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Esperanza32
Dec 10th 2008, 04:03 PM
I frequently hear committed Christians (whose faith I admire) say "Everything happens for a reason" and "There are no coincidences" as if these phrases were straight out of the Bible.

I know the phrases themselves are not in the Bible word for word...but are these concepts biblical?

I know Romans 8:28 says "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." But to me that means that God can use every situation for our good, not that everything happens for a reason (or that everything that happens is God's will). But I could be interpreting it wrong?

Any thoughts, or other helpful scripture?

Friend of I AM
Dec 10th 2008, 04:10 PM
I frequently hear committed Christians (whose faith I admire) say "Everything happens for a reason" and "There are no coincidences" as if these phrases were straight out of the Bible.

I know the phrases themselves are not in the Bible word for word...but are these concepts biblical?

I know Romans 8:28 says "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." But to me that means that God can use every situation for our good, not that everything happens for a reason (or that everything that happens is God's will). But I could be interpreting it wrong?

Any thoughts, or other helpful scripture?

I think it happens for a reason. Specifically God's reasons. That's the hard part. Reconciling the fact that at times things happen for know reason of our own. I don't no everything...but I do no that sometimes we can't comprehend everything that God does, thus we at times we feel as if things we have done are purposeless. I think we can make these things purposeless to ourselves, depending upon how we use the things that God has given us.

mikebr
Dec 10th 2008, 04:13 PM
Its raining really hard where I am right now. There will probably be some little critters around here that will drown. Will that be for a reason or are you only speaking about human things?

Friend of I AM
Dec 10th 2008, 04:15 PM
Its raining really hard where I am right now. There will probably be some little critters around here that will drown. Will that be for a reason or are you only speaking about human things?

Sure. God knew it was going to rain and purposed it to rain at the time for a specific reason...I may not understand all of the logistics to exactly why..but he did plan it. We're getting into the whole Job discussion again...

Bex4Jesus
Dec 10th 2008, 04:23 PM
My opinion is that God does not direct every little thing that happens on Earth. I mean, I do not think God decides whether a bug is going to eat another bug, or whether it is going to rain or snow, you know! I mean, you could be silly with that line of thinking and say that God decided to let me walk by a certain store yesterday and find a perfect Christmas outfit on sale! But I think kinda downplays how important God is, by thinking God is involved in every single little thing in our entire lives.

I mean, I get annoyed when people on reality tv shows pray for God to help them. I'm like, "First of all, I don't think God cares about who wins, and second of all, is it even right to ask God to help you win something like that?"

God made the world and God decided how it is going to run, but I don't think God like "runs" it every day, making every tiny little decision.

mikebr
Dec 10th 2008, 04:27 PM
My opinion is that God does not direct every little thing that happens on Earth. I mean, I do not think God decides whether a bug is going to eat another bug, or whether it is going to rain or snow, you know! I mean, you could be silly with that line of thinking and say that God decided to let me walk by a certain store yesterday and find a perfect Christmas outfit on sale! But I think kinda downplays how important God is, by thinking God is involved in every single little thing in our entire lives.

I mean, I get annoyed when people on reality tv shows pray for God to help them. I'm like, "First of all, I don't think God cares about who wins, and second of all, is it even right to ask God to help you win something like that?"

God made the world and God decided how it is going to run, but I don't think God like "runs" it every day, making every tiny little decision.

Its funny you mentioned winning and losing. I teach and coach, one year at a Christian school. We always prayed for victory. About halfway through the year it hit me (I'm kinda slow) that we were playing other Christian schools who were praying for victory. Yes I agree I don't think we won for a reason and lost for a reason. I could be wrong though. If I am, it must be for a reason.;)

Friend of I AM
Dec 10th 2008, 04:32 PM
My opinion is that God does not direct every little thing that happens on Earth. I mean, I do not think God decides whether a bug is going to eat another bug, or whether it is going to rain or snow, you know! I mean, you could be silly with that line of thinking and say that God decided to let me walk by a certain store yesterday and find a perfect Christmas outfit on sale! But I think kinda downplays how important God is, by thinking God is involved in every single little thing in our entire lives.

I mean, I get annoyed when people on reality tv shows pray for God to help them. I'm like, "First of all, I don't think God cares about who wins, and second of all, is it even right to ask God to help you win something like that?"

God made the world and God decided how it is going to run, but I don't think God like "runs" it every day, making every tiny little decision.

I think he knows of everything..and his hand is in everything. That's not really saying that he himself has said.."make it rain today" but he does know of it and when it will rain...thus one can say that even tiny things like rainstorms are part of his plans. I mean if God's hand isn't in everything..whose is?

Friend of I AM
Dec 10th 2008, 04:33 PM
I could be wrong though. If I am, it must be for a reason.;)


So that you may know the truth, and the truth may set you free!

BrckBrln
Dec 10th 2008, 05:06 PM
Well, I do believe everything happens for a reason in the sense that God is controlling everything, including the hard rain and drowning bugs. And I personally find the thinking in this thread to be disheartening.

mikebr
Dec 10th 2008, 05:13 PM
Well, I do believe everything happens for a reason in the sense that God is controlling everything, including the hard rain and drowning bugs. And I personally find the thinking in this thread to be disheartening.

Do you believe that God causes everything. There's a big difference between God causing everything and knowing about everything.

For instance do you believe that God caused Hitler to exterminate 6 million Jews?

I believe He allowed it.

BrckBrln
Dec 10th 2008, 05:17 PM
Do you believe that God causes everything. There's a big difference between God causing everything and knowing about everything.

For instance do you believe that God caused Hitler to exterminate 6 million Jews?

I believe He allowed it.

I believe He ordained it. I know this is 'hard talk' but that's how I see it. However, this doesn't mean God condones the evil Hitler did.

markedward
Dec 10th 2008, 05:40 PM
For instance do you believe that God caused Hitler to exterminate 6 million Jews?Daniel (via Nebuchadnezzar) and Paul each make statements that it is God who determines what governing authorities are in power. Sometimes man is just not comfortable with thinking that God put Hitler in power - but Scripture says that God is in charge of all things going on in the earth, including who is ruling and when. Does that mean God condones evil actions? No. But it means that God is beyond a mere man's conception of what God could or would do. God does not answer to man, and if God, for whatever reason it may have been, was the one who put Hitler in place, it is absolutely not in contradiction with Scripture.

Bex4Jesus
Dec 10th 2008, 06:00 PM
Well, I do believe everything happens for a reason in the sense that God is controlling everything, including the hard rain and drowning bugs. And I personally find the thinking in this thread to be disheartening.

Is it okay to disagree without being yelled at or anything? It seems like people are getting mad about this but I just totally disagree that God put Hitler into power and things like that. Like one person said, there is a difference between God knowing what is going to happen and God sanctioning what is going to happen.

But if you think God put Hitler in power, then it seems (to me) that you are saying God sanctioned what Hitler did. Which he did NOT!

Just like in the "women" threads, LOTS of people told me that just because God allowed men to treat women badly back then did NOT mean that God thought it was right or caused it to happen.

Love to all

Bex

markedward
Dec 10th 2008, 06:02 PM
But if you think God put Hitler in power, then it seems (to me) that you are saying God sanctioned what Hitler did. Which he did NOT!Did you read my post?

Paul clearly infers that God put Nero Caesar (and other oppressive rulers) into power. Would you claim that God "sanctioned" what Nero Caesar did? No.

You appealed to your own perceptions rather than appealing to what the Bible says.

Bex4Jesus
Dec 10th 2008, 06:14 PM
Did you read my post?

Paul clearly infers that God put Nero Caesar (and other oppressive rulers) into power. Would you claim that God "sanctioned" what Nero Caesar did? No.

You appealed to your own perceptions rather than appealing to what the Bible says.

I'm so confused now. Please help me! You seem really knowledgeble about the Bible! :D

If God selects evil rulers (sometimes), and you must obey the evil rulers because God selected him/her, then what are our duties to the ruler? I mean, if you lived under Hitler, do you have to obey orders and kill Jews??? I mean, that can't be right, can it?

Love to all,

Bex

thepenitent
Dec 10th 2008, 06:37 PM
Isn't this what is generally referred to as the doctrine of "Providence"?

moonglow
Dec 10th 2008, 06:44 PM
Is it okay to disagree without being yelled at or anything? It seems like people are getting mad about this but I just totally disagree that God put Hitler into power and things like that. Like one person said, there is a difference between God knowing what is going to happen and God sanctioning what is going to happen.

But if you think God put Hitler in power, then it seems (to me) that you are saying God sanctioned what Hitler did. Which he did NOT!

Just like in the "women" threads, LOTS of people told me that just because God allowed men to treat women badly back then did NOT mean that God thought it was right or caused it to happen.

Love to all

Bex

Bex4Jesus...BrckBrln wasn't yelling...just disagreeing...usually when you see yelling on here you see large fonts and alot of exclamation points! :lol:

I realize you are new to the board so I am going to give you a couple of tips...on certain forms like this one, debating is allowed and people can get harsh! they can get very heated. If they get too far out of line the moderators will get after them and if it continues they will close the thread. People tend to get VERY defensive if they feel the Word of God is being attacked in any way and they feel they have to defend it or help those not understanding...or they feel a poster is twisting scriptures to their own gain which they see as false teaching....so they get upset! Ephesians 5:11
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

They get upset partly because they see it as wrong...the bible does say to rebuke such false teachings (the person thinking its false teaching though isn't always right...)2 Timothy 4:2
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

and they believe by doing these corrections (also allowed in the bible)

2 Timothy 3

6 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

...they are helping a newer or weaker Christians. ...so people get passionate! And the debates can get very heated and strong words can be used...the key is to realize most are doing this out of good intentions...not to hurt others...so don't take it personally...

Anyway I think since this is bible chat we need to be posting scriptures rather then just referring to them everyone...a new Christian like Bex4Jesus who doesn't know the bible that well isn't going to know what you are talking about..so list the verses please. :)

God bless

moonglow
Dec 10th 2008, 06:58 PM
My opinion is that God does not direct every little thing that happens on Earth. I mean, I do not think God decides whether a bug is going to eat another bug, or whether it is going to rain or snow, you know! I mean, you could be silly with that line of thinking and say that God decided to let me walk by a certain store yesterday and find a perfect Christmas outfit on sale! But I think kinda downplays how important God is, by thinking God is involved in every single little thing in our entire lives.

I mean, I get annoyed when people on reality tv shows pray for God to help them. I'm like, "First of all, I don't think God cares about who wins, and second of all, is it even right to ask God to help you win something like that?"

God made the world and God decided how it is going to run, but I don't think God like "runs" it every day, making every tiny little decision.

I would think He wouldn't have to direct one bug to eat another as He created them in the first place and they are set up to do well...what bugs do! Though I would say He was very aware of what they were doing....look at these scriptures:

Matthew 10

29 What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. 30 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

Matthew 5

For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike

This may or may not be literal rain...but refers to the trials in life also..

John 16:33
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

1 Peter 4

12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.


This is God's answer to Job who was questioning Him..it gives us a clues to just how much God is control...this is a small sample from those chapters:

Job 38
22 “Have you visited the storehouses of the snow
or seen the storehouses of hail?
23 (I have reserved them as weapons for the time of trouble,
for the day of battle and war.)
24 Where is the path to the source of light?
Where is the home of the east wind?

25 “Who created a channel for the torrents of rain?
Who laid out the path for the lightning?
26 Who makes the rain fall on barren land,
in a desert where no one lives?
27 Who sends rain to satisfy the parched ground
and make the tender grass spring up?

28 “Does the rain have a father?
Who gives birth to the dew?
29 Who is the mother of the ice?
Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens?
30 For the water turns to ice as hard as rock,
and the surface of the water freezes.

31 “Can you direct the movement of the stars—
binding the cluster of the Pleiades
or loosening the cords of Orion?
32 Can you direct the sequence of the seasons
or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens?
33 Do you know the laws of the universe?
Can you use them to regulate the earth?

34 “Can you shout to the clouds
and make it rain?
35 Can you make lightning appear
and cause it to strike as you direct?
36 Who gives intuition to the heart
and instinct to the mind?
37 Who is wise enough to count all the clouds?
Who can tilt the water jars of heaven
38 when the parched ground is dry
and the soil has hardened into clods?

39 “Can you stalk prey for a lioness
and satisfy the young lions’ appetites
40 as they lie in their dens
or crouch in the thicket?
41 Who provides food for the ravens
when their young cry out to God
and wander about in hunger?

When we lose our car keys and are late leaving the house only to learn later, if we had left on time..going the route we would have..we would have been in an accident...what do we tend to think about that as Christians? And what of those in the accident? Sometimes we ignore that whisper in our minds and regret it later. I know I have...many times...

God bless

moonglow
Dec 10th 2008, 07:09 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by markedward
Did you read my post?

Paul clearly infers that God put Nero Caesar (and other oppressive rulers) into power. Would you claim that God "sanctioned" what Nero Caesar did? No.

You appealed to your own perceptions rather than appealing to what the Bible says.


I'm so confused now. Please help me! You seem really knowledgeble about the Bible! :D

If God selects evil rulers (sometimes), and you must obey the evil rulers because God selected him/her, then what are our duties to the ruler? I mean, if you lived under Hitler, do you have to obey orders and kill Jews??? I mean, that can't be right, can it?

Love to all,

Bex



Mark won't mind me answering this for him...;)

Ok this is the scripture he is referring too:

Romans 13
Respect for Authority
Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. 3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. 4 The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. 5 So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.

6 Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.

The exception to this is of course if the leader wants us to sin against God...so of course going after Jews under Hilter would have been wrong. Being told to worship anyone or anything other then God, of course we could not do. This doesn't trump the Ten Commandments...thou shall have no other gods before me...and thou shall not kill....and so on....those always have to come first. We see some examples in the bible of believers disobeying a leaders instructions because it would have caused them to sin against God...so with those scriptures we know these are the exceptions.

The bible tells us even in the OT God rules over all nations and places all leaders in those nations. We think we are in control by voting, etc...we really aren't...God is. We see examples especially in the OT and in the first century which Mark was refering too where the Lord did appoint a leader that was used to punish a nation...to lead them back to God because either they had rejected Him..(like we see with the nation of Israel)...or to get them to turn to Him.

I know it sounds harsh but it seems to be our nature to ignore kindness and goodness in the Lord and only pay attention when He IS pouring His wrath out!

When do people turn to God the most? When they are going through some really hard times! Why turn to God when everything is great and wonderful?

Most don't...that is why as Christians we need to thank Him constantly when things are going well...actually the bible says to Praise Him in all things (which includes the bad...) this is very drastically different from what the 'world' will tell you....they think Praising Him in good times is ok...but cursing Him in bad times is ok too...:rolleyes: Not realizing God used those bad times to mold us into being what we need to be.

God bless

Bex4Jesus
Dec 10th 2008, 07:20 PM
Mark won't mind me answering this for him...;)

Ok this is the scripture he is referring too:

Romans 13
Respect for Authority
Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. 3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. 4 The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. 5 So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.

6 Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.

The exception to this is of course if the leader wants us to sin against God...so of course going after Jews under Hilter would have been wrong. Being told to worship anyone or anything other then God, of course we could not do. This doesn't trump the Ten Commandments...thou shall have no other gods before me...and thou shall not kill....and so on....those always have to come first. We see some examples in the bible of believers disobeying a leaders instructions because it would have caused them to sin against God...so with those scriptures we know these are the exceptions.

The bible tells us even in the OT God rules over all nations and places all leaders in those nations. We think we are in control by voting, etc...we really aren't...God is. We see examples especially in the OT and in the first century which Mark was refering too where the Lord did appoint a leader that was used to punish a nation...to lead them back to God because either they had rejected Him..(like we see with the nation of Israel)...or to get them to turn to Him.

I know it sounds harsh but it seems to be our nature to ignore kindness and goodness in the Lord and only pay attention when He IS pouring His wrath out!

When do people turn to God the most? When they are going through some really hard times! Why turn to God when everything is great and wonderful?

Most don't...that is why as Christians we need to thank Him constantly when things are going well...actually the bible says to Praise Him in all things (which includes the bad...) this is very drastically different from what the 'world' will tell you....they think Praising Him in good times is ok...but cursing Him in bad times is ok too...:rolleyes: Not realizing God used those bad times to mold us into being what we need to be.

God bless

I am a little intimidated now because of how easily everyone knows where to go in the Bible. I will try to do more listening and less asking. BUT....I do have one question.

How does free will figure into all of this? If God causes things to happen, that would mean we really don't have free will, just the illusion of it?

Annnnnd one more question, if God makes everything happen and we have no free will, then is our fate in God's hands? I mean, that would mean we don't really sin because we don't control what we do??? I hope you understand what I am asking because I am sooooo over my head here!

BrckBrln
Dec 10th 2008, 07:27 PM
How does free will figure into all of this? If God causes things to happen, that would mean we really don't have free will, just the illusion of it?

I guess it depends on what you mean by 'free will' and even then I am not totally sure. Maybe it's a paradox or something that human reason can never fully comprehend like the humanity and deity of Christ.

And I apologize if you felt I was yelling at you. I assure you I was not. :hug:

Esperanza32
Dec 10th 2008, 07:32 PM
Matthew 5

For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike



Thank you for the scriptures.:)

It makes perfect sense to me that God is ultimately in control of everything, especially in the natural world...He directs the rain and fashions each raindrop, etc. And it makes sense to me that he allows us to suffer, for a greater good (that perhaps we can't see right now, but he can). Although, to me, saying that he's ultimately in charge and that he knows everything is quite different from saying that everything happens for a purposeful reason. Perhaps others don't see a distinction there; perhaps there's not a difference.

But where does our sinfulness fit in? I know sin is not what God really wants me to do...and it's not what he created me for...but he lets me do it anyway...and I do! A lot! And I know that he can use everything, even my sin, for ultimate good...but...when I sin I'm rebelling against him, right? And by definition I'm doing what he doesn't want me to do...although he certainly knows what I will do...do my sins "happen for a reason"??? If I go too far down this road, I might end up fatalistically saying "God knows I will sin, and he's planned for me to sin, so why even try not to sin?" which seems counter to much of the Bible. And counter to my desire to glorify God...

And now I feel my brain imploding.

God is really huge, and it's entirely probable that I won't be able to grasp an understanding of this. (That's an understatement.) I suppose that if everything does happen for a reason, we may not find out that reason in this lifetime. Or, if only SOME things happen for a reason, we might not find out in this lifetime which things happen for a reason, and which things just happen...I realize a lot of my real question hinges on whether free will exists, and whether we can actually choose what we do, especially when it comes to sin...

Thank you all for your responses.:)

Esperanza32
Dec 10th 2008, 07:33 PM
Oh, Bex types faster than me...looks like we have the same questions!

Bex4Jesus
Dec 10th 2008, 07:33 PM
I guess it depends on what you mean by 'free will' and even then I am not totally sure. Maybe it's a paradox or something that human reason can never fully comprehend like the humanity and deity of Christ.

And I apologize if you felt I was yelling at you. I assure you I was not. :hug:

:hug: Back! I promise I will NEVER yell at anyone or be mean to anyone. Its not really my thing! If I get excited, its just me getting excited.

But you see my big question now. If God controls what we do, we don't really sin. God would be making us sin. That makes no sense to me at all. God punishes us, or rewards us, for things He makes us do in the first place? I mean, that would make our lives meaningless.

Love to all,

Bex

Bex4Jesus
Dec 10th 2008, 07:35 PM
Oh, Bex types faster than me...looks like we have the same questions!

Oh I'm a VERY fast typist!! ;)

And I mean, this is the reason I disagree with people who say, "God controls everything that happens." I mean, we would just be puppets. We wouldn't really be making any choices, which makes the whole idea of sin moot. God would basically send us to Heaven or Hell based on what He makes us do.

I'm not a Bible expert but I would not think anyone would agree with that.

moonglow
Dec 10th 2008, 07:36 PM
I am a little intimidated now because of how easily everyone knows where to go in the Bible. I will try to do more listening and less asking. BUT....I do have one question.

How does free will figure into all of this? If God causes things to happen, that would mean we really don't have free will, just the illusion of it?

Oh sorry! I don't mean to intimidated you...I have been a member on here since 02' and didn't know the bible very well actually. I sure can't quote chapter and verses by any means...except for a couple. Please remember many of us though were raised as Christians...have attended church and bible studies, etc, most of our lives and read the bible daily...

I want you to be hungry for God's Word like I was when I first joined! I had no many wrong ideas about it...due to my lack of knowledge plus I tended to take everything very literally in the bible...to the extreme...:rolleyes:

I had a post on here in my early days just ranting and raving about Job! I just couldn't image God allowing all the terrible things that happened to him and I argued it into the ground. No one could do a thing with me on it as I was so outraged over it....so they finally just backed off and let the subject alone...giving me a chance to learn the whole bible and get a better understanding on it. I was alot like you...that is why I am so eager to help you in any way I can...:) I hope that is alright...but I also don't want to overwhelm you either...

I also cheat and use an online bible website: http://www.biblegateway.com/

While I have a bad memory for names and numbers on this I can type in a key word I know is in a verse and do a search on there to find it....:lol: So I appear much smarter then I am...lol.

Anyway as to your question...oh yes we have free will! (though some will debate that too!). Prayers DO affect things...especially when they are in the will of God...now that doesn't mean you pray 'God do it your way and I will pretend I influenced you on it'...no things can and do change...His ultimate goal doesn't change. Its kind of like planning a drive somewhere...while we will all end up in the right place...we can influence how we get there...;)

Look at this example:

Genesis 18

1 The Lord appeared again to Abraham near the oak grove belonging to Mamre. One day Abraham was sitting at the entrance to his tent during the hottest part of the day. 2 He looked up and noticed three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he ran to meet them and welcomed them, bowing low to the ground.

3 “My lord,” he said, “if it pleases you, stop here for a while. 4 Rest in the shade of this tree while water is brought to wash your feet. 5 And since you’ve honored your servant with this visit, let me prepare some food to refresh you before you continue on your journey.”

“All right,” they said. “Do as you have said.”

Skipping down now in that chapter to what I want you to see:

16 Then the men got up from their meal and looked out toward Sodom. As they left, Abraham went with them to send them on their way.

17 “Should I hide my plan from Abraham?” the Lord asked. 18 “For Abraham will certainly become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him. 19 I have singled him out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. Then I will do for Abraham all that I have promised.”

20 So the Lord told Abraham, “I have heard a great outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah, because their sin is so flagrant. 21 I am going down to see if their actions are as wicked as I have heard. If not, I want to know.”

22 The other men turned and headed toward Sodom, but the Lord remained with Abraham. 23 Abraham approached him and said, “Will you sweep away both the righteous and the wicked? 24 Suppose you find fifty righteous people living there in the city—will you still sweep it away and not spare it for their sakes? 25 Surely you wouldn’t do such a thing, destroying the righteous along with the wicked. Why, you would be treating the righteous and the wicked exactly the same! Surely you wouldn’t do that! Should not the Judge of all the earth do what is right?”

26 And the Lord replied, “If I find fifty righteous people in Sodom, I will spare the entire city for their sake.”

27 Then Abraham spoke again. “Since I have begun, let me speak further to my Lord, even though I am but dust and ashes. 28 Suppose there are only forty-five righteous people rather than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?”

And the Lord said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five righteous people there.”

29 Then Abraham pressed his request further. “Suppose there are only forty?”

And the Lord replied, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the forty.”

30 “Please don’t be angry, my Lord,” Abraham pleaded. “Let me speak—suppose only thirty righteous people are found?”

And the Lord replied, “I will not destroy it if I find thirty.”

31 Then Abraham said, “Since I have dared to speak to the Lord, let me continue—suppose there are only twenty?”

And the Lord replied, “Then I will not destroy it for the sake of the twenty.”

32 Finally, Abraham said, “Lord, please don’t be angry with me if I speak one more time. Suppose only ten are found there?”

And the Lord replied, “Then I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten.”

33 When the Lord had finished his conversation with Abraham, he went on his way, and Abraham returned to his tent.

This is a truly amazing thing...Abraham was able to influence the Lord in His intentions of destroying this city. If he had no free will the Lord would not have even listened to him let alone considered what he said. While as it turned out only Lot and his family were saved...by having to leave the city as their wasn't enough righteous to spare it as the Lord had said...Lot and his family were spared its destruction.

Now what if Abraham had said nothing? Lot and his family would have died too. Now...since God knows everything He knew Abraham would do this of course....but it doesn't mean He made Abraham plead for these people though. Its like the weather man knows its going to rain but he cannot actually make it rain. So God knowing something in advance doesn't mean He control Abraham or made him say what he said...does that make sense for you?

God bless

Bex4Jesus
Dec 10th 2008, 07:42 PM
Yes I totally agree that God KNOWS what is going to happen but does not make us DO things. He just knows in advance what our choice is going to be. I sorta look at it like when you watch a sad movie for the fifth time - you know what is going to happen, but you don't control what happens, and the outcome can still make you said. I look at God kinda like that. He has seen people mess up time and time again but He lets us do it.

Free will is God's biggest gift to us. I mean, if we couldn't decide for ourselves whether or not to worship Him, it would mean nothing!

Love to all,

Bex

matthew7and1
Dec 10th 2008, 07:46 PM
OK, so God has a plan. And I believe in where someone said that the plan of this world is ordained by God. For he has given man free will. WE must go to HIM. So, no, God didn't put Hitler in power, the German people did - there's that free will again! So God knows that we will not always choose Him. Everything works out because he plans it that way. He knows where we will falter, and He plans accordingly.

moonglow
Dec 10th 2008, 07:56 PM
Thank you for the scriptures.:)

It makes perfect sense to me that God is ultimately in control of everything, especially in the natural world...He directs the rain and fashions each raindrop, etc. And it makes sense to me that he allows us to suffer, for a greater good (that perhaps we can't see right now, but he can). Although, to me, saying that he's ultimately in charge and that he knows everything is quite different from saying that everything happens for a purposeful reason. Perhaps others don't see a distinction there; perhaps there's not a difference.

But where does our sinfulness fit in? I know sin is not what God really wants me to do...and it's not what he created me for...but he lets me do it anyway...and I do! A lot! And I know that he can use everything, even my sin, for ultimate good...but...when I sin I'm rebelling against him, right? And by definition I'm doing what he doesn't want me to do...although he certainly knows what I will do...do my sins "happen for a reason"??? If I go too far down this road, I might end up fatalistically saying "God knows I will sin, and he's planned for me to sin, so why even try not to sin?" which seems counter to much of the Bible. And counter to my desire to glorify God...

And now I feel my brain imploding.

God is really huge, and it's entirely probable that I won't be able to grasp an understanding of this. (That's an understatement.) I suppose that if everything does happen for a reason, we may not find out that reason in this lifetime. Or, if only SOME things happen for a reason, we might not find out in this lifetime which things happen for a reason, and which things just happen...I realize a lot of my real question hinges on whether free will exists, and whether we can actually choose what we do, especially when it comes to sin...

Thank you all for your responses.:)

Paul in the bible said the expat same things regarding his sinful nature!

Romans 7
18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.

Through the Holy Spirit in us we are able to resist sin...neither God nor the devil are making you or I sin....we aren't puppets on a string. We were born with a sin nature...meaning it comes easy and naturally to us to do sinful things...and as Paul points out that struggle can be won by letting God win it for us!

This is the whole reason Jesus died....to set us free from the control of sin.

The bible tells us that we were slaves to sin...we are slaves to whatever controls us.

Romans 6:16
Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.

If we had no free will how could Paul have written this? We can choose to obey God and allow Him to work in us.

While we have free will...before we were saved we could only control our sins to a certain extent but never be totally free of them...we could chose to steal instead of kill for instance...both still sins though. With Christ we are set free from this...so actually we have more free will then we did before!

Paul goes on about this in the next chapter...

Romans 8
Life in the Spirit
1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. 3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.

Romans is a great book to read and I think will answer alot of your and Bex4Jesus questions. He also explains why there were laws at all in the OT and what they mean...and how we are no longer bound by those laws and why.

God bless

BrckBrln
Dec 10th 2008, 07:57 PM
But you see my big question now. If God controls what we do, we don't really sin. God would be making us sin. That makes no sense to me at all. God punishes us, or rewards us, for things He makes us do in the first place? I mean, that would make our lives meaningless.

Let me ask you a question. Did God ordain the Crucifixion of Christ?

moonglow
Dec 10th 2008, 07:59 PM
OK, so God has a plan. And I believe in where someone said that the plan of this world is ordained by God. For he has given man free will. WE must go to HIM. So, no, God didn't put Hitler in power, the German people did - there's that free will again! So God knows that we will not always choose Him. Everything works out because he plans it that way. He knows where we will falter, and He plans accordingly.

I have to disagree on that because it goes against what the bible says about God putting leaders in authority. Our free will cannot trump God's intentions.

now this will really rock your boat! When satan does something...God has allowed it...this is in the bible and while satan thinks he is getting away with something he is still under God's control and actually being used to advance things in the direction they need to go...

Anyway I gotta go...have fun reading the bible everyone!

God bless

Bex4Jesus
Dec 10th 2008, 08:02 PM
Let me ask you a question. Did God ordain the Crucifixion of Christ?

What do you mean by "ordain?"

markedward
Dec 10th 2008, 08:07 PM
If God selects evil rulers (sometimes), and you must obey the evil rulers because God selected him/her, then what are our duties to the ruler? I mean, if you lived under Hitler, do you have to obey orders and kill Jews??? I mean, that can't be right, can it?Paul says we are to respect the authorities that God put into power. This doesn't mean doing everything they say. If God put an evil ruler into power - for whatever His reason may have been - that doesn't mean God is sanctioning evil or that His followers are to be evil just because their ruler is evil. I again use Paul as an example: he told his fellow Christians to respect the emperor. At the time he said that, the emperor was Nero Caesar, who was probably the most vehemently violent antichrist emperor of the Roman Empire. This doesn't mean that the Christians were to worship Caesar because he demanded it, or to deny that Jesus was the Messiah because Nero claimed he was the savior of mankind. Paul meant to respect the authority, obey that authority's law if it doesn't lead to sin, and otherwise be a "good" citizen. But, all in all, Paul was still saying that God was the one who established the authority of the Roman Empire and the emperors (including Nero).

[EDIT: Ah, I see moonglow answered your questions already.


I am a little intimidated now because of how easily everyone knows where to go in the Bible. I will try to do more listening and less asking. BUT....I do have one question.Just study it. A lot. Years and years, and when you think you know a lot, keep studying. None of us will know everything, but it's very helpful to know at least something.]

Dragonfighter1
Dec 10th 2008, 08:08 PM
Bex, you asked me to come join in so here's my take on this...:lol:

(If the smiling face isnt a give away then your as dumb as a box of Bibles)


No seriously, you are not yet an experienced christian, although I really like your voracious appetite for learning about Jesus. (Don't give that up ever ok?)
Anyway, the issue of free will and pre-destination is a never ending debate among intelligent, Godly people.

I can only give you some illustrations that I found useful while coming to grips with it.

First lesson: With God ALL things are possible, Even many seemingly contradictory ones! That is to say that though they appear to contradict to us, to God in his greater wisdom and understanding, they are not in conflict at all.

Second Lesson: Imagine if you will two pieces of rope that go up to the ceiling about 4 inches apart. Each goes through a hole just big enough that you cannot see thru to what is on the other side. Now, if you pull on rope #1 the other rope #2 goes up, if you pull on #2 then #1 goes up. You realize that above the ceiling is a wheel or pulley mechanism that the rope goes over and that its really one piece of rope., Now then, you are instructed to climb the rope. ????????? How??????

There is your answer grass hopper!

Both are needed to make sense of life. You must grasp both pieces of rope simultaneously- God is sovereign AND we have free will. God apperantly did put Hitler in power but he did not endorse any of his actions. etc.. (some will take me to task for that, I expect them to, but to make sense of a God who is often beyond proper and full comprehension requires us to use workable explanations for ungraspable truths!)

Free will if we have it can go to obvious extremes that expose its weakness, likewise sovereignty can be taken to extremes to expose its faulty definition. I.E. If God is ABSOLUTELY sovereign by most definition offered then he would be responsible for sin. But no one would ever really make that statement! But many uses of sovereignty in posts imply TOTAL COMPELLING POWER. (While he certainly CAN impose such power, obviously he doesnt else Satan wouldnt have had the free will to sin in the very first place.)
For instance we must have free will in order to be held accountable for our sins. Yet Romans 8:28-and following verses make it clear that there is predestination too. They are only in conflict to our limited understanding. On this earth we will never come to a satisfactory grasp of this, but we will develop, each of us, a frame work of it that is acceptable for our purposes.

One framework I use concerns the Pharoah at the time of Moses. I hear people say,
"it says God hardened his heart so God Can't hold him accountable for the evil he did under that hardening" Which is actually a perfectly reasonable statement by them... it just happens to miss the size of Gods power and wisdom and etc.. Here is my response to that.... If God knows the future and knows that the "Pharoah Dude" aint gonna get saved then at that point he is a tool for God use as explained in Romans (the clay passage where we can be used for vessels of honor or dishonor.. Romans 9)


17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, For this very purpose did I raise thee up, that I might show in thee my power, and that my name might be published abroad in all the earth.

18 So then he hath mercy on whom he will, and whom he will be hardeneth.

19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he still find fault? For who withstandeth his will?

20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why didst thou make me thus?

21 Or hath not the potter a right over the clay, from the same lump to make one part a vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?

22 What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering vessels of wrath fitted unto destruction:

23 and that he might make known the riches of his glory upon vessels of mercy, which he afore prepared unto glory,

24 `even' us, whom he also called, not from the Jews only, but also from the Gentiles?

25 As he saith also in Hosea, I will call that my people, which was not my people; And her beloved, that was not beloved.
ANyway, V22 is a give away, God knows the ones headed to destruction and uses them how he sees fit!

ANyway, summary of lesson is: Grab both ropes and dont let go!:lol:

Bex4Jesus
Dec 10th 2008, 08:13 PM
DF, great answer! I can tell you've struggled with these things too.

I guess I just don't 'get' some of the ideas here about God 'doing' everything. It just doesn't make sense, and I NEED things to make sense.

I don't think I can go up to God when I die and say, "God, I know I sinned but I did not really have free will - everything I did you controlled, so I do not deserve to go to Hell." I mean, is God going to buy that??? No way!

I guess the question we are all asking is HOW MUCH does God influence things on Earth? Geez I don't know that anyone can answer that!

I personally think God doesn't interfere a lot, and He lets us sink or swim. I DO think he answers prayers, sometimes, but how He decides to answer them is way over my head - that's HIS call.

Love to all,

Bex

Dragonfighter1
Dec 10th 2008, 08:17 PM
DF, great answer! I can tell you've struggled with these things too.

I guess I just don't 'get' some of the ideas here about God 'doing' everything. It just doesn't make sense, and I NEED things to make sense.

I don't think I can go up to God when I die and say, "God, I know I sinned but I did not really have free will - everything I did you controlled, so I do not deserve to go to Hell." I mean, is God going to buy that??? No way!

I guess the question we are all asking is HOW MUCH does God influence things on Earth? Geez I don't know that anyone can answer that!

I personally think God doesn't interfere a lot, and He lets us sink or swim. I DO think he answers prayers, sometimes, but how He decides to answer them is way over my head - that's HIS call.

Love to all,

Bex
As confusing as your answer seems, its about spot on.

Bex4Jesus
Dec 10th 2008, 08:21 PM
:eek: I might be right about something?? Please someone close the thread now!! I don't know if my little brain can take anymore. ;)

Dragonfighter1
Dec 10th 2008, 08:23 PM
:eek: I might be right about something?? Please someone close the thread now!! I don't know if my little brain can take anymore. ;)
(chinese accent) It seems our grasshopper has had enough for the day....

BrckBrln
Dec 10th 2008, 08:36 PM
Bex and others, I really encourage you to read this short chapter on the decrees of God by Arthur W. Pink. I just finished reading it and I have to say it may be the best chapter I have ever read outside of Scripture. Even if you don't agree with it I still hope you will read over it. Here it is.

http://www.pbministries.org/books/pink/Attributes/attrib_02.htm

thegospelgeek
Dec 10th 2008, 09:28 PM
I am a little intimidated now because of how easily everyone knows where to go in the Bible. I will try to do more listening and less asking. BUT....I do have one question.

How does free will figure into all of this? If God causes things to happen, that would mean we really don't have free will, just the illusion of it?

Annnnnd one more question, if God makes everything happen and we have no free will, then is our fate in God's hands? I mean, that would mean we don't really sin because we don't control what we do??? I hope you understand what I am asking because I am sooooo over my head here!

Don't be intimidated and don't be afraid to ask questions. But be very careful about what answers you get. Check everything against the scriptures and let the Holy Spirit guide you. When I was first saved I knew nothing. I mean nothing. I saw someone holding a John 3:16 sign at a football game and asked my father-in-law what that meant. So hang in there.

Romans 8:28 is often misquoted to say that God causes everything, but that it not what it says. It states that God uses everthing for good. You are right that God does not cause us to sin. That is against his nature and not possible for him. He does however allows us to sin if we choses to. (This was quoted earlier from Romans). He can and often does use that sin to work his purpose. Joeseph's brothers sold him to slavery in Egypt. God din't cause them to sin, but he used it for his plan. I could go on and on but don't want to overload, so I'll stop there.

Love and God Bless,
The GospelGeek

Just_Another_Guy
Dec 10th 2008, 10:36 PM
I guess the question we are all asking is HOW MUCH does God influence things on Earth? Geez I don't know that anyone can answer that!


Full influence. Passive and non-passive. Allows things to happen for his glory..and with various purposes in mind, that unfortunately we as men can't comprehend at all times. God has a book with all of the information about creation, and he does what he pleases regarding various situations that are already written down. The Psalmist David points this out by stating "all my days are written in your scrolls."(Psalm 139:16) So God knows everything..and everything that happens is indeed part of his plan.