Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Basic Question

Elihu goes on in Job 34, and his diatribe poses two questions (both of which have come up before in this study) I have to mull over for a bit.
  1. Is God responsible for everything that happens in this world?
  2. Why does God do anything?
If you believe God is sovereign (which I do) it's pretty darn difficult to answer "no" to number 1. To some extent, Elihu came to that conclusion as well. His theology amounts to this: sin is the responsibility of the perpetrator alone; everything else is God's doing. In other words, all beings in possession of a fully functioning will are responsible for their own actions. Events that can't be claimed by mortal willful beings belong to God.

The big problem with that philosophy is that we willful sinners didn't just wander into existence. God created us, equipped us with wills, and all along had the full knowledge of what would happen and the power to stop it. To call anything that has happened in the history of time "out of God's hands" is, in my opinion, even more blasphemous than to hold God responsible.

And I love the fact that Job raises the issue . . . or, to live out this little theological conclusion, I love that God raises the issue for us.

That leads us to question #2, a question much more difficult to answer. Especially if you find it difficult to say, "I don't know." Even worse, I don't know that we can know. Elihu would say that God brings pain into this world to correct and/or punish the ungodly. Job did his best to try to disabuse him of that belief. If we are to believe the Word of God, I think we have to side with Job on this one.

There are things about God, a person who goes to great lengths to make Himself known to us, that we just can't know. The question of "Why?" is one of those things. Even when something bad happens, and we find out that because of that thing something good happened, that doesn't explain why God did it, allowed it, planned it, or whatever. It explains why we can be happier about the bad thing. But our own feelings and God's divine motivation are not identical.

So God doesn't revolve around my contentment? It's the crown jewel of obvious statements, yet it just might be the hardest truth to accept in the history of mankind.

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