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Job 4:1-11
Stop and think! Do the innocent die? When have the upright been destroyed? (Job 4:7).

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What does Romans 5:6-19 tell us about human history? What does Romans 8:18-25 reveal about the future?

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Why do you think God has given you free will? How does free will relate to our love for Him and His love for us?

If making your guest squirm uncomfortably is the measure of success, then the TV journalist performed magnificently. Referring to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the reporter asserted to a religious leader: “Either God is all-powerful and He doesn’t care about the people of Japan and their suffering, or He does care about the people but He’s not really powerful. Which one is it?” The question commits a logical fallacy. The underlying presupposition—God is either A, or He must be B—doesn’t reflect reality.

In the Bible, Job’s epic trials were compounded with a little “help” from his friends. Eliphaz thought his troubles were well deserved. “Do the innocent die?” he asked. “Those who plant trouble and cultivate evil will harvest the same” (Job 4:7-8). Job must have done something evil, or he wouldn’t be suffering. The truth, of course, was far more complex.

In the movie Bruce Almighty, “God” lets a disgruntled TV reporter try to play God to one small area for a brief time. He gives Bruce only a couple of rules, one of which is, “You can’t mess with free will.”

Astonishingly, that’s a limitation God places on Himself. He doesn’t mess with free will. At the dawn of the human race, God placed two trees in the middle of the Garden of Eden. One of them came with a simple instruction to the first man: Don’t eat from it! Adam and Eve chose poorly (Genesis 3:1-7), and the result has been a cursed creation ever since (Genesis 3:14-19).

Choices have consequences. We collectively chose through Adam to rebel against God (Romans 5:12-19). In the process, all creation became cursed (Romans 8:20). But God didn’t leave us there. His story is one of love and redemption (Romans 5:6-11). But He leaves it to us to reject or accept it.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: 2 Samuel 5:1-12

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3 Responses to “loaded questions”

  1. tom felten says:

    Some other verses from Romans are encouraging as we concern the free will God has given us: “Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on Him. For ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’” (Romans 10:12-13).

  2. elizamae says:

    I find it easier to understand human suffering that comes as the result of human choices. My choices or the choices of others can have consequences that cause me to suffer. But natural disasters are a bit harder for me to understand.

  3. tim gustafson says:

    It’s fascinating — and sometimes troubling — to me to realize that Proverbs is followed by Ecclesiastes. Proverbs puts life forth as it ought to db. But Ecclesiastes tells us a different story.

    I think that’s why we have the book of Job. There is more than meets the eye, and Job speaks for us all when he notes the injustice and the capricious nature of life. But we can trust our heavenly Father to do what is ultimately right.

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