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God's View of President Barack Obama

I have learned something over the last few months. You have all heard the saying that the two things you don’t talk about in mixed company are religion and politics. I have found that religion is much easier to talk about than politics. People are much more tolerant about religion because my decisions and beliefs don’t necessarily affect you. At least they don’t affect you to the degree that my political decisions and beliefs effect you. Why? Because politics, here in America, is a democracy, religion is not. When you and I vote we affect each other, creating a necessary submission to our elected leadership.

Whether you voted for him or not, my fellow American citizens, Obama is our new president. The balance of powers has now completely shifted. Agree or not, the people have spoken.

I praise God for this. In fact, I will rejoice at the revealing of his will.

Why?

Because, ultimately, God is in control of who sits in the White House. The plans of the heart belong to man, but the Lord makes things happen (Prov. 16:1). God placed Obama in the presidency according to his sovereign will. That is right. Obama is the man God decided would be our next president. This is exactly what he wanted to happen.

Argue with him if you will. Argue about the history of this country, the supreme court judges, the issues of morality, and the moral superiority of our view on taxes but, in the end, “no wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the LORD” (Prov. 21:30).

Don’t bother inviting him to your morning party either. He will not come. No RSVP either. In fact, he won’t even send an angelic representative.

He will simply send a note saying,

“My dominion is an everlasting dominion, and my kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of America are accounted as nothing. I do according to my will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of America. No one can ward off my hand or say to me, ‘What have You done?’ (Dan. 4:35). The President’s heart is a stream of water in my hand; I turn it wherever I will (Prov. 21:1). Let every American be subject to President Obama. For there is no authority except from me, and those that exist have been instituted by me. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what I have appointed” (Rom. 13:1-2). —God

This is why I rejoice with great anticipation, following the Lord in the direction he is leading. In this, I celebrate the election of Barack Obama in as much as I celebrate the revealing of the will of the Lord.

Here is my letter to Barak Obama,

“Congratulations for being my next president. Rest assured that you will have my respect and allegiance for as long as you are in office. I pray that God gives you wisdom and guidance, strength and courage, and clarity and judgment. If you fail in any way, I will not say, ‘Ah ha! I told you!’, but I will stand behind you with prayers of hope. If you succeed in any way, I will rejoice with you. In everything, I promise that I will lift you up in prayer as you are God’s instrument in leading this country.”

Romans 11:33 “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”

87 Responses to “God's View of President Barack Obama”

  1. How far does this Will-of-God thing go? Will all outcomes of the Obama administration be His will as well? Do we “credit” the Bush years to God? Does this apply to all world events? What about Free Will? Does democracy have any meaning if God chooses the outcomes?

    I suppose these “problems” are no more troublesome than predestination to your average Calvinist, right? :)

  2. Hi Michael/Scott

    Michael. Thank youn for such an unequivocal and clear call to sbmit ourselves to OAND GOVERNANCE.bamyOPU AEa ruile.

    You are so right in that this does not mean we can’t criticise or rage even sometimes at some of the deicsios that are made but we need to recognise the authoprity he has.

    However, I am with Scott on certain things. Just how far do you go here.

    “Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what I have appointed”

    Bearing in mind that yesterday woul’t have happened at all but fro the hum,ble courageous defiance of a certain lady by the name of Rosa Parkes in Alabama, I would not go as far as you wwould in sayiong that gobvenments must always be obeyed whatebver the cost. To me thios conmdones apratheid in South Agrica, and woerst of all ewould have encouraged complicity with Hitler if you were libving in Germany in the mid to late 1930s. I am very much on the side of Diertrich Binhoeffer in the path that he took, aewvne though it evntually led to his death in a conctration camp. I feel total compliance with your argument wiould lead to a state where evil is allowed to prosper because the good do nothing, and believe God is teaching and instructin thenm to do nothing.

  3. Sorry guys, here is what it should have read like…

    Hi Michael/Scott

    Michael. Thank you for such an unequivocal and clear call to sbmit ourselves to the governance of Barack Obama. You are so right in that this does not mean we can’t criticise or rage even sometimes at some of the decisions that he may make but we need to recognise the authority he has been given under God.

    However, I am with Scott on certain things. Just how far down the road do you go here?

    “Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what I have appointed”

    Bear in mind that yesterday wouldn’t have happened at all but for the humble and courageous defiance of the state racial segregation laws by a certain lady by the name of Rosa Parkes on a bus in Alabama some 40 years ago. I would not go as far as youwwould in sayiong that governments must always be slavishly obeyed whatever the cost. To me this legitimises and condones apartheid in South Africa, and worst of all would have encouraged complicity with Hitler if living in Germany in the mid to late 1930s.

    I am very much on the side of Dietrich Bonhoeffer in the path that he took, even though it evntually led to his death in a concentration camp.

    I feel that total unquestioning compliance with your argument wiould lead to a state where, in Burkeian terms, evil is allowed to prosper, not just because the good do nothing, but because they believe ardently that God is teaching and instructin thenm to do nothing.

  4. Michael, I think you may be on to something in the first paragraph when you say, “People are much more tolerant about religion because my decisions and beliefs don’t necessarily affect you.” Religion when properly practiced is voluntary. Politics is the process by which a few force others to their will. Obama as president may be God’s will but democracy (51% deciding what the 49% can and cannot do) isn’t his ideal. In fact, I would say that God’s ideal is not for us to have any king but him. God gives a grave warning to the Israelites as to why they shouldn’t seek to have a ruler like the other nations (1 Samuel 8:4-22). I know God’s ideal seems far from what we have but shouldn’t we be striving for it? No ruler but Christ over me, I say. On election day I voted “No” for president.

  5. For the last week or so I have had kids coming up to me all freaked out at the (then) probable election of Obama. I suppose their churches and family members have them all worked up about how he will bring about the end of the world, is the anti-christ, etc. In my little red-neck corner of the South this in not uncommon. We made it past the Jimmy Carter administration. We can make it past the Obama administration. Yes we can! How do we do it? Pray for God’s protection and wisdom to saturate Pres. Elect Obama. And always, always, always pray for the peace of Jerusalem. That is our ticket out of this mess.

  6. cmp,

    I have no problem with what you say in this post. In fact I say “amen” to your prayer. After all, the believers in Rome were living under a political system that was hardly humanitarian and in a society rampant with unrighteosness but Paul says : “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

    However, I have been struggling to reconcile this word of Scripture with the American revolution, or the passiveness of European Christians during Hitler’s rise to power.

    I believe the true Lord is Jesus Christ, not ceasar.

  7. “However, I have been struggling to reconcile this word of Scripture with the American revolution, or the passiveness of European Christians during Hitler’s rise to power.”

    LAL. I couldn’t agreemore. In the case of the European Christians I am afraid it was largely the Roman Catholic Church who, along with some of Protestant denominations, who were the most passive and complicit with the Hitler regime.

    One of the very few exceptions was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pacifist pastor who saw through Hitler as early as 1933 and considered him to be so evil and dangerous that he joined a collaborators pact to bring about his execution and downfall. The plot failed he and was sent to a concentration camp where he died.

    He is one of my all-time Christian heroes.

  8. I don’t doubt that what you have written is entirely possible. I think we have to be very careful when we say God did this or God did that when it comes to some of these things though. None of us would say God put Hitler in power. I am not saying Obama and Hitler are the same…far from it. But if you apply this same logic and interpretation across the board you are in for some clearly problematic results.

    God can use it and maybe God caused it. But I am not going to say he did or he didn’t in such an unequivocal way.

  9. Matt,

    I believe that the Scripture really is saying that God arranges the goverments of the world according to His will. Does God rejoice when powers are evil? I think not. However God brought the Assyrians to Israel just as much as He appointed David king!

    Does this trouble me? Yes, but I believe it.

  10. Amen Michael. A good word for the day.

  11. C Michael Patton November 5, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    Folks, by saying these things does not mean that we are going to agree with the decisions of Obama or think that there could not be a “better” president. What I am saying is that God, according to his own sovereign will, has Obama as his man of the hour. I don’t know what it will bring, but in supporting Obama, I am supporting God’s will.

    I believe that the situation of the Revolutionary war is different on may accounts. It would be difficult to say that there was an “established government.” Therefore, I am not sure that their was a Revolution in the truest sense.

    As well, I don’t think that there is anything that Obama is ultimately in control of in such a way that anyone could justify such a revolution considering the democratic nature of our government. Yes, things could change to such a degree that such a consideration is possible, but they are certainly not there in my opinion.

    In this way I rejoice in God’s will, whatever that may be, without being passive in political engagement.

  12. Michael,

    Speaking as a fellow Calvinist… I’m a bit offended. It’s almost as though you think we should rejoice in suffering, or give thanks in all circumstances.

    But seriously, folks!

    I do think it’s worthwhile to make a distinction, which wasn’t clear in your post, Michael. When we say that “Obama’s presidency is God’s will” and we rejoice in God’s will, we should not mean that his presidency itself is a Good Thing, to be anticipated & rejoiced in. Any more than Hitler’s ascendancy was a Good Thing, or Job’s suffering, or the enslavement of Joseph.

    Certainly, God has a good intention in Obama’s presidency, and we should rejoice in that good intention. But when God decides that an evil thing will occur, it is still as abhorrently evil. (e.g., The crucifixion–which we both rejoice in, and deplore.)

  13. Paul in the GNW November 5, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    I wouldn’t say Obama is God’s choice. Certainly God allowed it to happen. He allows us to have free will.

    He let us have what we chose, and what we deserve!

    Pray, fast, rely upon God and live a Christian life. Teach our children. And respect the legitimate government of the USA. BUT… there are limits to legitimate government AND Obama is NOT God’s annointed.

    Peace

    Paul in the GNW

  14. Uh… Michael, I have no idea what you mean by “supporting Obama”. And I can’t agree or disagree till I do.

  15. All,

    Yes the election is over. Has God’s will been done? Only He knows. If we say that God’s will is always done, then why did Jesus instruct us to pray that His will would be done on Earth, AS IT IS in heaven?

    I refuse to accept that abortion, or any other of myriad evil things that occur is God’s will simply because it happens. Does not God desire all men to come to repentance? It doesn’t happen on this earth, does it?

    This is NOT intended in any way to be a refence to the just passed election result, but is for the point of illustration.

    Can we disregard the latter part of Romans 1, that illustrates God giving the wicked over the their sin, so that they would receive punishment in their bodies?

    Didn’t God set Pharoah up so that He could illustrate His power and deliverance? I can’t abide with the position that whatever happens is God’s will and I should just go along and bless it.

    The whole issue is, I think, much deeper than my IQ, but I’m not going to throw my common sense out the window simply because a slick operator with the aid of a complicit media deceived a gullible electorate.

    Don’t think either that John McCain was my 1st pick, as among the Republican hopefuls he only finished one from the bottom. Sure God sets up governments, sometimes so He can knock them down to illustrate His power and anger. We shouldn’t lose sight of that.

    OK, I’m done. I needed that.

  16. I cannot wrap my head around this notion. If all is in God’s control the way you are proposing then what can possibly be wrong with abortion, starvation, murder, rape, slavery, whatever other evil you want to choose? What is the point?

  17. Very nice! God truly does work everything for His good even if He is not the author of it, even the stuff we can’t quite figure out or the stuff we don’t quite agree with. He is in control, for sure. Oh that all who claim Jesus as Lord woud adopt your prayer.

  18. C Michael Patton November 5, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    Minnow, all I am doing is recognizing God’s will. The other option is to say that this was NOT God’s will and that God is somehow not in control of who is the President of America. I cannot reconcile this theologically or biblically. Even evil, in a very real sense, is under God’s control.

    Does this mean that everything is “good” or “righteous”? Christ’s death is something we both rejoice in and morn. God’s judgment is something we rejoice in and morn.

    It is about submission to God’s will through his movements, even if the movements don’t represent the “perfect” will in a “perfect” world.

    Therefore, in all things, we rejoice, knowing that God’s will and kingdom do not get slowed by the supposed “powers” of men. God will use Obama to his glory, even if we may abhor the instrumental decisions made by this man.

  19. Since people seem to be having difficulty with Michael’s discussion:

    Why did God raise up Babylon to come and crush Israel?

    As Michael has said, its not necessarily that God’s Will be a “happy thing” for us (especially if we need some pruning), because it certainly wasn’t for Israel.

    Also, I am not saying Obama is going to be this (and I think its obvious that Michael doesn’t necessarily believe that either), but its just the reality that God isn’t suprised by having a radically liberally President in office who has “control” over both the House and the Senate.

    Obviously he mutilates Scripture and has unbiblical views about the nature of aboration and homosexuality, but it just provides more oppertunities for Christians to stand up and stand out for what we truly believe.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Your brother in Christ,

    -Josh

  20. minnow,

    The crucifixion of Christ was both an evil act, and was God’s will. The Assyrians’ attack on the Israelites was God’s will, but was still an evil act.

  21. Paul in the GNW November 5, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    I concede that if God willed, he could as a “puppeteer” put a particular man in the Presidency just to set up some other chess move aka babylon., or to punish humanity or whatever.

    And I also concede that if God saw fit, he could write the script to elect Joel Olsteen, or Mark Driscoll President.

    Of course God can, and I believe will, bring good out of every evil, that does not mean that God wills evil.

    I’m sorry, although God does have a plan to bring blessing from this, and that God could have chosen to enforce his will upon us, I am not about to go around saying that an Obama Presidency is the will of God. Ridiculous!

    Peace

    Paul in the GNW

  22. Paul in the GNW November 5, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    The other option is to say that this was NOT God’s will and that God is somehow not in control of who is the President of America.

    No, the more reasonable and probably option is to say the God did not choose to exercise his power to change this outcome. That doesn’t make it conform to his will.

    Peace

    Paul in the GNW

  23. Paul,

    I just don’t see any ground for calling it “ridiculous” that doesn’t equally apply to (1) the crucifixion, (2) Job’s suffering, (3) the Assyrian attacks on Israel, and (4) Joseph’s enslavement.

  24. CMP.Jug, and similar calvinist Neanderthals

    Oh, how I hate your right. Because I don’t want it to be true, but the bible is what it is, and it tells us who God is.

    And I would rather, sometimes, it not be so.

    And the oddest part (to me) is that somehow, it is all to the glory of God.

  25. C Michael Patton November 5, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    I don’t want this to come across wrong, but I deal with this as I deal with many other things I would not have preferred in my life, from the small to the great.

    Smaller issue: We moved into a house in Norman (when we should not have), lost some significant income and are now having financial difficulties. This is a bad thing, but I have to believe that it is where God wants me.

    Bigger issue: My sister committed suicide a few years ago. This was terribly tragic and I would do anything to have her back. But, at the same time, I believe that it was, in a very real sense, the will of God.

    In both of these circumstances, I could say that this is not God’s will. I remember attending a funeral of a girl friend about fifteen years ago. She was shot in her car. The preacher said without qualification “THIS WAS NOT THE WILL OF GOD.” I shuddered at such a statement. Was God off the throne.

    I think it is good to distinguish the will of God here. There is God’s will of decree and will of desire. I believe that all things abide under God’s will of decree, but not his will of desire. I don’t believe that my not being able to pay some bills or my sister’s death were God’s desire. In a perfect world, this would not have happened. But, all God has to work with is a fallen world where sin is present and lessons need to be learned. Therefore, his often “terrible will of decree” is enacted. Yet, even in such circumstances we can rejoice knowing that God is in control and he knows what he is doing through the allowance of such difficulties.

    Having said all of this, I do want to mention how there is a deep sense of pride and excitement that we have a black president. What a great thing to rejoice in this is. (Although I would have rather had the All-State guy :) )

  26. Paul in the GNW November 5, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    We can argue about what it really means for any of these examples to be God’s will, I take the position that God allowed them to happen – not that he directly willed them – and used them for his glory.

    Besides that argument, the fact that because as you view God willed some misfortunes, that every evil is God’s will.

    You aren’t claiming that it is God’s will that 1.5 million unborn babies will be aborted in the US this year are you? You aren’t claiming that the terrorist attack 9/11 was God’s will are you?

    Yes God allows bad thing to happen. Yes he can turn all thing to the Good. Yes he has the power to stop them, but he doesn’t always do that.

    Peace

    Paul in the GNW

  27. Michael,

    While as a Calvinist I fully agree with your point that God’s will (in one sense of the word) has been revealed in the outcome of the Presidential election, in another sense, God’s will has not come to pass in the election of a radical abortionist to the White House.

    I am afraid too that your article seems to suggest that no other outcome to this election would have been possible. However I believe that if we Christians were doing a better job at being “salt” and “light” in our culture, and living in deeper obedience to the truth, Obama would not have been elected.

    How is it that so many who name themselves Christian apparently supported Obama? I’m afraid that your article may lend these folks some sort of false comfort when perhaps we should be wailing and mourning and rending our garments that God has brought a baby-killer to rule over the USA.

    I am going to do some soul-searching. I fear that Obama becoming President is an indictment of my (our) tepid witness.

  28. Paul,

    I can at least see that argument for the case of Joseph–though the use of the same word “intended” for both God and the brothers makes that a bit difficult.

    I don’t really think the case of Job’s suffering is very arguable, but it’s not a simple one-verse issue, so I’ll ignore that one. (But I would encourage you to listen to or read Piper’s recent conference on that.)

    But with the Assyrians, they were the “rod of God’s anger“. This was not “allowing without intending”.

    But are you really trying to tell me that God “allowed” the crucifixion but didn’t directly will it? (Note: If you mean that he did not directly cause it, I agree.)

    Note: You’re correct that these examples don’t prove anything about how God works in general. But if you accept any of these examples, it pulls the teeth from any argument that “God couldn’t have willed this evil thing to occur, because God is good!”

  29. Michael,

    “I believe that all things abide under God’s will of decree, but not his will of desire.”

    I’ll put that in more straightforward terms:

    God did not delight in Paul’s suffering & persecution. But he did will that Paul would go through it.

  30. Since I am not a hard determinist, I don’t think Obama was “God’s choice” for President, or that God caused him to win, anymore than I think God caused Katrina to happen or made that fly just come buzzing into my office. I don’t think it was God’s specific, deterministic choice that I took Adams Ave to work rather than State Street. I don’t think God is writing this post, overriding my intent and insisting that I write this . . . very . . . word. So, I don’t think God pulled the levers, or marked the ballots, using our minds and bodies as mere automatons.

    I think God has established the world and His creation, including all of us, to work a certain way, and knows exactly what will happen. And, since He is timeless and all past and future time is just “now” to God, then that original creation with that knowledge creates some very strange anomalies, but still, I don’t think God has a predetermined choice for what I am going to eat for dinner tonight.

    Or who we choose for our president.

  31. Vlad,

    Minor point: “hard determinism” doesn’t mean “exhaustive predestination”. Hard determinism, AFAIK, is the view that free will is an illusion.

  32. @Alexander,

    I’m a Christian who struggled for MONTHS with this election trying to decide how I should vote. Some days I nearly made myself sick as I tried to discern what was the best choice. I finally decided to vote for Obama because, as abhorrent as his views on abortion are, he gets it right on the Iraq war and health care for all Americans. Additionally, his party has a plan to reduce the number of abortions by a huge percentage in the next decade. It is appalling that we, as Evangelicals, have lined up behind a party that hasn’t even gone to the effort of putting a plan on paper just because they pay the right lip service. I decided to stop being manipulated by a party that wasn’t really interested in solving a problem as long as it could be milked to garner support and looked at more than one issue.

    If I were you I’d watch phrases like “so many who name themselves Christians.” It makes you sound judgmental, condescending and, frankly, a little naive. As if something as simple as my vote in this election could decide whether I rest in Christ. It also fails to take into account that we just elected a Christian to office. Is he a Christian that might be wrong on an issue? Yes. Is it a significant issue? Absolutely. Does this make him less saved, or does voting for him somehow make me less saved? Not a chance.

  33. What name will he use when he takes the oath of office?

    I, Barack Obama….

    I, Barack Hussein Obama….

    I, Barry Barack Hussein Obama….

    ????

  34. God placed Obama in the presidency according to his sovereign will. That is right. Obama is the man God decided would be our next president.

    Well, sometimes God has His off days. November 4, 2008 was one of them.

    But since He has an Omega 13 device that He can use at any time, as well as numerous times, He can always correct or redo His flubs.

    And He will. Unless He has a string of off days.

    Since you’re now venerating the Theotokos, you might want to ask her, too, to intercede for us during the next 4 years.

  35. “I praise God for this. In fact, I will rejoice at the revealing of his will.

    Why?

    Because, ultimately, God is in control of who sits in the White House.”

    Just because it is in some sense his will, doesn’t mean it is a matter for rejoicing, any more than Israel had cause to rejoice when the Assyrians destroyed them.

  36. WOW! I must have a really wacked out version of the Bible. I just don’t see it, CMP. The beginning and the end–I get that. The middle? God created, He gave man free will. He is always available but we simply have to choose. He is omnipresent, the very hills cry out of His glory. Yet we still must choose. Our bad choices reveal our need for God. Our good choices reveal our need for God. He is revealed but we must choose.

  37. Paul in the GW,

    You said, “I take the position that God allowed them to happen – not that he directly willed them”

    I don’t see in Scripture the teaching that God allowed anything that was not His will. The concept that evil and suffering happen in God,s world is there in scripture, but if you mean that God sets the world loose to find its own way… well that is more of a deist view of God. God is not to be blammed for evil (Romans 9), but all things occur according to His will.

    President elect Obama is a servant of the will of God.

  38. JKU

    I appreciate that you put lots of time and thought into your decision about how to vote. Unfortunately, from a Christian perspective, esp. regarding the issue of abortion, I think you made a really bad decision.

    Obama is a relentless pro-abortion advocate who, unless God radically changes his mind on the issue, deems abortion a “right”. He does not view it as morally wrong. Therefore, his agenda is to make sure access to abortion is unfettered and that it stays that way. Unlike McCain who stated that he believes Roe vs Wade is wrong and must be overturned, Obama may very well nominate Supreme Court justices that will ensure that that terrible decision isn’t overturned.

    I am not judging whether you are a Christian or not. But the fact is that many who name themselves Christian voted for Obama, when his position on abortion clearly contradicts the Bible in way that is absolutely clear. You admitted his position on abortion is “abhorrent”. To then go ahead and support him anyway is wrong. As a Christian I don’t think his positions on Iraq and health care are so wonderful that they justify voting to support his radical stance on abortion.

    I think it is naive to think that everyone who calls themselves born-again Christians in this country in fact is a born-again Christian who practices what he/she preaches. If that were the case Obama would never have been elected on Tuesday.

  39. @Alexander

    I shouldn’t have commented the first time and I shouldn’t be doing it again now. I know better than to attempt to change minds with the internet but your sanctimonious attitude is just so frustrating.

    Bully for you, you’re comfortable in the moral superiority of your vote because you blindly think one issue trumps all others. Abortion is terrible, I’m against it, I hate that anything I did no matter how insignificant might contribute to even one procedure. All that said, I bet you felt pretty morally superior four years ago when you (I’m guessing) voted for a president that went against the bibical principles of peace (pro-life isn’t just for the womb anymore) or caring for the environment. You obviously felt superior this time around when you voted for someone who was going to continue to fight an unnecessary war and who wasn’t all that interested in providing health care for all Americans (you might remember Jesus healing a lot of people, so obviously health and physical well being are important in the Kingdom).

    Now, the one point on which we agree. Not everyone who claims Christ in this nation actually belongs to him. True. But to maintain that somehow my vote is the anti-Christian choice when it was a vote for peace and health…well, I’ve already used the word naive and it wouldn’t be proper to use anything stronger.

    On a purely political note, the whole Supreme Court Justice issue is a smokescreen. Even assuming McCain, who is not exactly a tried and true conservative by any stretch, appointed Justices that are conservative, that’s simply no guarantee they’ll do anything about Roe v. Wade. In fact, you’d be more likely to get the opposite. It has been the law of the land, for better or for worse, for 30 years. Conservative judges, by their definition, are LESS likely to overturn laws the longer they’re on the books.

  40. Because, ultimately, God is in control of who sits in the White House. The plans of the heart belong to man, but the Lord makes things happen (Prov. 16:1). God placed Obama in the presidency according to his sovereign will. That is right. Obama is the man God decided would be our next president. This is exactly what he wanted to happen.

    Nothing happens in and of itself. Everything has a cause, or multiple causes, and all things are connected at some point. If God put Barack Obama in the White House, it’s because 40-some years ago, God put Barack Obama’s parents together in a carnal way, and sometime during the next 40 years, God made Barack Obama take cocaine and hang around Marxists so he would be and become the person he is today, and before that God made the Vietnamese fight a civil war so God would one day make John Kennedy and others go fight there so God would send John McCain there so God could make John McCain’s plane crash so John McCain could spend years in prison, during which time God made John McCain decide to stay with his men, previous to which time God made people in Arkansas and Mississippi racist bigots so God could make a man named Martin Luther King give an inspiring speech that God made him write so it could make God inspire people to vote for Barack Obama years in the future, meanwhile God made the Beatles and made them write the songs they did so a new generation of people that God made would create a counter-culture that would culminate in Woodstock Nation that would result in movements like environmentalism which would ultimately lead to a large number of people being made by God to believe in global warming and no coal plants so God could make them vote for Barack Obama, etc., etc., etc.

    It all goes back to the fact that God made Eve listen to the snake, and made her take and eat the fruit. It’s all God’s fault and all God’s doing. Praise His holy name.

    Personally, I think the reasoning and conclusion expressed in the subject
    post are flawed, if you hadn’t figured that out already. I.e., once you make God responsible for everything, then EVERYTHING is on the table in terms of what you can credit or blame God for doing. It ends up being theologically nonsensical, even if it is right. You can delimit the things God does or doesn’t do based on your own theological or personal preferences, but you’ve already given away the argument once your premise is that God makes everything and makes everything happen. It becomes just your opinion that God made Barack Obama President but He didn’t (due to your free will) make you write the exact words of this blog or make me write the exact words of this response.

    Or so I think.

  41. Ok, I get it. God placed Hitler in power on purpose, knowing he would kill millions of Jews and Gypsiy’s and mentally challenged people. God placed Pol Pot in power on purpose, knowing that he would bring about the killing fields. God placed Stalin in power on purpose, knowing he would starve to death aover 10 million Ukranians and millions of other farmers. Yep. Exactly the people that “God is Love” (to quote the apposlte) wanted. Because, of course, all that killing and destruction brings glory to God as he exercises his sovereign power to bring about exactly that amount of killing and torture that he wanted. Yes, the aborted babies, when they get to heaven will cry, “Glory to God for putting Obama in power so taht knowing that he would repeal the Born Alive Act and result in my death by exposure and slow starvation. Yes, God is good. Obama in power was exactly your will. Bless you forever for rigging the vote. Amen” NOt.

  42. JKU,

    You’ll notice that I referred to your argument as wrong but haven’t said anything in judgment about you personally. It sounds to me as if you’re really convinced that you voted rightly. But on the other hand you don’t seem to give me much charity (sanctimonious, morally superior, blind, blah, blah). My friend, take the log out of your own eye.

    It is not a question of my feeling superior– who cares what I feel– it is a question of doing the right thing.

    “Abortion is terrible, I’m against it, I hate that anything I did no matter how insignificant might contribute to even one procedure.”

    Give me a break. Then live with the consequences of your choice, brother, in that you knowingly cast your vote for the man who is the most pro-abortion politician in American politics. If you feel guilty and defensive about it, don’t lash out at me with your rationalizations. And if abortions continue unabated you can know that your vote helped.

    “Pro-life isn’t just for the womb anymore”

    Sounds like a bumper sticker.

    The issues of whether the war in Iraq was/is necessary or whether health care ought to be universally provided by government are debatable.

    I certainly had reservations about going to war in Iraq. Now that we are there however I think a hasty exit is not the right course of action.

    Yes, Jesus heals and He healed throughout his earthly ministry– and He called the Church, not government– to heal in His name. I don’t believe that His call was for government to do the job.

    Again, both these issues are debatable. But I think abortion trumps both issues in importance and it was much more clear where both candidates stood on them.

  43. JKU,

    There is a pretty clear commandment against murder.

    National health care is not a biblical concept, period. Jesus healed with the power of God, to prove who he was. He did not take money from Peter to pay Paul’s doctor.

    Saul has killed his thousands and David his tens of thousands, with God’s approval. Sometimes you have to make war against evil, you must have missed those parts of the Bible. Next time you are getting mugged, don’t call the cops, it’s just an unnecessary conflict and they shouldn’t get involved. Your rhetoric reveals you as a lefty, and your priorities reveal your worldview.

    It isn’t my concern whether you are a Christian or not, however my OPINION is that any person who puts national health care before abortion on their priority list follows a different God than me.

    Sorry if that leaves a bad taste in your mouth, but I am already sick of nominal “christians” who use worldly reasoning for their vote in favor of a man who approves of sucking the brains out of a partially born babies, then throwing out the broken corpses like so much trash.

  44. EricW,

    I understand why you find that satire compelling. But from my end, it looks like you’re aiming at a strawman.

    Because “God made ___ happen” doesn’t apply to what I think about how God’s will & power & sovereignty works, in evil situations. I don’t think that God “makes” people do evil things, I think that he allows them to.

    As do you, I’m sure. The differences seem to come in somewhere in what we think about the following:
    1.) Whether “God allows” also applies to things like the Crucifixion–things where we know that God actively decided they would happen.
    2.) Whether God allows these things to happen with a particular purpose, or simply because “I’m not going to interfere with their free will.”

    (I’ll go on, assuming that your answer to 2) is what I said–and not some third option. Correct me if you need to.)

    The problem is, your answer to 2.) is going to sound hollow and vacuous to anyone wrestling with the questions that you and Seriously? bring up. It is unfathomable to me that anyone would take comfort in the idea that God allowed the Holocaust to happen because he didn’t want to violate the free will of the Nazis. Unless God was lying down on the job–even if you’re an open theist!–you have to say that God decided to allow it to happen, or some reason. And if your child has been sexually abused, you’re going to be asking “Why did God decide to allow this happen?”, period.

    And your answer–“For the sake of free will”–is going to sound about as hollow as mine–“For the sake of a good purpose that He is bringing about”. I don’t see how yours could ever satisfy. Neither is likely to.

    Unless, that is, you really have a deep-seated trust in God’s goodness, wisdom, and working-in-all-circumstances.

  45. Jug:

    My satirical post (but it wasn’t really satirical; it is the logical outcome of
    believing this) was based on the original article’s statement:

    Because, ultimately, God is in control of who sits in the White House. The plans of the heart belong to man, but the Lord makes things happen (Prov. 16:1). God placed Obama in the presidency according to his sovereign will. That is right. Obama is the man God decided would be our next president. This is exactly what he wanted to happen.

    The above implies that God makes everything that happens happen, and that everything that happens is what God wanted to happen. Since nothing just “happens,” but is the next step in a continuous and seamless series of multiple and interrelated and linked causes and effects, for God to make something happen means that He makes every part of the event happen. For if that’s what He wants to happen, then He makes every wave of a butterfly’s wing happen so it will properly affect and effect in every little and every great way all the things that are involved in making happen what He wants to happen because He decided it would happen.

  46. To the question:

    “Is God sovereign, or does man have free will?”

    the only proper answer is “Yes.”

    Any answer other than that is merely argumentation.

  47. Eric,

    OK, I find your phrasing understandable, given the phrasing that CMP used in that quote.

    So, I retract the “strawman” reference. But I still find your viewpoint to be a hollow answer.

    The distinctions I made are still there, and–as far as I know–if you pressed for more detail, Michael would use similar language to describe the working of God’s will & sovereignty.

    You’re using “God makes X happen” in one sense… A sense which I wouldn’t use it. If you get past that, you come to the questions/issues I raised.

  48. All,

    This discussion makes me realize that applying all the wisdom of man to analysis of the wisdom and plans of Almighty God is frequently as significant as a puppy chasing it’s tail.

    I’m happy in this case to remember that “the secret things belong to the Lord”

  49. Tom, your answer only works if it can be shown or proved that no answer exists or that no answer is within the capacity of a human to find. However, it has not been proven that thie issue of God’s sovereignity is one of that class (i.e., a class of problems that has no solution that humans can find or determine). Hence your answer is not a helpful, useful or reasonable answer, merely a cop out and a discussion ender. “Hey guys, that’s a difficult issue, I don’t know the answer so let’s just not try to answer it but instead hold hands and sing kumbaya.” Not a useful response, especially when God tells us to use our minds in loving him, and provides us with the equipment to think about these issues. Indeed, the history of philosophy and theology has shown that progress can, and is, made on difficult quesions like these. [sorry about my typo’s, when I type on this web site I cannot see the last 20% of the comment box and so type blind]. The difficulties that Eric and I raise are not as significant as a puppy chasing its tail, because they are indeed the very reasons that have either caused people to leave faith in Jesus, or to reject it outright. Easy, and recent examples are Dennet, Dawkins, Hitchens, etc. The difficulties are also significant because the explanations given by Michael and Jugulum increase rather than decrease the sorry and pain that people feel when they experience tragedy.

    One problem, of course, with Michael’s statement is that, as worded, it is false. He only escapes the obvious dilemmas he raises by a more nuance statement. However, as worded, his statement excludeds the potential nuances that others have used to address the issue.

    Jugulum, the “God allows” argument doesn’t get him off the hook, because he started the ball rolling in the first place, making him responsible for all subsequent consequences. Moreover, we would then have to say that we shouldn’t be held responsible for failing to save others. So, for example, if a robber comes into my house with a knife, I am not responsible for failing to stop him from killing my children.

    Now some Christians have in the past been willing to accept that being responssible in that respect is not a moral failing (and so God is not immoral for failing to save us from our sins or from tragedy in general), and even willing to accept double predestination.

    What we must be careful to do is not to construct our concept of free will and moral action appart from what the Bible provides.

    In dealing with the Holocaust, Jugulum, what indeed does give more comfort? (1) That God could see the Holocaust coming and intentionally did not stop it, even though he could have, and I am coforted becasue of my belief that God is so strong and in control that he controlled it’s happening such taht he ensured taht it would happen? That I take comfort in God’s meticulous control of every detail in my life that I know he controlled the agonizing deaths of the millions in the concentration camps and the slow crush death of my cousin below the wheels of a milk truck. OR (2) That there is something so important about freely given love that God gives us this capacity even though that capacity can be misused for evil rather than love?

    It seems the latter is much more comforting, as evidenced by the writings of Wesley who found the latter type of explanation more comforting (and writers like him who recorded their thoughts and feelings and said that they were comforted by the latter explanation and discomforted by the former). It is also evidenced by the people who write into Boyd’s web site (Boyd being an open theist). I am comforted by the fact that I can both give and experience that kind of love, even though it comes with the danger that others may not love me and may in fact harm me.

    Books have been written on this issue, and I don’t intend to write one here, but my point, and I think Eric’s too, is that Michael’s statement was unecessarily innaccurate and un-nuanced.

    On an unrelated topic, your choice of the latin / medical term for the lower part of the throat [and, incidentally, known in vampire literature as the part the vampire bites (and part of the title of a vampire novel)], is interesting.

  50. I don’t necessarily see things that happen as God’s will. I see the things that happen in this world, both good and bad, as almost incidental, but no matter what has happened, it doesn’t stop God’s purpose and hope in this world. A parent can lose their two kids and feel their life is over and give up. God’s will isn’t that the two children die. That event doesn’t change who God is and what he is doing in our lives. God may or may not have made Obama president, but either way, it doesn’t do anything to prevent God from doing His work in this world and our lives. I see that as his will. I wish I could have said it more eloquently, but hopefully I got my point across.

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