|We are ourselves responsible|
Dutch version / Nederlandstalige versie: Wij zijn zelf verantwoordelijk
In the magazine of the Leuven Hospital Gasthuisberg in an interview by Jan van Rompuy with elder patients I could read that an elderly couple was not pleased with God about not helping them after they prayed so much and burned so many candles. The man of the lady with cancer has lost any hope in God and had abounded Him because He clearly would or could not help him.
Every time we hear about a disaster and we are confronted with a lot of disastrous pictures on television people shout that this is because of a terrible and injustice God. Others shout that it is a punishment of God. But when they would read the Bible properly they would be able to find out that it would probably not be a penalty from God.
Genghis Khan said: “I am the punishment of God...If you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you.”
Many religions say that their gods send punishments to those or these.
On the occasion of the Intensity 9 earthquake and the devastating tsunami that ravaged Japan some time ago, and the threat of toxic radioactivity emerging from the damaged nuclear reactors, friends of mine have asked me whether we could consider these calamities as punishments from God.
First of all we have to question if punishment by God is compatible with the biblical affirmation that “God is love”. It is true that we find examples in the Bible where God brings over a punishment to certain persons or even several people or even towns. In the Bible we can find how the Jewish race developed and were given laws. They could accept those laws or ignore them. We learn how they settled in ancient Israel, and how it says God sometimes punished them for disobeying his commands, which led to them changing their ways. (e.g. Read 2 Samuel chapters 12 & 13 and look what happened after the king and one of his sons became estranged: 2 Samuel chapter 15-19, 21)
Often wickedness in places are mentioned as the reason why god came to punish them. The conservative group Repent America in the US for example claimed that the hurricane Katrina in New Orleans was an 'act of God' in judgement on the city because there was the annual event 'Southern Decadence' which brought together thousands of homosexuals, enabling them to celebrate their sexuality. The hurricane hit New Orleans and flooded up to 80% of the city, taking up more than a month just to clear the water and still now you can find debris and not restored placed yet.
If this tragedy occurred because God is angry at New Orleans, what was the point of the awful devastation and loss of life wrought in Mississippi and Alabama? Why was then the French Quarter, the district where the event was to be held, one of the least devastated parts of the city so far?
Also the disbarred lawyer Fred Waldron Phelps, Sr. (born November 13, 1929) an American pastor heading the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC), an independent Baptist church based in Topeka, Kansas, claims that many devastating events, such as September 11th, the December 2004 Tsunami, deaths in Iraq, and the horrific Hurricane Katrina are the result of God's wrath against gay people.
Also for the Indian Ocean earthquake and following tsunami in December the 24th 2004 with a magnitude of between 9.1 and 9.3, the third largest earthquake ever recorded on a seismograph in the world, people said it was God punishing the Muslims and unbelieving Hindus. but also a lot of Christians lost their life.
Some people argue that if God is the same yesterday, today and forever why are we not punished in the same ways?
God has revealed Himself in history in His Covenant and through His covenant to Abraham and his descendants as a helping, delivering, guiding sympathetic positive God with a nice design for His creation. God had given men freedom, but new he was not going to make much of it. For the misstep of the first men God set up a sacrificial system that pointed to the future in which He would redeem man back to Himself. Under the law, man was shown how God dealt with man's sin nature. Mankind was accountable to God depending upon which dispensation they lived. Was there Innocence, Conscience, Human Government, Promise, Law, Grace or shall it happen in the time of Divine Government.
With the coming of Jesus Christ and his finished work on the wooden stake we have come in the time of Grace. Jeus' offer has liberated all humankind. Today God deals with us through the finished work of Christ. Jesus has offered his body as the ultimate Lamb and therefore God does not require any offers any more. Now, men are held accountable, not by their conscience but by their acceptance or rejection of God's grace. Grace is the unmerited favour of Almighty God. He provides through Christ, the means by which we can receive eternal life. The judgement God will send over the stubborn and bad people shall come when Jesus returns and when God will raise them up at the last day. No punishment before that time, not on this earth, not in a purgatory or in a hell.
God has not changed and for Him those who can hear the voice of those who preach the Good News, the Gospel of Good Tidings, the Liberation by Christ, and do not want to listen, repent and come to God shall have to face their punishment and destruction after Armaggedon and the resurrection, to face the second death.
God's will is that all be saved, yet He will not override the free-will of every person to accept, or reject His salvation. He is not a tyrant and does not want to force anybody in His ideas. Everybody has received a free will and can do as he or she likes. But every person shall have to be responsible for their own deeds.
What ever we fabricate we shall have to bear the consequences of our acts. We can not escape our responsibility. The only problem is what certain individuals do can affect more then one person. That is not Gods fault, but it stays the fault of human, who thought he could manage it on his own. Therefore we have to be very careful with what we do. Not only for ourselves but also for those around us.
We do have to be careful with our behaviour and reactions to others, but also with our use of natural products. We should calculate the risks of all things. Because whatever we do or use it can affect us but also our neighbour, even the whole earth.
Do you want to go on your own? Would you prefer to come under the wings of Christ Jesus and accept God as the only one God to whom belongs the earth?
What risks are you willing to take and how do you want to safeguard yourself?
Continue reading in following articles:
In Dutch you can find: