A Hooker and a Cross – Part I

A farmer and a teacher, a hooker and a preacher, ridin’ on a midnight bus bound for Mexico. One was headed for vacation, one for higher education, and two of them were searchin’ for lost souls.

That driver never ever saw the stop sign…and eighteen wheelers can’t stop on a dime…

That farmer left a harvest, a home and eighty acres, the faith and love for growin’ things in his young son’s heart. That teacher left her wisdom in the minds of lots of children – Did her best to give ’em all a better start. And that preacher whispered “Can’t you see the Promised Land?…as he laid his blood-stained bible in that hooker’s hand…

That’s the story that our preacher told last Sunday. As he held that blood-stained bible up, for all of us to see. He said: “Bless the farmer, and the teacher…and the preacher who gave this Bible to my mamma…Who read it to me!”

There are three wooden crosses on the right side of the highway.  Why there’s not four of them, Heaven only knows. I guess it’s not what you take when you leave this world behind you. It’s what you leave behind you when you go.

——-

I’m not sure how many of you are Randy Travis fans, but those are the lyrics to a song “Three Wooden Crosses” [1] that he made fairly popular a few years ago.

There are many things that we can glean from thinking about a scenario such as this.  But I want to focus on two questions that are very simple, yet never seemingly understood…at least by many (young) people.

The first question is – (1) Where was God when this happened? This question is subtly different from the second question which is – (2) Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?  Although these are age old questions, it never hurts to review the answers.  The answers aren’t nearly as difficult as people make them out to be.  However, they are admittedly not as clear cut as many would like.  In this article, we will address the first question.  In the next article (i.e., Part II of the story), we will address the second question.

At the onset, the most important concept to understand is that God knows everything that will ever happen and has either willed it (good) or has allowed it to happen (evil). Period.  This seems fairly straightforward.  In fact, many of you are probably saying “DUH!” of course that’s true…everyone knows that!  I would disagree.  I don’t think its obvious and certainly not all that many people truly understand this concept.  Let me explain.

He Is:

First, we must remember that God IS.  He has no past, present, or future. He is eternal and is existence itself.  He is pure act and pure potential at the same time.  In fact, He isn’t even a “He.”  He Is existence.

Remember when Moses spoke to God, He said that His name is “I AM.”  He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  He is the same now as he was in the beginning and is the same as he will be in the end.  But wait…if He IS…then how can there be a beginning and an end??  Well, it comes as no surprise that these concepts of time are themselves limiting.  God stands outside of time and thereby is not constrained by time.  Therefore, the ideas of “beginning” and “end” have no meaning in themselves. Although God is the alpha and the omega…the beginning and the end…these concepts are human concepts and are merely attempts by our human minds to better understand God.   Rule number 1 – We can’t understand the eternity of God.  We simply must remember that He IS.

Rule number 2 is to remember that God does not actively “will” evil.  That is impossible.  The “Is” that is God is pure goodness.  Pure goodness cannot produce evil.  In fact, evil doesn’t exist in and of itself…it is the absence of good.  Accordingly, how could pure goodness produce something that is the absence of itself…ugh…it can make your head hurt and that is a concept for a whole different discussion.  So just remember, God does not “will” evil – He allows choices to be made that are not pure goodness.

Movie Reels:

Moving on – since He Is, the (human) concept of time unfolds in front of Him.  We can imagine a movie on a reel being rolled out in front of us on a long table.  If we imagine ourselves as God, and the movie as the story of creation, we can walk up and down the table looking at any frame that we choose.  We can look at the beginning of the reel on the far left and see Adam and Eve.  We can look at the far right end of the reel and see the end of “time” as humans know it…culminating in the end of the world, the resurrection of the body, etc.  In fact, we could look at any individual frame and see exactly what is happening at any point in time.  But unlike God, we would simply be outsiders looking in and observing what is happening on the movie reel.  But you get the general idea.[2]

To go a little further with this concept, we should also appreciate that God doesn’t even have to look at the movie reel to know what is happening!  Even that is a human concept.  He only needs to look at Himself.

Remember, God is not some mythical sky figure that has a big checklist with the Ten Commandments written down in columns.  He doesn’t walk the sky putting a check next to each commandment that we break.  Our own consciences keep track of that.  He simply Is…and for that reason, knows all, in one instant, that will happen or that will not happen.  He needs only to look at himself to know all.

Is God In the Movie?

So if we would just be outsiders looking in and observing what is happening on the movie reel, then what would God be doing?  Would He be in the movie?  The short answer is Yes!  The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us!  God injected, and continues to inject, Himself into the movie reel to save us!  So the short answer to the age old question is yes – God was there when the 18-wheeler hit the bus.  He was fully aware and was watching (if we want to use human terms).  Said differently, He was and is acting in the moving.

However, participation in the movie does not at all mean that God causes any one particular thing to happen any more than a certain actor in a movie causes something to happen. This is the key concept of Part I of this article.  Foreknowing is not Forecausing(That actually should be the title but I wanted to go for something a little more catchy!)

Foreknowing is not Forecausing

Ok, so what does this phrase really mean?  It means that just because Gods knows that something is going to happen does not mean that He causes (or actively wills) it to happen.

For example, if I am looking out my window and I see two cars speeding at each other, I may know that they are going to collide, but it does not mean that I caused the accident.  Ehh.. most people don’t seem to understand this concept.

Similarly, if I fast forward a movie and know the end, does that mean that I caused the ending to happen???  Of course not.

I guess this concept is harder to grasp and accept when you are talking about the creator of the universe and infinite power.  Most people seem to be unable to grasp the concept that if God sees a bad thing coming on the movie reel, why would He just sit back and let it happen?  That question is precisely the question of why does God let bad things happen to good people…but that is the subject of Part II.

Back to the Bus…

So back to the people on the bus…and the question at hand…where was God on impact???  (Some other people extend this concept to “Where was God during the hurricane, the holocaust, etc.  The answer is the same…it may just be harder to accept)

Well, we know that God knew that the eighteen wheeler was going to hit the bus.  He looked ahead on the movie reel and saw that it would happen.  That’s easy.

We know that God knew that three people were going to die while the hooker was going to live, the bus driver was going to live, and the driver of the eighteen wheeler was going to live.  That was also on the movie reel.  Again, an easy answer.

We also know that just because He knew what would happen does not mean that He caused it to happen.  Point in fact, the eighteen-wheeler driver and the bus driver caused the crash.  Again, relatively easy.

Moreover, we also know that God could have injected Himself into that precise moment of the movie at any point if He wanted, i.e., if He willed it.  So where was He???

Well, we know that God was there.  He was there.  Plain and simple.  He is omnipresent.  Again, easy answer.

At this point you may be saying – Don’t play word games with me…if He was there, then why didn’t he save those people???  Again, that is a question for Part II.

The question of Part I was – where was God on impact?  I just answered it.  He was there.  He knew the crash would happen, knew the movie, and was there. He didn’t cause the crash but was there.  End of story.

But since that’s probably not a satisfying answer, I will leave you with this…who is to say that He didn’t actively save the lives of the people that lived??  Maybe He did act.  That we will never know.  As the song says…”Heaven only knows…”

Till next time…

God Bless,

M


[2] Here is another idea to ponder.  What is the “stuff” to left of the left end of the reel on the table and to the right of the right end of the reel on the table?  Well, I guess that stuff is outside of time…but concepts of time and space are best left to a science explanation.

Advertisements

One comment on “A Hooker and a Cross – Part I

  1. Good stuff, but often hard for people to really grasp.

    The one thing I would put differently is the nature of time. It is not a human concept but part of God’s creation. He orchestrated “time” for our benefit, to give us order and progression.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s