So now that we have conquered the problem of evil ( or at least come to rest at some comfortable place on the subject), let's consider another one. I'm talking about marriage, or Christ and his relationship to the church - the great mystery (Ephesians5:32).
Ronnie and I went to a wedding about a week ago. It was a simple ceremony with one of the most profound messages I have ever heard. Even Ronnie commented the next day about how he was still thinking about it. The message was titled on the wedding program "The purpose of marriage". What is the purpose of marriage? companionship, procreation, guilt free sex, the list could go on. What is God's purpose for marriage? There is a clue about this in Ephesians 5:31. The verse starts "For this reason a man shall leave his father ...". Well, what reason is he referring to? He is referring to the picture of Christ and the church given in the preceding verses. The picture of Christ and the church is the reason that a man should leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife. The reason people should marry is to give a picture of Christ and the church, not to have companionship, not to have children, not to have guilt free sex (although those are all ok by-products of a healthy marriage).
How does this play out practically? When people look at Ronnie they should see his unending love for me. They should see how he takes care of me and loves me as he loves himself. They should see how he tries to protect me from evil and keep me holy and blameless. He is a picture of Christ to the world in our marriage. When people look at me they should see how I quietly yield to Ronnie's advice. They should see how I treat Ronnie with reverence and respect. They should see an accurate picture of the church quietly submitting to the authority of Christ.
What an opportunity/responsibility we have as christians. Marriage is not about us. Marriage is about God and created by Him. Marriage is a tool used by God in our world to portray a picture of Christ and the church. It has nothing to do with us, and that makes it so freeing. I am free to quietly submit to Ronnie, for the sake of the gospel. Each time I do this the gospel is portrayed accurately to anyone who may see. Ronnie is free to love me as his own body, for the sake of the gospel. Anyone who sees him doing this gets a glimpse of the love Christ has for His church.
How does your marriage measure up to this? What can we all do to more accurately portray a picture of the gospel to a lost world? What about marriages between non-believers? Do they still represent this picture of Christ and the church? I'd love to read your thoughts.
Monday, March 12, 2007
The basic problem of evil is stated like this:
If God is all good, why does He allow all the evil we see in the world?
If He is all powerful, couldn't he do something about it?
So, either God is not all good or He is not powerful.
So, how could you give an answer to this my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I would love to hear your responses. This is one of the topics for discussion at the Genesis bible study that I attend on Monday nights.
I think that the problem is in the logic of the questions. We assume things already in the questions we ask. First of all, God is good. (Ps 24:8, Ps 34:8). If we believe the bible then we know he is good. If we don't believe the bible then that is another topic of discussion...another day. So not if God is good - we already know he is (this logic starts off bad, trying to disprove that God is good, we already know the answer to this).
Second, why does he allow evil in the world? It is important to remember that the world God created was good in every way. There was no death, sorrow, or separation from God (not even death among the animal kingdom I might add - man and animals were only eating plants Genesis 1:29-30). Man's sin is what has led to all of these. After man sinned, God cursed the serpent and God cursed the ground. The earth is still under this curse (thus the reason for all natural disasters and the death caused by them). So the cause of evil in the world is man and the serpent. But that does not answer why God allows it. I think God is holy and he requires holiness. He is also merciful and forgiving. My only answer is that through all the evil God has worked out his perfect plan of salvation. All the old testament points to christ. The sacrificial system that God provided for his people points to Christ. God is somehow glorified through all the evil - both the natural disasters and the evil of man (both are evil). So I guess I can only answer that God allows (plans for you hyper calvinists) evil because it somehow in the end points to the holiness of God and is glorifying to him and brings his people to salvation.
I won't comment much on the powerful question. I don't think any us question whether God is powerful enough. At least I don't. I know he is powerful. It is just hard to figure out the reason why he does allow evil?
Maybe I'll have some better answers after the study tonight, or maybe you have some answers you'd like to share.
Friday, March 9, 2007
I have the most wonderful friends. What could have been the worst nightmare of a birthday, was such a fun day because of you (my friends). You see, yesterday was my birthday. Ronnie, knowing he was not going to get to see me at all on my real birthday, planned a little family party for me the day before my birthday(Party #1). It was great. Cards from the girls - even the little one. A new little Bible (which I really wanted). A new book. Chocolate. But there is something about the real day. You know, you just want to relax, enjoy life, do something you like to do. My real day did not go exactly as I had planned, but my friends made all the difference, and I got to spend some quality time with my kids that might not otherwise have happened. I got to have lunch with Marcie, Jill, and Dara (Party #2). And after I put the girls to bed - another birthday party appeared at the door (Party #3). At 8:30 Angie, Heather, Ellen, Jennifer, and Hannah were at my house with cheesecake, cards, gifts and flowers. What a blessing! And what a very fun birthday party. I feel so blessed to have friends - people who care about and love me - and who love a good excuse to laugh and eat cheesecake. Thanks Guys!
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
You may be wondering about the name ... brick house. Well, you see it has been the theme song of my married life. (Please tell me you know the song - you know, from the 80's - She's a brick house). At any given point in the last 10 years you might have walked into our house and heard Ronnie humming the tune. It has always been sort of a running joke. More of a joke at some times than others. Like each time I have been pregnant, Ronnie likes to change the lyrics from 36-24-36 to something more realistic like 36-75-58. I have usually taken it in good humor and the song has become comforting, really. It feels like home. Just this morning Ronnie was humming the tune...