The will of God

Calvin Robinson

Moderator Christian Forum
Augustine: "Man sometimes with a good will wishes
something which God does not will, as when a good son wishes his
father to live, while God wills him to die. Again, it may happen
that man with a bad will wishes what God wills righteously, as when
a bad son wishes his father to die, and God also wills it. The
former wishes what God wills not, the latter wishes what God also
wills. And yet the filial affection of the former is more consonant
to the good will of God, though willing differently, than the
unnatural affection of the latter, though willing the same thing; so
much does approbation or condemnation depend on what it is befitting
in man, and what in God to will, and to what end the will of each
has respect. For the things which God rightly wills, he accomplishes
by the evil wills of bad men," - (August. Enchirid. ad Laurent. cap.
101.)

Your thoughts?
 

Drew Riley

Well-Known Member
Interesting (and multi-faceted) excerpt.

Not all things we might perceive as good is automatically "the will of God", and not all things we percieve as bad is outside of God's will. Take Romans 9:17-18 as an example: "For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth." 18So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires."

Can anybody every really call God's will into question? Not to say that it's necessarily wrong to question God, as I think there is a difference, but God's will is sovereign and thus perfect.
Thankfully, all things work together for good...

If anybody likes to read, I think one of the best books I've ever read on the subject of God's will was "The Sovereignty of God" by Arthur W. Pink. It rocked my former belief system on the subject, but ultimately in a good way.
 

Brad Lilly

Moderator and Awards Boss
Thought provoking for sure. God is concerned about our character more than our comfort. Nothing we have is out of God's reach, "He gives and take away" as he wills. My experience has been God's will for my life has always been positive, even when it did not seam like it at the time. Discipline is something parents do to their children, for the welfare of the child. Would it not be reasonable to assume God as our Heavenly Father will discipline us as his children? The book of Job recounts Job loosing everything he held dear in his life, at any point God could have restored Job or stopped his trial. We can debate what God's will was in the case of Job but we will never fully know why God let Job suffer.

Suffering is a great teacher (unfortunately) I heard a Missionary speak about the Church in China and the Chinese Leaders asked for prayer "to endure suffering and persecution". I was dumbfounded I asked why they did not want us to pray for the end of persecution of the church in China. The reply was "Suffering makes us rely fully on Gods provision and draws us closer to God" Now I was floored. These brothers and sisters saw their tormentors as Gods tools for making them stronger, better Christians. In the end of all things we can not forget that God did not withhold his own Son for us. That along tells me God has my best interests at heart.
 

GHEzell

Well-Known Member
My understanding is:
God is good.
Satan is bad.
Therefore... well, you get the picture. Evil does not come from God. Suffering may build character, but there are far more pleasant ways to build character and reliance on God that are even more effective than suffering and pain. If hardships and problems made us better, then everyone who has had problems would be better for them. Those who have the most trouble would be the best, and that simply is not so. He will comfort us when we turn to Him in the middle of our problems, but He does not create those problems. That is not the nature of the God who is love.

I realize this is not what a lot of churches teach, but it is the truth as I understand it.
 

Drew Riley

Well-Known Member
My understanding is:
God is good.
Satan is bad.
Therefore... well, you get the picture. Evil does not come from God. Suffering may build character, but there are far more pleasant ways to build character and reliance on God that are even more effective than suffering and pain. If hardships and problems made us better, then everyone who has had problems would be better for them. Those who have the most trouble would be the best, and that simply is not so. He will comfort us when we turn to Him in the middle of our problems, but He does not create those problems. That is not the nature of the God who is love.

I realize this is not what a lot of churches teach, but it is the truth as I understand it.

"Creating" and "Allowing" are two different things. The problem of the existence of evil and suffering becomes more complex when we bring free will into the picture, which is given to us by God. He doesn't create evil, because God is the antithesis of evil. But evil nevertheless exists, and in a fallen world brought on by free will, so must pain and suffering. We must also remember that God is a just and a jealous God, and well within his right and character as a loving God to pass judgement.

Not to say that all hardship, sickness, pain, suffering, etc... is a result of God "punishing" you, but at the same time, I don't think that all hardship, pain, suffering, trial, tribulation, etc... is from Satan either. Satan is neither omnipotent, omniscients, or omnipresent.
God may not be the big angry guy in the sky throwing lightning bolts at everyone, but he isn't exactly Mr. Rogers either. ;)

As far as what churches are teaching these days, it seems that the churches I've attended are either "all judgement all the time, fire and brimstone" type churches, or they are promoting kind of a "health, wealth, and prosperity" christianity. I think there is a middle ground. Jesus himself said we will have trials and tribulations, persecution, poverty, wars, famine, etc.... it has nothing to do with how "right" you're living. I think Job proved that. But the one thing we can always rememeber is "all things work together for good".

Again, if anybody hasn't, I recommend reading "The Sovereignty of God" by Arthur W. Pink, or another good book on the character/attributes of God is "The Knowledge of the Holy" by A. W. Tozer.
 

Brad Lilly

Moderator and Awards Boss
"Creating" and "Allowing" are two different things. The problem of the existence of evil and suffering becomes more complex when we bring free will into the picture, which is given to us by God. He doesn't create evil, because God is the antithesis of evil. But evil nevertheless exists, and in a fallen world brought on by free will, so must pain and suffering. We must also remember that God is a just and a jealous God, and well within his right and character as a loving God to pass judgement.

This a very important point. Often God is portrayed as the celestial Santa Clause sitting in heaven handing out blessings to those he loves or the reverse a cruel God just waiting for someone to step out of line so he can zap them. These are both wrong on many levels.

There is no doubt that there is suffering in this world sometimes we don't even need to look beyond our own front door to see it. When we look at the life of Jesus himself we see the suffering servant. God the father wanted Jesus to die for our sins, if not Jesus would have never left heaven. Did God create the punishment of the cross for Jesus? I don't think so but he did not with hold the cross either. This concept is sometimes hard to grasp that God willed his own Son to die but he did. In Luke 22:42 we see Jesus in the garden praying just before he was to be arrested and he said “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” That sounds like Jesus knew God wanted him to die on the cross, but I don't think God or Jesus were looking forward to the process. Any depiction of a roman cross that I have read sounds like pure evil and a horrible way to die.

I think it is great that you are questioning what some of us have written on this subject GHEzell. Do not let others do your thinking for you, I encourage you to read the Bible, pray and reach your own conclusions.
 
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