Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Tony Campolo vs. the God of the Bible

I know this was published a week or so ago, but since I never highlighted Tony Campolo's attempted critique of the belief of God's omnipotence--Katrina: Not God's Wrath--or His Will--I'll quote from it here.

Perhaps we would do well to listen to the likes of Rabbi Harold Kushner, who contends that God is not really as powerful as we have claimed. Nowhere in the Hebrew Scriptures does it say that God is omnipotent. Kushner points out that omnipotence is a Greek philosophical concept, but it is not in his Bible. Instead, the Hebrew Bible contends that God is mighty. That means that God is a greater force in the universe than all the other forces combined.
Contrary to Campolo...

Scripture is clear that God can do whatever he pleases:

"Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases." (Psalm 115:3)

Scripture is clear that God ordains all things:

God "works all things according to the counsel of his will." (Ephesians 1:11)

Scripture is clear that God ordained all of our days:

"In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them." (Psalm 139:16)

Scripture is clear that that God ordains seeminly random things:

"The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD." (Proverbs 16:33)

Scripture is clear that God ordains disasters:

"Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it?" (Amos 3:6)

Scripture is clear that God controls the winds and the rains:

"He called for a famine upon the land; He broke the whole staff of bread" (Psalm 105:16).
"Even the wind and the sea obey Him" (Mark 4:39, 41).
"He makes the winds His messengers, Flaming fire His ministers" (Psalm 104:4).
"He makes lightnings for the rain, [He] brings forth the wind from His treasuries" (Psalm 135:7).
"He causes His wind to blow and the waters to flow . . . Fire and hail, snow and clouds; Stormy wind, fulfilling His word" (Psalm 147:18; 148:8)

Charles Spurgeon expresses the biblical worldview of God's abilities and actions:

I believe that every particle of dust that dances in the sunbeam does not move an atom more or less than God wishes--that every particle of spray that dashes against the steamboat has its orbit, as well as the sun in the heavens--that the chaff from the hand of the winnower is steered as the stars in their courses. The creeping of an aphid over the rosebud is as much fixed as the march of the devastating pestilence--the fall of . . . leaves from a poplar is as fully ordained as the tumbling of an avalanche.