07 April 2010

"It Was God's Will" (Part 1)

No doubt it was a horrendous collision when the 18 wheeler crossed the media and crashed into the van that was carrying several members of the same family and a couple of friends who were on their way to a wedding in Iowa . The dead were identified as belonging to the Mennonite religion. These people manifest a loving and forgiving spirit. An individual who is also a Mennonite stated that the accident that killed a total of eleven people was “God’s will”. In the television movie ‘Amish Grace’ which is about the man who entered an Amish school building and killed several children and the forgiving spirit of the Amish people, one of the elders stated that it was “God who determined who would be killed.” My question is, how did these individuals know that it was God who determined that eleven people be killed in that accident on I-65 in the state of Kentucky and the poor children who were killed by a mad man? Was it true that it was “God’s will” simply because these individuals believe and teach that? Did God reveal this knowledge to these individuals? Where in the Bible does it state that it was “God’s will”? And yet many people who believe in God and in His Word often say to grieving loved ones when a tragedy occurs and takes the life of a family member that it was “God’s will”. What does it mean that it was “God’s will” when a tragedy occurs and lives are lost or someone is crippled for life?

Are you saying that it is “God’s will” when a drunk man lost control of his car and ran over a child who was playing in the front yard at home? I knew of a preacher and an elder who had been studying with a family and who were returning home following the class and were killed by a drunken man who hit their car at a high rate of speed. Was this “God’s will” that these two Christian gentleman lose their lives in this manner? I had a personal friend who was on his way to teach a Bible class in a south Alabama city for a Christian College when two drunks in an automobile came over a hill and hit his car and all three were killed instantly. Was this “God’s will”? Are we to blame God for all the accidents, tragedies and atrocities that occur in this life?

Usually it is Bible believing individuals who exclaim that it was “God’s will” when some tragedy occurs and a loved one dies. While their intention is to express sympathy and compassion to the ones hurting, the person expressing this sentiment may not in fact understand what he is saying. The victims involved in the accident might have been good moral people and believers and family members and friends would have the convictions that the deceased ones had gone to be with the Lord. But have you ever considered the view from the family members of the one who caused the accident when several people were killed? Would they say that it was “God’s will” that he was drunk and driving recklessly and hit a child playing in the yard or that he crossed over to the other lane of traffic and hit another vehicle and killed a person or persons? I think not. At this time authorities do not know why the driver of the 18 wheeler hit the van and killed ten innocent people and himself. He may have been intoxicated, high on drugs, he may have had a heart attack or he may have just been overly tired and fell asleep. The driver may have been a God fearing, Bible believing individual. Are you willing to say that it was ‘God’s will’ that he should kill those ten people in that van? Will he be condemned to eternal perdition because it was ‘God’s will’ that he committed such an awful deed? What I am trying to say is that we should be very careful in attributing every act of violence or the tragedies in life to being “God’s will”. In essence we are blaming God for these occurrences and this alone causes people to wonder what kind of God he is that we love and serve. There are scores of individuals who have become atheists or agnostics due to believing that it was “God’s will” when a child or other family members were killed in an accident.

God is sovereign. He is Almighty in power and He can do what He chooses to do in this life. But He created man in His own image and one trait that he placed in mankind was the power of choice. God’s sovereignty and man’s volition operate concurrently. God does not force His will on mankind and in contrast mankind can decide not to comply with the will of his Creator. God also established laws of nature and when they are violated there are consequences to be suffered. Gravity, though unseen by human eyes, is a law of God for the good of mankind. If a man who is drunk falls off a high building he will suffer the consequences because he has violated a law of nature. I knew of a fine Christian lady who tripped and fell into the Little River Canyon in north Alabama . She suffered the same consequence as did the drunken man who fell off the high building. Both died because they violated the law of gravity. Was it God’s will that they both die in this manner? Yes, if you understand that all things that happen in this life occur because of the permissive will of God. And when two vehicles traveling at a rate of speed collide there will be terrible results to occur, even the loss of lives. But that does not mean that tragedies occur because God determines such to take place. God does not force a man to drink alcoholic beverages to the point of becoming drunk. That is man’s choice. God does not will that the same drunken individual drive his automobile over an innocent two year old child and kill her. Neither did He determine (over the free will of man) that the driver of an 18 wheeler truck hit the van that killed ten innocent people but He did permit it to happen. And that is a tremendous difference. He allowed it to happen but to say that He determined it so is a world of difference. (To be continued)