it is being stated as a fact & that my friends is also dangerous! Just my thoughts here. Okay, we can pick up talking about how God has used evil for good & does, while keeping in mind that satan is the author of death & evil. Satan, not God tempted Eve in the garden & caused mankind to fall! Jesus stated this in His heated discourse with the Pharisee's in John 8:44a "but you are of your father the devil, for he was a murderer from the beginning" showing us that satan is indeed death's author by bringing sin into the world & we know that sin leads to death. (Rom. 6:23)
Until Next Time,
It has been awhile since I have written anything so I am glad to be back sharing here. My topic for the next few posts will be how for Centuries we have associated evil somehow with or to God. I am not sure how this all came about to be quite honest, but I think there is more than enough proof in God's Word to show us that God is not the author or purveyor of evil. Now that is not to say that God cannot or has not used evil to bring about some good in our lives, I think we'd all agree that He has & that He does! But the question I ask is this: "is God the cause of the evil, is He the source?" Some people I respectfully disagree with teach that God in some way "pre-ordained or set up" the Fall of Man in Genesis, but then in the same breath will state that God is also not the "author of sin", I say "how can both of those things be true?" You simply can't have it both ways! We know from the Genesis account that sin entered the world through the disobedience of BOTH Adam & Eve, so now we must ask, "what part if any, did God play in that?". When God created man, did He make us free moral agents, or are we able to exhibit choice, or maybe yet are we a sort of quasi-free moral agent having choice at certain times, etc? At least for me, this has never been a hard question based on the passages of Scripture we'll be looking at in my next post, but I would be interested in any thoughts anyone reading this may have? Last, I would also mention the tree in the midst of the garden of Eden, what did that tree represent? Could it of represented choice, was God giving mankind a freedom to choose by placing that tree there? Please give that some thought friends.
Until Next Time,