Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Cause And Cure Of Earthquakes

It’s striking to compare contemporary Arminian theodicy with old-fashioned Arminian theodicy before it became so politically correct. This is how Arminians used to address natural evil:

And here’s how they respond today:

Perhaps their judgment is clouded by grief. That’s understandable. Yet Charles Wesley was no stranger to sorrow. For instance, he lost five of his kids, as well as many of his siblings.

What happened between then and now? When did Arminian theology domesticate God–and why? Which Arminian God represents the true Arminian God? 


  1. It seems a bit presumptuous to suggest one *knows* that a particular disaster was not only the will of God but that He intended it specifically as a punishment for the victims of that particular disaster. Sure, one can suggest that it would be consistent with some actions of God as He is reflected in the Bible, but ... "God is punishing you!".

    Really? You know that, do you, Mr Piper?

    Besides, what is the point of even uttering such a statement? If we must assume that the victims of the disaster are guilty of serious enough crimes to warrant death or the destruction and uprooting of their entire lives, why are we under any moral obligation to assist them at all?

    I don't know how many posts I've seen on this blog that insist that our moral duties vary depending on the relative guilt of the person involved (e.g., we are not bound to assist the person who has cancer due to personal vices to the same degree we are those who have acquired it through environment or other factors).

    So God tore up several cities recently. For him to have targeted these folks while leaving intact cities like Vegas, Reno and Salt Lake must mean that these people were up to some seriously debauched behavior, no? That's the only rational conclusion that can be drawn. As such, they should fend for themselves, yes?

    Piper's note that there should be any attempt to alleviate these peoples' suffering is, to me, inconsistent and a form of backpedaling.

  2. I myself haven't argued that natural evils are inherently or presumptively punitive. For instance, Job's family died in natural disasters, but that wasn't a divine judgment. That had an ulterior purpose, but it wasn't punitive. Likewise, the congenital blindness of the man in Jn 9 wasn't punitive.

  3. James, did you even read the article (or sermon/whatever)?

    I might be wrong, but I think we're talking about this link:

    If so, then here's what Piper ACTUALLY wrote/said...

    In other words, Why Henryville, and not Hollywood?

    God’s answer to Job is not that he was a worse sinner than the “wicked” — or that Maryville had some dark secret.

    His answer was, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?’” (Romans 11:33–34; Job 15:8; 36:22f).

    Job’s loss was not a measure of his immorality. “Job was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil” (Job 1:1).

    In fact, perhaps God chose Job for that deadly wind because only the likes of Job would respond: “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

    2. Luke 13:4–5, “Unless you repent.”

    A Tower fell and killed 18 people in Jesus’ day. Jesus spoke into that situation: “Those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:4–5).

    This is a word to those of us who sit safely in Minneapolis or Hollywood and survey the desolation of Maryville and Henryville. “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

    Every deadly wind in any town is a divine warning to every town.


    We are not God’s counselors. Nor can we fathom all his judgments. That was the lesson of Job. Let us beware, therefore, of reading the hand of providence with too much certainty or specificity. God is always doing a thousand things when he does anything. And we see but a fraction.

    Then there's a link at the very end.

    You can show your partnership in suffering, and help lift the load, at Samaritan’s Purse.

    [I used bold for emphasis]

    This is Piper's consistent position as can be shown by this link (sermon from 1988?):

    Unless You Repent You Will All Likewise Perish
    (I recommend)

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. All life is a preparation for death, and the real tragedy is if our sins are not under the blood.

    And yes the early Wesleyan Methodists evidently did have a high view of providence, and also had a high view of repentance. From the linked sermon of Wesley:

    How slow is the Lord to anger! how unwilling to punish! By what leisurely steps does he come to take vengeance! How many lighter afflictions before the final blow!

    Repent and believe the gospel. Believe on the Lord Jesus, and ye shall yet be saved. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish. Repentance alone will profit you nothing; neither do ye repent, unless ye confess with broken hearts the most damnable of all your sins, your unbelief; your having rejected, or not accepted, Jesus Christ as your only Saviour. Neither can ye repent unless he himself gives the power; unless his Spirit convince you of sin, because ye believe not in Him.

    Till ye repent of your unbelief, all your good desires and promises are vain, and will pass away as a morning cloud. The vows which ye make in a time of trouble, ye will forget and break as soon as the trouble is over and the danger past.