Beliefnet
Jesus Creed

Sistine.jpgI don’t know about you, but I think the game of knowing “why” God is doing things in this world is a presumptuous and often self-serving game to play. One thing I’ve observed is that most folks who “know” the mind of God on an event — say Katrina or 9/11 or the election of Obama — always stand on the right moral side of the judgment.  In other words, the ones who think they are righteous are the ones who speak up and render judgment in these matters. However, it smacks too often of self-righteousness.

So, I thought I’d play this game of rendering judgment on world and national events and I do this in order to point out potential inconsistencies and to plea with those who are in the habit of declaring why God is doing some event to exercise humility and (only) a proper confidence. In fact, perhaps we ought to keep such discernments to ourselves. Who knows the mind of God but God alone?


Here are three points: 

1. If you believe in God’s sovereign control of this
world [in a deterministic sense], then God wanted Obama in the White House and God didn’t want McCain in the White House.
2. If you believe in God’s sovereign control of this world, then it cuts both ways: if you think something bad or tragic or disastrous is a judgment by God, then everything bad or tragic or disastrous is a judgment by God [even if disciplinary]. Put concretely, if the elevation of one candidate to President is a reward from God, then the loss is a judgment by God against that candidate and party. (Doesn’t this strike you as madness?)
3. If we believe in God’s sovereign control of this world, then we dare not think that God’s judgment is always against the other guy and never against us.

So, if we want to pretend to these levels of discernment, let’s think together about why God made Obama President? (You might have other ideas.)

First, perhaps God made Obama President because he is rewarding the progressives and liberals for their efforts and their justice-seeking ways and compassion.

Second, perhaps God made Obama President in order to lift the African Americans into a position of vindication and victory.

Third, perhaps God made Obama President because he’s tired of the self-righteousness of the conservatives.

Fourth, prehaps God made Obama President because he wants the conservatives to see that it is “God” who lifts and it is “God” who lowers — not them.

Now my view: I believe in God’s sovereignty. But believing that does not mean I know what God is doing all the time. Thus, I don’t know why “God made Obama President.” I’m not sure we’re supposed to know “why” God does what God does. Not knowing, admitting mystery, is the way of this world. I am to live by faith.

It is far wiser to speak of what we have learned from an event than to declare, as if by revelation, what God intended. I’d rather be wise than foolishly pretend to revelatory knowledge.

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