The Devil did it

Discussion in 'Spiritual Warfare' started by arapahoepark, Jul 8, 2017.

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  1. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    I remember last year my mom told a friend when she got cancer that God gave it to her for some reason. Her friend replied, "God did not do that! The Devil did!" I have heard many times of people saying similar things that what bad happens God did not do the Devil did it, etc. It seems almost to be an Anti-Calvinist response. How would you respond? God is all good but, nothing is out of his control as it has all been ordained.
  2. Edm

    Edm Puritan Board Freshman

    My mom died of cancer last Nov. After she died my dad found out from her friends that she had asked that they not pray for her to get well, but that Gods will be done in her. He is the sovereign one. I am far from where I want to be theologically, but I seriously have to take myself out of the mindset that I have and pretend to understand how the devil could just cast illnesses like that. To say that is to say that either:
    A. The devil and God are in some kind of agreement where the devil can do what he wants and God can't counter this.
    B. God just allows the devil to do things to His elect, and God just sits back and let's them happen.
    C. God can't stop these things from happening.

    I don't think anyone could logically think this out and make that statement. I think it is just someone trying to make someone feel better?
  3. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    I just let them explain Leviticus 14:34.
  4. Brian Withnell

    Brian Withnell Puritan Board Junior

    My 1st wife died of cancer. God ordained it; he was in control of it. When the DNA that controlled the cell that started the cancer went "haywire" God was not wringing his hands in despair saying "Oh no! What am I going to do?" He knew it, he planned it, he intended it from before creation started. Not only that, but he loves us, and is good. Therefore, I am confident that while I doubt if I'll ever understand it, God has and continues to use it for my good (and used it for her good).

    Either God is God and what I said is true, or we are of all people to be most pitied.
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  5. kainos01

    kainos01 Puritan Board Senior

    Had to look this one up. Interesting that the NIV translates it rather benignly as merely a "spreading mold" rather than a "plague"(KJV)/"mark"(NASB)/"case"(ESV) of leprosy...
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2017
  6. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    The main reason people deny God His absolute sovereignty in suffering and death is because they have previously sat in judgment over God, weighed His evil providences against their own standards of morality, and declared Him to be sinful in those evil providences. They don't like their conclusion so they are forced to either deny His sovereignty, or deny their own standards of morality. They choose to deny His absolute sovereignty.

    Their own moral standards are founded upon the vain philosophy that mankind innately deserves good. In order to embrace this foundation, they have to abandon the foundational doctrine of original sin, for it teaches that all men, including themselves, deserve at best to never have existed, and at worst, everlasting existence in suffering and death. For if you believe that mankind deserves everlasting suffering and death from before they were even born, it is hard to manufacture your own moral standards that mankind deserves anything good at all.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2017
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  7. Brian Withnell

    Brian Withnell Puritan Board Junior

    That, noble sir, is excellent. I call you noble because you own the doctrine for yourself as well as others. God grace bless you richly!
  8. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    I heard that a lot in my past AOG says, as the basic understanding was that all things good came from God, and all bad things were from Satan. I would say that all things are sovereign to God, and so as a Christian, all things come from him unto us, for His plans and purposes to get accomplished, which in mainly to conform us more into the image of Christ.
  9. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    I think in reality the devil very well is involved in the sadness in the world in many instances, and we shouldn't ignore that, and we should be charitable towards someone expressing that. But at the same time we should always uphold the sovereignty of God and see His hand at work for His ultimate purpose being fulfilled.
  10. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    I agree with Ryan. It seems to me that people want to say "The devil did it" in order to absolve God of any involvement in something that is related to suffering. The thought that God could cause suffering seems like the very depths of abuse to people. They want to associate God with "nice" things; comfortable things; rich, middle-class, American, white things. It is akin to the blasphemous teachings of The Shack, which it might be well that we are on guard against. I have a review of the book here. So, on the one hand, it is important to realize that Satan can indeed be involved. However, Satan is not a rogue agent, uncontrollable. God has him on a leash. God decrees suffering for many reasons, only some of which have to do with punishment. Job's suffering was NOT punishment for his sins in any sense. And yet it was good for him in the sense that Job's faith had to come back down to a bedrock. Did he believe that God knew what was best for Job, even if God did not explain His reasons to Job?
  11. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    I think James Montgomery Boice was a great example on us trusting in the Lord, for when he faced terminal cancer, he was still able to be thankful for God allowing Him to suffer for cause of Christ.
  12. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    The current world system is under the Dominion of a sense to Satan, as God is permitting this to run its course, but He has a definite fix in mind, the second coming of Christ.
  13. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    I think if we look carefully in the Scriptures we can determine some of the reasons for suffering.

    First suffering can be a test of faith such as described in
    1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

    Second, suffering can be a sanctifying experience. Joseph saw how an apparent evil towards him was meant for a greater good by God:
    Genesis 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

    Third, suffering could be a chastisement as the result of sin in a person’s life. Chastisement does not mean complete and total rejection by God, only that our souls may be cleansed from the malady of sin. Paul spoke of this chastisement:
    1 Corinthians 11:29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

    1 Corinthians 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

    1 Corinthians 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

    1 Corinthians 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

    Yet, not all illnesses or sickness is the result of sin. Christ clearly said as much:
    John 9:1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.

    John 9:2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

    John 9:3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

    We see here that Christ did not imply that the man or his parents had not sinned. He meant that the man’s blindness was not a direct result of sin in their lives. God had actively permitted (willfully ordained) this man to be born blind in order that the man might become a means of displaying the mighty works of God. Before the man was born, the Christ knew He would give sight to those blind eyes.

    Fourth, suffering can sometimes be considered a means by which we display the sympathy of Christ in a practical manner, thus proving our faith through works. The Apostle Paul notes:
    Colossians 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:

    The afflictions endured by Paul in his flesh were for the sake of Christ's body, namely, the church. The sufferings of non-believing people are, in one sense, purposeless. There is no high dignity attached to these sufferings. The sufferings of the non-believer are only a foretaste of the torment of hell to be endured forever. But the suffering of the believer is not the same. When believers suffer for Christ, Christ in a very real way suffers with them.

    Fifth, suffering can be a means by which we are tempered (strengthened) for the eventualities to come. Christ, when speaking to Peter of his eventual death stated:
    John 21:18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.

    As in the saying, “what doesn’t kill you, sometimes makes you stronger”, suffering can build us up so that we are better prepared for the future and its travails.

    Sixth, suffering can be used as a Christian witness to others of God’s unmerited grace. All watch how we believers bear our suffering. Our attitude (spoken and unspoken) towards an illness, accident, etc. and our reception of illness, accident, etc., speak volumes when our explicit spoken testimony of faith is rejected.

    Seventh, suffering is sometimes a means of weaning us from the things of this world to cause us to draw nearer to God. Suffering should be a means of educating us to the prospect of heaven. This earthly world is not the home of the believer. We are pilgrims and strangers here on this fallen mortal coil whose citizenship is in another place. Our minds should be focused on things invisible and not in the temporal things of this life.

    We must remember that with the fall of mankind in Eden sin entered the world, corrupting earth and all its inhabitants. When sinful people commit sinful acts suffering ensues. An indirect result of sin is seen in the deteriorating earth and all its natural disasters that bring about suffering.

    Eighth, suffering is actually a means by which we can comfort others, so there is a fellowship of suffering in some cases.
    2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

    2 Corinthians 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

    2 Corinthians 1:5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

    Christ told us that we would suffer in this world:
    John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

    But why doesn’t God just stop evil actions that cause innocent people to suffer?
    Jeremiah 12:1 Righteous art thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?

    Jeremiah 12:2 Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root: they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins.

    So in the end, some still like to ask questions like: Why doesn’t God intervene to stop evil if He is all-loving and all-powerful? Why doesn’t He stop the drunk driver’s car that is going to crash into a bus? Why doesn’t He deflect the murderer’s bullets?

    The person asking these questions doesn’t really want God to stop all their evil actions. They don’t want to be invisibly gagged every time they’re about to say something hurtful; they don’t want to stub their toe when they try to kick the dog. They just think it would be good if God stopped certain evil acts or just the evil acts of others. But that would make life impossible. There would be no freedoms, no regularity and no personal responsibility.

    Having said this, we must never forget that God is not indifferent to our sufferings for we have the Helper, the Holy Spirit, to bear our travails with us. Moreover, God restrains sin and sinners such that they are not as depraved as they could possibly be, so that we can appreciate mercy and unmerited grace in light of sin. If God did not do so our streets would be running with the blood of, and drawn by, the reprobate.
  14. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    An excellent summary of this discussion, as hardly any of those points were addressed while in my AOG days.
  15. Brian Withnell

    Brian Withnell Puritan Board Junior

    First, thank you for the post ... thoughtful and obviously carefully crafted. I did find the above thought provoking though ...

    I don't ask those questions, so there is a sense in which this is not talking about me. But I do long for the day when God does stop all evil actions, including purging from me all ability to sin. Immutable perfection in glory. Come Lord Jesus.
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