A God Blog on the Aurora Massacre
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July 29, 2012
A God Blog:
Where Was God in Aurora?
THIS YEAR'S THEME: The Year of the Lord
THIS MONTH'S TOPIC: What does the Lord require? Walking Humbly with Your God
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Open your Bible
Light a candle
From the Bible
Psalm 54 New International Version (NIV)
Psalm 54[a]For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A maskil[b] of David. When the Ziphites had gone to Saul and said, “Is not David hiding among us?”
1 Save me , O God, by your name;
vindicate me by your might.
2 Hear my prayer, O God;
listen to the words of my mouth.
3 Arrogant foes are attacking me;
ruthless people are trying to kill me —
people without regard for God.[c]
4 Surely God is my help;
the Lord is the one who sustains me.
5 Let evil recoil on those who slander me;
in your faithfulness destroy them.
6 I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you;
I will praise your name, Lord, for it is good.
7 You have delivered me from all my troubles,
and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.
Footnotes:Psalm 54:1 In Hebrew texts 54:1-7 is numbered 54:3-9.Psalm 54:1 Title: Probably a literary or musical termPsalm 54:3 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here.
Arcana Coelestia (Potts) n. 2535 2535.
He shall pray for thee. That this signifies that it will thus be revealed, is evident from the signification of "praying." Prayer, regarded in itself, is speech with God, and some internal view at the time of the matters of the prayer, to which there answers something like an influx into the perception or thought of the mind, so that there is a certain opening of the man's interiors toward God; but this with a difference according to the man's state, and according to the essence of the subject of the prayer. If the man prays from love and faith, and for only heavenly and spiritual things, there then comes forth in the prayer something like a revelation (which is manifested in the affection of him that prays) as to hope, consolation, or a certain inward joy. It is from this that to "pray" signifies in the internal sense to be revealed. Still more is this the case here, where praying is predicated of a prophet, by whom is meant the Lord, whose prayer was nothing else than internal speech with the Divine, and at the same time revelation. That there was revelation is evident in Luke:
It came to pass when Jesus was baptized, and prayed, that the heaven was opened (Luke 3:21).
In the same:
It came to pass that He took Peter, James, and John, and went up into the mountain to pray; and as He prayed, the fashion of His countenance was altered, and His raiment became white and glistening (Luke 9:28-29).
When He prayed, saying, Father glorify Thy name, then came there a voice from heaven: I have both glorified, and will glorify again (John 12:27-28);
where it is plain that the Lord's "praying" was speech with the Divine, and revelation at the same time.
fter the massacre in Aurora, Colorado, the CNN belief.net posed this question: “Where was God in Aurora?” They received more than 10,000 responses! They ranged through many religious traditions, as well as concepts that God doesn't exist.
CNN wrote: “In short, God was in complete control, exercising His will,” wrote @PastorRileyF, who leads a church in Bethune, Colorado.That riled Jockey, who tweeted, “If that was God's will, God is definitely not deserving of my worship.”@TheTrivia also took issue with the Colorado pastor: "I'm going to respectfully disagree with you Pastor. God gives free will to man, but it wasn't his will that they die."
Here is CNN's summary of the 7 most common answers to the question:
1. There is no God.
2. Don't blame God; blame Satan.
3. Don't blame God; blame us.
4. God was behind the massacre, and it was just.
5. God was present at the massacre but with the victims, not the perpetrator.
6. Which God? After all, the problem of evil in a world ruled by a sovereign and good God only presents itself if you posit one personal God who is both good and all-powerful.
7. Who knows? It's a mystery.
To read CNN's complete report on the blog responses, go to THIS LINK.
Which of these seven positions is closest to the ideas of Emanuel Swedenborg? I would say that none of these quite captures the Swedenborgian perspective on free will.
In this book, Why Does God Let it Happen? Bruce Henderson gives us an understanding of tragedy and free will from a Swedenborgian perspective.
Here are the five laws of Swedenborg on free will as explained by Henderson:
The first law is that God allows evil to exist for the sake of our freedom. We must be in a state of equilibrium—between good and evil, heaven and hell—to be free to choose the quality of our lives. Without that freedom, we would not feel life to be our own.
The second law is that we must be free to act from our own will, as long as we are making rational choices. Swedenborg says that people cannot be reformed if they are in states of fear, disease, insanity, or ignorance, when they aren’t able to make informed, rational decisions. But as long as we are of sound mind and body, we must be free to choose—even if what we choose is not what God would want for us.
The third law is that we should not be compelled to believe in God, in his providence, or in anything, because compulsion takes away freedom. Puppets and robots don’t have freedom. Wars have been fought to suppress freedom or to win it, including the freedom to believe as we choose and live accordingly. No one wants to be coerced. God wants for us to make good choices, but he will not—cannot—force us to do so. God’s will is that each and every one of us gets to heaven by making good choices, by actually choosing heaven in the way we lead our lives. But he will leave people free to reject him, to embrace evil and to choose hell.
The fourth law is that for us to be truly free, we must be able to see and recognize evil in order to reject it. This is the challenge of freedom. Our culture is a smorgasbord of good and bad choices. We know what it’s like to be tempted, but we also know what the healthy choices are. We know what it is to live with the good and bad consequences of choices.
The fifth law is that the operation of divine providence should never be evident to us, but that we should always know that it is working in our lives. Imagine if you could know how God was leading you. You would feel your freedom was threatened and probably would want to rebel, especially if God was trying to lead you out of a destructive habit while you were still enjoying it and not ready to give it up.
[HENDERSON, BRUCE (2010-06-01). WHY DOES GOD LET IT HAPPEN? (Kindle Locations 514-518). Chicago Distribution. Kindle Edition.]
I find Swedenborg's view of free will reassuring. God does not want tragedy to take place, but God allows free will for all human beings, and that means that some humans will choose to do evil deeds. God will not interfere with free will.
That still leaves important questions for us to ponder. I have a question about Swedenborg and free will for us to consider. I've started a blog for us -- at the bottom of this page -- to share our ideas with each other.
Where does prayer fit into this? One victim/suvivor from Aurora said that he believed he survived because he prayed to God during the massacre. However, one commentor on TV poiinted out that some of those who died undoubtedly also prayed. How do we make sense of God's responses -- or lack of responses -- to our prayers?
Let us pray.
With Love and Prayers, Rev. Judith
Extinguish your candle
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Go in peace, knowing that God's will is Divine Love and Wisdom.
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Enjoy a video summary of today's message by Rev. Wilma
Did God answer the prayers of those who were involved in the massacre in Aurora? At least one victim said he prayed to God, and the shooter's gun jammed, and he survived. Did God cause the gun to jam to answer this man's prayer? What about the people who prayed and who were killed anyway? Did God answer their prayers?&...
|Where Was God in Aurora?||