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Why I DON’T Believe Everything Happens for a reason December 15, 2011

Posted by thesociallyawkwardchristian in Christianity.
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“I know everything happens for a reason…”

It’s one of the most common theological statements I hear. One that is stated without even a hint of doubt. People are supremely confident that no matter what happens, there is a reason for it. A lesson to be learned through the event. The problem is, I don’t think it’s true.

Just this morning, one of my Facebook friends posted this status:

If you love somebody, let them go. If they return, they were always yours. If they don’t, they never were.

Translation: If you go through a break up, there’s a reason for it. If you get back together, the “timing” wasn’t right. If you don’t, there’s somebody better out there.

It sounds good on the surface. Que sera sera. Whatever will be will be. Whatever happens is God’s Will, right? Well…not necessarily.

The false belief is that whatever happens, is what God wanted to happen. The conventional thinking being that the only reason God would ever let anything bad happen to us whether it be a break up, a job loss, the death of a loved one, or even something on a grander scale like Hurricane Katrina or the Japanese earthquake, is to teach us something to fulfill His purposes for our lives. In some instances, that probably is the case. God certainly does allow certain things to happen to us for a reason. But, everything? I don’t think so.

To say that everything happens for a reason is to say that everything that happens is what God wants to happen. This simply is not true. The presence of sin attests to that. Does God EVER want us to sin? Of course not! Yet, sin exists. In fact, I believe that some negative things happen to us because of our own sin and poor decisions. However, it’s a lot easier to say that the consequence of our sin was just God’s Will and there’s a reason for it than facing the real reason for it: our sin. Also, The Bible is clear that God never wants anyone to die (2 Peter 3:9), but while death has been ultimately defeated through the cross, people still die. This all goes to show that God does not get everything He wants.

Make no mistake, God is in control. But, that does not mean He is all-controlling. He is sovereign, but He is also sovereign over His own sovereignty and He has sovereignly decided to give humans free will. Often times, that free will results in chaos and things happen without any reason. Now, I must say, I find this comforting. It’s comforting because I don’t have to look for the reason in every bad thing that happens to me, I can just trust in God to heal me. It’s comforting because I can rest assured that God has my ultimate good at heart and is not predestining things to cause me pain. It’s comforting because God can bring peace in the chaos.

There is a reason for some things. I trust that God will be able to teach us the reason without us having to obsess over what the reason might be when there is a reason. When there is no reason, we can still trust in His promise that He will make ALL things no matter how painful, chaotic, or reasonless they may be, work together for the good of those that love Him (Romans 8:28).

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1. wild valley wolverines - December 15, 2011

Good Writing! I would have to agree with you on most of it apart from one thing. I have to disagree with your statement – “To say that everything happens for a reason is to say that everything that happens is what God wants to happen. This simply is not true. The presence of sin attests to that. Does God EVER want us to sin? Of course not!”- I think that without realizing it you are stepping into theological discusion. You see God does have a devine perpose for everything. Take the story of moses and Pharaoh for example. Pharaoh wanted God to harden his heart so God did just that, And i believe God did that for the learning prosses of Moses to train him up as a leader. Now how my statement about how this is more theology is this, That i believe that God is all Knowing, He knows what has been, what will be, and all of eternity. So if God already knows that certain people won’t choose him as their Lord and Savoir than he can use them in His followers lives to train them. He uses sin for the good of his people. And yes even the Sin in a Christians life. God does not want us to sin, yes you are correct on that, but he allows us to sin. If you were to live life off of your statement, then what is the porpose of Life? Once you became saved Then why wouldn’t you in that moment just go strait to heaven? I think its Because you have a divine perpose in Gods plan for your life that he wants to teach you and sanctify you so that you are ready for heaven when you get there. A good book to read on this is The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis (Just a thought). I think where you went astray is the fact that if you are not a believer, This is kind of bad news. That everything happens for a reason, even sin. No one wants to be used in life in a bad way. Even Hitler Thought he was doing good, but was really used for evil. But see you talked about Gods Sovereignty, Gods Sovereignty was even in the Holocaust. That was an evil time and you can say that God wasn’t in it and just blame sin, but the truth is that God was fully in it. He was there Comforting the hurt, He was there Touching the hearts of the Jews and even some of the german soldiers. Just look at Corrie Tenboom. Yes there was sorrow and pain in he life but life, but even she admits that it was God’s Perpose and Plan. So I would say that God does make everything happen for a reason.
On another note of your writing, i do agree that your faceboook friend is misinformed. When dealing wiht people and relationships, You can not just be lazy about life and sit back and wait for God to give you things. You have put in the hard work of prayer and devotion to God and even hard work in your job, loving people that you don’t have the desire to love, in the way the Jesus loves them. Then He will Give them Direction in thier Relationships. You see God has you make decisions and he works with your decisions so that everything happens for a reason. Find Comfort in that. But most importantly find comfort in the fact that Christ died for your sins and if you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that God raised Him from the died then you are saved!
Just some thoughs i had when reading this. I would Love to hear your feedback.
-Thanks

thesociallyawkwardchristian - December 15, 2011

Thanks for your feedback. I appreciate it. I do realize how deeply theological this discussion is. And I understand where you are coming from. But, I disagree with your theology. I agree that God is all-knowing. But, his knowledge of the future is composed partly of certainties and partly of possibilities. In other words, he knows
the consequences of every possible decision we will make will be, but he has given us free will, he does not impose on that free will and he knows our decisions as possibilities and not certainties. If he knew everything that we would do as certainties, how could God regret (Genesis 6:7) change his mind (Exodus 32:9-14), and even show surprise (Jeremiah 2:21)? God knows the future has partly settled and partly unsettled, not exhaustively. For God to foreknow exhaustively evils like the holocaust would happen, if he was a good God he would have stopped them, BUT he only knew they were possibilities due to human free will, and not certain to happen. You should read God of the Possible by Gregory Boyd or The Most Moved Mover by Clark Pinnock for more info.

But, seriously, thank you for the comment. Even if we disagree theologically, I appreciate your feedback.

2. wild valley wolverines - December 16, 2011

Yeah im glad there are bloggers out there who are actually thinking about these things and not just taking them for granted. I don’t want you to think that im arguing with you either. Im just curious to here your thoughts. you seem to actually think things through and i like that.
My only Problem with your staments is this, I DO believe God is a good God, and did know what was going to happen with the holocaust. And i still don’t think he would have stopped it, for exactly your point. He gives us free will. Take a look at the book of Job. God points out to satin that Job is a servant of God and lets Satin kill his family and make his life miserable. Why would he do that if he didn’t want evil to happen? Do you think that God didn’t know if he was going to conquer Satin on the cross? You have to remember that God Created Satin. I have no idea why, nor does anyone else, but the fact is He did. You also have to remember that he conqured evil on the cross as well. God does not want evil to happen to his children yes, but he does allow it so that we can get stronger in love with Him, grow closer to Him, and have faith in Him. Where in the Bible do you get your basis for the fact that God’s knowledge of the future is composed partly of certainties and partly of possibilities? You seem to get it only from the emotions that God shows as in the verses that you pointed out. My problem with that is this. Picture a God with no emtion. Now picture a God with Passion and Love. Which one do you think breathed the words of the Bible. God shows His emotions through these verses you pointed out not because he is actually surprised, but because if he didn’t, then how could we say he was a God of love.These emotions are not an act to show us He cares either, but are his actual emotions. Its like this, no matter how many times i’ve seen the movie the Lord of the Rings, in certain parts of the movie im sad, happy, or moved. And my emotions come from a connection i have with the characters in a stupid little movie that ive seen a thousand times litteraly lol! And each time im moved. Think about how God feels when he is speaking to his people. He is going to show his emotion. If God only knew part certainties, and part possibilities, then what would be the point in the old testament of prophesying that Jesus would come and save, if God wasn’t sure that really was going to happen? Or Why would God have written the book of Revelation if He’s not sure that those prophesies are really going to happen? Again im not trying to argue with you. i would love to hear your thoughts! Thanks For your Reply :)

thesociallyawkwardchristian - December 16, 2011

Satan also had free will. And he rebelled. God knew that there was a possibility that he would rebel, but it was never a certainty. Just like he knew there was a possibility that humans would sin and bring evil into the world. Why the verses I mention do show God’s emotion, I don’t see how God changing his mind in Exodus 32:9-14 is an emotion. God stated what he was going to do (wipe out the Israelites), then Moses prayed asking him not to, and God honored Moses’ prayer by not doing what he was going to do. Think. If the future was exhaustively fixed, how could God change His mind? Why would God deceive Moses by lying about wiping out Israel? The fact is, God knew there was a possibility, but not a certainty, that Moses would pray. Moses did pray, so God relented. But, he had every intention of killing the Israelites. Also, in 2 Kings 20:1-6 God tells Hezekiah thru Isaiah that he is about to die. Hezekiah prayed, and then God told Isaiah to go back and tell Hezekiah that he has added 15 years to his life. God knew there was a possibility that Hezekiah would pray, but not a certainty. If God always knew Hezekiah would pray and he would add 15 years to his life, then why did God lie about him dying? God is not a liar. He was telling the truth about Hezekiah dying, but his prayer changed God’s mind, revealing that the future is partly open, partly closed.

As for prophecy & revelation, whatever God has stated he will do in the future, cant be changed. He is omnipotent. So his victory is part of the future that is closed. He knows the part of the future exhaustively that he has set his mind to do. Only in reference to our free decisions does he know the future as possibility. Bc God only foreknows what he foreordains. If he foreknows our decisions, he foreordained them, an that’s not free will.

3. wild valley wolverines - December 16, 2011

Lol Again where in the bible can you back up your your statement about certainties and possibilities. I don’t think you quite understand what “free-will” really is. You see there is good, and there is evil. no in -between. Free-will is the choice to do the work of the Lord, or the work of satin. So basically its like this, if a father was to put a piece of cake in front of his kid, and a Bowl of stinky dead mice to eat, he knows that they will choose to eat chocolate cake over a bowl full of stinking dead mice. Knowing this is not taking away the freedom of his child since they are freely choosing one over the other. Likewise, for God to know what a person will choose does not mean that the person has no freedom to make the choice. It simply means that God knows what the person will choose. I think it is hard for some people who believe your theology, to realize that some people do in fact choose the bowl of stinky dead mice. And God knows those people will choose that too. God even knew that satin was going to choose to rebel. It was no surprise to God.

Your statement about God changing his mind, Again it all depends on what translation your bible says. And that really can mess people up. The true Hebrew meaning of the Word Changed in the verse you pointed out of Exodus 32:9-14 is the word נָחַם (nacham) Which means relent. I encourage you to look this up. You see God CAN’T change (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8, James 1:17). If you use the actual Hebrew translation of the word, God was simply giving Moses a Chance to fight on behalf of the Israelite s (Which God KNEW Moses would do). He Never changed his mind, He was giving Moses FEE-WILL to pray. I Really do think God would have wiped them out if Moses didn’t pray but he was helping Moses make the write choice as a loving father would. Again like when a father has three children and they are misbehaving, He will tell them that he is going to put them all in time out, unless they choose to turn their behavior around. You see That father has the Ability to put them in time out but is giving them free-will and if he truly knows his kids and raised them up in Godly Principals, Knows they will do right and change. You see with your theology you are basically saying that God has no part in what we humans do. We are all on our own and the moment we don’t pray or do what the Lord says he very well would wipe us out. That doesn’t sound like a very good or loving God like the one i serve. It also put what Jesus did on the cross out of the picture. God see’s our lives all the way through and yes while we are yet sinners Christ died for us so that our sins are forgiven. To say that God Doesn’t see the future is to also say that God does not see us as Covered by Christs blood yet, and so when we die Are we saved? you see without realizing it we both are dabbling in stuff we can’t even begin to understand, but all i know is God KNOWS ALL and will see me and my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ as saved and we will live eternally with him in heaven.

With your statement about Hezekiah, I believe the same thing applies as i stated above. He was giving free-will to Hezekiah to pray which God Knew he would, and had already added the 15 years to his life. I believe if Hezekiah didn’t pray, God wouldn’t have added those years and this story wouldn’t have even existed. But God is good and faithful to us and gives us free-will. You see free-will does not mean God can’t know the future, but simply God lets the future happen while he knows, and knew about it.

If God lets the future be made of certainties and possibilities, then why wouldn’t God state that to us? I think we would all be Praying a lot more. But do you want to know why he doesn’t, because it’s not true. If it was true then God would then be a servant to us, and Would never be steadfast in his thinking. Again God CAN’T change.

As for your last statements you are kind of contradicting yourself. “He knows the part of the future exhaustively that he has set his mind to do.” That right there is GOD, KNOWING the Future. But then you say, “Bc God only foreknows what he foreordains. If he foreknows our decisions, he foreordained them, an that’s not free will.” Is this another God? BC God? God does not change remember.

Again Just some thoughts.

thesociallyawkwardchristian - December 16, 2011

I have given your several examples of perfectly logical instances of where the Bible implies a partly open future. Just because it does not say so word for word does not mean the Bible does not attest to it, bc it obviously does. Another verse would be Ezekiel 12:3 where God asks Ezekiel to into exile as a sign to Judah and God says, “PERHAPS they will understand, though they are a rebellious house” now, of God knew everything exhaustively why would he use the word “Perhaps” which implies uncertainty? He would use it if the future were an open possibility, but not if he knew it for certain would he? Logically, anyone reading that and the other scriptures I’ve given would understand that the future is partly closed, partly open. It’s obvious.

Also, using your stinky stew analogy, you said some people would choose that. But, if a father knew his children would choose that, and didn’t stop them, they are a very poor father. The same way if God knew that satan would bring unparalleled evil and pain into the world and STILL created him, then he is a poor, EVIL God. BUT, if he only knew that as a possibility and is infinitely wise to come up with a plan to deal with that (the cross) if that possibility did arise, then he is still a good God.

I agree that God is unchanging in the essence of his Love and character. However, based on the scriptures I have shared, it is obvious that when God does change his mind in response to our prayers, he does not change in essence. The scriptures that state God is unchangeable are in reference to His character and essence, not in reference to how he deals with the world.

I don’t understand how you see a contradiction when I say that that when God foreordains something he foreknows it. My position is that the future is comprised PARTLY of a closed future (things that God has foreordained) and a partly open future (Things that God has left open to us to shape, that he knows as a realm of possibilities). I see no contradiction.

The sad part to me is, you say that you believe that God always knew Hezekiah would pray and that God always knew he would add 15 years to his life. If this is true then why the heck did God LIE IN THE FIRST PLACE AND TELL HIM HE WAS GOING TO DIE?! That, my friend, is completely ridiculous. I would not want to worship a God who is a liar, or who would create a being like Satan if he knew how evil he was going to be dumb. Not only is that god not worthy of worship, that god is downright frightening.

But, that is the way I see it. I could be wrong, but these are my beliefs which I believe are both logical, and more importantly, biblical.

4. wild valley wolverines - December 16, 2011

God does not change even from the old testament, to the new. Again i state my above thoughts for your statement “Bc God only foreknows what he foreordains. If he foreknows our decisions, he foreordained them, an that’s not free will.” It Really is free-will you are just disguising it as not, using words like foreordained, If you think about it your first statement, “He knows the part of the future exhaustively that he has set his mind to do.”, is God, foreordaining our futures. Why wouldn’t he have foreordained our lives then? Because of our free-will? Again i think you don’t understand what real, free-will is.

thesociallyawkwardchristian - December 16, 2011

By free will, I mean libertarian freedom. Or the ability to do other than what we did. I think if God knows all of our future free decisions, then they are not really free decisions. Lol. I think God can anticipate what we might do, bc he knows us so well, but bc he does not want to infringe on our libertarian freedom, he created the future as partly settled, and partly open as a realm of possibilities. He can anticipate what our decisions might be, but bc we are free and he does not want to infringe on our freedom, we can still surprise him to an extent-which is another reason he uses the word perhaps in Ezekial 12:3.

You accuse me of not knowing what free will is. I accuse you of the same thing. I do not believe I have real libertarian freedom if someone exhaustively knows every decision I will ever make before I make it. How could I know the choices were not made for me in advance? I can’t. And that’s not freedom.

I am sorry. But, we will have to agree to disagree. We are in two completely different theological camps, but still one in the body of Christ. I appreciate the discussion and still encourage you to check out the books I mentioned in my original reply. Thanks again for reading and commenting!

5. Wildvalleywolverines - December 16, 2011

I’m sorry to have offended you. That was not my intent. I really was just courious about your theology because I have never heard of that thought. Trust me I HATE theological debates! I really wasn’t trying to debate but rather find out more information. I see how you thought I was. And I truly am sorry.

My only thought for you is this then, theology aside, if you truly are aspiring to be a pastor, seek his word with an open heart. Not standing firm in uncertainties of the bible but in the blood of Christ. James 1:5-7 is what I use when I study the bible (not to say you lack wisdom but I know I sure do). Make sure that through your theology, Christ shines through, and not your theology. I am awful at this and that is why I do not aspire to be a pastor.

I will be praying for you and pray God blesses you tremendously! And sho knows like hezikaiah, add 15 years to your life!

Again my appologies for intruding, and God bless you!

thesociallyawkwardchristian - December 16, 2011

Not offended at all. Just thought we’ve said all that can be said on the subject. Thank you for your prayers. Much appreciated.

6. wild valley wolverines - December 16, 2011

Don’t reply if you don’t want to, and not to be rude or overkill, but i really do want to know your thoughts on this verse Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – again don’t answer if you are done with the convo lol. I am just curious of your thoughts and will not argue your point.

thesociallyawkwardchristian - December 17, 2011

God absolutely has a plan for us. His plan is what he wants us to do. We can come into agreement with it, or we can turn away from it. Just bc he has a plan for us, does not mean we will follow it.

7. wild valley wolverines - December 17, 2011

ok just three more questions then. How did Jesus know this then if he could not see the future. Matthew 26:34 “Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.” and also can you explain this verse then Romans 8:29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate” and one more
Psalms 139:16 “All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.”

again not to argue but to hear your thoughts.

thesociallyawkwardchristian - December 17, 2011

There’s two ways to look at the Matthew scripture. Either that prophecy was in the closed portion of the future (remember the future is PARTLY closed, and PARTLY open) and God had determined that Peter deny Jesus, or more likely: Jesus spoke that prophecy as a distinct possibility with a very good probability of happening bc Jesus knew what was in Peter’s heart perfectly. Keep Hezekiah in mind, maybe if Peter had prayed for strength to not deny Jesus maybe he wouldn’t have.

As for the Romans passage, any Arminian tradition would interpret predestination passages as that of corporate election and not individual election. The entire Church is being referenced there and not specific individuals. Bc God only knows who will or won’t accept him as possibilities, this scripture is talking about anyone who accepts him, whoever they may be. It’s not talking about certain individuals.

The important thing to remember about Psalms passages is that they are poetic in nature. The authors of them are expressing heavy emotion more than they are theological actualities. But, even if they are expressing a theological actuality, this scripture could be another testament to God’s plan for our life. God definitely has a plan for life, most likely with a set number of days if we obey God and follow his plan. But, our choices can affect this. Remember Hezekiah again. God told him his days were up, he prayed, and the got more. And obviously, if one commits suicide, which is definitely against God’s will and plan, they will shorten the amount of days that God has set for us on this earth. Just bc this passage in Psalms says that all the days of his life were written before he was born, does not mean that they are set in stone and are unchangeable.

thesociallyawkwardchristian - December 17, 2011

Thanks once again for your comments and discussion! Much love and many blessings over you!

8. wild valley wolverines - December 17, 2011

Haha ok. You made me think at first with this post but now i see how false it really is. Lol all of you Arminialists and Calvinists crack me up! You think the two CAN’T go hand in hand like the BIBLE has it! Lol you make up these false theologies to back up what you think and obliterate the body of Christ. Im sorry but i FULLY DISAGREE with you and i told you i would not argue with you so i will now leave you with your microscopic thoughts. By the way you fully turned me off to your theology. thank you.

9. MaxSmithPastor - June 16, 2012

Good theories, and wow both of you want the bible your way… Too much thinking, just agree with god and Love each other for those who disagree go to HELL. Simple as the word of Christ.

10. MaxSmithPastor - June 16, 2012

Good theories, and wow both of you want the bible your way… Too much thinking, just agree with god and Love each other for those who disagree go to HELL. Simple as the word of Christ. Blessing may god open your eyes.


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