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Everything Does Not Happen For A Reason

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified;and those he justified, he also glorified.
-Romans 8:28-30

One of the dumbest sayings is, "Everything happens for a reason".  Some people believe that they are comforted by this idea.  When disaster strikes or a loved one dies under unfortunate circumstances, they say this.

The 'reason' that I think is false and that makes the statement false is God's will.  The belief out there is that God wills tragedy: accidents, including kids being run over or even murdered.  No.  Everything does not happen for a reason.

I just finished reading a book that was mostly a beautiful story about a tragic event of a young man.  He died in an unfortunate event, at age twenty.  Eventually, in the story, this statement was made, that everything happens for a reason and that it was 'his time'.

I think that 'everything happens for a reason' is mistakenly justified through a reading of Romans 8 and maybe the seasons verses in Ecclesiastes, where the author says that there is 'a time to die'.  There is a time or season when people die and there may be a time God determines when a person dies.

But, when someone dies early, there is another saying that goes, "She died before her time".  This statement is in the same category of human suffering that is not God's will.

The Holocaust and children being raped is not God's will or God's plan.  All bad things that happen, including untimely deaths are also not God's will or God's plan.  They are not something that he has a reason for letting happen.

Romans 8 teaches us that God works in the midst of human suffering.  This is a very different idea than believing God caused it.  This is very different than believing that since God allowed it, it must be his will.

It was not his will, but it happened, and he loves you.  God is all powerful.  But humans and forces of darkness have certain freedoms to do harm.

Accidents happen.  I met a woman a few years ago.  The love of her life died in a tree trimming accident.

Bad things happen, while God is all powerful and all good.

Many people die too soon.  It was not God's will.

There is an error, an insidious belief that God predetermines our deaths.  This belief might 'fit' and feel good, when it is an older person, who is close to God, and they say goodbye to their earthly family and then hello to their heavenly family, in glory and joy.

We get in trouble when we apply this to almost everyone else, especially those who suddenly die, die young, or die under tragic or evil circumstances.

Some Christians that believe in predeterminism believe that it does not matter really how they live and the choices that they make, because their time of death is already set.

Some people die shortly after they retire from full-time work, because they lack purpose.  Every year, people die climbing mountains, which was completely their choice.

There is a difference between God knowing what will happen and God predetermining what happens.

It is lazy to believe that God predetermines everything.  It is a terrible deception.  Actually, God has set things up in the world, so that many things will not happen unless we do it.  We must pray and we must act, or else God's will can not be done on earth.

That is how big God is on free will.  He freely gives, but then we must freely give for good things to work out.

Error is on both ends of the spectrum.  To say that life and everything that happens on earth is a script, written and directed by God, that we act in, as actors who do not have complete freedom, is false.  And to say that God either does not exist, or is detached and we do everything, including our religions and our own merited righteousness, is also false.

The truth is that we have freedom to choose.  The truth is that bad things do happen, that were not God's plan or God's idea.  The truth is that we do not know why people die or are allowed to suffer untimely deaths.

On top of all this is God who is all powerful and totally loving.  There is often no cause and effect.  Remember the story where the tower collapsed and a bunch of people died and they asked Jesus about it (Luke 13).  It was just an accident.  There was no reason.


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