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An inconvenient truth


K.A. Straughn July 17th, 2013

In “God and tornadoes” (Commentary, June 12, Gazette), Robin Meyers is right that for God to save only some from disasters, it entails God choosing to let others perish (given, of course, God’s omniscience and omnipotence).

However, the implied alternative that God is not “in the selective intervention business” is problematic for Meyers.

If God never intervenes in “the utterly capricious and amoral world of motion” he created, why emulate and obey Jesus by asking and thanking God for food (or anything else)?

If God has nothing to do with surviving disasters, to whom would Meyers have you be “deeply thankful that someone you know and love survived,” and how is that thankfulness part of “the best argument one can make for God”?

Petitioning a God that never intervenes is ridiculous. Thankfulness for a blessing you believe God didn’t give is an absurd argument for God.

There can be only two reasons God does not intervene in natural disasters, neither of which probably appeals to Meyers: God cannot intervene, or he chooses not to intervene.

If God cannot intervene, then he is responsible for creating a capricious world beyond his control that maims
and kills his creatures. Is that Meyers’ God?

Alternatively, if God can protect us but chooses not to, isn’t that essentially the orthodox Christian position that Meyers is trying to escape? Or is Meyers OK with God allowing us to suffer as long as God is “fair” by choosing to protect nobody rather than only some?

Yet in Matthew 20, Jesus teaches that God is just when He shows grace (i.e. unmerited favor) to some and not others. Indignation at grace is the sin of Pharisees and of the brother of the Prodigal Son.

Far from making God appealing to thoughtful people, Meyers’ deism reduces God to either an impotent cosmic incompetent chasing a rogue universe or a deity fit only for a bucket of crabs.

Fortunately, there are better answers than Meyers’ deism when someone interprets disasters by simplistically equating suffering with sin and blessing with virtue. The Bible is clear that suffering is inevitable for everyone and Christians’ suffering serves God’s purposes.

For those who see sins behind every sorrow, there is Luke 13:1-5: “There were some present at that very time who told [Jesus] about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those 18 on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.’”
—K.A. Straughn, Norman

Hey! Read This:
Commentary: God and tornadoes      

Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Letters can be mailed, faxed, emailed to pbacharach@okgazette.com or sent online at okgazette.com, but include a city of residence and contact number for verification.

 
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