January 12, 2005

Boycott God?

I read an article the other day on Slate. It was about God and the recent tsunami disaster. You can read it here. Essentially, it boils down to blaming God for the tsunami and saying that people should "boycott" God to show him that random acts of destruction are no way for a deity to behave. I'm not describing this very well, so just go read the article, it's not long. It appears to be tongue-in-cheek, but it'shard to say. You can decide for yourself.

I thought I would give my own take on the article and the disaster. Basically, the article wants God to be fair and not needlessly take lives in disasters like the tsunami or September 11th. This is a common sentiment in popular culture as well as main line Protestant thinking. Constantly, you will hear people lament, "It's just not fair," or, "Why would God be so unfair?" I have an answer to this question, and I use it every time. I say, "You don't want fair. Do you know what fair is?" Usually this gets the person's attention, and I can go into a more detailed explanation. Basically, it comes down to saying that each breath I take is evidence how "unfair" God is. I, and everyone else in the world continue to live at the pleasure of the Lord. The greatness of our sin is more than enough to send us all to hell, and it is solely on God for us to live another minute. This point is illustrated beautifully by the great 18th century theologian Jonathan Edwards in his sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." You can read it here. It doesn't seem like the most exciting thing to listen to, but the truth is in there. Of course, most Protestant churches would not agree with a lot of what he says, as Edwards was most definitely Reformed. He paints the picture of sinful man dangling over the flames of hell, and the only thing keeping him from tumbling to his doom is the mighty hand of God. Further reading will uncover that it isn't for a lack of power that God hasn't cast everyone into hell, but a matter of desire.

I would recommend going back and reading that sermon top to bottom whenever you feel the need to call God unfair. In it you can see what we would get if we really got fair, and that it is only through the grace of God that we wake each day. I'll close the words of a song by Wayne Watson:

If He gave to me all that I deserved, this would be my final breath

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for putting it so succinctly. Amen