On Moore Oklahoma Tornado: Do Not Blame God

slide_298526_2480084_freeTo date, 51 are dead, which includes 7 children.  Many more are still missing.  For the people of Moore, Oklahoma, loss is real.  There is unspeakable grief.  And there is that pain of uncertainty.

Oklahoma is prone to tornadoes.  In fact, the area hit by this deadly tornado is known as Tornado Alley.  This is tornado season.

This was expected.  But again, this was NOT expected: the excruciating pain.  The loss.  The unspeakable grief.  The human carnage.

And what IS expected are the questions from the survivors of Moore, Oklahoma:  Why God?  Where was God?  Why would God allow such a devastating and deadly tornado?  These and other questions like them are expected.

But we must NOT blame God.

And neither must we think that God cannot use what has happened in Moore, Oklahoma, for his glory, in bringing consolation, healing, restoration, and so on.

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6 Responses to On Moore Oklahoma Tornado: Do Not Blame God

  1. Jon Hughes says:

    TC,

    Doesn’t a Calvinist have to rejoice in the fact that God is Sovereign in all things; and therefore take comfort in the fact that God did it/allowed it? This is where I prefer the approach of a Greg Boyd to a John Piper.

    • TC says:

      Jon, I understand the terms you’re using, but for the uninitiated they might be too much. What do I mean? Well, even as a Calvinist myself I do not rejoice in devastation because I know for a fact that God is sovereign over all things. Why? Because my ability to truly ascertain the purposes will always fall short. However, I am supremely confident that God is able to bring beauty out of ashes.

  2. Simon says:

    These sorts of discussions can so easily become circular. But I’m interested to know your opinion, TC, of those people who find predestination offensive and who just can’t subscribe to such a doctrine. I think most people out there do find the Calvinist doctrine of sovereignty offensive – even other Christians. Why is it so important to assert this about God? Couldn’t we affirm God’s sovereignty, whilst leaving problems like suffering up to mystery. It seems to me that the Calvinist position on predestination of all things is a bit excessive and not necessarily warranted by Scripture.

    I too believe that God is able to bring beauty and healing out of disaster. But I wouldn’t necessarily want to say that this was his purpose. Nor would I say that he ordained the disaster so that he could bring about his mercy in order to glorify himself etc. This approach, I think, is unhelpful. What I think all Christians can agree on is that it is our duty to help those suffering from such disasters. This is the focus of Christ’s teaching in the Gospel. Philosophical explanations, Calvinist or otherwise, as to why such things happen are never adequate.

    • TC says:

      Simon, I find it an interesting thing that Christians do find God’s sovereignty offensive, for it’s all through Scripture. It’s what we do with it.

      (1) Either God is sovereign over all things, or (2) God is not.

      (3) How then to present a warranted view of predestination?

      (4) Regarding God ordaining disasters or not, I do believe that he ordains all things. Nothing is outside his will. But it’s how we understand his ordination of all things. For example, God may ordain a thing by simply allowing it to happen.

      • Jon Hughes says:

        TC,

        It’s all well and good for us to ‘theologize’ from the armchair, but from a pastoral perspective I’m not convinced that knowing your little girl died in a natural disaster, or shooting massacre, or whatever, and then being told that God is in control, is necessarily going to be helpful. To hear that not one single molecule in this universe is (apparently) running around loose is likely to cause a grieving father to hate God rather than worship Him.

        The reality on the ground is that things are very much out of control. Just yesterday, here in London, a man was hacked to death in broad daylight by Islamic extremists. I don’t think I could ‘comfort’ his grieving family by telling them that not a single molecule is running around loose…

        This is a beautiful world. But it’s a broken world. God will one day restore all things. In the meantime, there are joys and sorrows for all of us. Philosophically, as far as those who are grieving are concerned, you can’t get God off the hook. Logically, He’s either all powerful, but not loving enough to intervene; or all loving, but not powerful enough to intervene.

        Sometimes it’s better not to have the ‘answers’. I agree with both you and Simon that God is able to bring beauty and healing out of disaster.

  3. TC says:

    Simon, I quite agree that the pastoral thing to do is not to point to God’s sovereignty in certain situations. I have to work with people all the time, and one of the things I ask for is wisdom and guidance in saying the right things.

    For example, I was on the phone with a gentle yesterday, who is under my care. Once I found out he was an atheist, I never once mentioned God in our conversation. But we did have a pleasant conversation and have set up another.

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