LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Friday, January 19, 2007

A Team Family Question

I have the utmost respect for your views, Mark and Wayne, so I have a bit of a question. Let me preface by saying that Ifully embrace reformed theology, you know that. But that doesn't mean I don't have to wrestle to reconcile some difficult truths now and again. :) It's a process, and I pray that I always possess a teachable spirit when it comes to the truth of the Word of God. Of course, anyone else wishing to weigh in, please do so. I welcome the discussion.

OK, first you need to read this, Sentences in the Book of Providence. It's a post on Tim Challies blog. Then, of particular interest to me is comment number 7, Stuart. First off, no one answered him; I would have loved to do so, but quite frankly, I'm wondering the same thing.

So I thought I'd put it to you guys. Dont'cha love it?!

I refuse to twist Scripture around to fit 'my' tiny finite perspective. Some truths sink in quite easily, but most of the time it means humbling myself and bending my stubborn will to His. I'm having a difficult time with some of what the discussion is on that blogpost. Anyway, I'll have more to say after you comment.

10 Comments:

Blogger bluecollar said...

Gayla, Iagreed with his quote of Matthew Henry here...
"I love Matthew Henry's treatment of this passage. He draws out two applications for the fact that this man was born blind so that the works of God might be displayed in him. The first is that "the attributes of God might be made manifest in him." Among the attributes of God seen in the life of this man are God's justice in making sinful man liable to such grievous calamities and His ordinary power and goodness in supporting a poor man under such a grievous and tedious affliction. God's goodness was specially and miraculously manifested in curing him. The second application is "that the counsels of God concerning the Redeemer might be manifested in him. He was born blind that our Lord Jesus might have the honour of curing him, and might therein prove himself sent of God to be the true light to the world. Thus the fall of man was permitted, and the blindness that followed it, that the works of God might be manifest in opening the eyes of the blind. It was now a great while since this man was born blind, and yet it never appeared till now why he was so." This man had been born blind so that the power of God might be displayed in him."

Years ago I saw Bruce's commentary here on John 9. I disageed with him. The whole of scripture teaches pretty much what Matthew Henry commented. God is sovereign.

January 19, 2007 11:34 AM

 
Blogger Gayla said...

So, saying that God 'allowed' or 'permitted,' this (or any other thing, for that matter), we must also say God caused it. God ordained it. Decreed it. However one wishes to say it. Whatever it is, it doesn't occur outside of His will.

Right???

What I see, in reading many of the Calvinist's comments elsewhere, is a tendency, by some, to not fully answer the fact that 'God causes.' Personally, I don't have a problem with the fact that He causes - because I know He's in control over His creation, and who am I to question Him anyway.

January 19, 2007 11:54 AM

 
Blogger bluecollar said...

Yes, I believe he was born blind for this very purpose, for this very day when Christ would come and be glorified in and through this case.

January 19, 2007 11:55 AM

 
Blogger Daniel said...

Lets look at some other passages in scripture (sola scriptura) and see if they doesn't shed light on the passage regarding the blind man...

Lets begin with some related thoughts...

Proverbs 14:31, 17:5, 22:2 [ESV]
Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.

Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker; he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.

The rich and the poor meet together; the LORD is the maker of them all.


Keeping that in mind, lets hop over to Job 10:8 & 31:15, and Isaiah 64:8 [ESV], "Your hands fashioned and made me, and now you have destroyed me altogether

Did not he who made me in the womb make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb?

But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.
"

We're almost there now... Lets look at Psalm 71:6:

Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother's womb. My praise is continually of you.

And just for the Coup de grâce lets put the following cherries on top Luke 13:2 and Luke 11:39-40 [ESV], before we start the chat...

And he answered them, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?

And the Lord said to him, "Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also?


Whew.

We (should) see from these texts (and these are by no means exhaustive) that God is not merely a passive spectator in procreation, but is in fact quite active in the "creative" aspect of procreation. He fashions us in the womb, we are the work of his hand before we are ever born, and whatever "handicap" we suffer, is not outside the sovereignty of God.

When scripture says that our hairs are numbered, it doesn't mean that God has knowledge of how many hairs we have - it means that God =DETERMINES= at any given moments exactly how many hairs we will have on our head - that not even one hair can be pulled out of, or fall from our head except that God has allowed it - and even determined it beforehand.

Did Paul receive a messenger of Satan in the flesh as an unfortunate accident that God allowed, or did God not command it to be?

Let's go one level deeper, Does anything happen that God has not commanded? Because, really, that is what is at stake, and I think your team is rightly recognizing it - the question is, "is God sovereign" - though those who love gray areas might say it is "how sovereign is God" as though it were possible to be somewhat sovereign...

Great post.

January 19, 2007 1:03 PM

 
Blogger Gayla said...

Thank you, Daniel. I knew there was a reason I had you on my blogroll. ;)

This confirms things for me. That God ordains/causes/decrees et cetera, afflictions, disasters, calamaties, or sin, does not negate His holiness, righteousness, justice, mercy or grace.

In reading and re-reading Matthew Henry (& Tim), I still don't see where either one attributes God as the One causing the man's blindness in the first place.

And the MacArthur summarization, "God sovereignly chose to use this man’s affliction for His own glory," doesn't either.

Still sounds as if the affliction occurred outside of the knowledge and/or will of God, and then God decided to use it for His glory.

January 19, 2007 4:01 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Gala,
I think in John 16:33 Jesus speaks of the trouble that we will have in this world. This was also what God told Adam and Eve after the fall in Genesis 3. God has ordained all that comes to pass and is in total control of everything that happens including natural disasters and birth defects.

The Westminster Confession Chapter 5 says some interesting things about Providence.

January 19, 2007 6:48 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Gayla,
Sorry I spelled your name wrong in last comment. Haste makes waste.
Wayne

January 19, 2007 6:52 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Gayla,
Daniel had an excellent post a short while ago on predestination and how God is not bound to the same laws and precepts that he has chosen to impose on his creatures. We have a small group meeting at my church where we explore 'hard questions'. I brought this article by Daniel in a discussion on the source of sin and evil in the world. Here is the link...Single or Double

January 20, 2007 10:37 AM

 
Blogger Gayla said...

Thank you, Wayne

January 21, 2007 10:06 AM

 
Blogger Baptist Girl said...

In Piper's book, "Desiring God" the first chapter kind of speaks of this..here is a piece of it..

God has the capacity to look at the world through two lenses. He can look through a narrow lens or through a wide-angle lens.

When God looks at a painful or wicked event through his narrow lens, he sees the tragedy or the sin for what it is in itself and he is angered and grieved. "I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the LORD God" ( Ezekiel 18:32).

But when God looks at a painful or wicked event through his wide angle lens, he sees the tragedy or the sin in relation to everything leading up to it and everything flowing out from it. He sees it in all the connections and effects that form a pattern or mosaic stretching into eternity. This mosaic in all its parts-good and evil-brings him delight.

God as a purpose.

Cristina

January 21, 2007 8:16 PM

 

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