There is nothing that happens in your life that God does not permit – – even abuse?
We got in a heated discussion in the comments on the last post regarding the determinist belief that nothing happens in our lives that God does not permit. For people who have been abused, that is a tough pill to swallow. For abuse survivors, please be careful. This discussion could be triggering.
This determinist belief seems to contradict the idea of a kind and loving Father who protects His children. Gail asked Pastor Wade Burleson specific questions and I thought it would be best to put them in a new blog post to keep this topic together.
Here is Gail’s comment to Wade which I also sent to him in an e-mail:
I just listened to one of the sermons that Oasis linked on the other thread. I have a few questions & observations. I will be quoting some of what you said to clear up any confusion to those who didn’t listen.
“Every affliction in your life is of the Lord, all of it is.”
I was molested at five years old by my father, by another again at seven the list doesn’t stop there, for time sake I will be brief. Do you believe child rape is a affliction?
I do not understand what you meant when you said “affliction is of the Lord” but “not from the Lord.” What does that even mean?
“Nothing happens in your life that God either permits, promotes or prohibits”
Okay, so God could have prohibited my abuse? Or He permitted it? Wow, that sounds like God was implicit in what tore me to shreds as a girl.
Can you understand why your words cause turmoil inside of me?
I trust that you meant what you said in your sermon, that you are learning, growing from this interaction also with Oasis.
Would you consider that perhaps you miscommunicated with her? You keep insisting that you are not in the wrong at all, that she has her perception which makes it her reality, which implies at least to me that she is not telling the truth.
I will be out the rest of the afternoon, if I don’t respond I am not ignoring you, just have a full day.
Wade responded back to my e-mail and gave me permission to post his response to Gail’s questions:
I can sure understand that there are triggers for anyone who has undergone abuse. I would like to answer Gail’s questions, and feel free if you would like to use them.
(1). “Every affliction in your life is of the Lord, all of it is”
God says “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7). The word disaster is better translated (in my opinion) “affliction.”
However, there must be some caveats and qualifications with any understanding of this Isaiah passage of scripture. The Bible never contradicts itself – ever. We also read “For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone (to do evil); But each one is tempted (to do evil) when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust (James 1:13-14). So when I (or anyone) says God “affliction is of the Lord” it NEVER means He causes, designs, authors, or creates EVIL.” Not at all.
“Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of lights” (James 1:17). God only creates good. Man and fallen angels create evil. When I say “Affliction is of God” I mean God is able to take what man creates (evil) and orchestrate good from it. Evil is not good, nor is good evil – rather, God is able to turn what man meant for evil into good. God is never responsible for evil. He is only and always the author of good.
(2). “I was molested at five years old by my father, by another again at seven the list doesn’t stop there, for time sake I will be brief. Do you believe child rape is an affliction?”
Rape is evil. Rape is a crime. The rapist alone is responsible for the unspeakable horror. What I believe is that somehow, someway, God will produce good from evil. For example, the punishment of the rapist at the Judgment will be a good thing. The ultimate healing of the victim of rape through the love, mercy and kindness of God will be a good thing. The question that you seem to be asking is simple: “DID GOD CAUSE THE RAPE?” My answer: “GOOD GOD NO.”
I do believe that God allows evil to occur (that He doesn’t cause) because He will ultimately bring about an eternal greater good.
My example would be the beheading of the Coptic Christians in Lebanon. Did God cause this to happen? No. Will ultimate good come from it? Yes.
“For we know that God works all things together for good to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
(3). “I do not understand what you meant when you said ‘affliction is of the Lord’ but ‘not from the Lord. What does that even mean?”
It simple means that God does not create, cause or author evil (‘from the Lord’), but God will allow and permit evil because of an ultimate greater good that is coming, including the display of His holiness and justice in the punishment of the sinner and His mercy, goodness and kindness in the redemption of the victim.
(4). “Can you understand your words cause turmoil inside me?”
Yes. Absolutely. There’s wisdom in simply being there for someone whose been abused in the beginning, showing love. However, if I didn’t believe that ultimately the only hope of real recovery from deep, intense scars of past abuse is the knowledge that good IS COMING (the abuse is NOT GOOD), but good is coming, then I would remain silent about these things forever. I only speak of what I see Romans 8:28 to teach when asked. I never offer it until asked.
(5). “Would you consider that perhaps you miscommunicated with her (Oasis)?”
Of course. I also have no hesitation in apologizing. I just need to be shown (because she said it was in writing), and in my opinion, I have never – ever – said “God designs sexual abuse.” I have only and always said “God designs good” and I do not believe in any form or fashion sexual abuse is good.
Wade also added the following:
I am out for the rest of the week. This is all I can offer. I would suggest that those who would like to read further what I believe to go to the link “The Prince of Evil Overcome by the King of Good.” http://www.wadeburleson.org/2013/10/the-prince-of-evil-overruled-by-king-of.html
photo credit: [As seen on my run.] via photopin (license)