Friday, January 05, 2007

On Blaming God

I have been praying for years for various things. Some of these involve the cessation of certain sins and shortcomings in my life. I pray to God for his Spirit, or for his power, or for his grace, or whatever. Many times I am blessed to have my requests met, others there is a strange silence or waiting period. It is during those times, especially if whatever it is I am praying about, that it is tempting to blame God. Being that I am a Calvinist, I believe that God is sovereign, that is, he has absolute say in the workings of the world he created and continually sustains. How is it, then, that my moral shortcomings should be so prevalent, pervasive, and perpetual?

At one point in time, one scholar said that the genius of the Calvinist system is that it avoids the two horns of the Arminian-Fatalist dilemma: because of God's sovereignty, the classic Calvinist has always felt called to a life of high moral purity and social action. Somehow in the system this works, no matter how paradoxical it sounds. The question that I wrestle with, then, is not so much, "where is God?" but, "where am I?" To be quite truthful, my desire to blame God is more of a projection on him of my own unwise decisions. Luther said that we must believe in God's sovereignty but act as if everything is contingent. My own wrong decisions, which I have seen a lot of in the last week, have been main deterrent to my prayers being answered. What good does it do me to pray against such-and-such a deed if I full well intend to do that very thing later on?

One of the most helpful political principles I have ever learned is the "consent of the governed". Every governmental authority ultimately derives their power from the power over whom they "rule". If enough of the people decide that they do not like the ruler, they can depose him. That is the neglected (oh so sorely neglected) genius of the US Constitution. If I believe that in many ways I am a slave to sin, why do I not apply this principle, instead of blaming God for not releasing me from slavery? He has already done that, once and for all, on the cross of his Son. I already have the writ of release, yet I keep my shackles on. However, God has told all that we do not have to languish in sin, it is our choice. No blame can be foisted on God for our shortcomings, especially mine. I have none to blame but myself.

1 comment:

Beav said...

Admittedly, I have none of your background in theology and can't quote anyone to lend (read the quotes heavily) "credibility" to my opinion, but maybe the problem isn't in God's sense of timing, but in your sense of capability.

Is God so spur-of-the-moment that strength, grace, spirit, wisdom, etc. must be granted day by day, or is it that we were granted access to all the gamut of traits good and bad from the outset? When we pray for that which we believe to be "God-like" are we really asking ourselves for the courage overcome our own fear of that within ourselves which we believe to be divine?