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Church Bulletin 9

January 24, 2009

The God who is There: Part 9

            I wanted to leave this last article on the problem of evil in regards to God’s existence with some verses you can look up.  1 Chr. 29:12// Ps 115:3//Dan 4:35//Deut 32:39//Ex. 4:11//Ps 105:16//2 kings 17:25//Lam 3:37,38//Gen 6-11 – God drowned the entire human race…and He takes full responsibility for that act…Rev. 4:11//Prov 16:4//2 Sam. 10:12//Job 23:13//Ps 33:9-11//Is. 14:27/ 1 Sam. 2:6-8//Amos 3:6// Is 45:7, 9///Ps 5:4, 5

Many heresies are actually an attempt to rescue God from the problem of evil but God doesn’t seem to be offering any apologies for being Sovereign! Yea, God doesn’t even ask us to rescue Him. Two dangers are inherent in trying to rescue God from the ‘problem of evil’. Either we are tempted to compromise God’s power or we are tempted to compromise His love. Both are equally wrong.

God wills evil to exist and yet “in Him is light and there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). This makes some people nervous. Some swing to the now passing theological fad called open theism.  Open theism tries to rescue God from the problem of evil by limiting God’s power, specifically His knowledge. The future is ‘open’ to God; it is unknown.  Open theists say this is why God asked Adam, “Where are you?” and why God ‘repents’ over making man (Gen. 6:6) and installing Saul as king. They argue it’s why Jesus didn’t know when He was going to be coming back. Well, all of these verses are taken out of context. The bible is abundantly clear that God doesn’t just know the future because He can see the future, but the Bible shows the God knows the future because He also ORDAINS it! (Isaiah 46:9-10//Ps 139, esp vs 16).  Open theism has been defeated but if you want a reference on it visit http://www.carm.org/open.htm

Another position that has compromised God’s power is modern day liberalism. “God can’t be like the bible says He is, so therefore the Bible is not inspired.” This is undermining God’s power to produce an inspired text of Scripture. This why also liberal churches always die off; they have no foundation on which to stand

(See Ps. 11:5) besides the fact that their position also has been defeated repeatedly through church history.

Others turn to Arminianism. Arminians try to get God off the hook by emphasizing (albeit a wrong understanding of it) a view of man’s free will over God’s sovereignty. In their view, God only sees what man will do and responds to the mess man’s made and hopes to make the best of the situation. But God is limited in His power with this view because no matter what, He can’t override/influence/change man’s free will because then it is no longer free. This is just totally unscriptural! God can ‘turn the hearts of the kings’ (Prvb 21:1) and God says before it happens that He will harden Pharaoh’s heart so that he won’t let Israel go. (See Ex. 4:21,  7:2-5,  10:1,  11:10,  14:4-8,  14:17-18)   So we can’t compromise God’s power to answer the problem of evil by shifting the blame to man’s free will. This reinvents who God is and that’s a no-no! (Ex. 20:3-5)

Close to open theism is what’s called process theism. Basically God is limited in His knowledge and love because God is basically evolving or getting smarter by the day as He Himself learns and grows. In short, God is growing up. For a detailed refutation of this see http://www.dtl.org/article/process.htm  Some still hold to this view and you need to be aware of it.

All of these attempts ultimately reinvent the God of Scripture. It has been said, “God made man  in His image and since then man has decided to return the favor.” Ultimately, this is man’s fundamental problem: idolatry. And it’s all around you. Will you contend for the truth of who God is in a confused church? (Jude 3,4) More importantly, do you know who God really is?  Do you know the God who is there?

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