Knowing the Will of God
I have to return to one more thing that came up in Jeremy’s comments. It was this : “The same distinction that appears in other discussions related to God’s will has to arise here also. There’s God’s sovereign will, which we only know for sure when it actually happens, and there’s God’s revealed moral will, which we can tell just by knowing right and wrong. ”
Maybe this was just a bit sloppy and unclear because it was in the comments, I’m not sure, but I have a few things to observe about the last part of that sentence, “….which we can tell just by knowing right and wrong.”
The truth is that man is very faulty in knowing right and wrong. All that subjectivity, you know. Perhaps what was meant was that we can just tell from the revelation of the Bible. That wasn’t clear.
I am not sure we can’t know God’s Sovereign Will to a certain extent. It seems to have a partial revelation in the scriptures, especially in prophecy. We seem to have a picture of the final outcome and certainly one of how He wants us to be, in Jesus. So I don’t know that it is accurate to say that God’s Sovereign Will is a complete mystery to be unfolded when it has played out.
I think we can know quite alot right now. If only we will. I do think we are constantly surprised as we go through this walk with God; there are so many times it is not quite as we picture, but that is “seeing through a glass darkly” I would think. Our humanity distorts a bit, and limits our vision…. but does not obscure completely. We just have a lot of adjusting to do.
Coming back ’round to the American Revolution retrospect:
“I think a very good case can be made that the American Revolution was an unjust war. The kinds of oppression these people were claiming was not worthy of a rebellion.” (-Jeremy)
The case wouldn’t be made on this premise. Some kinds of oppression are acceptable and some are not? I don’t think this is what is meant. Perhaps degree is meant? Still, the line doesn’t par up with the original premise. If all government is God-instituted and should not be rebelled against ( and I saw no exemptions to the rule given), then where do the extenuating circumstances come in? When is it ever right to oppose oppression? If there is not a clear indicator of when God approves the opposition, is not man acting on his own recognizance and God’s view is hidden from man? This is what does not seem Biblical to me: the idea that man cannot seek and find the Will of God whether to support or defy a government. That we have a sort of scratch and see card to find whether we were doing God’s Will or not, after the fact.
I know that is not what Jeremy said, but I think that is what it leads to. It is not a matter of faith, either, because in order to have faith you have to know what you are believing in. It is substance anchored into the unseen to human eyes, but not unseen spiritually.
Law is a very tangible thing in the idea that it is clearly delinated. Law is concrete. And that is what government is, the body of law…even if it is only the will of the despot. So we take its measure by the measure that God has given, the law of Moses, and we see whether it is just or unjust as a whole. ( That includes the imperfections that man must allow for).
If I am wrong, advise me, but I believe a large reason for the American Revolution was the uneven application of the Colonists rights as Englishman to have fair representation in their government. Maybe I am mistaken on that. But within the English government was the hard won rule that Englishmen had certain rights,( in many of the contemporaneous documents I read it was a main source of protest).
There’s that word again. No political discussion seems to get around it. Rights.
…”if anyone had a right to claim oppression, it was the slave population imported from Africa”. (-Jeremy)
Oops. Jumping ahead of ourselves here. The trouble with some of the line on oppression and justice vs. injustice is sometimes mans collective understanding of it. It takes time for ideas to filter through society and actually get applied. This right to claim oppression did come in its time. It took time for the idea that God created man with certain unalienable rights to become applied to those men ( and then women) who were undeniably human…. as hard as some tried to dispute the fact for purposes of their own.
But that evolution does not apply to God’s Word, and it has been my own contention that it is the inexorable power of God’s Truth that breaks through the stubbornness of man to mold government to his own selfish design. I think man will excuse slavery every time if you simply leave it to his “rationality” and “sense of right and wrong”, because sinful man likes to dominate others and subdue them to his own will. We all do that left to our own devices…to greater or lesser extent. I think we have learned to have a hatred for slavery.
It is God’s revealed will that showed us something better than following what “seems right in our own eyes”. Including abolishing slavery.
Which is why it is so important to figure that out.
“There’s nothing Christian about the United States, and there never was, because such a thing is impossible.”(-Jeremy)
I’m sorry, but that’s just plain wrong. The United States has been highly influenced by Christianity. Numerous Western nations have been, but the US structure and beginnings as a sovereign state especially bear its mark. There is lots that is Christian about the USA. Maybe this was one of sloppy areas, with imprecision in the vocabulary. We are a secular nation, but much of our principles of government and as a culture were rooted in Christian tenets.