God’s Will and Election

A.

“It is God who sets and removes the rulers of nations. We vote in obedience to His direction and then trust that the person chosen to lead the country is His plan for us.”

B.

“It is up to believers to discern which candidate best represents godly and righteous values and to pray and act accordingly. God’s will for our nation can be hindered by our failure to act.”

Which of these statements most accurately represents you?
Any related thoughts?

Just a reminder, be nice to each other in the comments.

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49 thoughts on “God’s Will and Election

  1. “A” works for me.. God is neither pro-Obama or pro-McCain.. people who say so (often by innuendo and insinuation) make it a sin to vote for a candidate that doesn’t agree with their point of view.. that is more reflective of their heart for politics than their heart for the kingdom.

    God will rule in our nation regardless of who is elected.

  2. I am no big fan of the ‘sovereign God’ conclusion as if He is setting up people as pawns in some grand scheme of human history+politics…

    I do not adhere to the strict Calvinist concept of predestination as it is proposed. While there is certainly room to maintain this is God’s creation & He remains ‘in charge’, to what degree that is permitted with the wildly unstable constant of man’s will included, I cannot make a clear distinction.

    It could be God has setup up rulers. Some rulers, some of the time. I do not believe He has setup ‘all’ rulers for every nation. Where is that distinction drawn? All tribal rulers. All Masonic lodge rulers? All vassal state rulers? Are all national borders & national identities God ordained?

    Predestination is a concept that states God has already determined the outcome beforehand & any attempt to counter that is resisting God.

    Or let’s take it further. What if no one voted? God would send His prophet with a flask of oil to identify His candidate of choice?

    Somewhere in this jumbled arena of God’s plans, purposes, will are the limited choices of human decision making. Maybe God is not in the business of knowing it all as we have constructed theologies around. Maybe He is a wild God willing to live on the edge of human options without Him ever being out-of-control or compromised or diminished in any way. If He chooses to limit Himself He is no less God, is he?

    Political intrigue cannot be reduced to “Choice A or B”, can it? Maybe “C – All of the above”?

  3. Grace I don’t think either A or B fits for me. I think God’s will can be done through anyone he chooses, think Cyrus. For me it is a prayerful discernment process over what I see as Kingdom values in which the list is longer and has more breath than the usual top “2” , I choose A-Z:)

  4. Grace,
    Great question!

    “A” works for me as well. I both agree with and liked Kansas Bob’s answer. God is neither “Republican” nor “Democrat.” Thus, God is neither pro-Obama or pro-McCain.

    We have to remember that God’s Kingdom is not of any kingdom of this world. Meaning, the governments man has instituted, were just that, created by man. Jesus even has said that the Kingdom, in which all Believers are a part, is not of this world.

    Does this mean that God could care less about who is the president of our country, or those in a position to make, legislate and enforce rules? Absolutely not. I believe God does have a hand in it. However, the thing of “Free Will” also exists, which means that people can use their gift of CHOICE to make things happen, both good and evil.

    How, exactly, God places and works in all of this is a mystery I don’t think is our job to try to “fugure out.” Our job is to heed the discernment and wisdom God places within our hearts through the Holy Spirit, and Trust Him with our protection, security and lives.

    Blessings,
    ~Amy :)
    http://amyiswalkinginthespirit.blogspot.com

  5. I lean more toward A with a smattering of B. :)
    The section in the book of Daniel that speaks about God setting up and taking down kingodms is set in a time when no one had any choice in who would head their government. We have a choice, but I believe that God works through our choices.

    I doubt God is wringing his hands worrying about whether we’ll vote for the right person.

  6. This is a great question, and some great comments here! If I have to choose between them, I lean towards A. (However, I would never feel comfortable praying for a specific candidate to win. That just seems to cross a line into presumption. I pray for this election, but I tend to keep it in terms of, “Your will be done.”)

    But I have the same reservations about Calvinist determinism as Joseph articulated so well.

    On the other hand, I have observed a lot of manipulation from Christian leaders pressuring people out of fear (usually to vote McCain). And I don’t believe their argument that God “needs” a certain candidate in order for Him to accomplish His purposes. And I think that’s the problem I have with B.

    Ultimately, for me – my voting choice was heavily influenced by my heart for global issues (in terms of American politics, that equates with foreign policy). Militant hardliners on both sides of any given conflict feed off each other to promote their “holy” cause and recruit fighters. I want that cycle to be minimized.

    As for national issues, health care is a big one for me. After living in Canada for seven years (and returning to the US), I can honestly say that even with its imperfections, their universal health care system is far, far better than our privatized system here (which profits and feeds off desperation – and is only available for certain classes).

    So I pretty much voted on those issues. (There were others, but this post is already too long!)

  7. addendum…

    Is it more encouraging to believe God can & will “work out at all things to good” rather than accepting He has already determined “bad” outcomes however one wants to categorize them (determinism)?

    God will indeed triumph. Good will overcome evil. All will be made new.

    We have talked about that bugaboo concept of “flesh & spirit” & the fact that God is not hindered nor diminished any by this temporal arrangement. If we look at each of the main Presidential candidates, they will also contain a mixture of good/bad qualities and/or political issues that can oppose kingdom standards.

    If we could somehow wield a Holy Ghost sword to divide the flesh from the spirit, which candidate would be seen as more godly? And what criteria would we use?

    I do not like the limited choices of the candidates being offered as a ‘Man-of-the-Hour’ as if all hope or fear or help or answers reside in one person. I do not like grace’s simple choices of ‘A or B’ either :). But that is because the issues & the potential consequences & the scope of national image or security or financial health or health care or numerous other issues too grand to be reduced to party promises & sound bites.

    Maybe I am getting too old to be patriotic on election day. But like the viewpoint some have on the rapture & the tribulation: I am a ‘pan-millenialist’ so I assume I can be a ‘pan-nationalist’ also… ;)

  8. Are all elections reflections of God’s will?

    Yes and No. Yes, in the sense that God is sovereign and ultimately in control of the universe. He can use the most terrible despot to bring about good. But no, in the sense that he gives people free will, and I don’t believe that equal good is done by all rulers or that seeking the best ruler in an election is an exercise in futility. People can elect terrible rulers, just like they can commit adultery and disavow belief in a higher authority. When it comes to elections, blaming God for a nation’s collective poor discernment/decisions is an ill-fated choice. That doesn’t mean that there will always be a good choice. It just means that the possibility exists. We should seek discernment because our ballot box choices as a democratic republic do influence the extent to which our society reflects the heart of Jesus through its laws and actions.

    MB

  9. I think there is a great mystery involved here (much in agreement with what Joseph wrote). Was it God’s plan to deliever Israel and move them into the promised land in a very short period of (our) time? I think it was. It was the ‘vote’ of the spies that caused 40 years in the wilderness. The outcome was that although God’s plan was altered by man’s choices, it was never thwarted. We will live with the consequences of our choices, but we will not thwart God’s ultimate plan for humanity (BTW, I do not believe the USA is God’s covenant nation or God’s chosen people – it remains to be a ‘kingdom of this world’ and succeptable to the consequences of all such human institutions).

    Having said all of that, I guess I most lean toward ‘B’ – although with many qualifications.

  10. None of the above.

    We have two pro-Communist leaders pretending to be different. The one who claims to be less a Commie actually suspended his campaign so he could spend more time pushing a Communist bill on his peers.

    I don’t understand why it takes a non-American to see what the vast majority of Americans can not. That being, that your nation is being sold out from underneath you and turned into the worlds next full-blown Communist/Fascist regime, while it’s citizens live in a delusion that they have freedom in comparison to other nations.

    To top it off, I see hehmm.. “Christians” supporting an illegal occupation that has killed hundreds of thousands of young innocent children, and then claim to be pro-life.

    IF my people …. and turn from their wicked ways… THEN I will…. (and not a minute sooner…)

    Sad.

    PS. At least Obama admits to wanting to spread the wealth around.

    http://CampaignForLiberty.com

    Vote Chuck Baldwin for President!

  11. I am a bit of both, I think. Not that I am able to vote in this coming election of yours! I do believe He gives us agency too and works through us. In general.

    Also, when it comes to bad manipulative church leaders I have quite hard time believing God placed them there.

  12. Ohh d I guess if I really felt that one or other candidate was “sent from God” – if I TRULY felt like that of someone, I guess I’d pray they’d be in the office. But that would be avery rare occasion that I would feel that way about someone! I think it’d have to be nearly someone close to me. Most of the time my praer would be for His Will whatever it is in this case, to happen. And so I am praying in this election! Whichever is of less “harm” ;) Though I’m not an American. My lecturer actually said that we should all get to vote (here in the UK) as it affects us all =D

  13. Good propositions. May I propose a third from the opposite side of the world?

    C. It is God who sets and removes the rulers of nations, but does it through believers whom He sets in place to discern which candidate best represent the nation and community, and to ACTIVELY BE INVOLVED in the public arena during the election process and the term of office. It is up to the community, INCLUDING BELIEVERS, to make sure their representative truly represents them. God’s will is not hindered by our failure to act, but our failure to BE ACTIVE in the public arena, may mean His will is that we get the government we deserve, often by our failure to exercise the privilege of voting.

  14. Is this not just essentially asking:

    Are you a theological determinist, or not?

    I think the answer is irrelevant, if theological determinism exists there is by definition nothing we can do about it; if it does not then we should surely tend towards ‘B’.

    We may well be led towards ‘B’ without any, or any significant, personal agency, but our decision may be made to ‘A’, through ‘B’, if that makes any sense at all?

    To be a little post-Augustinian/Red-Letter, this is my own voting criteria:

    Charity.

    A focus on the important moral issues of Jesus, with some secondary consideration given to moral issues raised by Paul in answers given to individual communities in his epistles.

  15. I don’t think I am an ‘a’ because I think we often choose things that are not in line with God’s will and he allows it and can still use it for his good. But I don’t think I am a ‘b’ because I don’t think we can have that much influence in God’s will.

    I believe God is sovereign regardless of who “wins.” He’s probably much more concerned with how I/we react and/or respond.

    So I’m going to vote for the candidate I like the best. :)

  16. I believe God has predetermined outcome, but not necessarily process. Eric Metaxas said it well; “Just because God knows everything does not mean He determines everything.” (‘Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God’ -page 26). Humanity still has a free will to determine temporal circumstances, and will be held accountable for it. Complacency is not an attribute of the character of the One we serve and are to emulate. Thus I would add one word to ‘B’ to make it more to my choosing, and that word is ‘properly’.

  17. Well, he wrote an entire chapter on it … and much of his answer is rooted in the mystery of God’s eternal existance vs. our time/space existance, and God’s choice to limit Himself in order to demonstrate His love for man and His desire to have a (free-will) relationship with man. He uses statements like:

    “He may know the day and hour you are going to die, but it doesn’t mean he chose the exact time or day of your death. You have a free will. So you could drink yourself to death or jump off a bridge, but neither of these events is God’s will.”

    “Despite the fact that He was giving humans the capacity to break His heart – which we did many times and continue to do so – He still gave us that freedom. That’s really at the core of who God is.”

    If you’ve read ‘The Shack’, this is the same string of thought that was threaded through the excellently written story of a tragedy that exemplifies the pain and struggles that thousands encounter every day, and the questions about ‘a loving God’ that results from such tragedy. Answers to such deep mysteries do not come in sound bites – it takes a narrative to even begin to open our minds. That’s exactly why God preserved His narrative – the Bible.

  18. I think we try hard to put God into a box, but not sure he always stays within the lines we draw.

    I approach each election with a “B” mindset, knowing that God gets to decide if (and when) to pull the “A” lever.

  19. This was fascinating. I have really enjoyed reading your thoughts. It doesn’t surprise me to get a lot of both/and type answers from this group. :)

    I really don’t have anything to add.

    While it is probably related to how you answered the first question,
    how would you answer this…

    Who is to blame if the wrong guy is elected?

  20. Wow, you are the clever one.

    I think THAT question is part of the answer to the first question. WHO gets to determine that the person elected is the wrong person?

    a. Me?
    b. Majority?
    c. History?
    d. Other?

    I’ll go with d. on this one.

  21. ken,
    I am quite certain that on November 5 you will find plenty of people willing to tell you whether the right or wrong guy won.

  22. Part of the difficulty of this question is the varying understandings of the phrase, “will of God.” I am highly influenced by Leslie Weatherhead’s “The Will of God.” In it, he differentiates between God’s immediate will and God’s ultimate will. God’s ultimate will is the Kingdom of God – that time and place when all are welcome at the table and there is plenty for all. God’s ultimate will cannot be changed and will be done on earth. In the meantime God’s immediate will is defied regularly.

    I am a strong B. I do not believe we can simply trust those in power to act according to God’s will. In fact, I believe history shows that most people in power act in direct opposition to God’s immediate will.

  23. re: G0d’s Will…

    I too used to be a splitter. More along the lines of “God’s good, pleasing & perfect will” vs. God’s “permissible will”.

    After my 34+ years of Christian experience I have become a lumper more than a splitter. In the grand scheme of things it’s all God’s will. No minor or major IMHO. I do try to separate the 2 in hopes I can reconcile the problem of evil & God’s apparent passivity when it comes to unspeakable horrors done by other humans as well as tragedy that befalls His children.

    God truly is at fault. All the minutae. The every happening & circumstance. Can’t get away from such a conclusion since He designed it all in the first place, hold’s it together & let’s it happen. There is no solace in trying to comfort someone with such a theologically fatalistic answer. But really, it is God’s will that all things happen regardless of how we couch it, spin it, attempt to mitigate it, etc. So maybe God is portrayed as loving, caring, comforting, etc., but He is the one that permits all the bad as well as the good.

    Maybe the legal attempt to let God off the hook is pointing to the evil one that comes to kill, steal & destroy. Or the “fallen” creation that is wild, unpredictable & prone to natural catastrophe with no concern as to the hapless victims that suffer.

    God’ s will is not fully understood. His intervention that we perceive not predictable or rightly discerned at times. He does not seem obligated to either assuage all our sufferning nor be unmoved by it. All bad things are His to manage whether we perceive His presence or absence in them.

    After saying all that, I have to agree though with Robb McCoy that yes, we can identify a theme or moral compass or ‘essence’ of the kingdom that we can cooperate with or work for or use as a benchmark. We may argue about the order of priorities & the manner which to express them through the political process, but God’s will is ensconced in the elements of the kingdom as Jesus made reference to. As such we must weigh carefully our voting choices with this in mind…

  24. And we just talked earlier today about those who come late to a stream of commentary already in progress … Do I have anything to add? And then, oh yikes, grace! You throw in another question and I’m still working on the first!

    Anyway, comment #40 is a good biblical number, so that must be my sign! Let me give the initial question a try … and ooh! Who knows … maybe it will partially answer the second question too, about who is to blame if the “wrong” guy wins.

    Umm … is it okay to be neither/nor instead of either/or or both/and?

    A. “It is God who sets and removes the rulers of nations. We vote in obedience to His direction and then trust that the person chosen to lead the country is His plan for us.” Well, to me that sounds partially good, as long as we recognize “the person chosen to lead the country is His plan FOR us,” which does not necessarily mean that the person will lead us IN His plan. And then what do we do …? Isolation? Activism? Civil disobedience? Not sure Answer A prepares us for the follow-up questions.

    B. “It is up to believers to discern which candidate best represents godly and righteous values and to pray and act accordingly. God’s will for our nation can be hindered by our failure to act.” Well, to me that sounds partially good at first, but then it’s hard for me to fully be a B, when I see complexity. And I have difficulty with reductionism when the party of the first part refuses to fuse some of the parts of the party of the second part, and vice versa and verse the vice. Both party’s platforms are in serious need of some paradigm patches and then a massive defragging, if we are to get beyond the modernist liberal-conservative split that offers us the same dichotomized directions politically as theologically.

    My perspective’s a bit different, shaped by an intriguing mix of experiences. I started out my college studies in public administration, and thrived on keeping up with current events and getting involved in social activism. But I changed majors when I discovered I had a potentially fatal allergy to bureaucracy and red tape. In the 1980s, I conducted five years of extensive studies on religious persecution of Christians in the former Soviet Union and communist Eastern Bloc. So I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating the meanings of and responses to persecution. As a futurist, I deal in issues of possibility, plausibility, and preferability and how current events and underlying trends affect all those. As a futurist who follows Christ, above all, I seek to instill hope.

    In both politics and theology, it seems to me that we find ourselves involved in a deep mystery. Through the Spirit’s leading and sustaining, we are “sub-creating” our futures with God in Christ’s Kingdom. So, instead of the A and B choices offered, I’d prefer to think of the dynamic tension as a more three-dimensional space that is carved out by these active vectors:

    * Destiny without determinism.
    * Providence without passivity.
    * Fate without fatalism.

    Together, these support a combination of expectancy, creativity, and responsibility. Our horizons are marked – to become more Christlike and to express that character socially as Kingdom culture. And our choices are real – there will be no need to blame, shame, or defame anyone for whomever wins at elections. They will not have “messed up” God’s sovereignty. And, I trust, all of these together add up to more than the sum of the parts and thereby yield hope.

    Next week and thereafter, when we face up to whatever consequences may come from whichever candidates are elected, we can still perceive God in our midst. He will still never leave us or forsake us. He may still give us help at unexpected times and in unexpected ways. We can still walk within a redemptive and joyful future where we need not revel in flawed victory nor anguish in flawed defeat, but see all things as working together for opportunities to become more like Christ and to become Kingdom beacons for the sake of others. In all these still-nesses, we will find The Way forward …

  25. Joseph and Brad,

    Although I deeply admire your theoligical/philosophical digging and insights, how do you begin to connect with ‘the people of the land’ (or, as the Jewish ‘Associates’ called them ‘sinners’)? Poeple who do not have the time, resources or perhaps desire to dig as deep as you have? How do you begin to explain a sovereign and loving God to a young woman who was sexually molested by her ‘Christain’ father for years, leaving open wounds and deep scars that go deeper than I could possibly understand. How do you begin to present Christ the Savior to a Muslim woman who witnessed her daughter being raped by ‘Christian’ soldiers before they murdered her husband before her eyes?

    Joseph, how can you say God ‘willed’ this in their lives? How can you expect them to turn to a God you say ‘willed this’ for them?

    How can the fundamentalist Christians persecute a man who wrote a fictional novel (The Shack), for turning many such people toward God to give Him a second thought as some of these mysteries are at least brought into enough light to give hope that there are answers and there is a God who loves?

    Who do we blame if the wrong person gets elected?

    Who do we blame when a father who is supposed to protect exploits and emotionally damages?

    Who do we blame when a mother watched her daughter get raped and her husband murdered?

    Are we, as Christians called to lay blame? Or have we been called to a higher road?

  26. Joseph, how can you say God ‘willed’ this in their lives? How can you expect them to turn to a God you say ‘willed this’ for them?

    Yes, that is the sticky consideration when ‘reduced’ to its logical conclusion. Is there anything that is truly outside God’s control? Anything? I understand my fatalistic consideration is uncomfortable for the Christian trying to come to grips with the problem of evil, but really, is God outside the boundaries of any happenstance?

    “They have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as offerings to Baal—something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.” Jer 7 & 19 & 32

    Supposedly God is saying He was totally unaware of evil as it was exercised through the will of men to do such evil. Is God caught off guard? Having only foresight for the good He intended but just as surprised by the evil men do? The pre-flood experience insufficient to express all evil in men’s hearts?

    “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” Gen 6:5

    On the one hand we can make an argument that ‘we’ are truly autonomous beings in a temporary timeline that is no more determined than what we make of it. Or you must conclude God knows it all beforehand & as such ‘determined’ it to be. Now His ways or reasons may be a mystery to us, but that makes Him no less God. And if you can ‘believe’ He will or can work it all out to the good, is that not sufficient hope?

    Yes Virginia, God does ‘allow’ evil. He could induce a temporary paralysis to anyone wanting to do harm to another. Simply put the divine kibosh on it. Now the ‘will’ to do harm may still be active, but it is simply prevented from occurring. Or send an angel to stay the hand of the slayer. It is His prerogative, is it not? God gives us the physical ability to do harm as well as good. There is ample physical means to inflict harm on another. Yet there is a limit to what evil can do though. I do not believe in a grand evil. Evil simply a misuse of what is good. But God is not powerless or impotent or even unawares. He simply has it all contained within that overarching category of what we term “God’s will”. He lets it happen. Keeps the universe running even with this evil glitch…

    What is my personal conclusion then? Good question. I cannot reconcile God’s apparent incongruity with regard to letting His children suffer. Suffer horribly. Allow martyrdom. And even champion it. Or His “will” to order ethnic cleansing of The Promised Land. He resorts to the very things He tells us to not do. He must have His reasons even though I cannot discern them. Does affect the trust factor though. I have to then get back to the basics:

    “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble [what I refer to as the Jesus guarantee]. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

  27. First, I would like to thank you Grace for bringing, what I beleieve, is the proper focus for followers of Christ into this election. I say this because it teaches us HOW to think instead of WHAT to think.

    Secondly, Joseph;
    One thing I think we fundamentally agree on is that God indeed moves in mysterious (something that cannot be fully understood nor fully explained) ways. Yet, I believe He has given us enough revelation so that we do not have to ‘blame’ Him for the evil in this world. Perhaps you have received the email going around for a few years now about the mocking, athiestic college prof and the Christian student. The prof set forth the argument of a sovereign, and supposedly loving God actually failing, by using the same string of logic you put forth. The professor succeeded in sowing a lot of doubt into the young minds before him until one student responded by using hot/cold and light/dark as an analogy of good/evil. Although there is absolte zero – the absesnce of any heat, there is no limit to heat. Although there is absolute darkness – the absence of any light, there is no limit to light. He concludes there really is no such thing as cold or dark, they are merely terms we use for the absence of heat or light. Thus he completes the analogy by posing the statement that there is no limit to goodness and no such thing as real evil – evil is merely the term we use for the absence of good.

    There is still a mystery involved, which requires fatih to accept the proposition. But the analogy gives enough revelation to give the reader hope that the God they serve is not the creator of evil and that there is plausibility to believe in His ultimate goodness.

  28. Ken:

    By ‘blame’ I intended to imply a God that indeed permits everything. Now we can ‘blame’ God for possible evil intent, but that is a response on our part for the bad stuff that happens. I am not blaming God for being evil in a yin/yang sorta way.

    Scripture does say God does not tempt us. That in Him is no darkness; no shifting shadow. He does not change. But even that makes for some head scratching inconsistency between the Yahweh of the Old Testament & the Jesus of the New.

    We can also ‘accept’ the bad that befalls us & still believe God to be good. We can see that He tests us & disciplines us & allows all circumstances that impact our lives. We are told to endure them, stand up under them & be patient in affliction. It is intellectually dishonest IMHO to think God is unaware or impotent or capricious. Schizophrenic? Psychotic? Mad? Not at all.

    God made some dramatic choices. That is the state of the reality we live in. He is the cause of keeping it together. Why did He do it this way? What was He thinking? Why the seemingly hands-off manner of letting the world run amok? He thought it important enough to let it all happen as we perceive it. I don’t like His methods at times. Just being honest. I don’t know that it pisses Him off any or causes Him to lose sleep at night. He is a Big Boy. Able to handle all our doubts & ponderings & our frantic railings against Him in time of great distress & suffering.

    I think you are right in pointing out how our faith in God is directly proportional to the amount of trust we have in Him. Same with any relationship really. Does it offer any solace to believe that God then ‘uses’ bad stuff? Uses suffering to bring us to call out to Him in desperation? Is that idea any more palatable? He will use it to discipline or shape us or get our attention? Is that a bit more acceptable?

    I used to think God would push us up to the edge of a cliff as a test. Would we trust Him? But then I saw people like the ones you referenced actually get pushed up to the edge & shoved off. He could hold them up lest they dash their foot against a stone. But no, He does allow them to fall in a heap on the rocks below. He could mend them then & heal them. But no, He does not. There is a resurrection to look forward to. This is not the end. But there is no guarantee God is going to keep your best interests in mind. I do not use that angle with God & how He is portrayed to others. I don’t want to be presumptuous. He is not going to provide all things we think will fix every bad situation. He does not always provide protection or healing or finances or relationship restoration or food, shelter, clothing. Does not always come through when He is ardently petitioned. And yet we can believe He is moved. Aware of every intimate detail. We can seek Him for comfort & strength. And more often than not that is what is provided. Strength to endure. Grace. Mental & emotional resilience. And trust that He loves us…

    He is unlike us in many ways. Mostly in how we parents care for our children. The analogy breaks down there & is hard to compare. Much of life does not make sense. Maybe there are rules & spiritual principles that are not made known to us. Maybe there is no rhyme or reason this side of the veil. No common thread of His involvement in the similar incidents of Judah & Tamar his daughter-in-law compared to Amnon & his half-sister Tamar, is there? The results are so dramatically different…

    Anyway, I am not the bible answer man nor the counselor of God. Most of my theological ponderings in the form of questions rather than conclusions. I think God honors truth in the inner parts (Psalm 51). We must be honest with ourselves. This is where I am at on this sometimes bewildering journey. And I do think we can both agree that God does not change, that He is love & that He will see to it good triumphs over evil.

    Good thoughts Ken. Thanks for the exchanges…

  29. clarification…

    If my posts are read in chronological order they will indicate a somewhat circular reasoning. And that is a true representation of my POV regarding God’s will & how I attempt to reconcile those seemingly incompatible considerations…

    As such I appreciate both arguments as well as those that claim to be suspended twixt the two that is understood to be some kind of divine tension. Mystery is like that. It is a real suspension of what we attempt to dissect, categorize, codify & make into doctrine…

    Greater minds than mine have wrestled with the apparent conundrum. They have articulated the issue much more eruditely than I. Although I am a deep thinker it is no advantage in being a better reflection of Jesus to my fellow man…

    That is the beauty of every saint’s personal journey. It begins & ends by faith. Nothing else will suffice. Those learned scholars that have written theological tomes did not have it any easier than you or I. Such insight & wisdom not a short cut to holiness.

    I think we can all identify with what Paul wrote:

    “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” Rom 12:3

    We live with the measure of faith God has deposited in us or however it is you envision faith imparted. IQ or mental acuity or spiritual insight never something to boast of or be envious of or coveted even. And yes, for any one of us our head will hurt with too much thinking while trying to wrap it around profound considerations beyond our understanding.

    There is no final conclusion I can expect regarding the scope of God’s will. I will never know that piece of the puzzle. I continue to chew on the concept: ruminate, contemplate, meditate, with no absolute certainty. What some may see as fruitless effort I find strangely invigorating. That’s how I am wired I suppose. If so, then God must have had a good reason to craft me the way He did. ;)

  30. “The LORD of hosts has sworn saying, ‘surely just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand…For the LORD of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it?…” Isaiah 14:24,27

    “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘For this purpose I have raised you up, to demonstrate my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.’ ” Romans 9:7 / Exodus 9:16

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