3 comments on “The Newtown Shooting: A Part of “God’s Plan?”

  1. I agree with much of this, but Isn’t the issue with your conclusion that the God you’re portraying sits on his hands, reacting to human events? The logic you critique and the logic you use both lead to a biblically short-sighted view of God’s sovereignty and our free will.

    The truth is, more likely, that it’s a great tension that we cannot begin to fathom. Acts 2:23 describes Jesus’s death as “the plan of God’ and yet follows immediately with moral blame to those who put him to death. There are numerous passages in Scripture where this type of thing happens, so we can’t simply blame it on a one-time event in the case of Jesus.

    In the case of the shooting, we have a God who is the author (not horoscope reader) of human history and a young man performing evil acts. To me, it appears that God’s sovereignty and our free will, especially in light of the Fall, are far more complex than you posit here.

    Some good resources: The book “Chosen but Free” by Norm Geisler fleshes out all the views and provides a balanced conclusion. The article “Are There Two Wills in God” by John Piper. I don’t agree with everything in either of them, but they are both extremely useful in this discussion.

    (Disclaimer: I probably won’t remember to come back here and check for responses. If you disagree, feel free to ignore me, but I hope you take my critique in love and sharpening.)

    • Perhaps my conclusion was written a bit simplistically. Of course, the reasoning behind that is essentially the very reason you commented about, it is hard to completely fathom.

      I’m not saying you are wrong by any means. Of course the discussion on “Why does God allow evil in the world?” and “If God knows what is going to happen, how is that free will?” can spawn massively deep discussions.

      My post was a “bare bones basics” post, which I still stand by. I don’t believe God is ever sitting on his hands. I believe he was already moving in the situation long before it happened (which I did state above). Hence, it became a part of the plan of God long ago (or always was since He knew it was going to happen, ugh, this is like writing about time travel!).

      This is just like the examples you gave. Of course just because the death of Jesus was a part of the plan doesn’t mean God didn’t place the blame for those who killed him. This raises a tough question, “Did God plan to have Jesus killed? Or did God know that he would be killed and build a plan around that fact?” Those kind of questions bring up more questions, like the role of Judas. If Jesus’ death was set up by God, then Judas’ role must also have been set up by God, which would mean he had no choice but to betray Jesus, right?

      Of course, God wouldn’t force anyone to do such a thing, but He did know that he WILL do that when the time comes, and thus, Judas was a part of the plan from the beginning, but it was still Judas’ free will to do so.

      It’s still very confusing to me and hard to distinguish, but there is a difference, that’s all I am trying to say.

      Thanks for your thoughts!

  2. Interesting read here, Matt. As Christians, and ministers in general, we have all been fielding these questions over the past couple of weeks. The whole, “it’s just part of God’s plan” thing is not something I include in my answers to these questions. I don’t use the term “evil,” very much, either. Instead, I point out that the reason for all of the heartache, bloodshed, violence, and sadness in the world is not of God’s choosing, but rather the choosing of man. When Adam & Eve chose sin, the world was forever changed. Sin caused Cain to kill his brother Abel…simply because he was jealous of him, which brought anger, malice, then murder. Sin brought pain, thorns, pests, and much more into this world. When we chose the path that we wanted (we, meaning man…), we thumbed our nose at God and went our own merry way. The Bible is full of stories, illustrating how terribly wrong we can be when left to our own devices. SIN, is why horrible things like this happen.

    I also do not see a God in scripture who sits by and waits for His people to return to Him. God allows, and even SENDS ungodly people groups to trouble, and even capture the Israelites, and even put them into slavery. He allows Satan to severely wound Job…and what did Job do? Nothing…well, nothing but live a life devoted to God.

    Countless times in the Old Testament, God sends a prophet to warn His people about coming destruction, if they fail to see the error of their own lives. The prophet Hosea does not paint a picture of a God just sitting by waiting…but a jealous, righteous God that will be honored above all else. Yes, He is a God of love, but he is also a God of justice and holiness. The same God that Moses met in the desert…that had a plan in motion long before Moses got on board.

    Just like the days of the Bible, God is sending His prophets (messengers) out among the people. It’s our job to tactfully…and in love…point people to Jesus. Like the Israelites, we cannot expect God to bless us and protect us from evil and sin, when we as a people are so quick to embrace all that God says is unholy. As much as I would like to do it, we simply cannot “nice” people into heaven. Only a head-on collision with our Creator will get people’s attention. No…not in Westboro Baptist fashion (I’d like to see some “smite” lowered on those guys…but that’s another story)…but we must live Jesus through our actions, our words, and our teaching.

    Why? Because God is righteous, and He will be glorified…even if that glory comes in the face of something horrific. He is brought glory in the story of Elijah, even after hundreds of the prophets of Baal have been killed…on Elijah’s orders. He is glorified through the life of Job, even after Job lost everything that he held dear to him, including his health. God is glorified through the life of David, even after David commits adultery, and murder. God is ultimately glorified in the horrible death and resurrection of His own son, Jesus.

    I don’t fully understand all that there is to know about God, but what I do know is that He loves us with unyielding love…but He is also 100% holy…and in that, we have nothing that we can offer Him…other than our own lives….to give up control to the One who created us.

    When we see people turn to Christ…then, and ONLY then, will we begin to see tragedies like this one start to fade.

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