Cause and Effect

C

God ordains all things, their place, their purpose, cause and effect.

37 Who has spoken and it came to pass,
unless the Lord has commanded it?
38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that good and bad come?
39 Why should a living man complain,
a man, about the punishment of his sins?

40 Let us test and examine our ways,
and return to the Lord!
41 Let us lift up our hearts and hands
to God in heaven:

Lamentations 3:37-41

Knowing that God ordains all things does not mean that we are able to conclude with certainty causes and effect. But that doesn’t stop some people from trying, like Job’s friends, they were not slow in their attempt to interpret why Job was suffering. It is an error of interpretation ahead of declaration, for when God speaks we can, when God has said something, we can say something. Interpretation follows revelation, but this doesn’t mean that it is easy to do in all cases. Think of Paul’s word to the church at Corinth, when he explains why some have died and others are ill, it’s because they have not been discerning at the Lord’s table and in fellowship with others (1 Cor 11). Paul was able to make such specific interpretation because he was an Apostle appointed by God. But if it is the case that God’s punishment for such behaviour still applies, then we can say the same could be expected. The trouble for us is being able to identify it when it happens, if it happens. It is better if we don’t, but take seriously that God’s judgements are without error.

I have not addressed those interpretations of scripture which over the years have led to the growth of denominations, and those which exist within the same denominations or those which exist within a fellowship of independent churches. In some cases they are debated and then everyone goes back to their own position for a cup of tea. In other cases, Christians agree that there are secondary issues, which can be held privately with the unwritten rule being that they must not be talked about and if you want to, go elsewhere to do so. It seems two things are missing, the ability to bear with one another in love and the purpose of debate being the desire to arrive at what’s right.

But is there a problem here? If there is, it is the problem of an ever increasing decrease in the subjets we can discuss and be shaped by.

 

By Daniel Ralph

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