Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Is God in control of evil?--The God of Amos

This is an incredibly fitting time for this sermon (the 6 year anniversary of 9/11). Wednesday night we are going to ask the question, "Does God care"? The resounding answer, of course, will be yes. But, there is something fundamental behind this that we must deal with. If you read the blog you will have a benefit over those who do not. Amos 3:6 says, "Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it?"

The answer that Amos is looking for is "NO". It is in the midst of many questions of such that are obvious "NO" answers. So what Amos is saying is this, "If disaster comes to a city the Lord has done it". This flies in the face of much contemporary evangelicalism explanations for the "problem of evil", or explanations for "why do bad things happen". It is quite eye-opening to see different approaches to this. I challenge you to read this article from a theolgoy professor at Baylor University: Greg Olson and one by author and pastor of Bethlehem Baptist: John Piper. Ask yourself, "which of these offers more hope"? Piper, I believe, also does an effective job of displaying the biblical position in his Response to Rabbi Kushner.

How then does Amos' statement offer us hope and answer the question, "Does God care"? If we neuter God and say things like, "maybe God is in charge but not in control" as Olson does, then we are stripped of our hope. If God is not big enough to stop a bridge collapse then what hope do I have? How can I have any security? If God is not big enough to keep a bridge up then is He big enough to keep me until the end? If God is not "in control" then who is? Does it really comfort me to know that "it's because of my sin and free will" that bad stuff happens and that God would really like to overcome it but He has limited himself? Or is it more comforting (and more importantly more biblical) to say along with Job, "though He slay me yet will I trust Him". Is it comforting to cry out to God along with Hosea, "Come let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up".

Our only hope is in a big sovereign God that is both good and in control...even of evil. I understand this might make it sound like we are saying God is evil. It is difficult to discern and understand how God can be "in control" of evil and yet not be evil. But that is what the Bible has left us with--these are the cards we have been dealth--this is who God is and what He has revealed let us rejoice that God is good and that God is powerful and in control. He is able to save, He is able to keep us!

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