Is God to Blame?
A couple of weeks ago I responded to several years worth of the world's problems and what I felt was a world-cry of the church not doing enough. When people are suffering or in some kind of pain, they strongly desire peace and the main two paths they'll travel to achieve that are via comfort or blame.
The church can only do so much and even if the Christian churches in the US and around the world were to step-it-up BIG TIME, people would still point fingers and make angry faces. We can do more and help more but there will always be someone who needs more help or who was helped the wrong way or with the wrong thing etc. Read that post here, if you haven't yet and are interested in reading about my thoughts.
Ultimately God is in control, right?
If your mom dies or your cat gets sick, if your car won't start or you stub your toe, if a volcano blows or it rains two inches, the God of the Universe made that happen right?
If that is true - then when God does something or even allows something to happen that I don't like or disagree with, I can justifiably blame God - right?
If I can blame God for these problems than I can also be angry with God... right?
LOGIC would tell me, YES! It makes sense: it follows that IF God is in control of everything AND if something terrible happens, THEN I can rightfully blame God.
Many years ago there was a man named Job. He had tons of blessings: health, children, livestock, property, etc. Within hours, tragedy after tragedy struck and Job was left with nothing but a frustrated wife who was actively encouraging him to "curse God and die."
Job also had three friends who came to visit him. At first they sat in comfort. Then they engaged because they had to discover the meaning behind Job's unprecedented losses. Why would these things happen to our friend? WHO IS TO BLAME?
They all saw God as a key player in Job's catastrophe, but all for different reasons and variations of thought. They all also basically agree though that the BLAME must be put on Job - either Job sinned, or his children did... something must have happened to trigger the Almighty and the actions of God are just punishments.
Without overanalyzing or even getting to the conclusion of Job (where & when God finally speaks) we have a clearly shifting point of view.
Where does justice come from?
What is right and wrong?
Job and his friends all BEGIN with the same outlook - GOD IS JUST. GOD IS RIGHT. God doesn't make mistakes. Their questions and conclusions differ a bit, but they all start from that place.
Most of the questions and arguments that we hear these days have a different foundation. Our society values the individual as being the one who determines rightness and wrongness. Each person judges for themselves what is fair or just. Therefore when God does something outside of the bounds of what we believe is good or appropriate we blame God and feel fine about being angry with God.
A Christian/Biblical worldview would tell us that Job and his buddies were right... right?
Fundamentally, yes... but at the end of the account, God does show up and God does speak. What God says to all of them is essentially, "You should not speak about the things that you don't really understand." The poem spoken by God is masterful and humbling to anyone who reads it. God does assert Himself as the judge. He is not the one to be questioned, He is the one who does the questioning.
The book of Genesis does connect the realities of sin and suffering, at least it does in the beginning (no pun intended). Adam and Eve sin and they are promptly removed from the Garden of Eden. The whole world is full of sin and God sends the flood. The people of Babel pridefully build their tower to the heavens and God confuses their languages.
By the middle of the book we meet Abraham who is known as the "father of the faithful." This man's sin does not receive swift punishment. He lies about who his wife is and then later has a baby with his wife's servant in an attempt to bring about God's promise. God doesn't reject Abraham but sticks with him because God made that promise and won't break it.
Abe's grandson Jacob seems to be rewarded at times for his mischievous ways.
Genesis ends with the story of Jacob's son Joseph whose story relates very well to Job's. Joseph had it all, then had it all ripped away. Then he caught a break, then was wrongfully accused and tossed in prison. He ends up as second in command in Egypt and saves his family. Joseph never blames God but remains faithful throughout the ups and downs. He also neither blames himself nor place blame on his brothers (who had sold him into slavery). He famously tells them, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives" Genesis 50:20.
Joseph was less concerned about whether or not his current circumstances were fair or not. Wherever he was, he made the most of it. That's not to say that he was never sad or grieving, just that it doesn't appear that these things shook his faith.
Jesus adds to the conversation in Matthew 5, "43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy.44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect."
And then again in Luke 13, "Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
That clears it all up - right?
To sum up:
God is just
God is right
God is good
God is in control
God is infinitely bigger and more powerful than your brain can comprehend.
You are free to blame God whatever happens that you don't like, from catastrophes to hang nails. However, keep in mind that placing that blame will not bear much fruit for you.
The God of the Bible also grieves and mourns and weeps. In His wisdom He allows us to live in a universe where pain and sickness and death exist. The Apostle Paul would describe God as, "the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort" 2 Corinthians 1:3.
There aren't very clear and easy answers. It is also much, much easier to write all of these things outside of the circle of suffering. But, as tempting as it may be to blame God, the better way is always to look to God for comfort.