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James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@indy62

Keith, you seem somewhat confused, I don’t know that what I will say here will help to end your confusion, but I will try.

You said, “When good things happen to people of faith, we call them blessings from God and we give thanks. When bad things happen to those same people, should they blame God?”

Most people I know have a tendency to thank God when good things happen and blame Satan when bad things happen. If we look at Matthew 5:45 – “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”

This verse is most commonly quoted as, “It rains on the just and the unjust.”, meaning good and bad will happen to us all.

You said, “Should they take it as a sign they are being punished.”

No. In the Old Testament God had a direct influence on some of the people’s lives. The old law was of a physical nature, giving offerings of blood through animal sacrifices and many other things, and God did see fit to punish some people for wrong doing. As an example:

{Numbers 3:4 And Nadab and Abihu died before the Lord, when they offered STRANGE FIRE before the Lord, in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had no children: and Eleazar and Ithamar ministered in the priest’s office in the sight of Aaron their father}

The old covenant, or testament, was already vanishing when Christ rose on the day of pentecost, which was also the beginning of the New Testament.

{Heb 8:13 – In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.}

The New Testament left behind the physical aspect of faith and worship and began a spiritual faith.

You said, “So when good things happen, we SHOULD consider them to be blessings from God, direct or indirect. But when bad things happen to us, we SHOULD NOT blame God.”

{Romans 5:3 – And not only so, but we glory in TRIBULATIONS also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;}

Tribulations, or bad things, can work to our benefit by teaching us to have patients with the things that happen to us in this life.

To blame God for every bad thing that happens to us would be absurd. We are to gain our salvation through faith. How much faith would it take if nothing bad ever happened to us because we are a Christian? No faith would be needed, all you would have to do see how others live trouble free lives and you would believe and get this great life. We must believe by faith not by signs.

In my opinion, we bring a lot of what goes wrong in our lives on ourselves, whether we fall into lust with a woman who is not ours, we overspend and find ourselves over our heads in debt because want more than we can afford, or because we are lazy or drunkards and can’t hold a job, let alone advance at work. Here is why I have this opinion.

{James 1:13-14, Let no man say when he is TEMPTED, I am TEMPTED of God: for God cannot be TEMPTED with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is TEMPTED, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.}

We do indeed live in a perfect world, we as humans sin daily. The only thing we can do is repent and work as hard as we can to not to repeat them. I’m not real sure if this is asymmetrical or not, that is something you will have to work out for yourself.

Don’t misunderstand Genesis and the story of Adam and Eve. Is the story true? I would have to say, yes. Why. Because He gives it to us as a true fact of history and IF you believe in God and that the Bible is his word, then you would have to believe what he says.

(2Timothy 3:16 – ALL SCRIPTURE is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.}

{Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;}

All scripture comes from God and He cannot lie.

He does give us parables and examples, but they are identified as such and there is no such identification given to Genesis.

I don’t know if any of this is what you were looking for, but I hope it helped.

Have a great day.

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Keith S @indy62

@jlriggs57aol-com

Jim, a few of your points really get to the heart of the subject. But some of your points made me realize I may have left out one basic premise which I’ll explain later. The first thing you stated which seem to make the most sense to me: we’re being tested. You quoted {Romans 5:3 – And not only so, but we glory in TRIBULATIONS also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;}
You said “Tribulations, or bad things, can work to our benefit by teaching us to have patients with the things that happen to us in this life”. I agree. This reminds me of the Book of Job, where the righteous Job is put to the test in the most extreme ways anyone could manage, but he still remains faithful to God. That theory works well when adults are involved. Especially adults that were brought up in an environment that included religious instruction such that they understand the idea of “faith”. The theory falls short when small children are involved. How does a small baby appreciate that God may be testing their faith. Even with regard to adults, that theory only works if that individual starts out with “faith”. I’m not arguing against your point, just recognizing its limitations.

The second thing you said that seemed to hit the mark, “Most people I know have a tendency to thank God when good things happen and blame Satan when bad things happen”. That reminded me of a book I read many years ago called “The Screwtape Letters”, by C.S. Lewis. It’s a very dark satire that touches on this subject. And it does help to see this subject from another perspective. It fact it may fill the gaps in logic where your first point falls short.

I do take exception to some of your points. You quoted Matthew 5:45 – “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” And you said “This verse is most commonly quoted as, “It rains on the just and the unjust.”, meaning good and bad will happen to us all”. Later you ay “To blame God for every bad thing that happens to us would be absurd”. And “In my opinion, we bring a lot of what goes wrong in our lives on ourselves”.

Earlier I said “some of your points made me realize I may have left out one basic premise”. The fact is in my original post, I’m not really referring to the normal level of good and bad that will happen to everyone but rather the deeply tragic events that happen to good people, in some cases, to small children too young to understand issues of “faith” or “sin”. And I’m definitely not referring to the bad things we bring on ourselves through bad behavior, just the earth shattering events that cause us to doubt.

5 years ago, one of our neighbors was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. A young guy, around 30 with a wife around the same age and a son about 5-6 years old. About 1.5 years later, he passed away and we went to the funeral. What do you say to them to comfort them? I know they were good people, so what do I say to myself to make sense of it.

Another case about 10-15 years back, another family we know, the father and son stop on the highway to help a young lady who’s car broke down on the side of the road. They’re both truck drivers and are pretty good with engines. Another car runs into them, they both end up in the hospital, the son with permanent brain damage. Also good people.

Just about a month back one of the engineers in my office gets a call one friday afternoon and had to run out of the office. His Dad, around 50 something was hit by a car and rushed to the hospital. Initially they induce a coma to help stabilize him. But later he stayed in the coma. Just recently he woke up, started talking. So time will tell whether the healing will continue. Don’t know the Dad, but the son is a really good engineer and a better human being. So we all prayed a lot for the Dad for the last few weeks. Just another case of a random event.

I just want to give you some context. For me it’s about finding simple truths to help strengthen my faith through difficult times.

There was one last point I disagree with on a separate subject. You said

“Don’t misunderstand Genesis and the story of Adam and Eve. Is the story true? I would have to say, yes. Why. Because He gives it to us as a true fact of history and IF you believe in God and that the Bible is his word, then you would have to believe what he says. (2Timothy 3:16 – ALL SCRIPTURE is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.}
{Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;} All scripture comes from God and He cannot lie.

Think about the Book of Job. It involves a conversation between God and the Devil regarding Job. Would anyone ever suggest the author was sitting there actually witnessing that discussion. Its obviously an allegory. That doesn’t make it a lie, its just not a historic event. Do you really believe Jonah spent 3 days and 3 nights in the whale? I choose to believe some stories are allegories, not lies. 2 Timothy 3:16 says “by inspiration of God”, not “historical fact”.

On balance, your response was extremely helpful to me. Thanks for your contribution.

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James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@indy62

Keith, In Jonah 1:17, we read, “Now the LORD had prepared a great FISH to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the FISH three days and three nights.” Although a lot of people assume it was a whale, chances are it was not. Why would God go to all the trouble to talk about preparing, or making, a fish just for this story? For that matter, if you read the story of Jonah there are a lot of very specific details, where he boarded the ship, what caused Jonah to be thrown overboard, where he traveled, how he traveled, who he talked to, etc. All of this is very specific, why? If you want to see it as an allegory that’s up to you, but there are too many very specific details for me to discount it as such.

You said, “I do take exception to some of your points.” You quoted Matthew 5:45 – “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” And you said “This verse is most commonly quoted as, “It rains on the just and the unjust.”, meaning good and bad will happen to us all”. Later you ay “To blame God for every bad thing that happens to us would be absurd”. And “In my opinion, we bring a lot of what goes wrong in our lives on ourselves”.

I’m not real sure what you took exception to. If it was my opinion that we bring a lot of goes wrong in out lives on ourselves, I really don’t know what to tell you that has been my experience with most people. Possibly, you run with a different type of people than I do. I was talking about everyday problems that people have. I didn’t know the context you were talking about. No offense was intended.

As far as these bad things that you talked about sickness, accidents, and small children who are sick or die. These things are a part of life, but before you start thinking I am cold-hearted and have lived a life with no pain I will tell you a little bit about my life and some of what I have lived through.

First I will start with my first daughter, she was born with one heart valve that did not develop, they told us that if she could make it to be a teenager they could fix it. She was 18 months old when she died.

When our son was born he was six weeks premature. For his first 3 or 4 years of life he stopped breathing and had to be resuscitated over a dozen times. We and the doctors did not give him much hope. He lived, but why should a little baby have to go through something like that.

My dad, who was career Army, lived through his tour of duty in Vietnam, came home and several years later died of agent orange, he was only 56 year old.

My mother died from a simple knee replacement surgery.

My wife, who by the grace of God is still with me, is a needle diabetic who has lost her left leg, below the knee, is in stage 4 kidney failure, and has had a severe heart attack. I have been told 4 times by doctors that she would probably die on the operating table during some of her many operations. She lives with all these things everyday. You talk about someone who should have reason enough to lose faith, it’s her, yet her faith is what saw her through all these things and she remains strong to this day. You would not believe how happy a person she is.

I know about the pain of seeing good people suffering and it hurts every time, but by what I read in the Bible, I am not here to question why things happen. I don’t wonder why God allows bad things to happen to babies or good people. I have no expectation that God will intercede and stop car crashes, end all diseases, or even change the hearts of the millions of women who kill their own babies by abortion.

I don’t know if you have children or not, but could you imagine the pain God must have felt when He had to endure seeing his only son nailed to a cross and die that horrible death so the rest of mankind could have a chance for salvation through Him. If it were my son, my heart would have broken a thousand times over.

God gives us all free will to except him or to reject him and the same is true for His word.

I am without doubt a very imperfect person. I sin daily. So if what I am posting makes you think that I am self righteous, nothing could be further from the truth. I will be filled with fear and trembling on judgement day the same as everyone else.

Hope this helped. Have a great day.

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jjvors @jjvors

James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com
Keith @indy62

Thank you for a good discussion about the presence of evil in our world.

Keith and James are right to go to the garden of Eden, for that is the source of all evil. First there is temptation to sin from Satan and then we humans sin. The consequence is that we are cut off from God, until we are forgiven. Our whole human existence revolves around our struggle to come back to God. Without God, we are subject to time and circumstance in this world–both good and evil happen randomly, as well as caused by man. God too intervenes to bring about His purposes. Examine the story of Joseph: his brothers retaliated against his privileged position and sold him into slavery. Eventually, he was thrown into prison. Despite all of this, Joseph looked to God in faith. Eventually, he was used to save the very brothers who had enslaved him. God used the evil of his brothers, caused by his own evil and that of Jacob his father, to save his brothers physically and morally from evil.

In the same way, Jesus came to his earth as a humble child, giving up the position and power of the Godhead to be despised as a “bastard” son of Joseph and Mary. Later, He came from the humble and despised town of Nazareth to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom of God in Jerusalem and then in Galilee. This led to His crucifixion three years later–a great evil. From this evil, God used the blood of Jesus as the perfect sacrifice for our sins, reconciling all mankind to God, and giving us deliverance from evil.

My point is, God is not thwarted by the evil that happens in our lives, but uses it for good, if we are looking to Him and trusting in Him. Jesus promises trouble and trials and persecutions for His followers; those things also happen to those who don’t follow Him. With God there is purpose and meaning to the things we suffer and He will make good out of it.

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James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@indy62
@jjvors

J, you made some very valid points in your post.

I think your best point is the one that most of us fail to do. You said, “My point is, God is not thwarted by the evil that happens in our lives, but uses it for good, if we are looking to Him and trusting in Him.”

We fail to see how we can use adverse things in our lives for the good and we fail to trust God as fully as we should.

I had hoped we would have had more people adding to this discussion, but I guess not.

Have a great day.

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