Sunlight Shining Through Cloud

The Judgment Of God: Glenn Beck Version

Posted on: March 16, 2011

Yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater is not okay.  Saying that the president is a socialist, yellow-bellied foreigner is okay.  In the first instance, the safety of the theater’s occupants is put in jeopardy.  In the second instance, mere bombast — while potentially slanderous — is protected free speech.  I would argue strenuously in favor of anyone who speaks ill of the president because curtailing your right to speak your mind — on this or any subject — would curtail my right to speak my own opinions; even if you’re right and I’m wrong.  It’s a two-way street.

This post is not about the exercise of the right to free speech; it’s about what is being spoken.

The tragic events in Japan seem to be getting worse by the day: earthquake, tsunami, death, injury, displacement, nuclear meltdown, Mount Fuji could blow.  What does tomorrow bring?  It’s almost too much for us to take in.  How much worse must it be for the people who are living it?

All manner of reporting has kept us abreast of events.  All manner of expert analyses have been rendered.  Now it’s apparently time for some opinionists to crawl out of their caves.

Glenn Beck inferred that God is punishing the Japanese.  Perhaps worse, he didn’t say what he said.  Confused?  Try this: on his radio show on Monday, Beck said,  “I’m not saying God is, you know, causing earthquakes.  I’m not not saying that either.  Whatever you call God, there’s a message being sent.  And that is, ‘Hey, you know that stuff we’re doing?  Not really working out real well.  Maybe we should stop doing some of it.’  I’m just saying.”

From a free speech point of view, I have no problem with Beck expressing an opinion.  From a bully-pulpit, “Fire!”-in-the-theater point of view, I have a right and (perhaps) an obligation to mitigate his vitriol.  His method of expression is a cowardly way of saying something without saying it, and it fits a profile of his own creation.

At least Beck’s political/religious forebears had the brass to say it outright.  Commenting just after 9/11, Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell said, “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen.'”  Then Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson responded, “Well, I totally concur.”

I’m just one little ‘David’ taking on three political ‘Goliath’s’.  They have the right to speak with hubris.  I have the right to disagree.

The thesis put forth by Beck, Falwell, Robertson and others is that God is vindictive; hateful.  I say the opposite: God is love.  To prove this, I will explore the creation of the earth, the creation of God’s children, and His parenting practices through the ages.

Theology’s greatest mystery is when and how God, Himself, was created.  While that puzzle remains unsolvable, there is little argument (even among Christians) that the earth was created about 4.6 billion years ago.  You’ll recall from scripture that it was without form and void.  The creation story (Genesis) tells us that some animals were created on the fifth day and the remainder early on the sixth.

If a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day to God (2Peter3:8), what was the void and formless earth doing between its creation and the placement of animals upon it?  It was evolving into a form capable of sustaining the lives of animals.  In geological terms, land masses were slowly moving to where they are today.  This movement was manifest with great earthquakes and hurricanes and volcanoes and ice ages.  Mountains weren’t just plunked down upon the face of the planet; they were formed through the compression of land masses over a very long time.  Rivers weren’t placed into the landscape, they were etched into it over millennia.  Continental shelves and fault lines and the locations of the oceans are among the natural products of the process of earth’s growth.  And the big news is that earth continues to shift/contract/grow every single day.  Including last Friday.  Including today.

Earth’s natural law is the way in which the planet fulfills God’s plan for it and for the creations supported by it.  God won’t violate His own law to keep us from thinking that He hates us.  Thus, “catastrophic” events are not and cannot be inflictions from God.  They are, simply, the product of natural law.

So, why would a loving God put his children in an unsafe place?  We might question His parenting skills.

God created humans about 2.2 million years ago.  Scripture tells us that God created us to love Him.  Why would He do otherwise?  Of course, true love must be a decision made of our own free will, so God had to give us the freedom of choice.  If we couldn’t choose to love Him, we’d be robots in service to a master.  The part of us God’s most interested in is the spirit which was crafted to seek and find, fall in love with and eventually live alongside our Creator.  That’s His plan.  But it’s our choice.

We have not only choice, but a self-preservation instinct.  This serves to self-motivate continued good health, gives us defensive and offensive capability, and has kept us alive as individuals and as a species.  But our bodies can’t exist forever; they’re not supposed to.  The planet was intentionally not created with resources sufficient to sustain an accumulating population forever.  And God’s great plan isn’t satisfied by our continued physical existence.  There must be an end to physical life in order for the spirit to wind up where it will go.

Given these traits — choice and self-preservation — and the reality of a finite physical life, humans were problematic by nature from the very start.

Simplistically, there are two kinds of parenting: the “junior’s-going-to-grow-up-to-be-a-fine-young-man-someday” kind, and the tough-love kind.  The first kind lets the child find its own way without restriction.  Some say this is a lazy kind of parenting.  (Confession: I was one of these.)

The second way is motivated by love.  It sets boundaries as a means of protection, and sometimes finds it necessary to remind us when we’ve taken risks beyond the safety of the boundaries.

The latter is the relationship God had with His children at the beginning.  He’d hand down laws (boundaries) so we’d have necessary guidance.  We’d go another way and He’d have to reel us back in.  It is only the scale of God’s discipline that causes us today to think of Him as mean.  Meanness has never been His motivation.

Over time, things got bad enough that God decided to do something new and different.  He sent part of Himself to earth to wipe our slates clean and to be an example of how we should live.  Accomplishing that, God didn’t have any new laws to hand down; He didn’t have to mete out any disciplines.  It began a new era in His relationship with us.  This is the age we now live in.  Today, we have and need only this guidance:

“’Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.’  This is the first and most important commandment.  The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is, ‘Love others as much as you love yourself.’  All the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets are based on these two commandments.”

 —  Jesus       Matthew 22:37-40  (CEV)

There is an end to this age: Rapture, Armageddon, Revelation, Eternity.  Only God knows when and how these things will happen, and He counsels us not to speculate (Acts 1:7).  But until then — and after then — God gets to be what He is: pure, absolute love.

This is how I know that God isn’t bringing punishment upon anyone who suffers in any kind of abnormality:

  • His natural laws are working just as they should.
  • The traits of choice and self-preservation, and the reality of a finite life continue as intended.
  • His judgment of those present on earth doesn’t come till the end.

Only God is perfect.  We humans are inherently imperfect.  We have, therefore, no right to condemn anyone (Matt.7:3-5).  If Glenn Beck, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and others studied their Bibles without the overlay of their personal agendas, they would know that only God knows when the end is coming.  They would know that God reserves for Himself alone the right to judge.  They would know how very dangerous it is for them to act as if they were God.

2 Responses to "The Judgment Of God: Glenn Beck Version"

This is a truly valuable perspective.

There are different connotations of the word ‘judgment’. Judgment, can describe one’s personal capacity to discern right from wrong, and/or to make sound choices based on rational discernment of a given situation.

Judgment, as described in Revelation, is a prescribed woe, or hardship, which can take the form of illness, suffering, malady, even natural or supernatural disasters. A judgment bowl poured out on the earth suggests to me that the pouring out of such judgment is a deliberate act being carried out for a specific purpose.

God does love us, and you’ll never hear me say he doesn’t. But our God is a jealous God, who is Holy, and cannot tolerate sin. The truth is that God’s judgments, as described throughout the bible and history, were always his ways of trying to get His people’s attention. Call them efforts at course correction.

The theory that God has chosen to punish the people of Japan seems to be a bit off the mark. God did not put the Japanese people in harm’s way. The Japanese people built many settlements at the water’s edge. It was a calculated risk, and the forces of nature are neither merciful nor do they respect nations, borders, boundaries or creeds.

The lesson to be learned here is this: There is danger and risk which is resident anywhere you go. The risks of living in the desert, or by the sea, or on a mountain, or in a valley, are varied and serve to remind us that we are susceptible to the perils of life, and as such, we should all make it a priority to settle our affairs with God in such a manner that meeting our physical demise will not leave us lacking a savior.

If you believe in an all-powerful God, then there is no need to doubt that He is able to create worlds, old, new whichever might serve His purpose, which we cannot know.

Those that postulate that science disproves the bible are selling God short. And missing the much larger point, which is that we live in the present, and as such we should live our lives in the moment. Many people live their lives trying to recreate pleasant moments, or focusing on a future. It is much easier to give of yourself and serve your fellow man when you are not preoccupied with how the world was created.

The facts and the truth belong to God, and our perception of truth, as humans has no bearing on the truth itself. Truth simply is, and as the truth is revealed, the truth testifies to the greatness and majesty of our wondrous and loving Father.

Many will come forth, thrusting their personal theology and acting as though you are suffering from mental retardation if you happen to see things through a different lens. Love is not in our language, per se…love is in our doing, our obeying, our devout reverence for our God.

In all things we must pray daily that God will use us in whatever capacity he sees fit. My prayer is that I will recognize those opportunities and will speak boldly and earnestly about the love of God, the love letters that are the Gospels. God has made miraculous overtures to mankind, reaching out with all his love, compassion, empathy and with great urgency, and we are called to be His conduit, in delivering His love to a lost and dying world.

Our greatest and most impactful accomplishments are not going to, necessarily, call attention to us. They should speak to the greatness of a God who can use the least of us to win victories over the enemy and his armies of hatred, discouragement, despair and and pure blasphemy and contempt for all God’s people.

Be not weary, for the victory is won, and it is won not by us, but by Christ who lives in us. So that when we have attained victory, we can humbly thank Him who blessed us by letting us be part of His army of righteousness and love. Our sword is His word.

We wrestle not with flesh and blood, but against principalities; spiritual wickedness in high places. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal…but are mighty…even to the pulling down of strongholds.

So brothers, let us not jockey for position for all the world to see, let us love each other, let us be so blessed as to serve humbly and see what God can do with His elect who will walk in humble obedience. See how a world can change in a mighty way when we simply get our own egos and ideologies out of God’s perfect way.

Pray always for our leaders, that they will be visited with the Lord’s wisdom and will have a revelation about how greatness hides in their humble service to the one true God of the universe, unimpeded by the mirey muck of politics, one-upmanship of a prideful man with blind ambition, or any who derails the train of the gospel and guides instead down a dangerous trail that if allowed to go unchecked can do much harm and mislead many.

Our God is able to take any of us and do great things. It begins with contrition, with a broken heart, and with finally surrendering our own will to the will of our eternal loving Father.

The most heroic warriors in the coming spiritual war will not be the ones recognized by medals and trophies, but will be those humble servants who daily laid down their own pride, will and desire, and instead picked up God’s sword, who hearkened unto God’s unmistakable call, and who prayed unstopping, for the will of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit, to lead them and light their path.

He is able. He is awesome. He loves us. And I praise Him with all my heart and soul, for He has delivered me from my own vanity and my imperfect mind. Praise God with great joy!

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