Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What to do?

Over the past several weeks, I've noticed an intense discomfort among some Christians about the following passages. What do YOU do with these verses?

Judges 9:23
God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem, who acted treacherously against Abimelech.

1 Samuel 19:9
But an evil spirit from the LORD came upon Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. While David was playing the harp

2 Chronicles 18:22
"So now the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of these prophets of yours. The LORD has decreed disaster for you."

11 comments:

Lindy said...

These passages basically suck, because you have to admitt that God uses evil for His purposes or that the writter of the passage misunderstood what was going on and is simply wrong.

What's more important, view of
God as holy and completly good, or Biblical innerancy?

TMNK said...

Good comment Lindy. I definitely prefer to 'admit' that God uses evil for His purposes. What's more, I don't think this sacrifices my belief that God is holy and completely good so much as it humbled me before the fact that God is wiser than I am. In other words, I think God is able to produce something better through pain that He could have existed without pain.

Tammy Craig said...

Hmm...random thought: Could it be that God still maintains ultimate control over "demons", and can therefore still make them do things He wants them to? If we take the book of Job as an actual happening and not fiction(I've heard arguments for both sides), then it would seem that God and Satan were on speaking terms. So He could technically be using them to accomplish His purposes for people who weren't going to change anyways...

Tammy Craig said...

You know, I may take that comment back, but I may leave it up to get other opinions. Of course God can control the demons and make them do His bidding...they had to listen to Jesus when He casted them out! It's been a long day...

TMNK said...

Yeah, I would hope that no one would doubt that God is sovereign over even the demons. But not allowing them to do whatever they want is somewhat different that these texts where He employs them.

Coady said...

My philosophy is "He who makes the universe, can do whatever he pleases."

Can God do anything wrong?

To clarify the question- If God is the standard of right, then everything he does it right. So is there any contradiction in what he did?

Also, does evil spirit mean evil morally, or does it just mean harmful?

God killed a whole lot of people, sending a harmful spirit is less severe than termination.

Aaron Perry said...

I am sympathetic with Coady on this one. You could translate "evil" as "bad"--and I see no reason why God would not put such a 'spirit' (itself evidence of the ambiguous language Scripture uses to describe certain realities) in order to work out his plan and have justice done. Neither do I have a problem with God manipulating the treachery of Ahab by giving him exactly what he wanted, though it was disastrous. (Ahab later dies in the battle he wants the Lord's blessing on and knows that Micaiah is the true prophet.)

Where I am sympathetic to Coady is by saying that if God is Love and God has done these things, then my definition of love is what is up for changing, not my tension in who God is. After all, the love of God is a very strange thing--giving his own Son as an atoning sacrifice.

TMNK said...

I agree with this as well. What I've noticed is that some people are very uncomfortable with this re-definition of love, even unwilling to consider it. This causes me to question in what sense we should be 'comfortable' with God's love in the first place.

Lindy said...

I don't think it's that simple. Wesleyan's say all the time, that God CAN'T be in the presance of something unpure as a explanation to why people go the hell. Now we look at some verses and readjust the thinking to make it OK.

The seperation between good and evil, God and Satan is foundational to our understanding of the Biblical meta-narritive.

I'm personally more comfortable with believing that the writter of the book misunderstood the role of God in the specific situations.

Israel at that time were total determanists- everything happened because of God's direct will. We've rejected that thinking (at least to the same extreme), so why do we have to do all this logical and semantical gymnastics?

TMNK said...

Hey Lindy,

Well, you may or may not know that I have unconventional views of hell. I'm not one to say God can't be in the presence of evil.

I don't feel I have to make any logical or semantical gymnastics to affirm that God is sovereign over evil spirits and can use them for His purposes.

MATTHEW ROSE said...

Beyond the oceans of ink spilled in attempting to determine what a supreme being thinks about good, evil, love and justice there's a small island of reason that stands up over the horizon with a flag flapping in the breeze stating: We don't know what God thinks. You don't either.

MR / http://homepage.mac.com/mistahcoughdrop