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Is Sin Part of God's Plan?

Discussion in 'Theologia Crucis - Lutherans' started by jinc1019, Jul 7, 2016.

  1. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Newbie

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    Before answering, I think it's important to explain the question further. When I ask, "Is sin part of God's plan?" I'm not asking if God desires or wills for people to sin, and I'm not asking if God is the author of sin or makes people sin. I'm also not asking about whether God withholds his grace so people will sin.

    What I'm trying to do is better understand the Lutheran position on God's role in predestination and the events that occur in the universe. I know Lutherans teach God only elects and monergistically brings the elect to faith and salvation and that Lutherans also teach, paradoxically, God never wills, desires, or predestines people to hell.

    But does that mean those who sin and all the bad things that happen in the world happen apart from God's plan? If so, how could anything happen in a universe governed by God that isn't part of his plan on some level?

    I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and I wonder if it's possible to understand the evil things that happen in the world as an outworking of God's hierarchy of positive, good desires. In other words, God has a certain set of desires for the world revealed in scripture. He wants all people to come to faith, he wills that none should perish, he hates sin and evil, etc. Yet, God wants people to have the ability to reject him. All these desires are good in the eyes of God, but not necessarily equal. Some desires God wants more than others. For example, as a result of his desire for people to have the freedom to reject him, sinful things happen. If God wanted, he could just instantly bring all people to faith. Thus, God must want people to have the freedom to reject him more than he wants all people to come to faith.

    Couldn't this explain why scripture in some places suggest all things happen as a part of God's plan while also establishing God has a clear desire for all people to come to faith? Is any of this compatible with Lutheranism, or would Lutherans totally reject any idea that God's plan includes sin on any level?
     
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  2. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    I probably appear somewhat un-Lutheran on this subject, so I won't claim to speak for "Lutherandom". It's not my intent to stand apart, but I think the standard Lutheran response to questions like this is unnecessarily confusing.

    With that said, I think where my fellow Lutherans would agree with me is that we try not to become attached to any particular doctrinal term for its own sake. Doing so tends to eventually lead to a separation of the term from Scripture as it accumulates years of baggage. Doctrinal terms are always and ever meant only for an exposition of Scripture. I realize the word "predestine" appears in Scripture, but that doesn't mean Lutherans agree with every idea that has been attached to "predestination".

    But to answer the question: No, I don't think sin is part of God's plan.
     
  3. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Newbie

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    Thanks for weighing in!
     
  4. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Newbie

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    Would you just say it's paradoxical? That God could be all-powerful and all-knowing and the creator of all but not in any way include sin in his overarching plan? Even as a necessary consequence of God's positive, good, loving desires?
     
  5. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    If people want to say they don't have an answer, or that it is hard to understand or a mystery, I'm OK with that. It's when someone says it's a mystery, and then goes on to explain the mystery with paradoxical language that I have a problem. I think that makes it worse rather than better.

    I have my own opinions on the matter that, in my mind, don't result in a paradox. Few seem to find my ideas useful, however. As I indicated, for me it all starts by examining one's assumptions about the terms used. For example, referring to God as "all-powerful and all-knowing" can lead to ridiculous ends unless one is willing to accept an idea of the logically impossible.
     
  6. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Newbie

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    Ok, thanks!
     
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