Miscarriage, Abortion, and the Gospel

We all live in God’s world: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Whether we acknowledge it or not; there is no escaping that reality. As human beings, we can rage, rail and try to circumvent God’s world for a time. He may even allow us to be successful at it. In fact, Jesus rarely stays where He’s not wanted. For example, after healing a demon-possessed man, the nearby town wanted Jesus gone, so He left (Luke 8:37).

But although we may be somewhat “successful” trying to escape the reality of God, all people know God is there and this is His world (Romans 1:18-20).

Although the predominant culture may proclaim that abortion is a “right” and the “right thing to do,” there is no escaping the crushing guilt which comes from taking another person’s life. You can even feel guilty when you’ve done nothing wrong. Like when your wife experiences a miscarriage.

My wife and I have one child, but she has experienced two pregnancies. (You can read more about the first one here. In fact, this blog is named after that deceased child). The options were laid out to us like this: either she could hemorrhage out the baby, or have a DNC—which is also a common abortion procedure.

Allowing my wife to hemorrhage seemed way too horrifying. She was in enough pain (physical and emotional) already, that to go through such an experience seemed overwhelming. So we chose to go with the DNC.

And we still felt guilty. Was our baby truly dead? Or were we now responsible for ending his life? Did we honor his little body? Did we do the right thing?

Our only hope in that time was that we trusted God to give us wisdom to make the best decision possible (James 1:5-8).

If we have experienced such guilt even though we did nothing wrong, I cannot even imagine the guilt which women face who actually decide to end the life of their still living baby. After having made such a decision, there are really only three options. They can suppress the guilt and through gritted teeth proclaim that everything is ok. Some of you will not buy my argument that women who have abortions feel guilt, because some women will testify that they don’t feel guilty for their decision. My rebuttal to that is this: we still live in God’s world. We must play by His rules. And although He allows us to suppress the truth (see Romans 1 again), this does not negate or nullify the truth. They may also despair from the guilt. There may be a haunting which pervades their life because of what they’ve done.

The third option is this: turning to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The only message which can cleanse the conscience and relieve the guilt. Women who have had an abortion may feel like something violent and repulsive should happen to them because of what they’ve done. What the Bible declares is this: something violent and repulsive has already happened, but it happened to God’s only Son, Jesus. Jesus faced rejection and desertion. He faced being whipped and being crucified—nails driven into His hands and His lungs filling up with His own blood. He did so, on your behalf so that the cost of your sins could be paid. He died so that His blood could cover over your own blood-stained hands. God counted Jesus to be a sinner, so that we could be counted free. That means you if you come to Jesus.

“But it’s just too easy!” you may think. Really? And how would you make up for it? Is there any way to truly cleanse the blood of an abortion away? A lifetime of doing good will not, indeed, cannot, do away with the guilt of sin. Only a perfect sacrifice can do that. A perfect sacrifice like Jesus.

Blogging the Institutes–1.5.12–False Gods Gush from the Human Mind Like Water from a Faucet

“Blogging the Institutes” is my on-going attempt to paraphrase John Calvin’s work, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. You can find out more about the series in the Introduction. For all the posts in this series, check out the Master List

False Gods Gush from the Human Mind Like Water from a Faucet

Because people suppress the knowledge of God, they flood the world with error. Not only does it seem like each nation has its own territorial “god,” but also, each individual person often creates a god in his or her own image to worship! In addition to being ignorant, many people make up crazy speculations concerning God and indulge themselves in selfish thinking. Therefore, most people substitute some idol of their own creation for the true and living God. A variety of made up gods come from the human mind like water which gushes out of a faucet. Each person makes up these “gods” to give himself the license to do whatever he or she wants. Each person devises some kind of idol so that his or her view of “right” is vindicated.

Now, it is completely unnecessary to document all of the false beliefs that have spread all over the world. The list would be endless! If such a list were created, it would prove beyond doubt the blindness of the human mind. I’m not even talking about all the false beliefs generated by wicked and vulgar people! Just look at the philosophers who have tried to figure God out through their own reason, and you will see such a variety of errors. In fact, the most intelligent—those with the most education and the most training—often come up with the most misleading errors because they sound plausible. When you examine their claims closely, however, they end up being totally wrong.

For example, the Stoics argued that God’s various names could be learned from the various parts of nature. They claimed that they upheld God’s unity but, in actuality, they advocated polytheism (multiple gods). The mystic theologians of Egypt tried so hard to present themselves as being rational (and perhaps at first glance it does seem like they are rational). But their religion too is thoroughly corrupt. In response to all this confusion of belief, the Epicureans began advocating that God does not exist. They argued that since so much diverse opinion about the nature of God exists (so much so, that no one can seem to agree!), it is therefore pointless to torture yourself about thoughts of God. He does not exist. It is safer, they argued, to deny the existence of God altogether than to believe in a false god or engage in endless arguments with others. What they end up doing, however, is covering over their lack of reverence for God through their own ignorance. Yet, their ignorance does not impinge on the gloriousness of God!

All people recognize that differences of opinion exist on almost every subject. The proper inference is this: people are blind to the knowledge of God. Some people praise the response that Simonides (a Greek poet) gave to the Heiron II of Syracuse (leader of Syracuse in Silicy) when he was asked the question, “What is god?” Simonides asked for a day to think about it. When he was called to the king the next day, he asked for two days to think about it. And then four days. Finally, Simonides replied, “The longer I think about God, the more obscure the subject becomes.” Simonides wisely did not give his opinion on the matter when he could not see a clear answer. What his answer shows, however, is that when people only learn about God from their own reason or experience, they do not have any solid knowledge of God. Rather, they fasten themselves onto all sorts of contradictory thoughts and theories and consequently present worship to an unknown God.

Blogging the Institutes–1.5.11–Even the Smartest People Don’t See God in His Works

“Blogging the Institutes” is my on-going attempt to paraphrase John Calvin’s work, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. You can find out more about the series in the Introduction. For all the posts in this series, check out the Master List

Even the Smartest People Don’t See God in His Works

God’s revelation of Himself and His immortal kingdom shines brightly like the sun. Yet, we are so stupid and blind that we don’t “see” the brightness of His works.  When we see the universe—its vastness and how it runs so orderly—do we think of our Creator? No. Don’t we typically overlook Him and content ourselves to be absorbed in His works rather than Himself?

How many times do we regard the supernatural events, which occur around us every day, as mere spins on the wheel of chance rather than the providential working of God? When we experience these events, we are forced to think about God. Although we may have some vague notion of God through these events, we will immediately interpret them as carnal dreams and depraved notions. We corrupt God’s truth through our pride.

Now, each person is unique so we will all twist God’s truth in our own particular way. Yet, we’re all the same this way: we substitute monstrous fictional stories for the one true and living God. All people do this, not just the “wicked”—but even the smartest and upright. For example, so many philosophers—even Plato himself—show off their spiritual stupidity and lack of sense by not acknowledging God through His works. Why do we expect anything less from the rest of the population when their leaders who should be setting the example make such mistakes?

The actual course of history and the events of the world demonstrate God’s providence beyond doubt. Nevertheless, the practical result is the same as if we believed everything happened by mere chance, because we are so prone to weakness and error. I am saying all of this still in reference to the most distinguished philosophers and not even the rest of the population whose utter foolishness in profaning God’s truth has no limit.

Does God Understand Our Suffering?

Imagine all humanity had a committee meeting to establish what God would have to go through to truly understand human suffering. The poor would say he should be homeless, frequently hungry, and constantly moving from place to place. Bereaved people would say he should lose a parent and perhaps a close friend as well. Holocaust victims might insist he be Jewish; those who lived in occupied territories, that he should live his entire life in subjection to a brutal empire. Outcasts would insist he face a major social stigma: accusations of illegitimacy or drunkenness or demon-possession. The abused might demand he face physical violence, ritual humiliation, abandonment, and betrayal by those closest to him, and yet with the perpetrators never punished. I don’t know what you would throw in–never having children, being murdered in his prime, or perhaps facing extended torture and slow death. Maybe those who had felt the silence of heaven, like Job, would add that to the list, to form the most profound and wide-ranging suffering imaginable. Then and only then, humanity might say, could God be regarded as being able to understand our suffering. Only if God had lived through the worst this life had to offer and been perfect throughout could we say he had provided Suffering’s Answer.

Sound like anyone we know?

Andrew Wilson, GodStoriesp. 112.

Blogging the Institutes–1.5.10–Knowing God Should Point Us to the Future

“Blogging the Institutes” is my on-going attempt to paraphrase John Calvin’s work, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. You can find out more about the series in the Introduction. For all the posts in this series, check out the Master List

Knowing God Should Point Us to the Future

When we come to know God through His creation, we should be moved to worship Him. When we see how things turn out in this life, we should also have hope of future life. In this lifetime, the Lord only partially reveals His mercy and judgment. The partial revelation of His mercy and judgment should compel us to believe that a full revelation of each one is coming in the future.

Furthermore, when we see the righteous persecuted by the wicked, assaulted with various injuries, overwhelmed by calamities, and cut deeply by an insulting tongue, such things should cause us to believe that there will be a future life where the righteous will receive a reward from God. On the other hand, when we see the wicked flourish, prosper, and acquire money and fame, we should know that the future for them would be one of judgment and misery.

When we see God disciplining His children in this lifetime, we can conclude that the wicked will surely not escape His punishment in eternity. Augustine speaks to this reality: “If all sin were punished right away, then we might reason that there will be no final Judgment. On the other hand, if no sin were punished now at all, then we might conclude that there is no God.”

Therefore, all of God’s different works must be viewed together. When they are, they come together like magnificent picture. The picture of God’s works invite all people to know Him. When we know Him, we will love Him. Now, while His character and all of His divine perfections are vividly displayed in the created world, the only way to really see how they reveal God is to look inside ourselves. When we do so, we will see that the Lord displays His wisdom, power, energy, justice, goodness, and mercy in our own lives. Although King David complains that ungodly people do not take any time to ponder the deep truths about God (Psalm 92:6), he also understands that the wonders of God’s wisdom are everywhere (Psalm 40).