God’s providence, human suffering, and the illusion of control

The belief that God has a plan for our lives provides a measure of comfort and security, but is it just an illusion?


2 thoughts on “God’s providence, human suffering, and the illusion of control

  1. Robert Miller says:

    I’m going to comment on this because I feel you’re missing the point as to why there is hunger. It is as if this one child’s condition is happening in a vacuum, which it most certainly is not, and which I’m sure you’d agree.

    Now I’m no global policy maker, there are others who are better and more attuned to that kind of thing, otherwise we’d really be up the creek. But I’d direct your attention to an organization like Tearfund (there are others more secular and less secular) and read some of their policy documents:


    The poorest of countries are in massive amounts of debt, which they have no means of paying back, the governments are corrupt, there is a lack of funding for important resources such as education, transit, sanitation all contributing factors to a cycle of poverty. Meanwhile, the most affluent have masses and masses of surplus food, access to the best education, good affordable health care, strong infrastructure…….you get the picture.

    Now you seem to be falling on the line that that’s just humanity and nature at it’s best (or worst) and using it as a means for rejecting certain elements of Christian philosophy and even dare I say it evading responsibility for your part in why these images of suffering and starvation still exist in today’s world.

    I too find that picture of the child unacceptable, and I believe we are called to stand up and defend the defenseless, be a voice for the voiceless, be a strength for the weak, and to speak truth to injustice. It’s not enough to put a band-aid on a wound that’s cut to the bone and gushing blood. Too often that’s what we do, but if we do nothing then this picture will continue and continue and continue.

    But rather than argue over what a child’s suffering means why not stand up and get our hand dirty to try and break the cycle.

    Right-o all the best


  2. Darryl Sloan says:

    Hi, Rob.

    If I can summarise what you’re saying it’s basically that man is responsible. And to that I wholeheartedly agree. Poverty is down down to mankind’s own mismanagement of the planet. Guilty.

    But let’s not forget God’s providence over creation, and the mystery of free will in the mix. We both know that we cannot resolve this paradox by using one at the expense of the other. In other words, we can’t use man’s free will to infer that God is not soverign (which is what I think you’re suggesting, in order to excuse his inactivity), nor can be we use God’s sovereignty to negate free will. You either live with the mystery and acknowledge both, or you opt for one side consistently.

    But this was never about laying blame upon God; that would be foolish. It was simply about the harsh realities of physical life communicating the idea that God is either unreal or impersonal.

    I totally agree that mankind needs to do more to heal the world, but that’s a whole other issue from what’s under scrutiny here. There will always be undeserved horrors of one kind or another in the world – whether it’s a baby born with two heads or whatever.

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