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Miracle vs God's will

Discussion in 'Christian Philosophy & Ethics' started by af2018af2018, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. af2018af2018

    af2018af2018 New Member

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    Please understand I am a christian. Im asking because Im having a difficult time with this one:

    One of our close friends was in a car accident yesterday. His car was completely destroyed when a dump truck ran a red light and crushed the driver side of his car 10" towards the center. Amazingly, he walked away from it with literally only a scratch to his elbow. My family, friends, his family (all Christian) keep saying its a miracle. And by rights... it is.

    Last month, a college friend of mine died in a horrific car accident when she slid on ice and hit a tree.

    I dont want this to turn into one of those, "Why does God allow bad things to happen" questions because Im trying to dig deeper into this than just that.

    Why is my friend, who survived the accident, considered a miracle and that God watched over him, but my other friend who died in a car accident has to be termed as, "God's will being done?"

    I caught myself by surprise yesterday when my dad said, "Its a miracle he survived"... and I didnt respond at all. Normally I would say, "Right, thats definitely a miracle!" But for some reason I felt like a hypocrite giving God the praise when my other friend just died. Trust me, I know it sounds bad. I dont WANT to sound like a hypocrite, and WANT to trust the Lord..

    I feel like I already know how people will respond to my question.

    "God works in mysterious ways"
    "We dont know everything this side of heaven"

    I want to jump in and join my family by agreeing and saying that YES!.. indeed... it was a miracle he survived. I just feel like a hypocrite because part of me feels like it was just chance that he survived.
     
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  2. tampasteve

    tampasteve Lutheran Staff Member Purple Team - Moderator Supporter

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    Personally, I have wrestled with similar issues and for me it comes to the conclusion that most of life's events - both good and bad - are just life....happenstance more or less. Good things happen because people are good, or we do things that set the right things in motion. Bad things happen because some people are bad. Some people get sick, some get better, some are treated by fantastic doctors, others are treated but do not get better. Disease just does what it does, God is not targeting or healing people on a typical basis. Bodies can do wondrous things on their own based on the abilities that God has given them and us.

    I came to this belief after knowing several families with children with cancer. One got better, one died, one is likely to die soon in spite of valiant efforts from his doctors. All of these families are believers - true Christians. All of them have been praying constantly.

    I do not believe that God plays an active role in good or stopping the bad for the most part. I do believe that miracles can happen, but I do not believe they are anywhere as prevalent as many people seem to think. There is much more of course, but perhaps this is not the place for me to get into it. Feel free to PM me if you would like to discuss more.
     
  3. SPF

    SPF Well-Known Member

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    Why can't both be termed as, "God's will being done?"

    All of us are going to die, right? When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he eventually did die again. I've had two co-workers die from cancer. That was tough. That was sad. But even if God had miraculously healed them, they would still eventually die, either from natural old age or from something else.

    I lost a child. Tough is putting it lightly. Why? Why was that God's Will? I don't know. I don't think I ever will. I almost lost my wife after she gave birth to our third (and final) child. Why did God allow her/us to go through that? I don't know. I don't think I ever will. I know that for me it's caused me to rely on God more, trust God more, and love others more. So maybe that's why? I don't know.

    When we look at Jesus and read the miracle stories, I think one thing we actually miss is that while yes, Jesus did heal people - there were a lot more people that Jesus didn't heal.

    While this may at times be an unsatisfying response, it is actually a humble and honest response. If God really does exist, then He is by definition a Maximally Great Being. This means that God is the greatest conceivable being. There can be no being greater than God. Whatever attributes define and make up God, God has the maximum of them all. One thing God doesn't have, is potential. He can't be greater than He is.

    If we say that some of these attributes included all powerful (omnipotent), all knowing (omniscience), all loving, perfect and unchanging in character (immutable), then we find ourselves with a Being that we can rely on, trust in, and love back. And I think this is the being described in Scripture.

    God then is so far beyond our capacity to understand. The reality then is that if we were God, we would do things exactly like God has done them. It's only in our ignorance and shortsightedness that we think we would have done something different if we were God.

    Why does God heal some now only to let them die later? I don't know. But I'm OK with not knowing because what I do know is that God is loving and just.
     
  4. af2018af2018

    af2018af2018 New Member

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    Appreciate the response. Its very difficult to understand things when we dont understand things.
     
  5. Bob Crowley

    Bob Crowley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This is a common scenario. For example, somebody fails to catch a plane flight, which then crashes. They claim "God" saved them by some fortuitous circumstance which meant they were running late, as the cab didn't turn up. What originally seemed to be a very irritating inconvenience is exalted as a "miracle" of deliverance.

    This ignores all the other people who died in the plane crash, and who caught their cab on time.

    I once heard an ex-homosexual state that at his second (and serious) suicide attempt, Christ materialised in the corner of the room, moved towards him and somehow seemed to merge. From that time on he claimed he didn't even feel tempted by homosexuality, had married and had a couple of young sons as a result.

    But this raised the question as to why doesn't Christ do the same thing for all potential suicides, homosexual or otherwise? Approximately 150,000 other people around the world died the same day, and I think not one of them would have had a miraculous deliverance like he did. Just him alone.

    But he'll still die himself one day, just as Lazarus did, the second time around. He may be dead already, since it'sabout 30 years since I heard that story.

    Incidentally in the story about Lazarus, an often overlooked item is that the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus, with the implication being that they probably did, otherwise why bother to report it?

    John 12:10-11 (NIV)
    So my guess is that Lazarus was later murdered.

    Some good people die young, and some quite evil people die of old age, and of course the opposite.

    We just don't know what God's plan really is. When it's all said and done, I'm just one individual in a world of 7 billion people. Presumably God has a plan for all of us. I don't know about you, but I have no intention of trying to figure out what His personal plan is for 7 billion individuals, including why they will die when they do. It's hard enough trying to cooperate with the plan I presume He's got for my life, let alone the other 7 billion trousered apes around the joint.

    So whether we like it or not, the cliche of a "mystery" still holds - we just do not know.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
  6. miamited

    miamited Ted Supporter

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    Hi af,

    Well, I'm not sure that I'd classify the first accident a miracle. Today's vehicles have a lot of safety devices that are designed to envelop riders in a cushion of 'pillows' during such events. 10" isn't a lot of movement. It would likely cause you to be a little cramped,especially if there's a center console. So, all in all, I'm not so sure that his lack of injuries is a miracle. It would certainly be an outcome for which he should give thanks to God, if he's a believer.

    Did God intervene (which would be the definition of a miracle)? I can't say.

    God bless,
    in Christ, ted
     
  7. af2018af2018

    af2018af2018 New Member

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    You bring up a interesting point. If we forget miracles for a second, and like you said, thank God for surviving... why are we really thanking God? For saving us? For the engineers who developed the air bags? For spending too much on a car we cant afford which just happened to have airbags, but if we spent less to save money, we would have died?

    Again, Im a strong believe in Christ. Im just asking questions which sometimes I feel 'shouldnt be asked' because others will think you 'dont believe'.

    As @Bob Crowley mentioned concerning planes, several people missed their flights on 9/11... and survived. Obviously their family must have said it was a miracle.
    But.. really? Thousands dead... you survive because you missed your plane and its a miracle?

    I like what @tampasteve said, "are just life....happenstance more or less.

    It so interesting being a Christian. Faith. We believe, but I suppose dont really know what we're believing in. That sounds so bad. Is it wrong to ask these questions? Why do I feel like im doubting my faith by asking? I dont think its displeasing to God to ask deep questions, right? Asking doesnt have to mean doubting.
     
  8. tampasteve

    tampasteve Lutheran Staff Member Purple Team - Moderator Supporter

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    I would say that there is nothing wrong with thanking God that we survived, we don't know all that went into the circumstance that caused us to live. Was it likely just a combination of living in a time when life saving devices are around and we happen to be saved by that? Probably, but there is never anything wrong with praising God -using our time here to praise him.
    Personally I believe not asking the questions is the bigger problem. Not sorting it out and thinking, praying upon these questions leads people to loose faith when they have a major life event that tests said faith.

    I do not believe it is wrong to ask these questions, not at all. It does feel like one is doubting to an extent, but I do not believe we are doubting Christ, we are possibly doubting an interpretation of the religion that may not match up with life experience and our study of scripture, and there is nothing wrong with doubting that. So we are not doubting the faith, but rather doubting an expression of said faith.
     
  9. mdamon0501

    mdamon0501 New Member

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    From my view it is all Gods will. From the beginning to the end, God has rested from all His works in creation. Is God deistic, or theistic? Did He create and leave the earth to its devices, or do we believe He is active in creation? The Bible clearly argues the latter, and Jesus argues the same way, "an hour is coming, and now is."

    Or we go to Ecclesiastes where he argues there is nothing new under the sun. Or Job where he questions why he was born if from his mother's womb, all his days were to lead to the calamity which he suffered, and God rebukes him by asking him to describe the method by which creation was accomplished, or numbering the sand.

    This for me is one of those arenas in Christian thought where we must be humble, and understand that it is not below the Faithful to say the words "I don't know." The secret things are the Lords. Be grateful to God that he survived, but be humbled by the fact that such things can happen without warning. "The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." The Bible refers to us as a vapor, or a blade of grass, that today is and tomorrow is gone, so what value do we apply to our life? To worship the Living God, and do his righteousness on Earth. We are not our own.

    The Book of Romans is a great place in the Bible do study this particular question. The Book of Hebrews too.
     
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