Sunday, November 11, 2007


One of the things I am thinking about is the concept of dualism. That word has come to imply and mean more than I usually think of theologically. What I am thinking about is the theology that sees the world as a battleground for a war between a good power and a bad power. A good god and a bad god. That's what I was taught when I was growing up and it certainly makes sense in many ways. But I've found myself going into difficult situations and saying, 'I hope God isn't going to give me too hard a time.' And then I catch myself and say, 'God isn't the enemy'. I've wondered why I seem sometimes to confuse the work of God and the work of Satan/evil/whatever. But having taken a step into trusting my own feelings and thinking that maybe those challenges are brought on by God I begin to see things in a new light.
I probably put myself at a disadvantage in many ways by insisting on a pretty strict intellectual consistency. Many people are happy to say in one breath, 'God is totally in control' and in the next, 'we have free will.' They don't easily go together - without a whole lot of buts.
I tend to paint things very much in black and white and things can become so clear when I realise that there are more colours! Yes, God does cause suffering. But not all suffering (speaking on a kind of close to earth level, not ultimate responsibility theologically!). He can cause me to grow by allowing people who are close to me, and Christians, to cause me pain - I've not been able to understand how Satan could use Christians to hurt me. But he doesn't send the drunken driver to kill a child. That is part of the fallen world - and where we play our part in the battle between good and evil which does exist.
So sometimes it is God and sometimes it is Satan. If it is from God, grow and learn. If it is from Satan defend, fight, learn. And discern.


rebecca said...

You know what I have come to believe; I believe GOD allows the enemy to test our faith. I look at the scripture like Job or the sower and the seeds and the book of James.

I think the scriptures make no bones about trials and testings. It is hard for me to fathom sometimes these two maybe three or four worlds. I believe GOD is many dimensions.

The power of darkness is real and unsettling.


Jenny Hillebrand said...

The many dimensions of God is exciting but also hard for my simple brain to handle. Right now, I just want to be where he is and get a nice clear view! Grow me slowly Lord.

rebecca said...

usually the view is His backside and a few moments behind (my experience anyhow).


David Barbour said...

Yes, rather tricky the question of who is it that causes the pain. It boils no doubt to the "Why do we suffer debate?" It is even harder to imagine the classic understanding that it is God who created all things including the evil "Satan" you speak about.
The cross no matter where it comes from is always a place of utter hopelessess and at the same time can be the place of complete redemption. Strange but true?

Jenny Hillebrand said...

Becky - When I have enough faith - and perhaps self-confidence - travelling with God is like riding a wave and that is awesome. But too often something trips me up and I lose the wave and then I paddle like crazy trying to find God again. And yes visibility is low. But I live for the times that I surf with him.

David - for me the cross tells me that however bad it is for me, Jesus has been there and survived and the Father still loved him. Becky posted something similar to what you said on her blog.

Thank you for your comments!