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God’s Design, God’s Responsibility

I am the Lord, and there is no other, the One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.
–Isaiah 45:6-7

God has an intricate design for His creation, including your life. In Psalm 139:13-14 David wrote, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.” He went on to say, “In Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them” (v. 16). Before you were born, God wove you together in your mother’s womb. Everything about your physical, emotional, and genetic makeup was predetermined by God. Think about all of the intricate details God had to work out to make sure your mother and your father got together at just the right time in history. If God had missed even one of those tiny details, you would not exist.

But if God says He is in control of everything that happens in the universe, then He has to take credit not just for the good things, but the bad things. Is God willing to accept responsibility for everything that happens in His creation? Let’s think about physical suffering. When a baby is born blind or mentally challenged, what is our explanation for that? A Christian might say, “We live in a fallen world, and these things just happen.” Some Christians would even blame Satan for it. But would anybody say God is responsible for that baby? Nobody would, except God Himself. Look at what He said in Exodus 4:11: “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?” God Himself takes responsibility.

What about calamity in the world, things like famines or hurricanes or tragedies like September 11? God takes responsibility for those things as well. In Isaiah 45:6-7, He said, “I am the Lord, and there is no other, the One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.” Some theologians try to let God off the hook by saying, “God does not cause these things; He just allows them to happen.” Let me be clear: I do not believe God is the author of evil. That would be inconsistent with who He reveals Himself to be in Scripture. But if God is able to prevent suffering and still allows it, then God has to be held responsible for everything that happens in His universe. For example, let’s say you are on the way to an appointment, and you see an older woman being mugged right in front of you. You have the ability to stop the mugger, but you are running late, so you go on your way and do nothing to help. Now, you are not the one who mugged the older lady. But the fact that you let it happen when you could have intervened makes you somewhat responsible, doesn’t it? It is the same way with God. If God has the power to stop evil and He chooses not to, He has to be held ultimately responsible.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Is God Ultimately Responsible For Suffering?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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