Monday, August 18, 2014

John Sanders Discusses the No-Risk Model of Divine Providence

An excerpt from the older edition of "The God Who Risks" by John Sanders:

"According to the no-risk model of providence there is
a specific divine reason for ordaining each and every
particular occurrence of evil and suffering. According
to [Paul] Helm, since 'God works everything for good' (Rom
8:28), there are no such things as accidents and there
are no real tragedies in life. If Jones is afflicted
with a debilitating mental illness in which he loses
touch with reality, or if a three-year-old child
contracts an incurable and intractably painful bone
cancer, or if a number of kindergartners are murdered
in a school gymnasium in Scotland, or if Christian
woman [sic] and children are raped and sold into
slavery in Sudan, such experiences were specifically
selected by God to happen to these individuals. In the
no-risk view all the poverty, genocide, ethnic
conflicts, debilitating illnesses, rapes, birth
defects, blindness, destructive government policies
and so on are all specifically ordained by God, who
applies them to the particular individuals involved.
We may not know the divine reasons, but, we are told,
we can be sure they are good ones because God is good.
Jerry Bridges writes that 'God's sovereignty over
people . . . means that God is in control of our pain
and suffering, and that he has in mind a beneficial
purpose for it. There is no such thing as pain without
a purpose'" (Sanders, page 253).

Sanders obviously takes exception with the views expressed by Paul Helm and Jerry Bridges. As a matter of fact, Sanders' description of Helm's position seems so extreme that I wondered if he did not misinterpret Helm. But apparently, he has not misconstrued Helm's view of divine providence after all.

No comments: