April 02, 2005
by: jovial_cynic
I disagree whole heartedly with the notion that God doesn't make "bad" things happen:

God flooded the world and killed a whole lot of people.
God told the Israelites to kill their own friends, brothers, neighbors that worshipped the gold calf the second time.
God killed the man that tried to steady the ark of the covenant.
God brought the Babylonian empire against Israel.
God brought the Assyrian empire against Israel.

The problem with the question is that by "bad," we mean "things that make me feel bad." I don't mean to minimize the death of a loved one, but we say it is bad because it is something we are experiencing that we don't enjoy. If it's something "bad" that happens to somebody that's defined as "wicked" (like Pharaoh's son, perhaps, or King Herod), we cheer and say that God has done something "good." But when it's our own child, or friend, or whatever, we say it is "bad."

I bet Noah lost some friends in the flood. I bet he was a little heart broken. But we could not say that the "bad" thing that happened was caused by anything other than God. God intended to flood the world and kill everybody in it, aside from Noah's family and the animals on the boat. Likewise, when Pharaoh's son was killed in Exodus, I bet Pharaoh thought that a bad thing happened, but it could not be said that anyone other than the Lord had done it.

Sometimes God does kill. Look at Ananias and Sappira in Acts 5. They lied about their offering to God. So... God killed them. This is New Testament stuff. I bet that the friends and family of Ananias and Sappira were pretty freaked out about it, and thought it was a pretty "bad" thing to have happen... but God was directly responsible for it. He smote them.

Whenever we say that something bad happens, we often mean that something that hurts us happens. I think that such a mindset can confuse in our minds what God is doing. Consider the Amalakites... King Saul was ordered by God to go and kill every man, woman, child, infant, and animal (and stomp on the ants while you're there!) of the Amalakites. All of them. No mercy offered. I bet that the women of the Amalakites were pretty saddened as they watched their children get slaughtered before their eyes. It was a "bad" thing. But God directly orchestrated it.

That isn't to say that every death is specifically orchestrated by God - I'm not saying that God wanted anybody's mom or dad to die horribly in a car accident. I'm just combating the notion that God never does anything that we feel is "bad," on account that "bad" to us often just means "hurts me emotionally."
np category: theology


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