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9.24.2005    |    "with God all things are possible"
This is one of those overly familiar quotations bandied about by people who probably don't crack open a Bible from one year to the next. It is from Matthew 19:26, and the context is Jesus telling us that while our salvation may be difficult, God can and will accomplish it. In accordance with His desires, of course...not ours.

The issue of God's ability to do anything arises naturally in the face of "natural" disasters such as Katrina. There is a nuanced article on this aspect of theodicy at Beliefnet. "Nuanced" being used in a negative sense, as the author tries far too hard to accomodate various schools of thought, to the point of incoherence. My greatest beef is that he didn't cite Matthew 19:26, while citing Harold Kushner (saccharine warning; bad things do happen to "good" people, imagine that):
Perhaps we would do well to listen to the likes of Rabbi Harold Kushner, who contends that God is not really as powerful as we have claimed. Nowhere in the Hebrew Scriptures does it say that God is omnipotent. Kushner points out that omnipotence is a Greek philosophical concept, but it is not in his Bible. Instead, the Hebrew Bible contends that God is mighty. That means that God is a greater force in the universe than all the other forces combined.
"God is not really as powerful as we have claimed." Well, guess I just became a Greek. All things are possible with God, just as it says in Scripture. And I stand with Martin Luther's answer to the question, where was God when Luther's son died? Luther's answer, which is the answer to where God is in all human suffering, is "The same place he was when His son died."

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1 Comments:

Blogger John Schroeder said...

AMEN! I want nothig to do with a less than omnipotent God.

4:54 PM, September 24, 2005  

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.