Apr 15

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QUESTION: All people die, but when we die, is it because God “took them” (that is, God decided to actively end their lives by means of an accident, illness or even a murder)?
ANSWER: If God directly takes us at His desire, then…
1. Why, since God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), did He save apostle Peter from death, but let apostle James be killed? (Acts 12).
2. God should be totally happy when “taking people” since everything went according to His Will. However, regarding such a matter, God Himself groaned in the spirit and wept (John 11:33-35).
3. God is rightly blamed for tearing a precious child from the arms of loving parents thereby causing the parents great and long lasting anguish of heart. [Question: Since Herod did such a thing (Mat. 2:16), should he then be praised instead of abhorred?]

Also consider this compound, yet valid and sound argument: If God directly “takes people” (i.e., caused their death), and if Christians were put to death by persecutors of Christianity (Luke 11:49), then God is the source (i.e., the one responsible) for the persecution of Christians to their death. Thus, if God is the source for the persecution of Christians to their death, then: (1) the persecutors are not guilty (for they were only carrying out the Will of God [Mat. 7:21]); (2) God is guilty of great evil (1 John 3:15); and (3) God is involved in self-destruction (2 Tim. 3:12). However, it is not the case that the persecutors were not guilty (1 Thes. 2:15; cf., Acts 2:36); nor is it the case that God is guilty of evil (Deut. 32:4; 1 John 1:5); nor is it the case that God is involved in self-destruction (Mat. 12:24-30). Thus, it is not the case that God is the source (the one responsible) for the persecution of Christians to their deaths. Therefore, it is not the case that God directly “takes people” (causes their deaths).

The truth of the matter is, God does not directly end the lives of people. Rather, it is this. The world in which we live (which is a temporary testing [not, tempting] place in which it is determined whether or not one chooses to believe, love and obey God) has laws of nature which may be violated. For example: (1) gravity holds us down, but if we fall off a cliff we will suffer damage; (2) fire is most useful for cooking and for heat, but a bumped candle can burn a house (and those in it); (3) knives can cut rope, but if we are not careful they cut our finger or pierce our heart; (4) etc. Furthermore, there are religious and moral laws of God. When a man chooses not to obey God, he sins. Sometimes those sins are directed to others by which they may even be murdered. Actually, all causes of death are due to man’s sin. It is very important to remember that God made a perfect garden for man, including a tree therein of which eating its fruit would keep them from dying (Gen. 2:9-3:22). Yet, man’s sin resulted in his expulsion. Furthermore, due to man’s great sin, God brought the flood (Gen. 6) which severely changed the world from that which was very good (Gen. 1:31) into that which now has earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, diseases and such like (2 Pet. 3:6). Thus, today, when a person dies, it is because he lives in a physical world of which he has come into conflict with the physical dangers therein—and not because God decided to directly take them.

Gary Henson

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